Family © by photon_de

In a recent post, I pointed out that all of us have varied responsibilities to the people in our lives. Unfortunately, pornography and related behaviors can prevent us from fulfilling those responsibilities.  Unchecked and untreated, sex addiction can wreak havoc on your family life, your children’s mental and emotional health, and even your employment prospects.  Here’s how porn gets between you and your responsibilities:

Your Responsibility to Your Partner:

  • Be faithful to him or her.  Viewing pornography- especially alone, in secret, and against your partner’s wishes- is a form of cheating on your spouse.  Each of you committed to reserve sexual attention exclusively for each other- not for someone in a picture or video on the internet.  This is a violation of an important part of your commitment to each other.
  • Avoid knowingly hurting him or her.  Pornography and other infidelity almost inevitably cause your partner huge amounts of pain and distress.  Whether you view your habit as cheating or not, your spouse probably does, and the feeling of betrayal is devastating.  Your porn viewing can also cause serious damage to your loved one’s self-esteem and mental health.
  • Treat him or her with respect.  Doing things that hurt your partner (even indirectly) and violating your commitment to fidelity are obviously not respectful.  Additionally, many people find porn use- especially by a partner- highly offensive, and many consider pornography and mentality it promotes disrespectful to women in general.
  • Be honest.  Maintaining a porn habit (or engaging in other unfaithful behavior) often eventually means that you will try to conceal your actions from your partner.  This means lying, either directly or by omission.  If you are lying to your spouse, or if you are hiding things from him or her, you are not being an honest partner.

Your Responsibility to Your Children:

  • Be a strong positive role model.  Set a good example for your children.  Put your family and your spouse ahead of your impulses.  Seek treatment for your illness.  Be honest with yourself and your partner.  Make a commitment to recovery and a clean, honest life.  Live the example you want your kids to see; even if they don’t know the details of your addiction, they’ll know strength and integrity when they see it, and they’ll follow your lead.  If you choose to “feed the wrong wolf,” they’ll follow that lead, too.
  • Create a clean, safe, appropriate environment for development.  If you’re accessing pornography, dating sites, and other “adult” material on a computer your kids also have access to (and face it, kids can get access to nearly anything in the house regardless of whether it’s meant for them), you risk exposing them to things you probably don’t want your young children to see.  This can be awkward at best and severely damaging at worst, depending on the material and your child’s age.  Protect your kids; keep porn out of your home and your life.
  • Provide a stable, happy, drama-free family.  Pornography and other infidelity cause a lot of conflict in a marriage, and even if you don’t openly fight in front of your children, they are remarkably perceptive even at very young ages.  They will notice the tension and anger, and they will notice your partner’s emotional distress.  Even if they don’t know or understand the details, they will be effected by the negativity, and their performance in school, their own mental health, and their emotional development will all suffer for it.
  • Demonstrate a loving, healthy relationship.  Review the ways pornography is a breach of your responsibility to your partner, and the damage it does to your spouse’s well-being and to your marriage.  Do you want your kids thinking a normal, healthy marriage is rife with infidelity, damaged self-esteem, distrust, and disregard of your partner’s feelings?  Do you want your kids to settle for that kind of treatment from their own future spouses?

Your Responsibility to Your Co-Workers and Employers:

  • Be reliable, punctual, and focused.  If you are distracted by your urges and cravings, tired from viewing pornography instead of sleeping, or distracted by the marital conflict caused by your actions, you will not be a good employee.  You may start being late to work, or your job performance may suffer.
  • Abide by company policies, and practice basic decency and courtesy.  Viewing pornography or accessing certain dating or chat sites on a work computer can cost you your job and damage your chances of getting another one.  You may also offend or hurt co-workers, who you have a responsibility to treat with basic respect.