7 Signs You Should Stay (post porn discovery)

Stay or go?

Stay or go?

“Should I stay or should I go…?” Those are the words to a catchy 80’s song but it’s also the question many women (and some men) grapple with in the wake of learning of their significant others secret forays with porn. In fact I was recently asked this very question by a young adult who decided it would be better to end a relationship after finding out about her boyfriend’s problem. Reflecting on things, she realized she was dealing with a lingering sense of guilt and doubt and wondered if she should have given him a chance. Based on what she told me I assured her that she made a wise decision.

So how do you know if it’s time to call it quits and move on? Do you hang around long enough for him to “wake up” while you endure an endless cycle of  his white-knuckle resistance and inevitable relapses?

Here are 7 major signs that can help you know if you should stay or go:

#1 – He’s SORRY read 2 Cor. 7:10 (NLT) this sorrow is more than just an apology. It’s a depth of sorrow that indicates a true awareness of the impact of our sin. Addicts often live with the lie that their acting out only harms them. Real sorrow rejects that excuse and realizes the broader impact.

#2 – He’s REPENTANT read Matt. 3:8 (NLT) John the baptist skewers the religious leaders by implying that their religious vigor isn’t a real indicator that their lives have changed. Instead he says, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” If your guy’s change is the real deal you’ll see it not just in words but in action.

#3 – He’s BROKEN this involves a deep remorse, regret, and an utter disgust at one’s sin. This will be visible in his face, tone, and language he speaks with. It’s marked by a deep sense of how his sin is an offense to God. The best example is king David in 2 Sam. Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’”

#4 – He’s seeking RECONCILIATION 2 Cor. 2:5-10 (NIV) Porn has likely fractured other relationships so this means he’s intentionally pursuing the restoration of those relationships. Calling friends up and apologizing, and demonstrating authenticity and transparency are evidence he’s serious about this.

#5 – He’s CONSISTENT Luke 16:13 (ESV) if he’s on-again, off-again with intentional practices to get better then there’s a good chance he’s not serious. When he adjusts his schedule, prioritizes his group, counseling sessions, and dates with you then you know he’s a keeper!

#6 – He’s RESILIENT Phil. 3:14 (NIV) recovery will come with some relapses, missteps, and set-backs. But your guy shouldn’t stay down long. If he wants to be with you he’ll get back up and jump back into his recovery plan. No whining, excuses, or complaining just get back up!

#7 – He’s HUMBLE Phil. 2:3 (ESV) Humility is a powerful antidote. That’s why a guy will find himself in a place of deep brokenness (see #3). Humility literally means, “lowliness of mind”. If your guy is thinking less of himself and serving you and others more then plan on putting your trust in him once again.

I’m certain I haven’t covered every positive sign but theses are pretty major indicators. Pray for clarity, discernment and decide.

 

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About pastor bernie

Collegiate/Young Adult pastor Forest Lake Church, near Orlando, FL

4 responses to “7 Signs You Should Stay (post porn discovery)”

  1. mamccown1 says :

    Pastor Anderson,

    Thank you for this post. It was timely for me to read though it is not what I wanted to read. I am in the camp of those who are collateral damage to another person’s addiction.

    I have been married 3 years and have never know peace or security from this. This has been part of my life from the time we were engaged and I am now finding my situation almost unlivable. My husband has been in counseling for the past two years but resists any group settings or accountability partners. He refuses to read any materials on addiction and porn addiction specifically. He wants to do this on his own terms, in his own time. While there are occasionally bright spots of behavioral change, they are not lasting. For whatever reason, he is unable to hold on to sobriety for longer than 2 months.

    Due to protective boundaries being crossed – again (porn use in the home and lying to be about it) – I have been living with a friend for the past year. We were supposed to use this time apart to repair ourselves so that we could then try building a marriage. We didn’t know how long the separation would last but for myself I knew I could not stay in a place I felt unsafe, like I had to put up emotional barriers just to get through the day. I could not stay living with someone I could not trust even to be honest about relapses. I put myself in counseling to deal with my relational trauma, hardness of heart, and inability to forgive. This past year has been both hard and one full of personal growth for me.

    For the last several weeks I have been feeling something was off – a feeling I have learned never to ignore. I asked him if he had had a relapse but had chosen not to be honest with me about it. He indicated that he had. I am now in a rather confused place and unsure of what action to take or where to go. I am so tired. I have been sitting in this place of uncertainty, of waiting, of not knowing. A separation I thought would be a month, maybe two has turned into a year and there is no end in sight. I love my husband. He is so much more than this. but I am losing hope that I will ever be able to build a life him. My worst nightmare is staring me in the face. I have to make a choice between living with a man that I love but that will always lie to me, for whom I have no trust and no desire to be intimate with (I am fighting this and do not know how to get around it) because of that broken trust and cutting myself off from a person who was my best friend, who used to make me feel safe. I am facing the very real shame and disconnect I know will happen from divorce. One which I cannot explain, one which will distance me from friends, family members, and my church. I hate that I am here and I do not know what to do. Divorce feels like giving up. It feels like saying he’s hopeless and I know that he is not. I just don’t know if I can last as long as it will take with my sanity in tact.

    Does anyone ever tell women/girls what they may be signing up for? Does anyone ever tell them that this is what they will face? That especially in this day and age, that this is more likely to happen than having a long and fulfilling marriage? Do they tell them that they may face shame and disconnect not only from the person they married but also from their friends, family members, and church? That based on the last data collected 56% of divorces involve internet porn usage and 40% of marriages to porn addicts end up in divorce.

    Are there ANY long-term success stories about people/marriages that have come out the other side? I have yet to find them.

    Also, is there anything within the SDA community that offers support both to addicts and partners of addicts? I am not opposed to using outsides sources, in fact I have found them to be more useful and logic based than most Christian sources. I just find it odd and perhaps a bit telling how very silent the SDA church seems to be on the subject.

    Thank you for “listening” to my rant.

    • pastor bernie says :

      Thank you for your “rant”mamccown1! Glad you could vent here. You’ve articulated well the deep relational rifts that are created by porn. Yes there are beautiful recovery stories. Stories of marriages and relationships restored. So don’t lose hope. Keep believing your man is “so much more”. I hope the message is getting through the young ladies these days. I pray that young couples are thinking carefully about marriage before taking the vows. Besides an SDA based 12-step program there is little that I know of available on this from the SDA denomination. We’ve been a part of a few projects I know that others were creating but none specifically for us. You should feel free to use whatever resources are available the are based on sound biblical principles. Courage.

  2. Leigh says :

    Thank you so much for writing this! Being married to a recovering porn addict (he’s under the GreatnessAhead program), I’ve gained strength in those golden verses from the Bible, as well as in your insightful analysis and advice. Last year, our lives were devastated when I found out about my hubby’s addiction to pornography and thought of running away from all of it. But when my husband told me (and showed me) his desire to change, I’ve decided to stay and be with him through his journey. I’m glad I did, though I believe that my love and support will be all useless without him accepting his addiction and aiming to change.

    • pastor bernie says :

      Glad you and your husband are courageously walking through this. You both will grow from it and true intimacy will be the fruit of your endurance. Thanks for sharing your story!

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