When Porn Threatens

Dear Harlan: Please help me. My girlfriend caught me using online porn. She found some videos on my phone. We have talked about porn in the past, and I know she is against it. She believes it’s degrading to women and it is no different than cheating. We have a healthy sex life and an honest relationship, but she is talking about breaking up with me. I betrayed her trust and I feel awful about it, but I don’t understand why she can’t forgive me. I’m faithful and will do anything for her. She knows it, but the porn has made her doubt our three years of dating. Is there anything I can do to convince her that she can trust me? I don’t want to lose her over something so insignificant in my life.

— Messed Up Again

Dear Man:  STAY AWAY FROM PORN. When porn is costing you your relationship, it’s significant. If you want to stay together, you’ll have to figure out how to stay away from porn. You can start by apologizing and explaining to her how you view porn – not to change her mind, but to reassure her that you are loving, committed and working to fix this problem. One solution can be to install a program that will monitor your online activity. Covenant Eyes (www.covenanteyes.com) is a place to start. This program monitors the websites you visit, the search terms used and the YouTube videos watched, and lists them in a report. This monitoring tool is used by people who need another layer of accountability. In addition to Covenant Eyes, you can start going to Sex Addicts Anonymous (saa-recovery.org) meetings, and find a therapist to help guide you. When you are lying, sneaking around and hurting someone you love, it’s time to address the problem and get help. If you don’t think it’s a problem, find a partner who is more tolerant of porn.

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Committed Relationship Doesn’t Mean Rejection Stops

Dear Harlan: How do I handle rejection in a committed relationship? I’ve been with my partner for the past two years, and I still struggle when she isn’t interested in being intimate. What does normal rejection in a committed relationship typically look like, and how do you handle it?

— Struggling

Dear Struggling:  My wife rejects me all the time. It hurts, but I don’t resent her. People think that once they fall in love, commit and get married the rejection doesn’t stop. Nope. It never stops. You can’t hide from it. The only way to handle it is to accept The Universal Rejection Truth of Relationships. The URT states that your partner will not always say or do what you want. And you won’t always say or do what your partner wants. It’s the undeniable truth. When we accept the truth, we don’t spend all of our time hating, hiding or attacking. Instead we can look inward and outward, and move forward. Looking inward means getting comfortable enough in your own skin to listen, even if the words aren’t what you want to hear. Looking outward means working to understand how someone feels, even if it hurts, without trying to change them. Moving forward means expressing how you feel, being heard and giving someone permission to respond freely. It takes people who are willing to embrace the truth and to grow together.

People who fight the URT grow apart. Intimacy is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, finding comfort when being heard and listening – even if it’s not what we want to hear or be told.

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You Need Love – With or Without a Significant Other

 

 

Dear Harlan: I’m in my first relationship. I’ve wanted a boyfriend for a while, and now that I have one, I’m anxious and scared. I’m feeling all these emotions that I’ve never felt before. I’m afraid that it all will end, and life will be back to how it was. It’s as if I’m waiting for the bottom to drop. How can I be in a relationship and relax without obsessing about it ending?

— Obsessing

Dear Obsessing:  Have a life you love inside and outside of your new relationship. Make sure you have friends in your life in addition to your significant other. Spend time with family members who fill you up with happiness. Do things that make you happy independent of your significant other. Make sure you have a life that isn’t dependent on someone else for all of your happiness. When you have balance, interests and love in your life, you’ll know that you will always be OK. Be grateful for the new relationship, and at the same time, know that you will always be OK, no matter what. This is how you ensure that you always have love in your life. This is how you can enjoy the moment and how you can demand and command respect inside the relationship. Yes, it’s scary to be happy, but it’s not as scary when you know you’ll always have love in your life – with or without a boyfriend.

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Girlfriend needs to change expectations or find a new man

young coupleDear Harlan: My boyfriend and I are going through a difficult time. He had a tough childhood, and he’s suppressed so many issues for so long that it’s caused him to build a wall. He would be just fine living life as he has for the past 10 years, but I have pushed him during the past two years to make changes toward healing (going to church, seeing a counselor, cleaning his house) in order for us to build a healthy life together. He has made great progress. However, he still is pretty resistant and is resentful that I am asking for so much that he doesn’t know if he can give me (a simple wedding to celebrate with family, and to put a woman’s touch on his bachelor pad to make it into a home where we can grow a family). We very much want children. He’s 35 and I’m 28. I’ve been ready to marry him for over a year, and he’s been saying that he will propose soon. He wants to work through his issues before we get engaged, but he keeps making excuses and putting it off. I’m afraid he will put it off forever and I will waste years of my life waiting for him to be ready. Am I being selfish for wanting to push him because I’m ready to start our life together? Should I back off, break up, or stick by and give him more time? – Getting Impatient

Dear Impatient: How long do you want to stay married? A month? A year? The rest of your life? You love a guy who can’t give you what you want. He refuses to deal with big life issues and resents you for helping. And you’re asking me if you should marry him, have kids and spend the rest of your life together. Think he has walls now? Just you wait until you get married and have a family. Figure out what you want. If he can’t give it to you after 10 years of dating, don’t expect to magically get it once you’re married.

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He doesn’t want to date her, just sleep with her

couple-girl-kissing-her-boyDear Harlan: We act like we’re dating, and we’re sleeping together, but there’s no official title and no commitment. He says he feels like I’m the one for him, but part of him wants the “college experience” he never had. Basically, it seems like he just wants to see what it’s like to sleep around. I’m tired of feeling strung along, and I’m sick of him not knowing whether he actually wants to date me, but I still feel like he’s the one. What do I do? Please help.

– Girl With a Broken Heart

Dear Broken Heart: He’s not dating you.  He doesn’t want to date you. He’s sleeping with you. That’s the truth. He told you, but you refuse to listen. You’re so scared of losing him that you can’t face the truth. Stop compromising your values.  And really — he’s no big prize. He sleeps with you, but won’t commit to you.  That’s not so special.  There are millions of men who can do this for you.  You live in a world with endless options. Sleeping with a guy who doesn’t want to commit will NEVER get him or anyone else to commit. Want this to get better? Face the truth. Find a man who is looking for a girlfriend.

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