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Topics - stillme

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Since I am passed the year mark of d-day and being the partner of a recovering porn addict, here are some things that I have personally learned on this journey when it comes to me, my relationship, and the impact of porn addiction and porn addiction recovery on my family:

1. Trust your gut. There are a few reasons why trusting your gut is advised. The most important is that it allows you to validate their own feelings, ideals, and experiences. Even if you are wrong about how you interpret your gut feeling (for example, I knew something was 'wrong', but I didn't know it was porn addiction, I thought it was something else), your inner voice should be acknowledged. That inner voice serves as your body's own 'personal protection system', a subconscious early warning system that something that is damaging to 'you' is near enough to sound an alarm. Respect that voice.

2. A love martyr is not an honorable role to pursue. Love at any costs, supporting someone else even at the cost of your own dignity, pride, and self-esteem, is not a sign that you know how to love bigger, better, or more deeply than others. Love without appropriate reciprocity is a set-up for an emotionally, psychologically, and otherwise abusive relationship. When you deny your own needs in an effort to love someone else, you run the risk of both individuals being torn down. Because loving someone strong while they are not required to have the same commitment to you breeds narcissism in those individuals.

3. Make yourself the first priority. As is said on airplanes, "in case of an emergency, secure your own mask first". I can say with pretty much 100% certainty, my husband and I would have been better on, much earlier on, had I focused on my own needs exclusively first. The back and forth of caring about how he was doing, then how I was doing, then back to him, created what felt like a psychological frenzy - it began to make me feel crazy.

4. The person who breaks it is the person who should be primarily responsible for fixing it. That 'it' goes from anything from the marriage relationship to kitchen windows. Only babies and toddlers need someone else to clean up their messes. My trying to 'fix' the marriage relationship when I wasn't the one who broke it infantilized my husband for way too many months. It allowed him to become selfish when that should have been the opposite of what he was doing. It wasn't until I threw up my hands and said, "Nope, life it easier as a divorced couple, I am done." that he began to step up and work with the concentrated effort required. It was also significantly more helpful to him, because he had to on his own address those issues that would hinder the relationship if not dealt with. It also helped him to stop feeling so out of control.

5. There is always an underlying issue accompanying addiction. If that underlying issue that left the person vulnerable to addiction is not addressed as part of recovery, there is no recovery. As pointed out in an article I linked here recently - abstinence is not recovery. The hard work is dealing with the underlying issue.

6. People treat you how you let them treat you.

7. Trust actions, not words. Judge people by their actions. Judge progress by the actions you see. Acknowledge when you see things that don't look like recovery.

8. Love and marriage/relationship are two different things. Being willing to leave an unhealthy relationship does not mean you don't love the other person. Someone being desperate to stay in the relationship doesn't mean they love you.

9. You must peel apart and deal with all the aspects of behavior that accompanied the addiction. Again, this is in line with abstinence is not recovery. Just because someone no longer watches porn doesn't mean they have stopped lying. Just because they no longer PMO doesn't mean they are not selfish.

10. Listen to the experiences of those that have been there/done that instead of believing your partner will be the magical unicorn with a miraculous recovery. Listening to people, especially those that ended up being betrayed again or finding out their spouse was lying about recovery were some of the most helpful. It was because I was able to look at my situation and look at my husband in more realistic terms. I was also able to  help him in a 'scared straight' sort of way, by showing him that he was acting like a narcissistic addict. He got to make a big decision and that was to do the real work, the hard work, the intensive work, and do things he never thought he would have to - like severely limiting his interactions with his parents due to the shitty baggage carried from growing up with narcissistic parents. Being able to sit back and call things what they were extraordinarily helpful. Love bombing, image management, hyper bonding - those things can 'feel' like something they aren't when not examined through a realistic lens. The way must husband could become part of that "5% success rate" was to do things that WEREN'T typically done by recovering addicts. Listening to the real experiences of others also allows me to have appropriate expectations and protections (including legal protections for the benefit of my kids). Other partners who ended up getting betrayed again in the end didn't stay because they were weak minded. They stayed because their spouse showed all the 'signs' of recovery. Addictive personalities can be very, very persuasive and many even fool licensed psychologists and therapists. Again, look at actions, not words. Don't trust, verify. Call out the 'little things' early and often. Be a skeptic. Don't compromise on what you need for health, happiness, and wholeness. There are partners that stayed that didn't learn the entire, horrible truth (there was never a real recovery) for five, ten, and even twenty years. When you stay, get the best relationship. Have a life that will have been 'worth it' if you find out you are in the 95% category later on and not the 5% of unicorns.

11. If you have children, protect them from falling into the trap of generationally harmful behavior. My husband was vulnerable to addiction because he had a very dysfunctional upbringing that he honestly thought was normal. His family looks amazing on the outside. However, they are filled with lies, betrayal, abuse, etc. We have been married almost 14 years and I am still finding out things that happened that make my head spin. Bring EVERYTHING to light for your kids. When you see those dysfunctional behaviors trying to rise up in them, deal with them immediately. Deal with the gently, but firmly. One thing we have had to deal with recently with our kids is lying by omission. We deal with every single solitary issue that they picked up by living with a father that was a porn addict for five years of their formative years. I love my kids too much to let them walk one step down this road if I can help it. We practice openness and honesty and that life is much easier when you admit you faults and that it is better to deal with issues and fix then than to hide them and act out in secret.

I may add to this list as I think about things. But, that is what I have learned thus far in my journey.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Really loving this video series
« on: June 13, 2017, 02:52:09 PM »
This video series on the Myths About Partners of Sex Addicts is really, really good. This is the first time I heard a professional discuss things we have literally talked about on this forum. It is really hard to hear at times because some of the damages of counseling discussed are things I have heard in counseling myself - wow.

This is the first video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA8cAhrnKGo

There are four videos in the series.

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This is honestly the only article I have read in over a year of dealing with my husband's porn addiction/porn recovery that gets at the 'thing' that has bugged me so much about all of this. I am honestly almost in tears reading something that truly 'gets it'.

http://nationalpsychologist.com/2015/03/sexual-sobriety-leaves-victims-untreated/102810.html#.VTZpRw5KEaw.gmail

The article is titled: Sexual Sobriety Leaves Victims Untreated

Here is one paragraph from the article:
A disorder of chronic lying in a family system is pathology and requires treatment, regardless of sexual acting out or not. Chronic patterns of establishing and maintaining a deceptive, compartmentalized sexual-relational system in an intimate relationship or family system, is pathology and harmful, which is more accurate in description then simply “compulsive pornography use.”


This article stuck out to me because a common theme among partners is that is wasn't so much the porn use that was the trauma, it was the lying and deception. THAT is my issue still. While I congratulate my husband on being over a year porn free, that does nothing to address the years of lying, deception, leading a double life - those things are not addressed by simply stopping the use of porn. The months and months and literally thousands of dollars we spent on therapy did nothing to address the pathology of lying and deception. It was all focused on abstaining from porn, understanding triggers, avoiding relapse. That was all fine and good, but the issue for me was - how in the world do you deny your wife sex, go jack off to porn, and then slip into the bed and go to sleep as if nothing happened? How do you create an intricate set of lies so that you get out of parenting duties for the sole purpose of getting online to jack off to porn? That isn't about the addiction to porn, it is about dealing with behavior that wasn't 'compulsive', it was intentional, planned, and tool large amounts of work to hide. That aspect has never been addressed, not by his counselors, not by his weekly men's group, not even by my counselor. Everyone attacked aggressively the porn use and acting out, but what I needed addressed was the lying, deception, manipulation, and gas lighting. This article points out that it is a gapping hole in therapy and one reason for unaddressed trauma of partners.

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I have been doing some truly fascinating reading of the work of Dr. George Simon and all I can say is, "Wow!" The premise is helping to understand the nature of disordered people and how hard it is to have a successful relationship with a disordered person. Like many people here, the biggest issue I had with my husband wasn't his porn use, it was his long track record of lying regarding his porn use. The lying and deception started to run incredibly deep and as I looked back over the history of our thirteen year marriage, I saw that lying started well before porn. One of the biggest lies he told was his that he wasn't the 'type of guy' to use porn, even though he had a subscription to playboy in college. Looking at porn wasn't a deal breaker for me, so there wasn't a reason to lie and say he didn't use it. But, his lies weren't always about porn.

Dr. Simon deals extensively with people that have Character Disorders. Basically, there is some level of damage there that no matter how much the person wants to change, the behavior is so ingrained it is just a part of who they are. It is helping me to see that my husband was susceptible to porn addiction because he is a habitual liar. If he wasn't a habitual liar, he would not have been able to get addicted porn. He wouldn't have been sneaking it, lying about it, and lying about what he was doing with his time.

Now it is a matter of finding out if my husband is a habitual liar that is redeemable and able to change his ways, or if he really does have a Character Disorder and is a pathological liar. I know he 'wants' to stop lying. If he cannot, then he is pathological and disordered and that has very real ramifications. But, again, the reading has been absolutely fascinating and enlightening.

https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/habitual-liars-agendas/


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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Updates - still 'there'
« on: May 15, 2017, 01:31:06 PM »
Well, it has been a couple of months since I posted. Things are still in limbo with my husband and I, mainly on his end. He is desperately trying to get me to stay in the marriage. Making all the wonderful promises that sound so beautiful, until it is actually time to walk them out. Then, of course, he fails tremendously. He has been porn free since d-day, just about a year now. I am amazingly proud of his ability to kick the porn habit, I applaud that he got over that hurdle.

However, I still am just not into this relationship. We did the 'hysterical bonding' thing in the beginning and I was trying so hard to help him 'beat porn' that I turned down the voice that was saying, "this is not really what I want in a marriage". Now that porn has been beat, I am still at that point of saying, "this is not what I want in a marriage". As a result, we are pretty much at an stand still. He has been sleeping on the couch for the last two months, because I am not interested in having him in my bed. But, he is fighting getting a divorce, hard. Of course, if a divorce is contested, it is going to take forever and a day. So, we are kind of existing. Being nice and kind to one another, co-parenting the children, even going places together, but I just really don't want this relationship. We went for a walk together yesterday and talked for a bit. It was a good conversation overall, but the result was the same as every other conversation, he believes this marriage can work and be great and I do not want this relationship.

