Should you date a man who struggles with porn?

Chris Grace, Ask the Expert Q&A - October 19, 2016

Dear Dr. Grace,

I have been dating a Christian guy for six months now. He recently told me that he has struggled with porn for 14 years. He is 28 and watches porn a few times a week. He wants me to forgive/extend grace to him while he is working on overcoming his addiction.

Is it good or healthy for me to stay in a relationship with someone who is struggling with porn or should I break up with him (even though both of us are Christians and are told to forgive like Christ)? Is it possible for men to stay completely away from it?

I would appreciate any advice. 

Sincerely,

A.


Dear A.,

You are asking some very important questions, and your concerns are wise and valid. Many men do face this struggle, and will do so for years.

In general it sounds like your boyfriend is being honest with you (rather than hiding it as many men do), which is encouraging.

Here are two things for you to discern and pray about: 

  1. Does he admit his behavior is wrong? Is his heart broken over his sin? Does he want to change? Is he willing to do whatever it takes to get this under control, such as being willing to seek professional help?
  2. Or, Is he saying he can make no promises and you need to deal with it? Is he somewhat defensive, saying don't judge him, that this is "normal" and all men struggle, and that he expects you to forgive, live with, and extend him grace from now on?

If you answered #1, then it is something you may be able to work with. But, it will be a long process for him, and you will need to be prepared for some hurt and pain throughout your relationship. This will take hard work.

If you answered #2, this is not a good sign. I suggest you seriously consider getting out of the relationship, perhaps until you see tangible evidence that he is truly contrite, seeking professional help, and making significant progress in overcoming his porn addiction.

For additional help identifying if you are in danger of developing a compulsive, behavioral sexual addiction, click here.


Chris Grace

Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.

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