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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Broken trust in relationship. Advice?

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Author Topic: Broken trust in relationship. Advice?
littlemissheart
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Member # 48260

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Hi there. I'm in need of some major advice regarding my relationship with my boyfriend of 1 1/2 years. I am 22 and he is almost 28.

About a year or more ago my boyfriend and I decided and promised that we both would not watch porn and would try to only think of each other while masturbating. We both said we could fully rely on sex, each other's pictures, videos of ourselves, etc. and agreed that porn is unhealthy while in a relationship (while I know everyone does not agree). I told him if he needed anything sexually I could provide it for him and vice versa. Over the past year I would ask my boyfriend if he watched porn or thought of other girls while masturbating. He always said no and convinced me that while he did that in the beginning of our relationship that he definitely does not do it now. However, last weekend I discovered on his phone (not sneaking, we always google things on each other's phone) that he was watching porn and reading porno stories. I felt betrayed. He had not only broken the promise but he had lied to me numerous times about it and reassured me that he definitely didn't. The thing is I had watched porn twice, quit, and did not bring it up. I did not bring it up and therefore I know I'm in the wrong as well. However, I feel betrayed because after the discovery he finally came clean and said he watched it regularly, and had been for awhile. He also said he probably would not have quit unless I found out.

He says now that he will not watch porn. But how do I believe him? I know not everyone agrees that watching porn while in a relationship is unhealthy. To me it is more about we made a promise not to do something. We both broke the promise. But he engaged in the activity consistently and claims he wanted to quit, but just didn't. I know I lied as well, but he went as far as to reassure me he was not watching it and only thought of me. He also could not quit, and his was not a slip-up, but instead became a habit. He claims he has no reason to do it, he was just bored, couldn't sleep, etc. I asked if there was anything I could do to help him feel sexually satisfied and he said we are doing everything he could ever hope to do.

I love him and want to be with him, but it is hard right now. While it may sound dramatic I feel like I've been back stabbed and that I was not enough to satisfy him sexually since he was engaging in this regularly. It has really taken a toll on my self-confidence. We were even talking about getting engaged soon, however since we are having trust issues I'm glad we did not rush into that. He said he would still like to be engaged sometime soon, but I told him I thought it would be best to work on our current problems first.

What should we do? It's hard to believe anything he says now. I want to rebuild the trust. How do I go about solving our situation? And how do you rebuild trust in a relationship?

Posts: 33 | From: California | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I feel like the agreement the two of you made was going to be nigh unto impossible to honor, at least when it comes to promising to control thoughts and fantasies, because those really are not things we can control.

Would you be comfortable talking about rebuilding trust starting with a foundation that acknowledges the original agreement was clearly problematic, especially since you both were unable to honor it despite best efforts?

Are you also up to talking some about seeing what you need to feel comfortable with the fact that our own sexualities are really not something that can ever be 100% about a partner in the first place, and trying to make them so, even in our thoughts, is not actually a healthy approach?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
littlemissheart
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Member # 48260

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Hi, thank you for the response. I do see now that our agreement was somewhat impossible, mostly the imagination and only thinking of the other. However, I do not think abstaining from porn is unreasonable. There are many studies that show that when a partner engages in watching porn there are many negative side effects that can take place. I know there are positive ones as well though.

I'm willing to compromise and work out a more realistic agreement. However it isn't just me calling the shots, my boyfriend also does not want me to watch pornography so these are things we're both agreeing on.

How do we rebuild trust though? I want to be with him but I feel as if our relationship will never be the same. I would not have been mad if he would have just told me he was watching porn regularly and that he needed to watch it occasionally. But instead there was constant lying, and times he would reassure me he wasn't without me even asking. Do you think we should not be together?

Posts: 33 | From: California | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I agree: people choosing not to use or look at porn is not unreasonable, so long as it is something everyone making that kind of agreement really wants to do.

However, I think if what's loaded unto that is a desire for partners to only ever think about each other sexually, or in the idea it's sound for another person to meet all someone's sexual needs -- including needs we have that aren't about anyone besides ourselves -- it's going to feel like a bigger thing happened, if you follow me.

Let's maybe first see if you two can't talk about this differently? Rather than you each wanting the OTHER not to watch porn: is it something neither of you, yourselves, really wants to do? If not, maybe you can fill me in on how you each feel about your choice to do that when you did? Did you both break that agreement because you WANTED to watch porn?

Before we go to those last questions, it's clear you know he broke the agreement. Does he also know you did?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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