Author Topic: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?  (Read 4675 times)

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« on: October 21, 2016, 04:18:29 PM »
My husband and I have been talking quite a bit. The awareness that our relationship will never be the same has really set in. A question that has been lingering on my mind is what does a healed marriage look like? I'm not sure I will ever trust him 100% ever again and honestly I am not sure I could ever trust anyone that way again. I feel like the realization that I was taken a fool for all of these years has made me doubt my ability to read people and know a good person from one with less than great motives. I no longer trust myself. So needless to say that is having a huge impact on our marriage. I am not as angry but I am slowly realizing just how changed I really am. So then what does a long term healed marriage look like. I feel like we are entering the unknown and I am just wondering what healed actually is? Am I there? Is this it? If not what do I have to look forward to? Just wanting some other peoples thoughts on this. I also will say I welcome PA's into this  conversation as I would be curious what they think and hope for a healed marriage from their perspective as well.

stillme

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 285
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 04:41:19 PM »
Good question, I have been thinking about this a lot myself. After my husband and I finish with individual counseling, we are going into marriage counseling to try to figure out what it all means. Hopefully within the next twelve months we will have a better handle on things. I am estimating this will be about how long it takes for us to have done enough work on ourselves and our marriage to be better judges on things.

AnonymousAnnaXO

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 282
    • View Profile
    • Partners of Porn Addicts
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 06:30:01 PM »
This has been something I've thought about a lot, and so has my partner. We think about this a lot because he wants us to be in a really good place before he proposes to me. I've thought about what a healed relationship looks like, given that the previous relationship was fundamentally changed with the addiction realization. My partner is starting therapy this week, and I've been in therapy for a couple years. We have had some couples therapy sessions together every month or so to make sure we are on the same page, and to talk about each of our steps in recovery that we have taken individually and as a couple. We also make goals.

For me, a goal I have is to be able to let my partner be able to use his computer to play video games. For me, the computer and phone are very scary for me to let him be around still. He has his phone and it has MobileFence on it, so there is no way he can use that. I have not been able to handle the computer yet, but my goal for my recovery is to be able to start letting him get on the computer around december. We have made smaller goals and have achieved those, and the goals and timeline are flexible and we discuss them often, which has seemed to help both of us know what we want out of the relationship and what we are working towards.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

Secure Forum for Partners
http://partnersofpas.boards.net

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 06:47:24 PM »
This is a very good question, aquarius25, and I imagine that there will be many interpretations of what healing looks like. After thinking about your post this is the best answer I can come up with. OK, as a visual artist, whenever I have started a project, nothing ever turns out how I first conceived the idea in my minds eye. It's the same with any creative project. It's the journey that makes it worthwhile, sometimes you get stuck and after that you'll get some unexpected breakthrough that inspires you, and perhaps spurs you on to new ideas you hadn't thought about, and then you might get stuck again or meet a new challenge. The other thing is that you never quite know when to say "I've done it". I'm sure you know the kind of process I mean.

With our own individual recoveries, and our relationship's recovery, it's also a work in progress which is ever changing and the truth is we will never know for sure when we have reached a state of being healed. I mean, life throws up challenges all the time anyway. We have to adapt to whatever life throws at us. If a relationship requires two people to work on their individual recovery, it all depends on their personalities, their self awareness and their ability to change. For example, my partner has looked at many aspects of his life and his history, his coping mechanisms etc. It's not just about abstinence from porn. I've also had to work out how to recover which is pretty tough because there's no set recovery plan for partners, but it's still about looking at my own thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and trying to challenge my negative thoughts and be more compassionate to myself. I've also been figuring out what my values are concerning relationships and sexuality.

