I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Advice for the single ladies?

Okay friends. It's time to extend some advice to the single ladies. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell a single girl who is dating a guy and just found out that he has a problem with porn? Would you tell her to write him off? Give him a chance? If you suggest she give him a chance, what signs should she look for to determine if he's worth sticking it out?  If you were young and single again, how would you approach it with someone you were dating?

I am very curious to know what you all think. I'll let you have a say and then I'll chime in at the end.


  1. Eyes wide open before marriage.

    I think it depends comletely on the people involved, the severity of the problem and the individual's ability to detach and cope. Some people deal with it well, some addictions are mild or more manageable, some people don't care.

    What I think might lead to disappointment (and might set a dangerous precedent) is holding out for the perfect spouse with no hang ups, addicitons, codependcy, or other problems. I'd much rather be married to someone who is openly and honestly working through it than to someone who refuses to admit there is a problem..... (though if there is a person with no hang ups, addictions, codepency, or other problems I'd take that too.....) :)

    1. Eyes wide open, for sure. I asked my husband (well, then boyfriend) flat out if he had looked at porn. He was actually very honest with me and told me he had had a problem before his mission and still had a problem. Looking back, I am amazed by how honest he was with me (given his current lack of honesty). We were both just clueless about what addiction and recovery really entailed.

    2. My husband had a porn addiction earlier. An year ago,he told me, we spoke about it he was totally honest and he quit porn. He really did. He felt like going back to it. But everytime he told me and i told him why he shouldn't and all. He stopped wanting to go back as well. But now, an year later, he has again felt the wanting to watch. I don't quite understand why he suddenly got this. Please help me

  2. Hey there Mac! Girl! I miss you like CRAZY!

    So ... I don't mean to speak out of turn, here ... but what about us divorced ladies, like Jacy, Nora, Bubbles, me, and some others? This is not a hypothetical for us. We have been forced back into being "young (haha) and single again" and have had to make this same call knowing what we know after being married to a porn addict. It. Is. Nuts! Personally, I hope we hear from some other divorcees, because we have been out there! Doing it! The second round! (Ugh.)

    Jacy had some amazing posts on the subject that I lived by when I started dating again. I think she mentioned something about guys choking on their pizza, etc., because she would start out asking about porn on the first date. She is so totally awesome. I LOVE her. I didn't move quite that quickly on the subject, but ... I never dated a guy that I didn't ask the "big question" to. That was a big change from my first round of dating in the old days. You've got to talk about these things. I don't mess around anymore.

    Something else Jacy suggested was not asking "IF" the guy had ever looked at porn, but "WHEN was the last time?" I hate to be a cynic, but I completely agree. If there are girls out there that are looking for a perfect guy who has never seen porn, GOOD LUCK! I don't believe they exist anymore. That's not to say every guy is an addict. It's just that porn is so rampant that even the best men I know have seen it somewhere, at some point in in their life, whether on purpose or not. They may not even seek after it, but they've seen it.

    So in answer to your question, "Should she write him off?" I would say, it depends on how serious the problem is. If the girl is demanding perfection and will write off a guy just because he admits seeing porn at some point in his history, she may be in for a big disappointment. In my experience, perfection is an illusion. More likely when a guy says, "No, I have never looked at porn," he is lying. I would be more inclined to believe a man who says, "The last time I viewed porn was five years ago. It was a bad time in my life. Since then, I have cleaned up my act and served an honorable mission." Do you see the difference?

    Being with a man who admits he has had a problem in the past is not as scary to me as being with a man who claims he has never had a problem and never will. That kind of perfection is an illusion.

    I'm rambling now, aren't I? Here are a few brief guidelines/red flags I'd look for, and some advice I'd give a young single girl in the situation you've described:

    1. Is he willing to communicate openly about it or is he sneaky and hard to read?

    2. Does he seem penitent, or does he try to justify his behavior?

    3. Stop kissing and touching for a while--I mean completely. Step back. Give yourself some physical space so you can think clearly. Barring hormones, how do you FEEL around him? Is there darkness or light? Do you feel lifted or dragged down? (Hint: If the relationship can't survive this kind of scrutiny or lack of physicality, it's probably not going to work long-term anyway, is it?)

    4. Is his "problem with porn" a pattern? How long of a pattern? Is he addicted? Addiction is a whole different ball-game! (See #5 and #6)

    5. If he is an addict, does he want out? Is he seeking to better himself?

    6. If he is an addict, has he sought outside help? Has he participated in an addiction recovery program? For more than just a couple weeks? Maybe participate as a loved one for a while. Try to educate yourself on addiction before deciding whether to stay in the relationship.

    Geesh, Mac. Maybe I should have posted on my own blog. Hehe.

    1. This is perfect! Thank you, Angel!

  3. Marlee wrote a post on this subject.

    And we reposted it (with her permission) with some links for those who are dating/single. FWIW.


    Thanks for this post. We've got some ladies who are single on the forum and I've linked to your post in the forum so they can have a chance to read it if they want.

  4. Oops. Here is the link to Marlee's post, too.


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This response is AMAZING!! I like that you opened up about Seth, Jacy. Because I feel like EVERY guy has had experience with it from their adolescence when they didn't really understand, all they knew is that their body was changing and they experimented with it. But then I think, "Dang! What if THAT is an addiction? What if it turns in to one?!" But I LOVE that you distinguish between just a man growing up in a sex-intensive world and an ADDICT. Because there is a difference I'd like to believe. THANK YOU!!

