Reboot Nation

Reboot Nation Forum => Partners of Rebooters and Addicts => Topic started by: Emerald Blue on October 04, 2016, 07:03:49 PM

Title: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 04, 2016, 07:03:49 PM
Do we ever truly recover from the damage done to us? My partner's PA planted such a negative self-image in my mind that I don't believe I can ever properly overcome those feelings.

If I was unattached I know I would probably feel better about accepting myself as I am and I would have a far more positive body image. I spent my early adult life never doubting myself in this respect.  It's not even as if growing older has changed me that much either.  I eat well, I don't drink very much, don't smoke, and try and take care of myself. I care more about my health on the inside than what I look like on the outside, and I'm more interested in reading and being open to ideas and experiences than obsessing over celebrities and fashion. I know that I'm doing the "right" things. In theory, I should be more confident about being myself. I know porn is garbage, it's not remotely "sexy" as far as I'm concerned, and I wouldn't change places with any of the performers. So why do I feel like shit?

I had the misfortune of seeing some of what my husband watched and I guess I was struck by the consistent themes that I find a bit difficult, like the fetishisation of huge breasts, which I truly cannot understand. Yesterday I was reading online some accounts by young women who say they have been made to feel completely inadequate because they have small breasts, sometimes by boyfriends suggesting they get enlargements, and others who keep their bras on during sex because they are self conscious about not being big enough. Then you get men coming along with their clumsy replies and it's like "small or large, I like them all" and "I prefer big ones but small ones aren't a deal breaker" – attitudes like that make me sick. And then you get the sensible people who say "if that's the kind of guy you're with you should kick him to the curb and find someone who appreciates you as you are".

When my husband was using porn he ended up never even touching my breasts. So you can imagine my shock when I saw all this big and XXL tit porn with all the tit ****ing – something he never hinted that he was interested in or turned on by – yet this was my husband's choice in porn, a man who never even touched my breasts. So how do I feel after that? It's not even as if I'm flat-chested or anything.

I wonder if I actually married one of those guys who would have thought "I prefer big tits but small ones aren't a deal breaker". It's such a fucking awful thought because I wouldn't let one of those idiot creeps anywhere near me if I had the slightest inkling that they thought that about me. Quite honestly, a man who thinks like that has no right to touch me and would never have the privilege.

But it's not as if I'm a young girl and I'm dating some guy I could dump when I realise he's an asshole. If you realise one day that you might have actually married someone who thought (or thinks) like that, it's quite sickening. It doesn't make sense to break up a relationship for this reason but I still feel wretched.

It's not just the breast size issue either. There's the age of the women in porn, no more than girls really. There's something unethical about a man getting off to someone decades younger than he is which I find quite creepy. And that's quite an unpleasant realisation too.

I don't want to go through life believing myself as substandard. I know that I don't actually believe that, it's being in a relationship with a recovering porn addict and all the garbage he was associating "pleasure" with, it's so fucking nauseating. When I look back all those years ago, when I believed we had great sex and that he found my body such a turn on, now I think I was just some poor delusional fool. He looks back and he sees how he trashed something beautiful and precious – the delicate intimacy and sensuality that he stupidly took for granted, because whatever he was looking for, wherever he tried to find it, he never found a better experience. I know that. But the worst of it was this disregard and disrespect towards my body, and as my body was something I shared with him and nobody else, for him to seek out something more his "type" is utter disrespect, to the extent that he ended up not even touching my breasts during lovemaking. For men to say that their porn behavior is not any reflection on their partner, I can't agree with that at all, and it's something I feel I can't get over.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Kimba on October 04, 2016, 08:33:55 PM
I've read a few of your posts Emersld and feel an epiphany with you over the ordeal u are facing! Im with u on this, will we recover fully from this betrayal, I told him I've been sharing our relationship with these other women for who knows how long and I'm not sure what our relationship actually looks like, he responded with a sigh !! Drives me bonkers !! At least give me something !! Not touching u is an insult and why they think u don't notice this behavior is beyond me, it's knocks your self esteem to the bone and I get totally resentful of him paying attention to any attractive women on and off the TV screen. So does their abstinence last forever or once they think we are sucked in again they will sneak a few peaks every now and then, I'm thinking give it a year and if I still feel this way then I'll revisit options of moving on.  I think this is part of their failings as decent men committed to being loyal to their buddy/soul mates, they say it's not about us or our looks etc, but I think it is and they can stick that excuse where the sun don't shine!! They are brainwashed by all that is fake and so easily available. I'm totally with you Emerald I completely understand and get what u are saying, At the end of the day if all else fails there is good people out there and don't give up
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 05, 2016, 08:53:28 AM
Of course their behavior is an insult and an injury, and when you add in all the deception it's even worse. The fact is, there is no equivalent for us. There aren't all these images of hot young men dominating our culture, or men that are only valued for what they look like. Men can go grey and get older, but we can't. They're not seeing other men's penises or their bulging "lunchbox" exaggerated in their everyday fashions. Women aren't demanding symmetrically perfect testicles. Men can sit around putting on weight, farting whilst they drink beer from bottles, giving women scores out of 10 whist never having to look in the mirror. Yet women are practically brainwashed into hating their bodies and faces, and trying to change themselves to look more idealised, and for what? To get a higher score out of 10?

