Reboot Nation Forum > Partners of Rebooters and Addicts

Looking for some insights

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Sliced:
Thank you again Mouse.

Flatline sounds scary and stressful. I can well see how Stress about the flatline can cause flatline to continue and end up stuck in a cycle. I’ve never heard of flatline before all this. Sorry it’s like this for you and rooting for you in your current reboot.

My partner advises he feels he has been close to flatline before but hasn’t experienced it - it is still so helpful to hear about it though.
His PIED seems to have gone at present. Interesting what you say about whether he is rebooting or not. While he isn’t battling the physical side of stuff quite so much, he seems to be struggling with honesty. Still today more things come up that he has been being dishonest about. I think this feels like the biggest betrayal, maybe more so than the act. But I also know it is a massive, massive part of addiction.

Your right, I know this might not be it, it is likely he will lapse. It’s tricky, originally I thought I didn’t even have The ability to deal with even one relapse, but this is unrealistic and in some ways unfair to stay with him if I can’t deal with this. This isn’t what I signed up for, but it’s what I have and I either except him for who he is now or I don’t. I think as long as he continues working hard on himself and I can see that, a lapse I will be able to support him with. I will try.

mousemat1:
Hey Sliced.

There is one thing that I think you should keep in mind. If you decide that your partner's porn use is unacceptable and you decide you can no longer stay in the relationship, I would be amazed if the next partner you found wasn't a porn user. I think this is one of the terrible things about porn since the advent of high speed internet. Obviously, not all men are porn addicts, but I imagine that the vast majority of men use porn. I suspect that the majority of users run the risk of becoming addicts further down the line. You're always going to have this doubt in every future relationship.

It's clear you love your current partner. I think it's definitely worth supporting him on the condition he is determined to beat this addiction for you.

Thanks for your concern regarding my flatline, but I'm under no illusion; I have done this to myself. No one else is to blame.

MacTx:
Sex after learning this was a weird thing.  It was so difficult to get out of my head.  However a couple of things I have really had to focus on.  Meditation for me.  Huge help.  I feel like my brain and my body are living under this constant readiness for the other shoe to drop or what’s he doing now.  On the days when we don’t see each other, I’m thinking, well, he’s def watching porn today, etc etc. 
so you have to start with you first.  Get real selfish for a little bit and just focus on getting you in a better place:  new hobbies (or picking up old ones), exercise -really hard exercise is great, meditation, etc.
Worrying about what they’re doing-I’ve really had to work every day to let that go.  The truth is, he totally could be watching porn or he could be watching Netflix.  We won’t know.  Period.  So acceptance that it’s not something we can control is a huge focus.
Sex? Well, I still have brain weasels come in sometimes during sex-he’s imagining I’m a porn person, he thinks I’m a transsexual, his eyes are closed so clearly he’s not “here”, etc.  I’ve become a bit more selfish there too.  I just enjoy the sex for the physical enjoyment.  I’m not trying to “save” anything , or change his mind.  It is not our responsibility and we shouldn’t take ownership of trying to solve their issues, but enjoying the physical aspects with them, does re enforce the real world , real women connection, and if I get to feel good from that? Why not?
It’s so very hard, it ALL is.  I don’t know for sure that I’m staying with my partner, I don’t know for sure that he even thinks he has an issue, or if he’s trying to resolve any of this. Our conversations are still pretty new.  I won’t allow myself to feel this way forever and I’m working on finding a sex therapist for me.  Either way, partner or no partner, we can survive this.  It is not the end of us. 

Sliced:

Thank you again for replies.

The thing is porn isn’t an issue for me. Have always been open that I am ok with porn use. (Obviously now I am not because I know the behaviour that goes with it/it leads to). It is the unfaithful behaviour that I am not alright with. That’s what makes me doubt if I can stay, that’s what made me doubt if what we had was real.

I am trying to stop looking at specifics, the specific hurts. I know an outline of what was happening and I’m an adult, I’ve had a phone and been sexually active for a long time, I can use my imagination, I don’t need to know. This week I scrolled back through our messages. I sent my partner a sexy picture of me on the same day he bought nudes online. My partner never asked me for nudes, I would send them sometimes as an attempt to encourage him to be a bit more sexual with me, would try to sext with him but he was always a bit awkward and withdrawn about it. I thought he just wasn’t that sexual of a guy. On bad days like this, that sits in my chest like a weight.

We came to the realisation he was messaging other girls on Facebook . Nothing sexual, but more of the robotic compulsive frequent type messages he had been doing elsewhere. This time when I spoke to him about it, he got defensive and annoyed. This is the first I’ve in all of this that he has done this. I know addiction, defensiveness and deflection are sure signs of manipulation. Eventually he admitted he finds the behaviour unhealthy. I don’t think he gets it fully.

