Author Topic: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA  (Read 3486 times)

Emerald Blue

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I have sometimes wondered whether there is a case for a private section where partners can freely express issues arising from their partners porn addiction which may be very personal in nature, especially at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable, yet hold back because their words will be made public. I have always felt that we need a safe space where we can be free to express how we feel, and the recent bad feeling created on the partners section has highlighted the fact that anyone can come on here to provoke and goad people who may be going through a particularly difficult time in their relationships and in their lives.

I am dismayed at the sexism and misogyny directed at women who speak out online about issues that affect women, particularly women who campaign about rape, reproductive rights, sexual harassment, women who have formerly been prostituted who now speak out against sex trafficking, domestic violence survivors, and so on. The abuse directed at women who campaign for the legal and human rights of women and girls is nothing short of hatred. Some of these women receive death threats and threats of rape and violence. Not all comments and threats are so extreme, but we can still see plenty of comments around the internet perpetuating rape myths (she was drunk/she wore the wrong clothes/he was falsely accused etc) or seeing women as objects to be used and discarded.

Obviously this forum is a place where we can give and receive support as partners of porn addicts but you don't need to look very far to see women in our situation being told that it's "normal" for men to use porn and (yes, here comes those myths!) that it's up to us to dress like a porn star, give our man the porn star experience, and if we can't it's because we're old/fat/ugly/religious/prudes so suck it up and leave the guy alone with his porn, and no wonder, being married to the likes of us, etc etc. Not very helpful, is it?

If you add in our collective histories, some of us have lived through a lot of shit which also informs our opinion of pornography – some of our real life experiences ain't pretty. When we have to face up
to the reality of our relationship being blighted by porn, we also have to come to terms with our own histories of objectification, as well as a range of other cascading emotions and memories being stirred up. What if our partner was getting off on a genre of porn that we experienced in our own lives as an abuse or violation? For example.

I know that partners hold back from saying too much precisely because they feel uncomfortable about being too public. I'm all in favour of having an open forum and I also welcome the input of recovering addicts who are in relationships, but after the way this section was derailed recently, and some of the opinions stated, I'm not so sure about posting on here about sensitive issues.  I read the same old crap that you can find elsewhere online, even if it was a diluted version. Nevertheless it wasn't pleasant and although the person probably had a lot of issues and needs help, it's not the kind of attitude that is helpful to the women here who are dealing with a partner addicted to porn, and all the issues that go with it. ANYONE can sign up and say whatever, and I feel that there is the potential for too much upset.

I don't want see vulnerable women held up as objects of ridicule. I don't want to see the online misogyny that goes on elsewhere creeping in here. I believe that women should have the option to make private posts for this reason.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 07:41:58 PM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

R

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 09:38:28 PM »
Speaking in the simplicity that I tend to lean towards; Some people are just jerks.  They don't recognize that by making the choices we did (PAs) that we hurt our partners.  It comes down to that.  Some folks are willing to recognize the hurt they unleash on others and some will remain in denial about it.  It is a bummer that they don't show a modicum of respect for the area that is for Partners.  It is supposed to be a place for partners, my Wife included, to speak freely and openly.  One of the things that I decided is that I didn't want to know my Wife's user name.  She knows mine and follows my journal but I want her to have the space and anonymity to unload what's on her mind and not feel like I'm looking over her shoulder while she does it.  We speak and she has no problem (trust me on this) letting me know what is on her mind.  That being said, she also needs a place to feel like she can ask open questions without anyone, myself included, judging her.   
I'll stop my rant now but this issue is important to me as well.
R

Gracie

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 02:53:13 AM »
EB  some of what you say is guided by culture.Boys will be boys etc.  All we can do is voice our opinion.  Gary Wilson saw that porn caused ED.   Gabe saw porn caused Ed.  I am sure there are a lot of people that tell them they are nuts.  And more, a lot more but they keep plugging along.  And talking about what you personally experienced in watching porn is sharing pretty private information.  Yet Gabe keeps at it.

We partners speak about our experiences which most of the time a PA doesn't think about.  We are new warriors in a way.  We are saying this affects some besides you.   Porn addiction has a narcissiitic element to it.  We are saying not only you but us too.  We are teaching.  We can tell them through our posts how it feels and what heals.  To me when someone like our friend that goaded us responds, it means we are doing our job.  We are raising awareness.  And when he gets upset, we have planted a seed.  We have made him think.  Him and others I am sure. Did I like everything that was said?  Oh hell to the no.  But he had to think and had to read.  So our stuff is in his brain

When RBN was started, I came over the day Gabe started it. He wanted a women's section.  When we spoke about Nwalt he still thought the women's section was impotant.  Your bran rebalanced was becoming pretty wild west.  It was what was there at the time  I started.  The men there helped me through some of my darkest days.  Thank goodness I could write in their journals and they in mine.  I did get under their skin.  I was even called a troll once.  But  I kept posting.  Because if just one man wakes up and saves his wife some pain and learns how to help her I have done my job.  If I help one woman realize she can heal from this and she can set boundries for this recovery, then I have done my job.

