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“My Boyfriend Loves Porn”: the Story of a Shattered Relationship

Last Updated: April 11, 2015

Ron DeHaas

Ron DeHaas is the president and co-founder of Covenant Eyes. Ron has a BS and an MS in Geology from The Ohio State University and attended the University of Michigan as a Ph.D. candidate. Ron pioneered the concept of Accountability Software and founded Covenant Eyes in the spring of 2000. Today, nearly half a million subscribers enjoy the Screen Accountability that Covenant Eyes provides. Ron also founded Nehemiah Ministries, a 160-acre retreat and counseling center in south-central Michigan for pastors and missionaries.

(Warning: this article contains some graphic language)

You wear a seat belt for protection. But you don’t get addicted to riding in your car without it. You “get accountable” for protection…but in this case, without accountability, pornography addiction could be lurking at your door.

Why do people, especially men, become addicted to porn? It’s pretty simple to explain that one: naked women and our sinful nature.

So, like a seatbelt in a car—and even more so in the face of possible addiction—we need accountability on the Internet.

Meet Brad and Emily

Here are excerpts from one addict’s story (true story, actually happened to me).

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Lansing, Michigan, and at the next table were a young man and woman, maybe 20 or 21 years old. I overheard their names, Brad and Emily. Emily was sitting back-to-back with me, our chairs touching, talking to Brad, whom I could see to my left out of the corner of my eye. I pretended to be busy on my computer.

Brad, speaking quite loudly, said, “I love pornography. I know I’m addicted to it. I look at it all the time, I just love it.” It was Emily’s response that caught me off guard. “It’s good. I understand and that’s really okay.” As you’ll see, it wasn’t “really okay.” It became apparent that Brad and Emily have been a couple for some time.

Brad: My kindergarten teacher asked me what I want to be when I grow up, and I told her a porn star, and she couldn’t believe it.

Emily: Wow, that’s really cool; that’s really funny.

Brad: You know, my favorite pornography is [censored] porn, I’ll watch it and then masturbate two or three times.

Emily (showing no signs of emotion): That’s great that you can talk about it.

Brad: I want to be President some day, and the first thing I’m going to do is make it so kids are trained in pornography.

Emily: That’s brilliant! I wish all guys were as honest as you are about that.

At that point, Brad discovered me sitting there, and he said, “Oh my God, is our conversation bothering you?” (As the President of Covenant Eyes, I see an open door and walk in.) I respond, “Well, actually, I’m in the business! This is actually intriguing me.” At this point, I enter the conversation…

Brad: Really, you’re in the business?

Ron: Well, actually I run an Internet accountability and filtering company. Many of our members struggle with pornography and they are trying to get out of it.

Brad: Oh, yeah, I understand that, and it is an addiction, and I’m addicted, but I love it!  This is my life. Some people think it’s wrong, but I really enjoy it. It’s not hurting anybody.

Ron: Emily, how do you feel about his pornography addiction?

Emily (instantly and seriously): I hate it, I hate it.

(Brad was obviously caught off guard by this response.)

Ron: What is it about it that you hate?

Emily: I can’t compete against these women. He won’t have sex with me. I try to have sex with him, but we won’t even have sex with me.

Ron: Brad, do you see that there is a core issue here, and that is whether it’s right or wrong? Do you see that in her mind, it’s wrong?

Brad: Well, I try to get her to watch porn with me and she won’t. All she has to do is join with me because it’s a lot of fun.

Ron: Emily, you do not belong in this relationship (thinking of what I would say as a father to my daughter). You need to get out of this relationship right now. Brad, do you understand that in her mind, this is wrong, and she can’t compete against those women? You are never going to find a real woman who can live up to the expectations that you have as a result of those false images.

Emily: He won’t even have sex with me.

Ron: Emily, why are you in this relationship?

Emily: It’s been three years, and I’ve left several times…

Brad: And she always comes back!

From the moment I asked her how she felt about his pornography, Emily started crying, and did not stop until Brad walked out of the door of the coffee shop, abandoning her.

Brad: I’ve been clean, I haven’t cheated on her once!

