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Please help

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Devastated72:
I’m so pleased I have found this site and I’m really hoping any of you can offer any advice. I’ve been with my husband for 23 years and we have 2 children together (15&20).
I have always had a high sex drive and my husband hasn’t. But I kinda accepted that because I love him and can’t imagine being with anyone else. Even in the beginning sex was around once per week but we had a good relationship. Over the years it has gotten less and less and we have been in what is known as a sexless marriage (less than 10 times per year) for at least 10 years. It has not been easy and I have cried myself to sleep so many many times. I love sex and intimacy and I have had conversations with my husband about all of this. I have never belittled him or been nasty about it  but have explained my feelings in a loving manner and have not tried to make him feel bad. I think I have been a loving and understanding wife. Many times we have had this conversation and my husband has sworn he just doesn’t have a sexual drive but would try harder to become more intimate. He said he loved me and does get turned on by me but is tired a lot of the time. Which I can understand to an extent but I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that he said I did turn him on but he never did anything about it. Believe me I have tried. He has a like for stockings and fishnets. He has even bought be them and I have got myself dressed up and come on to him and he has turned me down. I gave up with this a few years ago as I was deeply hurt by the rejection and felt unlovable unsexy and ugly. Again my husband used to say he was just tired. A few years into our marriage we got a computer and internet (late 90’s) and my husband would always stay up later (despite him being tired)! I found out that he was staying up late and watching porn. I was devastated as he had always said he didn’t have much of a sex drive so I believed even more he didn’t love or fancy me. He said he watched it but didn’t masturbate which I couldn’t understand and god knows why I naively believed him. But he was adamant he didn’t and I trusted him. Anyway I assumed it had stopped. I wasn’t that bothered about him watching porn but what bothered me was that he said he didn’t have a sex drive and if he did why would he watch that especially if he wasn’t masturbating with it and more to the point if he was getting turned on by porn why wasn’t he coming to me who had a high sex drive and was ready willing and able. I don’t have much self esteem as it is and this made me feel worse. But I suppose over the years I put my feelings aside and got on with life. I do love my husband and want to be with him forever even tho I know he doesn’t want sex as much as me. Anyway over the years sex got less and less to the point of non existent. Again every now and then I would bring the subject up and he would promise to change and sometimes even have sex within a few days of the conversation. I would think he was trying and live in hope it would last but the weeks would turn into months and then the months would turn into years. In he end I was not sleeping properly and would stay awake crying to myself. Our relationship was like flat mates rather than an intimate husband and wife. He would tell me he loved me and would give me a peck when he went to sleep and on his way to work and that was as far as it went. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve bawled my eyes out in private over our non sexual marriage but thought I didn’t want to pressure him as he used To say he felt bad and would try harder.
Recently over the past couple of years and even more so in the past 6months or so. We were more distant than ever. He seemed happy to get up go to work, come home lay on the sofa in front of tv, then go to bed and every day like ground hog day. I would run the household and basically do absolutely everything and always have done, even when the kids were younger it would be me on my own taking them out and doing things. But again I can’t stress about how much I love my husband and although not happy I can’t imagine my life without him.
Anyway last week (weds 19th Dec) I was clearing stuff and sorting laundry and came across an old phone of my husbands. He’s had his current one for a couple of years so I was confused as to why the old one was charged. I had began to wonder if he was having an affair because of our distant relationship so I looked into the phone. What I found absolutely floored me and I felt like my world collapsed. I found pages upon pages of shemale porn. I kinda went into shock and I can’t put into words how I felt. I felt like I was in a nightmare and would wake up. I rang my husband at work and asked him to come home (the children were out so it was the privacy we needed to discuss this). He came home and I said what had happened and that I wondered why his old phone was charged and asked him what he thought I had found. He didn’t try to deny anything and said ‘transsexual porn’ (at least he want denying it). I asked him to explain as I didn’t understand. He said that he had seen a picture of a shemale when he was a boy and was fascinated and since then has been turned on by shemales and regulary watched porn of this nature and masturbated. I mean, I appreciate his honesty with me but to say I am hurt and devastated is the understatement of the century. I didn’t freak out or kick off I sobbed and sobbed that I couldn’t catch my breath. He cuddled me and said he has been a shit husband and would I ever forgive him. I kept asking him why?? He said he wasn’t gay or bisexual but for some
Reason it really turned him
On. So I said ok and that although it was hard to trust anything he said I didn’t have much choice. But what really hurt me was the fact that he knew how upset I was over our sexless marriage and that all this time instead of having sex with me he was masturbating to shemale porn. I really really haven’t felt this bad ever. My world is floored. 23 years I have selflessly tried to understand his lack of a sex drive and tried to set this aside and lead a loving relationship with my husband and all of the time he has had a sex drive but instead of coming to his ready willing and able wife he has been pleasing himself over shemale porn.
I have no idea what to do or what to think. I feel like I can’t trust him and I don’t know what he really is. He has said he is not gay or bisexual and that he wants to be with me forever and (again) will try harder with our relationship and stop watching the porn and concentrate on me and have sex with me. But somehow I don’t believe this. I can’t, can I? If he wanted to have sex with me then why hasn’t he for years? I feel sick and ill that he has betrayed me all these years and feel used and hurt. He says he doesn’t have a problem and that we can pull together and sort through this. I wish it was that easy. I wish I could just blank out the past 23 years and the lie I’ve been living with but I can’t because it has happened and I can’t switch off my mind and I can’t change my husband. Please somebody help me.

