This is a question we always get asked by parents, wives, and the kids of the men that we work with here at Desert Solace. The easiest answer is simply, just love them. But just because that’s the easiest answer it doesn’t mean it’s simple. Pornography addiction is painful not just for the person caught in its addictive web, but it is painful for everyone they love. The purpose of this article is to help people know what they need to watch out for, ways they can understand what their loved one are going through, and offer some practical tips to help them overcome their addiction.
What to Watch For:
It’s important to remember that the things we will talk about in this article are general in nature and may not apply to everyone. Take the ideas we talk about and adapt them to your own situation. It’s also important to remember that therapists still don’t agree on what makes someone addicted to pornography, but the list below is our opinion about the signs of pornography addiction.
Your loved one has started to withdraw themselves from their normal social behaviors.
They begin to make excuses about not wanting to participate in regular family activities and they also begin to spend large amounts of time alone.
Your partner shows little interest in sex and intimacy in general
You may begin to notice a change in the intimacy you have in your relationship. Sexual activity and non-sexual intimacy may decrease as their addiction to pornography increases. They also may have a difficult time becoming fully aroused and may suffer from other sexual limitations.
The Demeanor of your loved has changed.
Your partner just doesn’t seem like themselves. They may have trouble calming down and going to sleep. Their productivity at work may suffer and they may start to lie about their behavior to cover up their growing need for more and more pornography.
These are just a few things to watch out for but the one thing you should always remember is to have open and honest communication with the person you love who is dealing with pornography addiction. Many times their addiction comes from a traumatic event in their childhood or something more recent like a job loss. In this next section we will talk about some ways family members can try to understand why their loved one is addicted to pornography.
Ways to Understand Pornography Addiction:
Dr. Kurt Smith, a marriage and family therapist outlined a few possible reasons why men look at pornography:
1. In real life, the sexual practices that men like might not be those that their partners would like to engage in. In the world of pornography, our sex partner will do anything we want them to do. And they will enjoy it. And they never get tired. And they are always ready for more.
2. In a world where we are all so busy with work, home, and family, a pornographic affair may seem like some small comfort for those who are cut-off and lonely.
3. And finally, men enjoy sexual excitement/release and pornography delivers that to them – free of any emotional attachment or fear of rejection.
Again, everyone is going to be different so it is up to the loved ones to ask open and frank questions with their partners about their addiction. The people suffering with pornography addiction are not bad people or deviants. They are suffering from a real addiction that in order to resolve, underlying issues must come to the surface and be examined in order for the person to heal.
Tips to Help:
Pornography addiction will not be overcome in a single day. It will be a series of choices that you make every day for the rest of your life that will help you overcome pornography addiction.
Tip 1: It’s not enough you have to admit you have a problem; you need to share your struggles with people that love and support you. You should tell a spouse or other trusted family member what you are going through so they can offer their support and keep you accountable.
Tip 2: Don’t just find a hobby, find a hobby you love. As you begin to let go of your pornography addiction you are going to need something productive to fill its place. If you don’t like running don’t start running but find something you enjoy doing, it’s even better if you can find something that helps others!
Tip 3: Get rid of the pornography in your life. Clean out the computer, throw away the DVD’s and install software on your computer that will help you stay safe.
Always remember that love and communication are the most important things you can do to help a loved one who is struggling with pornography addiction. Don’t judge them by their actions; judge them by the person they have the potential to become.