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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: "It's all we ever talk about"
« on: June 13, 2017, 01:44:36 PM »
Really good video on the myth that partners of sex/porn addicts "like being victims":

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: "It's all we ever talk about"
« on: June 13, 2017, 12:46:23 PM »
Very, very good points EB

I can tell that NN is very young, because even putting out there things are as simple as "leave or stay" show a life with limited complexity. While not everyone on this site has children, I do. We have three children together and they are all at one of the more vulnerable stages of childhood - the tween/pre-teenage years. Having children that are young and vulnerable means that it isn't about simply thinking about what would make 'me' happy, I have to put their needs above mine for the time being. And honestly, the 'time being' is probably another eight to teen years until they are successfully launched into adulthood.

The other part of having kids is there is really no such thing as 'leaving'. You will be co-parenting along with the person. Whether my husband and I stay married or get divorced, he will be an intricate part of my life for the rest of my life because we have children. It isn't just organizing visitation schedules and doctors appointments. It will be figuring out who sits where for high school and college graduation, what role we each play in weddings, how do we handle family holidays that we all used to share together. You can't just get up and walk away - those children have tied us together for the rest of our lives. We will not only share children, but hopefully one day grandchildren and great grandchildren. We will always be a part of each other's lives, there is no such thing as 'walking away' at this point. We are joined forever on at least some levels.

Even if you don't have children, many couples that have been married for a significantly long time share assets. Who gets the house? How gets the car? What about the retirement accounts? When you are in a committed relationship, you don't just share a bed - your entire life gets intertwined with one another. Divorce is complex and even simple ones take months. If there are children involved and/or significant assets - legal divorce can take YEARS. Some countries require couples to live apart a minimum of one year before divorce proceedings can begin. That means you have to be able to financially juggle two households while your finances are still entangled. You can't simply leave town for a better job or to start that 'new life'. If it was a simple as just walking out the door, I believe most people would have already done that.

Then there is the emotional entanglement. For over a decade, my husband was my best friend. Even when the sex had died out in our marriage due to his porn endured erectile dysfunction - he was still my best friend. He is honestly the only person on the planet I have ever shared my true heart with. My hopes and dreams, my fears and disappointments, everything. Walking away from someone you didn't just love romantically, but you loved as a person. When we are deciding whether or not to walk away, we are decided whether or not to leave a relationship we had for most of our adult lives - and some of us aren't that young. Some of us have lived with our spouse longer than we lived with our parent. This wasn't a fly by night relationship, this was decades together. My husband and I have been married just shy of fourteen years - that is a LOT of life together. A lot of laugher and tears, a lot of sickness and health, a lot of good times and bad times and even great times.

That is what makes the betrayal so hard, so bad. It isn't like we were married to someone who was outwardly lying and deception, absolutely not. The reason why this was so traumatic was because it was so unexpected. Absolutely nothing that my husband showed through his use of porn was any aspect I thought was a part of his character. No, I didn't think he was perfect. I knew and accepted his faults that I was aware of, just like he knew and accepted mine. But, this journey through porn - never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my husband would do something like that. If someone would have walked up to me before d-day and said, "Hey, I saw your husband coming out of a shady massage parlor, he probably got a blow job." I would have honestly laughed at them. Nope, no way. This man was a dedicated husband and father. He loved his kids too much to risk getting arrested going to some illegal massage parlor for something as stupid as a blow job! And, he would never be stupid enough to have some stranger's lips on his penis! Or, so I thought. If someone would have said, "Your husband was in a webcam chat room telling some women to stick or fingers in her vagina then lick them." again, I would not have believed it. Again, I didn't assume my husband was perfect, but I honestly to goodness never thought that was his thing. I never turned him down for sex. I was pretty much up for anything he even suggested (when we were having sex that is). He was such a vanilla sex person I pretty much tamed myself down for him. I have a pretty high sex drive, but never would impose myself on my husband. So, to find out he was paying women to watch them masturbate while he masturbated - when I was in the bedroom ready and willing? And nope, I am not unattractive or out of shape or anything else.

So yeah, it is traumatic when someone you have known for years and have been married to for almost 14 years, turns out to have characteristics and qualities you never, ever would have imagined. I never thought of my husband as a liar. Sure, I thought he would lie to save his life, maybe to get out of silly trouble. But, to actually be a habitual liar - never would have thought that. I would never have intentionally married and had children with a habitual liar, never. So yes, it is traumatic to find yourself in a long term marriage with a man who turns out to be someone you literally never would have married if they would have shown their true self. And to sit there and pipe up, "just walk away" - if only if was that easy. My entire life is on a different path because of this marriage. For the good of the family, I turned down a career path that I had worked hard, really hard for. I am living in a town that my husband chose. These things were not an issue and not something I complained about because we were in this 'together', it was the part of the sacrifices made because that is what family does. Now, come to find out - things were so one sided and the sacrifices were all on my end and now I am supposed to just "walk away". Did you know that a court could NOT let me move even if I wanted to because we have children together? Even if I wanted to move, because my husband is rooted here a judge could tell me that I am required to stay in this area. So no, walking away isn't that easy.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: "It's all we ever talk about"
« on: June 13, 2017, 10:22:44 AM »
Trauma does NOT work like that. It can take weeks, months, and even years for someone that has experienced trauma to be able to take the steps needed for full recovery. That is OKAY. Stop victim blaming and stop telling people they are recovering wrong. For some victims, their experiences and symptoms following d-day are clinically proven to be similar to someone that has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - it isn't a simple as just getting up and moving on. Just because one person can do that doesn't mean a person who doesn't is wrong.

My gosh, the victim blaming here is nauseating!

I totally understand EB

The only reason my husband is still in the family home (but not in my bedroom) is because he is a decent father. He wants to make up for his not being there emotionally and physically for the kids when he was addicted to porn, so he is going out of his way to be "super dad". But, as far as our marriage is concerned, it is pretty much over. He says he wants to make things right and do the right thing and 'win me back', but I was honest with him - I am not interested.

His lying and deception and betrayal cut do deep and I needed to see significant gains following his recovery from porn and the gains just weren't there. He 'said' all the right things. If I just listened to his words, I would be floating on cloud nine. However, I stepped back and observed his behavior. The true, intimate connection just wasn't there. He spends the majority of his time feeling sorry for himself. If I start a conversation to talk about how "I" feel, within ten minutes the conversation has turned to how sorry he feels and how bad he feels and his eyes get weepy and his voice shakes and the theatrics start. But, after all of that, he would not have done one thing to console 'me'. There would be no reassurances of his commitment. There would be no reaching out to me. Not once has my husband ever walked into a room, put his arms around me, and say, "You did not deserve this."

I remember one day early after d-day. He broke down and I put my arms around him and told him everything would be okay and we would get through this. I felt all of this emotion come out of him, it was like I was helping to lift the weight of the world off of his shoulders. Not once has he ever returned the favor. Not shortly after d-day, not a year later. If I do happen to break down and cry he will stand there and look at me like a deer in headlights. He will then turn into a sad puppy as if waiting for me to tell him all is well.

He also doesn't want to accept his role as a liar. He too will get mad when I don't believe him straight away. Sometimes he will say, "I know you don't believe me, but ...." I will sit there and say, "If you know I don't believe you, why are you still talking?" My motto has become - actions, not words. You are judged only on what you do, not what you say. This has driven him completely bonkers, because he does not know how to make his actions align with his words. He will say, "I am going to make this up to you." Okay, what are you going to do? Welp, then he is stumped, because he hasn't a clue. However, there are a number of books and resources out there, he has supposedly read some, but he still doesn't have the ability to actually implement anything real and deep. Sure, he can buy flowers and jewelry and pay for holidays and such. But, he doesn't know how to have an intimate, deep connection.

He proposes constantly that we 'start over', without understanding that if I am going to 'start over', I am definitely not choosing a relationship with a recovering porn addict. If I am going to 'start over', I'll take my chances with someone that hasn't lied to me, gas lighted me, betrayed our marriage vows, used household funds for porn videos, etc. Why would I 'start over' with that? What he is really saying is, 'I don't want to have to do the hard, tiring, slow moving, fully committed work of fixing the relationship that I broke. Can we just act like little kids that sweep all the dirt under the rug or hide the dirty clothes in the back on the closet and pretend the room is clean?' He can't understand that if this relationship was going to survive, it was going to have to fixed - with every broken brick repaired and all the dirt cleaned off. He didn't want to do that.

