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Messages - Divided

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To answer the original questions:]

 How does it feel to live with the moral or personal dilemma of having a "secret" porn addiction and having fantasies that are at odds with your beliefs perhaps, and then switching back to your role as loving husband and "good guy" in the rest of your life.

   For me having the secret was not my dilemma, nor did I feel that while I was viewing porn that I was somehow not a good guy. My issue with it before I opened my eyes was the seemingly absolute loss of control when the drive to look at porn took hold of me. And now that my eyes are open, my dilemma is that I still don't see myself as a bad guy… but it crushes me that I have been the cause of my wife's misery.

Do you feel like a hypocrite?

   Hmm… maybe. I have a knee-jerk reaction where I believe that the answer is no, but some of the things I have argued have been hypocritical, and promising my wife that I would never do her harm was also hypocrisy (hindsight).

Do you feel you are at some level a flawed individual?

   No, I think that is a bit too harsh an assessment to make on one's self. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, and are therefore all flawed to some degree. But asked in this sense it indicates a heavier meaning than whether one makes mistakes or not. My answer still remains no. Once I have broken the back of my addiction and moved on from it, my current flaws will cease to be there… but for now I am a troubled individual.

Do you feel you have a "dirty little secret" which you don't want anyone to know?

   It certainly used to be the case, yes. I viewed it in the same way as getting changed in front of other people; yes we are all naked under our clothes, yet we don't want to expose ourselves in front of other people, it's just not done.
   But then my wife began to speak to a lot of people about it and through that my “little secret” was not so secret anymore.

 Do you feel that there is a stigma associated with porn addiction that makes you feel ashamed?

   Hmm… I think the question is more whether there is a stigma associated with porn, full stop. We “all” use it, but never ever talk about it, no matter what. It's not that porn use is generally considered as bad, it's that it is incredibly personal - and therefore left unspoken. Being addicted to something that no one ever speaks about is a lonely experience. For years I thought that I must be a pervert because I viewed so much, and people do not want to be considered as perverts… but when you start to wonder if you are one, it creates a shame that has no way to be released.
   And then there is also a persistent attitude in a great many people that there is no such thing as porn addiction, which further frustrates me on a personal level. Not enough people take it seriously yet.

I'd like to know how this feels and how this either perpetuates your porn habit or makes you less likely to ask for help. More importantly, does it make you feel that you have to hold back from being honest with your partner because you feel they would be offended or upset if you were to be upfront about your behavior?

   I was unable to be honest with my wife because I was afraid of losing her. I tried to hide my behaviour because I thought that if she didn't know I would be able to protect her from the offence. What I believed perpetuated the porn habit was the increasing difficulty in the bedroom, alongside years of programming my brain incorrectly.
   It ultimately became a pendulum of knock on effects.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Is this an answer?
« on: May 11, 2016, 01:48:05 PM »
   Thank you, Emerald Blue, for your reply. Although I cannot speak for your SO, I will give you what I understand my reasons were, and hopefully some of it can help in some way. But please do not view what I am about to write as an excuse… or series thereof… because I do not wish to portray myself or other addicts as innocent.

“why did he carry on using porn when he knew I didn't want him to?”

   Until very recently I could not fathom how it was possible for the act of looking at something to be harmful. I was also in no way aware that by viewing stuff I was limiting my own emotional development… in fact, I was killing it… and by not knowing this I could not for a moment imagine how it had any effect on my wife.
   At that time I was in a serious case of denial, a state where I had emotionaly disconnected from myself to deal with the inner struggle I had of knowing that my compulsive behaviour was not in line with what my better judgement.
   My denial led me to believing that I was not betraying her, after all, I was merely a spectator, and was not actively involved with anyone… so what was the big deal?
   I carried on even though I knew she didn't like it because I was ignorant to the cause and effect of my behaviour. It is also commonly accepted that a man will look at stuff like that at times, and is viewed by most as “regrettably normal”, you know, “just one of those things”. It's expected that she won't like it, but “what she doesn't know can't hurt her”...
   My attitude was that she was overreacting, and getting this same general opinion from just about everyone else who found out about it condoned my actions somehow.
   Of course I know better now, but my current hindsight doesn't help my wife in her ordeal.