I thought my husband was intelligent enough to be able to see through all that porn crap, but no, he had to jump right in. I thought I was with someone who respected me and our relationship, and was mature and astute enough to see porn for the exploitative meat market and slaughterhouse that it is. He drank the porn industry Kool Aid about porn being a profession that observed the equalities and human rights legislation where everyone gets paid to do a job they love. OK, that may be an exaggeration but this "paid professionals" idea was one of the ways he believed he could watch it with a clear conscience, even if he wasn't paying anything himself. The fact that he had to hide it from his wife says a lot more about how clear his conscience really was. But that's the stupidity of the situation. If it really was "harmless fun" and if it really wasn't "personal" then why are we uppermost in their minds when it comes to making sure we won't find out. They certainly think of us then.

The breasts thing is just one symptom of the bigger issue. I guess it's symbolic of the lack of respect he demonstrated throughout his porn addiction, in every aspect. You are right, how do they end up believing we don't notice? They build a wall to keep us out and we end up feeling very alone. When it all comes crashing down you realise how great the distance is and the non-communication. The repairs that are necessary become bigger and more complicated. I think in many respects, partners have the worst part of the deal because the behavior damages us to the core.

Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Kimba on October 05, 2016, 06:23:22 PM
Spot on with the equivalent eye candy on any media, the amount of movies now which inject a scene in a strippers bar is totally over the top lol, it gives me the impression that all bars in the USA are Strip bars, ha ha and I know that ain't true as I love going to the States, so it isn't  true to life... But obviously another below the belt hit at womens self esteem and what they wish the next young generation of girls to seem acceptable and to look up too -  NOT !!  I am by no means a feminist but I am all for equal work equal pay etc etc,  I also ref basketball and adults mainly, I ref the mens games weekly and I don't put up with any rubbish and feel I have earn't there respect, but it is tough I have battled the glass ceiling and now i only do domestic games rather than the higher levels, I am a no rubbish say it how it is person so I don't quite get this whole lying and hiding stuff that these men deem acceptable in relationships where love is supposed to flourish.  Sometimes I just look at him and think what the hell am I doing here, how did it come to this but Ill give it a shot put my best foot forward and lets see what happens, the other day we were off out to movies and he said I looked nice, but the week before I had to squeeze any comment out of him, but if thats what I have to do to get him back in the relationship I will, he doesn't like it, hates my snide comments sometimes, but to hell with it, he did this he can pay...  Anyway Im feeling pretty good about myself since finding out, least I know I wasn't imagining things and its HIM thats not right, Im in my early fifties but Ive kept myself fairly tidy so Im not afraid, one door closes and the next open one might be a whole world of fun... Women Power lets not be silent on this subject, if people talk about this shit at parties trying to make it seem ok Im giving them another side to think about, we are the tip of the ice berg on here, world gone mad I say, have a great day Emerald, life is what we make of it ...
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Kimba on October 06, 2016, 11:52:07 PM
Feel gutted and not sure what to do next, I have software programs on the computers at our business, K9 on the Pavillion, anyway he did say to me the other day that it blocked him from going on a particular website we use for our business which I though was strange, I just checked it now and it was expressvpn, which basically is a virtual private network service, he was obviously trying to bypass the defence of the K9.  I haven't said anything I actually don't know what to say and where to start as I know he will deny it !!!!  Im sitting here writing this shaking :(   

Looks like he is not as committed as I thought he was
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 07, 2016, 09:55:34 AM
Kimba, I bet you are.  >:(

I don't monitor excessively but I occasionally do spot checks and recently I looked at the router logs and discovered several requests for a VPN service. I certainly didn't access it but then lots of ads and pop ups are also logged as requests so it might mean nothing – in my own situation, that is.

