How close should you be to open up to a partner?

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  • Updated 4 years ago
Hi everyone,

I'm 25, and I've struggled with porn for a good portion of my life. However in recent years it's been much better and I only slip up about twice a year. I haven't used it since March, but I accept it's naive to assume I'm free.

I'm getting to know a woman really well and it's looking like we'll enter a relationship before too long, but I'm nervous about the day when I have to tell her about my struggles. 

At what point in the relationship is it best to do this? Should I tell her before we get together officially, or should I wait until we're so serious that marriage is looking quite likely? On the one hand I don't want to share such an intimate part of my life too early, but on the other hand I don't want her to draw so close to me that it hurts her more when she learns I have kept my struggles from her for so long. 

Thank you and God Bless
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NateHarr

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Posted 4 years ago

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Nancy

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Nate, I wish my husband had thought that through like you have.  We were dating and he rented a porn video but on my account at the store (before free online porn). He told me cuz he thought he would get found out.  He said it was a one time deal.  I was naive enough to believe him. If he would have opened up then I would have helped and talked about accountability.  I opened up about my eating disorder after we were seriously dating.   I wish he had worked on the problem then instead of having it be a terrible addiction that has haunted our 30 year marriage......   and has ruined all trust.  When you feel you trust her ask her to help you, in prayer or accountability or to find someone else to hold you accontable and tell her you are committed to working on it.  I hate to say you are not free.  It will always be there tempting you since it is so easy to access.  Just like food is for me.  But I made a committment I would tell my husband I would tell him if I fell back into the addiction.  I wish he had trusted me.
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Samantha, Alum

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Hi Nate,
    Thanks for the post! I guarantee there are many people out there who are wondering the same thing and can relate to your struggles. First, I want to congratulate you on your desire to avoid pornography and on your acceptance of the fact that because of the availability of Internet pornography and our proclivity towards temptations of the flesh as humans, this struggle is a life long one. Additionally, the fact that you know you have to tell someone you want to be serious with speaks of a heart that desires Internet Integrity, undoubtedly the reason why you've done so well avoiding pornography to this point. 
     Speaking as a woman who speaks daily with women who love men with pornography addictions, I would say sooner is better when it comes to being honest about the struggles you face.  Pornography use, no matter how sporadic it may be, is definitely something you want to divulge to a potential partner. If you're interested in becoming serious with a person, you want to respect them enough to let them see everything they are about to become involved with. It is always, always better to be up front about things that can be harmful to the relationship.  Think about it this way: if a woman views pornography use by her partner as a betrayal of her trust, their relationship, and ultimately, a slight against her (she's not pretty enough, good enough, etc), imagine the difference between her finding out that you occasionally use pornography BEFORE the relationship has reached the point of being serious and five or ten years down the line.  It's the difference between finding out someone you're interested in has human flaws and struggles with something that most people find tempting and finding out someone you trust has betrayed you, cheated on you. Not only will the impact be more devastating the longer you wait to be honest, but it will become harder to be honest. 
      Essentially, I think women, especially of the younger generation that grew up with technology, are well aware of the availability of and the alluring quality pornography holds.  Most of the women I speak with, both personally and professionally, are not surprised that men struggle with pornography. The surprise comes when they find out after years of building a relationship, trust, and sometimes, a family, with a man that he's been using pornography intermittently or regularly the entire time and never told her.  This is when there are devastating affects that shatter trust and relationships to the point where the road back is very long and very hard.  If you're honest as soon as you trust her and know that you want a relationship with her, she can be your partner and advocate from the very beginning, helping you stay accountable and away from the temptations of the Internet, and the relationship will be better because of that.
     
I hope that helps!
Samantha
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NateHarr

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Hi both,

Thank you both for your replies. We're actually together officially now (wasn't expecting her to make up her mind so soon after I wrote my post!), but I haven't told her about my past yet.

I can see the logic of telling sooner, but I'm also worried about the appropriateness of the timing. It's her birthday coming up, and we have all these plans for it, and I'm scared that opening up then will ruin her birthday for her if she doesn't take it well. She's then on holiday for two weeks, and I don't want to ruin her holiday for her either. It feels like the next month would just be bad timing.

I guess generally I'm scared of how much this might upset her. I'm scared that this will but pictures in her mind of what I might have been looking at, and that she'll be stuck with those images and upset by them. I know it's not a reason not to open up, but how much detail do I go into about my past?

Thanks,

Nate