What if Someone I Look Up To Is Looking at Porn?

How to Face the Relationship Challenges Caused by Pornography Use

If someone you look up to is looking at pornography, it's natural to be concerned. Pornography can have a damaging impact on friendships, relationships, and our sense of connection with others. You care about this person, and you value their place in your life. But talking about pornography use is a sensitive conversation to have. It's important to think carefully about your feelings, how prepared you feel, and how to move forward in a way that preserves the relationship. Here are some suggestions for how to think through this challenge in your relationship and move forward in a healthy way.

Consider Why They May Look at Pornography

Sometimes, understanding why someone might be doing something we don't feel comfortable with can help us build more empathy, look at our loved one with more compassion, and talk about our concerns in a kinder way. Here are some reasons the person you look up to may be looking at pornography. They may be:

  • Insecure about themselves, their feelings, or their relationships. 
  • Uncertain how to express themselves or their feelings to their partner, which may make them feel like they need a private outlet for strong feelings. 
  • Experiencing sexual desires or thoughts that they are afraid to talk about for fear of being judged or made fun of
  • Fantasizing about the physically “perfect” person who doesn’t exist
  • Curious about sex and sexuality 

Does thinking through some of these things help you feel less anxious about talking to the person you care about? When I remember that I'm talking to someone I love and care about, it is easier for me to consider their choices, and their decisions.

Making mistakes is part of being human. And that makes it easier to talk things through.

Acknowledge What You Feel

You might have a range of feelings when you know that someone you look up to is viewing pornography. It's important to explore what you feel about this. When you can acknowledge it to yourself, you can figure out how to manage those feelings in a healthy way. And it may help you feel more prepared to talk to the person you care about, if you feel that's appropriate. Here are some things you might be feeling: 

  • Worried: You may feel worried or anxious that pornography use will harm their relationships, or their view of their partner.
  • Disappointed: Perhaps they have told you before that they don't believe in using pornography, and you're disappointed to find out they've acted against their views.
  • Betrayed: Maybe your loved one has told you that they don't use porn, and that you shouldn't either, so you feel betrayed, and that it is difficult to trust them going forward.

Whatever you're feeling, it may be helpful to write it down, or to talk about it with a counselor, mentor, or someone else you trust. If you do feel compelled to talk to your loved one about pornography use, you'll need to be prepared to tackle that conversation.

Decide if You Want or Need to Talk to Them About It

This is a decision every individual needs to make in their own time and for their own reasons. For example, you may feel more comfortable talking to a friend about their pornography use than if you discovered that your parents or older siblings were looking at porn. You don't have to rush into a conversation about it if that's not something you feel comfortable with. Give yourself time to come to terms with how you feel about it and decide how comfortable you are raising the issue. If you don't feel safe talking about this with them, you don't have to do that.

If you do feel safe and prepared to have a conversation, plan to have it in a place you both feel comfortable, where you both have some privacy. During your time together express your concern and care and do your best to share your feelings without judgment. You could say something like:

"Hey. The other day, I noticed you were looking at pornography. You've mentioned before that you didn't agree with using porn, so I was concerned. Is everything okay? Is there anything I can do to help?"

Opening the door to have a conversation and offering a listening ear is a good first step toward having a kind and compassionate conversation. 

Give Them Time and Space

Once your friend knows you're available if they need you for support, they may need time and space before they're ready to open up. Allow them that time. If you get anxious about how things will turn out, remember that the person you look up to has to be the one to decide change is good. They may have to deal with some consequences of their choices or dig deep to understand what they need. Be patient and hopeful as best you can. With you as a supportive friend, they can find the hope to keep going. 

It can be hard to wait for someone to change, or to realize they need to change a behavior we believe to be harmful. In those times, I think of how patient God is, and how much he has forgiven me for. When I needed time and space to come to terms with things, He continued to love me. 

I hope it helps you to know that God loves this person you care about. During times where you're not sure what to say, or how things will turn out with your friend, you can turn to God for peace of mind. 

Forgive if You Need To

Pornography use can cause relationship challenges, even when it is not between romantic partners. If your loved one's pornography use has left you feeling disappointed, betrayed, angry, worried or hurt, that is natural. Anytime we feel like someone has kept something from us, it can cause us pain. But working on forgiveness is key to preserving and strengthening your relationship. One day at a time, you can remind yourself:

  • The person you look up to is a complicated person, and no one is perfect.
  • You can forgive someone without being okay with their choices.
  • When you forgive someone, you release the weight of payback, and the desire to see someone else hurt because they hurt you.
  • As you work on forgiveness, you can ask other people for prayer, support, or encouragement.

Forgiveness is a healing process for you, for the person you look up to, and for other relationships in your life.

Spend Quality Time

Sometimes friends who use porn do so because they feel bored, isolated, or lonely. One of the best ways you can support your friend who has been looking at porn is to spend time together, away from your devices. Going for walks outside, watching your favorite shows and movies, or sharing a meal together can be great ways to reconnect, remember what brought you close in the first place, while helping you and your friend stay away from unhealthy distractions. 

I admire you for wanting to be there for your friend, how much you care about them, and for how much you want to support them. And I'm sure you have questions or feel confused as you try to sort through this. If you feel like you need extra support, you're not alone. TheHopeLine has trained HopeCoaches to offer mentoring to anyone looking to help themselves, or someone they care about, through a difficult time. 

Talk to a HopeCoach today about your loved one using pornography, how it makes you feel, and next steps you can take to find peace and clarity in your life and relationships. We are here for you, and we believe you and your loved one can get through this together.

Check out our partners at XXXchurch.com for help with sex and porn addiction for you or someone you care about.

Start Your Hope Journey Now!
Step 1:  Choose a topic
Step 2: Explore our resources
Step 3: Chat with a hope coach

More Like This

Subscribe Now

Opt-In for Texts(Required)

We will not share your information and we will only send you stuff that matters!
Quick Links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Tired of The Problem?  Try the Solution.

Privacy Policy / Terms of Use
© 2022 TheHopeLine, Inc. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 20-1198064
© 2021 core.oxyninja.com. Powered by OxyNinja Core
magnifiercrosschevron-down