I know it seems crazy, I worked so hard supporting him to help him kick the porn habit. I went through so much emotionally and I had the absolute highest of hopes for this relationship. Now that the fog of porn is gone and it is time for the 'rest of our lives' to start, I just don't want this. The imbalance is too strong and it feels too unfair. My husband is still struggling a lot with things like communication. His first response is still to run and hide instead of facing conflict head on. He doesn't see not honoring his commitments as lying. For instance, he committed to talking with me every Sunday to go over our schedule and ensure I have some time for self care. Has that happened regularly? Absolutely not. Of course, I could remind him every Sunday and he would do it. But, that isn't the type of relationship that I want. It is like that for everything he committed to, no matter how big or small. He does what I remind him or tell him to do. I was hoping that once he kicked the porn habit, he would be ready to have an adult relationship - where we could talk or go out and have fun, just enjoy life. Instead, he is just 'there'. After five years of jacking off in front of the computer, what is left is just a guy who isn't very fun or exciting or interesting to be around.

I no longer desire the parent/child dynamic that developed during his porn use. I am just so ready to start my life, "my life"; a life no longer tied to porn and lies and and all the other crap that came with it. I guess I was expecting too much. I was expecting the problem to be porn and when porn was gone, the guy I feel in love with all those years ago would be standing there and we could run off into the sunset together. That wasn't what happened. Porn is gone, but what is standing there is a guy that was heavily damaged by years of porn use. It has been just a week or so shy of one year, and there are still few signs of the husband I loved. A year ago, when we first started on this journey, I thought I could accept it. But now, I realize that the unfairness of the situation is not okay. I should not have to sacrifice any semblance of happiness just to stay true to vows, especially vows the other person violated (my husband went beyond porn, he put profiles on hook up websites, although d-day came before he could find a fuck buddy, and he went to a massage parlor and got a blow job trying to recreate shit he had seen on porn sites). He drones on and on about not wanting that life anymore and I save him from himself and he is a new man. I believe he doesn't want that life anymore, I believe there is a good chance he has completely kicked the porn habit, I believe he has made a change. That is all good, but this is not the relationship that I want. There is no joy, no fun, I don't trust him, if I don't bring things up (or get angry) he just lives life as if everything is okay.

Right now I am feeling trapped in a cycle of unfairness. I feel like I did my 'time', I supported him through the worst of his addiction. Of course now, he doesn't want to give this up. Honestly, I don't blame him. Who doesn't want a spouse that will be there for you no matter what? I guess he and I both want the same thing. He gets that with me, but I don't feel like I could ever get that with him. And yes, I have told him. And of course when I express my feelings he gets sad and weepy and plays the victim and vows to do better and be the man that I want. And that lasts until my frustration subsides, then he goes back to - just existing.

When we were in counseling they said it generally takes three to five years before trust is rebuilt in a relationship following porn addiction/sex addiction. I guess I just don't feel like spending any more time trying to 'recover' from something so incredibly stupid. I am ready to move on. Unfortunately, my husband's last promise to me is the last promise he is breaking. We both agreed I would give it a year and make a decision. I have made a decision and now he doesn't want to accept it. Unfortunately again, I live in a state where they believe marriages should be saved no matter what and contested divorces can be forced into mediation. So, I get to spend the new few months being guilted into staying. Porn addiction - the curse that just won't die.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / My 'goodbye' to RN
« on: March 20, 2017, 07:40:28 AM »
So, as our year winds down since d-day and the 'big decision' is coming up, I find myself close to making the opposite decision I thought I would have. In discussing things this weekend, I found out that while my husband has kicked the porn habit, he has not yet kicked the lying habit. He continues to hide things instead of openly discussing them so we can resolve small issues like adults. He hides small issues and they become LARGE issues because he is hiding them in hopes that they go away. The latest has to do with money; hiding that he hadn't taken care of something the way that he should. As a result, a $10,000 issue has become a $25,000 issue and the only reason I got to that information was because I had to drag it out of him through a series of asking just the right, perfectly worded questions to get honest answers. I was able to step in with a solution and although I don't like it (taking my own 'nest egg' and paying off the debt he created), the issue is resolved. But again, it could have been resolved with $10,000 if my husband had been truthful in the beginning.

So, while it isn't porn, it is the same pattern that led to porn. He is overcome by even the smallest pressures of life and that leads him to burying his head in the sand or taking a small problem and allowing it to grow into a big problem. Just like with porn, if I hadn't stepped in when I did - the now larger problem could have become too large for us to climb out of.

I just can't live like this. His months of weekly counseling apparently did nothing to deal with the foundational issues that caused his porn addiction to manifest in the first place - hiding from problems, making small problems big problems by panicking or making incredibly ridiculous mistakes that cause problems to grow, actively deceiving me instead of coming to me as a partner.

I have to be on high alert at all times, ready to ask him just the 'right' question in order to tunnel my way to truth. No one is perfect and I don't ask for or 'demand' perfection from him. We all make bad decisions sometimes and we are in this relationship together, we can solve problems together. But, he hides his bad decisions and allows them to grow to become large burdens that threaten our foundations. Had I not found out about this issue when it hit $25,000 - who knows how big it would have grown. It might have wiped out our children's college funds, it might have caused us to have to wipe out all of our retirement accounts, I honestly don't know how big it could have gotten. The problem is, that is the exact same thing that happened with porn. My husband hid is problem and it grew and went from porn addiction to sex addiction. I caught him after his first trip to a massage parlor, but he admits that if I had not confronted him he doesn't know how far he would have gone, he had even looked at "hook up" sites.

I can't live in a situation where I am constantly looking over my shoulder and wondering when the next 'big thing' is going to jump out of the closet and tackle me; some secret my husband is keeping that could have been solved with very little issue and effort if we could have an adult conversation.

I wish I could say this is new, but it isn't. My husband has a history of running from small problems and allowing them to grow. I thought this was something he had overcome, but he had just gotten better at hiding it. While infidelity was always in my mind as a 'deal breaker', I found a way to morph it around in my mind because there was debate on whether porn was infidelity and even if getting a blow job at a 'massage' parlor was 'really' cheating. I found ways to forgive to keep the marriage, because I do love my husband and he is a good dad. However, my real, complete, no compromise deal breaker is lying. I told my husband that if he lied again, our marriage was required to end. He has shown that he just cannot overcome lying as a defense. That when given the option to deal with a little bit of stress by openly discussing a problem, he would rather lie and cover up the truth - regardless of the consequences for that lie.

I guess that brings my time here on the Partners forum to an end. My husband has overcome the addiction to porn use, but all the things that surround porn addiction, that make a person susceptible to porn addiction are still there. He just cannot overcome a pattern that he has held for most of his life, running from reality and hoping that ignoring issues makes them go away. I just can't continue with this as a pattern in our relationship. I have three children to raise already, I can't keep coming in and saving the day for my husband. I can't live a life in which every minute of my day is spent trying to buffer the effects of whatever bad decision my husband is making, but not disclosing.

The sad part is, he really is a great guy. Most of his deception is because he doesn't want to disappoint me, his parents, his kids, etc. But, this is not the life for me. We have been married thirteen years and I have been hoping things would get better (and thinking things had gotten better) for a long time. But, alas, we just aren't compatible at a fundamental level. My husband worked very hard to appear to be the kind of guy I wanted. He worked very hard to appear to be open and honest in communication - but he can't. It just isn't who he is. His entire family doesn't believe in open and honest communication, they never ever talk about problems and he just has not been able to overcome what he was taught to be 'normal'. We have talked for hours and hours since d-day about the importance of honesty, about how anything can be overcome if we are willing to face it, about how I have already proven that I can forgive and stay and make things work if we deal in honesty. Even with all of that, he still chose lying or ignoring reality instead of just saying, "Hey, I made a bad financial move and here is the result."

So, I wish everyone success as they move forward in rebuilding their relationships. I may pop in from time to time and hopefully offer words of encouragement. But, this appears to be the end of my partner journey.

I am glad I chose the screen name that I did, because I realize that even after this crazy journey - the thing that I value the most is that I am still me. I didn't compromise who I am at my core. I loved fully, I lived honestly and openly, and I gave this marriage my best shot. It didn't work out, but that is okay, even with the hard things associated with this road I have traveled - I am still me. I didn't lose 'me', even at my lowest points. I am proud of the way I walked my road. I am going to be starting over, on a new journey and finding my way through divorce and co-parenting and all those other things I never wanted to be a part of my life. But, even though all of that I know I will still be me.

Much love to all of you!

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I decided to start a thread specifically for those on the longer road to relationship recovery and recovering from d-day. The hope is that this can be a safe place to discuss the highs and lows without judgement or assumption that your spouse isn't "grateful":

Highs:
My husband has really taken it upon himself to show interest in me. I find that he is listening, truly listening, when I talk and incorporating what he hears into our experiences. For my birthday, he really took time to think about his gifts and got me things that were meaningful.

We have some really good conversations - that have zero to do with porn addiction recovery, marriage rebuilding, etc. We are finally just talking about 'nothing'. For so long, every single conversation focused on where we were, either as a couple or in our individual recovery efforts, we are finally reaching a point where normal conversations happen just as easily.

For the first time in a long time, my husband is making sure I take care of myself. I didn't for a long time, especially the early stages in this recovery. It actually feels weird sometimes, but I am getting used to it - LOL.

We have some nice family trips scheduled as well as some plans for just the two of us.

Lows/Triggers:
We just had the one year anniversary for when my husband physically acted out by going to a massage parlor and visited hook up websites (thankfully he didn't actually hook up with anyone). That was a larger trigger than I even admitted to myself until I felt myself raging in my mind. I didn't blow up on my husband, but I found myself really confused. I was being more trusting and open and when we hit that timeline I felt crazy for trusting someone that crossed a line I had said would lead to divorce if we got married. It really snuck up on me and I was surprised by not only an emotional, but even a physical reaction to the trigger. I ended up with a pretty big headache!

