How To Tell Your Fiance You Struggle With Porn

stock-footage-boy-and-girl-talking-in-venice

I get many emails from men asking my advice on how to break the news to their girlfriend/finance about their struggles with porn.

This short blog will be a summation of my thoughts, how I typically respond to such a question.

Should I Even Tell Her?

Let’s get this one out of the way first. Sometimes people will say (and if I’m honest, I remember thinking the same thing) 1) ‘do I even need to tell her at all?’; 2) ‘Is it any of her business?’; or 3) ‘I’m not sure that telling her will necessarily help me stay clean.’

My response? 1) ‘No’; 2) ‘If you’re discerning marriage with this girl, yes!’; and 3) ‘that’s not the point.’

No she doesn’t need to know, but it is her business. She’s discerning marriage with you, and therefore, it seems to me, she has a right to know (think of it as truth in advertising). The reason you need to tell her isn’t because it will motivate you to “stay clean,” it’s because she has a right to know the truth about the person she’s discerning marrying.

How Do I tell her?

I would suggest writing a letter. One major advantage of this is that you’re not expecting her to process all of this in front of you on the spot . The other advantage is it allows you to convey and complete your honest thoughts without reacting or being interrupted.

If you do decide to speak to her directly, try your best not to catch her off guard, tell her that you have some important things you need to discuss and then arrange a time and place to meet where you won’t be distracted.

What Should I Tell Her?

Begin by being broad yet specific. You might say, “I was first introduced to pornography at the age of eight. I need you to know that despite my efforts to be free of pornography, I fall to it about once a week/once a month/once every other month.” End the letter (or conversation) with something like the following, “I understand that in sharing this with you, you may very likely break up with me, while that’s the last thing in the world I want to happen, it’s a risk I needed to take because you deserve to know the truth.

Okay, that might be a way to begin and close the letter, but what else can be said?

Tell her what you have done and what you are doing to rid yourself of this sin and become a better man. Show her how you are fighting for her. Be creative! As St. Josemaria Escriva noted, “[t]o defend his purity, Saint Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, Saint Benedict threw himself into a thornbush, Saint Bernard plunged into an icy pond . . . You . . . what have you done?”

No, I don’t recommend taking your beloved to the botanical gardens and saying, “Honey, you see that rose bush?…Check this out!”

Here are some ideas:

– Install accountability software of your computer, phone, and tablet.

– Choose an accountability partner who you check in with on a regular basis.

– Ditch your fancy smart phone for an old-school one that cannot access the internet. Alternatively, have your accountability partner block your app store and delete all apps that can access the internet that aren’t being monitored by accountability software.

– Commit to a holy hour once a week, or praying the holy rosary once a day (or whatever, just commit to praying).

– Sign up to e5men.org, an online community of men who fast at least once a month for the women in their lives.

Focusing on what you’re doing for love of her rather than on the ways you feel like a big fat loser, is, I think, a much more manly approach when sharing your struggles with your beloved.

What Now?

Obviously much more could be said. In a future post I’ll address your girlfriend and whether or not she should stay with you. For now, if you or someone you love struggles with porn, learn the steps to be free.

1798666_10151913023551006_1910493062_n

16 thoughts on “How To Tell Your Fiance You Struggle With Porn

  1. Matt what are you calling porn, magazines with pictures of beautiful women, movies where adults have sex, or going to a strip club and watching females that can’t really dance swirl around on a pole naked. Or disgusting hood-rats basically rape white trash whores covered in tattoos.

  2. Hi Matt
    I have a question..
    Is it still his business to know that I USED TO watch porn . Im completely free from it now. Do i still have to tell him?

  3. Matt,

    Cannot describe the relief I felt when I read your last lines…I’m dealing EXACTLY with that…I sent you a private message on your facebook page; of course I know you’re likely to be super busy, but I was so desperate, that I just wanted to reach out to someone who could understand :'(.