“Why did he ignore my need for physical and emotional intimacy? Why was he oblivious to the effects his porn habit was having on our relationship?”

   This is a tough one. I have always loved being with my wife, in all senses of the phrase. She was my best friend, the one person who knows the most about me, and we were always comfortable with one another in every situation except sex at home. We were always very active on holiday, but at home… nada. That was all to do with me, I just never acknowledged the truth. At home I would struggle with ED, I was nervous in bed, always worried that I wouldn't be able to “maintain” until the end… I would be uncomfortable because of stressing, my focus became turned to the ending rather than engaging in the moment. This must have been what led to our physical contact becoming a big issue for us. The more that this became a problem, the longer my binges would become. And I kept telling myself that I had it under control (by that what I really meant was that I had become an expert at hiding it). But the more binges I would have, the worse our sex life became.
   I did not ignore my wife's need for emotional and physical intimacy (as such), and I so desperately wanted to give her what she needed… I just wasn't aware of the physical and emotional impact this addiction has on “me”, and attributed the bedroom problems to other things like smoking and drinking, stress or tiredness…. In other words I found excuses rather than answers.
   I wanted so badly to be with my wife, but was afraid of doing things wrong again...

“Most important of all, why couldn't he see that his behavior was hurting me?”

   Every time my wife cried, I was painfully aware of her hurt. I am ashamed to admit it, but my wife suffers from depression and has so for many years… so I put down a great deal of her reactions to that. I was unable to see how it was directly related to me. I found every excuse possible to deflect any responsibility for where our relationship was falling to pieces.
   You see, my denials were somehow a shield against the mirror my wife was desperately trying to get me to look into. Through this shield of mine I saw my wife attacking me on a personal level, getting angry at me for small and insignificant things, making wild accusations about my past, present, and sexuality, ridiculing me… what I saw was irrational.
   Had I bothered to look in that mirror, I would have noticed a long time ago how so many of the problems that existed in our relationship were directly associated with my addiction. I was oblivious to the fact that I had become my own worst enemy, and my wife's worst nightmare. I would have noticed that what I perceived as irrational was her desperate attempts to pull the man she loved out of the sensory deprivation I had inflicted upon myself… she needed to get us both out. But I was ignorant. I honestly could not see the wood for the trees.

“You see, the one thing we didn't do, or couldn't do, was talk about it. That's why I believe that porn addiction is, in part, a way of avoiding intimacy and closeness. Or it comes to serve that purpose. Once the habit is established the only way for it to continue is to maintain a state of non-communication, and then not communicating becomes the norm. I still have problems communicating with my partner because he's so sensitive around anything remotely connected to porn and his past behavior. I guess I don't understand the shame.”

   I, too, am ashamed. I also get nervous or snappy when the subject comes up, it's getting a bit better now that I am learning about my own behaviour and am more willing to be honest about it… but the shame is still there.
   My wife and I were always able to talk, but the last few years there has really been nothing to talk about except problems. This comes squarely down to my addiction. It became such a divide between my wife and I. And I was the only one able to do anything about it… yet too blind to see that.

   I wish I could go back in time and tell myself the truth so that I would never have had this problem, so that I could have lived out my life with my wife and twin boys happily never knowing such an addiction exists.
   Because I can't do that I'll just have to do what I can to make sense of this mess.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: my story. =/
« on: May 10, 2016, 04:43:04 PM »
First and foremost, Happy Birthday. I wish for you a wonderful and (happily) memorable day.

Your path ahead of you is not going to be easy, whatever you decide. What you should do is up to you and how much you are willing to listen to your gut... but please, do not for a minute longer think that you are in any way to blame. I personally have nothing polite enough to say about his insults to you, but his use of P has literally no bearing on you whatsoever... he would do the same thing even if he was with societie's depiction of the perfect woman...

