My boyfriend quit porn for me but still has urges. Is it sustainable?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by trying33, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Overview:
    1. My boyfriend quit porn/images/erotica because I wanted him to and I'm worried it's not sustainable.
    2. It hurts me that he still has urges, even though he doesn't act on them.
    3. Is it possible for the urges to go away? Is it okay if they don't?



    I have been with my boyfriend for nearly a year now (I'm 25, he's 29). Over this time, we have had many discussions on how I think masturbating to porn/images/erotica/fantasies of other women is unhealthy in a relationship at any frequency, and that it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. He does not agree with me on this. He agrees that "excessive" usage of these things can indeed be unhealthy, but that a "normal/controlled/occasional/weekly" usage is perfectly fine. He says that if I used porn/images/erotica it wouldn't bother him at all. He thinks it is natural and healthy for people to desire/fantasize about someone other than their partner and to masturbate to them. He feels that he would be able to use his best judgement on how much to do these things, and that if he felt it was negatively affecting our relationship he would cut back. He thinks that controlling someone else's sexuality is wrong.

    I told him that my boundaries on this were fixed and that I couldn't accept any level of usage, because I have read a lot of research that the negative effects are sub-conscious and cannot be controlled, even if it's not "obsessive" or "daily" usage. Moreover, him getting sexual pleasure from other women makes me feel disrespected, and makes me feel that I am not enough. It feels like a form of infidelity.

    Because of how I feel about it, he told me he would stop, and he has. He said that it's not easy for him, and that he still has urges, but that he will not act on them because he knows I do not want him to. It has been about a year since he quit porn, 5 months since he quit using images, and 2 months since he stopped using erotica. He told me he also no longer masturbates to fantasies/thoughts of other women, and that he has made an effort to only masturbate to thoughts of me.

    I used to think that this is all I wanted. That all I wanted was for him to stop. But now I can't shake the fear that because he is doing it just for me, and not for himself, his resolve will eventually either break down or turn into resentment towards me. And that ultimately, I'm still not enough. Something will always be missing for him. If he agreed that porn was unhealthy and that stopping it was best for the relationship, I wouldn't be as worried. But that fact that he is doing it purely because I want him to concerns me. I have been told by many people that if someone doesn't want to change for their own reasons, they will never truly be able to.

    I asked him about if he resents me. He said no. He said that even though he would be "more satisfied" in the relationship if he was free to use his own judgement and control his own usage, he is still happy with me and is willing to stop entirely in order to be with me. That sounds good and all, but my question is... is it sustainable? If this is something that is actively difficult for him, isn't it just a matter of time before he can't resist the urge, or starts to hate me for stopping him?

    I've asked him if this is something he can do forever. He said he doesn't know and that he can't predict the future. Not exactly the reassurance I wanted. It makes me so scared. I feel like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop--that suddenly one day he will wake up and realize that he doesn't want to fight the urges, and tell me "I can't do this anymore". That he will realize I alone am not enough to sustain him. Especially when I'm older, no longer beautiful, no longer able to compete with the women in these videos and images. Especially when time makes me too familiar and boring and he is craving novelty. Maybe that's a pessimistic view of things, but I don't know how else to think about it.

    It hurts me to know that he still has these urges, even though he isn't acting on them. The desire to consume other women is still there, and that makes me feel like I'm still not good enough. Even though he is "happy" with me and we have a very good sex life, he still wants to watch porn/look at images/read erotica... he just doesn't. Doesn't that mean he's still unsatisfied? Masturbating only to thoughts of me is an effort for him, and I feel like if he truly loved/desired me it would just come naturally and not have to be forced. Is that normal? Can that ever change?

    The hope I hold on to is that over time, he will realize he doesn't need it and his urges for porn/images/erotica use will fade away. That he will be satisfied with just me. Is that realistic or delusional? He has said that over time it has gotten less difficult. But like I said, the struggle is definitely still there.