But, that is a part of porn addiction. They have been training hard for the 'easy fix', ejaculation without work and without trying to meet the needs of the other person. So, this marriage is dead. Right now, we are basically just living in the same house to make co-parenting easier.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: "It's all we ever talk about"
« on: June 13, 2017, 09:35:14 AM »
Sorry, I don't agree. Trauma is - traumatic. No one, absolutely no one, gets to dictate how a victim of trauma deals with that trauma. Just because one person was able to 'move on' from their traumatic event relatively quickly (or not) does not mean that a different person is someone moving too slow, dwelling too long, or healing the 'wrong way'. Every person is unique, every experience is unique.

The other issue is that, we are dealing with porn addicts here, the key word being 'addicts'. If you want to be able to use the word 'addict' when it comes to relapsing or the hardness of getting over porn, then you have to be willing to accept the other aspects the come with addiction. Addiction behavior almost always comes with gas lighting, projecting, and blame shifting. A recovering addict that accepted the trauma he or she caused their partner would never, ever insinuate that issue is being talked about too much. The partner might have legitimate questions. Guess what - if the questions keep coming up that is because the issue is not resolved in the mind of the partner. Sometimes a recovering addict might have to answer the same question 100 different times, so what - deal with it. That is a direct result of the lying and deception that comes right along with the addiction. If you have lied to someone once, twice, and more likely a hundred different times, how arrogant to believe that you word alone is enough.

If the partner is still wanting to talk about it, they are still processing aspects of it and that is their right. A recovering addict cannot say they care about the relationship or the partner, then try to rush the partner along in their healing.

As for other partners, we don't know someone else's situation. I am NEVER going to tell a partner to 'move on' or they are dwelling too much or they need to just focus on themselves. Guess why? Because I got burned BIG TIME from that. My gut was saying there is more, there is more, there is more. It was five months after d-day that I found out my husband had gone to a massage parlor and had a hand and blow job from a prostitute. Guess what? That means that he and I both had to be tested for STDs/STIs. Thankfully the tests came back negative for both, but my gut was telling me there was more. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't like having my health and safety put in jeopardy and all those folks saying "move on" or "you are sulking too much" or "you need to focus on your own life" didn't have squat to say when I came back and said my husband admitting to physically acting out. Because yes, if your partner has had sex with another person (even with a condom) they have potentially put your own health and safety at risk. So, if the partner still has questions and they are still needing to dwell on the topic and they are still needing to talk to their porn addicted spouse - there is probably something to that gut feeling.

Hey, if your porn addicted spouse has had a full therapeutic disclosure with a polygraph AND has had a full medical workup and has turned over all devices and you know for a 100% guaranteed fact they you know everything - thing I would say - yeah, you can move on. How many folks here have had all of those things?

We, as partners, are being asked to trust people that died, deceived, betrayed for significant amounts of time - sometimes years or decades. That is not something to be taken lightly. If part of one person's healing is that they need to talk about things often - their partner should be willing to let that happen.

It is an absolute red flag for me if a porn addict in recovery is trying to shut down conversation.

If someone 'got over' their trauma within a few months or a year - congratulations. But, it is never okay to try to dictate someone else's recovery.

This is honestly the only article I have read in over a year of dealing with my husband's porn addiction/porn recovery that gets at the 'thing' that has bugged me so much about all of this. I am honestly almost in tears reading something that truly 'gets it'.

The article is titled: Sexual Sobriety Leaves Victims Untreated

Here is one paragraph from the article:
A disorder of chronic lying in a family system is pathology and requires treatment, regardless of sexual acting out or not. Chronic patterns of establishing and maintaining a deceptive, compartmentalized sexual-relational system in an intimate relationship or family system, is pathology and harmful, which is more accurate in description then simply “compulsive pornography use.”

This article stuck out to me because a common theme among partners is that is wasn't so much the porn use that was the trauma, it was the lying and deception. THAT is my issue still. While I congratulate my husband on being over a year porn free, that does nothing to address the years of lying, deception, leading a double life - those things are not addressed by simply stopping the use of porn. The months and months and literally thousands of dollars we spent on therapy did nothing to address the pathology of lying and deception. It was all focused on abstaining from porn, understanding triggers, avoiding relapse. That was all fine and good, but the issue for me was - how in the world do you deny your wife sex, go jack off to porn, and then slip into the bed and go to sleep as if nothing happened? How do you create an intricate set of lies so that you get out of parenting duties for the sole purpose of getting online to jack off to porn? That isn't about the addiction to porn, it is about dealing with behavior that wasn't 'compulsive', it was intentional, planned, and tool large amounts of work to hide. That aspect has never been addressed, not by his counselors, not by his weekly men's group, not even by my counselor. Everyone attacked aggressively the porn use and acting out, but what I needed addressed was the lying, deception, manipulation, and gas lighting. This article points out that it is a gapping hole in therapy and one reason for unaddressed trauma of partners.

I am starting to suspect my husband might be a covert narcissist. He plays the victim card VERY well. Even when talking about the damage his porn use did to our marriage and even the impact it had on our children, by the end of the conversation - it is basically about how bad he feels. He never leaves the conversation with an emphasis on me or the kids, it is always how bad he feels. At first it 'felt' like guilt, but as you stop and peel back the layers you see it isn't about guilt, it is about feeling sorry for himself for feeling sad. It is 'woe is me', not 'I'm sad for what my kids missed' it is always, "I'm sad for what I missed with the kids." Very subtle, but when I stepped back and listened to him - mind blown!

I now only discuss things in writing with him. We are using co-parenting software because I was so freaking tired of the gas lighting and leaving the conversation feel bad for him, when the issue was usually something he had said that was the trigger. I have so much more peace not being drawn into is sadness laced narc sessions of feeling sorry for himself. I also told him he will only be judged on his actions. Words have zero meaning or impact - it is only what he does that will be examined. Drives him crazy, but - oh well.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: "It's all we ever talk about"
« on: June 12, 2017, 06:05:33 PM »
i think blaming your partner for your self esteem, sexuality and future is funny. try to be little more responsible for your own life.

i see some porn addicts blame their partners for their porn use and its the same thing. he can probably find a way to blame you for his decision to use porn and how much truth is in that.

lots and lots of partners are having a victim mentality, they put blame for their feelings and life on someone who can barely hold their own life together. looks like a good period of life to practice responsibility.

Way, way, way off the mark with this one. Let me tell you why partners of addicts have a lot of anger and a lot to overcome because of their addict spouse. First, I have yet to hear from one partner where some amount of lies and deception was not involved in their addict partner's use. When someone introduces lying and deception into the relationship it creates a LOT of issues. If you are lying about X are you also lying about Y and Z? If you lied yesterday, how do I know you are telling the truth today? Find out you are in a relationship of any kind with a liar, especially a very good liar, and I guarantee you that it will have a big impact on your day-to-day life. You have to play detective about so many areas and aspects of your life. Secondly, trickle truth. Again, I do not know one addict that came forward with the entire truth of their use day one. As a result, you have no idea what you are going to hear or just how far outside the relationship the person went. Third - escalation. This is aligned with trickle truth. While not all addicts escalate to more fringe content, some act out. Now you have to sit around and try to either wait for full disclosure, play detective, or hope and pray your partner didn't do something stupid like escalate to kiddie porn. You have to hope they weren't getting turned on by rape porn or some other disgusting areas of porn. You have to hope they didn't progress to going to massage parlors and screwing the neighbor trying to recreate some fantasy. It is extremely stressful waiting around to see if another shoe is going to drop (or if your partner is going to get handcuffed because they crossed some crazy line you didn't know about).

The self esteem aspect comes in because PORN ADDICTION IS RIDICULOUS! No really, it is ridiculous. Grown men jacking off to porn like they are a horny teenager - really? Men preferring to jack off in front of the camera than to have sex with a real woman - that is nuts! Jacking off so much they break their dick and can't even get or keep an erection for real sex - CRAZY! So yes, you get a complex trying to figure out if your partner was always  this way or if something changed in the relationship. Because to the logical mind - some grown man sitting in front of the computer rubbing his penis instead of living life in the real world does not compute. So yeah, you kind of get a bit of a complex. It is utterly embarrassing being married to a man that masturbated so much he literally couldn't even get it up anymore. Sex dwindles to nothing in the relationship and yes - you get a complex when you find out your husband was turning you down for sex so that he could rub his own penis while sitting in front of the computer. I am really not understanding how that is hard to get.