I don't think there will be a point when I can say "our relationship is healed from porn addiction".  Porn addiction is a long term and perhaps lifelong situation that requires care and thought on the part of the addict. Relapses happen and porn is always there. Life throws up other challenges too. The best indication that things are going well is how well we can communicate about sex, about our lives, our feelings. Things may be going well today, but tomorrow, next week, next month, who knows?
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 10:16:56 PM »
EM, I completely understand the creative process and I think it describes this process well as they are both emotionally connected. (I don't consider myself an artist but I do dabble in various mediums here and there, lol) I asked my husband what he thought healed in our marriage would be like and he said that we could feel closer. He said I seem really distant even when we are sleeping in the same bed and he hopes that someday I won't seem so far away. I thought it was interesting that he refereed to a feeling. I will admit even though things are getting better it does feel different. Conversation isn't as easy as it used to be. Its almost like the air is stiff between us. Emotionally I am distant. I don't want to be but I really don't know how to change it. I don't want to be upset anymore but I am. I am hurt that his actions have made me question myself and my own judgement about people. I don't trust people like I used to. I feel like this experience has made me a more cynical person. I blame him for that. I feel like this experience has brought out goodness in him. He is becoming a better person and I am not. I feel like I am becoming less of a person I like and I am not sure how to change that. I hope that as time goes on this will pass. I am hoping this feeling is like the tide that it comes and goes but maybe that is doesn't feel quite and strong each time. As for right now it sucks. I am tired of this constant questioning people. Feeling like everyone has a hidden agenda. I feel like if I can be with someone for 13+ years and not know this major secret then what else do I not know? I used to have confidence in my ability to get a feel for a person. Now I question everything, even my own mind.

stillme

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 285
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 07:10:56 AM »
aquarius - you are similar to where I am. We have also been married for the same amount of time. I do see my husband getting better - becoming a kinder, gentler, more honest person. He is learning more about himself and how to be the person he wants to be in life. I am going a bit in the opposite direction. Less trusting, less open, less kind. He is more open and ready to embrace me and finally sees in me what he had been missing all along. I miss the image of the man I thought I was married to and am looking in the face of a stranger.
I don't know what healing will look like for me. I was talking to a counselor the other day and one thing she said that part of my healing was to learn to once again be vulnerable. That was the scariest more horrible thing in the world honestly. I cannot see myself being honestly vulnerable again. I guess that will be the true test of a healed relationship. When I once again honestly trust him with my heart. I don't see that happening any time soon.

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 01:17:31 PM »
Stillme, vulnerability is such a difficult thing. I actually feel so vulnerable all the time. I feel like I am emotionally naked but I didn't ask to be. I just feel bare and taken advantage of by my husbands deception. At first I called it lying, I am slowly realizing that I feel its much more than a lie but its deception. It was intentional, pre meditated and planned. He consciously and knowingly chose to lie and the deception was not only intentional but made the experience even more enjoyable. It was more thrilling knowing he was doing something naughty. The more I become aware of this the more he changes in my eyes. What kind of person does that? Psychopaths, right? He didn't seem and still doesn't really seem like a psychopath but do they really ever seem like one? I am not sure I can get over this. I feel stuck. I don't really know what to do. Each day when I wake up I think about what is keeping me here. On good days its because I love him. More and more it just for the kids. I am here today and I am committed to this. I just have to wonder if I will still feel that way in another 90days? I guess its just one day at a time.

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2016, 01:19:43 PM »
So I guess to start one of the things that will help me decipher my healing would be to not province my husband to be a psychopath, LOL! That would probably be a good place to start. I really hope I feel that way someday. It would probably help our marriage, LOL!

stillme

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 285
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 03:21:24 PM »
I totally understand. I am constantly torn between "understanding porn addiction" and it feeling like a convenient excuse. I know the research, I know the data - but sex and orgasm and just general nakedness is such a personal thing. What I can't get past is the first time he did it. Then the second time. Then the third time. He didn't get addicted the first time he watched porn or the second or the third. He continued to willingly to there and violate what were supposed to be mutually held beliefs. The addiction didn't reach up and grab him by the throat - he flirted with it until is controlled and consumed him.

Another BIG issue that struggle with is the fact that my husband hasn't relapsed. I know it sounds crazy, but my mind keeps wondering if it was so 'easy' to quit (I know it wasn't completely easy per se, but doable), why did he stay in this mess for five long years. Why deny me love, affection, support, intimacy, etc. if he could quit if he truly wanted to.

