By Tiffany Leeper
“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
Do you remember the first time you realized that you loved your husband or boyfriend? Do you find yourself often visiting that special moment in your mind? Perhaps reminiscing about the better times. Sometimes those memories are the only things we have to remind us of how we knew them to be. . . before porn.
Because of their addiction, we want to hold on to those memories for dear life. Those memories of the good times, when you first met them, or when you knew you first loved them, you cherish. . . especially now. When you see a transformation in your husband or boyfriend, to the point that you don’t even recognize him anymore due to his addiction, there is such a sense of loss that sometimes can take years to overcome and truly grieve through.
How Porn Makes a Woman Feel
The thought of losing someone to a porn addiction is crippling and feels like the most severe emotional pain that could exist, especially if it results in the complete loss of the relationship. We know the detrimental effects of porn because of its chemical nature and effect on the brain and on one’s actions, demeanor, and
behavior and because you’ve probably felt it in the way that your husband or boyfriend treats you even without knowing the scientific evidence of its impact.
You may have heard your husband or boyfriend say to you, “If you only did X, Y, or Z, then I wouldn’t use porn,” or “if you dressed up every once in awhile,” or they may shift blame and get upset at you for things you haven’t even done or get angry at you for no reason and proceed to push you away. Sound familiar?
Because of their personal guilt and shame they feel due to their addiction, you’ve probably experienced them attempting to shift any blame onto you, while getting frequently angry.
Have you noticed that they withdraw from family activities or in spending time with you, or retreat from church, and social activities – things they once were involved in?
You and I, the wives and girlfriends, know without a doubt that it changes our loved ones as we experience the pain of porn firsthand. In fact, husbands report loving their wives less after long periods of looking at women depicted in porn. Wives and girlfriends develop deep, deep wounds and they begin to feel inadequate. They don’t just feel discomfort, but the distress level can be so high that it can lead to clinical treatment for trauma, eating disorders, and severe depression. It’s not just “temporarily feeling sad” about a husband/boyfriend’s addiction – it’s a blow to the core of who that woman is, that could lead to years of depression and much more.
Many women might even say that it’s worse than actual infidelity, because there isn’t one “real” person that they are having an affair with, it’s many intangible women and they don’t know what they are up against. Many times, porn addicts do not comprehend the downward spiral that they are causing their wives or girlfriends to enter into by their actions.
When It’s Not the Fairytale
I never thought I could love someone as much as I loved my boyfriend, who I met through a mutual friend. I fervently prayed for almost five years, every single day that if it was God’s will, that a relationship would come into being. And after five years that happened in a very memorable way. God answered that prayer. I thought, “Finally, this must be God’s plan coming together because it seemed so perfect.”
My life already revolved around him. He was my everything. We talked about getting married. That relationship was what I looked forward to during much chaos and major decisions that were taking place at that time. He was my joy and being able to love him is what made each day for me.
My boyfriend became like my own personal drug and there wasn’t a day that went by in that relationship that I didn’t thank God that we were together and thank Him for answering prayer. When we make someone so important and critical to our lives, though, we raise them to the status of idol, and God warns us of this.
When we replace what God should be in our lives – with a boyfriend, a husband, any male, we put all of our reliance on that person to make us happy. Humans will always let us down, but the one constant, and the one thing we must remember, is our Heavenly Father will always be there for us – He is that one constant.
He is the one who can get you through the tough times, when you feel like no one understands what you are going through as a spouse or girlfriend of an addict. He does. If your husband or boyfriend is not present, if he’s left because of his addiction, or lost his feelings for you because of a love of porn which steals intimacy, our Heavenly Father is there in the midst. . . and He sees your pain, ladies. He’s your Daddy, the one who knew you before you were born, and He will go through the pain with you, if you let Him, standing by your side, comforting you when your husband or boyfriend can’t or won’t.
There is a saying that goes, “Don’t ever love someone so much that it would destroy you if they left.” I didn’t realize the truth in that statement until it almost happened to me.
The Pain of Porn
The really sad thing about porn is that it takes genuine love and kills it. The addict doesn’t have to be in an intimate relationship, because they get “filled” by porn due to the dopamine highs they get from watching it. It removes any closeness and intimacy in a relationship, and replaces it with lust and distance, ultimately changing the addict due to the chemical nature.
I was so naive. I had no idea the power that porn possessed, until finally, one day it killed my relationship forever. I had no idea I was up against the devil’s chosen baby: pornography, and how serious it really was.
My boyfriend distanced himself from the relationship, from me; instead of visiting, he preferred to stay at home and watch porn and would come up with excuses as to why.
He blamed porn pop-ups on others who used the computer, and pushed me out of his life ultimately, until I finally heard the words, “I don’t love you anymore.”