As for 'being responsible for our own life' - umm, generally when our partners where in the throws of porn addiction we were responsible for the WHOLE DANM HOUSE. The kids, the responsibilities, the real world - we were keeping that going. Hell, I didn't have time to even focus on myself when I first discovered my husband's porn addiction because he was talking about killing himself! He was so embarrassed and ashamed of just how much he checked out on his responsibilities as a husband and a father he literally wanted to die. Porn messed with his head so much he thought about ending it all. I didn't have time to "be responsible for my own life" because I took my marriage vows seriously and helped my husband get the help he needed to not only dump porn, but to get his head back together and drop that talk of ending it all.

So please, don't come at the partners on this forum with that arrogant mess. We didn't do one damn thing to cause our partners to become porn addicts. Our lives were negatively affected by our partners' porn use and abuse. We get to take all the time we need to heal and it isn't about being a victim, it is about being authentic.

I mean really, how dare you come on this forum and talk bad about partners. Half the folks on this board would feel like fools if we and everyone else in the world went to your journals and laughed at you for getting addicted to jacking off to porn. Look, I don't get it and still don't understand it, but we don't go to your forums and laugh at you all- so have some respect for this forum.

The fact that he lied about his relationship to porn - saying he "wasn't that type of guy" and then you find lots of it on his phone indicates he is, in fact, an addict. All I can say is - get out of the relationship. Save yourself for a lot of heartache and pain. Most people in this forum are married to recovering addicts. Must of us have years and years and some even decades invested, as well as having children to account for. That is what keeps the relationship 'worth it'. Never in a million years would I wish upon any young, single person to invest with their eyes wide open in a relationship with a prone addict. You are just beginning to experience the trauma of self doubt, self loathing, and despair that comes with a relationship in which your partner would rather jack off to pixels on the screen to come to bed and have a real life physical relationship with you. You haven't even started in the phase of recovery from porn addiction, since by all intents accounts he is still actively using.

Get out of the relationship. You might have some lonely days, but those will be a cake walk compared to healing from the trauma of a long term relationship with a porn addict - even a relationship with a recovering porn addict is incredibly hard. You are young with the whole world ahead of you - run.

I can definitely understand people not wanting to know all the details. My personality is such that I absolutely must know what I am dealing with. I also wanted complete assurance that no legal lines had been crossed. Once we had full disclosure, it also helped me understand the full timeline of events. This was particularly helpful because it showed that I was extremely attuned to his changes and how the addiction began to escalate. I had kept emails that I had sent him reaching out to him and letting him know things felt 'off' and asking if we needed counseling or if he would even like to attend individual counseling. I would be really open and honest about feeling something wasn't 'right'. He would then "assure" me that everything was completely fine and nothing was going on - basically gas-lighting me and making me feel crazy. Knowing the timeline has really helped me to better trust my gut.

I also didn't want him to be able to hide behind platitudes or words that didn't have concrete meaning. For instance, I put webcam girls and chatting in a different category than viewing porn. And cam-to-cam sessions and Snapchat exchanges in a different category that webcam sessions. So, he couldn't just throw out "porn use". When you are chatting back and forth, requesting and paying for women to perform specific acts, I think that crosses the line and I absolutely put cam-to-cam sessions in the category of cheating. Of course, getting a blow job in a massage parlor meant I required him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Again, our journey is very different than others. I was shocked when I found out my husband had went to a massage parlor and would not have believed it. But, he was forced to tell the truth and that let me know that I needed to not only protect myself mentally and emotionally, but physically by ensuring he did not pick up any sexually transmitted diseases/infections. Sure it was only one visit, but it only takes one visit to pick up a life threatening or non-curable disease.

So, porn wasn't my husband's only issue. It was the trigger to his downward spiral, but he didn't stop at simply jacking off to watching porn. He moved on to interactions with chat sessions and then on to more things. So, that is why full disclosure was absolutely necessary on my end. And, because he went so far, but could still keep a relatively straight face is why I can never see myself fully trusting him again.

That is where I am. I want to leave and I want to stay. I am proud of my husband and the progress he made with quitting porn. He really changed that aspect of his life around. At the same time, I have an absolute fear of his ability to deceive me. His ability to lie with such ease and intensively defend lies to the point where I literally question my sanity (thinking that 'something has to be going on' when he would deny it) - it petrifies me.

This is something that my husband honestly can't understand. He wants me to simply trust him because he isn't 'that guy' anymore. However, the only thing I have that he isn't 'that guy' is his word and some changed behaviors, other behaviors have stayed the same. He doesn't understand that his word means nothing to me.

Last night we were talking and he asked what I felt I needed and I told him honestly, "I do not trust you enough to tell you what I need to see to believe you are truly reformed." My fear is that he would simply use that information to image manage and pretend to be what I needed. What I did share with him was this excerpt from one of the articles from Dr. Simon:

"And more particularly, you have to avoid trying to judge intentions and motivations. When it comes to character, actions speak louder than words or assumed intensions. So what you want to know is how someone conducts him or herself, especially in relationships. We define personality by the way someone prefers to relate. And we judge character by the integrity someone displays in the way they relate. How they’ve related historically best predicts how they will eventually relate with you."

My husband has to come to terms with the fact that the only thing he will be judged by is what he does. His words have no meaning for me. I hate that I can't trust when he says, "I love you" or "I care about you" or even "I will be cooking dinner on Friday." The only way for me to know he is cooking dinner on Friday is for him to cook dinner on Friday. The only way for me to judge that he loves me is for him to show love - loving behavior, actions, and deeds.

What makes this such a hard relationship to maintain is because everyday is a crap shoot. When someone betrays you, I just don't think you ever fully recover from that. I don't think I will ever put my guard down. There will never be a time when his word is enough.

No, I am not saying one has to be a habitual liar to get addicted, only that being a habitual liar is what put my husband in a position where addiction was the likely outcome. Basically, if he were honest, it would have been significantly harder for him to get addicted to porn. I think lying is a factor in most addictions, even beyond porn. I also think it is hard for most people to get addicted to anything without lying being a major component.

I don't think people lie about porn use in order to not hurt their partner. I think people lie about porn use because they believe their partner will request they stop using porn, especially jacking off to porn. Watching porn wouldn't have been a deal breaker in the beginning of my relationship, jacking off while watching porn would absolutely be a deal breaker.

My husband hasn't used porn since d-day a year ago. This was confirmed with a polygraph test a while ago (because he has a history of lying). That is why I am considering the idea that he may be a pathological liar. His use of porn has stopped (as he no longer has PIED), but he still lies, often for no reason. Some things are failure to follow through with things. So, he will say he is going to do something. He doesn't do it, but doesn't admit he didn't do it until questioned about it. Other things are half truths or admitting to things after confronted, but not before. These were all components of his porn addiction and the idea was when porn was removed, the lying would also stop - because there was no reason to lie. Unfortunately, the character flaw of lying is still present, even though porn use and PMO have stopped.

I have been doing some truly fascinating reading of the work of Dr. George Simon and all I can say is, "Wow!" The premise is helping to understand the nature of disordered people and how hard it is to have a successful relationship with a disordered person. Like many people here, the biggest issue I had with my husband wasn't his porn use, it was his long track record of lying regarding his porn use. The lying and deception started to run incredibly deep and as I looked back over the history of our thirteen year marriage, I saw that lying started well before porn. One of the biggest lies he told was his that he wasn't the 'type of guy' to use porn, even though he had a subscription to playboy in college. Looking at porn wasn't a deal breaker for me, so there wasn't a reason to lie and say he didn't use it. But, his lies weren't always about porn.

Dr. Simon deals extensively with people that have Character Disorders. Basically, there is some level of damage there that no matter how much the person wants to change, the behavior is so ingrained it is just a part of who they are. It is helping me to see that my husband was susceptible to porn addiction because he is a habitual liar. If he wasn't a habitual liar, he would not have been able to get addicted porn. He wouldn't have been sneaking it, lying about it, and lying about what he was doing with his time.

