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I feel betrayed by my boyfriend's porn habit

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Dear Mark, My name is Courtney and my boyfriend enjoys watching porn, i know a lot of guys watch it, but i feel hurt when i find it on his phone. I struggle with insecurity and i feel like i have to compete with these girls, and he knows it hurts me, and that im insecure about it, but he still watches it. I cant get my mind off of how much it hurts, i feel like every time i leave the house and hes alone he's watching it, i just don't want to feel like he find them more attractive then me.. Should i feel this insecure about it? How can i over come feeling this insecure and how can i get him to understand how much it hurts me?..

This question was submitted by 'ccleon18'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Dear Courtney,

I hear this a lot from women who discover their partner looks at porn (usually on the internet). As you describe they tend to feel hurt and even betrayed as if they, themselves are not good enough. And although men don't tend to see the women in porn as real but, rather, it has to be said, as 'objects' - knowing that doesn't tend to make it less painful for you. Generally these are not the kinds of women most men (even thouse who view porn) would wish to date. All the evidence points to internet porn being addictive and when you are in a relationship with a man who is addicted then it always feels like there are three of you in the relationship. Excessive porn consumption also desensitizes men to sexual stimulation, leading men to experience sexual problems which can, of course, effect relationships.

There are two things that concern me from your letter. First off it sounds almost as if your boyfriend doesn't care that you are upset by his porn viewing. If it's true that he's not bothered then I think he needs to work on his empathy for you. If he does care and wants to stop but feels he can't then he might need help to quit and we have a download that could help him with that. Either way it's important for you to know that it's not your 'fault'. You are not being over sensitive or overly insecure. Porn is everywhere now and in many ways the brain hasn't evolved to have this constant hyper stimulation. Much of porn viewing is about escapism and 'switching off' as it narrows the attention so that everything else becomes forgotten about, even the passing of time. So to this extent much viewing isn't even that much to do with sex. But, again, that is small comfort for you.

There is some evidence that constant stimulation pornographic stimulation can damage relationships and even lead to loss of sexual functioning in those who over use it. I suggest you watch (and get your boyfriend to watch) this Ted Talk video. Remember Courtney his porn viewing doesn't replace you and isn't in competition to you. For him it is something entirely seperate and unreal. But he should care about your feelings about it and hopefully that will be enough for him to want to develop out of the habit.

All my best,
Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - January 4th, 2013 in

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