“I have a problem with looking at porn” are not the words you expect to hear from your boyfriend soon to be fiancé. The dream of your “perfect” man goes flying out the window. Things become very real. Too real even. How will this affect me? What does this mean? Will he stop? How has this warped his thinking and perception of women? Will he compare me to some porn image?
Jason told me of his problem before we got engaged. He said that he couldn’t marry me holding his secret. He wanted to give me an out and would completely understand if I didn’t want to marry him. This was something that I’d never planned on dealing with and came as a complete shock to me. I took some time to think it over, shattered that my good Christian man was not so squeaky clean. I knew however that I loved him, head over heels in fact. I also new that it was a divine match, and that it was no accident that we were meant to be together. This I thought was just a speed bump. This we could work through. I just never dreamed it would take several years.
Because we weren’t doing the sex before marriage thing, we thought that marriage would fix it. It was just something that Jason had dabbled in while he was “single.” It would be super easy for him to give up, plus he promised to. But of course he didn’t. It was a couple of years after we got married that I started to become a suspicious. I knew Jason a bit better by then and I noticed that he was becoming very reclusive and would get agitated for no reason. I ignored it because I wanted to think that he wasn’t looking at the stuff. Plus I thought that I was overreacting. He wouldn’t do this to me. He had promised. I was just jumping to conclusions. Deep down though, I suspected what he was up to. Why was this so hard? I wondered if I wasn’t good enough to satisfy my husband. Thankfully I had enough self-confidence to know better.
After a little while Jason decided that he would not go to church anymore. His emotional ups and downs at this point were very frustrating and almost impossible to bear. At the time I thought he didn’t want to go to church because he felt over worked by his volunteering there. Little did I know it was because he didn’t want to be a hypocrite and at the same time felt judged by his actions. I now know that he was totally overcome by guilt and needed to escape the huge pressures and loneliness he felt at church. So we stopped attending church. Our friend circle dropped away and we felt even more alone. Jason felt such relief by not going to church. Perhaps by not going he didn’t feel so guilty. Jason didn’t talk about his problems with anyone at church because he felt like there was no one to talk to. Jason didn’t want our struggles to be hot gossip on the grape vine! And that vine was big. Besides it felt like such a dirty sin… Worse then other sins (but not to God). To be spoken of is not the done thing. I was still under the impression that Jason was leaving because he was overworked. Little did I know.
After this we went through waves of communicating. Jason would often shut down for days at a time and would completely ignore me. It was absolutely heartbreaking. It all made sense when he confessed to me one day that he’s been struggling for a long time and just couldn’t deal with it anymore. He was absolutely beside himself and the lowest and darkest I have every seen him. I was so heartbroken and had no idea what do? I was helpless. Sure we had started to talk and had made a plan but how could he do this to me? Why did he do it to me? I’d get mad at him and heartbroken at the same time. This completely destroyed my trust in him and my self-confidence rocketed to an all time low. It hurt me so much. Our most intimate moments were scarred. I had no idea if Jason was really in love with me or if his mind had even been on me when we’d made love.
I felt like there was no one to talk too. It was easier to keep it bottled up. Not to be judged. I thought that no one that had this problem. I was on my own. So while Jason battled this addiction, I battled my own struggle to stand by my husband. Even so, I continued to be an open ear and support to him. Why was this still hindering him? Why was its affect so strong in our lives? Why had this addiction gripped my man? What on earth would we do?
I knew that we had reached a turning point. Jason had recognised he had a big problem and wanted to change his habits. We agreed that I would take the modem away, and when he needed to use the Internet I would supervise him. At the time we didn’t know of any filtering software, and he knew he wasn’t strong enough to resist with will power alone. It was almost a day by day stepping at that point. Jason’s mood swings were pretty severe. He would get really angry at nothing much, He had a really short fuse. It was a real strain on us, but at least we were talking a bit more about it. I started to regain some trust in him. We had to build a new future. Each of us was hurt and changed people. To salvage our marriage we had to let go of the past pain, and do this together. Jason needed my help, and I was his motivation to get, and stay clean. He had to break the pattern.
Slowly, and I mean slowly, Jason started to change. His smile started to return and he seemed much happier. He was bearable to be around. I noticed that he was genuinely happy to see me and I knew that he was making deliberate changes to make sure that he didn’t look at porn anymore. He was still very depressed but I could see a little bit more light in his eyes and the cheeky, fun loving Jason that I once knew started to return. I bought him a bike and he took up cycling to get himself away from the computer. He had some great friends around him who spent time with him hanging out and cycling.
Jason changed our internet around so that he had filtering on the computer and things started to look a lot more positive. He was doing a lot of research on this topic and it was during this recovery time that he felt inspired to create a informative documentary on the topic of porn addiction. It was here that “Guilty Pleasure” begun. Jason began to discover research about brain tracts and addiction habits and it all started to make a bit more sense. He was so passionate about helping people with similar problems and knew that he had to do something to help them.
A couple of years through his recovery journey Jason’s Dad invited him to attended the Valiant man course at Careforce Church. He benefited greatly from the small group experience… Even to realise that there were others like him with very similar stories. It was such an emotional time for Jason as he started to deal with some of the deep issues that were causing him to seek out porn. Finally cutting loose some of the past. Letting go of any last resentment and inadequacies.
After this Jason went from strength to strength and started to develop ideas around Guilty Pleasure. He talked about it for ages before he started to act but when he did it was so inspiring. He decided that he wouldn’t just do a documentary but would also do a sermon series and website that would help people start talking about this problem. He felt that the church should be on the for front of this issue and wanted to help educate them on how to address and deal with it. We spent many nights talking about ideas and we constantly bashed our heads against brick walls trying to get people to understand what we were doing and why. Slowly we made small steps forwards. This is such a difficult topic to talk about and we’ve certainly struggled to get any support but we know that it is so needed!
Years on I am pleased to say that although I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, it has made our marriage stronger. We chose to fight the battle and not give up. It would have been so easy to walk away, some would say “just cause” was mine. But now we are in our 12th year of marriage, and have two wonderful children. I have so much to be thankful for…that we are on the other side now, that we have a promising future together. And through making our Guilty Pleasure project we may in some part make this world a better place. To help people identify their pain, and help them to do something about it.
Porn threatens communication between a loving committed couple. Because the man holds his secrets when he struggles, he rarely, if ever, wants to admit it. The woman wonders what else he isn’t telling her. The level of trust is broken down, making it hard to open up to each other. It can erode the trust that they have together, and as a result completely destroy the couple’s intimacy. I’m so glad that we lasted through this and I encourage you to learn as much as you can about this issue, especially if you are struggling in some way. We have a range of books you can read listed on this site and also some counselors you can contact to talk about it. Jason and I never did any of this and it made it a much longer tougher road to recovery. Remember that you are not alone and that there is help out there.
This blog is written by Laura, the wife of Guilty Pleasure founder, Jason Huxley.