Jeanne Phillips received an urgent query from a distraught teenage girl. What will Dear Abby advise a 14-year-old who discovers that her boyfriend is an addict? In this case, the boy is an addict to ... Internet pornography!
Dear Abby: I have been dating “Kyle” for more than six months, but I have loved him for more than two years. I always thought we had a wonderful relationship and that Kyle was a sweet, innocent guy. Well, he just confided to me that he has an Internet porn addiction! I'm very hurt by this and don't want to lose him. What should I do? (By the way, we're both 14.) —Innocent Teen in Michigan(The emphasis is Abby's own.) Okay, perhaps Dear Abby has more information than we do, but the evidence she provides us is scanty. All we really know is that a 14-year-old girl reports that her 14-year-old boyfriend admitted to being an “addict” to Internet porn. What does that actually mean? Even assuming that Innocent's report is accurate, what did her boyfriend Kyle mean by his confession? What constitutes “addiction”? Does he spend twelve hours a day sitting in front of a computer monitor with his pants down around his ankles? That seems rather unlikely.
Dear Innocent Teen: You should urge Kyle to get help for his addiction. Addiction, by definition, is behavior that is compulsive and out of control.
The problem with teenage boys getting involved with Internet porn is it gives them an unrealistic expectation of how regular, normal women look and act. Although you don't want to lose him, becoming more involved could lead to his wanting to try out his sexual fantasies with you—and if you go along with it, it will land you in a world of trouble. The smart thing to do is end this relationship now.
Seinfeld would go further, omitting the age qualification: “We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle.”
Unless Kyle's “addiction” has (shall we say) gotten out of hand, it's really a non-issue. Nevertheless, Dear Abby goes off half-cocked and advised Innocent to drop her boyfriend now. In the absence of more substantive information, this is clearly an example of premature consultation.