We all talk about what it's like for them, but what is it like to love one?
The reality that we live in today is that many women find themselves in relationships with porn addicts and don't even know it.
There is so much talk about what this addiction is like for the people suffering from it, mostly men. But what about the women who, day in and day out, live with and love those with porn addiction? How does it affect their relationships? Their own self-esteem?
Actually, the damage is immeasurable.
Time and time again, there is a fear women have of being alone, or even intimacy in general. So much of this stems from a face that makes me shiver: do you really believe you don't deserve anything more?
You're in a relationship that's going nowhere and makes you feel sad, lonely, unhappy — you sit around just waiting for the end because you don't even truly believe you "measure up."
You believe you're flawed to your very core and you're terrified of leaving the one person you think is the only one capable of sticking around. Even if he doesn't make you feel very good, you do it anyways.
I see so many women who either believe they need a complete and utter re-make in order for someone to love them ... or they've already gone through with it — they get boob jobs, nose jobs, shed pound after pound trying to transform into what think their partner wants.
But even after all of this, they are still so unhappy. They think no amount of change to their appearance will ever be enough.
If any of this sounds at all familiar, let me ask you this: If you didn't believe this, would you still stick around in your relationship?
Do you actually enjoy waiting around just to face abuse and be ignored, constantly compared to an airbrushed fantasy image of young, sexy women? Your partner watches women constantly on the Internet, so much that you think you'll never be enough.
When you spiral down a dark hole into a situation like this, your anxiety levels and paranoia rises. You check his phone for the numbers he's called, for the pictures he's saved. You suspect him of cheating constantly, but you would never ever confront him.
After all, he's convinced you those other women are better than you anyway, right? You're lucky he ever looked at you twice.
Why are you in this relationship? Here's something that might have never, ever been told to you before: you deserve someone who isn't always checking out other women or watching them or contacting them.
What is your reason for staying? Be honest with yourself.
If you're ignoring bad behavior, open your eyes. Acting this way comes from a desperate fear that you need a man to protect you and prove to the whole world you are capable of being loved. But if he's convinced you of your own worthlessness, what is he really protecting you from?
You're being betrayed. Ignored. Shamed. And it's time you stopped blaming yourself.
There's one basic, valuable thing missing from your relationship: Respect. Respect from your partner and respect for yourself.
These are hard questions to face, but you can face them and reach out for help because you do not have to live this way.
My clients are all women who have experienced this misery; they are hurt, sad, and angry women who have sold themselves short. Their pain is heart-breaking. Their self-blame and loss of self-respect moves me to tears. But they are reaching out because they have come to a place of incredible pain.
They are also the most courageous and brave women that I have ever known because they are taking the first step to recovery.
From shame and degradation they are coming into the light of becoming whole.
I know a beautiful woman who has re-claimed herself. In the process she relived enormous pain, opened her raw and bleeding wounds and exposed them to the air. It was so painful that I shed tears with and for her.
She lost her beautiful big house, faced bankruptcy, but found the self that she had slowly, over time, surrendered to a heart-breaking marriage. Today she has restarted her career and is living in a modest home with her young sons filled with love and laughter. She glows with health and her own inner light.
I know another woman who woke up wanting her life over with, but she had a small child to raise — a scared little girl who refused to go to school and threw tantrums. This woman finally found the strength to face her fears that she had carried around seemingly forever.
She found the courage to give her husband a choice: get help for himself or leave. From that difficult point they have struggled and grown in immeasurable ways.
Today they face their lives openly. Their journey continues.
George Collins, Founder of Compulsion Solutions has spent the last 30-years helping porn/sex addicts to reclaim their lives, self-esteem and relationships. His books are Amazon's #1 Bestsellers in the industry. Click here to get 1-on-1 help from George, or simply get the first chapter of his book, free.
This article was originally published at compulsionsolutions.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.