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Mini Man-sode 22: Does a Porn Addiction Disqualify me From Dating? Is it Cheating?

with

JJ Tomlin

JJ addresses this hot topic of if you can date with a pornography addiction and if consuming pornography is cheating or not. 

Are there qualifications to dating?!

We did a previous episode on four signs you’re not ready to date (run, don’t walk to go listen to that!). Questions to ask yourself here are: Do I have peace about my past? This includes ex’s, trauma, and identity. Am I a clear and honest communicator? Can I be clear and honest about boundaries? Can I be clear and honest about when I’m not interested? Am I surrounded by community and wise counsel? Do I have a good, biblical, foundation of dating, relationships, and marriage? 

Listen, men, we can boast in our achievements and good qualities, but without Jesus, we are broken and not worthy of love. Jesus is the only one who can redeem us and transform us into the people we want to be. He is the ONLY one who can give us the confidence and worthiness to be in a relationship. The only thing that qualifies us in ANY capacity to be ready to date is the degree to which we are completed, whole and satisfied in the Lord. This means, you will be most qualified and ready for relationship when you are most satisfied and content in God.

There are typically two camps people fall into when it comes to if you can date with a porn addiction. The first is that we all struggle, we all have sin, and we’ll never be perfect so sure, it’s okay to date with a porn addiction. The second is that you absolutely cannot date, whatsoever, if you’re addicted to porn because there has been ample research to show that porography leads to a lack of intimacy, connection, and a loss of trust. All of which ultimately leads to divorce. 

JJ would say that camp one is a clear example of relaxing and getting lazy on righteousness and holiness that we are called to pursue in our Christian lives. He would also say that we’re missing the mark in camp two as well because practical reality aside, this addiction (and others) are the absolute kryptonite to a thriving, deep, intimate relationship with God and community. 

What is a Pornography Addiction Signaling?

Pornography is a symptom of a much bigger issue. People will often say that once they’re in a relationship they’ll stop, or once they’re married and can have sex, that’s when they’ll stop. The issue with this, is that it’s completely FALSE! Pornography is usually an intimacy issue. Meaning that you resort to pornography when you’re feeling lonely, depressed, sad, or numb. A relationship may TEMPORARILY replace and fill that desire and need for you. But it will only last for so long. We call this behavior modification. This is why it is profoundly important to resolve and win BEFORE relationship. 

If pornography is your coping mechanism before relationship,then failure, conflict and discouragement in relationship is only going to serve as a greater trigger. Habits and coping mechanisms do not just disappear, they can only be REPLACED!! What is the check engine light of your soul communicating? 

Sobriety vs. Recovery

Sobriety is the stopping of a destructive habit or behavior (aka cold turkey, practical tools like accountability or software). 

Recovery is the “recovering” of what you LOST. For a pornography addiction this means doing things differently and relating to people differently. Recovery is a long-term PROCESS! It is getting back to what was lost. The ability to deeply and intimately connect, self-worth, healthy relationships, and ability to be vulnerable. 

Brutal honesty! Josh Broome and JP Pokluda are GREAT examples of people who lay themselves on the chopping block of vulnerability and honesty about where they’re at. When you’re doing this, you have to be honest about where you are and how it truly is affecting you. The details MATTER! The degree to which you are honest is the degree to which you can heal. 

Learning how to RECONNECT! This is HUGE, we literally have to re-train our brain and spirit on how to reconnect with God and human beings. One major aspect of reconnecting is learning how to REGULATE your emotions. This is going to be uncomfortable, painful, and hard. In the midst of that, you have to CHOOSE not to turn to an escape. We have to have COURAGE and regulate our emotions. 

So, is consuming pornography cheating?!

The argument here is usually quick to say no and defend that no, it’s not and the rationale for it is that you aren’t actually PHYSICALLY coming infidelity.  You’ll typically hear, “There’s no relationship, I would never od that in person and in real life.”

What JJ would say to that is, how is it not? Let’s go down this rabbit hole, how far cna we go with “not cheating” just because there’s no PHYSICAL contact? Sexting, with a co-work, with your ex, with your wife’s best friend. Is this cheating? ABSOLUTELY! There is a realtionship there. What about sexting with a stranger or an AI bot? Is that not the same? What about an emotional affair with a co-worker? Sharing the most vulnerable stuff about your life, spirtual struggles, issues with your girlfriend or wife. Is that cheating? YES! DM’ing a girl with a flirty text? Is that cheating? Where are we going to draw the line?? 

You can OBVIOUSLY see that it’s futile. Wheather it’s the sharingn of a sexual orgasm, lusting after and melding of your spirit to an object, a picture or image. How is this not cheating? How would it be okay in any capacity? How is it not betrayal to every party involved? It is shellfish, disrespectful, and dishonest. 

We challenge you to get really open and honest with yourself. Where do you fall on the spectrum? Do you think pornography is cheating? Do you think it absolutely isn’t? Are you somewhere in the middle? Be honest with yourself, and then we challenge you to go a few layers deeper and figure out what your justification is if you don’t think it’s cheating. 

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JJ Tomlin

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JJ Tomlin is a missionary kid born in Belgium, originally from Tennessee, and currently residing in the OC. He currently works in Gaming/E-Commerce, enjoys watching his Tennessee Titans on Sundays with his Goldendoodle Teddy and loves working with Christian men to raise the bar in singleness and dating.


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