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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / My 'goodbye' to RN
« on: March 20, 2017, 07:40:28 AM »
So, as our year winds down since d-day and the 'big decision' is coming up, I find myself close to making the opposite decision I thought I would have. In discussing things this weekend, I found out that while my husband has kicked the porn habit, he has not yet kicked the lying habit. He continues to hide things instead of openly discussing them so we can resolve small issues like adults. He hides small issues and they become LARGE issues because he is hiding them in hopes that they go away. The latest has to do with money; hiding that he hadn't taken care of something the way that he should. As a result, a $10,000 issue has become a $25,000 issue and the only reason I got to that information was because I had to drag it out of him through a series of asking just the right, perfectly worded questions to get honest answers. I was able to step in with a solution and although I don't like it (taking my own 'nest egg' and paying off the debt he created), the issue is resolved. But again, it could have been resolved with $10,000 if my husband had been truthful in the beginning.

So, while it isn't porn, it is the same pattern that led to porn. He is overcome by even the smallest pressures of life and that leads him to burying his head in the sand or taking a small problem and allowing it to grow into a big problem. Just like with porn, if I hadn't stepped in when I did - the now larger problem could have become too large for us to climb out of.

I just can't live like this. His months of weekly counseling apparently did nothing to deal with the foundational issues that caused his porn addiction to manifest in the first place - hiding from problems, making small problems big problems by panicking or making incredibly ridiculous mistakes that cause problems to grow, actively deceiving me instead of coming to me as a partner.

I have to be on high alert at all times, ready to ask him just the 'right' question in order to tunnel my way to truth. No one is perfect and I don't ask for or 'demand' perfection from him. We all make bad decisions sometimes and we are in this relationship together, we can solve problems together. But, he hides his bad decisions and allows them to grow to become large burdens that threaten our foundations. Had I not found out about this issue when it hit $25,000 - who knows how big it would have grown. It might have wiped out our children's college funds, it might have caused us to have to wipe out all of our retirement accounts, I honestly don't know how big it could have gotten. The problem is, that is the exact same thing that happened with porn. My husband hid is problem and it grew and went from porn addiction to sex addiction. I caught him after his first trip to a massage parlor, but he admits that if I had not confronted him he doesn't know how far he would have gone, he had even looked at "hook up" sites.

I can't live in a situation where I am constantly looking over my shoulder and wondering when the next 'big thing' is going to jump out of the closet and tackle me; some secret my husband is keeping that could have been solved with very little issue and effort if we could have an adult conversation.

I wish I could say this is new, but it isn't. My husband has a history of running from small problems and allowing them to grow. I thought this was something he had overcome, but he had just gotten better at hiding it. While infidelity was always in my mind as a 'deal breaker', I found a way to morph it around in my mind because there was debate on whether porn was infidelity and even if getting a blow job at a 'massage' parlor was 'really' cheating. I found ways to forgive to keep the marriage, because I do love my husband and he is a good dad. However, my real, complete, no compromise deal breaker is lying. I told my husband that if he lied again, our marriage was required to end. He has shown that he just cannot overcome lying as a defense. That when given the option to deal with a little bit of stress by openly discussing a problem, he would rather lie and cover up the truth - regardless of the consequences for that lie.

I guess that brings my time here on the Partners forum to an end. My husband has overcome the addiction to porn use, but all the things that surround porn addiction, that make a person susceptible to porn addiction are still there. He just cannot overcome a pattern that he has held for most of his life, running from reality and hoping that ignoring issues makes them go away. I just can't continue with this as a pattern in our relationship. I have three children to raise already, I can't keep coming in and saving the day for my husband. I can't live a life in which every minute of my day is spent trying to buffer the effects of whatever bad decision my husband is making, but not disclosing.