It took me seven years to grieve over that relationship loss, and because of it I gained a lifelong cause. I knew I would fight this thing, this poison to relationships, as long as I possibly could, because I experienced the pain of it – that pain that continued to take every inkling of joy I tried to find even years after the breakup. Every day the reminder of what porn stole, and the future I had planned with him, haunted me. It would eat at any joy and feeling alive I would begin to muster. When I felt like I was finally climbing out of the grief hole, my thoughts would focus on what I lost again and I would crash back into the abyss. It was the second greatest loss in my life, that of a cherished relationship that I thought would be long term all due to porn and it crippled me for years because I let it cripple me for years. It took me several years to realize the importance of healing and getting help to be able to heal. We must never forget that loss, but we must also remember to use that loss to prevent others from experiencing that loss. That is the beauty of how our Father turns what the devil intended for bad, into good.
The Silver Lining
Even though I lost my relationship, God also turned it into good by leading me to develop a website that helps other women. There is a silver lining that always exists in your circumstance, ladies. This He promises us and so you must remember in your own situation: what the devil intends for bad, God will turn it into good. If I could send you one message through this post, it would be this previous sentence.
He gave me the vision of starting Girls Against Porn (GAP) to help other women who were going through the same thing I did.
Girls Against Porn has worked on and led initiatives with our partnering organizations and friends, Concerned Women for America, Morality in Media, Arizona Family Council, The Salvation Army, Movieguide, Evangelicals for Social Action, The Family Action Council of Tennessee, Institute for Media Education, Concerned Roman Catholics of America, and several other great organizational friends. Because of these initiatives, most of the airlines are filtering their Internet services, a porn club was halted from being developed on a college campus, we came close to preventing a former Playboy lawyer from receiving a DOJ appointment with over 11,000 e-mails and calls from the public, and we’ve sent a strong message to Apple to restrict all pornography related apps. It has been a challenge, but such a rewarding one.
I think back and look at what God did through the devastating loss of my relationship, and the seven years of grief, but even more I remember Him picking me up off the floor, and bringing me through it. He used it to help others. Who knows how many children or families will be protected because of those initiatives? How could I ask for anything more? There wasn’t a happy ending in the way that I thought I would have, that I had hoped for, but it was a happy ending. . .
He’ll Fix You
The band Coldplay performs one of my favorite songs, “Fix You.” Chris Martin supposedly wrote it for his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, after her father passed away. When you hear the song, it sounds like he wanted to fix her, as her husband, and take the pain away that she felt over such a great loss.
You see, this is what God wants to do for us, if we just let Him. If we just come to Him and ask Him to take the pain of porn away, ladies. Let Him take away the feeling of betrayal that you have, the low self-esteem that you feel because of your husband/boyfriend’s addiction that you don’t think you will ever get over, let Him be the lover of your soul, because He wants to be just that for you. . . and to fix you! He can and will, precious ladies. You are the daughters of the most High God, and He loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you! Always keep that in mind every day.
I want you to remember that you are important, the role you have in your family is irreplaceable. Charles Swindoll offered a perspective on the importance of your role and how cherished you are; he stated:
The Bible is full of great women. So is history. Along with the Joan of Arcs and the Florence Nightingales and the Madame Curies and the Mother Teresas we find countless other nameless others, sisters, and daughters. Abraham Lincoln said, “No man is poor who has had a godly mother.” He, like many great and accomplished people fiercely linked his success to his mother. Military heroes, political statesmen, ministers of the Gospel, athletes, media personalities, literary and musical geniuses alike have attributed the development and cultivation of their skills to their mothers and/or their wives. Down through the history of time marches an endless succession of courageous and visionary women, virtuous women, self-sacrificing women.
During this trial that you are going through, or have been going through with your husband/boyfriend, repeat to yourself daily what Dr. Laura Schlessinger states, “The people and circumstances around me do not make me what I am, they reveal who I am!” When you feel like you may never get out of that dark abyss that you have fallen into due to his addiction, repeat to yourself daily, “I’m going to make happiness a habit.” Don’t let his addiction pull you down with him. Choose to make happiness a habit as our Father begins to fix you and mend your soul. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.
Editor’s Note: Tiffany Leeper is the Founder of Girls Against Porn (www.girlsagainstporn.com), an action coalition for women and those against pornography. She speaks on the effects of porn and counsels women who have a loved one with an addiction. GAP supporters assist with legislative issues and anti-porn initiatives that protect the family. Tiffany graduated from Pepperdine University and has a Master’s Certificate from Thunderbird School of Global Management. She also speaks on corporate fraud as a former corporate fraud auditor at Fortune 500 companies. She was named one of the ‘Top 8 Speaker Outers Against Porn’ by the porn industry’s news outlet. Girls Against Porn’s initiatives have been featured in these news outlets: American Family Radio, Wired Magazine, OneNewsNow, The Catholic News Agency, Glenn Beck Show, Laura Ingraham Show, the Wall Street Journal online, among others. Tiffany and Brittany Glynn, PR Director for GAP, have been guests on radio news outlets speaking about the effects of porn. Follow GAP on Twitter or Facebook.