I’m seventeen and I’m in a relatively long-term relationship with my seventeen year old boyfriend (9 months). I don’t know if Teen Central covers these topics, but I decided to try reaching out anyways, because I need some guidance. I care a lot for my boyfriend and we have a great relationship together where I feel seen, understood, and valued. I always try to make him feel the same. 8 months ago, we had a conversation about pornography, which I am strongly against, especially in relationships. He admitted to watching porn and committed to stopping, which I trusted him with to do. I know that pornography is an addiction and can be very challenging to stop. This doesn’t change the fact that I hate porn and absolutely want no part of that in my life. This past week, we had another conversation about it. He says he’s been trying to stop but “some weeks are harder than others.” I’m really heart broken because I thought breaking the addiction would only take a few months at most. I have felt vulnerable and devalued in our relationship since that conversation. I am honestly so angry. Should I feel this angry?
I want to set stronger rules or something for our relationship, but I don’t want him to lie to me. I know most people, if not all, cannot overcome addiction solely for other people. He needs to want it himself. We do have intimate relations, and I wonder if withdrawing from those would help. At the same time, I wonder if that would draw me farther away from him in ways that make it harder for him to stop. I’m so confused.
I have also thought about giving him an ultimatum. “If you haven’t overcome it by xx amount of time than we can’t continue this relationship.” Again, I really don’t want him to lie to me. I care for him so much and have made such a commitment to him the past 9 months, and other than this, I am so happy in our relationship. What are my next steps? How do I address this from here on out?
Of course, we will cover your story! Here at TeenCentral we do our absolute best to address, guide, and provide resources for all stories submitted. Just because you may feel that your story/situation is different than others does not mean that you must navigate on your own. We are always here to help!
Have you asked yourself why you feel so strongly against this type of material? Have you asked your boyfriend why he is attracted to it? Perhaps if you really reflect on your reasoning behind being so against it and why he is drawn to it, you could better understand this situation from both perspectives. Having these conversations with yourself and with your boyfriend can help to strengthen your relationship and show genuine concern and mutual respect for one another.
Do you have any trusted adults or older cousins/friends that you feel comfortable to talk to about this? I know it seems like something you would not want to speak to an adult about, but they have age and experience on their side and may be able to help by sharing their knowledge and wisdom.
Remember that being a teenager can be very confusing and challenging for everyone. You are feeling new feelings inside physically and emotionally. Try your best to be open minded and understanding and remember that hormones in females differ drastically than in males in many ways. This is part of what makes it so hard for men to understand women and women to understand men in many situations.
Take some time to read and research to better educate yourself. In the What’s New section on our website you can find a blog entry titled “Porn Addiction”. Take some time to read this entry. This is a great read that you can share with your boyfriend and discuss together after. At the end of it, it gives a few journaling/talking points. This may help spark conversation between the two of you.
Visit our Tools page. Our Tools page provides short activity sheets and guides to help you through this challenging time. Some topics covered are Anger Map which breaks down our cycle from what triggers us and how to cope with these triggers appropriately to better respond and react to them to help break the cycle of negative reactions which tend to leave to fighting and hurt feelings. A few others are Conflict Conversation Organizer and Fighting Fair. These two resources will help you organize your thoughts and feelings and help you to navigate through difficult conversations without blaming and shaming one another so that you are more successful in achieving your goal.
How does it make you feel knowing he is doing something that you do not like? How does it make you feel when you consider giving him an ultimatum or time limit to stop doing this? These can be very scary and unsettling feelings. Who do you have in your corner? What is your support system? Help yourself and check out Support Plan and 8 Signs of Unhealthy Relationships in our Tools section. 8 Signs of Unhealthy Relationship will help you understand red flags within your relationship that should be addressed to keep you safe physically, emotionally and mentally. Support Plan is a simple worksheet that will help you identify your thoughts and feelings and any symptoms/behaviors associated with them and who you feel you can talk to about such things.
What do you do for yourself when you are feeling upset or angry? Consider positive self – talk. It is such a cliché but truly is beneficial. Read through Self Positive Talk in our Tools section to help guide you through this coping skill. When you are finished with this consider checking our Strength Training, Stretch Yoga Pose, and Aerobic Running Guide. Get up and get moving to get those happy juices flowing. These happy juices will help you to not only feel better but also have a more positive outlook on things in life to better navigate on your own to achieve your goals.