We are anonymous here for a reason.  That reason is so we can show what it is really like to do this.  There are many that cruise through as guests and read as well.  And last but not least, what would stop somone from posing as the opposite sex and posting in a private area? 

To be clear, I hear what is being said. I have been on boards for 5 years and this is the only time it was this bad. I am not willing to dump it all for one. We do have private messages for a way if there is something we want to say.

I love writing about something tough, and having a PA post something about learning from my post and then comforting me.  But that is my opinion.

aquarius25

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 12:42:28 PM »
I agree with Gracie. I actually feel fine expressing myself here. I also appreciate the men's input in this forum. I like seeing things from different perspectives. I feel comfortable to share vulnerable past and present experiences in detail here and if there is someone who says something rude about it, it doesn't really bother me. I honestly figure I am in my process and they are in theirs. I don't take it personal. I think this forum does provide the things mentioned. I have such a huge appreciation for this place and the people here, men and women! I keep a journal and feel completely comfortable venting when needed, even if my opinion at the time is ridiculous, lol. I also enjoy and respect when someone calls me out on it too. I need to hear that. It helps me pull up my big girl panties and move on instead of staying in a bad attitude long term. 
Thank you everyone for all of our words! They have helped me so very much!

stillme

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 04:59:22 AM »
I can say that I don't feel fine fully expressing myself here. I am still in a vulnerable place and having suffered attacks from two different men here, I no longer feel okay with being honest when I am having a bad day or a hard time. There are times when I really want to post about needing a bit of support, or feeling confused or angry or frustrated with how my relationship recover is going - but I know that when I feel vulnerable - the last thing I need to do is send out a signal to let men who are angry with women at the moment know they can come and get in a few jabs.

Have I enjoyed getting feedback from some of the men here. Absolutely. However, the attacks from men (two in particular) when I have vulnerable times has left me unwilling to share. It is frustrating, because I don't have anyone in real life to talk to either, mainly because I am protecting my husband and her persona of being the 'good guy' to his family and friends. This puts me in a very lonely place and I am sad that I don't really have anywhere to turn.

I am glad that other women feel free to post and share and explore their feelings. I just know that for me, that isn't an option. I don't want to come here and fight, I am doing enough fighting with my own feelings and emotions.

FTL

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 06:32:45 AM »
I'm conflicted, i am appalled by the treatment some people direct to one another, be it male or female. So i would say "yes" a seperate section would be a given
On the other hand, the painfully raw emotions i see in the spouse posts
Were for me a powerful wake up call.
I'm sure many feel similar, the realisation of the fallout of porn is not
something i could have known through any other way

I feel as if the partners section serves a dual purpose, healing both the
Addicted and their Spouses
[pun]A New Hope[end/pun]

PaintedBird

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 12:39:20 PM »
I personally think the men who have made offensive and thoughtless comments in the partners section are not very far into genuine recovery. I don't just mean not watching porn either. There's a tendency to have a quick fix for pain or stess. They are blind in a way. I try to see that for what it is.
That being said, it's still incredibly hard to ignore if all you can see is your own pain and experience. It feels invalidating and dismissive, especially if you hear the same exact things from your spouse. The partners need to be able to work through their pain in the same way the PAs do. It's not easy and isolation is a huge problem.
I like the forum the way it is. I think it's beneficial if used in the right way. The men's forum has really helped me work through things when my partner simply couldn't do it. The partner's forum helped me see there is a light, I'm not alone, and gave great ideas on recovery and intimacy etc.  It's also really nice to see the men comment on here. It actually gave me something my partner couldn't sometimes. It showed me that the level of clarity, self-awareness, empathy, and overall self honesty improves. That has given me so much hope.
I just wish the trolls/jerks/know it alls who are in the dark would just not post. If it isn't going to help and serves no constructive purpose then why do it?

aquarius25

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 01:59:10 PM »
Stillme,
Maybe using the direct messaging would be good for the times you want to post but are scared? Just a thought. Just like PA's need an accountability partner I think to SO's need something like that too. If you message a particular person enough and develop a friendship you could in a private format exchange into and seek more regular support. I know my husband has a partner and they text each other frequently. It has been beneficial for him, big time!!!  Maybe there are a few women here that you find yourself connecting to and maybe messaging them would be a good step? That way you don't feel so isolated. Just a thought. I really hope and pray that you find peace and healing! I know I am happy to support any way I can!