Now it is a matter of finding out if my husband is a habitual liar that is redeemable and able to change his ways, or if he really does have a Character Disorder and is a pathological liar. I know he 'wants' to stop lying. If he cannot, then he is pathological and disordered and that has very real ramifications. But, again, the reading has been absolutely fascinating and enlightening.

So, last night I talked to my husband about the point of what it really means to have an addiction, whether or not he felt he was addicted to porn, and what does recovery mean. What came out for me in the discussion was that my husband understands what it would mean to be an alcoholic or a drug addict, but on some levels convinced himself that porn addiction wasn't like that. I asked, "were you addicted to porn?". It is that simple, if it was an addiction, then you have to come up with a lifelong management plan that includes things beyond simply abstaining from the thing you were addicted to.

We also talked about the use of deception and how that has forever impacted our relationship. Because my husband was good, for the most part, at deception, I really had no idea he was using porn until d-day. Here he was having cam-to-cam sessions with web cam girls and I was completely in the dark. Being able to deceive that deeply means there will always be a wall up where I am seeking to protect myself.

He sometimes gets frustrated because I don't take him at his word. I sat there with my mouth open. Like, really - me taking him at his word is the reason we are having the issues we are having today. Trusting him, believing he was telling me the truth, believing his excuses - putting my faith in his word and him being a good guy is what allowed his addiction to spiral out of control the way that it did.

I don't know about others here on the forum, but my great anxiety comes from being torn in two directions. One is wanting to believe my husband is a 'unicorn', that person who is able to magically overcome his addiction with no ill effects. That one unicorn that spent years actively deceiving, but could pretty much overnight decide that he won't do that anymore. The other is wanting to protect myself and my kids by being a realist. I frequent a lot of forums of partners of sex addicts, and the vast majority started as porn addicts. The relapse rate is extreme. The other issue is that deception is extreme - when these people relapse (mostly men), they are able to fool spouses, counselors, therapists, etc. I see story after story of people who trusted their spouses recovery only to find out they simply got better at hiding it.

I have come to terms with, and my husband is slowly (very slowly) coming to terms with - addiction is lifelong. This will be something he must actively fight for the rest of his life. We have to permanently change our lifestyle due to this addiction. My husband was also willing, for the first time, to admit that my life would probably be significantly better if I divorced him. Being married to a recovering addict is hard. Most everyone will admit, it isn't the actions per se, it is the deception. I never had issues with anxiety before all of this. Not just d-day, but I honestly started to think I was going crazy and being paranoid until I found the evidence. D-day didn't hurt me, it confirmed what I was suspecting. After having been tricked so thoroughly by my husband, to the point where I doubted myself because I truly believed he would just never do anything that could hurt me and the children, I cannot relax. My husband was to be the poster child of a 'good guy'. In all of the problems that we had in our relationship, one thing I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt was that he would never, ever do anything to hurt me. As much as I would love to believe he would never do anything like that again, the fact that he did it once means that he is capable of doing it again. Especially because - the is the nature of addiction. When someone is an addict, they are doing something that is beyond their control. If they could control it, they wouldn't be an addict. No one wants to be an addict. The best I can hope for is that my husband is willing to actively manage his addiction and put forth the effort to make real, deep, thorough, and sustained changes in his life. On the surface, he seems like he is doing that. The catch 22 is that - he has completely fooled me before. It is a very vicious cycle.

I think I have come to terms with the fact that Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED) and Porn Addiction are two distinctly different things. Some men have one or there other, some men have both. My husband had both PIED and PA. The 'problem' was that almost all resources (books, counselors, videos, community forums, etc.) focus on PIED, although they use the term Porn Addiction.

You can cure PIED with a 90 day rebook for most men. Especially if you are faithful to the reboot and don't use porn substitutes, don't lie to yourself or justify, etc. Where things fell apart for my husband and I was confusing being cured from PIED with being cured from addiction.

Let's look at things from the perspective of YBOP and also sites like this one here (RN). Porn can affect the brain in the same ways that some drugs can affect the brain, and addiction to porn can manifest similarly to addiction to drugs. When we come to that acceptance, we have to also come to the acceptance that an addict is never 'cured'. That may sound tough, but look at the most basic definition of addiction - an addict is someone who cannot control their use of whatever it is they are addicted to. Some, someone who is addicted to alcohol cannot control their use of alcohol. When they give up alcohol, they must give it up for good. They will never be able to be a 'social drinker'. Not two years later, not five years later, not ten years later. They have to live their life in a way where they never use alcohol again. That is why they can never say they are 'cured' of alcoholism. Someone who is cured of alcoholism could drink socially with no ill effects, they could indulge in one drink and not fear spiraling out of control. A recovered alcoholic can never, ever do that. It is the same with porn use. No one that successfully reboots can ever go back to watching 'occasional porn'. They can't do it. So, they are never cured of porn addiction, they must live their life in a way where they avoid the use of porn.

One area of concern I have for my husband is that he feels like he is so disgusted with porn, he is 'cured' and will never go back to porn. That attitude bothers me. Yes, he is disgusted by it today. But, the brain is a powerful tool and he trained his brain to love porn, he can never be too careful. Especially in a society like we have today, where porn is pretty much everywhere. My husband can't just log on to social media and look at what he pleases, he can't just stroll through Victoria's Secret stores, he can't just lounge on nude beaches. He must forever be conscious of the fact that his brain is more susceptible to porn that other people's. He has the brain of an addict and his only true relief is to stay away from porn and porn substitutes - for life.

I have been researching things lately and I honestly think that part of my husband's limitations in his full recovery (emotion maturity issues) is that he became almost like a "dry drunk". A 'dry drunk' is a person that has given up alcohol or drugs, but has not made the necessary emotional or behavioral changes. My husband has pretty much spent months as a "dry porn addict". He stopped using porn, but he still looks at things from a selfish, self satisfying, self gratifying scenario. This is where things like lying be default comes in. This is also where things come in like not honoring his commitments and not being able to provide emotional support or even true communication come in to play. Honestly, other than his penis working and him no longer slinking off at night to jack off to porn, not much about our relationship has changed since he stopped using porn. Through his eyes, everything has changed and he is a 'new man'.

I think our differing views on what he is like as a person come from, again, being an addict. Most addicts have no idea just how bad they look, how tough it is to be around them, and how draining they are on other people. They just don't seem to have the capacity to truly put themselves in other people's shoes and view themselves through the lens of others.

Imagine an alcoholic that was vomiting on other people's shoes, cursing people out, hitting on others inappropriately, and doing all the other things that just make them annoying and disgusting to be around. When they stop drinking, they see themselves as a 'new person'. However, you still remember the fact they they vomited on your shoes and called you a tramp whore in their drunken stupor. Sure, it might be nice that they don't do that anymore, but it still kind of pisses you off when you think about the shoes they ruined with their vomit and it still kind of hurts your feelings that they even had the capacity to call you a tramp whore. They feel like a superhero when they stop drinking, because they know how big of a hold that alcohol had on them. You, while happy they stopped drinking, are always on edge - because you know how bad things could get if they fall off the wagon.

That is what is happening with my husband and I. Now, he NEVER called me a tramp whore or any other name in the book. He did, however, ignore me sexually for years. He did have a webcam girl 'type' and that type isn't what I look like in real life. He viewed a lot of disgusting things (although nothing close to what is found in the dark web). When he looks in the mirror, he sees a brand new man. I, however, see the same body, the same face, hear the same voice. On the outside, what I see is the exact same guy that was using porn. Where my husband is stuck is understanding that he must exhibit change on the outside - change in his behavior, change in the way he handles problems, change in the way he organizes his life, change in the way he interacts with me, before I can accept that he is really a 'new man'. I get that he may feel different on the inside, but I don't deal with his insides.

Another thing that my husband doesn't quite understand that one unifying characteristic of addicts is their ability to lie. Oh my gosh, my husband was such a good liar. I honest to goodness had NO IDEA he had a blow job from a prostitute until he finally admitted it. Sure, his lies were starting to come apart, but still - he was able to hold that lie for about three months before I found out (he did it two months before d-day, disclosed a month after d-day). It is extremely scary to be in a relationship with someone that can lie with a straight face. His ability to deceive me is something that still keeps me up at night. This is honestly a unifying characteristic of most addicts, at least before they hit rock bottom, they can deceive easily and deceive well. Being in a relationship with a liar is like being in bed with a rattle snack you believe is tamed. Sure, it looks tame, its tail isn't rattling, and up to this point it hasn't hurt you. However, you know that if it ever decides to strike - that bite will be very painful, if not fatal to you.