We were working things out and it seems that even completely innocent things like speaking on the phone to genuine female friends he was keeping from me. We were so disconnected and I didn’t even realise, that makes me feel so selfish and stupid.

It’s weird, there’s one girl and there was nothing sexual between them since we got together, but he admitted he used to ask for pics of what she was doing and he used to send her selfies. This hurt so bad. I’m sure it didn’t, but it felt like it hurt more than the buying of images from sex workers. It put my head in a weird place, I thought I had fully accepted that his P use is nothing to do with me, but this situation got me having thoughts about how I know I can’t compete with Sex workers for looks/appeal, but I can compete with average girls, and I felt I was more attractive than her. I wrote a message to him saying horrible things about her and I really felt them. I hate that I let myself become that way towards another girl.

I also felt a lot of embarrassment, I know what girls are like, I know that they know what he is doing, they probably love that he is messaging all the time because it gives them an ego stroke. I think about how they must look at me. Do they pity me that my fiancée is messaging them, do they feel superior to me? It doesn’t matter does it.

The messaging thing is tricky, makes me realise how much deeper this goes. I don’t think he realises how difficult this is sometimes. Every disclosure of something he has done or lied about feels like a cannon ball to my chest. Every time I have to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’m trying not to shame him too much, worry if I get too angry I will make him close off. Managing these feelings in this type of way is so difficult.

I feel like there is a weird dynamic beginning in our relationship. I am still only recoiling after the shock of it all, and yet I am trying my absolute hardest to be his cheerleader and support him.

Overwhelmingly I feel like I am in mourning. It’s as if the man I knew has gone. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want him back because he was unfaithful and made me believe a lie. But I was 100% invested in the relationship. I was happy for the first time in my life. He change everything and was the most important person in the world. I thought we were closer than anything. I miss that connection, it’s as if it just suddenly got ripped away and I miss it. I find myself wanting to be with him, I want to cuddle him in bed, and stroke his face and wrap my arms around him because I so desperately miss us. Even though it wasn’t real.

mousemat1:
Firstly, you are not to blame. There is no woman alive who can compete with internet porn. Not even porn stars themselves! It's the ability to change to a new sex scene every 10 seconds to something new or shocking. Imagine a heroin addict who can inject himself every 10 seconds to maintain the 'high'. That's what internet porn is like. Remember, this phenomena only started with the advent of high speed internet. If vanilla sex has become 'boring' for him, it's because he has desensitised his brain to normal stimuli. You shouldn't feel compelled to recreate some of the stuff that porn stars do. You are not the problem. He might ask for more adventurous sex, but where does the need come from? It comes from conditioning due to the kind of porn we watch (obviously, some turn ons are innate).

Every man is different, but from my perspective I know porn is 'unreal'. I can separate fantasy from reality. I would never ask my partner to indulge in some of the things I've seen in porn, because I see her as a real human being who should be loved and respected. I've never lost sight of this fact. I'm addicted to the dopamine hits I get from watching porn. I have no feelings toward the women in porn, they seem like caricatures (which is unfair, because they are people with feelings too). I've just thought about it now and I could only think of five porn star's names. I suspect your partner is pretty much the same. I get the impression he made you feel loved before you discovered his secret. I'm sure he loves you and can separate reality from fantasy. Where the boundaries between the two become less distinct is with sexting.

I can't remember where I read this, probably on this forum, but I remember a quote about the only way to trust somebody is to actually trust them. This is something only you can do in your relationship. It might be that from the day you found out he has never sexted anyone, bought pictures from sex workers, or watched porn in any form. He might now have left all that behind him. Where do you go from here? If you don't trust him then the situation is almost as bad as the previous situation where you trusted him but he was a porn user. If you do trust him and he's using, then your trust is misplaced. This is a very confusing situation. Fundamentally, you have to do what is best for your own state of mind. He might be offended by your lack of trust in him, but this is something he has to live with. He is the cause for your lack of trust.

It feels like a betrayal of trust because that's exactly what it is. Try not get too hung up on the idea that he kept a secret from you. His motivation for keeping it a secret might have been good. He might have been trying to protect you from the pain of his addiction because he loves you. You can never know for sure. But I'm sure you have some secrets you have kept back from him, probably because you love him and don't want to hurt him. However, I'm willing to bet that the scale of his secret overshadows any you might have.

You are right when you say you are 'mourning'. If you think about a time when you lost someone you loved; a grandparent, a parent, a friend, then you will recall that the pain is 'raw' at the beginning. The pain may never go away, but it becomes bearable and eventually almost imperceptible. You will have good days and bad days, but hopefully the good days will eventually outnumber the bad ones. At the moment you still feel that your relationship is with fighting for, which shows great inner strength. Now your partner has to fight his addiction to save your relationship. I wish you both luck.

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