    Should I just be content with the fact that he has stopped for me? Is that all I can realistically expect from him? Is it doomed because of our fundamental disagreement on these things being unhealthy? Is it possible to make this work long-term, or can this only work with someone who feels the same way I do or doesn't have these urges at all?

    Any guidance from people who have quit and/or their partners would be very appreciated. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
    Sootie and +TenPercent like this.
  2. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Overview:
    1. My boyfriend quit porn/images/erotica because I wanted him to and I'm worried it's not sustainable.
    2. It hurts me that he still has urges, even though he doesn't act on them.
    3. Is it possible for the urges to go away? Is it okay if they don't?



    I have been with my boyfriend for nearly a year now (I'm 25, he's 29). Over this time, we have had many discussions on how I think masturbating to porn/images/erotica/fantasies of other women is unhealthy in a relationship at any frequency, and that it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. He does not agree with me on this. He agrees that "excessive" usage of these things can indeed be unhealthy, but that a "normal/controlled/occasional/weekly" usage is perfectly fine. He says that if I used porn/images/erotica it wouldn't bother him at all. He thinks it is natural and healthy for people to desire/fantasize about someone other than their partner and to masturbate to them. He feels that he would be able to use his best judgement on how much to do these things, and that if he felt it was negatively affecting our relationship he would cut back. He thinks that controlling someone else's sexuality is wrong.

    I told him that my boundaries on this were fixed and that I couldn't accept any level of usage, because I have read a lot of research that the negative effects are sub-conscious and cannot be controlled, even if it's not "obsessive" or "daily" usage. Moreover, him getting sexual pleasure from other women makes me feel disrespected, and makes me feel that I am not enough. It feels like a form of infidelity.

    Because of how I feel about it, he told me he would stop, and he has. He said that it's not easy for him, and that he still has urges, but that he will not act on them because he knows I do not want him to. It has been about a year since he quit porn, 5 months since he quit using images, and 2 months since he stopped using erotica. He told me he also no longer masturbates to fantasies/thoughts of other women, and that he has made an effort to only masturbate to thoughts of me.

    I used to think that this is all I wanted. That all I wanted was for him to stop. But now I can't shake the fear that because he is doing it just for me, and not for himself, his resolve will eventually either break down or turn into resentment towards me. And that ultimately, I'm still not enough. Something will always be missing for him. If he agreed that porn was unhealthy and that stopping it was best for the relationship, I wouldn't be as worried. But that fact that he is doing it purely because I want him to concerns me. I have been told by many people that if someone doesn't want to change for their own reasons, they will never truly be able to.

    I asked him about if he resents me. He said no. He said that even though he would be "more satisfied" in the relationship if he was free to use his own judgement and control his own usage, he is still happy with me and is willing to stop entirely in order to be with me. That sounds good and all, but my question is... is it sustainable? If this is something that is actively difficult for him, isn't it just a matter of time before he can't resist the urge, or starts to hate me for stopping him?

    I've asked him if this is something he can do forever. He said he doesn't know and that he can't predict the future. Not exactly the reassurance I wanted. It makes me so scared. I feel like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop--that suddenly one day he will wake up and realize that he doesn't want to fight the urges, and tell me "I can't do this anymore". That he will realize I alone am not enough to sustain him. Especially when I'm older, no longer beautiful, no longer able to compete with the women in these videos and images. Especially when time makes me too familiar and boring and he is craving novelty. Maybe that's a pessimistic view of things, but I don't know how else to think about it.

    It hurts me to know that he still has these urges, even though he isn't acting on them. The desire to consume other women is still there, and that makes me feel like I'm still not good enough. Even though he is "happy" with me and we have a very good sex life, he still wants to watch porn/look at images/read erotica... he just doesn't. Doesn't that mean he's still unsatisfied? Masturbating only to thoughts of me is an effort for him, and I feel like if he truly loved/desired me it would just come naturally and not have to be forced. Is that normal? Can that ever change?