These are all questions that I am going to have to come to terms with before our marriage can heal. Right now, none of his answers are enough. He says that once I found out and confronted him and was ready to leave he realized all that he was losing. My response has been - why did he need to see me in emotional pain to realize he loved me? Why was not my loving him enough? Why was it not enough to see my dedication to the kids. To see my dedication to the household. To see my dedication to my job. Why was it not enough for him to see the good things I was doing of my own free will that caused him to stop porn? Why did it take my being broken in two? Not until he can honestly answer that can be really move forward.

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 07:38:51 PM »
aquarius25 and stillme, I have seen my husband in a much less favorable light since the P issue exploded. I saw someone who has no hesitation in lying to me after many years of believing he was an honest and decent person. I believed of all the people in his life, he'd respect me the most by at least being honest with me but I was the one he just assumed that he could lie to the easiest. His hypocrisy was astounding. This was a man who used to speak out against sexism and sex discrimination etc, but there he was making sneaky trips to strip bars where scantily clad women would go around begging for money before being "allowed" to strip off and open their legs to a room full of fully dressed men. It was hugely difficult trying to come to terms with my husband being a liar to the core and one big phoney hypocrite.

I never know whether what he says is true or what he says is manipulation. So when it comes to rebuilding trust, I am left with this thought that goes something like "ok, he is the way he is, I'll just have to play it by ear, take each day at a time and keep working at my own recovery". A lot of my problems come from his inability to be honest after d day.

stillme, I'm with you on this idea of how many times of consciously choosing an activity does it take for a habit to develop that becomes an "addiction"? Because it's not just once, twice or three times. To keep it going it takes a decision to act, planning, making sure they don't get rumbled. Along with that decision making and planning, keeping it from us is also a something they deliberate over. We know how "easy" it is to find porn online but it still takes deliberation. Strip bars and massage parlours definitely involve some degree of forward planning.

Also, my husband hasn't "relapsed" but I'm sort of wary of the "too good to be true" syndrome. Why was it so easy to quit when he couldn't quit before? Why did it take my emotional breakdown for him to call it quits for good? Why did he ignore my feelings in the earlier years of his porn addiction? It still took him about a month to admit he still had porn movies on his laptop, although insists he didn't view it and didn't delete it before then because he thought I might be "suspicious" if he did. Does that make sense? It doesn't make any sense to me. But anyway, I have to go along with his "no relapse" status certainty since he deleted his stupid little shitty video collection.

I accept that relationship recovery is always going to be an unpredictable, sometimes messy, work in progress. Every positive step along the way has its downside because each gain is a reminder of what was lost or missing for years. For example, I felt uneasy about expressing my sexual desires because for years his behavior told me loud and clear "what you want doesn't matter", along with memories of being turned down and being ignored whilst he kept his dates with porn. There have been other setbacks along the way which I have found traumatic, and it always seemed to come down to his lying and becoming angry when his lies were exposed, or his behaviors were found out. Recovery is not a linear, straightforward process for partners. You need to expect a few curve balls. I don't think there's ever a "destination" you can arrive at and say "it's all fine again". We're dealing with porn/sex addicts here.


« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 07:56:20 PM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2016, 08:51:01 PM »
EB & Stillme, I find it funny that my husband hasn't relapsed either. This makes me wonder if maybe I am just being told that because I took D-day so hard that he doesn't want to hurt me again. I too find it difficult that he hasn't for all the same reasons. If it was so simple why didn't he do it years ago right? It's like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

AnonymousAnnaXO

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 282
    • View Profile
    • Partners of Porn Addicts
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 09:12:17 AM »
I have that same question. My partner has been 5 months porn free, and he hasn't had more than 2 urges. I also wonder why was it easy to quit? Is it because I opened his eyes to the horrors he was watching? The dark reality behind porn? The abuse? Opened his eyes to it being cheating? I mean, it took four times of me finding something (i.e. instagram follows and likes) and crying and breaking down before the big d-day (discoing porn video history and the extent of his use during our whole relationship) and him then quitting and getting into recovery.