One someone has practiced active, willful, intentional deception, they must work extremely hard to regain trust. My husband really and truly does not comprehend just how hard he would need to work before I could ever truly trust him again. I honestly don't know how to do a deep, intimate, safe, satisfying relationship without trust. Like most recovering/recovered addicts, my husband believes that just because he is deeply, fully, with all of his heart disgusted with porn and the things he did while addicted to porn, that should be enough to convince me that he would never, ever go down that road again. He is looking at things through the rose colored glasses of recovery. I have to be a realist and think about not only myself, but our children.  The relapse rate with porn addiction/sex addiction is high. I have seen everywhere from 50% - 95% relapse rate. The reality is, the odds are not in his favor. I think what scares me the most was that he thinks he 'beat it'. He doesn't realize that running from conflict, avoiding, not thinking about the needs of others, etc. are not the signs of a 'cured addict'. Those are the signs of a 'dry drunk'. Addiction is hard to overcome, not easy. My husband generally always chooses the easy road (thus what led him susceptible to porn addiction in the first place).

So, I think we have to start truly being more careful with our terms. Most men here, as well as most spouses of people in this forum, are recovering from PIED. Recovering from Porn Addiction is a COMPLETELY different situation and much more complex.

I wasn't disparaging the article, simply giving my opinion. At the same time, I think when it comes to partners of recovering porn addicts, providing for the emotional realities first is a better option. I think my husband and I would have been in a better spot today is we both went in to it realizing the physical part was the easiest part. For instance, all the talk of "reattaching to a real person" as part of the reboot led to definite hysterical bonding on our part, but that 'reattaching' or 'rewiring' was fictional and more focused on getting the body to work rather than truly developing real connection with the partner/spouse.

I honestly think if having a parallel focus on looking at character issues and true change was an integrated part of recovery and looked at as a component of the reboot, it would be beneficial to all of those with partners. But, I think it is becoming clear that the focus of RN and pretty much all sites focused on porn addiction, is the physical aspects of porn addiction exclusively. That is fine, it is just that it sets partners up for a big let down at the end of the reboot process.

While I appreciate these studies, it is kind of frustrating that the focus continues to be primarily on the premise that watching porn lowers men's sexual satisfaction in real life, either through ED/DE or unrealistic expectations.

The problem with porn is so much bigger than that. The objectification of women, the emotional regression, the inability to have meaningful and full relationships with others are also areas that should be explored.

My husband and I both ended up doing counseling with people that specialized in those with porn/sex addiction and one big thing they talked about was the emotional regression that comes with excessive porn use. These people (mostly men) don't just sit around doing things normally associated with teenagers/young adults, they begin to 'think like' teenagers - even beyond porn use. It is the incarnation of "play stupid games, win stupid prizes".

One reason my marriage is virtually dead is because my husband regressed to such an extent through excessive porn use and addiction, that it is no longer as if I am in a relationship with an adult peer. He literally lost the ability to 'adult'. It would be interesting to know exactly what pathways get damaged with excessive porn use.

What I do know is that my husband used to be able to hold an interesting conversation. He used to be able to think for himself. Everything I heard in counseling on what porn addiction does to men in the long run has turned out to be absolutely true for my husband. Basically, that men that turn to porn after they have reached adulthood use porn as a replacement for normal coping skills. They use it for conflict avoidance, anxiety reduction, stress relief, and even as 'treats' to reward themselves. As a result, when they stop porn use, they must work hard (and few every truly succeed) in developing the skills to basically deal with life. My husband dropped porn like a boss, he did fantastic in giving up porn. Where he has struggled is with the ability to develop appropriate skills to replace all those things porn was substituting for. He still runs away when faced with conflict, he just doesn't jack off to porn while he is hiding. He doesn't jack off to porn to deal with anxiety or reduce stress, he just doesn't do anything. This has left his immune system shot and he is extremely susceptible to colds, sniffles, etc. He went from hardly ever taking time off of work due to illness to taking time off of work twice in the past couple of months - all with thing the kids and I easily shook off with no need to change our normal routines. His time used to be focused on viewing porn, jacking off to porn, fantasizing about trying what he had seen in real life (with strangers) and hiding all those things. That is what occupied his time, his attention, his focus. Now, those things are no longer his focus. The problem is, nothing is his focus. He actually thought he had ADD/ADHD because he couldn't concentrate. No, that isn't the issue - the issue is for years he thought of nothing but porn, now that porn is gone - there is an emptiness. He doesn't want porn and has no desire to go back to porn, but now he is stuck, just existing. He is now simply a guy that 'used' to jack off to porn, but doesn't anymore.

My husband no longer seeks porn, but after years of objectification of women, he has to severely limit is contact with the 'world'. He can't watch a lot of television and has to research what types of scenes will be shown in movies. He has to make a plan before going to the beach. He spent years sizing women up sexually, looking at women for his own sexual pleasure and gratification. He doesn't want to do that anymore, but can trust his own mind. When he travels alone, he won't even turn on the television set. He is now locked in a cage of his own creation because he fears where his mind will go if allowed to roam freely.

I don't think my husband was always a narcissist, but I think years of self pleasure and gratification made him develop a lot of those tendencies. He spent years serving his own purposes, it didn't matter if that required him to lie to me, deceive me, put his porn habit above hands on parenting of his own children, and even risking his job by visiting massage parlors (prostitution is illegal here and if the place had been raided, he would have been fired). When everything you do is only for your benefit and you spend years justifying your selfish behaviors and desires, that is a hard problem to break. So yes, he is no longer living life for his own selfish sexual satisfaction. The problem is a "now what?" sort of situation. Okay, it isn't about getting a dick high anymore, but what is it about? He can't help but treat me like a webcam girl. Here is what I mean by that - webcam girls only cared about tokens (money). You want attention? Spend money. You want them to do something for you? Spend money. You want compliments? Send money. Anything and everything was simply about how much money. So now, he is trying to reconnect with his wife and what is his go to method - spending money. I am literally sitting here with boxes of jewelry under piles of paper. I don't want to be brought, it isn't about how much money he spends on me. He thinks by spending lots of money on me that is showing his love or how much he cares. It breaks me heart to see just how far apart we are, it is like he is just the shell of the man he was before porn.

That is what I would like to see studied. Fixing the dick after porn is really the easy part. Yet, study after study after study is all about the penis. I think after a year even my husband would agree - the penis issues were the least of our problems. Yes, it lets you know when you have 'physically' recovered from porn addiction, but that isn't just what porn addiction is about. Porn addiction takes so much more from men than the functioning of the penis.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Updates - still 'there'
« on: May 16, 2017, 11:45:43 AM »
Thanks ladies!

Yes, it is very weird as I take my life back. My husband is home 'sick' from work today. Of course, this is an incredibly busy week for me - one child is doing something everyday this week until 8 PM, I have two doctors appointments, in addition to all of the other 'normal' activities, including work. This was really the time that I needed him to step up to the plate and really pitch in. He said he would cook Tuesday and Thursday of this week to help. Well, he had to call in 'sick' to work today. He said he felt very stuffy - basically, he has a cold. That means, he won't be able to help out this week. I had to throw something on the stove for dinner as I prepare to go to my doctor's appointment, then come back and finish up with the kids, finish up work for my job, and get my daughter ready to run out the door at 5:00. I am not surprised at all, anytime he will be called upon to be an adult, he is going to come down with a 'man cold'. Meaning, if a woman or a child got the same cold, they would continue on with their normal life and just carry around some extra tissues and hand sanitizer. But, for him - he can't go to work and has to stay in bed the entire day.

If this was a couple months ago, I would have bent over backwards trying to make him comfortable as well. I would have been making him homemade soup and allowing him to complain to me about how crappy he feels and would put 1,000 more things on my plate. This time, I just looked at him and walked away. There is nothing I can do about having to cook and clean and take care of the kids while I also try to get my own health checked out. But, I don't need to parent an adult. At first I felt a bit guilty, but - I got over that quickly. It is a freaking cold and that small cold means he can no longer do the things he committed to do to help around the house while we get through this week. He will be miraculously cured as soon as everything that needs to be done is complete Sunday night. And, he won't say, "Hey, since I didn't take over dinner last week, I will do it this week." Nope.