    The hope I hold on to is that over time, he will realize he doesn't need it and his urges for porn/images/erotica use will fade away. That he will be satisfied with just me. Is that realistic or delusional? He has said that over time it has gotten less difficult. But like I said, the struggle is definitely still there.

    Should I just be content with the fact that he has stopped for me? Is that all I can realistically expect from him? Is it doomed because of our fundamental disagreement on these things being unhealthy? Is it possible to make this work long-term, or can this only work with someone who feels the same way I do or doesn't have these urges at all?

    Any guidance from people who have quit and/or their partners would be very appreciated. Thank you.
     
  3. StarRider

    StarRider Fapstronaut

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    You posted to the forum section for abstinence and retention. Quitting porn as well as having sex with a BF/GF is not on topic here.

    He doesn't have to agree with you. The rest of your description sounds like a regular 29yo man with a healthy sex drive. Yes we all have urges.

    I doubt you have a real relationship after just a few months of him banging you. You're most likely dating out of your league and are unable to cope with the fact, that you can't lock down a high SMV man exclusively. So your only option is stop dating him and look for someone more your alley. That will remove your insecurities and fears of abandonment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  4. fan_of_all_might

    fan_of_all_might Fapstronaut

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    You should be really thankful for your boyfriend quitting porn for you. It's not an easy task and him doing that shows he must really like you. What you cannot do is expect to him to not desire. Urges are natural, and the fact that he's open to you about them is also more of a ++.

    TBH I think this guy is killing it and you are pushing him too far. If you have a healthy and happy sex life and relationship and he's being faithful, it's now your own insecurities getting in the way. You can't control someones thoughts nor do I believe its realistic to expect someone to only EVER think about their partner.
     
  5. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Didn't realize I posted in the wrong forum. Sorry about that.
    Thanks for your really rude response though!
     
  6. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    I should have made it more clear that I do appreciate it, and I have told him that. It does mean a lot to me. Again I am more concerned about if quitting for me is a healthy reason, or if it's unsustainable.

    Thanks for your opinion. I think it is hard for me to understand the natural urges people have because I don't really experience much of that. When you are with someone and you experience those urges, what is it about? Is it because there is something you need that they cannot give you? How does it affect your satisfaction with them? Do you view them differently if you have just spent a lot of time fantasizing about someone else? These are question I am genuinely curious about hearing different answers to.
     
  7. I'm partly surprised that no one has responded to this yet . . . and partly not surprised. It's a tough question to answer.

    Your boyfriend sounds very rational. I imagine that maybe he is like I was when I was closer to his age. I really did believe at that time that masturbating to porn and fantasies of other women was natural, and normal. I still believe that being aroused by other women/people (or for women to be aroused by other men/people) is normal. But . . . that doesn't mean they need to masturbate to fantasies of those people. And, I agree with you and many others that porn is highly destructive.

    It's promising that you are communicating about these concerns and that your boyfriend is receptive. It's really kind of amazing that he is willing to go to such lengths for you, even if he isn't really doing it for himself.

    I'm not sure that there is any guarantee that anyone can offer you about sustainability. Your boyfriend is changing and maturing. What you have described so far is promising even if he still, currently, doesn't believe that masturbating to thoughts and images of other women is wrong. All we can really hope for is that he will continue to try to honour your wishes and that he'll learn on his own somehow that such behaviours are, in fact, harmful to the relationship with you that he values.

    I'm not sure if any of that helps. Ultimately it comes down to his views and his values. Values change. Perhaps as he gets older, his values will change. Maybe by not masturbating to porn he'll gravitate towards other guys who don't do it either . . . then it might seem more normal to him if he realises that none of his friends do that. Perhaps even the world is starting to change as the destructive nature of pornography is coming to light. We can only hope.
     
  8. Ahiphena

    Ahiphena Fapstronaut

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    It can be sustainable, but its entirely up to him and his values. You know him better than us.