I sometimes wonder if he is telling me the truth about if he ever has an urge. I honestly don't think he has slipped up in any way, but I do wonder why it was so "easy" to quit only after I broke down so hard. I think part of it is because he didn't know he was an addict and was in denial about it. It's not like that is something he is proud to admit and own up to. Maybe that's why it took so long for him to quit??
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

Secure Forum for Partners
http://partnersofpas.boards.net

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 10:36:00 AM »
Before my husband quit I had to reach rock bottom for him to see the damage his behavior had caused. Until then he was oblivious to it having any negative effects. However, he said it was a relief to finally let it go. He had tried to quit on his own but he couldn't. He also said that he often felt really bad after acting out, that it was always going to be the last time, etc etc. He had no idea about porn addiction at that time but it seems he was caught up in the predictable cycle. Having said that, he was jerking off to that shit right up until d day and there probably would have been a next time had I not told him that his porn shit was making me feel so fucking worthless. So he quit and he's stayed that way. He also woke up to the fact he was pissing his life away, time spent on porn that he'd never get back. How it was affecting his quality of life, especially when he realised that if he wanted more from our relationship then he'd better actually start by taking part in it properly.

Too good to be true? He has never admitted to anything. I discovered he was looking at p subs after d day, and he took a few weeks to delete any saved videos. I wasn't that wise to porn substitutes for some time afterwards so I also asked him to delete any music videos and after he did that, I went back on to his computer and located a couple more that I found in music folders, and I made sure to delete all of these videos from his external backup drive. He didn't know that I actually went onto his computer to finish off the job. I also found a copy of a porn video that had been embedded in to a PowerPoint page. I checked the "Last opened" date and it was 6 months before d day so I had no worries about it but I still deleted the documents and any backups. I told him after that if I ever found any suspect files on his computer I will just delete them without hesitation. I don't think he'd looked at any of those music videos for several months but as far as I'm concerned, all porn and p subs have to go. Of course, so much is streaming now so they don't actually need to download anything which means no proof, no evidence.

He has never told me about urges or slips. Not once. He once recognised his emotional triggers although said he did not think of P. I still control the wifi access at home and he is pretty much denied access at his typical 'danger times', with his full cooperation. In fact it was his idea. I don't believe he has relapsed but do I believe there have been slip ups and gray areas like googling still images, or looking at scantily clad women on those time-wasting sites? Possibly. I know he wouldn't be honest if he did and part of the problem is that if he doesn't see it as "porn" and he wasn't actually erect and masturbating to it then he sees it as nothing that could ever create a problem. We know otherwise, and it's so fucking obvious that the men's sections often report that it's the p subs that takes them back to masturbating to images, either the p subs or it breaks down their resolve to keep off the porn sites. I've found the p sub issue one of the most difficult to tackle with him.


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

Gracie

  • Global Moderator
  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 996
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 11:06:34 AM »
When my husband stopped, he said it was not difficult to do.  He saw how crushed I was.  And I do mean crushed.  What was much harder was his mood.  The withdrawal was agonizing.  He was just plain ugly.  The first year was one that was filled with are we going to make it or not.  He continued ogling and would get totally pissed if I told him about it.  But I said it has got to stop.  The staring is bad.  But only once every six months or so.  However, I go right back to D-day and the lies and the whys.  So I really think we are at the long term goal stage.  And our marriage is solid.  My recovery is complete but as you know there are still moments.  He does everything possible to make me feel secure.  But it is the fact that for so long he lied.  He kept secrets.  He did not disclose I discovered.  Those are the worst things.  And I know it can creep back in and I would probably not know.

That pie-eyed totally silly wife in love is gone.  I have solid love but I hold a little back.  Just in case.

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 01:47:43 PM »
Gracie, I think you make some really good distinctions between the early stages i.e. the first 6 months and the intermediate stage of 1-2 years where I believe I am now, and after that probably depends on what successes can be built upon.

Every relationship is different, every person is unique and any two people will create a unique partnership, so it's probably going to vary for each of us. I think you've made a very good point about the starry-eyed lovestruck girlfriend/wife being over. I look back at my own naivety and realise that was why I was so easily fooled. The old cliche about the wife always being the last to know is true because we don't want to see it.