    I have asked God what He wants me to do regarding my boyfriend: stay with him and help him or leave him…I thought I had gotten a very specific and even in your face kind of response (I got Galatians 6, 1-10), but reading comments and advices from wives of recovering porn addicts on a catholic support site for this problem, they have ALL told me to RUN AWAY…

    So now I feel lost, I don’t know what to do. Just when I was starting to feel peace, to breathe for the first time in 2 weeks since this whole thing started, I come across these comments…I’ve prayed for confirmation, don’t really think I got it and I’m a complete mess: I’m sick, I can’t sleep, and I just don’t know if I’m doing what God wants and THAT’S what’s making me feel like this: not knowing if I’m doing the right thing.

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing about a girlfriend’s perspective; it has it’s particular challenges and letting go can be a very difficult thing. Just so you have a better idea, my boyfriend is willing to change and making efforts, internet accountability will be something we’ll go through on the next few days and even a hack class (yes, he told me he’d teach me how to since he’s a programmer).

    Lots of blessings, hugs and may God and the Blessed Mother guide you always.

    1. Matt have you ever seen photos of 2 actresses, Maura Tierney and Courtney Cox, these are 2 middle-aged very attractive actress models. None has done a nude scene or posed in playboy, but my God wearing clothes these 2 would turn on most men, and I wouldn’t trust a man who didn’t get aroused by a beautiful white woman wearing clothes. Porn movies are boring, I’m a trained stage actor with a theater degree from a Catholic college, I know what acting is. If you don’t have an addictive personality, which I don’t, I don’t really give a hoot about looking at porn.

  4. Hey Matt,
    Thank you so much for writing this! It’s so helpful. But I do share the same question as luce_k. I have dealt with this issue and those that come with it in the past (like 3 years ago) and won. Is it still wise to tell a significant other about it? Or is it better to let sleeping dogs lie and focus on the present? Because, while I don’t actively struggle any more, it is still a part of me, as much as that sucks to admit. So I don’y know. Your thoughts would be much appreciated, though! Thank you! God bless

    1. One relatively well known latin catholic missionary said something very wise about marriage, and I would consider the same if you’re planning to marry your current partner:

      Both of us deserve to know about each other’s garbage.

      What’s the point of having a relationship if you can’t be completely honest with each other? If you’ve shared positive stories from the past, why not share the not so pretty ones? I think every person DESERVES to know who they’re investing their time in, what they’ve been through and how that’s shaped them to become the person they are now. Love is real when you’ve known the person with lights and shadows, and are willing to work for the wellbeing of their souls.

    2. Thanks S,

      I think it is a prudential call. I don’t think you would be doing anything wrong in not sharing it. If you do share it, you do not need to share the details. Doing so might cause scandal or lead him to temptation.

  5. Hey Matt,
    please read this and guide me
    I’m 19 years old girl..i’m kind of addicted to watch porn and masterbate…past days ago i used to do almost everyday.and i feel guilty.but when i badly dont want to do masterbate i can control my self but most the time i dont wish to defend the temptation.I know its really really bad for my health,mind and to my spirituality even.Im a good catholic as far as i know.. so i always feel that god punishes me…and trust me even I’ve experienced some worst things has happened to me as a punishment of masterbating…and i know that i deserve that punishment,..so im not much worried about that because I deserve that.After I masterbate I feel so guilty and ruined ..i dont know how i learnt masterbating .but as I remember i started masterbating since i was 5years old….when i was small i thought only I myself doing this in this world. time to time I’ve masterbated frequently and some perods not at all…now i have a very good guy.who loves me aloottt.we are so sure about eachother,but still i dont find courage to tell him that i’ve been masterbating since I was small..cause i have pretended to him that i learnt masterbating from him..now the current problem for me is i always feel loneliness.and i feel i don’t get 100% what I expect from him.most the time i feel I’m Alone and unloved..so when i feel alone what i do is watch porn and masterbate.I have a very significant weak in concentrating since i was a teenage,so now I realise that it may be because of masterbating since I was small.I want to stop this habbit forever.please even i’ve tried prayers to get rid of this..but so far couldnt stop it fully
    pleaseeee help me,tell me a way of getting rid of this??Even i dont mind taking any medical or physical treatment for this,because now i find very hard on concentrating on my studies even,My exams are on this May and June.please reply me .and please please send me your personnel email adress or your wife’s email adress to get guided for someother aspects as well.
    Thank you!
    May God Bless You!!