Things I am Working On:
I am working on not having anger be my primary emotion when handling a trigger. I am working to figure out how to allow myself to validate my feelings, but it not make me take a step back in the relationship. I know WHY I am doing it and that is completely self preservation. I know what it was like for me following d-day, and my mind is doing its job in protecting me from going through a valley that low again. My husband understands, it is smart to protect myself until he has had time to fully regain my trust. I will say, he did GREAT in handling my triggering experience. His previous self would have just went into a shell and said nothing. This time, he really tried to stay present and just love me through my pain.

Another thing I am working on is how to handle my steps forward. In the past, when I really boasted to my husband about how I was regaining my trust in him or feeling better, he interpreted that as a sign of being 'finished'. He would be like, "great, we are good now". It was hard for him to see that a step forward was not the finish line. So, I have been a bit more reserved in letting him know how good I am feeling about things. I really want to figure out how to express to him things are going better, but they aren't finished.

My 'Score'
I would say on a scale of 1-10, I would place myself at about a 7, but I fluctuate between 6 and 7 regularly. I think I am at a place where it is going to take a significant amount of growth before I move up to an 8. I have to say, my "6.5" actually feels really good considering I haven't yet hit the year mark, that will  happen in about eight weeks.

I still have a lot of healing to do, I lot of self reflection. I did a couple of things. One thing I did was buy a 5-year journal. You do one question a day for a year. Then, you answer that same question on the same day the next four years. I am looking forward to seeing how my answers change as the years go on. I also purchased myself some doodling journals. I am also trying to get to the gym more.


So - how about others on the long road?

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Okay, so I have seen two types of unhealthy advice. The first time was when my husband had a counselor that told him all of his addiction was as a result of 'low self esteem' and that he should go online to try to find some 'friends' that would help him find happiness - since of course his wife was being so down in the dumps. I was reading online and saw that LOTS of other folks have had equally bad advice from some therapists. I mean really - what could go wrong with encouraging a recovering porn addict to go online to find 'friends'?

Just today I was reading a book that was designed for "Good guys that cheat". Some advice was actually pretty good. But - oh my gosh, the bad advice that surrounded the good advice was criminal! Things like telling the man to erase all evidence so the wife doesn't find it and create your own narrative that would be the most acceptable to the wife. It also said that if you don't think your wife knows about the affair - don't tell her! Juts end the affair and tell your wife you want to go to marriage counseling because you are unhappy in the marriage.

Mind you, earlier in the book it said that wives can feel a small sense of relief when they find out the man did have an affair because at least they know they aren't crazy because they generally suspect something. Now it tells the man to just gaslight the wife by denying an affair happened in the first place unless the wife has absolute proof - really?

One chapter says be transparent while the next chapter says destroy evidence and pretend like you never cheated on your wife.

The messed up part is the stuff in the middle about meeting the needs of the wife was really good. But, imagine the poor woman whose husband follows this advice and then she finds out later on after 'marriage counseling' that her husband was sleeping with the neighbor. Knowing is extremely painful, but being lied to and gaslighted is a million times more painful than knowing the truth. I swear there is a bunch of absolute rubbish out there posing as professional advice!

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / How do you handle "anniversaries"?
« on: February 16, 2017, 07:10:47 AM »
I just realized why I had been seething with rage the last couple of days. We are coming up on an "anniversary" and my subconscious realized it before my conscious mind did. But, I definitely started to realize it with my conscious mind - a LOT. I know the timelines of all of my husband's escalations - basically, I know his entire porn journey. My husband crossed a line in that he actually visited a massage parlor and got a blow job. I know when it happened - just about two weeks after my birthday. Well, guess what is coming up - my birthday. He had to plan this little 'adventure', so he had to start planning right around my birthday.

My husband is trying desperately to just move past things, he wants the past to be the past and focus on the future. I, on the other hand, want to know that he realizes consistently just how much hurt and destruction this particular act brought into our marriage. We are coming up on the absolute biggest deception of our marriage. We are about to step directly into the anniversary of the biggest lie my husband ever told. His hesitancy in acknowledging that and wanting to close his eyes and stick his fingers in his ears and just cover up the date with cake and ice cream has me absolutely raging.

So - how do you handle "anniversaries" for things like d-day? I may be the only person here that has a husband that actually moved beyond viewing porn to actually doing cam-to-cam and having a "happy ending' massage, but I do know everyone had a d-day. Do you find yourself getting angry around that time? Do you want your husband to acknowledge the date or just ignore it?

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Unicorn Magic?
« on: February 14, 2017, 04:46:35 PM »
So, I started venturing in the other forums - something I said I wouldn't do, and by gosh are they severe triggers for partners!

I have seen multiple posts this week with guys confessing to "secretly relapsing" and trying to recover without telling their significant other - often times a wife. This sends me in two directions. The first is feeling extremely sad for the partner. We all know - nothing is truly hidden. The recovering addict is simply playing with his partner's head - basically emotional gas lighting. She probably absolutely feels something is amiss, but he is there pretending everything is fine and he is doing well. She is wondering why she can't trust him and if she is being hard on him and why is she feeling this way while he is lying to herself to save himself from negative consequences.

The second direction is wondering if I am really going to allow myself to believe that I lucked up and got a magical unicorn that can be that one in a thousand guys to decides one day to give up porn and never look back on it, never relapse. I saw one story where they person was clean for over a year - then relapsed and didn't tell his wife. My husband has agreed to take a polygraph whenever I need one to reassure me. I still have access to all of his passwords if I even feel I need to look at things. He comes to bed at the same time that I do and changed the behaviors that allowed porn to thrive, but - can I really trust that he is a magical unicorn?

I mean, this time last year if someone would have told me that my husband was jacking off to porn - I would NOT have believed them. If someone said my husband was doing cam-to-cam sessions with webcam girls I would have NOT believed them. If someone told me my husband went to a massage parlor and got a blow job - I would NOT have believed them. I have already had to get doused in the face with finding out my husband isn't who I thought it was. Can I really let myself think that now he is a unicorn? Is he truly recovered, or is he like so many guys on this board that 'think' they have recovered, until that trigger comes back and opportunity knocks and they are sitting there with their dick in their hand again?

That was the reason I stopped going to the other forums in the first place - it was too depressing to see the constant relapses. But, to see the relapses that also include lying to their partners or keeping the information from their partners is a trigger for "me". I mean, these guys saw how much it hurt their partner, and instead of them using that hurt as motivation to stay away from porn, they are just doing it behind their partner's back.

Again, this is just more of my musings as my one year date draws closer and I really consider what life is like with a recovering porn addict. Watching other men actively deceive their spouses and trying to hope against hope that your own spouse won't do that to you is - tough. Very, very tough.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Things I miss
« on: February 13, 2017, 07:57:08 AM »
My husband and I are doing well, we have settled into this 'new' relationship. It is no where near what we both wanted when we took our vows thirteen years ago. It is better than it was when he was masturbating to porn for five years of our marriage, but we don't lie to ourselves - it is no where near what it could have been had he not made such terrible choices. I am just not one of those folks that will lie and say we have a "better marriage because of what we went through", just that we have 'a marriage' because of our commitment to try to make something of the rubble that was left after porn.

But, now that we are settling into a new normal, there are some things that I miss:

1. Intimate connection - I still have an almost cosmic connection with my husband. One example - the other day I badgered him about what he was wearing before he left for work. His shirt was a bit wrinkled and that generally isn't him. He relented and changed his clothes then headed off to work. Low and behold - he had no idea he was being honored at an event that day. Had he went to work in his wrinkled, unkept get-up he had on that morning - he would have been mortified. I normally don't obsess about his clothing, but I just could not let him leave the house like that on that day. This happens quite a bit, when I feel strongly about something for him, it generally turns out to be true. This happened even through our disconnection due to porn. I would reach out to him - sometimes through email, before every single escalation. I would be pleading with him that something felt 'off' and we needed to talk and if he couldn't talk to me, maybe he could talk to someone. He used to have a similar connection with me before porn. He would know if I was upset or frustrated, just be able to 'read me' a lot better than most people. I was hoping he would regain that connection once he was free from porn. Sadly - it has been over eight months since he last viewed porn and still - that connection isn't there. If I don't explicitly state exactly what I am thinking or feeling - he has no clue. I miss having someone on this planet that truly "got me" that was truly connected to me in a way that we didn't need words. I makes me feel even lonelier because it seems like we will never regain the connection both ways. I can still look at him and read him, feel him, connect with him - but that connection back to me is pretty much nonexistent.

2. Depth - wow, my husband and I used to have some really fun and deep conversations. We could discuss everything from religion to string theory. Those conversations dwindled as he got further into porn and by the time it escalated to d-day, we hardly talked about things beyond the needs of the children. Again, I was hoping that depth would return. Unfortunately, it hasn't. We do talk, but only about things that are a pretty shallow, especially compared to the levels of conversation and analysis we used to have. To try and bring some variety into our conversation my husband recommended reading a book together and discussing it. The first book we tried I was absolutely shocked. He could hardly follow it. I almost hate to say it, but it was like communicating with someone that had suffered a traumatic brain injury. His short term memory appears to be shot, so following along with a complicated storyline that has several major characters or elements that have to remain distinct in the mind is difficult for him. I have no idea what wiring got crossed in his mind, but that ability to analyze and pick things apart is completely breaking down for him. I even see it with things for the kids. My kids are into the Percy Jackson series - which is all about Greek gods. Of course, there are scores of gods and my kids are happy to discuss each of them as well as the additional layer of demigods created for the book series. You have to be able to keep each god and their powers separate as well as understand some of the complicated relationships. This was something my husband would have been able to in the past. Now, when the children talk he looks and me and says, "Do you have any idea what they are talking about." Yes, I do and I can't understand he doesn't.