Gracie, yes, I just couldn't take it any more. I had known for years but he wouldn't stop. Eventually it's like toxic waste that slowly poisons the ecosystem and seeps into the water supply. So in the end everything you have is affected with some invisible noxious substance. It was actually after d day that I saw how insidious the behavior is, the ogling from the car and salivating at actresses on TV, the porn substitutes, etc. Then there is the damaged man and I don't necessarily mean the broken penis, it's more like broken integrity and corrupted values. How well he recovers is probably going to depend on his own rather complex and contradictory character traits. I'm wary because he's very adept at saying the "right" things rather than what's really happening with him, what he truly feels or believes, rather than what suits his interests or what I want to hear. I know that this is probably where the really difficulties lie. If he can get beyond his own shame-fuelled moral stance which I don't quite trust and express his genuine and authentic feelings, I would feel more optimistic.   

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

aquarius25

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1021
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2016, 04:26:08 PM »
I am really please at what a great topic this has become! Really great to hear others input on healing and each of the stages.

 I feel like I still go back and forth on every emotion. My husband is doing his very best and I  am pretty sure he hasn't relapsed although honestly I no longer believe anything 100% anymore. I think the thing that has made the biggest impression is the awareness that I will never see people the same after this. I am upset that he is motivated to work on himself and come out of this better and me, having done nothing wrong, come out less happy with the world around me. When it finally set in just how bad his character was it really hit him hard and he genuinely is doing everything he can to change it. He literally is becoming the person that is more than I ever thought he could be. I just feel like my enthusiasm is dampened by the realization that I am forever changed and not in a good direction. I know that in time this wound will heal too, but the scar will remain forever reminding me that I can never trust anyone 100% again. Leaving him won't heal that and I do love him so I am committed to staying. Just knowing that no matter how long that this will never go away completely is such an overwhelmingly sad thing to have sink in. As for healing, for me I think healed will feel like more good days than bad. More enjoying each other. I know this feeling of lack of trust will never go away but not having it consume my thoughts each day. Being able to enjoy the person my husband is becoming instead of resenting it. That is my hope. Forgiveness is so hard and it feels like each day I have to start over and forgive again.  I hope after enough time I will just do it naturally and it won't be such a painful process every day.

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2016, 06:29:39 PM »
aquarius25, I see where you're coming from when you say that as the partner, you've lost a lot of what might be called "innocence" in life. Like watching a movie, it's like "OMFG he's not going to drool over that actress, is he?" or he goes online and sees some clickbait bikini babe, whereas before you'd just watch the movie and it would never enter your mind he's fixated on some onscreen woman's cleavage. And I'm thinking, "is this my life forever? Am I always gonna be in babysitter mode?" Somehow I don't think that's the right way to live. I don't have a solution to this one. All I know is that I watch some movies alone because I want to see them but I don't want the stress of having some overgrown adolescent salivating over the female cast members.

I can tolerate some risqué scenes provided it's very isolated and in context, but there was one recently, it was a sequel to a movie where there was one scene of a women who was topless for a second or two. OK, I thought, I can tolerate that in the context of the story. The sequel had far more semi clad women for no reason and lingering shots of women undressing, etc. It was as if the director assumed the audience for the movie would be 100% male. I don't think my partner was "triggered" but by the end of the movie I could see that he was beginning to cave.

But getting back to our own recovery, we have to find a way of learning to live with the feeling constant "threat". We can't control their addiction. We can't control their thoughts, their behavior, their decisions, their responses. We have to find our own peace of mind from within. It can't all depend on whether they act out or not, or act covertly or in plain sight. We have to manage our own feelings and it's not easy.

Do they get a better life out of quitting and recovering? I get what you're saying but only if they put the work in. Is our life worse after d day? For the first few weeks and months it will be hell. For the first year we'll be all over the place. Life really does feel like such hard fucking work. All I know is that I need to keep moving forward. I have to learn to detach "me" from "his recovery and/or relapse risk". I know I have to learn to handle my difficult feelings and my triggers, of course. Where will we end up? Do we know where we're going? I don't think partners ever have a clear idea.


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

stillme

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 285
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2016, 04:18:43 AM »
This has been the area that I struggle with the most - what do I get out of this ordeal? We have three kids and my husband is a very, very good dad. Even if I divorce him, he will be an active part of my life for the rest of my life because of the kids. He is putting a lot of work into recovering from his issues. Reading books, getting individual counseling and even start group therapy with a clinic that specializes in sex and porn addiction and doesn't just focus on 'confession' and getting day-by-day like SAA, but on helping men shake the addiction by understanding the root causes. Even though he did trickle truth, he is trying to recover.

