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3 Common Lies When Porn Invades Your Engagement

Last Updated: October 30, 2017

Carl Stewart

Carl Stewart is the author of the Amazon Kindle bestseller, The Porn Antidote: God’s Secret Weapon for Crushing Porn’s Grip, and Creating the Life and Marriage You Dream Of. Carl is a counselor and coach in an overflowing private practice where he works with men and marriages devastated by pornography and sexual addiction. He has advanced training and supervision in Emotionally Focused Therapy–the most empirically validated marital therapy which is uniquely suited to restoring marriages affected by sexual betrayal. Carl is a speaker at men’s events, marriage retreats, and parenting seminars. Check out Carl Stewart’s website and blog at www.thepornantidote.com.

Helpless, he looks at his fiancé as she sobs uncontrollably as they sit in my office. It is three short months before the wedding and she just found out he has a problem with porn.

She is crushed. Happily ever after feels like a million miles away.

All of the excitement, joy, and hope for an amazing future together got sucked down the drain in a heartbeat. My heart breaks for her.

Weddings are emotional roller coasters with enough drama to sustain multiple reality shows on several networks. Discovering porn drops a grenade in the middle of a room filled with gasoline and TNT.

Porn seduces with subtle lies: “No one will ever know,” “You aren’t hurting anyone,” or, “It’s just pictures–what’s the big deal?”

Related: 3 Reasons Deception Is More Destructive than Porn for Your Wife

Then reality hits–the true impact of porn crashes in like a tidal wave. It is brutal for all involved.

3 Common Lies When Porn Invades Your Engagement

His “dirty little secret” that was a “bad habit” he knew he needed to stop is suddenly all she can think about.

For her, the wedding is about creating happily ever after where her fiancé will be her “Knight in Shining Armor”–always captivated by her beauty. Now she wonders if he is thinking about the women he has been lusting after, or her.

She wonders if there is a happily ever after.

This is one of the hardest things for us as guys to really get. Porn is deeply personal for her.

Research shows that one of the greatest sources of shame for women comes from their body image. Think about it. At the beach, guys walk around with a spare tire oozing over the waistband and no one blinks an eye. Women’s bodies are scrutinized–by both men and women.

Sitting on the couch in my office, she looks up at me and says with tears streaming down her cheeks, “If I’m not enough for him now, how will I ever be enough!?!”

Now, she has to keep planning the wedding, going to showers, and appear excited and happy while her guts are spilling out. And the very person she needs to give her comfort and reassurance is the very person she feels the most betrayed and hurt by.

If this is you or someone you know, there is hope. This is not the end of the world even though it will feel like it.

After working with married and engaged couples who have been devastated by pornography for many years now, I’ve discovered three lies you are prone to believe when porn is uncovered.

Marriage will cure the problem with porn.

If I had a dime for every time I heard this one. He told his fiancé that he used to have a problem with porn in the past. In reality it never stopped.

He is counting on being married and having an amazing sex life to satisfy all of his sexual desires and fantasies. When he finds out she doesn’t want to do what the porn stars do, and the demands of married life kick in (having babies kills your sex life), he finds himself sneaking off to the bathroom with his phone again.

Marriage doesn’t cure porn. Don’t fall into this trap–get help before you get married. You, your wife, and your future children will be really glad you did.

I’ll never be enough for him.

She is terrified that she will never measure up. The lie is that she’s doomed to constant comparison. That you will always be looking at women around you for something better. That she either needs to do what porn stars do (and feel worthless) or be a constant disappointment to her husband.

However, there is some truth to this statement. It never ceases to amaze me how much we idealize each other when we are engaged and newly married. My wife and I dated on and off for six years before getting married and we still lived the fantasy.

The fantasy says that she will always be enough for you, she will always fulfill you. He will always be enough for you, he will always fulfill you.

No one person can ever completely fulfill someone else. It is a recipe for disappointment.

The romantic idea behind this is why Disney and romantic comedies have made so much money.

Related: Why Disney Relationships Are Just Like Porn

This will always be hanging over our heads and we’ll never truly be happy.

When the bomb goes off, this definitely feels true…especially for her. It feels like the foundation for the relationship is being poured and porn will forever be a part of your lives…weakening everything you try to build on it.

She is picturing catastrophic scenarios of pornography, lying, and betrayal for the rest of her life with you. And you can’t talk her out of it.

The truth is, reality hit home before the wedding. It steals from the joy of the process of getting married.