My husband is very tech savvy and he could figure out how to bypass whatever filters are in place. Besides you can only monitor your domestic wifi and not cellular data on phones etc. If he's committed to staying off porn then he will. Or he'll make a genuine and honest effort. I busted my husband several times many years ago and he would not quit. He just got clever at hiding it. So I figured there was nothing I could do because nothing ever changed. Don't let this happen!!! You really just have to raise the matter with him and if he just finds different ways to hide it, then I guess you'd need to find a different strategy - like couples therapy or individual therapy for him, and for yourself if you need it. I think the thing to do is to keep raising the bar each time you know for sure he has breached your trust. Easier said than done, though.

I know it's a cliche but communication is the key. The problem is that porn addicts have mastered the art of non-communication, because of the hiding it etc, but the activity itself, because it is all one way traffic, trains men to dissociate from the emotional side of sexual intimacy. If I had to say what the greatest damage to our relationship has been, it has been the deep emotional rift caused by the separation of "sex" from intimacy. I'm still having big problems with communication, so I know it's not easy.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Gracie on October 07, 2016, 03:43:00 PM
I think communication is spot on.  If we all think back to our PA slowing down or stopping communication, we may find we started pulling back in ourselves.  Not knowing what was going on.  And so as we are telling them communication is the key, it is very hard to communicate with them.  The reasons are many:

1.  Just as I said above, we pull back
2. We are trying to protect ourselves
3.  Sometimes we don't know what to say.  We have to be supportive so how do we do that and not sound pissed or hurt?
4.  We don't have the energy at that moment.

It is tough.  I know my husband does not use.  But the lure of the safe place of not talking sometimes feels like a warm comforting blanket.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Kimba on October 07, 2016, 08:38:26 PM
Well!  I communicated and encouraged him to tell his side and have a really open conversation but I still don't think I got through!!  I tried to get more responses out of him than usual, he of course lied and said it was the computer not him, I also on the K9 came up with a zip share site, so Im thinking he thinks he can upload to a cloud then unzip and look or along those lines, anyway I said thats ok he didn't BUT if he thinks that he will get away with sneaking around it will only take one time for me to catch him and its curtains on our relationship, he said he has never chatted and only had the odd look at Porn, so he's fully in denial.  He also said he is giving it up for me but  he doesn't think he has a problem, I mentioned all the symptoms that are on here and still got nothing, so its not looking to good atm. Plus told him that I have felt bad about all sorts of things between us including the lack of communication.  So nothing resolved except he now knows that he has to find some other way to beat me :(  Anyway I'm not sure what to do next but I will keep on at him thats all  i can do - for now :-\
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: AnonymousAnnaXO on October 08, 2016, 09:48:36 AM
Hey Emerald, I completely relate to how you're feeling. It's been four months for me since I found out everything and since he stopped porn, but I still have such low self- esteem. It's really sad to see how depressed and low I've gotten because of all this. It's extremely tough on both of us. I never experienced him not finding my body attractive (luckily) but even though he never didn't do things with me or not touch me, we can have sex, and I still feel like I'm not enough because of what he did.

I also fear that I am going to never feel adequate enough for him, even though he tells me I am. What he did broke me in a way. I've always suffered from low self-esteem and body image issues due to my anorexia, but this discovery has taken my low self-esteem and body image to a whole new level of self-hating. And I try to talk to myself and remind myself I am worthy and deserving and am attractive and I don't need a guy to validate that. But that's hard sometimes.

And when it comes to monitoring a partner, I have let go a little with monitoring him, I check the internet history every couple of days instead of multiple times daily, which was what I did when I first found out. We also have this app MobileFence for his phone. If any of you guys have android phones this app works with that, and they are looking to expand to iPhones and even PCs. The app is the best thing to have happened. If you or your partner have an android I highly, highly, recommend that.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 08, 2016, 06:26:24 PM
Thanks, Anna. Great to see you here again. I hope it's going well for you although we know it's never straightforward.

