Porn Questions...

Hey Mike,
I’m Christian bloke dating a Christian girl. Should I tell her that I used to have a problem with pornography?
Thanks heaps X

Dear X

It’s really difficult for this situation to go well either way. On the one hand fessing up is the best and most honest thing to do. Being transparent and open in a relationship especially one leaning toward marriage is very important. The point at which to do this in the relationship is harder to pin down (probably not on a first date). Let your conscience guide you.

On the flip side telling your girlfriend about your porn problem nearly always leads her to feeling betrayal and deep mistrust of you for what you’ve done. I also think the longer you leave it to tell her about the problem (eg. When you are married) the greater the damage to relationship. One friend of mine didn’t confess to his wife till after they were married. They needed to visit a counselor to work though their issues.

If you choose to tell her you need to be sensitive to her feelings. You need to validate her feelings and seek to empathise and understand how she feels. It’s right for her to feel shock, anger and betrayal. Explain to her you aren’t proud of your actions. Importantly you must tell her you’ve sought forgiveness from God. Next show her the steps you’ve put in place (accountability etc) to make sure that you don’t make the mistake again.

Finally if you find this becomes a burning issue in your relationship seek help and advice. The best thing for you to do would be to sit down with a Godly married couple preferably younger (I think it’s difficult for older people to understand the problem or porn let alone to talk about it) or alternatively a qualified counselor. They can take you through and help both of you get perspective on the issue.

Trust that helps
God bless Mike

 

8 comments:

Wombat said... 2/06/2009 12:35 pm  

tough Q... its great that people are asking about it though. it means they're treating porn as a sin and think seriously about how it affects relationships.

i think validating your wife/girlfriends feelings is a huge thing. the reality is that a confession about porn might strain the relationship. a guys natural response might be... "you're a Christian, why can't you forgive me and move on"?

this reaction fails to consider the hurt porn causes, and the fact that its essentially adultery! allowing your wife/girlfriend the space to feel betrayed and hurt, and having the humility to ask for forgiveness demonstrates a repentent heart.

Astrid said... 2/06/2009 5:27 pm  

I was initailly surprised by mikes advice to tell straight up but I think he's meaning when the relationship is serious. And he knows more of the effects than me.

I guess what I'ld say is listen to mike but its not something to bring up on say the first date.

Anyway would there be any guy who hasn't struggled with porn these days to a varying level. I guess that if I had a bf and he told me he had struggled I don't think it would upset me really unless it was still on going, everyone has made mistakes. I mean thats how I think I would react but thats me and I am somewhat nieve when it comes to relationships

Laura said... 2/07/2009 1:26 am  

Yeah, Mike, I can see Astrid's point -- maybe X shouldn't bring things up until he knows it's getting serious? But I definitely think if they're heading down a serious road he'd be a fool not to tell her.

It's kind of sad, but statistically if I get married, the guy WILL have struggled with porn at some point. So I (and a lot of my friends) have sort of braced ourselves for that anyway. Sin is sin, and it sucks, but I'm not going to be all judgy about it.

Anonymous said... 2/07/2009 12:52 pm  

perhaps it is a little short sighted of you to say an older couple wouldnt understand or talk about pornography. This is not a new evil! And a loving mature christian couple with a long marraige between them could have much wisdom to offer

Bron said... 2/08/2009 10:32 am  

Hi Anon, (who are you btw? please sign your name :)

Yeah, I reckon you're right. It can be easy to overlook the wisdom that older Christians have to offer just because the specifics of our situation are different.

I guess it's just important no matter who you talk to that they're able to offer Godly wisdom and willing to talk about the issue. (probably not something to spring on Grandma and Grandpa hey!)

Hey Mike,

I heard that Tim Chester is doing some research on this issue:

http://timchester.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/can-you-help-me-with-my-research-on-por-nography/

(sorry about the mega link)

Oh yeah, and apparently that book You Can Change is awesome. As it's all about sin, I'm sure it would be helpful for this issue.

mike said... 2/09/2009 2:40 pm  

Thanks for the comment Annon.

In my experience and observation there is "generally" a reluctance on the part of those who are older to tackle this issue let alone bring it up in conversation or a sermon. I haven't had anyone older even broach the subject with me.

Usually it's the other way round. I've found myself being the one who explains to people who are older that this is actually an issue.

I'm not saying older people aren't worth listening to. I'm making a generalisation and like most generalisations there are exceptions to the rule.

rd said... 2/10/2009 1:02 pm  

I once heard a greaet reply from a lovely girl who had been dating a guy, who told her of his previous porn addiction. It was a big deal to tell her, understandable!
Her reply was brilliant and cemented their relationship. he told her and she said:
"Well, God forgave you and still loves you and so do I!"

They are married and happy.

(Just thought that could be added to the conversation) HTH

The Borg said... 2/10/2009 7:20 pm  

Wow, that's totally awesome that she said that.

I probably would have said "You know how destructive porn addiction is etc etc bla bla" and laid on the guilts. Which is probably not helpful and is why I need to be constantly reminded of the gospel of Grace!

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