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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Checking dating sites while dating is a BIG no no

Man Is Sitting In Bed Behind His LaptopDear Harlan: My girlfriend of six weeks and I just split up over what I guess was my dishonesty. We met on a dating site, and when we got intimate we agreed to not visit the site. She seemed jealous and insecure over that. Well, I didn’t go on that site, but had been a member of another free site. A lady winked at me on the site and I was curious to see pictures of her with no intent to pursue. Well, it turned out it was my girlfriend setting me up to see if I was dishonest. I treat computers as objects, not human beings. Help me, Harlan.

Mixed Up in Maine

Dear Mixed Up: Ding. Ding. Ding. Yes, you got busted hanging out on a dating site while dating another woman. That’s why you got dumped. You can’t do that, man. But don’t be too sad. Thank this girl for setting you up sooner rather than later. This jealous woman saved you a lot of aggravation and drama in the future. See, I actually believe that you didn’t have intent to pursue, but you did have the intent to peruse – and that was too much for this wounded woman. She came into this relationship as damaged goods. Be grateful it happened sooner rather than later. She was looking for a reason to be suspicious and found it. If it didn’t happen with a wink online, it would have been a text message, a suspect Facebook post, or that wandering eye of yours (which I’m sure is a medical condition). If you had no intention to pursue another woman, apologize for violating her trust and explain that you were just curious about the winker, but you’re only interested in winking back at her.  Then wink (or not).

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