I've come a long way regarding my own body image. Party of it is learning to not only accept myself but to actually like my own reflection. I can appreciate my body's appearance. The irony is I actually have a rather good figure. The only figure I would ever be envious was my own when I was younger, but only because everything was firmer and even the skin has more springiness to it. Even so, i haven't changed shape hardly at all. If I was single I'd feel OK about my body image. I'm not stupid, I know what's realistic and I know that self-acceptance is the key to being emotionally well balanced. Once you have a porn addict into your life it's not as simple as those women's articles tell you, how our youthful insecurities are behind us and how we grow confident and more accepting of our flaws once we approach midlife. Well, no, not if you're married to a porn addict who feeds his sexual fantasies with the naked bodies of very young women. Or images of such women. Are you going to look in the mirror and accept your flaws and celebrate your life story when you know your husband is jacking off to women who are as much as 30 years younger than he is?

Even before I saw what he was watching, it was his lack interest that I was aware of. I didn't know what exactly he was looking at until after d day. I noticed everything else. He didn't touch me in certain places as I've said but it never occurred to me I was "too small" (for his liking, I mean). But I noticed all right and I thought it was a bit off. The PIED I took as a reflection on my desirability, so I internalised it. His lack of interest in having sex was the same, so I internalised those feelings even more strongly, and even more so when he turned me down. In time it becomes impossible to feel OK about being a woman and feeling attractive any more, and it also becomes impossible to feel any sexual desire because it becomes associated with being turned down or with memories of erectile dysfunction. So all that 'how to be a super confident woman' shit just seems so banal, like these self help gurus don't have a clue. Even when you don't know about porn being an addiction, when you don't know WTF is going on, you just blame yourself for being a sexless old frump who can't even get a reaction out of her own husband. It's so easy to internalise all the signs and symptoms when you haven't learned about porn addiction. In reality, it's down to being in a relationship with someone who has a progressive porn addiction and not because you're a no hope failure as a woman. But when you don't know, it is a very miserable place to be.

It's taken me a long time to recover my self esteem and start believing in myself. I have actually gone through that horrible "not good enough" mindset and somehow come out of it with a balanced and more realistic self image. I may be older but I'm not bad at all. My husband has woken up and he now appreciates the woman he has, and sadly for him, he regrets what he missed all those years he wasted on porn. A lot of my confidence has been built from within. He was a little bit threatened to see my self confidence emerge, and he found it unsettling when I walked around the house naked one weekend – only because I'd showered and he'd called me into another room, it's not what I do in general. But the fact I wasn't hiding myself and appeared comfortable in my own skin really knocked him sideways. I think it was that realisation of seeing a different me through new eyes. "What happened to the little mouse?" Lol.

But you're right in one sense, Anna. That "not good enough" thing still haunts like a ghost. I think it's because porn is just too easy. There's so much imagery of softcore porn-like imagery everywhere in our culture. Even I can't avoid it if I go online although it has no interest to me. I'm not a man so I don't see it as a man does, or as a porn addict would. My PA could easily click around and within 20 minutes the addict memory and reward circuit could up and running again. It's too easy. And for me, for any partner, would our recovery all come crashing down? I like to think that the better our own recovery process is, the less devastating a relapse would be for my self esteem  Knowing how I feel when he doesn't tell me things going on in his life that have nothing to do with porn or anything related to it, just how confident am I really? Just how well is my recovery? I wonder how fragile it really is sometimes.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: AnonymousAnnaXO on October 09, 2016, 08:30:53 AM
Yeah, it's nice to be back. I took a break from here to try to do some of my own healing, help my partner with his, and help our relationship start moving forward. It's been rewarding, frustrating, and up and down, but it seems worth it.

Even though I have anorexia and have always been body conscious, I was always aware of the fact that girls envied my body. My best friend growing up, who wasn't as fit or in shape would hate when I would have anorexia attacks where I wouldn't think I was skinny or pretty, she would shut me up by telling me I have an hour glass figure she would kill for. And my partner has told me he loves my body and that the addiction had nothing to do with me. I understand that, because he was addicted since the age of 10 or 11 and we are 22, and met at 21. So I understand that the addiction has nothing to do with me, from a logic mindset. The anorexia mind, however, doesn't always accept that, and that's been one of the hardest things to battle with realizing all this stuff.

