Behind Closed Doors {Pornography}

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I started writing this post when I read the results of the Any Other Wedding survey.  One of the topics that others wanted to hear about is infidelity.  I have a story to share with you.  This is a pretty hard thing for me to write about, but here we go. 

I’m getting married to the love of my life but almost every day I doubt him and our relationship.  I couldn’t love him more if I tried but around two years ago, I found out something that rocked our relationship to the core.
 My fiancé is (or was?!) a pornography addict. 
I found this out by accident.  Well, what I found out by accident is that he’d been having an email exchange with two women in America.  Text/email sex, if you like.  I found this out because he accidentally left an email open. 
When I found out that he had a secret email account that I knew nothing about, I did some investigating.  I found that he was a regular user of sites like You Porn and that he’d even gone as far as uploading videos of himself masturbating. 
As well as this, he was in contact with some women who he was exchanging emails with.
I can’t even begin to put into words how devastated I was. 
First of all he denied it.  Then he tried to minimise it as being nothing, not important.  Then, like a light going on, he realised what he’d done.
He told me that he was addicted to porn and that the email exchanges with these people were an extension of that. He explained that it was something in his life that he didn’t associated with our life.  He told me that he was ashamed of the way his behaviour had escalated and that his need for porn was a compulsion. 
I have never been particular precious about porn.  I’ve watched it.  I have found it erotic.  I had never really considered how destructive it is.  It is not empowering for women in any way.  Neither the women who are involved in making it nor the women who are affected when their husbands or partners become addicted to it (this is much more common than I had ever realised). It also objectifies women in a way that is completely at odds with the whole equalities movement.  And never mind the unrealistic way it presents sex to young men. 
I digress. 
I suffer with depression and I was already having a bit of a rough time and this sent me rapidly down into the depths of one of the worst depressive episodes I’ve ever had.  I seriously didn’t know if I had the energy or inclination to face the problems that had surfaced in my relationship. 
I didn’t know whether I could deal with trying to understand his problems because I felt as though my own problems, i.e my depression, were already so insurmountable, that I couldn’t physically cope with anything else or another thing to deal with.  I wondered whether I was in a co dependant relationship because I felt too weak to stay and much, much to weak to leave. 
I felt betrayed and broken and confused and hurt. 
God, I’m crying as I type this.  You think you’ve dealt with an issue and moved on from it but the reality is that most of what you do when dealing with hurt is learning to bury it.  These feelings still feel almost as strong now as they did then.
We worked through things.  He got some help in the form of an online recovery programme.  I came out of the other end of my depression.  It took time and I believe we are stronger now, in every way.  But addiction never goes away, does it?  I worry that if we have rough patches in our relationship or we don’t have sex frequently enough he’ll be tempted.
And I still doubt him.  He’s given me no reason to but I wonder if he’s hiding something.  I can’t help myself. Every time he gets a text message I wonder if he’s cheating on me.  I want to know who his emails are from.  I am ashamed to say I have even checked his emails once or twice when he’s left them open. 
We spend all of our time together and we are happy.  Very.  I can’t wait to be his wife but a combination of this issue and my own insecurity (I was paranoid before this happened. My self esteem is low and, in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe myself to be worthy of love) means that I live in a constant state of fear that I’ll find out he’s betrayed me again.
I don’t believe he would.  I want to believe he wouldn’t.  He has, very sincerely, told me that he hates himself for all of the hurt he caused me at that time and that he’d never, ever, do anything to betray my trust again.  He has promised to talk to me.  He tells me that he hasn’t looked at porn since all of that happened but that it’s hard and he’s fighting the compulsion. 
We don’t talk about it often though.  Maybe we should but you have to move on, don’t you?  You can’t spend the rest of your life questioning and challenging and making the other person prove themselves or reassure you.  You have to decide to trust them and you have to take that leap of faith and believe in them and the strength of your relationship. 
If I told him every time I felt insecure we’d talk about nothing else.  Relationships need honesty and they need both parties to be willing to work through issues but that also has to be balanced with fun and joy – you can’t be in a constant state of examining your relationship or you’ll come apart at the seams.

It’s funny because aside from this one thing our relationship couldn’t be more perfect.  We adore each other.  We laugh together.  We share interests and hobbies and we go on dates and we are, outwardly, perfect for each other in every way.
But nothing is perfect.  Everything takes work and even if you’re not overcoming huge issues like this one, you are dealing with the day to day challenges and trying to navigate your way through your life in a way that causes the least damage to both yourself and those you love. 

One of the main things that we will be promising each other in our vows when we marry next year is that what ever happens, we will try to work through it together.  I mean that with all my heart.  We will also be promising to be faithful to each other and I have to believe that we both mean it. 
I’d be interested to hear from others who have experienced something similar.  How did you move on.  Will this doubt ever go away? 
Yours, anonymous… x
Categories: Behind Closed Doors, Body Image, Family, Friends and Relationships
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Not the same, but something similar happened with my Dad, it was on a work laptop so the police were involved, though after a long drawn out investigation he was not charged. It’s the most horrible feeling to know that one of the people you love most in the world has potentially risked everything to look at a few sordid images alone on a computer. I think you are incredibly brave to write it all down and put it out there for others to see, although there probably won’t be many comments I am sure that others will have drawn comfort from your post. It’s not something that it’s easy to talk about to even those closest to you. It sounds as though you and your future husband have both put a huge amount of effort into moving forward from this terrible situation and I wish you both all the luck in the world, learning to trust him again will no doubt take a long time but I really do hope that you get there eventually.

  2. Posted December 12, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    You are so strong to deal with this.

    I don't know where to start; on the issue of porn itself, or on what his addiction has done to your relationship. But the thing that stands out for me the most in this huge, brave piece that you've written is this: "you think you’ve dealt with an issue and moved on from it but the reality is that most of what you do when dealing with hurt is learning to bury it."

    This is so true. When something like this happens, it's about papering over the cracks. You can't repair it at its core.

    What many will tell you is that this will lead to a marriage built on mistrust. What I CAN tell you is that that doesn't have to be the case. I have a similar experience of mistrust and hurt very early on in my relationship (my fault, not his) and we worked so hard to built on top of a shaky foundation and now our marriage is strong. People make huge mistakes. It's about how much compassion you have, how willing you are to believe he is about more than this mistake, how capable he is of change and of loving you above all else.

    In the end, you do just have to trust him. It's hard, but in a way, it's simple.

  3. Posted December 12, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    This is such a brave and brilliant post. I applaud you from the depths of my heart for being brave enough to write it, I'm not surprised you cried, I cried reading it.

    I haven't been through what you've been through but I know some of the feelings you talk about; I've felt insecure, frightened and paranoid enough to read G's texts in the past (in fact he has TWICE found me doing so…can't believe I'm admitting that but hell, I'm not perfect). The reasons why are irrelevant, suffice to say it was 80% my own insecurity, but what I would say is it is normal to feel insecure sometimes. Don't beat yourself up. And you can get through the fear and insecurity, and be stronger. Your relationship can still work and be wonderful. No-one is perfect and love isn't easy, the two of you will have a stronger relationship for getting through this. You'll have learnt to trust despite fear and insecurity, and love despite flaws.

    K x

  4. Posted December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Aw hun, that sounds so tough. I totally agree about learning to trust him again, though I think it's important that he takes steps to help you to trust him again. Keeping himself accountable to a close guy friend might be a good idea (it can be really hard to admit you've failed to the one you love, especially when you know that the truth could really hurt them).

    Also, you can download free accountability software like x3 watch that sends an anonymous report to a friend every couple of weeks

    I don't know if that's taking things a little too seriously for you, and ultimately these things are never 100% going to make sure it never happens again. But ensuring that as much as possible, things are kept in the open will always help.

    I hope that you look back on this, and see that dealing with it – having the hard conversations and coping with the hurt, will have made you stronger. It's better to acknowledge the pain, and to recognise that sometimes our partners will let us down, sometimes catastrophically. That way, you can love each other for who you are and who you hope to be – not some airy fairy concept of a perfect husband/wife.

    I'm hoping that you can work through this, and that your insecurities and pain will be replaced by an ever growing love between you and your soon to be husband. xxx

  5. amy f
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Very brave post about a really interesting topic. Really hope you manage to work this through. x

  6. Catherine
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Your strength and compassion really shines through in this piece. I'm sorry I can't offer any real advice on this subject, but do remember this is an addiction it's not any kind of reflection on you or your relationship.

  7. Posted December 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your line "..nothing is perfect. Everything takes work"… so often we are lead to believe by movies/wedding blogs/magazines etc etc that everyone's marriages are amazingly perfect without trying. A ridiculous concept. I agree with what Catherine said that it is an addiction like any other, and addictions can be overcome. It sounds to me like time is needed for trust to continue to grow and for some space between you and the horrible shock of finding that out. I wish you all the best.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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