August 8, 2012 in Features

No simple fix for 28-year porn habit

Washington Post
 

Hi, Carolyn: I would like your advice. I have been married for 25-plus years to a great guy with one exception, his interest in porn. I knew during the three years we dated that he had a collection of porn magazines in his apartment. I did not like them, and we occasionally argued about them. Once, I threw them out, and he became very angry.

After we were married, I assumed there would be no more need for porn as he would have more access to me sexually as his wife. I would constantly find porn magazines hidden in our house, I would throw them out, we would argue, and it would happen again.

What bothers me is that over all the years of our marriage, I have told him that porn use hurts me and offends me. He has told me that what he looks at is not my business.

I know that I can’t control what he looks at, but I wish that he would respect me enough not to look at it. Is this my problem or his? – K.

Here are the facts you have at your disposal now:

(1) Marriage does not fix problems or change who someone is. (2) There’s no simplistic, zero-sum relationship between porn use and sex. Sometimes having ready access to one of them will diminish one’s interest in the other, but plenty of people are happy to indulge in both (or neither). (3) You have accrued 28-plus years of proof that your husband will not stop using porn. You and he can make it a matter of morality, of sex, of respect, of trust, of communication, of control, of the weight ratios of birds carrying coconuts, and he will not stop using porn.

These facts narrow your choices down to two: marriage with porn, or divorce.

Should you choose to remain married, I urge you to stop ferreting out his smut from his various hiding places.

It’s not denial I suggest, but informed distance. Whether you keep your husband’s stash at arm’s length or at a different address from yours, that’s up to you.


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