What To Do If He’s Looking At Porn

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You found it on his laptop, or you’re almost sure he looks at it by the way he treats you, or maybe he even told you he has a problem. There’s a myriad of ways you can find out your boyfriend or husband is addicted to porn (by the way this is not just a guy issue, so please hear me say that. I just am choosing to speak to that specific experience in this post today because that’s my story).

The question is what do you do once you find it or know about it.

Can I be honest?

If you’re dating, break up with him. Full stop. I could write a million words on why that’s the best thing to do 99 out of 100 times, but please don’t listen to me. Go ask the hundreds of women you probably know who’s relationships have been completely destroyed, shattered, and broken (including themselves, because that’s what other people’s sin does) by the insidiousness of porn.

No you don’t need to be the one person to help him get through it. That’s what community is for, and more specifically a group of like minded guy believers usually.

No you don’t need to “show grace” to them by staying with them. Grace is defined as God’s unmerited favor and kindness to us, despite what we’ve done, and the most grace filled thing you could do is break up with him. Why? Because I know tons of guys who that was the final straw for them to realize their problem and make a full effort to recovery and wholeness. It was through a breakup they realized that their actions have consequences and breed death in relationships, and they need help.

No you don’t need to think you made a mistake by breaking up with him. The truth is he’s dating hundreds of women at once. You, and the naked women on the computer screen. You’re not the only one who has his attention and affection. They get it too. If he dated multiple real women in real life you wouldn’t keep dating him right? At the heart level, the seat of our affections, it’s the same thing.

So dating folks, please trust me on this. Porn is a poison and just about the worst thing to build your relationship on, that could potentially be the foundation of a lifelong covenant, i.e. marriage. You can pray for him, you can love him, you can research and find resources for him, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay with him.

Now if you’re married, that’s a different story. Because marriage is a covenant–a promise of oneness for the rest of our lives. Now, I do know marriages where the addiction was bad enough, and the idol strong enough, that it ended up ending the marriage. But, I’d say I know more marriages where it deeply hurt it, but didn’t end it. In fact, there was restoration. There was renewal. There was resurrection where there was once death. And ultimately, there was freedom. It takes a lot of work, but it is possible. Healing can happen.

And I think there’s a handful of truths that usually are present when there finally is freedom. Here’s just a couple.

  1. Radical Grace. One of the things that really broke the addiction for me, was a true understanding of Jesus’ insanely awesome and crazy and ferocious love and grace. He’s not waiting for you to clean yourself up, or he isn’t just showing you love and grace on your good days, but in the scandal that is grace he is actually giving you his full favor and kindness when your pants are around your ankles looking at a computer screen. He’s sitting right next to you. And with eyes of ferocious love but an incredible tenderness he says, “I see you. I want you. I have something better for you.” He’s not going anywhere. He is for you. And you can’t exhaust his love. Don’t even forget that.
  2. It’s an addiction, treat it as such. There have been numerous studies highlighting the immense effects porn has on the actual wiring of our brain. It’s also been noted as a public health crisis recently. It is a complete distortion and deconstructing and rewiring of our humanness, our brains, our sexuality, and the way we give and receive love. It can destroy us. And just like any addiction, it takes not only a lot of prayer, but also professional help and treatment. And a lot of times that means the path to healing won’t just happen overnight. It’s a fight. It’s a battle. I heard a pastor friend of mine recently say, “we give the devil maybe 10 or 20 years of our lives, and we expect everything to be rainbows and perfect the first day we start following Jesus. Give Jesus at least the same amount of time to work in you and through you as you did with the devil did and then see how far you’ve come.” What a perspective right? It’s moment by moment. Every time you choose holiness and obedience and wholeness, it gets one tiny bit easier the next time. And the next time. And the next time. Keep walking in grace.
  3. Get help. This is one people tend to put on the back burner. Sometimes people think it’s lessening Jesus if you go to outside help rather than just praying really hard and reading your bible (which those are important by the way!). But I like to think Jesus gave us smart professionals, and tender pastors, and specific ministries that can really walk us through the path of freedom. Intensely commit to accountability, transparency, and honesty. And get help. The best one I can think of is XXXChurch. They’ve probably helped millions, if not tens of millions of people discover freedom. In fact, they just started to give away 3 free videos on finding freedom from porn addiction that I know is going to help tons of people (check those out here). I love the quote on the homepage, “it’s not about finding control, it’s about finding freedom.” So watch those videos. Apply what they say. Lean in. And don’t. give. up. The Lord is with you and for you and you will find life and wholeness and restoration in His arms.

 

Let me just end by saying, there is hope. Always hope. Porn and addiction doesn’t have the last word, and healing and freedom and wholeness is always just around the corner. It takes a lot of work, a lot of grace, a lot of love, and a lot of help–but it’s there and it’s possible. Freedom is calling.

 

Start the path to freedom today with the 3 free videos below.

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