Reboot Nation Forum > Partners of Rebooters and Addicts

Round and round we go..

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I met my husband nearly 6 years ago, and we hit it off right away. We got pregnant shortly after we began a relationship, and have a child together. Two years ago I found out about his addiction to porn.
I study the human brain. My husband and I have had many lengthy discussions about deficits in gray matter when it comes to addiction. It was a complete shock to me when I found out that he had an addiction, and I was oblivious to it.
The pure emotional pain took a huge toll on me for the last two years. After I found out, we set some rules and he promised to never watch it again. We switched from smart phones to phones with no internet. Since we are both students, we still needed a way to connect to our classes, so we had tablets. For two years I heard story after story of his confessions for 'feelings' he had for other women. He would always assure me that these feelings were associated with his addiction, and he did not want to leave me for them. I became so numb to everything.
Then he relapsed last month. He watched pornography for three consecutive nights, then spent a number of days afterwards looking up photos of naked women, women in workout clothes, women in swimsuits, etc. He allowed sexual feelings for women he saw in person to sit with him rather than trying to redirect his thoughts like he was supposed to. He tried to convince me that all he did was necessary for his recovery. I knew it wasn't true. He knew it wasn't true. I've since lost all trust with this man.
After his relapse, he joined this forum and nofap to facilitate his recovery. We found out about these forums during my interview with Dr. Love, one of the researchers behind the neuroscience of porn addiction (I am currently doing research on this topic as well). My husband appears to be getting better. I, on the other hand, am still struggling with everything. The hurt, the betrayal, the broken trust.. it is still hard to look at him sometimes. I try to push through it all and tell myself that my suffering will only add to science to help others in the future. It helps sometimes. Other times, it keeps me unmotivated in my task to where I completely avoid my work. Suffering in silence takes its toll eventually.
Anywho.. I wanted to share, I suppose, in hopes that maybe there are methods other people have used to heal while staying in the relationship with someone who is still struggling. I tell myself that I am just fine, and I can move forward, and he is the one that needs the help, not me. Writing this has brought on the raw pain associated with his confessions, and only furthers the notion that I am in fact, not fine. I've stagnated. Perhaps just getting this out will help. Who knows?
Thanks for reading

My heart really goes out to you. It is very difficult as a partner. There are so many lines that get blurred and, at least for myself, I had so many conflicting emotions. On one had I felt like I needed to be supportive to him, not take it personal, this is an addiction after all. Then on the other I felt like I didn't actually know who this person was that I was with. I felt like everything was a lie. I kept thinking that I thought I knew who he was and that I could judge a good person and yet here I had no idea who the person closest to me was. It was so violating feeling. I felt scared. I second guessed everything. I kept asking "what else in my life am I being lie to about". It was awful. I felt insecure, ugly, fat, unlovable, alone, not myself, and more than anything just plain uncomfortable in my own skin. I really felt I didn't know who I was. I loved this man and at the same time he became the person who caused me so much pain. I had a friend who was in an abusive relationship and her husband had raped her. Thankfully she has left, but I remember her telling me how he had sex with her without her consent and because they were married it was supposed to be ok. She talked about her emotional process and honestly it was like she was describing my emotional experience to a T. I think because porn is so widely accepted culture makes us feel like we are supposed to be ok with this, but no, it is not ok. It is the lying and the break in trust and the feeling of not being safe in the relationship and being manipulated. Its awful.

All of this to say that just because you understand the science doesn't make the emotion any better or easier. Logically you can understand but emotionally you can be a complete mess. It is ok to not be ok. It is ok to be a mess. It does not mean that you love your husband less. You are not alone. I am glad you found this space and that you have a place to process. Welcome!

Thank you aquarius25 for your insight. I do understand those feelings as well. Prior to this marriage, I was in an abusive marriage. He repeatedly raped me, also saying he could do it because we were married. All in all, I had about 20 miscarriages through the duration of that marriage (gave birth to 3 kids). I have healed from that, and I share my story with others who are either stuck, or just getting out, in order to help them.

I think that is why this is so difficult to process. My mind is saying "he didn't hit you, so why are you upset?" I've even had times where I wished that upon myself because I have already gone through and overcome that trauma. I know it is not healthy to think in that way.

I hear you about the dishonesty. My husband told me a few days ago that he wanted to go "hard mode" because he didn't feel as though we should have sex until his mind was right because he didn't want to hurt me. He then decides to watch YouTube videos that inevitably lead him to videos of women. Now, the videos are not sexual in nature, but the fact that he knows that they will be there, but keeps going anyway, leads me to believe that he isn't going hard mode for the betterment of our relationship. I told him last night that maybe he should stay off youtube and instead use that time to do other things, like homework. He agreed that would be a good route to take, but then this morning, he secretly watched a video while I was still in bed. The inconsistencies in his words and actions make it so hard to trust him. It makes me want to further myself from him and this marriage.

I have not spoken to anyone about my side for the majority of all this process (over two years) because I didn't want people to judge him when they didn't know him. I broke down and told a friend of mine the other day. Between her and my post here, these have been my only outlets to how all this makes me feel. I would like to say that it makes me feel good that other women out there have been going through this and I am not alone, but I would be lying. It breaks my heart that this is so prevalent, and others have to suffer as well.

There are many lines that get blurred, i do agree with that. The conflict of emotions is also very tough and makes it harder to process everything properly. Thinking you know someone only to find out that you only knew them to the extent they allowed you to know them, especially when you've given your full self to them, hurts. I am sorry you are going through this as well. My heart goes out to you too

That sounds like a lot, the past experiences can make the current even more overwhelming. One of the trick parts to addictions and abuses that are not as physical and don't leave marks is that they are easy to rationalize as "ok" because there aren't any physical signs of them but the emotional scares hurt just as much and it is never ok.

Something that I have learned in my relationship, and this is something I never believed before, is that you can love someone without trusting them. Before this whole thing I believed that you can't love without trust and part of love is trusting. Today I do not believe this to be true. There are points in my husbands recovery that I didn't trust him, but I still had love for him. When I am trusting him I would say the relationship feels stronger but either way the love is still there. It is ok to not trust him, and it is ok to communicate that. Then sit down together and discuses what both of you want this relationship to look like, feel like, and to be. What are the goals? How can the two of you together meet those goals. I think if he is going hardmode then it needs to be a real hardmode. Take is seriously, no youtube, facebook, maybe set up parent controls so her doesn't have access to those sites till he has better self control and some time under his recovery. But these choices have to be made together. Be sure you are both on the same page.

It is not easy but as someone who have been in this for 4 yrs+ now, I will say it does get better. Hang in there. Be honest with yourself about your needs and don't hesitate to seek support! You are not alone. Feel free to DM me anytime!

The love and trust thing is something I struggled with through this. I found myself wondering how it was that I still wanted to be with this man even though I didn't trust him. I thought for sure I had gone crazy because that is something I think we all learn from a young age, that love equals trust.

I did go and look at your journal and saw that you have involved your kids in the process. That is something I have struggled with. I've wanted to talk to them because I feel they need to see how much harm it does to someone, but I have also been afraid of how they will look at him if they knew. He is the stepfather to my older 4 kids. Our youngest one is 5 and autistic, so she will probably never know about any of this. I am so glad that it has worked for you and added that extra layer of accountability, as you've called it. I imagine it helps him strive to be better so they dont fall into the same addiction.


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