Ron: Do you know that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that if you look on a woman to lust for her, you are committing adultery in your heart?

(Emily nodded agreement, sobbing.)

Ron: It’s a heart issue, it’s not whether you physically do it, this is a heart issue.

(Emily nodded vigorously.)

Brad: Do you mean that if I look at those two girls over there with lust, that you would think I’m cheating on you?

Emily: Of course!

Brad: Well, I can’t handle this anymore. I am out of this relationship! I have to go masturbate.

Emily (as Brad was gathering up his things to walk out): You’re leaving me?

Brad: Yes!

Emily: You’re leaving me because I pushed back about your pornography?

Brad (halfway out the door, turning again toward us): The girls of porn don’t push back! 

(Emily, continuing to cry, waits a moment, and then also leaves.)

When Your Husband or Boyfriend Loves Porn

Like Brad in this true story, men are often shocked to find out their wives’ reaction to discovering their pornography habits.

What men need to realize is that sexual sin, including the viewing of pornography, almost always leads to permanently broken relationships.

Think about it, men…two guys can get into a knock-down, drag-out fight over a football game, even to the point of hitting each other. Two years later those same two men might be found side by side watching another game, beer in hand, friendly as can be. That’s how men are. But if you mess with my wife, I guarantee our relationship is broken forever.  That, too, is how men are.

It’s how women are, too. But with women, men’s adulterous lusting after pictures is about the same as actually conducting a physical affair. So no wonder women react so vehemently to their man’s affection for the women of pornography.

By the way, the husband-wife relationship is meant to be an image of our relationship with God, so we should also recognize that in the sin of pornography, we are in a very real sense sinning against God by lusting after the false idol of sexual gratification outside of our marriage.

Why do we need accountability in 2013?  It’s pretty simple to explain that one: naked women and our sinful nature.

Pure Minds Online | Issue 28 | January 2013 | More in this issue: Secrets and Shame | 10 Biblical Proverbs About Accountability | Think on These Things

  • Comments on: “My Boyfriend Loves Porn”: the Story of a Shattered Relationship
    1. Ben Dugan on

      I also have an addiction to Porn and have struggled since I was 14. The first time I saw it I was addicted, it was an adrenaline rush for me and by the time I wanted out, I struggled big time. I have had some success at times through the years, but at times I have struggled harder than other times. It isn’t fun or great and it does hurt you, your other half, and it does hurt those outside of you and WILL eventually lead to sexual sin outside of just watching porn and having sexual relations outside of marriage. and crime. You are only playing in the hands of the Devil and the hands of an angry God, who will forgive, but might take you to the woodshed for a paddling. My advice is to get out and stay out. I struggle to stay out, but have to keep my mind on God and if I do think about sex, I think about my wife. It isn’t fun or harmless, and it will kill you in more ways than one.

      Reply
      • Angel on

        Exactly! Porn is very evil and destructive! I used to play around on the computer a lot when I was in grade 6 and 7 and I found certain websites that would have very sexually explicit videos (mainly cartoon characters) and would have a lot of sex in it. I become fascinated by these videos and was eventually finding myself wrapped around a sheet of a sickening desire for sex. I started becoming very interested in sex. I was really young at the time, so this desire for sex would have proven to be very consequential had I’d given into it and went out to have sex. Luckily for me, my mind didn’t become too addicted to these videos, so I never went out and had sex. It’s just sickening to know to this day, at the age 19, that I used to enjoy watching videos of women being degraded and used as “sex objects”. And what’s even more sickening is how women to this day are still viewed as “sex objects” and just objects for the sere pleasure of men. I hate how our world has become! I have a few friends that have been sucked into the media’s evil interpretation of what women are created for, and they have unfortunately allowed sex to become a part of their lives when it shouldn’t be. I won’t go into details, but it’s clear that sex is becoming a serious issue to this day.

      • roland salas on

        Yea.