    What urges bother you in particular? Is it really his desire to look at porn that bothers you, or the fact that he finds other women attractive too? If its just porn, that will probably fade away if he continues to do nofap. However most men find most women attractive. Its just a fact of life. Any half decent man can simply find someone attractive without anything further if they value their partner. You know more about him than we do, but I'd say his commitment to NoFap so far is a good sign that he cares.
     
    +TenPercent likes this.
  9. Hopefully we can get this moved to the relationship forum before star hole rams his brutish attitude into it too many more times.

    this is an excellent question and I think you will get a much more appropriate response pool in the relationship forum.

    how do we ask a mod to do this? Anybody know?

    meanwhile, maybe a couple of the men in that forum can give their two cents. Pretty please, @+TenPercent , @SequinHistory , @JamesTheSquirrel
    Or experienced SO, @Psalm27:1my light

    I keep tagging them, but I hope they don’t mind my finding their perspectives valuable.
     
    +TenPercent and SequinHistory like this.
  10. Still figuring out my own two cents on the topic. I know I would be feeling nervous, too. But that is only after having experienced great turmoil at the hands of my partners full blown addiction, lying, etc. I didn’t care about his using porn before it surfaced as a growing problem getting in the way of our relationship. I was a cam girl for over a year of it so it would have been absurd to boss him around that way. Has your boyfriend shown any behaviors around it that led you to ask him to stop?

    I almost want to suggest he may not have stopped, but is putting on a good face to ease your concerns. The fact that he sees no wrong by it and you do kind of indicates a possibly much more fundamental difference in ethics between you than can sustain a long term relationship without somebody being unhappy or stuffing down some part of themselves.
     
    Reborn16 likes this.
  11. StarRider

    StarRider Fapstronaut

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    This is a self-help forum, there is no need to sugarcoat the truth.

    When girls appear on this forum trying to fix their boyfriend, they need to realize, that they have no power over these men - thus the entire attempt is futile. Your date is telling you what you want to hear, so you continue to go to bed with him, while you are fantasizing about having a real relationship with a guy you won't be able to lock down and control. This is because you need him more than he needs you. The second you withdraw sex, you're gone.

    In general if and when a man decides to tackle problems in his life, is not your concern. That's not something a man discusses with a date he just met last winter. However you decided to have sex with that guy, so you got heavily attached to someone who masturbates to pornography and obviously is not Mr. Right for you. That's the issue you deal with and you fix it by moving on.
     
    Sootie and TheBigJ like this.
  12. SequinHistory

    SequinHistory Fapstronaut

    Hi trying33,

    First of all, I don’t agree with StarRider or fan_of_all_might and I’m sorry that they invalidated your concerns like that. Unfortunately there is a lot of a toxicity in these forums.

    You are right to have fears and your partner should be doing everything he can to rebuild your trust. If the roles were reversed he would feel the same. Have you heard of betrayal trauma? When/ how did you find out about your partner’s porn use?

    In a healthy relationship your partner should not be choosing pornography over you. If pornography use in a relationship is ever healthy, I imagine this would be in times of separation (long distance, away for work etc.) If you don’t want your partner to use pornography he needs to respect your boundaries. Right now I think he’s justifying his behaviour, and the fact he is struggling with urges implies his usage wasn’t healthy. If he didn’t have a problem he would be able to drop it now, forever, and it wouldn’t be a problem.

    That’s true. It’s not your job to show him why he should stop but I advise you to make your boundaries clear to him. You’re not overreacting. I would welcome him to join this forum and read messages from other SOs, or the subreddit loveafterporn. He needs to realise that this isn’t harmless.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  13. I feel sorry for whomever ends up marrying starguy

    I think I will be using the ignore button for the first time in my forum posting life. I suggest you try it too, @trying33 . The dude has not one post that has been useful, considerate, or relevant to having healthy relationships. I don’t really know what his reason for being here is except to belittle and judge others, especially females. It boggles my puny ignorant female mind.
     