Marriage always has some pleasant surprises, as well as its share of disappointments. There is a reason we vow to love and cherish in sickness and in health, in the good times and the bad times.

It is by going through the bad times that the deepest bonds are formed. This is where you become “war buddies” when you fight for your marriage and come out the other side with a depth you didn’t know was possible.

Wives come back and tell me all the time that going through the pain and struggle created by pornography was worth it because of the intimacy and closeness it created with their husbands.

Related: Hope After Porn–”Grasping for Air, Hungry for Grace”

These are the couples who kept working through the healing process. They have a bond that others don’t understand.

If pornography has invaded your engagement, know that there is hope for a future beyond porn. The recovery won’t be easy and it’s not the ideal way to start out a marriage. But if you choose to go ahead with it, it’s possible to heal and come out stronger on the other side.

  • Comments on: 3 Common Lies When Porn Invades Your Engagement
    1. Anonymous on

      Do not get married to a porn addict. Full recovery takes several years. Let go and let him heal. It is not your burden to bear.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Thank you for this very wise advice.

      • JB on

        Marriage is a calling to bear one anothers burdens though. If you want ease, then yes, dont marry. But if youve wisely discerned you can serve the kingdom together and there is a fight for holiness in both of you, when why make a hard and fast rule? Sure, many times you need to move on, but honestly youre a sin addict yourself. Just be careful, and discerning, open to whatever God would lead you to do, whether to marry or not.

      • Er on

        Absolutely do not take on the burden of being married to a porn addict. Almighty God has a better plan for you. I only wish I had the option to make an informed choice before the altar. My resources are spent being the porn police, the secret keeps me isolated. Grief/mortification are my constant companions. I just recently discovered my husband has been a porn addict for the 4 decades I have known him. How could a tired, mom of two, who provided a second income ever compete with the allure of porn stars? I have been denigrated in 37 yrs of marriage. When porn no longer satisfied him, he sought out prostitutes with condomless sex. I was very ill with STDs.

      • Kay Bruner on

        I am so, so sorry. I hope you have been able to find healing for yourself in every way, and to create healthy boundaries that honor your value and worth as a person. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries.

        I hope you’ve found a therapist who can help you process your pain and support you in healthy boundaries. The online resources at Bloom for Women might be helpful as well.

    2. restored on

      I have not looked at porn or masturbated in over 2 and a half years at this point. At what time in a relationship, and in what way should you reveal your past struggle with porn addiction? At this point I believe its wise to tell them how long its been since I looked at porn, who my accountability partner is, the things I have cut out of my life to stay away from porn and how my mind has been renewed since I left porn, because my mind has changed so much since I last looked at porn.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I think you should have this conversation before you get engaged. If you’re already engaged, well, the time is NOW. Your future spouse should have the time and opportunity to process what she didn’t know and what she wants to do about this. If you’re doing all these things to take responsibility for yourself, that’s great. Just be aware that your fiancee will need time to process. She may want to find a counselor for herself to process this, and perhaps have some sessions with you present as well. You might like to download this short ebook, Porn and Your Boyfriend, that has conversation starters–it’s written for women, but it’s something you could give to her as a helpful tool in working through this. Peace to you, Kay

      • MDT on

        Restored, how were you able to get clean from porn. Was it your decision?

    3. MDT on

      When your significant other tells you he has never been “a Bible thumper” (a term I really don’t appreciate) and porn and lying to cover it up seems to be what he and his brothers have done all their lives (because it’s just what men do), how do you move forward in a relationship with any hope at all?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m sorry, but you don’t. He’s told you clearly and plainly that he disrespects your boundaries and will continue to lie and cover it up, because that’s what men do. Believe him when he tells you these things! Please, please, please believe him, and please know that the pain you’d experience with a break-up now is nothing compared to what you will deal with as he continues in this behavior and you have a life and children together. Peace and health to you, Kay

    4. WOPA on

      Please don’t get married if your fiance admits a porn addiction.

      It is worth upsetting a few people to save yourself from the misery.

      There are very few of us WOPAs (Wives of Porn Addicts) who would tell you otherwise.

      Be grateful you found out before. Many of us didn’t as our partner’s chose to selfishly hide it.

      The only circumstances I think a woman may be justified in considering it is if the man has sustained recovery (2 years plus) which is confirmed by a polygraph.

      Otherwise, contrary to this article, you really are just looking at years and years of lies and porn.

      Reply

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