At this point, leaving him allows me to gain nothing. At the same time, I don't know how much I gain from staying either. Sure, he is dealing with his addiction at the root and working hard to get better. But, that doesn't change what he did. Even though I am in individual counseling, I still feel like I am getting a raw deal. Here I was the faithful wife and holding things together, even in the tough times of our marriage. What is my prize? My husband 'becomes' the man he was supposed to be all along? Okay - what about the five years of neglect I went through? That gets swept under the table? While he is working hard trying to fix the pieces of his life that he broke, I am stuck trying to fix the pieces of my life that he broke. It feels horribly unbalanced.

I have seen people in various forums and blog posts talk about the marriage being "better" than before, but as you dig into the story you realize that is only because the betrayed spouse decided to "forgive and forget". Basically, they just laid down and accepted their fate. Their relationship is "better" because they decided to overlook the betrayal, no matter how horrible, and pretend like nothing happened. The depths at which they sink is at times comical. I have read story after story of partners that let their spouse have affairs (including moving in for a while with the person they were having an affair with and leaving the partner at home with the kids and the bills), but they are "all better now" and they have a better marriage than before. I am fighting desperately to come out of this with at least some dignity and some pride intact. I hate that the only option that seems viable appears to be stay married on paper, but just lead separate lives as long as he promises not to go back to porn. I don't like the idea of being 'separate' from my husband. I want to be married to someone I can trust. I hate that I have to untangle my world from his, untangle my emotions from how he feels about me. I hate that I am going to be married to someone and I won't care if he thinks I am attractive or sexy or if he finds other women more attractive. I hate that I have to develop a heart of stone that says I will no longer be affected if my husband decides to lie or deceive.

This continues to be a bitter pill to swallow. I did everything I could to be a good wife and my 'reward' is having a marriage where we get to be physically together, but emotionally detached. My husband says all the right things now and I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Apparently the way to this magically "better than it was before" marriage is to simply start blindly believing your formally addicted spouse, but in your heart not really believe them. Then, you can outwardly pretend that life is grand when in your heart you really know the truth - this was the least bad in a suite of all bad choices.

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2016, 11:45:14 AM »
stillme, your situation is just awful. It's the very thing that most of us dread and I'm sure a fair few of us suspect even though the official line has been "I've told you everything" throughout the whole sorry business. It's even more difficult for you because you have young children to take care of and you want and need to provide stability in spite of everything.

I don't quite get these stories of marriages being "better than before". It's far too much of a sparkly fairytale to be true. Because what really is in it for us? I fall apart after years of being neglected. My self esteem was at rock bottom. I had been accepting for years that it was my fate, and this was how it had to be - a sexless marriage and a husband on porn. It was a hollow and lonely existence. He would say, as a porn addict, that he was lonely and miserable too, but the difference is he CHOSE porn. He CHOSE to lock me out. My unhappiness was a consequence of HIS choice. But reaching the point of a depressive breakdown isn't what I compare my happiness too. I mean, I was 100 below zero. That was never what was "normal" for me. I was always an optimistic forward-looking person but I can't seem to get back to that at all. Living with a porn addict and knowing what I know now come at an enormous emotional cost. It's like a ton weight that crushes my optimism and positivity.

It's like in order to make any progress with my own recovery, I have to find a way to detach my feelings from his habit/recovery/lies. I have to re-establish my values regardless of how he behaves or what he believes. If I see a way out of this mire, it has to be through building my own character and not defining myself as being the partner or property of someone else. I believed my relationship gave me a lot of strength to get through life but I realised that after d day he was actually resentful of the times when I was achieving things in my own right and used the times when I was busy as opportunities for porn sessions. Whenever he turned to porn, it was if I was the cause of it. If I was out, he used porn. If I was unwell, he'd use porn. If I had my period, he'd use porn. If I was asleep, he'd use porn. No. He was an porn addict, and any opportunity was turned into an 'excuse' to use porn.

