Q&A: Marrying a guy who struggles with pornography

Q: Should I marry a man who has a problem with pornography? We’ve been dating for some time and recently began talking about marriage. He’s a fantastic person, but I’m wondering whether his porn addiction is a red flag.

A: It is a red flag, and you shouldn’t expect his addiction to go away on its own once you’ve said your wedding vows. To be more specific, don’t assume that normal sexual relations will take the place of porn in his life.

That’s because porn addiction isn’t really about sex. It’s a symptom of an intimacy disorder — a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid deep, meaningful interaction with a real human being and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery. Unless this disorder is addressed and resolved, your relationship cannot move forward on a healthy footing. Marriage will not fix the problem. It will only complicate matters and increase your pain.

So, what can you do? We recommend you get professional counselling together before there is any further talk of marriage. An intensive counselling model, consisting of a limited and concentrated series of sessions focusing specifically on the addiction problem, is the best way to address this issue. And now is the perfect time to do it.  At this stage in your relationship — before you’ve made a formal commitment to each other by buying rings and mailing invitations — you’re in a much better position to take an in-depth, candid look at this issue and its impact on you as a couple.

If your boyfriend really cares about you and sincerely wants to spend his life with you, he has a powerful incentive to make the necessary changes at this stage of the game. Once you’ve tied the knot, that motivation will no longer exist in quite the same way.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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