      • Shannon Blankenship on

        My bf is addicted I’ve caught him watching and masterbating I have it in my head it me. He lies tells me I’m crazy he deletes phone completely clean. Then smart TV completely clean when I got his phone on 1 day he forgot to delete he smashed it. Recently I took tv sold it. Now he can’t breathe he hurts really bad all over his chest hurt really bad headache can’t eat or sleep I’m worried. Plz help

      • Kay Bruner on

        It sounds like he needs to go to a doctor and get his physical symptoms checked. Don’t be manipulated into thinking that he “needs” porn in order to be physically healthy. Decide what is healthy for you in this relationship, see if he is willing and able to agree with you on that. If he’s not, it sounds like he wants a different kind of relationship than is healthy for you, and it will be up to you to choose healthy boundaries for yourself.

    2. Mat Conrad on

      I fined it strange, being a man of the church and educated scientist with an engineering degree years of experience, to see someone claiming to be of a righteous nature that would so blatantly lie to you. Of course neither this product or myself are validated by another source other than this very web page and I encourage you to not only validate myself but also the product you are considering buying. After looking into the software specifications it is apparent that,(1) even when I was a 10 year old child I could bypass these measures,and (2) any company that needs to charge you an extra fee for users on the same machine is either scamming you or Selling you music( i Tunes). I am fully confident that this is a scam on good christian partners and/or families, please find other security/monitoring software that fits your needs. -god bless-

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        HI Mat. Exactly what lie are you referring to?

        I’m not sure what business models you’ve seen, but it is common practice to charge people for additional users. Pricing models differ, but the practice itself is common and far from a “scam.” Scams would imply dishonesty. Please, let me know why you think a user-pricing model denotes a scam. Do you have some data about our company or other businesses that give you this impression?

      • Topher on

        Regarding the security measures, its not about the security measures, its about coming to grips with the fact that people are in need of accountability partners. Software is not perfectly created to filter out every single loophole image or website, it is a tool that honest people use to help themselves. If someone really wanted to bypass the software, they could go and buy a magazine, or videos from a store. If someone has an accountability partner, their partner should not only be looking at the reports sent but also asking the hard questions like, “have you looked at any pornographic material”, “have you lusted after anyone lately”. “what are you doing to not give the Devil a foothold in your thought life”. I do not believe the software is a scam, it is only a scam if someone purchases it and tries to cheat it by finding loopholes, even then, they are only cheating themselves.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Topher. Exactly. I think this is precisely what Accountability Software gives people: a mode of regular communication that establishes a pattern of conversation. The main point is the accountability relationship itself: that is the means of grace that helps a person be honest with themselves and others. For many people, the software is just the aid of that relationship, a method that helps them stay honest and real with others.

      • Ron DeHaas on

        Yes, I fully understand that this sounds fictional. Even as I read it again, I find the entire situation almost unbelievable.

        However, the words in the dialogue are actually the words of Brad and Emily. Brad and Emily are also their real names, I have not changed them (if they ever read this, I’d like to hear from them!). As they were talking, I took notes on my computer to make sure I could capture their real words. I paid close attention, and made sure that the words were exactly correct. Within two hours, I dictated the entire conversation, and that dictation has been transcribed. So, bottom line, the dialogue credited to Brad, Emily, and me is exactly, word-for-word, the actual language used, as amazing as that might sound!

    3. Mat Conrad on

      Oh and lastly, although the pres of this sub-par software makes a good point in his own words at the end of the story, after reading the whole thing it is a fictional story with false verbs and adjectives that no one (I’ve known several vulgar characters through my experience and service) would use in actuality. Once again I am off put by how dunce the author thinks the reader or possible consumer is. Honestly I’ve seen better false stories spun about how to increase your penis size, though that is too a fictional story.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        You obviously haven’t been hanging out with hardcore porn addicts recently.

      • Pete on

        Luke – could you remove Matt’s misguided comments? He has no business posting what he did. You and your team have created a software that has helped hundreds of thousands of addicts, including me, up out of the pits of addiction – by God’s grace. Matt’s response does nothing to add to Ron’s compelling (and TRUE) story and it doesn’t belong here.

        Thanks!