I have an Eating Disorder therapist now so I won't relapse because of how much this has brought up for me. I don't know the videos my partner watched, but when we were first together his instagram account and the accounts he followed made me feel so unattractive because I couldn't be fake. Eventually he had to get rid of instagram because I kept breaking down. At that point I didn't know it was an addiction, it didn't seem like it. But still knowing what he is unattracted to in real people verus what he was into in porn was totally different. The things he claims to not want in a real person were there on the computer screen. It really has made my mind confused. That really made me feel like he wanted what was on the screen, when in reality he doesn't like girls who are obviously disproportioned (i.e. super skinny waist with huge boobs or a huge ass and super skinny legs) or had surgery.

See, during the time he was using, we never had issues with sex. It was only until shortly before I discovered everything that he started rejecting me for sex, and it was about stress at work and other things, but I am sure part of it was the guilt eating away at him. I even told him I didn't understand why he kept rejecting me and that I was going to go to my parents house for the week one time. Constant sexual rejection can hurt any person, especially when the person who rejects you uses/used to use porn.

There are days where I do feel good enough, even if it's just for five minutes, but then the "not good enough" mindset comes up if I have to eat, or if I want sex and get scared to ask in fear of rejection. I just feel like I sometimes live in a constant state of fear. I avoid tv and the movies with him because of some shows movies having such sexual scenes. I mean he looks away during those scenes because that's what I've asked of him for me to recover, and he has no issues with that because he wants to help me recover from what's happened, and tv/movies he never used in that way. But I feel so stupid about it. My mom has asked my partner and I to go to the movies with her and I keep avoiding her or not answering because I don't want her to judge me when I tell her the reason.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Gracie on October 09, 2016, 10:41:13 AM
When it comes to movies, I just tell people that everything is too sexualized.  We have decided to not promote this anymore.  I then tell them I go to IMDB type in movie and then look at parent guide.  If it says nudity or sexual themes we don't watch.  My husband and I get funny looks sometimes.  But we stand up for what has caused this to be an epidemic sex being acceptable entertainment.   I have asked what if your daughter was the one in this movie?   
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: stillme on October 10, 2016, 05:15:18 AM
This is where I am struggling right now - with wondering if I will ever "get over it". My husband and I struggle mainly because we have different perceptions of consistency and building trust. It is hard to get someone to understand that you can love them, support them, be with them, but not trust them. It is hard to really articulate that forgiveness comes in stages overtime and isn't granted all at once.
We had yet another set back recently because my husband was operating as if he was fully trusted, and he isn't yet. He was watching a video on his phone in a room. I walked in and he showed me what he was watching. It was nothing, just a funny video. However, I was triggered because I wondered why he went off to a room by himself to watch a video on his phone. He reasoning made sense - if he hadn't been addicted to porn for five years and carrying on fantasy relationships with cam girls. He isn't realizing that when he is too quick to operate like a completely forgiven man, it makes me question if he truly understands the depth of his betrayal. Sure, there will be a point in our relationship when he can watch what he wants, where he wants, how he wants, when he wants and I will completely trust his judgement and it will not make be suspicious or angry or wonder if he has slipped back into be a cunning, manipulative liar. However, this isn't the time.
What I realized is that my husband, in his mind  - is completely over his porn addiction. It is "me" who isn't over his addiction. But, how many addicts of all types of addictions were arrogant in thinking they were "over it" a little too soon. You don't do what he did, for as long as he did, and think that since you have been free from use for 140 or 150 days, that you are completely cured. My hesitation to him feels like I am not accepting he is a changed man, his trying to move on and operate as if this period in his life never happened feels to me like his isn't taking seriously just how much damage was done.
I think what we both may have to come to terms with is that porn addiction is probably over, he probably is completely over porn. He didn't do porn since childhood like a lot of people, so he had less to get heal from. But, the damage to the relationship that porn caused is a bigger issue than either of us initially realized. It really changed everything. There isn't one area of our relationship that was unaffected by his porn use. When we heal one area there always seem to be another area that neither of us realized was damaged until the pain numbs from other areas. But, that is the effect of trauma. Kind of like a car accident where you focus on the major injuries first. But, once the broken bones heal you figure out you had whiplash as well. Once the whiplash heals you realize you developed a fear of driving. Once the fear of driving heals you deal with the anger of having to buy a new car and maybe having an increase in car insurance. It seems like there is one thing after another from that crash. Right after impact, you are just happy to be alive. But, once the healing starts you realize there is so much that has to be repaired than you even thought.
Sigh, I absolutely hate porn. I mean sure, it has showed us that we had a lot of areas in our marriage that needed attention. But that aspect has complicated our marriage to such an extent that I am constantly asking myself - is it worth it? If we get through this, our marriage is going to be amazingly strong. The question becomes - will we get through this?
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: AnonymousAnnaXO on October 10, 2016, 10:10:33 AM
Thanks Gracie, that's a good idea, I'll mention this to my partner.