3. Genuine fun together. When my husband and I got together, we genuinely enjoyed each others company. We liked a lot of the same things and even picked up new hobbies over time. Things were even going okay when he first got in to porn. But, when things really escalated the last two or so years of his addiction - we drifted apart. With all of our attempts over the past eight months, I still cannot say I have had a genuinely good time with my husband. The things we used to do together just don't feel quite the same and trying to develop new hobbies and have new experiences with each other keep falling kind of flat. One example - when we were engaged we took some ballroom dance classes together and really enjoyed the experience. As part of our marriage reboot, we thought - hey, lets do that again. Ugh, didn't work out well. I couldn't look him in the eyes as we were dancing, something that is a big part of ballroom dance. I just didn't feel right, because I was am still trying to deal with all the lies he told me while looking me in the eyes (he told some big ones to keep porn before d-day). We started with a male teacher and that worked out. But, the teacher had a schedule change and we had to move to a female teacher - and you can guess how fun that was for me. Nope, I really don't want my husband recovering from masturbating to whatever kind of crazy he found online to be hugged up with a young, petite woman getting lessons in lots of sensual dances. He didn't try anything, but it didn't feel right - I didn't feel our marriage reboot was in a strong enough position to have that happen. I guess what is really interfering with fun is that everything has to go through the filter of porn. Will this be a trigger for him? Will it be a trigger for me? Will it put us in a bad position? We can have all the fun in the world with the kids, but whenever it is just about the two of us - I have yet to find myself laughing and smiling and genuinely happy when I am with him.

I guess I am coming to terms with the idea that my husband has been permanently changed by the experience. I am accepting the new reality the same way I would accept if he had suffered a stroke or a brain injury that permanently altered his personality. He isn't the same guy I married and honestly, if this was the guy I met all those years ago - I would not have dated him, let alone married him. I am crying even writing this, because it is the most honest I have allowed myself to be in eight months. He is still a nice, sweet guy, he is a really good dad, and he is trying very hard to be a good husband. But this guy, the guy he is today, just isn't my "type". I think it would be easier to accept if this change came from a medical condition or an accident, but to think this change came from jacking off to porn is unreal. When I first read YBOP and I read about how porn addiction re-wired the brain - I thought I understood it, but it didn't really dawn on me what they could mean long term. We I first read about guys rebooting, there were all these stories of men getting "super powers", being more sensitive and aware and emotionally open. I was hoping against hope that my husband would be one of those guys, that was able to re-find all those things about himself that porn had stolen. I was hoping he would be one of those guys that could re-find their soul. Sometimes I just look at my husband, I try looking into his eyes desperate to see passion, to see emotion, to see a sparkle. Instead, it is almost like looking at someone on the autism spectrum - where they want to feel, want to connect, want to experience true and deep human emotion, but they just can't reach it. Sometimes when we are talking, I see his eyes moving, like he is desperately trying to figure out what emotion he should be experiencing at the moment, trying to figure out what he should be feeling - but it just isn't there. Not even just with me, even with the kids he just isn't "feeling", he is doing - he is doing a ton, but he just doesn't seem to be connecting in any emotional way.

Sigh.

12
I read a lot of resources on trust building and forgiveness and one of the most eye opening was on the concept of 'cheap forgiveness'. It happens when the emphasis is placed on the person wronged to forgive quickly because they 'love' the person and what matters is love. The big thing with cheap forgiveness is that is stunts the growth of both individuals. Waiting for authentic forgiveness is not punishment and it doesn't mean forgiveness will never come, it also doesn't mean that trust will never come. However, when the message is, love means I have to swallow my hurt and my pain and not stand up for my own emotional and mental health and wellness by waiting until I see CONSISTENT change and growth, it devalues both people in the situation.

First, it devalues the person that was wronged, by saying their pain and their suffering is a secondary need to an intact relationship. It says they must simply accept or demean and lower themselves and their needs for the sake of the relationship unit. It also devalues the person who did the wrong, saying it is believed that they are actually incapable of appropriate growth. Some people go for acceptance, however - this technically should be utilized when there is no opportunity for true forgiveness. Basically, when the person who wronged you has died before they could appropriately make amends or they refuse to make amends. How healthy could a continued relationship be when the wronged party simply comes to accept they were wronged and will never received the reciprocal nature of true forgiveness.

I really like these short articles on the differences:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships/2012/04/four-approaches-forgiveness-ranging-from-cheap-to-genuine/

http://www.affairhealing.com/fake-forgiveness.html

http://www.affairhealing.com/premature-forgiveness.html

On the topic, I highly recommend the book, "How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not to.
This book was really good in showing me that rushing into forgiveness to try to move things along and get 'back to normal' was actually damaging any opportunity for true restoration of the relationship. In taking my time, it is helping both my husband and I grow.

It was just recently that my husband said, "I am finally starting to get what it is like to be going through what you are going through." I asked him to explain and he finally started to be able to distinguish between the various emotions - what hurt, versus what caused anger, versus what caused embarrassment. That wouldn't have come if I didn't allow myself to be honest, if I rushed myself through the process, if I sat my needs aside and just opened my arms and said, "All is well!" No matter what happens in our relationship (we are just over seven months, no big decisions for a year), watching my husband figure out the layers of what he did has been good. Even if we aren't together in the future, him really understanding hurt and pain will help him relate better the children, and you know what - if things don't work out with us I hope he finds love again, and knowing and understanding true feelings will help in that.

When we say the words, "porn addiction", it doesn't quite get to what happens when there is a partner involved. It wasn't just watching and masturbating to porn (and in my husband's case - going to a massage parlor once). It was the denial of true intimacy, spending time away from being emotionally attached in the marriage, lying, hiding, spending household funds for videos or chat sessions, saying one thing and doing another.

We are finally getting to the deep hurts, those things that are truly hard to talk about. Like how hard it is to come to terms with the fact that my husband could look me in the eye and tell a lie. Like reading through letters my husband wrote me - where he said he understood he had been selfish in the past, but he would do better and I was the most beautiful, most intelligent, most kind, and loving woman and he would do everything he could to the best husband - and then two weeks later was when he went to a massage parlor and got a blow job. Yeah, he wrote a note that absolutely touched my soul and restored my faith in him, and he was still knee deep in porn (this was all before my discovery). We are getting to the nitty, gritty, ugly things that caused the wounds. Yeah, it was pretty easy to forgive ogling naked ladies, but this part - the lying, the deception, the intentional emotional manipulation just to get me off his trail - that deserves all the time it takes to get to true forgiveness, or not.

13
As my husband and I engage in the hard work of seeing if there can be true reconciliation, I have had to dig deep in a number of areas.

Like most partners, my husband presented the concept of 'compartmentalization", where he claimed his porn use was separate from his feelings for me. I accepted that line, even though I didn't understand it. However, as I really analyzed what he said I confronted him with this truth - compartmentalization is just a fancy word for "loved less".

When we made our vows to each other, we promised each other our entire selves. At no point did either of us agree to only a 'part' of the other spouse. Him saying he compartmentalized porn use is really saying, "This was a part of myself I decided I was unable or unwilling to share with you, I took a part of myself that should have been yours and I gave it to porn.". It may hurt less to hear the word 'compartmentalization' than to hear the word 'loved less', but that is the reality.

I asked him if even before he got addicted, did he think porn was acceptable. While when we were married he presented himself as someone who didn't think porn was 'good', he said while he didn't think he would engage in porn, he didn't think it was bad at the time. Okay, then why didn't you let me know when you were watching and jacking off to it? Of course - because I knew you would not like that. Oh, so you decided - at the very first session where you took out your dick while watching porn, you made a choice to bring a wedge into our relationship. Then come the lies, then comes rejecting your wife in favor of PMO, then comes the spending money, then comes the webcam sessions, then comes 'falling for' webcam girls and pretending they are real.

The point is, when you decide that you are not longer required to have your entire heart in a relationship, but you are keeping a piece of it for yourself and your own enjoyment - and that piece of your heart is tied to intimacy and closeness and bonding - it is a judgement on love. Research has shown that people who excessively use porn that are married admit to having less loving feelings for their spouse over time. What that 'compartment' is made out of is love - and that person took love that they should have had for you and they used those emotions, those hormones, those feelings for something that wasn't even real.

Not fun to realize that what I felt over those years really was love draining from the relationship. No, it wasn't a matter of "I love you or I do not love you", it was a matter of, "I love you with my whole heart versus I love you with a part of my heart". As the addiction built, the piece of his heart that was dedicated to me (and the family as a whole) shrank. No, it was never that he only loved us with 20% of his being, but - do I really want to accept being loved with just 70 or 80%?

The more he fights to come back from the emotional and mental effects of porn addiction (the physical is fully resolved), the more I realize just how much of my husband I lost to porn. Just how big that 'compartment' was, just how much it edged me out of my rightful place in his heart. I don't know how long I am willing to wait for the tank to get back to 100%; I don't even know if the tank can get back to 100%.

The hard reality of being married to a porn addict.

14
Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / The maturity issue
« on: December 30, 2016, 08:28:50 AM »
I just replied to someone's post on this issue, but thought I would make a new thread. This is one area of porn addiction that I haven't seen addressed very much, but one that is proving to be what feels like a potential nail in the coffin for my marriage to a recovering addict. There is something about porn that not only stalls/stops the ability to mature, it actually causes what is emotional/psychological regression.

When my husband was early in his recovery and I am shell shocked from d-day, this aspect wasn't one that was a big issue. The first 90 days of his reboot were all consuming and I was just trying to keep my head above water. We are now just over seven months out and are focusing much more on our marriage. My husband and I are both in counseling and he has had no issues with relapsing.

So, what's the problem? It honestly now feels like being married to someone twenty years my junior emotionally. He things, reacts, responds in ways I would expect from a guy in his twenties - someone just starting out in life with little to no life experiences to draw from. His emotional intelligence is almost nonexistent. All of his attempts at reaching out backfire, mainly because they are just the wrong thing to say.

