Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “My Boyfriend Has a Porn Addiction”

We’re going old-school DW in this morning’s quickies with some good ol’ porn, pot, and “how do I tell my religious parents I’m living with my boyfriend?”.

I’m a 28-year-old woman and I met a guy in 2015 online. We played a game online and we sorta fell for each other. We had a long-distance relationship for three years during which we fought like every couple. These fights mostly were the result of my being insecure…and I found out he is a porn addict. He said he would stop looking at porn because it bothered me, but he kept doing it — though not as much — and it felt like he was cheating on me. We were doing better, so I moved out to where he lives about one year ago. Then I caught him watching porn while I slept. Every time he said he was going to stop, but he didn’t. The last time he told me to just leave him if he did it again, and guess what? He did it again. I love him and I have given him my all. What should I do? — Dating a Porn Addict

He’s not going to stop watching porn – he’s made that clear. So, you have to decide whether it’s a deal-breaker for you. If it is, you break up and move on. If you can’t fathom the idea of leaving him, you accept that he watches porn sometimes. If you can’t accept that, then it’s a deal-breaker for you and you move on. Really, those are your options. You’re not going to change him. And, you know, if you truly believe the majority of your fights stem from your being insecure, maybe YOU are the one who needs to change a little. Being insecure isn’t an excuse to have dysfunctional relationships and to make demands on people you love to change their habits to better suit you. YOU need to work on yourself so that you can better foster healthy relationships. Or, at the very least, be honest with yourself about what your needs are and, if your boyfriend isn’t able to meet them, accept that perhaps you two simply are not a match.

I have a partner who smokes cannabis. Sometimes he smokes so much that he gets stoned and he comes to bed having left the lights and the TV on and the kitchen a mess. One time the compost was everywhere and things were lying out and it really angered me as I had to clean it. Another time he left a bath running and nearly flooded the house. I am getting really sick of it. What do I do? I hate arguing and confrontation, but it isn’t normal to behave like this. — Tired of the Mess

 
What you’re describing actually isn’t the result of being stoned. It sounds more like your boyfriend has some other issue that he’s using pot to self-medicate. Maybe he’s depressed? Anxious? Maybe your relationship isn’t working and you’re both avoiding “confrontation” in your own ways. If the pot-smoking has always been an issue and you have a problem with it, you shouldn’t be together. If the pot-smoking is a new thing and it’s coupled with this troubling behavior, you should act as a concerned partner and, you know, TALK to him about what’s going on. Stop using the excuse that you “hate arguing and confrontation” to avoid confronting what sounds like red flags that may signal something pretty serious going on with your boyfriend. This is part of being in a grown-up relationship. When someone’s behavior suddenly changes is troubling ways, a loving partner tries to find out why and what he or she can do to help.

Here’s a script for you: “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been acting different lately and I’m a little worried. There’s the sudden pot-smoking, the messes you leave around the house, and the bath water you forgot to turn off. Is there something going on with you? Are you feeling anxious or upset about something? How can I help you?”

I’m a 19-year-old female who was raised in a very religious household. I respect the concerns of my parents, but my dad and I have never seen eye-to-eye on things that have to do with my personal life. We’ve always gone through times of not talking to each other or just being straight-up silent with each other. This hurts my mom a lot as well. I love my parents to death and I never intentionally disappoint them or hurt them, but I also have drastically different views than they do.

I’ve only been dating my boyfriend for five months now. I know that doesn’t sound like a long time, but I know he’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I moved in with him after two months of us dating. Neither of us feels right about hiding that fact from my parents, and he doesn’t want them to have a fake idea of him. I just don’t know how to tell them about this without them getting overly upset. — No Fake Ideas

 
Listen, I’m not going to give you advice you want to hear. I think, having grown up in an oppressive household with a father who sounds controlling, and with your being only 19 years old, you made a big mistake moving in with a boyfriend after a mere two months of dating. When have you had time to cultivate independence and maturity? And don’t tell me you already have. You don’t even know how to tell your parents that you’re living with your boyfriend. That’s not the sign of someone who feels confident in her decisions and mature enough to deal with conflict in a relationship.

I really urge you to move out and live on your own for at least a year before you move back in with your boyfriend. You can still spend lots of time with him, but in maintaining your own home and having your own space to grow, with the freedom to control the pace of this relationship in a more organic way than immediately cohabiting allows, will help you develop really important tools to navigate interpersonal relationships (including the one with your father).

I know you probably won’t listen to me, so please, at the very, very least, use multiple methods of birth control. If there’s one thing that could further complicate your relationship with your parents and everything else in your life, it’s adding an unplanned baby to the picture.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

4 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kbean April 9, 2019, 8:52 am

    LW1, if you feel like he is cheating on you, it is time to move on. He knows how you feel and he keeps doing it.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros April 9, 2019, 3:50 pm

    Am I missing something from the second letter? They didn’t explicitly say something has changed. Considering how much LWs tend to put up with before they start getting fed up, I guess I read it to be that just is just how he is. Perhaps the choice to self-medicate is why he gets so stoned (though the LW also didn’t say how often it happens, and I think that matters), but I’m not sure the behavior itself seems out of the ordinary for someone who has smoked a lot in an evening. I guess I’m a little confused. I think the advice makes sense either way, in that the LW needs to bring it up with him, but in the absence of a wellness issue, the LW also might need to figure out if this is simply an incompatibility too.

    LW3: Do you know how many of my friends (I am in my 30s now) said they were with the “love of their life” when they were teenagers or in their early 20s? Guess how many are still with that person? Zero. What you’re feeling isn’t out of the ordinary. It’s just how people feel when they are in love. Even if you and your dad got along, your parents would still disapprove of this because anybody who has more than a few years of dating experience knows that it’s way too soon for you to make this decisions. Even the nicest parents would think you were bonkers if you told them you’d moved in with your boyfriend at this point.

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  • avatar

    Betty April 10, 2019, 11:33 am

    LW3: if you don’t want to lie to your parents, don’t lie, but there isn’t any magic way to phrase “I’m living with my boyfriend” that isn’t going to upset them. So, you tell them, they get upset, you go for a while without talking, and then you reconcile. It sounds like you’ve gone through that cycle a few times already, and that’s fine, it’s normal to do things that your parents get upset about, and it’s normal to reconcile afterwards. You know what you need to do, just take a deep breath and do it, you’ll feel better in a few months.

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    • avatar

      FYI April 10, 2019, 8:20 pm

      Wow. No, Betty, what she’s doing is most definitely NOT normal. It isn’t just about lying to her parents, it’s about her moving in with someone after only two months. That’s ridiculous. And Wendy is right, if she’s worried about upsetting her parents, that’s even stronger indication that she’s too immature to make a commitment like that.

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