Stillme, I understand exactly what you're feeling with your partner feeling like he is over his addiction. My partner hasn't used in over four months and to him he feels like porn was never apart of his life because of how much he has changed/grown as a person without porn. He truly has changed in many good ways (motivation,goals, more attention to the relationship, and happier overall), but I know addiction, and I've struggled from addiction, and there were times I thought I was over it and whoops, I slipped up. So I've explained that to him so he knows that something unexpected might potentially trigger him one day and he will need to be prepared for that. My partner also, because he forgets that porn used to be a part of his life, forgets the things I need for trust, as in telling me when he gets to work (because he used on the work computer) and he send me his internet history at the end of the day so I need to know when he gets to work to see that the history times match. I know one day I won't need to do that too but it's true, right now isn't the time to think that just because he is "over the addiction" that I am. Trauma takes a long time to heal from, and me and my partner have days where I even forget he used, but then there are the not so good days, or the seemingly innocent things that trigger me into anger or a crying fit. I understand how you feel when you say he is trying to move on and operate as if that period of his life never happened. I felt that way too when my partner started acting like that at one point, and I explained to him that to me it felt like he was not taking seriously how much what he did impacted our relationship. Ever since I've communicated that, that hasn't been a problem.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 10, 2016, 11:16:41 AM
Interesting points about being too quick to recover and about porn addiction being "over". My partner was resolute about it all being in the past and that relapse wasn't going to happen. These days he accepts that it is an addiction and that the risk of relapse is always there. I don't know how he arrived at this realisation. I think the key was the realisation that his porn addiction was taking away too much time and energy and was actually ruining his quality of life in all respects, not just our relationship.

Anna, the body image thing was very strange for me. I didn't have issues growing up, in fact I was very confident to the extent that I never had to think about it. It was when my husband started getting a porn habit that I began to turn the feelings of rejection inwards. I was in my 30s by that time, so I internalised the belief that I was "too old" which is absolutely ridiculous when I look back. I felt confident about having a good figure until then.WTF was wrong with me that he wanted this porn trash? I know now that the problem was all going on in his head. The tragedy is that I internalised the belief that I was some undesirable reject. It was later in life when I developed a seriously negative body image. I didn't want to be anything other than I was when I was younger.

Looking back I think, That man was a fool. What did he think he would find in porn videos that was so fucking great? But that's what he replaced our sex life with. Anna, our sex life carried on with his porn habit running in the background for some years but when being turned down became the norm, there isn't any going back UNLESS the porn stops. That's a very critical turning point in the progression of the habit/addiction. Because when it gets to that stage, the fact that sex isn't happening in the relationship isn't a big deal to the addict because they've always got their addiction where there's no PIED, no need to communicate, no need to take anyone else's feelings into account. It's very bad news because they lose the skills of empathy and emotional intimacy when they marry their porn fix. When they start to feel that porn isn't giving then what they want, because it can't, they'll actually believe it's US not giving them what they want and then you are on very dangerous ground. That's why I say to other partners "don't let it go this far" because it's a lot harder to recover from. I was very broken down at that point.

I certainly do feel "good enough" now although those gut churning feelings of being rejected for not meeting his standards of physical desirability still happen. At the same time, my attitude is one of "This is how I am. Take it or leave it. Show me respect. Or don't. Remember, the choice to have you in my life is mine."

I've read accounts online of women who have been made to feel their breasts were too small, or even their vulva was too ugly or unacceptable, and it makes me mad because it's mostly fuelled by the mainstreaming of the porn industry. These are normal, healthy young women who feel bad about being completely normal. You read these comments from well meaning people who say "if a man is that dumb and stupid then walk away, there's plenty of guys who will see that you're beautiful as you are". And you know what? I feel so sad to see that because I know I was living with a man for many years who believed I wasn't up to his (porn) standards.  And there have been times when I have thought "don't fucking touch me, I don't want your dirty hands on MY body". Honestly, I have thought that. I've even thought he wasn't fit to touch me at all. The thought of it made me feel sick. It's all part of the healing process, I believe. It's about recovering your sense of pride, and discovering your boundaries. Once you start to see that your body is a gift, that it's a privilege to share, and that respect is due, then you start seeing him differently. He doesn't have this power over you. Your ability to feel good about yourself doesn't depend on his approval.