    1. My sincere request for you is to confess this problem in Confession. Do this again and again. Keep confessing. You might fall into temptation afterwards but by the sacramental grace which you will receive through Confession, the roots of pornography and masturbation will weaken and WILL BE UPROOTED from you.Trust me, I have been though this.
      And PRAY the ROSARY as soon as you wake up EVERYDAY.Its the perfect ANTIDOTE for sin of lust. You body and brain will crave for the release but the power of rosary(Mother Mary’s intercession)WILL get you though the temptation. I have experienced this in my own life.

      Read Matt’s book Delivered.I’m sure it will help you a lot.Educate yourself about the negative effects of pornography.
      This particular testimony by Marcus Guevara was the changing point in my life. Listen to his testimony.its powerful
      http://thirstingfortruth.com/audio-the-conversion-story-of-marcus-guevara-founder-of-thirstingfortruth-com2/

      Don’t be discouraged sister.You are not alone in this.
      The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.(psalm 34:18).

      1. Thanks aloot Luce,i’ll try my best to do as you said,but need more prayers I guess.Pray for me.
        God Bless you!

  6. Matt: I met you on Saturday in Des Moines at St Francis at the Men’s Conference. I thank you for your wisdom, insight, laughter, and prayer. I purchased your book delivered and found it to be very informative, once I started it Sunday afternoon I couldn’t put it down until it was completed. I am thinking that the average person goes through this faze at least sometime in their life. I don’t think there is anyone out there that hasn’t male or female. We are all human and all have that free will. Show me a man that hasn’t seen porn sometime in their life. I came across a profound passage in the book that sums it up for me “To Worship the body” ( Joshua Hawkins)

    “Can Jesus cure me right now? Absolutely. Does he want to? Yes, but in his way not mine. The truth is the victory has already been won, but not in this way that my lazy self wishes it to be. Since he entered his final battle on a donkey, not a warhorse, carried a cross instead of a war banner, won the victory through a humiliating death, and later told his apostles that his power is made perfect in weakness—this should indicate just how I will finally reach the glory of the resurrection. I’ll win by surrendering to him—not just once but sometimes hundreds of times a day. And the amazing thing is that it works. I win by surrendering to him, taking up the cross of putting down the lust and following him. It’s not easy, but it’s wonderfully simple”

    Anyone dealing with “Porn Addiction” regardless of age or gender should purchase your book it’s a powerful testament by many. Thanks again and may the Holy Spirit continue to shine God’s divining light upon you so you can continue to carry his message. God Bless

  7. I can’t believe what I see!!! Guys if you stil wach porn and have a girlfriend or fiancé, you have to break out and yes!!! Tell the truth always!! When you look porn you don’t love her, you don’t respect her but you commit adultery while you fooling her. You think you can play with Gods girl? I’m hard whit you guys but this is not a godly thing at all!! Go to Christ get help, be healthy and free than have relationship. Don’t fool yourself or others because you will regret it. Thake the Chross wich will give you life and freedom

  8. As for what is porn it is what leads me to sexual obsession and masturbation. As I remember a friend saying about sexual sins, “there is a sad emptiness afterwards”. And what I obsess over and used to masturbate over is porn for me.
    As for me I have found and believe God once told me in prayer that “If you give it to me (The obsession) I will take it from you” and I have found that approach of giving it to God so much better than trying to fight it myself.

  9. Matt, what if its just a boyfriend who you’ve been with for 1 year and a half. I feel its right to tell him but i wanted your advice first?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *