He is miserable to be around… unhappy, unfulfilled, he has a black cloud over him, he is negative about everything, and no matter what you say or do he finds a way to crush your spirit. He is caught in the cycle of pornography addiction. He has lived with a never-ending cycle of lies and deceit. He has no idea of how to do anything different. He has relied on his lover pornography for years. She has brought him soothing and comfort from his feelings of isolation, and the stresses of life for a long time. He can’t imagine his life with out her. He chooses pornography and she is deceptive in every way. He even deceives himself.
When he escapes her clutches for a moment, he wants his real live wife and kids, his family. This feels good and right to you. This is what you want, he is attentive and caring toward you and the kids. He feels remorse and wants to forget about the pornography lover. But her claws are strong and he is pulled back into her soothing arms at the slightest stress. You feel him pulling away from you and reach for him. He pulls away further into the hole of darkness. You become more stressed and anxious and want to yank him out of the hole by confronting him. As you confront him, he feels more stress, and wants to run away to be comforted by the arms of the only one who has ever provided comfort. He chooses pornography again. After his tension has been relieved he is able to escape her clutches for a moment and the cycle begins again.
After multiple times of this scenario happening over and over again, as a wife or partner you go through many feelings. At first you might feel confused, you want to believe your husband when he says he won’t choose pornography again. Then you find out later that he stopped for a few months and then went back to viewing it again, only this time he hid it better. When you realize he has been lying to you, rage, anger, and sadness hit you like a ton of bricks. You begin to grieve.
Your husband is not the man you thought he was. He puts on an act for other people to be socially presentable, and his inner world is kept secret, sometimes even from himself. He has a secret self that is worried about being rejected if his secrets were to be revealed. He has a vested interest in keeping the secrets, so he lies to you. You feel betrayed. He learned to deceive to protect his secret of choosing pornography or other sexual acting out behaviors.
Here are a few beliefs and reasons that men who choose pornography have that keep them stuck in the clutches of Ms Pornography.
1. Easy Access & Availability
High Speed Internet has created a funnel of pornography specific to each person’s interests. Each click on an image will take them to more content that provides novel and more interesting images and videos specific to their interests. Internet is also available 24/7 from pretty much anywhere in the world via cell, and satellite.
2. “I’m Not Hurting Anyone”
A person who chooses pornography actually believes they are not hurting any one. Sometimes they will agree they are hurting themselves, but choose to do it anyway because they don’t know how else to calm their anxiety. Men are choosing to stay home and look at pornography rather than go out with their wife or family. Thus he is choosing isolation rather than connection. Belonging is the basic human need that is the problem for him in the first place.
3. ”Sex Is Love”
Many people who choose pornography believe sex is love. I’m not saying they believe porn is love, but that love is so difficult to obtain that they will settle for porn. Porn is predictable, see #4 below. Human beings have a deep desire to love and be loved. When the only way you know how to give and receive love is through sex, with no emotional connection to another human being, it can feel empty and lonely.
Love is much more than just the behavior of attempting to procreate. It encompasses feeling safe with a person emotionally, knowing the other person hears you and has your back. It involves communicating with one another in a way that is received well by your partner, even if it is difficult. Love is being honest and is unconditional. I know this is a lofty definition, but it can be something to strive for. Healthy couples will use mistakes in connecting as a learning experience to understand each other better. They try not to repeat the same mistakes twice.
4. Choosing Porn Is Predictable
Guys who want a sexual release choose porn because it is easy and predictable. Having to negotiate a relationship and possibly getting turned down for sex (when the goal is sex) is a risk. Some believe sex is love, others just want sex and are not interested in a relationship.
5. “Sex Is Their Greatest Need”
Porn addicts believe sex is their greatest need (this is a flawed belief system). What he may really fear is rejection. One of the greatest human needs is to have a felt sense of belonging and acceptance. He may be confusing your saying no to sex as rejecting him as a human being.
Grieving the losses of who you thought you married or partnered with can be every bit as painful as losing a loved one to death. In many ways, partners grieve the relationship they thought they had. From grieving these losses, can come strength to live in reality and live life fully present. It is important that you listen to your gut and seek professional help if you believe pornography or sexual acting out is present in your relationship.
If you are a partner of a pornography or sex addict and would like more information to make your Couple-ship Thrive, please sign up for my free newsletter. You may also connect with me on my website Teresa Maples LMHC, CSAT and on twitter.