stillme, and aquarius25, you are both so right. What do we get out of it? I might be a year older and a year wiser but I cannot say that I am happy at all. I haven't felt truly happy in so long I think I've forgotten what it feels like.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

cuppatea

  • Guest
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2016, 02:36:47 PM »
My husband brought a picture home from the UK of me dressed up for a fancy dress party, I would have been 21 and I had this huge grin on my face, I forgot I even use to smile like that. I can't remember the last time I smiled that much with that much happiness. I keep looking at that photo and wondering where on earth she went. I didn't suddenly disappear at d-day, I feel like I've been fading away for years, as I was left to parent 4 kids on my own, stressed out and lonely and thinking this is just normal when you have little kids and the disconnection was normal cos we've been together a while. When I found out I told him I had been lonely and unhappy for a while and now i have a porn addiction to deal with like the icing on top! He hadn't even noticed that I was lonely and unhappy, in his mind we were still a happy family and a happy couple. He was so disconnected from me he hadn't sensed how unhappy and burnt out I was and had been for years.

Things seem to be improving for us, end of July I walked in on him, end of August the true extent starting coming out, the last disclosure was only a couple of weeks ago though and I can't honestly say I feel like I know all, the trickle disclosures have done such damage that I don't think I'll ever really know and just need to make peace with it I guess. He is trying, he's in counseling, he's reading, he's more active with the kids, he's more helpful round the house, he's recognising flaws in himself, he's starting to open up etc etc, but every time I relax a little the nagging doubts and lack of trust come back. I don't know how a marriage can work when I can't trust him. I think I could in time forgive him for what he's done (forgive not forget) but I don't think I could ever trust him again, not wholeheartedly like I had. Thing is though after this I'm not sure I would trust anyone again, and if I were to leave and try to start a new relationship with someone else I would probably suspect them of being a closet porn addict too! as it seems to be so common!

The other thing that bothers me is right now I'm quite attractive (not to toot my own horn) and he finds me attractive, the problem was never lack of attractiveness but I am concerned as the years wear on and I inevitable become less attractive that the allure of an endless supply of young hot women will be too much. I feel like I've lost the whole growing old together thing, because I'll grow old and he'll just go into male fantasy land and forever stay young whilst ignoring his saggy wrinkly old wife.

Loleekins

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 132
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2016, 04:26:55 PM »
"Thing is though after this I'm not sure I would trust anyone again, and if I were to leave and try to start a new relationship with someone else I would probably suspect them of being a closet porn addict too! as it seems to be so common!"

Yep, this is definitely a thing you don't shake (I haven't anyway). Not that I suspect them all of being PA, but there's now an association with males as shady and dirty. This didn't exist in me previously.

I find myself perpetually having an attitude of distance. I'm very aloof with men. My laughs are not heartfelt, my amusement half-measure, my smiles not warm, my interest casual at best.

What's amusing and interesting now to me is how they don't even notice how reserved I am. They are so exceedingly single-minded ("you're so beautiful" etc) they don't even notice my smile never reaches my eyes.
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities --- Voltaire

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2016, 07:22:36 PM »
I'm actually getting used to trust meaning something different now. Those days are over, and if I'm honest they were over long before d day. About six months before then I was picking on something not feeling quite right, so I asked him outright about whether he had been faithful or not and he could not give me a straight answer. His first reaction was a nervous laugh and then him asking me who with and when, but I wasn't that easily deflected. Then he was all morally outraged and "shocked" that I actually could think of such a thing. But did I get a straight answer? No. He was very evasive before becoming morally outraged that I would dare ask such a question.  I had a sexless marriage for years, and I tolerated his porn habit for even longer. I'd long since conceded defeat and given up on trying to re-ignite our sex life. So I was actually coming to terms with the very real possibility that he would find sexual opportunities outside of our relationship. My concern was that I was going to be dragged down into some miserable hell by him getting involved with someone else whilst I stood back and witnessed my life falling apart and being powerless to prevent it. That was the reason I had to ask him about infidelity and these same fears are also what precipitated d day.

