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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Getting Away from the Unrepentant Porn Addict

Dear Bro Jo
,
First off I want to say how much your blog is a blessing. I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone and then when I saw your blog I felt like I should email you.

I am 24 years old. I have a strong testimony of Christ and His gospel. I want to get married in the Temple with a worthy priesthood holder someday.

Up until a week ago, I knew exactly who that man would be. "Tom" and I had been friends for a long time. We got to know each other better. I invited him to institute and church and it was all going well. He confessed to me that he liked me and asked me to on a date.

I told him that even though I thought he was great, I planned to get married in the temple and therefore we should stay friends.

He didn't give up.

Over time I begun to grow feeling for him too but always kept them to  myself.

He then took the missionary lessons and once I saw his interest for the gospel was legitimate I confessed my feelings for him and we started dating. Things were great. He got baptized and we were official. Literally it all felt like a fairy tale and I soon fell in love.

Well that when the problems started.

We got a little too comfortable being alone and I started staying at his apartment overnight several times. We did cross our previously set boundaries a couple times and even though nothing serious happened we felt like we should talk to our Bishop.

I felt so relieved of all the guilt and shame.

We repented and I felt as if I was once again okay with the Lord.

Everything was going well and we even talked about marriage but then I began to feel uneasy and doubtful.

We decided that we would pray and fast to see if marriage was the right thing for us.

I never got a "yes" and I asked "Tom" if he had gotten an answer and he said no.

I began to feel like maybe there was a reason I didn't get the feeling of "He's the One".

I continued to pray and I finally asked him if there was something he needed to tell me.

And that is when my heart broke to a million pieces.

"Tom" has been addicted to pornography since he was 13 years old.

It shocked me to the bone because there had been a couple instances when he would want to show me something on his phone and I'd see an inappropriate image.

When I confronted him about it, he would just say that it's just something on Facebook one of his friends posted and promised me that he doesn't intentionally look at it.

He had lied to my face. I immediately broke up with him and asked him to please seek help and talk to the bishop and to never speak to me again.

A whole month went by and we didn't speak. I even attended church elsewhere so I wouldn't have to see him. I was depressed and the little self-esteem I had was completely destroyed. I began to lose weight the unhealthy way and I was constantly comparing myself to other women around me.

I was even tempted to look at pornography just to see "why" he had chosen that over me.

Of course I could never compete with those women.

I am old fashioned and far from what they look like. It took me a while to let the Lord help me. I also went to talk to the Bishop and he told me that "Tom" had been going to Church without missing one meeting and that he though "Tom" would fight his addiction.

He told me that I was the reason he would fight it and that I could be of great support.

I just teared up and nodded but inside I wanted to shout I wanted to tell him about the hell I was going through and I didn't ever want to see him in my life.

I wanted to tell him about how I couldn't see myself in the mirror anymore that I would avoid it as much as possible. That my testimony of celestial marriage had faded and I was so angry for allowing myself to share my most dear goals and dreams.

But I though this is the Bishop and I should obey his counsel.

I prayed and fasted for guidance.

Then one night I went to his apartment to say sorry (I wasn't sure for what). I told him that the way I reacted to his confession wasn't at all Christ-like and that I wanted to help him. I told him that I still loved him and I wanted to be there for him.

Over time he later started blessing the sacrament again and had routine interviews. I felt like I was healing on the inside as he was repenting.

We even got to attend the Temple with the youth and did baptisms.

When I was there I got this amazing feeling that I was doing the right thing. That if we fought his struggle together, we had a chance at getting married in the Temple.

Everything was going well after that and I knew that people don't overcome addictions overnight so when he confessed his slip ups I would try to react in a loving and understanding way.

Over time I would ask "so, how's it going?"

He knew what I really wanted to know and he said, "It's going great".

I felt like we actually had a chance at this.

Then of course Satan doesn't give up.

Just this past weekend we had a little argument as all couples do over our scripture reading and praying.

We had slowly stopped doing things like this together and he seemed to always be distracted and distant so when I asked him what was bothering him he let me have it.

He said that he was mad at me for talking to one of my good friends, "Jerry" (who lived several states away and is 10 years older than me).

"Jerry" was there for me when I first found out about "Tom"'s addiction.

"Tom" told me that his jealousy triggered him to get back at me so he would watch videos.