Examples:
Yes, I am the first to admit we have a lot of catching up to do in our relationship. He was emotionally checked out for at least five years, if not more. However, his attempt to reconnect is buying a book on "101 questions to ask your spouse". This is the type of book you would give a couple at an engagement party, not at all something that would be a good way to reconnect in what has been a thirteen year marriage. Some of the questions in the book: "Were you ever caught masturbating as a teenager?" Really? That is kind of NOT the type of question we need to be asking each other when you battled porn addiction - hell, you were still masturbating to porn this time last year! Most of the questions in the book are things we talked about over a decade ago. I mean, really - I don't need to ask if you you competed in any sports as a kid or what are you thoughts on death or where you want to retire. What we need is more about rekindling romance or how to create new memories. But, he doesn't see that, he thinks it is possible to 'start over' as if we are complete strangers meeting one another again for the first time.

I have been completely taken aback by his inability to have any sense of how I am feeling in the moment. Look, I get that women as a whole confuse men, but men and women with whom I am only a causal acquaintance have more insight into my feelings that my husband does. I gave the example in another post about feeling a bit depressed and going to the gym where two guys and one woman (trainers that we work with for classes) as gave me a look and asked if things were okay - meanwhile my husband could be none the wiser. It isn't just when I am feeling bad, we were on holiday and I had significantly more causal interactions with strangers than I did with my husband. Feeling silly - another man or woman in the waiting area of a restaurant would look at me, see a smirk, and we could joke back and forth with one another about the cold temperatures or totally out of place 'mood music'. My husband would be two steps behind "Oh, your in a good mood now." No - I was in a good mood before we even got here. Those strangers I spent five minutes with could pick up on the fact that I was in a good mood and ready to joke while he was completely unaware. If I am feeling particularly amorous - wearing my nicest nightclothes (or jumping in bed completely naked), touching his shoulders, giving a 'look' or a smile - nope. If I don't grab his penis or literally say, "let's have sex", he is just clueless. He knows when he wants sex, I know when he wants sex - he has no idea when I want sex. The problem is, before porn addiction - he could pick up on those things. He could tell if I was 'feeling fat' or catch my eyes when I was telling him I was ready for 'bed' or seem me being silly and join in. It is like porn completely severed that emotional connection. The sad part is - I can still read him. I can read him quite well; it hurts that the connection doesn't run in the other direction.

Other things that have seemed to be completely deadened in him - long term planning, the ability to anticipate what will be the likely outcome of things, the ability to think ahead and have plans for when things could go wrong (back up planning). One thing I have been working on in counseling is to stop coming to the rescue. The reason why his porn addiction was able to go on so long and progress so far was because I never let things fall. The more he went into his fantasy world, the more responsibility I took on for the real world - to keep the household running, to keep the kids' needs met, etc. He could spend his emotional and mental energy on porn because other than his job - he could slack. Over the years of  his porn addiction, I became less of his partner and more of his parent. Part of my recovery has been to step out of the parenting role, and I have been amazed at the things that have falling as he tries to juggle real life. For instance, I get no longer wanting to live a lie, but does it really make sense to out of the blue tell your 70 year old parents you have been jacking off to porn and now your wife is mad at you? What got gained from telling your mother you want to a massage parlor and got a blow job? She is 70 years old, she doesn't want to know her forty something year old son got his dick sucked by a stranger! Really, there was a better way to handle the whole "confessional" thing. But, the reason why he felt the need to even 'confess' to his parents was because he is thinking like an adolescent. He doesn't live with them, they don't pay our bills, he has been on his own since he graduated high school, there is no reason to tell your elderly parents about your sex life, especially since we were working on our marriage and had no plans for divorce. But, he saw himself as a kid that needed to confess to mommy and daddy and no longer "live a lie". The fallout of course, was his mom was so horrified she called all of her friends to figure out what was wrong with her son and they apparently all agreed that when a wife is not around to do her "wifely duties" men have to go purchase those things from prostitutes. Ugh!!!! Of course, I could have told him what the outcome of his little confession sessions would be, but my stepping back and letting him navigate the world has meant I end up more embarrassed. It is taking everything in me not to 'parent', the only out is now saying he might want to run things by his counselor first. But, that just puts the counselor in the parent role.

It's hard, because I do love my husband. He is a good person who made a very bad choice. Unfortunately, that bad choice changed him in a way that I am not sure he will ever truly recover from. My husband is out of the porn fog and well away from porn, but the man standing in front of me isn't who I was expecting. I am frightened by what I see, I am sad and angry. This isn't fair for him or for me. I know that if he knew then everything porn would take from him, he would have unplugged the computer and threw it out the window all those years ago.

I know on RN and YBOP, they sometimes say that it is easier for older men because they didn't get introduced to porn through high speed internet. I don't think it is easier, just different. I think in some ways, the damage may be worse. Younger men have the gift of time, when porn releases them from its grip - they are still young enough to mature on schedule. For older men, they have to look in the mirror and see a 40, 50, 60 year old man who is overcoming the something his children or grandchildren might be dealing with. They are expected to be beyond such foolishness. No one wants to imagine some 50 year old man holding his dick while jacking off to watching some teenager pleasure herself. It is creepy and not at all age appropriate. Even if they are looking at a 'mature' woman, she is still likely ten to thirty years his junior. The only way to cope is to force their mind to meet their actions and when they finally snap out, they see just what their bargain with the devil was about.

It is so hard, I miss what we both wanted in our marriage. I mourn for the loss of my husband, my partner, my best friend. The man that stands in front of me, that shares my bed, that keeps trying to work his way back into my life - is just a shell of what is left. Just what porn was willing to spit out and give back. I hope one day he will be made whole.

15
Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Current Struggle - Mourning the Losses
« on: December 05, 2016, 08:12:09 AM »
I am trying to keep an account of how "I" am doing during this process. I still have my extreme ups and downs. I still get extremely disappointed when I feel that my husband isn't making the progress that I would like to see on the emotional/connection side of the relationship. Right now my biggest current struggle is mourning the losses.

I have been almost overwhelmed with grief over the years of our relationship that were lost to porn. One of the things I can honestly say hinders our progress is that when things start to feel 'better', I think about how we could have and should have had this 'better' relationship years ago. Why did we have to hit rock bottom before he realized he loved me, why did he have to fall so far down before he realized he wanted this relationship? Why did he allow something as stupid as pornography to distract him so much he missed important milestones in the development of our children. Sometimes, you don't get a do over. In our conversation this morning he said he was going to "fix things" and I asked, "How do you fix what was missed to time?" You don't get to 'fix' not having an active role in the pivotal years of your children's development. How do you 'fix' all those times he turned me down when I asked him to come to bed with me. He picked jacking off to porn over having sex with me for years. It wasn't until I thought about things recently that I realized just how many times he flat out rejected my advances. How do you 'fix' that?

It feels unfair, that I am expected to simply move on, to put the past in the past. He didn't spend the last few YEARS feeling rejected, feeling abandoned, feeling unloved. He spent those years on a dopamine high. He is walking away from something that was fake and walking in to something that is real. I am being asked to trust someone that I used to trust and he violated that trust. The only reason that I don't trust him now is because he proved himself untrustworthy. I am being asked to 'trust fall' from a cliff into the arms of someone that has consistently dropped me every single time I closed my eyes, crossed my arms, and fell back thinking that he loved me enough to catch me. I can never get back to the pure trust I used to have for him, the trust that I had that he would never let me fall, he would never betray me or hurt me intentionally.

I am mourning the loss of my ideas of a 'good marriage'. I see the only way to make this work is to significantly lower my expectations. To stop holding out hope for restitution. What can he possibly do to repay the harm that he caused? The most he can do is try not to hurt me again. That is like someone breaking your leg - they don't take you to the hospital, they don't hold you and comfort you until the pain medication takes effect, they don't take on your duties while you are healing, they don't even notice you are in pain most of the time. Once things finally come to ahead, the absolute only thing they can offer is to get 'anger management counseling' and promise not to break your leg again. And you have to find a way to accept that.

I am mourning the loss of my fantasy. I am mourning the mountain of disconnect between what I needed to see and what I am actually seeing. My husband honestly cannot figure out what things he could do ease the pain of what he caused. I can think of 1,000 ways. I am no longer giving him lists of things he 'could do'. The reason is because when he would do the things I requested, they weren't from the heart and they were consistent and sustained over time. He would do them until he though he was 'done' and he was ready to move on.

I feel like I am in a bit of limbo - I am mourning the loss of our marital past, I am mourning the loss of the fantasy of fun and fascinating future. It is hard to believe that I am not trying to hype myself up to accept mediocre. Sigh

16
I have said this plenty of times since I came back to this forum, but I am not going to stop because I think it is important for many of us to accept. The vast majority of relationships that recover from someone having a porn and/or sex addiction takes three to five years for that relationship recovery. That is it, 3-5 years for trust to be rebuilt, the relationship to be healed, and a healthy and strong relationship to emerge. Not six months, not twelve months, not eighteen months. It is going to take a VERY long time. One of the reasons is because with addiction, patterns have to be changed and maintained. Your spouse is going to have to do the right thing - all day, every day for years in order for that to become his default.

You can click on any partners profile, read their posts, and see the ebb and flow. Why? Because we are in relationships with recovering addicts. Let's stop trying to minimize just how powerful addiction is. Addiction re-wires the brain, and it takes not only commitment and effort, but also time for those brains to get back to a state that is healthy and whole. While we can all be happy and rejoice and applaud the 'good days', our significant others are going to have to be able to sustain that 'good behavior' for significant periods of time for the relationship to truly heal - if we are going for a healthy relationship. Stopping porn and PMO and acting out was only the first step. For my husband, it was the easiest step. The next step is replacing those negative behaviors with positive/appropriate behaviors. Like many, my husband would PMO as a stress reliever, it was his way of blowing off steam or escaping from conflict. Now he has to develop an entirely new set of skills for dealing with life's challenges. That takes time, you don't do it 'right' for a week and then you are engrained in your new behavior. No, you have to make the right decision over and over and over again for months and even years at a time for that to become your default.