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Pete. Believe me, I disagree with Matt’s unsubstantiated comments 100%. But I also try to keep a pretty open environment here on the blog. I don’t want to go down the road of strict censorship and miss out on the opportunity to expose the folly of some people’s mentalities. To allow his comment and not reply to it would be the greatest mistake. People who resonate with Matt need to see why their opinions are incorrect.

        Generally our policy on comments is that we allow them unless they are spam or they contain blatantly offensive and volatile language.

    4. Dan Neils on

      I hear the criticism of the story, but a variation of such play out daily in more subtle ways. The porn addict truly gets to love pleasure more than the people in his life of God. As a guy that has mentored hundreds of men in bondage to porn (at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com) I have seen over and over again men making choices like Brad’s. Covenant Eyes is a solid tool that has filtering and a reporting tool, that emails your accountability partner when you stray. Having no filter is analogous to having a room in your house with a million porn videos and a curtain over the door. It makes little sense to have this in the house if you struggle with bondage to porn, yet men walk daily with smart phones and computers with no filters. Makes little sense.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Dan, I hear you. The story is certainly more “overt” manifestation the subtle and profuse influence of porn on our whole culture.

    5. larry on

      Porn filters aren’t infallible, I know from experience. What does work for me is a program, such as Covenant Eyes, keeping track of all my internet activity and reporting it to my sponsor. I am a recovering 60 YO sex addict. I go to 3-4 Twelve Step meetings a week. One of the meetings generally has about 40 guys, so I know roughly 100 sex addicts. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how pornography fed their addiction, and often led to the addict’s “bottom”. For me and most of the others, porn was just the end of a long escalation of “acting out” behaviors, including contacting others for sex. What is alarming, and very sad, is the number of young guys coming into the recovery program, whose only acting out behavior has been the use of porn for masturbation. Sex addicts in general use porn to get high, but are still interested in interpersonal sexual relationships. In recovery it is possible to develop a healthy sexual relationship with another. Sex addicts share many personality characteristics and life experiences that probably contributed to their becoming addicts, the main one being a dysfunctional family. Porn addicts don’t seem to have similar personality characteristics or backgrounds. Porn addicts seem to have become addicts “because of porn”. Even those who are married tend to become sexual “anorexics” because they are fixated on the “perfect” body. I think their recovery, if possible, is much more difficult. I believe prevention programs that expose young people, 10YO+, to the scientific facts about how pornography “rewires” the brain, would be more effective than moralizing about it’s use. Does such a program exist? Is there a 12 Step program for minors?

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi larry. Thanks for telling us some of your story. I’m happy you’ve found a support network to help you walk away from this destructive sin in your life.

        As far as programs go, I know of no nationwide groups that cater specifically to young boys and are focused on this particular struggle (at least, nothing as widespread as the typical 12-steps programs). There are, however, many local groups. I agree: teaching boys when they are young about the true nature of sexuality and the pervasively negative messages of sexualized media is a must. The issue is how to surround them with this sort of teaching that isn’t merely a once-a-week program. The messages of media are ubiquitous: the negative messages aren’t just found in porn.

        The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” comes to mind. Young boys (and girls) need to be taught good sex-positive messages in many venues: the home, church, school.

      • Steve on

        I have used CE for years and it has been instrumental in my progress toward recovery and accountability. One thing I have done with my own sons, all of which are adults now, is to be honest with them when they were just entering their teen years about my struggle with porn that dated all the way back to when I was 13. I also encouraged them to come to me with any struggles or temptations that life threw at them that they could not handle, and they have done that. I believe God honored my honesty with them by better preparing them for the pitfalls that they would run into as they entered their teen years.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Steve, I wish more dads saw the wisdom of that approach. You are a trophy of God’s grace and you put the gospel on display when you candidly share your story with you sons. Thank you for sharing with us!

    6. dougdp on

      I think Mat might be working for someone.

      Reply
    7. JohnC on

      Mat, irrespective of your intended point, whatever it is, being an ‘educated’ man I would expect that you would have a decent command of the english language. Your unintelligible rambling leads me to believe that you are neither educated or, dare I say, a man of the church.

