It’s those first few moments, days, and months that just seem impossible. There are few words that really describe how you feel after you find out your loved one is addicted to porn. If I could describe this feeling in anyway it would an overwhelming amount of confusion that bombards your life.
I really wasn’t sure where to turn with any of it. All I knew was that I was hurt and breaking.
Growing through this, fighting through this, and coming out on the other side stronger has shown me the importance in setting boundaries. It didn’t mean ending things. It meant healing me. It meant coming to terms with not being able to fix Dustin and our relationship, not matter how much I wanted to.
It meant leaning more on Christ and less on the brokenness that each one of us shared. It meant learning to be healthy myself, no matter the future outcome.
Our story doesn’t start with boundaries, but it ends with them. I knew after finding out that I should “make boundaries.” But I had hesitation towards this idea of creating any type of “walls” around my heart. In my mind, I wasn’t sure what boundaries were going to look like, where they would take us, or what room I had to make for them.
But then, I came to a point in our relationship where I hit rock bottom. I realized we had a much larger problem at hand and that something needed to happen, actively. Not only for our relationship to be restored, but for our hearts.
I by no means have all the answers. I just have my story. The boundaries you create with your loved one may be different then the ones I created with Dustin. But if I help you just by sharing the things I have done then I have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity.
One of the first boundaries I created with Dustin was limiting our time together
. Porn creates a relationship full of distrust
. After I found out, it was hard for me to get over something I had to re-face every time we would see each other. I made it clear, for those first few months after it happened, that our time together would only be spent at church or in a group. I needed to have a grasp on forgiveness that I knew
was clear and solid. This wouldn’t happen if we spent a lot of time together, absorbed in one another. So for two months, we saw each other on Wednesdays and Sundays, rarely texted, and remained off the phone. I didn’t do this to teach him a lesson, but to care for my heart
. When you find out your boyfriend is addicted to pornography, it does damage to your heart. Setting boundaries isn’t simply “saying no” to your boyfriend.
It’s creating a way to prioritize the healing of your heart. For me, I knew it would not be healthy to stay so closely tied in the relationship.
Secondly, I had to make sure he knew I supported him without creating a rule guide to his life. When I first found out, I thought I would be able to fix him by handing him a list of things I wanted him to change. I soon learned that this harmed both of us. It created an environment of shame for him and was unrealistic on my part.
I had to step back and see ourselves as two individuals, and to stop taking responsibility for his addiction. I made it clear to him that I loved him and was here to pray for him instead of handing him a list of things I wanted him to do. He knew that porn would have to be gone for our relationship to succeed.
It encouraged him more knowing that I was there praying from him instead of nagging him.
Lastly I had to be intentional with other women in my life
. This is not something you can walk out alone. It was a walk of consistently going to Christ, and talking with other women. Very few knew how to respond, but it’s a matter of bringing the darkness to the light. Christ does not want you to walk through this alone. Find women you can trust and that you know will be here for you to support you
. Also, it’s never healthy to consume your life with one relationship
. Dustin and I make it a point to make time to hang out with others.
Ladies, if I can do anything, I want to encourage you to set boundaries in your relationship during this time. You have every right to go to your man and set a standard.
You do not have the role of changing him, but of determining what you desire in a relationship with a man. You cannot change his heart, but you are responsible for caring for your own. Guarding every ounce of it knowing that with Christ you can have peace that can seem so absent during this time.
You are not just setting boundaries to fix what porn breaks in your relationship. You’re setting boundaries to make your heart stronger, and to truly recognize that you will be all right whether things get better or worse. Something boundaries gave me was a peace. I was not swimming with all the burdens I had picked up for Dustin, but I was relying on a peace that Christ had supplied.