Healthy communication skills take a LONG time to develop. You have to practice them consistently, for years, for that to become your default.

Part of relationship healing is rebuilding trust. Again, that takes YEARS. Most of us dealt with a situation in which we didn't have 'disclosure' with our significant other confessing, we had 'discovery' - where our detective skills revealed most of the truth. One of the hardest truths was that our significant other was even capable of leading almost a double life. How do you just up and trust someone that was that much of a deceiver after just a couple months of honest behavior? No, it does't work like that. They have to show themselves trustworthy, consistently, for years before it would even make sense to trust them at just their word alone.

It takes time for recovering addicts to even learn what all of their triggers are. Only after they have identified their triggers can they move on to manage those triggers. Again, that is hard on the relationship. For my husband and I - some of his triggers were things we actually enjoyed. We used to like getting couple's massages. Guess what? Massages are a trigger for him - no more couples massages. The place where we went on our honeymoon had a nude beach. We had planned for years to return for our 15th anniversary. Guess what - no way is that going to happen. Even though it is over a year away, be both recognize it is unrealistic to think he would be able to handle a nude beach by the time that anniversary rolls around. That hurts. I was really looking forward to going back, I cried when I realized we weren't going to return then and maybe never. To think that having to give up so much is going to be healed in a few months is unrealistic.

There may be some miracle level recoveries of people and their relationships. But, I am posting this because I think a lot of partners are getting frustrated because they think their relationship is not healing at a rate that is good. NORMAL, sustained, healthy recovery is three to five years. Everyday you may be getting better, even with all the setbacks, but this is going to be a very long journey toward healing. That three to five years is if your partner is in ACTIVE recovery. It isn't 3-5 years because your partner slacked, it isn't 3-5 years because you didn't get counseling. Working with counselors, having a partner that is doing the hard work, and you working on your own recover - you are still looking at 3 - 5 years.

Look, I have had my own moments when I thought my husband and I were on the fast track because things were going 'so well', they key element that NO ONE can rush is consistency. Their good work, their strong communication skills, their being honest as default, their being trustworthy, you being open, you being vulnerable, you trusting their words and deeds without thinking there is another motive, you both successfully managing triggers, developing new memories that crowd out the memories of the betrayal, all that takes consistency and consistency takes time. Consistency is not 90 day of abstinence - it means a year or more of doing it mostly right the vast majority of the time.

Recovery takes time because recovery takes sustained consistency. And that comes from doing the hard work to even establish what you are both trying to be consistent with. While I wish we all could be superstars in our healing and see our relationships recovered quickly - I think it important to be realistic. For the VAST majority of us, it is going to be in that 3-5 year range. It takes a very long time to pick up and put back together all the pieces that were shattered due to porn/sex addiction.

17
Some people's path to recovery is linear - where they simply move forward along with their recovering partner. That is awesome. The reality is the vast majority of recovery is not linear - there are ups and downs. I am finding that my own situation is very much in line with what is put forth by recovery professionals. Here are the things I am finding are true for me:

1) There are ups and downs and extreme emotions. Being at the six month mark in my husband's recovery I clearly see why no permanent decision should be made in the first year as far as what should happen in the relationship.

2) Honesty was priority number one - and my husband could NOT accomplish true honesty without professional help. If I took everything my husband said at face value, I would have been swimming on cloud nine and telling the world about my husband's perfection, his 'openness', and his fallen from the sky honesty. All I can say is that it is amazing what memories a professional polygraph test can shake from the dark recesses of the mind. Again, not everyone needs a relationship built on honesty, but for me - I needed to know just what his porn addiction entailed. I had children to think about as well as I deserved to know truth and the reality is - my husband was a liar. The vast majority of porn addicts with partners become liars to one extent or another. Lying is a very hard habit to break on one's own, especially when they are trying to rebuild the relationship. There is guilt and shame with porn addiction that makes lying feel like the better alternative to truth. For some partners, that is the case. For me, no - I want and need truth and honesty.

3) Understanding the depths at which addiction changed my husband. We have had some open and honest recovering porn addicts post recently in the forum about how much they had been willing to deceive - including playing the "I am so bad, I am a monster" game or anything else to take the heat off. If I was taking my husband at face value when he appeared as perfect as pie early in his recovery - it would have severely limited his true recovery. The truth is, I value my husband as a person above our marriage. That means, if it cost us or marriage for him to truly, honestly, fully recover from addiction - I will gladly do it. What I am finding is no matter how hard this recovery process is on the both of us, he is emerging as a better man. He is not only tackling is porn/sex addiction, he is taking on those things that made him susceptible to the addiction in the first place. He had to learn a lot of new life skills. For instance, his way of dealing with problems was simply to avoid them (thus turning to porn for release/relaxation/comfort). One doesn't learn how to go from a conflict avoider to handling conflict in a mature and meaningful way by simply stopping jacking off from porn. My husband abstained from porn since d-day. He has not had one relapse in 180 days - not one. Guess what? He is still in recovery, because abstinence and true recovery are two very different things.

4) Rebooting was only the START of my husband's recovery. I went in to this thinking my husband had a porn addiction problem. Very few people only have a porn addiction problem. As I mentioned earlier, my husband turned to porn because he was an extreme conflict avoider. He used his nature of being quiet to go into a shell and hide from all sorts of things. What is frustrating to see, but I am so glad he has come to this truthful realization - most of his problems that he was running from were all easily solvable. A bit of honest and open communication, some small lifestyle changes - and he could have easily dealt with probably 90% of the things he was running from by escaping to porn. In fact, I think my husband got so taken by porn because he was severely lacking in dopamine hits in his normal life because he just avoided life. Running from the 'problems', no matter how minor, also meant running from the good, the joy, the excitement. Porn based dopamine felt that much better because he hid from life so much he lacked the dopamine experiences that would and should have been naturally occurring. My husband wasn't just doing this in our marriage, he was doing this in his entire life. Let me give an example. Let's say one of our kids had difficulty walking due to a fixable medical issue. If my husband would see the child having difficulty and suffering - he would shut down. Because he shut down and tried to shut out the bad, he would miss when each and every victory gained through therapy. So, while me and the child would be riding high on dopamine from watching them overcome every challenge and not only learn to walk - but learn to run, jump, play, and maybe even make their first soccer goal, my husband might see only the soccer gaol. While watching that soccer goal might be good, he would also then be overcome with guilt because he didn't watch or participate in the hard work that made that goal possible. (By the way, this particular story did not happen for us, I am keeping the premise of our experience without revealing the actuals because this is the internet and I don't speak about my children's lives online.). The guilt would then draw him further into a shell - and further into seeking his emergency 'rush' from porn. Bring cam girls into the picture and that was grounds for disaster. Cam girls are always there, no matter what time of day or night you seek them. With just a couple dollars - they will tell you that you are great, amazing, and perfect in every way. So, when your wife is frustrated that you forgot to wash the dishes even though she cooked dinner, did the laundry, got the kids to bed - all the while working the same eight hours for pay as you did, you can turn on the web and listen to the cam girls tell you that your wife is horrible for being so selfish, that you are such a giver, and by the way - your penis is amazing (even though it doesn't work with your wife). This world that my husband was living in, I was completely unaware of. Mainly because I was busy with the kids and life. Of course I noticed that my husband wasn't coming to bed at night and appeared to lose all interest in sex with me, but the crisis that was occurring in his mind I was not in tuned with.

5. It is okay to hold out for something better. I am worth it. I am worth a heck of a lot more than simply 'average' happy. I have put in the hard work, stood by in a difficult situation, and kept up my end of the bargain. Part of my own recovery is knowing my worth. My husband is noticing as well. Whether we make it or not is still up for grabs, but keeping true to my worth and not settling just to keep the family together is helpful to both of us.

6. I am not his therapist. I held fast and helped my husband find the right therapists to work with. Yes, he originally made a bad choice that would have certainly ruined any chance of our marriage surviving. But, he has found the right fit. We talk to each other, deeply and often. However, this isn't about porn, it is about addiction. It is about breaking the cycle of addiction. My mind defaults to us, our marriage, and my pain. He is getting guidance from people that understand the nature of addiction. It is through his professional counselors, that know what they are doing, that my husband and I could see that his issues started much further back than even he thought or wanted to acknowledge. There was even dysfunction in his home that he had repressed (but confirmed through communication with a sibling who had also kept the vow to just not even discuss some of the crazy that went on in the home). Those things weren't going to come to the surface if we were sitting and talking about our marriage or relationship or my upset. Having an addiction is complex.

7) I get a choice. Being married to a recovering addict is tough and there are choices I get and parameters I get to set to stay in this relationship. Full disclosure was the first, along with the relationship being fully satisfying for me. I have high hopes for my husband's full and complete recovery. He is putting in the hard work. I mean - extremely hard work that includes individual counseling as well as a group session, led by a trained professional, with all the men in the group dealing with the same issue and going through the process together. He is doing assignments that are meaningful and are getting to the heart of the issue so that he can be in complete control of his own life. However, deep work takes time and I get to choose if I am willing to wait. Some days the answer is a resounding yes, other days it feels like a no - but that is okay as well.