Oh, did I mention I work full time, homeschool the kids, cook dinner Monday - Thursday (he buys food on the weekend), and keep all of the balls juggling in the air? I needed him to do a little more just for one week, and just the request alone made him come down with a 'man cold' and now he is laying on the couch as if the world is about to end.


Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Updates - still 'there'
« on: May 16, 2017, 07:06:11 AM »
Thanks, honestly I am not 100% confident in leaving, but I am not 100% confident in anything. I have my lists of of pros and cons and right now, divorce has more benefits than staying married at this point. The big thing for me is that, I am just tired of porn and porn addiction recovery. I never wanted it to be part of my life, I didn't consent to having it be part of my life, and it makes me angry that my husband was allowed to make such damaging choices that completely up-ended what could have been a great marriage.

We have kids and they are relatively young, so we will be a part of each other's lives for a long time to come, probably forever. But, I need a break from his baggage. It would be 100% different if he had been honest from the beginning and I had chosen to accept the good with the bad. I didn't and that act of deception is for me something that even after a year, I am not able to get past. I am REALLY big when it comes to consent, he did things to impacted my life fully, as well as the lives of our children, and he did it all without consent. His only focus for five years was satisfying his own sexual fantasies, regardless of the cost.

He now indicates he learned his lesson and he doesn't want that life. My issue is that he isn't the one who 'paid the price' for the lesson. I can not get past his need to destroy my world in order for him to find out he would really rather be with his wife than webcam girls. The other thing he readily admits is that if this was our daughter and her husband had done the same thing to her, he would tell her to leave. He doesn't want for his daughter what he did to me.

My husband did an amazing job in overcoming porn addiction, but he has done pretty much nothing when it comes to rebuilding our relationship. In the early months, I did the heavy lifting. I was the one buying the books and encouraging him to read them. He did buy some books on his own, but I have yet to see him consistently implement anything he supposedly learned. Case in point, he was writing me letters in the mornings - one for each letter of the alphabet. They were just post it notes, but they were sweet. He got to the letter "N", then - they just stopped. I sat there thinking, - why even start something this obvious if you didn't plan on finishing it? It is like he got bored and simply moved on. That was months ago and he never restarted the note writing campaign. He doesn't understand that it would have been better to not even start than to show that he can't commit to something as simple as 26 post it notes. He imploded our marriage, violated our vows, had us both spending thousands of dollars on counseling because of his porn use - and he couldn't even write 26 small notes.

I am slowly coming to terms that - this is him now. This isn't the guy he was before porn. He wasn't perfect and neither was I, but our marriage was more good than bad. I honestly can't say that is the case anymore. The only thing that has recovered since he left porn has been his parenting. He did a LOT of shitty stuff when it came to parenting when he was using porn. He wouldn't even tuck the kids in bed at night, he would send him to me so he could rush off and secretly watch porn. He didn't come to important medical appointments out of town for the kids, he used the time that I was driving them four hours away to have all day cam-to-cam sessions or sit with his dick in his hand. His guilt from that mess has led him to be a more hands on father, has led him to make mostly good decisions. The scales still aren't balanced, but I am doing only 75 - 80% of the work when I was originally doing about 99% of the work of parenting.

But, our marriage, I honestly can't say it has recovered. It 'looks' like things covered when I am willing to do the heavy lifting. If I was willing to carry the weight of this marriage on my shoulders, things would probably be pretty good. However, I am just not willing to do it. He destroyed this marriage, it is only right for him to be the one doing the heavy lifting when it comes to rebuilding it. He is either not willing or not capable of doing that. He constantly says he wants to make things right, that he loves me with all of his heart and he knows we can have a great marriage. The problem is, whenever I say - "okay, what is your plan?" - he has nothing.

I find myself fantasizing about divorce. Of course I know it wouldn't be easy to solo parent most of the time, but - I get so excited about the prospect of having every other weekend to myself. We already worked out a custody deal - he would get the kids every other weekend, major holidays, and a minimum of five weeks over the summer. I find myself grinning from ear-to-ear thinking about having two weekends every month where all I had to worry about was myself. I would finally have time to workout, to read a book for pleasure, to clean my house thoroughly, to just sit and have some peace. I dream about literally not caring if he is jacking off to porn or not, not caring about if he is managing his own triggers, not feeling triggered myself because him salivating over Victoria Secret's ads would be none of my business. No, I don't want my husband sitting around with his dick in his hand looking at the swimsuit section of the Sears catalog, I could care less where my ex-husband has his dick. I long for a time when I can close my eyes and go to sleep and not wonder or worry that he is sneaking off at 3:00 in the morning to send a dick picture to some webcam girl or wonder if he has a secret email account. I want to think about me, I want to focus on me.

I am an all or nothing sort of person. I don't want a marriage where we are married on paper, but I don't care what he does with his life and I live my life as if I am not married. I know that works for some people, but it isn't me. So, I have not been able to just completely disassociate myself from him because we are married. My daughter dances and there are some adult dancers at her studio, I absolutely shudder about the upcoming recital, because some of the outfits the adults are wearing are a little on the skimpy side. I wouldn't care if my ex-husband sat there and embarrassed himself be salivating over women half his age, I care greatly if my husband does it. I also know me, and even if he doesn't outwardly salivate, I will be thinking that internally he is turned on. That wouldn't have happened before. I wasn't a jealous person and I really didn't care if my husband acknowledged other women were beautiful, but - knowing what he was doing for five years, I can't live like this. I don't want to live like this.

So, that is why divorce is winning for me. It releases me from the obligation of 'him'. If we are going to be married, I am going to be a full partner in his life. The problem is, those things aren't reciprocal. It isn't like he is getting a full partner and I am getting a full partner. The truth is, my husband has been clueless as to how to support me. Even when I flat out tell him what I need, he fumbles at it. I can tell him that I need to communicate until I am blue in the face - whenever we have a conversation it turns into a counseling session where I am helping him, supporting him, encouraging him. I actually stopped talking to him regularly. I stepped back and realized I was getting NOTHING out of communicating with him. He recently traveled for work and when he got home (because he didn't even bring up the triggers that him traveling alone might inspire before he left) he said, "I realize it was probably hard on you when I was traveling." From there on out, for the next hour - he talked about himself. How he was proud of himself because he didn't even turn on the television and there was a massage place near the hotel and he wasn't even tempted to go and how he knows a year ago he would have gotten himself in trouble but he no longer wants that life and on and on and on and on. It was like he was expecting me to give him a cookie for not stopping and getting a blow job from a prostitute. He can acknowledge that he knew it was hard for me, but that is it. There is no conversation about me, about my healing, about what I need, nothing. Then, he wants to be patted on the back for no longer jacking off to porn. Okay, great - but where is my reward for putting up with him and all the shit that came out with d-day and supporting him through his recovery?

I know this is LONG and rambling, but it is basically to say it isn't that I don't love my husband, I still do love him greatly. But, I need more than just to love him. And yes, I believe that he loves me in his heart. But, I need more than just for him to love me. I need for him to show me love in a way that communicates love to me - and that is what he seems incapable of doing. It wasn't always like this. However, it has been a year past d-day and I am still waiting for one ounce of what I need in a marriage relationship. I am tired of feeling like a martyr and feeling as if I don't deserve some true signs of love, some peace, some compassion. I have come to terms that those things that I need, he is just no longer capable of providing.

My husband desperately wants to stay married. For him I represent safety, security, true love. He knows I know even now some of the worst things about his character, and yet I stayed. Who wouldn't want that kind of love? He knows that as he wife, I will support him even though his darkest of times. Who wouldn't want that kind of love? He knows that even when my own heart is breaking into a million pieces and I have been hurt deeper than I have ever been hurt before - I will still hold him, hug him, let him cry in my arms, wipe away his tears, and tell him he is loved no matter what. He knows just how deeply he is loved.

