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What to learn from this?: pornography, trust, "addiction," and privacy

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Make a pot of coffee because my overanalytical mind wrote too much. She's 24. I'm 26.


It has been two months since my SO broke it off with me. For the second time, she discovered I had been looking at pornography In a rage, she packed all of my things and booted them out of the apartment, breaking some of my belongings in the process. I had lied to her face about my pornography habits, stating it wasn't an issue and I had a good morning routine that kept me from such idle opportunities. In my head, I didn't think it was a problem. It certainly wasn't an addiction as my SO proposed. But I didn't fight with her on this, as I'd hurt her too many times to even think about regaining her trust. The fact is, once it happened the first time, she never trusted me again.


Since discussing this habit with friends and reading posts here on ENA, I've decided that my pornography habits are fairly normal, even for someone in a relationship. I would look at pornography once a week, maybe touch myself a little, but very rarely orgasm because I felt shame associated with the climax. A year or more into the relationship when we weren't having sex daily, My SO was still sexually available at least a few nights a week. But I've since learned that it's probably unrealistic for your partner to satisfy every physical whim and desire you have. Nonetheless, my regard for porn has never deterred from my bed performance or my connection with her. I viewed the habit as a very distinct triviality. It mattered little on how I viewed my relationships or myself.


Anyway, my friends seem to think it's honestly kind of a petty reason to break up with someone when you're that deep into it. We lived together for 1.5 years. I consider our relationship to have been as close to marriage without the vows. The lying about it...the inability to be honest with her is much more of a serious problem, and it's something I never had the courage to disagree with her about. I've since vowed to never make a promise to something I am uncertain I can fulfill. There were other contributing factors to this one focal point, sure, but this is the one we parted ways on. And I feel it's much more of a developmental hurdle to her than it is to me, which is why I guess I'm seeking out some perspectives on the matter from those who might have experience.


Some situations:


She is a user on this site, whom I will keep anonymous. She posted on here often during our relationship together, addressing problems as they came up. One of them was this pornography issue. She was concerned I looked at porn while she was home (which was false) and likely only discussed the matter with me after asking the community here on what to do. At one point in that conversation, she said she didn't expect me to give up the habit, just to cease it happening while she was home. I think we can all safely say that would be evidence of addiction.


Somehow this tolerance eventually grew to intolerance. She treated it like it was an addiction. I supposed it might have been a waste of time and something that's not the best aspect of me. I honestly subscribed to Playboy for the articles (now they don't even do nudes). We talked about how that made her uncomfortable and she threw them out without telling me. I agreed to cancel the subscription as I eventually found the content pretty awful. However, one weekend when I was out of town she sent me a picture of an opened package to the most recent edition of the magazine. She freaked. She changed my relationship status on Facebook and might have put up some kind of nasty status update via my logged-in PC at the apartment. She doesn't see the value in social media, but I had to explain to plenty of concerned friends that even I didn't know was going on. When I got back, she had half of my things packed and asked me for her apartment keys. She demanded my phone so she could delete every picture of her I had saved.


She had assumed I opened the bag to view its contents but really I had to open it to view the subscription # to cancel. No Playboys ever came by again, but I had to patch up all these embarrassments with friends while also re-unpacking all my stuff. We moved on, somewhow.


Another time, she logged into my Facebook from her work. It denied her based on IP address, so I had an e-mail alert telling me so. I asked her why the hell she would try doing that. She didn't answer. I calmly explained to her we needed to trust each other for this to work. During this time, I had been looking at pornography and not telling her about it. Concerned for her mental state given the past experiences, I felt telling her the lie was better than telling the truth. That was also a mistake. When she found out about the pornography continuing, she physically punched furniture and hit her head on the bedroom headboard. She told me that she was snooping into my facebook to try to see that maybe I was sending porn links to friends to help them procure good stuff or something. I feel this is a lie, but maybe plausible. Following this, she demanded I spend those weekend nights at home instead of spending them overnight at the anime convention taking place 150 miles away. She said she needed this for the relationship to work. I can only suppose she considered these conventions a way for me to cheat on her without her knowing, which I never even fathomed. However reluctantly, I obliged and made the drive (up/down x 150 x 2) two nights in a row.