Emerald Blue

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2016, 05:47:57 PM »
The original point of my post was not about whether male porn addicts have a role contributing in this section, but whether or not we feel we can have freedom of expression and a sense of safety that allows us to openly share our sometimes very intense emotional difficulties that have arisen from our partners' behavior. Some people feel this section allows them to say all they need to say. Others don't feel so comfortable because it's too public and they feel too vulnerable, regardless of whether someone is stirring things up or not. Is there a need for a confidential section where partners of PAs can open up about intensely personal, emotional or sexual aspects of their recovery from (or discovery of) their partners PA? That was my question. Obviously there are people active on this forum who don't see the need. I think there COULD be a need for a confidential, private area for those very issues IN ADDITION to the existing section, but I'm probably in a minority.

The bottom line is that dopamine theories don't fix the damage done to the partner, addiction theory doesn't address issues surrounding body image, nor does any of it make communication easier. Every explanation is based on how porn affects men and their arousal/sexual function. But how many women partners of male addicts feel that their enjoyment or arousal has been blunted by their partner's porn activities? We talk a lot about trust here, but how many women's ability to reach orgasm is diminished when they lose that trust in their partner? And how does an addict's propensity to lying change the relationship? Dopamine theories can't explain it. Asking us why we stay doesn't help us either. Excusing it all and attributing it all to porn addiction doesn't make it better either.

So, I have seen male porn addicts posting here and some of them have no intention to tell their spouse/life partner that they are using porn to the extent it's causing problems. They think they can quit without their partner ever knowing and then it will be happy ever after, at least in the bedroom. But that's so wrong!! That's EXACTLY what I DON'T want in MY relationship. I'm fed up with the "honest liar" act. My partner couldn't be honest with me, so I know all about this "earnest lying" trait and it's not good for the relationship. There have been times when some of the male addicts, though well-meaning, have more or less told me I'm in the wrong because either lying is part of the addiction, or conversely that I shouldn't stand for it, yet there are plenty of male addicts who have no intention of telling their spouse yet hang out here.


His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

PaintedBird

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2016, 12:19:30 PM »
I will say if I felt a need to vent or ask if my behavior was normal in response to an attack my partner made on me, or a discovery I would not feel safe posting here.  I worry that my posts will be offensive or unwanted, even though I might not feel they are. When I am going through a difficult time, angry, hurt that is when I need support the most. Sometimes it's really hard to get to a point where I can think clearly when I'm just in my head. I know I haven't posted here often and I'm new, but I think it might be helpful to have a private area. If not, maybe rely more on PMs?

aquarius25

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2016, 01:31:45 PM »
That could be a good option what about a group direct message for those who need a more private section. Just a thought.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2016, 06:31:16 PM »
I've had a really rotten 2 days with my partner. I don't know what sparked it. He was keeping things from me, not big deals in themselves but it was exactly what was going on during his PA when he just decided to keep things from me, and I got mad at him. Yesterday he said something that upset me and today, having been told a second lie of omission I just lost it and lashed out verbally. The thing is, what I said was genuinely what I have thought since d day, when I think of all the things he didnt tell me, that I wasn't supposed to know, I may well have made different decisions in the past if I had known at the time what I found out years later. So one more omission triggered a bit of a rage.

I wanted an end to not being told about things, but he's just reverting to old ways and expecting me to suck it up. That's how he was after d day, and he uses the old "if I do tell you things, look at the trouble it causes". Well, that's because he has already taken action and tells me after the fact. Today it was something he had already planned and deliberately withheld it from me. I could care less about it really, but omitting to tell me just puts me back to the time when he thought it was OK to do whatever and say nothing. There were a several things that came to light that he didn't tell me about, so this feels like going back in time and I don't want to go back there.