The problem is - I don't know those things for me. I don't know that no matter what, someone will be there to hold me and love me and meet my needs when I can't meet them myself. While he had my full support during his recovery from porn, I really didn't get support from him. I had to dig my way out of despair all by myself. When I cry, he doesn't hold me and wipe my tears away. He stands there like a deer in the headlights, then he starts with his sad face and his 'woe is me' bit and in the end, I am sitting there encouraging him - when I was the one in pain. I have told my husband how emotional and physically tired I am. This porn addiction recovery mess has taken everything out of me. It doesn't matter. No matter who clearly and plainly I tell him what I need, he just can't deliver. It ALWAYS turns into him being so sad and feeling so guilty and then I feel bad for even saying something as simple as, "I'm tired".

I am honestly starting to wonder if he is a narcissist and this is a game he is playing to ensure he never has to actually do anything for me. The rate at which the conversation always gets turned around to me supporting him and encouraging him unless I just decide to go to bitch mode is crazy. I literally started to just stop talking in an effort to save myself from becoming his personal cheerleading squad while I get zero out of any interaction. I also felt like he was becoming very manipulative. I don't like the idea of having to tell someone who supposedly loves you exactly what you need to hear, then they simply repeat the words back to you five minutes later like they are a robot or a tape player. I actually told him one time he was not allowed to use any of my words in a conversation with me - I kid you not, he fell silent. He has NOTHING to say if he couldn't simply repeat back what I had told him.

I want to be free of that. I am already doing most of the parenting, having the kids every other weekend and a few weeks in the summer would increase his parenting time, not lessen it. And, it would allow me to finally have some time for me, to heal me, to focus on me, and to love myself. 

I just posted my update and this is exactly where I am as well. I don't want this. I really and truly want something better for my life. I feel like I have done everything that was required of me. I kept my vows, I stood by his side, I swallowed my own pain and anguish until he was able to get through the addiction. The problem is that some of my husband's soul searching led him to a very ugly conclusion - he hid who he truly was to 'win me'. When we were dating, we talked on the phone for hours, because he knew I liked to talk. We would go for long walks, because he knew I liked those. He presented himself to be something he wasn't.

It wasn't the same as compromise. I compromised for my husband. Basically, I wasn't a fan of football, he was a die hard fan. I learned the game, would watch with him, and even started the cheer on teams. The difference is, I wasn't faking. I didn't do those things and then ditch them once we were married. I stayed the course and kept my acceptance (and even sometimes enjoyment) of football. He, on the other hand, slowly shed every thing he pretended to be and accept once we got married.

As I have been contemplating the last few months I realize just how much deception played at part in our marriage. He pretended to be something, someone, that he wasn't because he saw me as a prize. I feel in love with the man he presented himself to be. That is why his porn addiction came as such a shock - he presented himself as someone how just wasn't in to porn. It wasn't until full disclosure that he admitted having a subscription to Playboy magazine in college, watching porn, and even having lap dances in the past. That isn't to say I wouldn't have married a man who did those things in the past, it is saying that he presented himself as someone who just would never do something like that, and that wasn't who he truly was. So, deception started right from the beginning.

D-day opened the blinds to a lot of shit my husband had been hiding. He is finally having to look in the mirror, without image management. He doesn't like what he sees, but he is 45 years old, and true change gets harder when you have lived your life just lying and pretending. Me, well - I am angry for an entirely different reason now. I am angry because deception started long before porn. And now we have three kids who are in the middle of all of this. I feel locked in a cage. It is like a reverse Beauty and the Beast. I didn't fall in love with a beast who turned out to be a prince, I feel in love with a prince who turned out to have a lot of beast like qualities. It is hard, facing reality that I am holding sand. Promises and commitments and vows that simply blow away with the slightest wind. It feels incredibly unfair.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Updates - still 'there'
« on: May 15, 2017, 01:31:06 PM »
Well, it has been a couple of months since I posted. Things are still in limbo with my husband and I, mainly on his end. He is desperately trying to get me to stay in the marriage. Making all the wonderful promises that sound so beautiful, until it is actually time to walk them out. Then, of course, he fails tremendously. He has been porn free since d-day, just about a year now. I am amazingly proud of his ability to kick the porn habit, I applaud that he got over that hurdle.

However, I still am just not into this relationship. We did the 'hysterical bonding' thing in the beginning and I was trying so hard to help him 'beat porn' that I turned down the voice that was saying, "this is not really what I want in a marriage". Now that porn has been beat, I am still at that point of saying, "this is not what I want in a marriage". As a result, we are pretty much at an stand still. He has been sleeping on the couch for the last two months, because I am not interested in having him in my bed. But, he is fighting getting a divorce, hard. Of course, if a divorce is contested, it is going to take forever and a day. So, we are kind of existing. Being nice and kind to one another, co-parenting the children, even going places together, but I just really don't want this relationship. We went for a walk together yesterday and talked for a bit. It was a good conversation overall, but the result was the same as every other conversation, he believes this marriage can work and be great and I do not want this relationship.

I know it seems crazy, I worked so hard supporting him to help him kick the porn habit. I went through so much emotionally and I had the absolute highest of hopes for this relationship. Now that the fog of porn is gone and it is time for the 'rest of our lives' to start, I just don't want this. The imbalance is too strong and it feels too unfair. My husband is still struggling a lot with things like communication. His first response is still to run and hide instead of facing conflict head on. He doesn't see not honoring his commitments as lying. For instance, he committed to talking with me every Sunday to go over our schedule and ensure I have some time for self care. Has that happened regularly? Absolutely not. Of course, I could remind him every Sunday and he would do it. But, that isn't the type of relationship that I want. It is like that for everything he committed to, no matter how big or small. He does what I remind him or tell him to do. I was hoping that once he kicked the porn habit, he would be ready to have an adult relationship - where we could talk or go out and have fun, just enjoy life. Instead, he is just 'there'. After five years of jacking off in front of the computer, what is left is just a guy who isn't very fun or exciting or interesting to be around.

I no longer desire the parent/child dynamic that developed during his porn use. I am just so ready to start my life, "my life"; a life no longer tied to porn and lies and and all the other crap that came with it. I guess I was expecting too much. I was expecting the problem to be porn and when porn was gone, the guy I feel in love with all those years ago would be standing there and we could run off into the sunset together. That wasn't what happened. Porn is gone, but what is standing there is a guy that was heavily damaged by years of porn use. It has been just a week or so shy of one year, and there are still few signs of the husband I loved. A year ago, when we first started on this journey, I thought I could accept it. But now, I realize that the unfairness of the situation is not okay. I should not have to sacrifice any semblance of happiness just to stay true to vows, especially vows the other person violated (my husband went beyond porn, he put profiles on hook up websites, although d-day came before he could find a fuck buddy, and he went to a massage parlor and got a blow job trying to recreate shit he had seen on porn sites). He drones on and on about not wanting that life anymore and I save him from himself and he is a new man. I believe he doesn't want that life anymore, I believe there is a good chance he has completely kicked the porn habit, I believe he has made a change. That is all good, but this is not the relationship that I want. There is no joy, no fun, I don't trust him, if I don't bring things up (or get angry) he just lives life as if everything is okay.

Right now I am feeling trapped in a cycle of unfairness. I feel like I did my 'time', I supported him through the worst of his addiction. Of course now, he doesn't want to give this up. Honestly, I don't blame him. Who doesn't want a spouse that will be there for you no matter what? I guess he and I both want the same thing. He gets that with me, but I don't feel like I could ever get that with him. And yes, I have told him. And of course when I express my feelings he gets sad and weepy and plays the victim and vows to do better and be the man that I want. And that lasts until my frustration subsides, then he goes back to - just existing.

When we were in counseling they said it generally takes three to five years before trust is rebuilt in a relationship following porn addiction/sex addiction. I guess I just don't feel like spending any more time trying to 'recover' from something so incredibly stupid. I am ready to move on. Unfortunately, my husband's last promise to me is the last promise he is breaking. We both agreed I would give it a year and make a decision. I have made a decision and now he doesn't want to accept it. Unfortunately again, I live in a state where they believe marriages should be saved no matter what and contested divorces can be forced into mediation. So, I get to spend the new few months being guilted into staying. Porn addiction - the curse that just won't die.

