“My new boyfriend prefers porn stars who don’t look like me to real sex with me.” Real Advice for Lasting Change

“I have been dating my boyfriend for almost seven months.
We have had our ups and many, many downs, but we are still working on our relationship — physically and emotionally. Recently, I’ve become aware that my boyfriend has been watching porn. I figured it would improve our sex life — but it has become a daily thing.
I have watched porn constantly with him, but it doesn’t really help at all. I prefer the real thing to something that’s not even real. Whenever he downloads pictures, it’s always a certain type of white girl — I’m not — and I honestly get jealous.
When I confront him about it, he yells at me. I honestly worry he’s doing more than just watching porn. And when I ask, he always says that he doesn’t have anyone on the side and that he only wants me.
I just feel like my time is being wasted and I don’t like that. Should I continue to date and live with him? I’m tired of this abusive and neglectful relationship. How do I get the truth out of him?”

This letter first appeared in the Chicago Tribune

My Thoughts:

A short response to this very sad letter. The last line is the most important. “How do I get the truth out of him?”

As far as I can tell, he is not hiding anything. The truth is right in front of you, but you don’t want to believe it. If he said; “I prefer sex with you to pornography and I find you far more attractive that the girls I watch,” you would, probably rightly, not believe him. This is a new relationship and one you already describe as “neglectful and abusive”. You say it has already contained “many, many lows”.

You hoped porn might improve your sex life. You say it “hasn’t helped”. So, your sex life isn’t good, at least for you. Do you feel to blame for this? Are you watching porn with him out of guilt at not enjoying sex with him? Is all this need to put him in the wrong really a projection of your own feeling of being in the wrong – guilt at not, in fact, finding him and his body type attractive? Possible.

You say you ask him whether he is unfaithful (in the real world) and he says he isn’t. You mention “confronting” him. It sounds as though you find it very hard to tell him how all this makes you feel and, instead, you accuse him of wrongdoing. Accusation is bound to put him on the defensive. You think he might be lying to you but you are lying to him in the sense that you show him anger and jealousy but not the more vulnerable feelings this horrible situation brings out in you. The reason what he does seems wrong is that it makes you feel rejected, sad, lonely, unwanted – very uncertain. It sounds as though you don’t tell him this but go in combative. You manage your uncertainty by handing responsibility for your own mood to him, demanding that he provide information that makes you feel better. He can’t.

You have all the information and you know how it makes you feel. So, I then have lots of questions to which you don’t provide the answers here. What is it that makes you examine his motivation, wonder about his secrets, disbelieve his answers? You don’t like pornography but he is addicted to it. Rather than walk away, you want to hear his reasons, his justifications, want him somehow to convince you that all that your thinking is wrong. You are pretty much asking him to dismiss your feelings and argue you out of your emotional situation.

So, I suspect (as you might expect) that you have a fundamental confusion about your own emotional reality. You know your thoughts and feelings but you are ready to hear them invalidated, are ready to have him put neglect and abuse through some kind of political spin machine and described as attention and care.

You must know that the columnist you wrote to will say leave, but you need this to come from outside because you’re insecure about your own perceptions.

[VERY SPECULATIVE SECTION – I imagine that you have suffered emotional neglect and abuse before, had it denied, been made to feel rejected in favour of some other physical “type”. I wonder if your mother was of a very different physical type to yourself and you felt your father preferred her, rejected you. Or perhaps your father had girlfriends of a different physical type and neglected you for them. This, of course, is wild speculation, but there is a feeling in your letter that suggests you feel inadequate as a sex object (tragic in itself) and, whilst you know on some level that you want and deserve to be found attractive on your own merits, you also find it hard to see yourself as anything other than a sex object (accepted or rejected).]

Your arguments aren’t about your boyfriend’s addiction, your feelings of self-worth, what pornography means for men and women, how you might compromise and use it differently or whatever – the situation is that you feel he prefers a fantasy of something very different to you to the real you.

Whether he does or not isn’t the issue here. The issue, I think, is your inability to trust your own perception, your pre-existing lack of self-worth and what the background to that might be. Only looking at what you are trying to get out of him (and what he is refusing to give – because he hasn’t got it) will help you choose differently in the future. Instead of wondering about him, wonder about you.

Real Advice by email or Skype: anna@blundy.com

 

 

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About Anna Blundy

Honorary psychotherapist with a Masters in Psychoanalytic Theory and another in Psychodynamic Clinical Psychotherapy. Novelist - Author of the Faith Zanetti quintet - The Bad News Bible, Faith Without Doubt, Neat Vodka (US - Vodka Neat), Breaking Faith, My Favourite Poison. Also a memoir of my father, Every Time We Say Goodbye and my most recent thriller - The Oligarch's Wife
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