  14. Reborn16

    Reborn16 Fapstronaut

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    I was going to say the same thing, not to throw OP's guy under the bus - but I can certainly imagine how this could be pushed under the carpet when it's such a private act. The way he gave up one thing, then the other thing, doesn't make sense to me. It's all or nothing in most cases here - but benefit of the doubt I could be wrong.

    And Kaia that's a sketch of someone 'consuming' TV right? Reminds me of some artist impressions of iPhone culture a few years back.. awesome stuff!

    OP - I agree with what others have said, you can't change someone who doesn't want to etc. However, Dale Carnegie (guru of interpersonal skills) says we can influence people with our values, by acting as an example rather than reasoning with words.

    Everyone says relationships are a compromise right, but there's a base level of values you both have to agree on IMO.

    Lastly, as a guy slowly but surely kicking this habit myself, my values have changed accordingly. I don't want fake sexual stuff in my life while single - therefore it's a definite no go in a relationship for me.

    PMO to another girl could be comparable to flirting with another girl IRL. Sure, neither equates to cheating - but they're not exactly great for a relationship either.
     
  15. SequinHistory

    SequinHistory Fapstronaut

    You’ll probably hear a lot of stuff about the Coolidge Effect but personally I think that’s BS. I know from my experience I never fully opened up to my wife due to loss I suffered when I was young. I felt alone and found solace in things that would give me dopamine (chocolate, porn, weed, cigarettes, computer games etc.) For people with any addiction they are always looking for a quick fix to their problems. They think the next video/ girlfriend/ escort will fill the void they have but it never does. If you’ve conditioned yourself to use sex as a coping mechanism, you’ll see the solution in other men/women. Maybe your partner saw you as a solution at first but, when you didn’t fix him (because you couldn’t) he looked to the next person. This is how I think it was for me and I subconsciously resented my wife for it. You cannot possibly give him what he needs because he doesn’t know what it is, and it does affect how he sees you.
     
    Reborn16 likes this.
  16. SequinHistory

    SequinHistory Fapstronaut

    I really hope you never ejaculate as that way your family line will end with you. Do us all a favour. :)
    Not that it’s any of your business but I have been with my wife for 4 years in total. Our marriage is probably at its strongest point now, despite everything.

    I do feel some sympathy for you and I’m sorry you’re so bitter and lonely. Let me know when your superpowers kick in. Are you gonna call yourself ‘Retention Man’? Or maybe ‘Semen Man’?
     
  17. StarRider

    StarRider Fapstronaut

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    @SequinHistory You need to realize, that her "boyfriend" (she is just a plate for him) is not a stoned loser like you. In that case she wouldn't be with him. It's her own insecurities caused by growing up without a father figure, which are the cause of her fear of abandonment.
     
  18. SequinHistory

    SequinHistory Fapstronaut

    I didn’t know you were a psychologist and a superhero!
     
    Comfortablydumb96 likes this.
  19. StarRider

    StarRider Fapstronaut

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    @SequinHistory It's understandable that recognizing red flags and avoiding bad relationships is a completely alien concept to you. That's why you're in a dysfunctional marriage now. That of course doesn't stop you to give out relationship advice, just like those newbies who registered on here last Saturday.

    For example I would never date a girl, who visits nofap.com, YBOP et al, because that is a huge red flag in itself. The exact reasoning doesn't even matter. A girl who is so jealous of a screen, that she feels the need to research "porn addiction" is trouble. And no man on this planet is forced to spend time with trouble (despite entitled girlfriends thinking otherwise).

    If I would have been part of the story in post #1, it would have turned out differently: If a date comes up to me and tries to enforce her rules on me, she is gone. A chick wanting my commitment enters my world and my world means my rules. As in captain and first officer. I don't do diplomatic negotiations before war breaks out, I make the decisions.
     
    TheBigJ likes this.

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