  6. Great Great question! I have nothing to add, but as a single addict guy....I would agree with everything commented on this post...especially Jacy and Angel. We addicts DO NOT think straight. And we can be super smooth and charming. We can be responsible (seemingly) and spiritual (again seemingly) I am. I'm a pro at it. I don't even realize I am doing it sometimes. Sometimes I do.

    Unless the guy is completely honest, working a program WITH a sponsor (I've never, EVER met someone who beat this alone), and has a substantial amoung of sobriety (not sure what that is...6 months? a year?)....I would put a block on the emotions. You don't have to toss the guy out the window, but investing emotions?? That's where the girl puts HERSELF at risk. Addicts will smooth you over bc sometimes we are addicted to lust AND being lusted after.

    I lost a friend last night. I said some i shouldn't have. We dated for a bit..which was wrong...we tried being just friends...but the lines between attraction/lust/feelings/chemistry/love are COMPLETELY blurred with addicts. It is the honest truth.

    sorry if i put my comments where they don't belong, but i feel much stronger about this. Girls need to know what's up!!

    1. POWERFUl! No, your comments are so good. I loved hearing from your side as well. It's amazing that you recognize patterns of behavior that most addicts refuse to acknowledge. Thank you.

  7. YES, THANK YOU!! I have always thought about this.. what would I do?!!? so I'm going to read all the above comments and soak it in. Thanks so much for doing this!!!

  8. What would I say? First, educate yourself very thoroughly about addiction before dating. Just because you marry a non-addict doesn't mean that you won't eventually be married to one. Don't take his word for it. Know the signs of addiction and look for them! Marry an active addict? No way. Marry a recovering one? Case by case basis. My 20 yr. old daughter and I need to have a serious talk about these things real soon!

  9. FWIW, here's another link I found.


  10. Awesome post and responses! Thank you so much, Mac. I know a lot of people who could really benefit from reading the wisdom of you and your readers.

  11. This post is so interesting! Reading Angel's comment is where I see myself. I had the "perfect" boyfriend, then fiance who had never touched porn, never!!!! He wasn't even tempted! In truth, he was currently active in his addiction and viewing hard core pornography (and progressing) the entire time we were dating (for a year and a half) and lied about it to countless Bishop's and Stake President's. Perfection is a BIG red flag. I've always had a "perfect" husband. Only, not really. I would definitely ask the "When's the last time you saw porn?" I DO believe that some guys really don't get caught up in the porn trap. But to not see it at all? Impossible in the world today. Also, trying to gauge honesty is so difficult. I always thought my husband was honest. I myself was so honest and so trusting and so naive. I just assumed he was as well. Besides, he told me he was! Anyway, this isn't really a helpful comment, but thanks to all the great comments above!

  12. i am a divorced woman (was married to a pornography addict). post-divorce, at least half of the men that i have dated have been addicts, and the others could have just not been honest (who knows!). Seems im doomed! haha. It is just sooo very common and difficult to find a man that does not struggle with addiction these days… satan is a smart character.

    i have been with my current boyfriend for a year now. we have talked about and wanted to get married for a long time now. we began with him saying it was a problem in the past, to a couple months later, saying its kind of a problem now, to the past 2 months—it really is a severe addiction and I need help. we began the 12 step program this past january. it has been wonderful, but not a cure.

    i love this man. very truly deeply. i never wish to be divorced again.
    so contemplating marrying him is incredibly hard.
    i have been praying and attending the temple like crazy.
    i have been over analyzing possible "answers" and inspirations.
    it has been very hard for me.

    i do not believe that just because something is hard ( like being married to an addict) means that it is the wrong choice.

    if i do not marry p. it is because i feel that he is not the man that i should be with for eternity and that God has revealed that to me, not because he has an addiction.

    this life is a very short one in reality. we are meant to struggle and have trials to learn and grow.
    i at least know that for now, i am meant to be with p. and I can genuinely say i am learning so much about myself, about the gospel, and i am becoming more like God because of this addiction.

    does it suck? yes
    is it incredibly difficult? yes
    is it worth it to grow and reach the potential God has in store for us?
    im willing to do it.

    i am currently waiting for the inspiration and feeling an answer that he is the correct one for me, that i should take on this addiction and fight for the rest of my life.
    and if thats what God wants of me, I will do it.

    i don't think this is the situation for everyone with anyone. i think it is a matter of receiving inspiration.

    there is absolutely no way that God intends for men with addictions to be unmarried.
    he loves those men just as much as any other. they are his sons, and we ought to love them too.


  13. It's easy to say an addiction is not an end-all since I, as many women, have adapted to this hardship in my marriage. I love my husband. However, in my quiet moments when I completely honest with myself...generally, I'd advise against marrying an addict. It has caused terrible heartache and trauma for me. I would hate for any single girl to walk into that. In a nutshell, I'd encourage single girls to not feel like their only option is to marry an addict. Not all men are addicts. Sure, the majority of us have seen porn--but not all of us go LOOKING for it. I know my opinion may not be popular because it condemns the addict, but trust is huge in a healthy marriage, and even though I love my husband SO much, I would not recommend my situation to others.

  14. No one tells you that your going to grow up and feel the heart ache for falling in love with an addict. The addiction may have been their from the beginning or may have come later thought the marriage or dating. You can try to make sure their seeking help or doing the steps necessary to get better, but if their not willing to try, you need to really look at what's best for you. If they are making an effort to recovery then it makes it all worth it. Because you fell in love with him not his addiction, but his addiction is part of his sickness, now it's up to them to start getting better to make it work.