Author Topic: What it feels like for a partner  (Read 8501 times)

Gracie

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What it feels like for a partner
« on: May 20, 2017, 10:50:06 AM »
I have moved this topic from Porn Addiction.  I have removed the posts not helpful to new partners that are seeking answers to their pain.  I have left in the numerous names that have been used by one person that has posted hurtful statements detrimental to a partner's healing so they might recognize that person.  Some comments left may appear stilted as a result.  I am also locking this topic to preserve it.

There are new people here that try to figure out how it is for partners.  This is a post I wrote a few years ago.  Please read.

[i]I keep seeing men tell women it is not about us.  I sat and thought about that statement.  It seems it is meant to get us on some kind of road to recovery.  Such a simple statement. 

And yet here is the conundrum, porn is not about us, BUT  Once our husband gets into porn he talks to us less, he complements us less, he makes comments about our appearance, he goes to bed at a different time, he doesn't talk to the kids, we don't just have fun anymore, we don't have those spontaneous fun sex moments anymore, we see him ogling other women, he doesn't hug us often, kisses even less, is secretive, is furtive, is grumpy.  How can we not feel it is us?

He does not want to be around us anymore.  When we ask what is wrong, we are told NOTHING.  But we feel everything is wrong.  Then all of a sudden BAM.  I'm sorry honey its porn.  I have been MOing to all these young goregeous girls the whole time I have been ignoring you and our entire life.  But hey its not you.  Just forgive me it is an addiction.  Suck it up, quit crying and I will stop.   Oh yeah, that makes us feel good.

It does not.  It makes us feel like shit.  It takes a long time to get past that.  And in order to work through it, and wrap our brain around the lies, we have huge pain.  I wish I could describe the physical knife stabbing pain that was there in the beginning, the heart palpitations, the shallow breathing, the hypervigilence, the sense of loss, the feeling of no direction and the feeling of being so alone that we feel.

It can be worked through but only together and with each partner validating what is being said.  But I can tell you, I will never be the same.  There is a scarred wound from the hurt that came into our marriage.  And it can only heal from the inside out.  Porn significantly harms the marriage attachment.


« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 03:46:54 PM by Gracie »

Mike2

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 12:15:12 AM »
Thank you for sharing your experience Gracie, I'm sorry you had to go through that. I'll keep this mind as I remove porn from my life and start dating. 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 01:44:12 AM by Mike2 »

Johnny Trailer

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 07:23:19 AM »
well its not about you. you are still sexy, kind and everything else. that is not implying that everything is fine, like "dont feel bad because its not about you". it does not have to be about you for you to feel bad about it. problem still remains and needs to be dealt with but getting the extra luggage off our shoulder can make it easier to quit. you will probably still feel bad even though its not about you, because you care about your partner, but you will be of more help and less another stress to deal with (yeah it really sucks to know that your partner thinks its something wrong with her).

taking PIED and desensitization to life personally is just showing personal insecurities about yourself aka weakness not strength and is causing more trouble and more reasons to PMO, as stupid as that sounds.

on the other hand, its impossible for partner to grasp the idea of being addicted to something they are not addicted to. you can read journals, success stories or brain studies but you will never come close to experiencing it so you may feel inclined to think that it may be about you... i know that it does not help though, being supportive and not playing victim game is more helpful.

porn addiction is really serious business, divorce (despite complications with kids etc.) is something to consider if you are not happy. people take different paths for all kinds of reasons and porn addiction is more than legit reason to abandon someone who does not want to quit or is lying/not trying their best. you need to weigh in all the positives and negatives, that action may shook him and if not just proceed with it. stop looking for partners approval if its not there.
My last relapse: 14. Aug. 2019

Emerald Blue

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 10:13:01 AM »
The majority of partners who have signed up to this community are highly motivated, caring, loving and loyal people who want the best for their relationship, their partner and themselves. Most of us have read the research and learned about porn addiction to the best of our abilities. Our experience is very different and separate from that of the recovering addict hence the need for a separate partner's section. Although we are there because we want our partners and relationships to have the best chance of recovery, our own experience is something that is unique to partners, and almost all partners will pass through the same feelings and issues.

