Dear Dan: My wife and I went through a long-distance period when we were still dating and she went away to school. I used porn as a masturbatory aid during that time. I did not tell her this, as she believes that porn use is equivalent to cheating. Well, fast-forward a couple years (and a marriage), and I let it slip that I had watched some porn during the times we were apart. She flew off the handle, and ever since then insists that we can’t have children because I’m a pedophile for watching porn that may or may not have contained women acting like teenagers. She literally yells at me in public if my gaze goes anywhere near girls or women she perceives to be younger than she is. The same goes for watching TV, looking at magazines, you name it. A lot of this stems from her best friend ’s cousin, who worked with people in the porn industry and seduced underage girls into sexual acts. To her, watching porn is the same as what this guy did, but I am pretty sure that I am not a sexual predator. I’ve never made any kind of sexual advance toward anyone else in the time I’ve been with her, and until my admission, she assumed I was a generally good person. At this point, I’m not sure how to get her to see me for the person I am rather than the person she thinks I’ve become. How do I convince her I am still the same person she fell in love with and get her to put aside this irrational fear she has about me?
Sincerely Not A Pedophile
Dear SNAP: DTMFA There’s just one thing you should be trying to convince your wife of right now, SNAP, and it’s this: You aren’t gonna put up with her abusive bullshit anymore. So go gather your things together — don’t forget your balls — and move the hell out.
Because this conflict has nothing to do with porn, it has nothing to do with your character, and it has nothing to do with the criminal behavior of your wife’s best friend’s cousin. (Whatever the fuck to that rationalization.) The issue here — the only issue — is that you made the mistake of marrying a controlling, irrational, abusive psycho. Sticking around to reason with a CIAP doesn’t get you anywhere. Begging and pleading with your wife — desperately trying to convince her that you’re the person she fell in love with — only demonstrates that you’ll take whatever she dishes out and come crawling back for more.
Get out. Leave. Don’t look back.
Want a second opinion? I posted your letter to my blog, and here’s what one of the more astute commenters had to say: “This is what happens when you marry someone you already know you have to lie and cheat to be with. She set her conditions plainly — she feels porn use is evil. You knew you were fine with porn use and used it yourself. You should have broken up for irreconcilable differences then and there. But instead you chose to lie and to pretend to be someone you weren’t. Break up now and find someone who accepts you for who you are.”
There you go, SNAP: This advice columnist and an anonymous commenter both agree that you have to leave this woman. Do you fear being alone? You shouldn’t. Being alone — and being free to enjoy porn — is better than being with someone like your wife. But if you can’t stand the thought of being alone, if you absolutely, positively must stay with this woman for reasons you don’t list (does she have any redeeming qualities?), then you will have to tell the CIAP what she wants to hear: You did a terrible thing (you didn’t), you’re an addict (you’re not), you have a problem (you don’t). Find a therapist for some confidential sessions, talk about the weather, then come home and tell your wife that you’ve been cured and that you will never look at porn — or other women — ever again.
And even if you never look at porn ever again — which isn’t likely — your controlling, irrational, abusive spouse will find something else to blow up at you about. If you don’t take my advice and DTMFA now, SNAP, you’re gonna have to DTMFA at some point.
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