He said that he didn't think it was fair that he was trying his best and I was going behind his back talking to other men. I asked if this was a one-time thing and he said no. His face told me I probably didn't want to know how often.

About "Jerry" - part of it was true.

The times we broke up I did talk to "Jerry".

He was the only friend that had dealt with a similar situation. I didn't want to talk to my friends or family about it because I didn't want anyone else knowing of "Tom"'s problem.

I didn't want people to judge "Tom".

He told me all of this right after church this past Sunday. I had been fasting for guidance once more and right then and there I told myself, "You are going to have to deal with for a very long time".

If I married "Tom" was it always going to be like this?

Every time he was upset at me he'd go and look at things he's not supposed to?

So I broke up with him. I really do think it's for good this time.

I can't say I didn't try. I gave it my all. I trusted in the Lord and "hung in there" as Bishop says.

It's a terrible thing when you feel as if the only person that can fix you is the one that hurt you.

This is where I need you Bro Jo ( and Sister Jo because I am dying to be able to talk to a woman about this).

I am scared that when I go in to talk to Bishop about why I will no longer be attending church at his ward he's going to try to talk to me into staying and "endure to the end".

I've gone through too much sadness and pain that at this point I think it would be best if I just stay away from "Tom" and everyone that will be asking tons of questions.

I guess I need to know if I did the right thing?

Will "Tom" be better of without me?

Will he still continue to fight his addiction if I'm not there to hold him accountable?

I'm not going to lie- I do love him and wanted to marry him in the temple but I think about what our future looks like with his addiction and it scared me that it will only lead to divorce.

I would love to hear what you think Bro Jo and Sister Jo.

Thank you and God bless you.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Using you as an excuse to succumb to pornography is definitely a sign that "Tom" is A) not quite free of the demon, and B) not quite ready for a mature relationship.

I hope and pray that both things will happen for him.

I personally think you're being a little too dramatic.  Christ is not an "all or nothing" guy, and we need to strive to be the same.

That said, I agree with you that you need to break things off with this man for a while.  And Sister Jo agrees.  She also feels very strongly that you're making a mistake by letting "Tom" become your excuse for not attending Church.  In that way, your actions would be no different than his.  When times are their most challenging we need to grow closer unto the Savior, not further away.

Face the pain and let Christ help you though.  Go to your meetings, partake of the Sacrament, and be of service to others.  That will help much more than running away.

We both are also wondering if you and "Jerry" should date . . . sounds like a nice man.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for responding.

I will continue to attend church (as it's the only thing that keeps me going) just not at the same ward as "Tom" - at least for now.

I know it may be partly immature on my side but the last time this happened Church became rather uncomfortable for me.

The members kept being pushy as to why I broke up with him.

"Jerry" was a missionary in our area a while back and is a great guy but I don't think he has much interest in me other than being a good friend/advice giver and he lives far away.

I will take your advice and continue to grow closer to the Savior. I hadn't thought much about serving others.

Perhaps this will keep my mind off the negative aspect of my situation.

Thank you so much!

- NW




Dear Readers,

Through the Savior we can overcome all things, including addiction.

One of the things that concerned me most about this email was how the writer failed to see how manipulative "Tom" was.  From my perspective everything about their relationship looked like he was controlling her . . . including blaming her for his problems and faults.

That's never good.

Sisters, there are So Many Great Guys out there!  Please don't sell yourselves short.

Brothers, there are a lot of Great Girls out there just praying that you'll find them.  Don't give up!

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, there are a lot of porn addicts out there and they do their best to "hide" their addiction. Unfortunately I think a lot of women get sucked into their charisma and charm, too late they find out about the lies and deception.
For this dear sister and others in this boat - you are not worth less because they have a problem but you might also need help recovering from the experience of knowing them or loving the porn addict. The church has some great resources, including support groups for those who love or who have been trapped in a relationship with a porn addict or a sex addict. Check out http://ldshopeandrecovery.com/ for resources, or ask your bishop or stake president for resources in your area.
Always remember that we are each a beloved son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves us. He has provided a way to return to Him and many people who love us who want to help. If you don't feel that love and support, keep looking until you find your people who will love you unconditionally - including the one you will be with eternally.
Keep praying and God will lead you to where you need to be and the people you need to help you!