Gracie:
Hello, and I am glad you found this site!  Your story has parts that sound exactly like my sory.  Married, husband goes to bed later, sex life sucks, take kids places, comes home from work, watches tv, stays up and on and on.  Fortunately, mine only watched HBO and Cinemax not on computer, but porn is porn.

I was heartbroken.  Literally a babbling mess.  My heart hurt like someone had stabbed me.  That was 7 years ago.  We are together and in love.  But, the walk to here was not easy.  It is work.

First go to markchamberlainphd.blogspot.com. Read everything in the tabs across the top and then read the blog material.  Tell your husband he needs to read them as well.  Mark Chamberlain and Geoff Steurer wrote a book, Love You Hate the Porn. Buy it and read it. These two things were what gave me hope.

Your will need to set boundries for your husband that will help you trust again.  So think about that, what will it take.  My first boundry was he and I go to bed at the same time and remain in bed all night.  For me that was non-negotiable.  Then I worked on others.

Your husband has a problem.  The hardest thing about this is he has to decide to get rid of porn. You cannot do that for him.  But take care of you.  Know that you have worth!  You are a mom, you are a caring person. You are important.   If you like, you can send me a private message as well.

Peace

aquarius25:
I would echo everything Gracie said! Love you hate porn is an amazing book! I would encourage you and your husband to read it. Then you guys can have a common language to discuss. Start a journal, even if you just write out all your emotions and you feel like you sound crazy, you are not crazy, you are processing and that is good. Just like Gracie I would agree there are so many parts of your story that sound like you were telling mine. The hurt is so deep, it is physical, I could feel literal hurt in my heart and it truly broke me in so many ways. People would tell me "It's not about me" " I shouldn't feel rejected" and "I will be ok, maybe even stronger". No matter how true those words were, I just couldn't even conceive of them. They seems so distant, so if you are feeling that was then know it's ok.

I would encourage you to write everything you want in life for you and your family. Write your hurt, all of it. Then as you start to process start writing baby steps to achieving the life you want. I know for myself in the first few months I really didn't know what I wanted, I was consumed by hurt and anger. I was so mad and frankly mean and bitter. It is ok to be upset but remember bitterness only destroys you more. He doesn't get to do that to you. You are worth more than that.

Another important step is a commitment to communication. If you are going to make this marriage work you have to communicate. He needs to admit he has an addiction. You both need to arm yourselves with education of what porn addiction is and how it effects the brain. That is imperative. He also needs to make a plan for how he is going to heal. If there is no accountability then it becomes very difficult for your relationship.  Know that him looking at shemale porn is his brain craving more drastic material for an endorphin hit, he is an addict. The stuff my husband would look at made my stomach turn and frankly made me almost vomit. There is no human in porn, it's just pixles. You as a non addict can't fully understand this because your brain is there. This part of understanding is so difficult and complex. Just remember, his recovery is his, he need to recover so you both can work on healing the relationship but you are not responsible for him. You work on you.