We agreed to be more transparent about it. I created a tally sheet, marking off the days I was "sober" from pornography. It worked for a couple months. We made home movies of our own that helped me when she was mentally / physically unavailable, stressed out from work. At some point I stopped looking at them because I was unhappy with her in other aspects. She continued being emotionally abusive, only now more unrelenting. She discouraged my hobbies, my choice of friends, my family, my priorities and values, even my long-term goals which included her in them. One day, I noticed our movies were deleted off of my computer with no discussion of it. I didn't know how to broach that subject because I felt it was a test on how long it would take for me to notice-- that gap would prove I was looking at porn which wasn't our own, etc....


Towards the end, she stopped being as physically open. Sexual favors would cease. Sex amounted to us basically masturbating in front of each other. It was pathetic and disturbing. I always gave her my everything, but by the end I noticed the mental block preventing her from being intimate with me. She never fully trusted me.


So, basically, my assessment is that my SO was actively looking for ways in which she deemed I was being unfaithful. She was looking for ways to be hurt and make me feel guilty. I never changed my passwords and I always let her look at my phone. I rarely tried to hide anything, for that would be interpreted as akin to lying / having something to hide.




It's only now I'm discovering there's still a level of personal privacy, no matter how deep the relationship is. My privacy was repeatedly violated, but when it was it was almost always violated with discovery of incriminating evidence or what-have-you. I'll tell you the lessons I've learned so far:

1. Don't make promises you can't certifiably uphold.

2. Don't be anything you're uncomfortable being for the sake of a relationship.

3. (Still unsure about) Hide your porn search history, change passwords, cover up all clues leading towards a constructed, wildly imagined infidelity scenario.


Everything considered, I'm doing okay. But I worry about her constantly, because I realize the devastating amount of insecurity she must've harbored at almost every turn of the relationship. I have a few open questions, none of which I expect to be answered unequivocally because no one is my SO and only my SO would be able to tell me how she's feeling. But NC is a we all must travail to move on.


1. Did she overstep her bounds given my breaking of her promises and my violation of her privacy?

2. What was she really thinking about my porn viewing? How does 'not minding the habit' evolve to utter intolerance of it?

3. I worry about her attitude regarding the decency of people in the world. She is 24. I'm 26. I've been where she has been. Do you think she'll mature in a couple years? Following that, is there any hope of reconciliation in these future years or should i do my best in burying her?

4. How do I personally learn from this? Is there something I missed? What can I do to avoid these situations in the future?


If you've made it this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening. I've been working up to this post for a while, keeping these feelings pents up inside. I just want to hear if anyone else has been in these straits and what they've learned.

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment.


Say your girlfriend smoked or did drugs. And for you that was a deal breaker and you broke up with her over it. Would you think that was fair? More than likely yes. To her, looking at porn is simply a deal breaker. Right or wrong, it's something she doesn't welcome in her relationships. You think it's OK and she doesn't.


As for learning from this, you find someone who is tolerant and accepting of your habits. Also in the future, if your girlfriend asks you a direct question, it's better to be forthcoming about it. Lying and doing something she disapproves of is a dangerous combination.


It sounds like you've learned from this and have several takeaways. I wouldn't dwell on it and use this to better yourself. Don't worry we all learn from relationships.


Good luck and here's to your healing.

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Every guy looks at porn.. she needs to get with the program, you're better off...


I'd say the learning is fund a less uptight person!


That's a generalization and certainly not true.


Everyone has a "list" of things they wouldn't want a significant other to have. It could be drugs, alcohol abuse, porn use, lying, cheating, smoking, etc. It's a matter of compatibility and what you are willing to accept.

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From your description yes your privacy was violated. Everyone deserves their own private space and thoughts even when in a relationship. I do not give my bf passwords or let him go through my phone. I don't ask to go through his. It's not because I am cheating it's because there are things that may be embarrassing (although innocent) I don't want him seeing. It's about trust and respect.


I think you're way better off. She seems really controlling and the relationship sounds not fun at all. There are women that enjoy porn and won't care at all that you watch it. But this went beyond porn, she put you, your life and your dreams down. She's supposed to be supporting and encouraging you.


I would recommend spending your time healing and moving on so you can find a good healthy relationship.

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