Right now, we've talked things through but there's no way I want to be kept out of the loop like I used to be. I wanted honesty about the porn etc after d day and I was told lie after lie. I want honesty in our relationship. I want open communication, and I don't think I'm getting it. So I don't know what to do. Every time I reach a kind of sexual confidence with him, I lose it because I find out something and raising it with him creates aggression and hostility in him that destroys what I've gained. Recovery, for me anyway, is a very fragile precious object and it can be trampled down by this sort of disrespect. Call it lying by omission, or disregard, or lack of respect, or withholding communication –it destroys trust. And right now, the trust he has earned is diminished, and the trust he had on loan that was necessary to make this relationship work is also diminished. Why won't these fools ever learn that lying creates more damage than their behavior has done? I've been here before and I'm weary of it.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 06:34:18 PM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

aquarius25

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2016, 08:51:11 PM »
EB,
Ia m really sorry to hear that. Yes even a stupid little lie absolutely sets me off so I completely understand. I realized at one point that he has been doing this for so long that it is practically a knee jerk reaction for him. That is not excusing it but he has made it a habit to the point that he doesn't even realize he is doing it. That was a big eye opener for his as to how bad his character really has gotten. We are trying to teach our kids good character and here he is displaying crap! I finally set some boundaries and said these are my limits. If they get crossed I'm gone. I don't care how hard you are trying I have to be my word too. I realized that if I keep saying I will leave if he does these things, then he does them and I stay that I have lost my integrity. He doesn't get to take that from me! I feel that is one of the few things in this world that nobody cane take from you but yourself. When he realized how serious I was things really set in. We separated for a bit actually. That made him realize this was for real.
I don't know what's right for you, only you can know that. I am deeply sorry to hear how much you are hurting and know that I am praying for you! I am here for you if you ever need anything! Sending you lots of love!

Emerald Blue

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 11:56:17 AM »
Thanks aquarius25. I'm feeling much better than I did a few days ago. The 'omission' was nothing of real consequence but it triggered off the feelings that I had when I learned that he was not including me in the same way as he used to, when he'd tell me everything that went on in his day. It's not that he doesn't tell me stuff, it's just that he'll go on at length with his complaints about people how overworked he is, how annoying his coworkers are, his boss is a jerk, etc etc, but he won't share anything that might be construed as more "positive". So I end up feeling like I'm the trash can that he dumps all his grievances into, and that was the way things were going before d day. 12-18 months before d day, in fact. Yet there were other things going on that he didn't even tell me about and I was quite upset that I'd been this trash can for all his stress and all his shit.

I know that he has kicked his porn habit. Of that I have no doubt. It's the ease of which he has reverted back to his old ways of keeping me at a distance when it suits him. If he's all "woe is me" then I get to hear about it chapter and verse. If I ask him about what's going on in his day or in his week he can become a bit hostile about it, so I can't win. I've always given him his own space to pursue his own interests, as he does for me, but of course that's how his porn habit took root. I've taken a lot of criticism from him about me being distant in the past but he's only just beginning to see how he actually engineered that situation by his own behavior and having to keep it secret.

I know what you mean about threatening to leave, because you'd lose credibility if it was over something relatively non-threatening to the relationship. This is the problem I have with boundaries. Firstly, you don't know when your boundaries have been crossed until some time later (if you actually find out at all) and secondly, what the appropriate consequences should be. Can you leave over something that you didn't find out about until 5 years later, for example? It's nowhere near as simple as the how-to books make it out to be. It all hinges on finding out in the first place. That's why I get so annoyed by not being told about things, even if relatively harmless. He said "I could have just said nothing" and yes, that's right. But he's also maintaining the conditions where deception can occur, and that's exactly the reason why I don't like him not telling me things. Like me, I'm guessing you've stressed your desire for open and honest communication, and it's really upsetting when you see that old habits of non-communication haven't really gone away.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: Misogyny online and the risks of speaking openly as a partner of a PA
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2016, 10:10:55 AM »
Emerald I react the same way you do when my partner forgets to tell me something when I've specifically asked him to. Any type of omission sets me off into a rage or a crying fit. That behavior really does trigger me and brings me back to when I found out and makes me think bout the way he used to act. Once a partner finds out about the addiction, I feel like the PA should do their best to be honest at all times and do their best not to omit things especially if they have had a talk about honesty and omission.

My partner hasn't used in four months, and still when he reverts back to some old behaviors it makes me uneasy and nervous because it reminds me of the guy he used to be, the guy he was while watching porn. I completely understand about old behaviors being triggering.

Communication is key, and it's a two way street. He hasn't been perfect and nor have I. It's a work in progress. And boundaries are something I struggle with and I've made sure to make clear boundaries of what is completely unacceptable and grounds for leaving, and I've made boundaries for things that are less severe that have the consequence of a severe talk, therapy, and possibly have space (moving out for a week or so) until progress is made. It's true that the how-to books make it too simple, when in reality it's never that simple.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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