Anna, I'm sure it's all the more complicated with anorexia in your past. One thing that this porn addiction issue has allowed me to do is to go back in time to unsettling and traumatic events. I'm sure it all feeds into why we hate porn so much. Not only is it about a relationship where one partner is hooked on porn and all the problems it creates for the relationship, it also puts some people back into past trauma.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: aquarius25 on October 10, 2016, 01:22:29 PM
Trust is such a tricky thing. My partner is in a similar place. He isn't even tempted by porn. He hasn't relapsed even ( although I won't be flabbergasted if he ever did). For him the realization of how damage porn is and the destruction he has cause make the entire thing gross to him. He really feel in his gut just how bad it is. So he says he is really over it. One thing it took me explaining several times if that just because he is over it I am not able to trust his word yet. It took him 15+ years of us together for him to destroy that trust and to show his word meant nothing so thinking it will come back in a matter of month is just naive. When he took into account just how long the deception has been he realized just how long this "healing/ rebuilding" is going to take.

 Now we talk. I lay out for him things I need and we check in weekly because sometimes the things I need change. I feel silly asking for him to tell me I am beautiful and to show me that he is thinking about me. For me those things should have to be asked for and when I do have to ask I personally feel it diminishes the authenticity. What I am learning is for him he thinks those things but he doesn't know if telling me those things will hurt or help. He is afraid that is he says I look good in a skirt that he is sexualizing me and I might be offended and think he is comparing me to porn. So he doesn't really know what to say. He feel stuck a lot. I am learning to ask for the things I need and to appreciate when they are given without diminishing the heart behind it. Its a long road. For us probably a 15 year road.  I asked him how he felt about the fact that it could take me 15 years and if he was willing to up in an effort for that long? He said he was that he is committed to us and our marriage, just that alone was huge for me.  I really hope and pray for each of us that we can find that commitment in each of our relationships and have an open dialog with our partners.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 10, 2016, 06:32:54 PM
Trust and forgiveness are both very slow processes that occur in stages. I could forgive the porn the masturbation that went with it, but I couldn't forgive the lying. Then I gradually forgave some of the lying, the lying that was part of the addiction. Gradually I came to terms with some of the more complex lies. As he became more aware of the factors that were driving his behavior, the inability to communicate, to express his needs and at difficult times, ask for help, I was able to see things from his situation as best as I could. That brought about a lot of progress in my own recovery. There are almost certainly some aspects of his PA I don't know about and I'm pretty certain there are some  lies being upheld. Some of it probably wouldn't be any big deal if knew anyway, so in that sense that kind of "lie" has lost relevance over time. If there are more serious lies and omissions relating to his PA years, then I have to say that what has been deliberately concealed is not forgiven. This is more of a 'concept' of possible deception. I have to acknowledge that it could be the case. I can't forgive what I don't know. I can't give blanket forgiveness for behavior that he knows would hurt me, particularly when I asked questions and gave him expressed opportunities to tell me about anything else he may have held back from telling me. So that's my sticking point. Of course, there may be nothing he is keeping from me. It's learning to live with this concept of undisclosed and undiscovered behavior that is difficult, but it's also necessary.

Trust is very difficult to build. It is happening, but slowly. Staying off porn is vital. It's not so easy to trust when you've been lied to. So far there's nothing that I have found that suggests he can't be trusted. However, I'm not stupid. I'm wary of my trust being manipulated. Trust isn't the same again though. It's a more grown up version of trust. Perhaps more cynical, but probably more adult and realistic. A few things throw me off though. Not being told about things, not porn related but more the everyday stuff. Why hide stuff? Why keep quiet? But then, openness and volunteering information about what's going on in his life is something he un-learned during the porn years because he had too much to hide.

I can find compliments a bit troublesome. Am I being looked at in an objectifying way, like I'm just another woman or just another body type? Am I being manipulated? Is he just feeding my vanity to keep me sweet? And when he says nothing, why isn't he noticing me? One day I realised that it wasn't up to him to give me permission to feel good about myself. If he didn't notice me when I made an effort, as long as I could look in the mirror and say "oh wow! You look great today!" then what did it matter? If I feel good, who cares? I can't have my self esteem rise and fall according to anyone's approval.

Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: stillme on October 11, 2016, 07:46:08 AM
What is hard for me I think is that disclosure hasn't really stopped for us. By husband admitted to what he considered the 'big things', but there were some 'little things' that I am still finding. Things that might not be considered deal breakers for marriage on their own, but when they are looked at in the context of porn addiction - they make me furious. Things like not disclosing going out to lunch with female co-workers. Is going to lunch with female co-workers a bad thing? No. But why in all these years have you never brought up the fact you went out to lunch? Even if he talked about conversations that happened at work with female co-workers, I was under the impression that those were random hallway/water cooler conversations. It is just me finding out there are still a lot of things about my husband that I don't know. I went from the fantasy that I knew this man to the reality of realizing there are pretty significant aspects of his life that I am in the dark about. Again, I don't have a problem with my husband hanging out at lunch with co-workers, it is just not realizing who he was hanging out with. In the context of being married to a recovering/recovered porn addict - it is unsettling. Other things I have discovered well after d-day was things that if they happened alone wouldn't be an issue, but in the context of porn addiction - they make me angry. Birthday greetings to other women in which he lets them know they look beautiful. Is it wrong to give another woman a compliment? Absolutely not. It is an issue to give other women a compliment when you wife is feeling unattractive, unloved, unwanted, and unneeded and can't really remember the last time you told her she looked beautiful - yup, big issue.

I feel like a whiny brat with the whole, "Those compliments should have been for me!!!!!!" I feel like an insecure child instead of an accomplished professional woman, mother, and dedicated wife. I look like super woman to the outside world, when last night I was in my bed in the fetal position with tears streaming down my face when I found out (through yet more detective work) that my husband was full of compliments and encouragement and humor and friendship to every woman in his life - except for his wife.

I am angry because I am getting a glimpse of just how much grief I am going to get if I decide to leave. "He is such a sweet guy, how could she just leave him!" And, "He is the nicest guy ever, she must be a real terror at home." What my husband has failed to realize is that in my world - omission is lying. He omitted so many things that, again, taken on their own are no big deal. But, in the context of me sitting home feeling unloved while he sends out birthday greetings and "hope life is treating you well" messages to others.

Of course, he now says he is a changed person and is dedicated to letting me know he has changed. My question remains - if it is so easy for you to change, to become the husband you should have been, to show me love and respect and shower me with signs of affection - why did you wait? Why did it have to come down to me being broken and battered and feeling the fool? Why does your best self come through my tears? I have been wondering if maybe porn requires the man to begin to despise his partner, even if that feeling doesn't extend to other women.

Whatever the answer, the big thing for me is that "getting over it" can't come until I am fully aware of everything I need to get over. Right now, I am not sure all has been revealed, even if he has already moved on from porn. The gulf between "recovered porn addict" and "great husband" is a bit wider than my husband would like to believe.

Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: Emerald Blue on October 11, 2016, 05:55:38 PM
Stillme, I get EXACTLY what you are saying! The non-disclosure of these occasions that you know nothing about happened to me too. My husband was getting a bit too involved with a female coworker. She was in debt and he "helped" her financially without saying a word to me. If I had known at the time it wouldn't have been a big deal, but in the context of his porn addiction which had brought about a sexless marriage, this felt seriously "off". If he had told me it would not have been a problem. That's just one example. There were others that sound so trivial in themselves but overall there is a clear pattern of non-disclosure. It still goes on to some extent.

The problem is the lack of communication and this separate lives syndrome. Porn and sex addicts get pretty good at lying and omitting. When people say they compartmentalise their addiction, I actually wonder if they actually compartmentalise their relationship. At times I have felt excluded from everything else in his life.

Honesty and sharing is surprisingly difficult to reinstate. It takes commitment from both parties but unfortunately lying by omission becomes automatic with porn addicts because it's been a survival mechanism that was developed to keep the addiction in place. No, you're not a whiny brat. One day you suddenly realised the man you thought you knew so well is someone entirely different. In fact the man you believed you know didn't exist at all.
Title: Re: Do we ever get over it?
Post by: stillme on October 11, 2016, 06:41:10 PM
Yes! I honestly think they do compartmentalize relationships. It seemed my husband got so used to lying and omitting that he put our marriage in a little box. Nothing got in and nothing got out that he hadn't scripted to ensure he didn't slip up and reveal his porn use.

Sigh, what do these men make such bad decisions?