What you describe is not at all a healthy or stable situation to bring children in to. Children require a lot of time, energy, and focus. Someone as selfish as your husband sounds would not be there as an equitable partner and would make your situation a lot worse.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: My 'goodbye' to RN
« on: March 22, 2017, 06:28:57 AM »
Thanks so much EB. It is a very tough decision and honestly, I am still not confident in the decision. I absolutely hate that I am still fighting with this. I absolutely cannot stand the lying, I have always put lying in the category of being 'abusive', because the person is manipulating you as an individual and not allowing you to make freewill decisions about your life. My husband's form of lying is generally withholding information or lying by omission. The only absolute lies he told were surrounding porn, but that has been taken care of.

What I hate is how I feel in my own home. I hate that I cannot relax around him, because I never really know if he is telling me everything I need to know in order to live my life in the best way. That is so amazingly unhealthy. The problem is we don't fight, he is kind and considerate, very good with the children, etc.

It would be a thousand times easier if he would fit firmly in the category of 'bad husband'. Right now, I honestly feel that no matter what decision I walk out - I am going to regret it. If I go through with the divorce - I am going to regret it. If I stay in the marriage - I am going to regret it. I remember when I was in counseling and first brought up the idea of divorce my counselor said that unfortunately, divorce wouldn't get my husband out of my life. He is very much a hands on dad, so he will still be active in the children's life, at least multiple times per week. My kids are still at an age where it isn't as if I can go out and start dating and since I would have primary custody - I would simply be doubling my work. His 'image management' would go through the roof as every time he showed up at an event or dropped by the house to help the kids with a math problem or science project he would look like the greatest dad in the world. I, on the other hand, will look like a selfish bitch the first time I decide to try and take a solo vacation beyond the traditional visitation schedule. The other thing is that I work from home, so I already have very limited interaction with other adults. My husband is often times the only other adult I see some days.

I guess what I am coming to terms with is that none of my options are good. This is why I hate lying so much. Had I known my husband's lying problems were this severe in the beginning, I never would have dated him, let alone agreed to marry him. The first time I caught him in a significant lie was a few weeks before we got married. We talked about it, he showed true remorse, and I thought we worked through it. It wasn't until d-day, twelve years into our marriage, that I caught him in his next significant lie. It wasn't until then that I fully realized just how many lies had been told through the years. As I dug through our life, thought back through the years, examined things more closely that I came to the horrifying truth. My husband is a compulsive liar. He lies from shear habit. He is extremely good at it, there are almost no tell tell signs of lying unless you really concentrate and look for them. You will never catch him without significant work. Rarely is it an outright lie; it will be a lie of omission or the "I forgot about that" or "I don't remember that". He tells me what he thinks I want to hear, even if he knows I would rather have the truth. He will commit to something he knows he can't fulfill, simply because he 'thinks' it is better to agree and not do it and hope he doesn't get caught.

It is exhausting, but I honestly don't know if it is going to be more exhausting going it alone. Yes, he is a hands on dad, but right now being a hands on dad means being there for the good as well as the bad. When we divorce, he gets to be superhero dad - always there to help, but not the one who had to enforce bedtime, or no television during the week, or chores. He does help with the laundry and the dishes and cuts the grass and cleans the gutters. All those things become my responsibility.

Last night he asked if we would already be divorced if we didn't have children and my answer was a resounding yes. I would have gleefully singed the paperwork and headed off to start a new life somewhere, anywhere. I don't get to do that now. We are anchored together by the children. I either get him in my life washing dishes, cutting the grass, helping with raising the kids in the hard stuff as well as the good stuff, but having to put up with his lies. Or, I get him in my life in a way where he gets to fly in and out and look like a superstar parent - even though he isn't dealing with the hard things that happen throughout the day, I still have to put up with his lies, but I also have to carry an even larger burden of the household.

I am in a lose/lose situation and right now it feels overwhelmingly unfair. This is hard, very hard. I know I will get through it, but right now I feel completely over burdened.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: need help!!
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:57:13 AM »
i know shes lonely and sad but that is the last place she should look for comfort.

The entire problem with porn addiction is that is takes away the FIRST place a partner can go to look for comfort. You weren't there when you should have been. Rarely do recovering addicts realize just how much they 'checked out' of their relationship until well into their recovery. Many think they were balancing things just fine, they think they were hiding their betrayal, they don't think they were spending that much time away - but they were.

If she thinks you were in a physical relationship, you may need to really examine if you started having a one-sided emotional affair with one of your favorite porn girls. As ridiculous as that sounds, it actually did happen to my husband when he was in the throws of his addiction. Started with him going to her web cam room more and more often, then paying coins to chat with her, then paying coins for private chat, culminating in paying for cam-to-cam. Her compliments to get him to spend more coins actually went to his head and he admits to actually developing some feelings. Of course now he completely realizes how ridiculous it all was, but at the time - I absolutely thought he was having a real life affair and you could not have convinced me it was 'just porn'. You may not have gone as far as my husband did, but if you developed a 'favorite', you absolutely could have begun to establish some feelings and yes - an partner that loves you and is connected to you will absolutely pick up on that. And no, the 'affair' being virtual rather than physical does not at all lessen the blow or make it better, if fact - in some ways it is far worse than if you partner neglected you physically and emotional for a real person. To be neglected for an onscreen fling with some porn actress who was doing nothing but playing a role if far more embarrassing.

I am honestly not sure how you don't see her assertion of porn as physically cheating. It is physically cheating in three ways. The first is that if you are masturbating to porn - you are reaching sexual climax with the aide of another woman, you are literally getting sexual needs met with the aide of another woman/man outside of the relations. The second is that while you are viewing porn, you are physically, emotionally, and mentally unavailable to your partner. How is it not physically cheating to be in real life unavailable to your partner because you are spending time with other woman/men - even if just in front of the computer. The third reason is that what porn use to the form of addiction says to the partner is the same as what it says to partners in other forms of affairs - she was not good enough for you to meet all of your needs, so you went out and found someone/something else. She was not wanted/needed and you decided to go spend time 'having fun' with someone else.

If you don't think it is really cheating, imagine what your reaction would be if you walked in and saw her masturbating to another man on the screen - especially if she was lying about it, emotionally unavailable towards you, or she was way more enthusiastic about her experience in front of the computer than she ever was with you. I think you would completely change your view about whether or not porn is physically cheating.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: My 'goodbye' to RN
« on: March 21, 2017, 04:57:22 AM »
Thanks so much for the support everyone. It is an extremely hard decision, because my husband has worked quite hard to overcome his porn addiction and I am amazingly proud of him. The lying, deception, hiding of information is all a part of the environment in which he was raised. If I had known how his family felt about truth and their comfort with lying in order to avoid conflict I would have probably not married him in the first place, even though he is a great guy. They are so good at covering things up and acting as if things don't happen that it is mind blowing. I come from a family that values truth, even when it hurts, so I honestly didn't realize lying to even family members was acceptable in some homes.
My husband has tried overcome this since d-day, but he just cannot seem to overcome this area. It is so ingrained in him that it is now a part of his character.
I was originally staying for the children, but after watching my husband struggling for almost a year now with something as simple as telling the truth, it feels right to leave for the children. I cannot at all risk them growing up any longer in a home where it appears telling a lie to save yourself discomfort or embarrassment is okay. I am no saint and if it were occasional lies or insignificant lies (i.e. Do I look fat?) it would be different, but my husband grew up in a home where image management was so important his mother covered up the fact that his sister was molested by a cousin, because it would make the family 'look bad'. That sister is now struggling significantly in adulthood and his mother still feels like she made the right decision. My husband clearly sees that lie was wrong, but it took him months to come to terms with the fact that he was going down the same road.
It isn't that he is not trying to change, it is that even with months of counseling, with me modeling open communication and honesty, with us speaking to our children consistently about the importance of truth - his first response when he is under one ounce of stress is to lie. The problem, of course, is that he lies extremely well. I have to listen carefully and 'feel' intuitively if something isn't right. It is exhausting. It would be almost bearable if he were a bad liar, he isn't. He is a great liar until I start to question him purposefully. Because he lies so well, he absolutely has to be the one to change his behavior.
We are being calm and rational about this. Of course, he doesn't want a divorce and he swears he will do everything in his power to change. But, of course, I have been hearing that for almost a year. He has changed, but I think we have reached the point where to change anymore would be to fundamentally change who he is as a person. I do not feel it is okay to ask someone to be something they are not. He believes that too much honesty is hurtful; that it is better to be half truthful and spare the person you love from hurt. I am a person that would rather be hurt by truth than comforted by a lie - so we have reached a point of impasse.

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