The initial reaction to a partner hooked on porn is one of "why are you choosing this over me? Am I not good enough for you?" Until we understand porn addiction, we are going to find it difficult to get past that especially when compulsive porn use overtakes the sexual part of the relationship, and in some cases replaces it altogether. At that stage, when the addict is chasing porn and the partner has no sexual activity in her life, "he doesn't want me any more" seems like an irrefutable fact, especially if their sex life dwindled and ended in erectile dysfunction. If he can pursue porn but not get it up for his partner, she's going to come to the conclusion that the reason for his ED lies with her and his loss of sexual attraction towards her.

It takes a LOT of understanding to realise that the problem stems from the process of porn addiction and how it affects the brain, and ultimately sexual performance. However, when the addiction has gone on for some time and neither partner are aware that porn addiction exists, the feelings that the female partner has about herself will be reinforced in the same way that the addict is reinforcing the brain pathways every time he uses porn. It's the same for us when we noticed our partner's indifference, or felt their refusals or witnessed their erectile dysfunction. We're actually on a downward spiral of feeling the pain of rejection over and over.

The irony is that many addicts find their partners very desirable, but somehow I sense that those feelings are numbed somewhat not only by the porn but the distancing and the deception of concealing their behaviour.

Ultimately we get that "it's not personal" but there are some caveats. Some men do openly admit their dissatisfaction with their partner's desirability. Some openly admit they aren't happy with their partner's sexual performance. I'm not saying that's true for most addicts but it is true for some. When I have read those posts I suspect that these are the ones who will not talk openly about sex and sexuality with their spouses and probably never have done. Yet these are the very people who need to the most, and probably need to communicate about many other issues too.

Most female partners of porn addicts are not prudes nor do we suffer from all manner of sexual hang ups, and I would say in most cases we have a far healthier relationship with sex and sexuality than our addict spouses. Unfortunately for many of us, our partner's porn addiction has denied us the expression of our own sexuality. That's why it's important for addicts to tell their spouses about their dependency on porn and porn-like imagery because it's not healthy for the relationship.

There are many different aspects to how porn addiction affects partners and partners have a right to their own recovery and to their own self-determination. Keeping us out of the loop denies us these opportunities to improve our own lives and, we hope, to build a better and stronger relationship.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 10:18:44 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Gracie

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 12:50:28 PM »
Do I get what NN says?  Yes.  At this time, on the day I wrote this 3 years ago, my logic mind says yes, my heart mind says no.  For all the reasons stated.   Porn had replaced our sex life during his addicted time.  15 years.

  So say you are a woman and you get to be 45 or so and your sex life that was very robust, dwindles down to maybe 3 times a month and he says nothing is wrong and you find out 15 years after the disengagement begins that 18 year olds (the age of his grandaughter), hold all of his sexual interest, you would think it was your aging body that birthed 3 children was a big part of the problem.  You have put on a little weight over the years but nowhere near the 100 pounds he has put on and your face is wrinkle free. And there he is replacing your love life.  The kisses stop, the conversation stops, the sharing stops.  You find out he does this everyday.

Then, if you are older, you wonder will we make it through this horrible mess before we die?  We have.  But that was scary for me, that we would not get where we could make love again before one of us died. 

So for you guys that keep having trouble, think of your future wives.  For you who are married, think of your wives.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 06:36:31 PM by Gracie »

aquarius25

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 02:30:22 PM »
beautifully said Gracie!

Emerald Blue

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 06:55:37 PM »
Gracie, I lived that experience and the 15-20 years it took to descend into the hell of feeling like a stranger in your own marriage is something I do not want to experience again. Of course it feels deeply personal. It cuts right through to the soul to know that he's jerking off to porn in the next room whilst you are trapped in the misery of indifference and invisibility. The grief we feel about what we've lost is very real. Every time we FEEL that indifference, when we notice there are no more admiring glances, no love notes any more, after we've been turned down and turned down and turned down again and again, after we experience the repeat non-performance of erectile dysfunction, that painful memory gets reinforced in OUR brains. Not the pleasure and reward circuits, but the parts of the brain that register pain and fear, and avoidance.