The sad part is, he really is a great guy. Most of his deception is because he doesn't want to disappoint me, his parents, his kids, etc. But, this is not the life for me. We have been married thirteen years and I have been hoping things would get better (and thinking things had gotten better) for a long time. But, alas, we just aren't compatible at a fundamental level. My husband worked very hard to appear to be the kind of guy I wanted. He worked very hard to appear to be open and honest in communication - but he can't. It just isn't who he is. His entire family doesn't believe in open and honest communication, they never ever talk about problems and he just has not been able to overcome what he was taught to be 'normal'. We have talked for hours and hours since d-day about the importance of honesty, about how anything can be overcome if we are willing to face it, about how I have already proven that I can forgive and stay and make things work if we deal in honesty. Even with all of that, he still chose lying or ignoring reality instead of just saying, "Hey, I made a bad financial move and here is the result."

So, I wish everyone success as they move forward in rebuilding their relationships. I may pop in from time to time and hopefully offer words of encouragement. But, this appears to be the end of my partner journey.

I am glad I chose the screen name that I did, because I realize that even after this crazy journey - the thing that I value the most is that I am still me. I didn't compromise who I am at my core. I loved fully, I lived honestly and openly, and I gave this marriage my best shot. It didn't work out, but that is okay, even with the hard things associated with this road I have traveled - I am still me. I didn't lose 'me', even at my lowest points. I am proud of the way I walked my road. I am going to be starting over, on a new journey and finding my way through divorce and co-parenting and all those other things I never wanted to be a part of my life. But, even though all of that I know I will still be me.

Much love to all of you!

I decided to start a thread specifically for those on the longer road to relationship recovery and recovering from d-day. The hope is that this can be a safe place to discuss the highs and lows without judgement or assumption that your spouse isn't "grateful":

My husband has really taken it upon himself to show interest in me. I find that he is listening, truly listening, when I talk and incorporating what he hears into our experiences. For my birthday, he really took time to think about his gifts and got me things that were meaningful.

We have some really good conversations - that have zero to do with porn addiction recovery, marriage rebuilding, etc. We are finally just talking about 'nothing'. For so long, every single conversation focused on where we were, either as a couple or in our individual recovery efforts, we are finally reaching a point where normal conversations happen just as easily.

For the first time in a long time, my husband is making sure I take care of myself. I didn't for a long time, especially the early stages in this recovery. It actually feels weird sometimes, but I am getting used to it - LOL.

We have some nice family trips scheduled as well as some plans for just the two of us.

We just had the one year anniversary for when my husband physically acted out by going to a massage parlor and visited hook up websites (thankfully he didn't actually hook up with anyone). That was a larger trigger than I even admitted to myself until I felt myself raging in my mind. I didn't blow up on my husband, but I found myself really confused. I was being more trusting and open and when we hit that timeline I felt crazy for trusting someone that crossed a line I had said would lead to divorce if we got married. It really snuck up on me and I was surprised by not only an emotional, but even a physical reaction to the trigger. I ended up with a pretty big headache!

Things I am Working On:
I am working on not having anger be my primary emotion when handling a trigger. I am working to figure out how to allow myself to validate my feelings, but it not make me take a step back in the relationship. I know WHY I am doing it and that is completely self preservation. I know what it was like for me following d-day, and my mind is doing its job in protecting me from going through a valley that low again. My husband understands, it is smart to protect myself until he has had time to fully regain my trust. I will say, he did GREAT in handling my triggering experience. His previous self would have just went into a shell and said nothing. This time, he really tried to stay present and just love me through my pain.

Another thing I am working on is how to handle my steps forward. In the past, when I really boasted to my husband about how I was regaining my trust in him or feeling better, he interpreted that as a sign of being 'finished'. He would be like, "great, we are good now". It was hard for him to see that a step forward was not the finish line. So, I have been a bit more reserved in letting him know how good I am feeling about things. I really want to figure out how to express to him things are going better, but they aren't finished.

My 'Score'
I would say on a scale of 1-10, I would place myself at about a 7, but I fluctuate between 6 and 7 regularly. I think I am at a place where it is going to take a significant amount of growth before I move up to an 8. I have to say, my "6.5" actually feels really good considering I haven't yet hit the year mark, that will  happen in about eight weeks.