8) The trauma that I went through as the partner of an addict was real. Regardless of whether others see it as trauma, that is exactly what it was. I need no one's permission to take my time through my own recovery. This is my journey, and it is valid and meaningful and important. Others can minimize it all they want to, that only serves to help me to know whom to cut out of my life, whom to sit in a corner, and finding out who are the people that are actually in my corner. Being the partner of a porn/sex addict might not be traumatic for others - that is valid as well. This is my journey, unique to me.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Conflicting Recovery
« on: November 22, 2016, 03:18:37 PM »
I have to ask if anyone has experienced "conflicting recovery" issues before? What I mean by that is - when your partner that is recovering from porn addiction needs something in conflict from what you feel you need? My husband and I are continuing to try and figure things out, lots has transpired over the last few weeks - some good, some not.
One thing that happened is my husband felt it was important to no longer "hide" his issues. He told his parents (he is close to them) what happened. Of course, his mother's reaction was to blame me for not being a "good enough" wife. While my husband says he defended me and he backed down (I wasn't there), I am still pissed off. His father just told him "Oh well, you can't change the past" and proceeded to let him know that he would support him and - "Oh well, if we get divorced it will probably be hard on your wife, but she can handle it." My husband is thrilled to no longer be in "hiding" and I am now absolutely horrified that even more people know that my husband would rather jack off to porn than have sex with his wife. Now, that isn't entirely true - my husband has been PMO free for six months (confirmed with a polygraph, has now seen porn since d-day). His mother and I don't have the best relationship and she couldn't wait to get her hands on that information. So now, I am pretty much hiding in the house, not even wanting to show my face as I am sure the entire extended family of great aunt Betty and cousin Tony three times removed have all been told that that I am so terrible in bed my husband had to go off on the computer and she always knew I wouldn't make a good wife after all.

UGH! I know my dh didn't do it to be spiteful, he was thought it was good to stop hiding behind the nice, 'perfect husband' persona. However, the way that society works - he is off the hook and I am being looked at like a big failure. Not one person, even though he knows of multiple that have been told, had reached out a hand of support to me. Lots of folks "rooting for him" and letting him know he is still a great guy, his is awesome and amazing, and wow - look what a brave soul he is for admitting he isn't perfect.

Sure, he is defending me and trying to "defend my honor" as best he can. But, the damage is done and once again - I look and feel like an absolute fool. I swear being married to a porn addict is pretty much the gift that keeps on giving - only lumps of coal instead of tidings of joy.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Signing Off
« on: November 02, 2016, 06:42:17 PM »
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you guys know I am signing off. Just not comfortable with a private message that was sent to me and realize it is time to cut ties. I have enough baggage in real life trying to heal a relationship and recovery from a very hard reality of being married to a porn/sex addict. Adding more drama from folks I don't know in real life is not healthy or necessary at this point.

Wish all the partners here the best and hope your journey is filled with happiness. Hoping all the PAs here find their road to recovery quicker than they ever imagined!

Hugs to you all!

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / What Partners "know"
« on: October 31, 2016, 06:39:51 AM »
I know we often have conversations on this forum from PAs who feel like partners don't know or understand their side of porn addiction. I thought it would be good to have a conversation about what partners actually do know when it comes to what porn addiction:

1. Most porn addicts want to quit. They realize their porn use is out of control and don't like the feeling of being at the mercy of something like porn.

2. Most porn addicts are embarrassed about their addiction. Porn is seen as 'normal' and 'all guys do it', but they know they would be mocked and ridiculed to have to admit that because they used porn so much, they often have difficulty having sex in the real world. They are embarrassed to admit they can no longer even have an erection without porn.

3. Most porn addicts didn't know they had an addiction until they tried to quit. It wasn't until trying to stop porn that it was discovered they couldn't just walk away. It is unsettling to not have control of your own body and mind.

4. Relapse is hard mentally, emotionally, and physically. When relapse happens, one of the hardest things to do is to come back and reset the counter. Most have tried 100 times to say no and resisted 100 times before they actually go through with a relapse. As soon as they O, they feel shame, remorse, and many fall right back into PIED. Depression is common and even having the courage to get out of bed and start again is a victory.

5. Most porn addicts find their addiction started well before they were old enough and mature enough to have a choice. When your first look a porn was under the age of twelve, you had little control over the way things would play out when it came to porn. Most porn addicts didn't so much 'choose' porn as much as the tentacles of porn addiction started to wrap around their mind before they had the capacity to effectively resist. This wasn't their choice and they wish it never happened.

6. Most porn addicts think they have messed up so bad they will never have a chance of real love and real happiness. They come to the partners section and see the conversation and get frustrated because it seems like even if they kick the porn habit, they still might not have shot at the ending they envisioned - where quitting porn means they get the promised 'super powers' and attract the real life woman that will make them never even think about porn again. That fantasy is something that motivated them and when that fantasy gets ripped away they wonder if this is all worth it. They have to actively fight the feelings that maybe the only time they ever orgasm is to porn and if they stop porn, they stop being any type of man - even a porn addicted man.

7. Most porn addicts are tired, lonely because they don't have anyone they can tell they are struggling with porn, and really wish they could be honest about their struggles outside of an anonymous online forum, but they can't. They know being honest will cost them too much in their life, so part of fighting porn is lying about who you are in your real world life and that makes it so much harder - because you feel like a fraud.

8. Most porn addicts are mourning something their addiction has made them lose. For some it is a girlfriend or wife, for others a job or career, and for others - just hobbies and interests and doing something with their time other than jacking off to porn. Porn costs them something big and they struggle with wondering if they will ever get back even a little bit of what porn has already taken.

9. Porn addiction is scary. Sometimes when you go back through your mind at some of the things you watched to get that orgasm it is frightening. You question who you are and if you are 'sick in the head' and you don't feel like you can ever tell anyone on the planet - because you can't even say out loud, let alone admit, some of the things you watched to get hard and some of the stuff you finished to. It still scares you that those are the images you needed to orgasm and you wonder if normal sex will ever be enough for you.

10. You are more than just a porn addict. You are a complete person who is more than just this addiction. You get tired of coming on the partner forum and seeing posts that appear to limit you to this small area when you do a lot of good in the world. You have a job or are going to school, some people volunteer, others go to church, some are active fathers, others supportive friends. For some, if we knew who you were in real life we might be shocked because in every other area of your life - you are admired. For others, your friends and family would never believe you were addicted to porn because you are the nicest, sweetest guy - very respectful of women, funny, kind, etc. This is just a piece of you.

See, we get it. We know. But this forum here - it isn't where we come to discuss our significant other's contributions to society. This isn't where we discuss how good of a father they are or how they volunteered last night feeding the poor, or how they made beds for the local homeless shelter. This isn't where we discuss our compassion for their struggle or how much it breaks our heart to see our significant other struggle. This isn't where we talk about how proud we are of the hard work and dedication it takes to break porn addiction. This isn't where we talk about how brave we think it is to take on addiction - often times all alone, and fight with everything you have in you to win back what you have lost. This isn't where we come to discuss the good qualities that we KNOW are there. We get all of that - every partner here gets all of that.

This forum is where we discuss "our" struggle as partners. A BIG part of that struggle is the emotional impact of finding out that your overall 'good guy' had a really dark secret and that secret impacted you in a big way. We allow each other to vent and we know that sometimes people say things in their emotional distress that they don't mean - it is just the only thing that would come out. We understand that this is the space to say the ugly things you would never actually say to your significant other or any porn addict - but it is eating at your mind and you want someone, anyone to know just how much anger and pain and anguish you are dealing with. We as partners know that sometimes just venting is enough for the mind to clear and things to come into perspective.

So really, we get it. We really do get it. I think the agreement can be that if we don't come on to the other forums and hurl accusations and mock and threaten, then nothing at all said here in this forum should be taken personal by a porn addict. If we were directing something negative towards a PA we would go to your forum and say it. Look, I admit to right now being an absolute emotional mess! One day I am happy, the next day anger, the next day depressed, the next day hopeful. Heck, sometimes all those emotions happen within an hour. I come here and vent because it is the only 'safe' place I have. This isn't personal to you all, so stop taking it personal.

Look, I don't even go to the other forums anymore. I saw a LOT of things I was taking personal. I would read those boards and end up absolutely depressed and disgusted. So, I totally get what it is like to read something in a forum that 'feels' like it is directed specifically towards you. My solution was to stop going on those forums, because I know many of the guys there were posting out of their own frustrations, not understanding their emotions, trying to find a safe way to talk about just how fucking hard porn addiction is to conquer. So - I left because I knew I had nothing constructive to contribute and I would probably do more harm than good trying to interject from my own hurt.

If you have a partner, it might be helpful to watch the forum and see what the recovery is like on our end, but don't take it personal. If we have questions- please feel free to answer. But, don't take a vent from personal distress as an attack on you. Everyone heals differently and this space is not the place for your healing, it is the space for partners' healing.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Abstaining versus Recovery
« on: October 27, 2016, 06:53:10 AM »
I have to say I have really been learning a lot from my counseling sessions. If any partner is wondering if counseling is worth it - YES! But, make sure you find a counselor that knows what they are doing. Find one that sees your experience as trauma based and not one that blames you for being 'co-dependent'.

Anyway, we had a talk about what a partner needed to see, consistently, to know if their spouse was truly in recovery for porn addiction/sexual addiction or whether they were simply abstaining from porn and sexual acting out. I am not going to post what those three things are since we know porn addicts are very manipulative and some will simply read this post and fake it for their partner. If you would like to know the three things, feel free to send me an PM.

It was very helpful because I saw that my husband had two of the three. It really and truly helped me see where he was in 'recovery'. I still haven't told him what the other was, but I think he is getting close to it. Thankfully he is searching for a new individual therapist and starting a real group therapy program. My therapist is also willing to work with whomever his therapist is to schedule a therapeutic disclosure session and will eventually invite my husband to some of my sessions.

I think one big thing with a lot of us as partners is that our husbands are NOT in recovery, or not fully in recovery. They are, in fact, abstaining from acting out. This is why the connection is still broke, why trust is not being effectively rebuilt, and why we are waiting for the 'other shoe to drop'. They are NOT in true recovery and as a result, it is reasonable to assume that relapse is possible. They are using will power, but will power is weakened if there is stress or trauma. We know they are only one argument or bad day away from relapse and we are uneasy.

It is becoming clear that my emotional turmoil was knowing my husband wasn't quite at recovery, even though he thought he was. He assumed that because he was in counseling (with a counselor that was NOT qualified to deal with sex addiction) and that he had not relapsed (has been almost six months with no relapse) he was fine. He is now coming to terms with the fact that he has a lot more work today. He discovered himself that third element he was missing (even though I did not confirm for him that he was close). He realizes he needs specialized help from people that know what they are doing because he wants true recovery, even if that means long term counseling and managing things for his lifetime.