Sometimes I think about the huge toll my husband's addiction took on me personally and I can't fucking believe it. I really can't. I spent years in a state of emotional paralysis. I feel sad about the years wasted on this addiction. I have 'met' many partners online who have lived with their husband's porn addiction for 20 or 30 years, and more. Believe me, these are women who are incredibly strong and resilient. There's nothing "victim" about these women in their attitudes to recovery.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

FapFreeZone

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2017, 04:40:21 PM »
And yet here is the conundrum, porn is not about us, BUT  Once our husband gets into porn he talks to us less, he complements us less, he makes comments about our appearance, he goes to bed at a different time, he doesn't talk to the kids, we don't just have fun anymore, we don't have those spontaneous fun sex moments anymore, we see him ogling other women, he doesn't hug us often, kisses even less, is secretive, is furtive, is grumpy.  How can we not feel it is us?

He does not want to be around us anymore.  When we ask what is wrong, we are told NOTHING.  But we feel everything is wrong.  Then all of a sudden BAM.  I'm sorry honey its porn.  I have been MOing to all these young goregeous girls the whole time I have been ignoring you and our entire life.  But hey its not you.  Just forgive me it is an addiction.  Suck it up, quit crying and I will stop.   Oh yeah, that makes us feel good.


I think the reason the guy thinks "it wasn't me it was porn so get over it" is that he knows that the addiction made him do that stuff and so he doesn't blame himself. I think this is like the mindset of the addict who says "i'm an addict, so I can't control myself; it's not my fault". The addict has to take responsibility for his recovery and the former addict with partner has to take responsibility for the harm he has caused his partner even though he wasn't himself.
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Johnny Trailer

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2017, 04:49:13 AM »
mike, porn is killing that emotional state and connection that you are talking about. there is no sharing of joy and other positive things that are unrelated to sex if you are addicted to porn.  you are trying to separate negative effects of porn use from porn use, not gonna work.
My last relapse: 14. Aug. 2019

AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2017, 11:25:05 AM »
Quote
Reasoning as to why it may be an unrealistic expectation to return to a similar level of physical intimacy, as was typical before porn use.

Porn use has NOTHING to do with the partner. Porn use has EVERYTHING to do with the addict. Porn addicts don't use because the women are "unattractive" they use to escape their "shitty" lives. Look, apparently most men who use have low testosterone. So maybe guys don't always have sex all the time after porn addiction because they are returning to their NATURAL drive. Porn use has nothing to do with sex drive. Porn use has everything to do with escape. Also, what if there wasn't a time before porn use in a relationship? There's no reference point.

I can't remember where I read this, I think in one of my psych books, but apparently, the sex drive you have in your twenties will follow you into old age (of course there will be ups and downs). But I expect my sex drive will be just as strong as it is now. There are couples who are still intimate into their late 80's. So even in old age, when BOTH bodies change, it doesn't mean sex drives will go down. If you truly love someone you will find them sexy at any age.

There are stages of Love, the first stage being "infatuation/lust" which can last up to 2 years. After that, the honeymoon is over, and reality usually sets in which is stage 2. There is a power struggle phase, which is when most couples break up. There is the stage where "real life" gets in the way of romance, then there is the stage where things are balanced and you find a new passion again for your partner.

So yes, your feelings/thoughts will change about your partner over time but it isn't always a bad thing when two people grow together. And feelings change, your correct, in fact, EVERYTHING changes all the time. Jobs, family, friends, romances, etc. If you're afraid of change then that must be a real struggle because everything in life is not static, it's constantly moving and adapting.

Long-term relationships are SO possible it's not even funny. The problem with attaining a long term relationship can be lack of maturity, or negative societal messages (I.e. marriage is when you lose freedom, etc.).

People fight, people love, people hate, people yell, people cry, people make up. It's a part of life and no matter what relationship anyone enters, know there will be fights, there will be successes. What makes a relationship last is being strong in the times that are hard, being there for your partner when everything is falling a part for them, etc. Love, originally is not a choice, but after you fall, love is a choice you make every day.

I choose to love my partner every day, no matter the harm he did, because when you choose love, your relationship lasts.

My advice is to stop being afraid. Take a chance, live a little instead of being stuck behind a screen being scared of the world. Live life to the fullest.

I'll leave with this,

"Our lives improve only when we take chances -- and the first and most difficult task is being honest with ourselves." - Waler Anderson
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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JediMaster

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2017, 01:41:39 PM »
Hanai, I believe anna was speaking about Mike2 not all porn addicts. And speak for yourself, my experience is completely different from yours.

