We have been dating for 14 months. He served a mission, attends the temple, has always been active. About 4 months into our relationship I discovered that he has an addiction to pornography. He is in frequent contact with our bishop to discuss where he is at with his addiction. He attends the A.recovery program at the church. He also has no clue that I know any of this. I know only because he left his journal on his desk (bad,I know.) I am terrified of what I could be getting myself into. Any thoughts?
I am very sorry that this is happening to you right now. Watching a loved one deal with any kind of addiction, if it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco or porn is always a heartbreaking situation. Like all addictions (including pornography), the person using the substance to what they are addicted to not only hurts themselves (it does), it hurts everyone they are surrounded by and it hurts the ones they are closest to the most. The addict is not a bad person, but they are dealing with a sickness.
Fourteen months is a long time to be dating someone, but as you are finding out it’s not enough time to know everything about them. When you enter into a marriage and start living with someone, you are bound to find out things about them that you don’t agree with and might be troubling or frustrating to you. Sometimes these things are a minor annoyance-like if your future spouse snaps her bubble gum or if your future husband snores. Sometimes they are more serious, like having a porn addiction or a violent temper.
If you do get married, this is where you could be in 5 years: How do I support my husband who has a porn addiction? Keep in mind that you are dating, but not married to your boyfriend. If this is too much for you to handle, you should do both of you a favor and see others. Marriage is a great opportunity to learn and practice Christian virtues, but should not be entered into on the hope that discipleship will one day come.
There is a Church owned website, Overcoming Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It’s a great source for not only those who have the addiction, but for those who are dealing with a spouse or other family member who struggles with this.
An addiction can never be cured. You might have heard the phrase “Once an addict, always an addict.” While it can’t be cured, it can be managed. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of discipline on the part of the addict. It also helps to have a lot of family support. It sounds like your boyfriend is doing the right thing here-he is meeting with his bishop, he is going to group therapy-he is on the right track. He is not in denial about his addiction and he is trying to get better. It sounds to me that he is a decent young man who knows what he has to work on. Maybe it would be best to tell him what you found out (and how you found it out) and make him aware that you know about his struggles. No matter what the outcome is, he might be happy that both you and him and communicate on a level where nothing is hidden.
You are in my prayers.