      Reply
    8. Jim on

      I have struggled with porn for years. It was liberating when I found an accountability partner with whom I connected. With Covenant Eyes and my accountability partner I am breaking free from the porn addiction. My accountability partner is wonderful! I only wish that sometimes he were even more direct and “invasive” by asking me the hard questions. However I have never lied to him when I have given in. And I call him when I need support. I have made a commitment to be “porn free” and free from masturbation throughout 2013–with God’s help and my accountability partner’s help. He knows this and has “bought in” as well. So far I have a clean slate in 2013! I keep a chart so I can record my successes and failures and I email the chart to my accountability partnr. Covenant Eyes is a “must” for anyone wanting to be free of porn addiction.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Thanks, Jim. Your comment is very encouraging.

    9. Jenny on

      Hi ,
      I have been in a relationship for nearly three years. I have know that he views porn. We have watched it together on occasions. I just did not realise to what extent. Now having read about sex/porn/cyber addictions, all the signs were there. While on holiday recently I came across a video on his phone that made me suspicious. I tried to discuss this with him but got the silent treatment so on the first available chance I had a look at one of his phones. To my absolute shock I found that he had online relationships with both male and females. That was bas enough, but also discovered In his deceit he had also posted pictures of me and other woman that he had relationships with in an explicit sexual manner. There was also a photo of some random that had fallen asleep and her bum being held open and a caption of terry saying that she did not know the photo was been taken. Photo’s of my self and others face swapped with pornographic material. Stolen pictures of myself and my ex.
      Obviously I am devastated. The total violation of me is causing me extreme trauma and have and continue to have feeling of ending my life. I cannot find any literature on anyone sharing there partners photo’s and need to understand why someone would betray people he loved and cared for and was in relationships with. One of my concerns is that I will never know for 100 percent where else my photos have gone. Terry has ensure me that he never uploaded them on any websites and has now deleted everything. But for obvious reasons the trust has gone.
      He continues to hurt me by saying he did all of this because he did not love and care enough. I do not accept that. I feel like it is an excuse to ease his guilt. Has he never loved and cared for anyone thats pictures were used in his violations. (Please let me know you thoughts on this).
      I feel sick, tried, defeated, violated, scared, tormented and lost. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
      Thank you.
      Sent from my iPhone

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Jenny,

        I’m terribly sad to hear about this situation. Unfortunately a person who is totally trapped in porn addiction may often find themselves going down some dark paths to satisfy their lust for the forbidden.

        Your boyfriend needs professional help. If he desires to change at all, he should find someone who counsels people struggle with sex addiction and begin immediately working through his problems.

        You also should find support for yourself in this time. Have you told anyone else close to you?

    10. Laura on

      I am a victim of a porn addict although I didn’t realize it until he moved in with me back in 2011. Prior to that we dated for 6 years I was completely unaware of his habit. After he moved in it took about 3 months to know something wasn’t right. I confronted him about it and thought that would be the end of it. That was just the beginning, I became angry, emotional, untrusting, disappointed and hurt, and the list goes on, finally after 2 years I wanted him out. He moved out but he still wanted the relationship between us to go on, at first I agreed I thought maybe the distance would help, but it only made things worse because now he didn’t have to hide it from me anymore he could do it whenever in his own place. So the trust is gone and the entire relationship has been shattered and I am left emotionally scarred. I’ve been struggling with many of the symptons related in these articles. This is the first time I’ve reached out to any type of counseling and I really need it to help me get back on track. Like most women I thought maybe I was the crazy one, but deep down inside I knew it wasn’t right. Can you refer me to some counseling or maybe some more reading material? I know I really need counseling to heal.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Laura,

        So sorry to hear about your story. It is true that separation only forces your man to make a choice: you or the porn. Sadly, he may choose pornography over you, but at least then you know what kind of man he is.

        As far as counseling goes, I recommend you search for a local counselor through the ACBC. Another great resource is the video series True Betrayal by Brad Hambrick.

    11. TIRED on

      I have found Recovery Nation !!!!! highly recommened for both addict and partner,

      Reply

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