Until he is willing to accept that his behaviour is hurtful, it won't change :(

You are a giver, by the sounds of it, a nurturer. No wonder you want to help a person you love, it's in your nature... just please don't forget to remain true to yourself. I didn't say the same sorts of things to my wife as you have been told, but I hurt her deeply and psychologically just by lying to her about my P use... yet even though we are separated, she still loves me. I believe it is a deep trauma that SO's of PA's experience, that only worsens with time, it doesn't get easier -> unless he is TRULY willing to see the reality.

I wish better for you than that. Please nurture yourself and your child/ren.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Is this an answer?
« on: May 10, 2016, 03:22:53 PM »
  Greetings to you, one and all. Although I am not entirely new here (roughly a month of lurking), this is my first time posting anything. I feel, somehow, compelled to join the discussions here in the partners section… not so much to share my story (which I no doubt will), as to make sense of this senseless drama before my eyes… this overwhelmingly invasive, socially ignored yet individually consumed in gluttonous proportions, visual stimulation we refer to as P.

   In brief, so as to clarify that I do in fact battle with this compulsive activity myself:
I am a 37 y/o man and have been addicted for about 17 years now, and have battled with PIED for pretty much exactly as long as that, to the point where I now experience it during PMO. As a result of my addiction I am now living separately from my wife and children, am on antidepressants (for years already), seeking psychological help...and continue to struggle with “it” - albeit far better than I would have expected for myself living alone.
   My story may have certain differences to each of your SO's, but somewhere behind it all is a common thread of similarity and familiarity to all of our stories.

   One thing, however, has caught my attention and I spend my spare time trying to formulate an answer to it… and that is the question SO’s of addicts are asking: why?

   My wife asked me this so many times, in so many ways, and I feel deeply for her needing an answer… because, let's face it, “I don't know”, is an incredibly frustrating one. Sadly, however, it is the same reply I have given for the eight years of our relationship… yet it is honest.
   Now, perhaps you noticed the terrifying irony in that? It's the only truth about the extent of my usage that I was consistently able to tell my wife… everything else (well almost) was denied, hidden, lied about when questioned and generally treated as if it really wasn't such a big deal anyhow. Yet I told the truth when I said that I don't know???
   How sad.

   I have known that my usage of P was unhealthy since I was about 20, and in the seven years it took from then to meet my wife, I had learned to never speak of it to anyone. Within my evolving circle of friends I have never encountered a real conversation about porn, except passing jokes that would indicate that they, too, watch it. From this perspective it was almost granted that I wouldn't tell my wife about it, after all, it had been proven to me that it is a “non-discussed” topic, a thing that boys do and girls don't like (the vast majority rolling their eyes in disapproval to said jokes).
   I don't remember my wife ever asking me about it in the early days of our relationship, and even if she did, I would have only ever admitted to having seen it but not being in to P (which was true in the sense that I never wanted to watch sex, but false in the way I see the subject now).

   The trouble, I think, is that when we first lie about it, it happens almost instinctively, like a knee-jerk reaction. Then we get caught, and in an attempt to minimise the damage, we lie about how often it really occurs - this is also to do with us carrying so much shame about it with us that we, ourselves, don't want to admit to the fact that it happens as often as it does.... in my opinion at least.

   I never meant to hurt my wife. And in some confused way I was trying to protect her by lying to her. I could see that it really bothered and offended her, and I kept believing that I could control it. But, clearly, I was deluding myself. And hurting her more than I was aware.

   She deserves to be happy.

   She deserves a real answer.

   I never compared her to the women I looked at, and always found her to be the beautiful woman that she is, yet through my use (and continued denial) of P I have damaged her self esteem, her sense of pride in her beauty, her faith in men, in love, and in me. I may not be the all and end all of her struggles in life (god knows all women still have enough of those, in these “modern” times), but through my ignorant selfishness I reinforced a bitter social message that women are still somehow seen as fodder for mens’ desires.
   How dare I call myself a caring man if that's what I impose on the woman I have promised my heart to?

-_-  I'm still not able to answer why… am I?

   Before I ramble incoherently further, I think I should call it a night with this post… and see what comes from it.

Peace and respect to you all. Keep strong and love who you're going to become after all this...

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