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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Never Regret Telling the Truth About Sex

Dear Harlan: I’m having relationship regrets. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to wait to have sex. That is what you suggested. He said he was OK with this and would go at my pace. The next week, he broke up with me. He’s already dating someone else. I asked him if it was about not having sex with him. He said it had nothing to do with it. I’m having regrets. Did I make a mistake?

— Regrets

Dear Regrets:  He’s a loser. You are lucky he’s not your boyfriend. The only regret you should have is wasting time thinking about him. He gave you the greatest gift in the world. He removed himself from your life. Your boyfriend wasn’t interested in dating you. He was only interested in having sex with you. And let me tell you one more thing that makes me feel disgusted: If breaking up with you had NOTHING to do with sex (and I don’t believe it for one second), clearly he was having doubts. Be grateful you didn’t sleep with someone who was already planning to end the relationship. Clearly, there were problems. You must have sensed it. The best way to avoid getting used by a jerk is time. Be proud of yourself. You did everything right. You set a clear boundary and discovered the truth. Yes, it’s painful to break up, but it’s more painful to have someone break up with you after using you. You have nothing to regret – be grateful

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Mom can’t stand seeing daughter’s heart broken… again

Couple of teenagers lying in street togetherDear Harlan: My daughter, 19, recently gave her ex-boyfriend, 18, a second chance. Their relationship ended because of his lack of consideration. He wanted to act single with his friends and committed while with her. At this age, do you believe that people can change and mature, or is she destined for more heartache and heartbreak?  – Fool Me Once

Dear Fool Me Once: Of course he’s going to break her heart again. That’s what 18-year-olds do. As long as your daughter sets clear boundaries and has a plan should he relapse, she can take away an invaluable life lesson. Women with options who set strong boundaries can move on. Encourage her to always do things she loves to do with interesting people. This way, when he breaks her heart, she can pick up the pieces faster because she’ll be surrounded by other guys who can give her what she wants and deserves.

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Heartbroken man in pain and looking for cure

Sad young man hiding his face and crying with a stormy clouds baDear Harlan: My ex and I were dating for about two years, and we moved in together a few months ago. She is my first and only (so far) serious relationship. We both recently started changing a lot, and we thought that at the end of the school year, we should go our separate ways. Once we decided to split up, we still were living together for about two weeks, and those were the worst two weeks of my life. She would be out with guys every night doing who knows what – it was so much easier for her to move on. We used to be so crazy about each other. We were supposed to get married and everything. We both used to be so happy. The truth is that I miss her. She moved five hours away, and I am now living in the same house with my best friend. This house just feels like an empty shell. What was once filled with memories of us is now so much different without her living here. I miss her smile, her kisses, her hugs and everything else. I also miss all of our crazy adventures. It almost feels like she died, but worse. We went from being crazy about each other to absolutely nothing. It’s taken everything in my power to not text her or call her, and that has only happened once. I’ve been really sad the past few days since she’s moved out. Do you know of a better way to cope with this? I am so miserable and I want her back, but I know that won’t happen. I’m going to live on the East Coast for seven months, and she’s going to go to beauty school and do her own thing. Am I wrong for feeling this down and dejected about everything? – Grieving

Dear Grieving: I want to hug you, man. Breaking up sucks. I felt this same pain. Thanks for showing the world that a man can be vulnerable, get hurt and still respect women. You’re feeling it. You’re talking about it. You’re working through it. It’s grieving because it’s a devastating loss. There’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Continue to feel it all. Avoid hating, blaming or trying to convince her to change. Over time, you’ll begin to create a life where you can do things you love to do without her. Until then, talk about it, think about it, write about it, work out, go out, try new things out, cry, celebrate, create, cope and grow. It will get better – you just need to feel it all.  Feeling it is healing it.

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