There have been a few odd moments when I thought "Woah! There's something not right here". The first thing was when I mentioned that conversation 6 months ago, and he said "what do you mean by 'fidelity'?" What did he want? An anatomical description? Then there was the big tit porn. Apparently "they're not so nice in real life". Well, whose tits is he talking about? I'm not that big. So I live with a certain degree of probability that he has done more than "just" porn. There have been lots of little moments that are too banal in themselves but something doesn't quite feel right.

I feel angry that his porn habit led me down the path of low self esteem and a complete collapse of confidence. I was always a striking looking woman and I ended up feeling invisible. My husband seemed to assume no man would look at me anyway just because he didn't. I'm actually angry about that now. I caught my reflection the other day and I was impressed! As women I feel we have to challenge sexism and ageism because we have every right to take up space in our world and live our lives. cuppatea, what you say about men having this endless supply of young porn babes is a bit of a fallacy because it's all just pixels. They are indulging in a solitary past time. They are not having sex, they are just masturbating. There's nobody there but themselves. They are deluding themselves. It's quite pathetic.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 03:47:37 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

cuppatea

  • Guest
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2016, 08:52:28 PM »
Actually you say about the masturbating I was reading some of the rest of the forum and it strikes me that some addicts going out in the real world arent looking for a partner to connect with but just a bag of flesh to use to masturbate with instead of porn. Its like just moving the objectification from the screen to real life, there seems to be no consideration of these women as being people with their own sexual amd intimacy needs. I stopped reading the attitude was making me sad, for women and for them, they still don't get it. (Not all I read some really insightful comments as well).

I've  been thinking about this thread a lot today and I think one thing I  need to do going forward is to find myself, I lost myself and became not much more than a wife and mother and though I love both those roles I think I put all my eggs in two baskets and that was a dangerous thing to do. I need to build a life outside of my immediate family and find fulfillment in other areas of my life that have been neglected. I need to get a little selfish amd I definitely need to start setting some healthy boundaries. Mostly I need to learn how to love and trust myself and not let my happiness be dependent on others. All way easier said than done of course but I'm taking my time in therapy to work on me and the marriage can come second.

Kimba

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 174
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2016, 10:37:27 PM »
I wish I could think long term but Im holding a whole heap back from getting old together type scenario... I dont even trust that he can stay on the straight and narrow for the next year let alone our life together.  There was a scene last night on Supernatural in a strip bar, he turned away for my benefit I'm thinking but it was awkward  ::).  Its only fresh but I get no feedback, I ask every now and then how he is going and he responds fine not even tempted he says, mmmmm Im not so sure on that ha ha !! 

My hope for the future is that I feel connected to him again, dont feel that way at this stage really, questions float around in my head, not as bad as when I first found out but still a lot of unanswered questions and I feel the same about getting old together, what happens when Im all old and wrinkly, is that when he again fantasises on the young beautiful naked girls he so loves :-[

Im not sure that I would get into a relationship again after this, if we fail, think I would travel and be my own woman  ;)

Still to early to determine what going to happen, Im hopeful some days more than others, but Trust thats not in my vocabulary atm.
Three things that cannot be long hidden
The Sun
The Moon
The Truth

Emerald Blue

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 807
    • View Profile
Re: what is the longterm goal for a healed marriage/relationship?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2016, 04:25:58 AM »
cuppatea, I feel quite depressed when I read some of the men's sections. Their attitudes to women seem to discount the fact that they are just ordinary people going about their daily business and don't want to attract the unwelcome attention of some leering old perv. Of course, they are never the leering old perv, it's all the other men who are.  :o
Some also admit to having gone further than porn, whether it's webcam sex, chat rooms, and even paying for sexual activities, and quite often their wives don't even know about the porn, never mind anything else. Out of all the women here, it's unusual to have someone write about their partners going further than porn, but the law of averages would suggest there are a few of us here who are living in ignorance. That's why my concept of trust has changed. I can only "trust" on the basis of the information I have. Realistically speaking, my knowledge is incomplete.

It's so true we need to rebuild ourselves. I feel a bit like I'm going through some painful growing up phase, trying to find out who I am, what my values are, even what I want to wear. Sometimes I can't believe that I put up with a situation that I didn't want for all those years. My biggest naivety wasn't so much the porn but my belief in honesty and fidelity.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it