The 90 day reboot is like getting an emergency inhaler or putting emergency comprehension on a wound. It is absolutely vital to stop the active bleeding. If men never do the 90 day reboot, they will absolutely have little to no chance of recovery. However, trying to live off that emergency treatment is the problem. If you have a deep wound and just put on a bandage - you would will never recover. Whenever the bandage is taken off it will start bleeding again. They have to sit there and hold it and hold it and hold it knowing that it is still bleeding. That is why our partners are so on edge as well - no matter how calm they appear they know they are holding that bandage on for dear life. They know if they remove that bandage (i.e. net nanny or giving us their passwords or only using the computer when someone is in the room) - they will go right back to bleeding (porn, acting out). They have got to go on to do the work of repairing the wound. First by cleaning it out (true, full disclosure), then applying ointment (counseling, dealing the root issues), then sewing it up (real lifestyle change and actively and truly rebuilding the marriage and trust). Like all deep wounds it will leave a scar for life, but at least everyone (you and him) can see that healing is taking place. Right now, in abstinence, we can all see they are not healed. Hopefully each of our partners will see their need for true recovery rather than simply holding an ever soiled rage to a still bleeding wound.

22
So..... we had a nice little blow up last night.
Why?
Because my husband tells me about his latest 'homework' from his counselor which is for him to start to focus on the things that "make him happy". Apparently, the majority of his time in counseling has been spent trying to 'develop his self esteem' and help him 'find happiness' as apparently he turned to porn because his life wasn't 'happy enough'.

Of course, I HIT THE ROOF!

What the fuck? You have spent months in counseling and what you two have been focusing on is how you can become a 'happier person'. While your wife is sitting home crushed and in despair, we are spending money every month for you to find your happy place? No mention of how to restore or provide restitution for his wife, no discussion of how to build trust. This crack pot counselor even told him that he was only lying 'to protect his self image'. Meanwhile in my therapy I am doing trauma eggs and diving deep into my feelings and trying to learn how to trust and this asshole has been sitting around being assigned to write down "all the things that make him happy and how he can begin to incorporate those things in his life". I COULD PUNCH A WALL. No wonder my husband was still holding on to secrets up to two weeks ago, this dumb ass counselor was telling him none of this was his fault and if he just gets more 'fun' in his life he will be a better person. I told my husband he needed to sue that bastard for malpractice because it just may have cost him his marriage.

It took me looking at my husband in the eyes and saying, "If you found out two weeks ago I got sucked by a prostitute after I had lied to you for months, would you want to hear one damn thing about me right now, in this moment, focusing on things that make "ME" happy and living a happier life?" I had been respecting the counselor relationship and not probing my husband on what was happening because I felt that was his space. Foolish me thinking I could trust a recovering addict to choose a counselor that pushed him to deal with real issues rather than to simply tell him he was a wonderful guy who just wasn't "happy enough" at home. I mean seriously, the asshole counselor just went shy of blaming me, the wife, for not satisfying my man at home and making him stray.

It ALL makes sense now of why it didn't seem like my husband was really progressing when he was going to therapy. The dumb ass counselor was telling him he didn't need to progress, he was a great guy - just a little unhappy. I swear, it took everything in me not to slug my husband when he walked in the door telling me that, "It was time for us to focus on happiness and being happy and that he was committed to being happy and hoped I would choose happiness too." That was his assignment from therapy. Finally come right out and let his wife know that from now on it was time for him to focus on living a happier life and while he 'hoped' she would choose happiness, that had to be his choice right now. His counselor told him the 'key' to his success in all of this (lying, deception, porn, prostitute, etc.) was simply to be a happier person and do more things that made him happy. As if he wasn't sitting in front of the damn computer jacking off for five years because that 'made him happy'. What a nut bag!

Thankfully the group therapy program he just joined (starting soon) is run by professionals that deal with betrayed spouse trauma (as opposed to co-dependency) and they are supposed to help men deal with the root of their porn and sexual addictions. He said he will be looking for a new individual counselor as well. I just cannot believe MONTHS have been spent with him sitting in 'therapy' being told that the root of his issues was simply 'lack of happiness' and 'low self esteem'.

Ladies - if your husband is in regular therapy and seems to be making no progress, break the barrier and ask for specifics about what exactly is being talked about in their therapy session. It might just be that a professional is telling them their porn addiction is partly your fault as the wife because you didn't make them "happy enough" at home.

23
So, RN, YBOP, and a number of other sites give great advice to porn addicts on what they need to do. We often complain about partner needs often being ignored. What if we could have a thread for "newbies" in shock and needing to know what things would be good starting points. Of course, every experience is different, but that is also a starting point for porn addict rebooting - every person's journey is different, but there are still some pretty general guides (i.e. no more PMO).

What would be some starting 'guidelines" for partners who just went through d-day?

Some things that would be keys for me is that the ups and downs and EXTREME emotions are all normal. You aren't crazy or insane or overreacting. I have been through the lists written by practicing psychologists and psychiatrists and the range of normal feelings include anger, despair, loss of self esteem and everything in between.

Find good resources. Honestly, the resources that have been shared here among partners has been life changing for me!

Find the right counseling, see the perspective they give to partners. I am really happy with the trauma based counseling I am in, so counselors go with a co-dependent based therapy (basically saying you are so angry because you had a co-dependent relationship rather than the discovery/disclosure being a traumatic experience).

I'll add more, but would love to see others add as well.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Trickle down disclosures
« on: October 11, 2016, 10:19:16 AM »
Has anyone else dealt with your partner doing "trickle down" disclosures? My partner has, for all intents and purposes, overcome his porn addiction. The problem is, rebuilding the marriage is still hard because I am still finding things out that I feel should have been disclosed way back on d-day. So, I am getting mad all over again with issues that would have probably been dealt with in all of our long, drown out, emotionally charged conversations. If feels to him like I am beating a dead horse when I just found out about the horse five minutes ago - GRRRR!!

Lastest dead horse - I found out he was having interactions with porn cam girls (private camera room porn shows, him turning on his webcam for them to jack off together, sending gifts to one as well as occasionally texting with her). Dealt with all that drama only to find out - the one he was texting with lives relatively close to us. Like - we frequent the area that she lives in. He has traveled alone to the area for business, but I don't think he spent enough time there to meet up with her. However, I HATE the fact that I could be passing this woman in the grocery store and have no idea who she is. My husband, my kids and I could be going to the local mall and there is potential for an exchange. He found out she was "close" when he sent her a gift (he swears he only knows her city/state, but not her actual address), but continued to text with her until d-day. She would send him texts when she uploaded a new video since he was such a good 'customer'. I found out because I looked at the account he used to send her a gift. He didn't come out and say, "By the way, one of those cam girls lives in X town." It wasn't until I was again playing detective (feeling there was something else he was hiding) that I nearly pissed my pants when I saw the town she lived in.

So, of course I flip my shit because it was one thing when in my head this porn women were "out there" somewhere in cyber space. But, to know that there is some potential (no matter how slight) that they could have true, real life interaction infuriates me. It also makes me angry that whenever we go to that area I am going to be looking around wondering if the person bagging my groceries, or pulling up in the car next to me, or passing by on the sidewalk might be the person my husband was jacking off too.

I so would have rather dealt with these crazy thoughts when the shit hit the fan months ago. Now I am thrust back into the land of crazy wife and any and all progress has stopped and I am back to getting ready to put all his clothes in the car and set it on fire (not literally, just emotionally).

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / I guess this is it
« on: September 26, 2016, 11:27:59 AM »
My husband and I had a long and painful conversation. He said he understands how deeply he hurt me and that he should provide restitution (emotional) for everything that happened, that the least he should do is help me to feel loved and needed and wanted in this relationship. However, he does not feel that he is going to be able to do that. He said he is finding out he is dealing with a lot of selfishness and is having a hard time putting me first and making my needs a priority. He is doing great with the kids. He admits it has been my support and standing by his side that helped him give up porn and beat the addiction.

But, just what I thought would happen did. I had a feeling I was going to go through hell standing my his side, burying my anger, my fear, my frustration, and supporting him and making him whole and that when it was my time - he would have nothing left to give. And, here we are. He is porn free and now is at a loss of how to support his wife, how to help her feel loved, feel wanted, feel needed. I lowered and lowered and lowered the bar and it never got low enough for him to cross.

I guess tonight we will be talking about how to do things in ways that will hurt the kids the least. I am kind of numb right now. Thirteen years of marriage and months and months of hell as I supported him through the valleys of recovery from porn addiction and now, all of a sudden - he doesn't know if he has enough to give. He doesn't think he could ever fully restore what his selfishness and porn addiction took away.

I should have left when I first found out. D-day should have been discovery and divorce day, at least I could have used the emotional reserves I gave in supporting him to myself. Everything kept telling me to be selfish, everything kept telling me to dump him and look out for myself and the kids. I didn't do that. I supported every single element of his recovery from PMO - the flatlines, the ups and downs, I was there. I was available to him physically, mentally, emotionally. This was the only place I vented, whenever I felt overwhelmed I would come here and vent and complain because I wanted to be gentle with him. I didn't want to burden him with my pain and my anger and my resentment. I will admit there were a few times when I couldn't hold it in, but I always went back and apologized.

And now that he is healed and I am sitting in a broken heap, there is too much work to be done. He is unsure of his ability to ever make amends, he doesn't think he can ever fully repay me - so, we part ways. Nice prize at the end of the rainbow, right?

Who knows, maybe this is him having an emotional crisis. I don't have time to figure out if this is just his emotions talking or if this is it. The reality is, I guess I am no longer a "partner" of a recovering porn addict, I am an "ex partner". Being strong for the kids right now. Oh well, life goes on. I don't feel bad about having high standards. I don't feel bad about asking to be made to feel like I was loved, like I was wanted, like I was appreciated. I know if I would have just accepted scraps there wouldn't be an issue. But, I am not a dog. I deserve to be loved, I deserve to be appreciated, I deserve to be wanted. So, I close this door with my head held high.

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