One last thing I will say is I am sorry. It completely sucks and you have every right to be angry, furious, and pissed off!!! I am so sorry for the hurt you are experiencing and I am sorry that there isn't something I can do to take this hurt away. I know this hurt well and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. If I could hug you, share a cup of tea and let you cry I would. Know you are not alone. This addiction makes partners feel so isolated, rejected, and alone and hollow. Those are lies. You are not alone at all and you have support! I would encourage you to read some of the partners journals. Start your own as well. Feel free to comment in theirs and engage in the community here. You can direct message me as well! I am happy to help and encourage any way I can.

I am sorry that you are hurting but I am glad you found us!

Devastated72:
Thank you both for your replies to my pleas. I’m making myself ill over all of this. I can’t sleep and the little I have is broken naps. My stomach is so painful and feels like there’s a rock in it, my eyes and face are constantly puffy and swollen from crying so much. I just want this all to end. As each day goes by the hurt and betrayal becomes worse and little bits of memories come Back to times when he was probably masturbating while I was suffering. I have been speaking to my best friend and she is true and will tell me truth without trying to soften the blow but is honest with me for my own good. She points out that throughout my marriage my husband has manipulated me and changed me to Suit his Needs. I’m not agreeing with her because I’m hurt and angry but I know he has but when you are with somebody so long you don’t know what normal is (if there is such a thing). But she is right my husband has always kinda controlled me but In a way that didn’t seem
Controlling. Like if I was invited out with friends I would have to gear myself up to ask him and it’s
Not that he would say no but he would make my life a misery leading up to the night out and during the night out he would text and ring me telling me that the kids were playing up or that they wanted to know what time i wld be Home etc etc. He used to say he was only doing all
This because he cares and loves me. But after this massive porn betrayals I’m
Beginning to wonder. How can love make you so blind and how can I move on. Just really thinking about our relationship can I blame it all on a porn addiction or have I married a bad man?

aquarius25:
I completely understand that question. I had asked that about my own husband countless times and I will admit that the questions still pops up from time to time. I would look back over the years and see all the ways he violated me  and my feelings, manipulated situations to suit his needs, and frankly was just completely self serving. That is what addiction does. I do think there are some men that are just narcissists and really at their root are self centered but I think that is actually a small percentage of the population. Every now and then I read back through my long and exhausting journal and I can see how much I questioned my husband, his character, and frankly I wrestled with the realization that I felt like I didn't really even know this man I had been sharing a life with. My husband is 2 1/2 years porn free now. He is a completely different person and in some ways he is the same. I can see how the addiction impacted the way he viewed the world, everything was ran through a lens of addiction. Now that he is more distant from that addiction he is a lot more empathic and frankly he cares about more than just himself. You really won't know who he is at his core until he has spent some serious time dealing with the addiction. Sure you can't blame everything on the addiction but you won't know what is the addiction and what isn't until he has removed porn from his brain for an extended length of time and I don't mean just 90 days. I didn't really start seeing real character progress in my husband till over a year porn free. Each person is different but 90 is just a starting point, he is an addict, he needs to remove that from his life forever.

The relationship is breaking. That is what it felt like to me. The past relationship died in a lot of ways. What we are doing now is creating something new, together, through constant communication. Things are so fresh for you and frankly you need to grieve. Just like the steps of grief, I had to grieve the loss of the life I had. I experienced everything from denial to anger and acceptance, all of it. Before you can start building something new you must accept the loss of what was. It is completely ok to be upset, angry, pissed off, hurt, all of it. I was to a point where I really questioned my own sanity, lol. You will get though this. You are not alone. Give it time. Don't make decisions about anything major for a while. Keep communicating. Tell him your thoughts, questions, talk often, write everything, just keep processing.

Where is he as with his addiction? Have you shown him this site and the information on Porn addiction? Have these conversations, they are so important.

Sending you lots of love and praying for healing for your wounded heart and healing for your family!

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