Mike2, you are making yourself quite clear. It's just that your are very off on accuracy. What you're saying is incorrect. There is immensely strong evidence suggesting that a persons sex drive stays relatively the same throughout life after your mid twenties. Sex drive is not just there for reproduction, the amount of times people have sex and the amount of children that come out of that are extremely low. My current partner and I have had sex roughly 800 times in less than two years and the only reproduction that has occurred is the single child we are having right now. Humans have evolved so much you cannot compare the thoughts and brain functions to that of primal instincts. Instincts do play a role but there is so much more than that happening in a human brain. If sex drive changes in life it's most likely the cause of something that is going on in their life. External causes are what make sex drive and other things like happiness change such as high levels of stress, anxiety and frustration or anger. I'm not sure if you're looking at evidence that has been circulated since the mid nineties, but things have changed and a lot has been discovered about evolutionary psychology and how human brains work and you have by far missed the mark on that one.

JediMaster

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2017, 01:47:35 PM »
I suggest if you don't understand how the human brain works with addiction pick up a relatively current book on addiction such as:

Hold Me Tight, A lot about attachment bonding

Man Interrupted

Or work from some psychologists:

Kevin Skinner

Dr. Sue Johnson who wrote hold me tight. She has a lot of good work

And there are many other but these are a few good ones


AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2017, 01:48:11 PM »
Hanai, I was addressing Mike2 specifically not all porn addicts, sorry if you thought I was speaking for all porn addicts. I can only speak from my experience and my partner's experience. My partner and I are 23 and he grew up on high speed internet. It's true there is a difference in the generation before internet, and the generation who grew up using the internet. Also, I know my partner used to escape, that was the reason he was addicted, he was addicted to escaping all the uncomfortable feelings. He only used to not feel those emotions.

And Mike2, we all know you're the troll. Didn't do a good job by using your Avoiceformen username.

Quote
The first point I will make, is that a relationship is a team effort, and believing that your actions in a relationship couldn't possibly have had any influence on your partners porn use, doesn't sound like a healthy attitude that is conducive to rebuilding.

That is laughable! Seriously, how am I to blame for my partner's 10 year addiction. I told him before we were together I don't have porn in my relationships, and if he wanted porn we could be just friends and he said he would stop, and 2 weeks later he asked me to be his gf. I honestly thought he was being honest. His usage of porn falls on him, not on me.

Check out this podcast, then talk.
https://soundcloud.com/loverice/the-science-of-human-connection-with-dr-sue-johnson


"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2017, 02:57:38 PM »
From my understanding the partners have all found out about their addicts behaviors years into the relationship and most used prior, hence why I think it's bull**** to say a partner has influence in the usage. Most addicts are addicts prior to the current relationship.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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gtl923

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2017, 08:26:00 PM »
@Mike2/Robert1/GoogleIsNotYourFriend/etc./etc.

You are completely right. We are a bunch of closed minded, brainwashed fools here. And we don't want your vast "wisdom" to challenge our cult beliefs. You're wasting your precious time here, we cannot be convinced of reason. Perhaps your finely honed educational skills and talents would be better utilized elsewhere.

Johnny Trailer

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2017, 05:02:32 PM »
your PIED goes away after few days and you are addicted as anyone else? haha we are just mortals to you man, keep it up.
My last relapse: 14. Aug. 2019

Johnny Trailer

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2017, 05:50:31 AM »
Quote
My concern is overcoming cravings for disturbing and unethical porn.

mike once you get hooked on porn, there is no any type of porn that you will be able to watch and maintain enjoyment to, you will always escalate and escalate quickly to where you left. once you got hooked, you will never be able to watch only soft core without huge cravings and struggles to avoid hard core stuff and you will probably lose some battle and go back to hard core. in the best case scenario (if it is the best) you will be suffering immensely by watching only soft core denying and fighting your brains impulses to click on something little more extreme. this is experience for all of us who got addicted.

by wanting to quit porn once and for all i managed to reduce (only reduce, because of all the fucking relapses) my porn use 10 times but still when i watch i notice escalation in taste going on. there are no any limits or breaks you can put on porn use without huge suffering and most likely going back and picking up where you left.

My last relapse: 14. Aug. 2019

Loleekins

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Re: What it feels like for a partner
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2017, 10:10:32 AM »
"My concerns are a little deeper than the "correct" functioning of my dick"

Good for you. That's a large step ahead of many people. Keep at it, keep digging, keep aware.
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities --- Voltaire