By Laura Shaver
If you have a spouse or partner that struggles with pornography, you are not alone, even at BYU.
Women”s Services and Resources offers a weekly support group for women whose spouses or partners struggle with pornography.
LaNae Valentine, director of Women”s Services and Resources, said she felt the need for this support group because she frequently had BYU students come into her office and confide to her about their spouse or partner”s problem with pornography.
“When you first hear this, it is just sort of shocking, and you really don”t expect this,” Valentine said. “Most of these guys are wonderful guys and have wonderful qualities that these women fell in love with.”
Michael Buxton, associate clinical professor in the BYU Counseling and Career Center, has been running group and individual therapies for men who struggle with pornography and related issues at BYU for the past five years. Buxton said a few years ago he began noticing how much of a need there was to help the women-wives, fianc?s and girlfriends-attached to men with problems with pornography.
“LaNae [Valentine] and I decided to take a chance and offer a support group,” Buxton said. “These groups have been marvelous and I think they fill a definite need.”
Buxton said the purpose of the group is not for him to tell the women what to do, but to provide a place to help them with their feelings and concerns.
“In isolation it is hard to handle a problem that elicits such strong opinions and emotions; together, the women are able to process and learn and grow from each other,” Buxton said. “We do not believe that one answer is right for everyone.”
Valentine said the group is kept highly confidential, so that they can best educate and support the women.
“We want to erase misconceptions that problems with pornography go away after a marriage or are easily resolved,” Valentine said. “Some of these women are trying to decide if they should stay in a marriage or break up with their boyfriend.”
Valentine said the group meetings open with time for questions, and then the women are given a chance to share experiences. The purpose is to give these women a place to come and talk.
Valentine said this is not a situation unique to BYU, although other universities don”t always recognize pornography as the problem that it is.
The support group is still open to new members. Anyone interested can stop by or call the Women”s Service and Resources office. The support group meets Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in 2562 WSC.