I still have a lot of healing to do, I lot of self reflection. I did a couple of things. One thing I did was buy a 5-year journal. You do one question a day for a year. Then, you answer that same question on the same day the next four years. I am looking forward to seeing how my answers change as the years go on. I also purchased myself some doodling journals. I am also trying to get to the gym more.

So - how about others on the long road?

Yes, one thing I find disquieting is the idea that those who acknowledge they are in the middle of the journey are assumed to be unhappy or their spouse is unhappy. Not only is it rude, it is gas lighting in its assumption. The idea that because one says, "Hey, I am still coming to terms with everything that happened" being interpreted as if we are not happy, healthy, whole or our spouses are sitting around sobbing because we are depressed.

I am not depressed,  don't cry myself to sleep at night, my husband and I haven't argued in literally months. Not because we aren't speaking, but because we are mature adults who have the ability to be open and honest and authentic.

Yes, I can be honest and say that my husband has NOT earned my trust 100%. He knows that and he welcomes to challenge of proving that he is the man he says he is.

So, to those who are actually still "in" the journey and taking their time and healing in the way that research states the vast majority of people will heal - keep on course. You are doing fine and being in the middle of the journey does not in any way indicate you are unhappy or mentally deficient or not a good enough spouse. And yes, that is absolutely being implied. 

I guess I am not understanding how what anyone has already mentioned does not belong in the category of moving forward. Are you seeking a particular kind of answer? Every single response has noted specific things people are doing in regards to moving forward so far.

I personally don't believe in repressing any emotion that I am feeling. I feel I have a right to my feelings and choose to allow myself to explore them, figure out why they are there, and handling them rather than trying to bury them and rush them along.

Resentment is defined as the mixture of disappointment, anger, and fear. I found there was literally no reason for me to try and repress rather than experience and come to terms with why I was feeling resentment towards my husband.

1. Disappointment - I was absolutely disappointed in my husband's decision process in turning to porn. I was disappointed that instead of responding to the various olive branches I extended to him throughout our relationship, he rejected those and instead went to something that was only destructive. There was disappointment in the fact that we spent a significant amount of money on therapy. Literally thousands of dollars that could have gone into my children's college funds. We both work hard for our money and it was disappointing to have to use family funds for recovery that could have better served the needs of the family, especially the children. Why should I deny that feeling, rather than admitting it, accepting it, and finding what to do with that?

2. Anger - I have had full disclosure, so yes - there was a lot to be angry about. I have a right to be angry about being disrespected, about having my spouse go outside the marriage (rather virtually or going to a massage parlor), and also from spending time and money on porn that again could have been used for the family. I have a right to be angry about being lied to and actively deceived. One does not need to stay in anger, but there is no 'time frame' for which anger goes away. I personally find it offensive when people insinuate the betrayed partner  is somehow being unreasonable when they are anger with the way they have been treated. I have value and worth and yes, I am offended when someone that says they love me treats me as if I don't have value and worth. And yes, going outside the marriage to get 'sexual needs' met, even virtually, is diminishing the worth of the partner. Especially when my own moral compass means I would never go outside my marriage to get my sexual needs met. So yes, I was angry and had every right to be angry about being denied my sexual needs being met while my husband was actively getting his met through PMO.

3. Fear - it was quite scary to find out I didn't know my husband as well as I thought I did. This is a man that I never thought would be in to porn, I honestly thought he was the type of guy that would be pretty disgusted by it. To realize that I was married to, living with, sharing a bed with someone that had an entirely different aspect to his personality I knew nothing about was scary.

I don't think it at all healthy to suppress those feelings. I am just shy of one year out from d-day. Professional psychologist, indicate the NORM is three to five years for a relationship to get back on completely solid footing. Today, I am much less angry than I was following d-day. As my husband showed his commitment to recovery and changing his lifestyle for himself as well as the family, my angry slowly subsided. I still deal with disappointment and fear, and those things are absolutely normal. Trust is built over time and trust is the component that replaces disappointment and fear. Research has shown cheap forgiveness is actually damaging to the betrayed partner and I refuse to sell myself short. I choose to give myself all the time I need to heal fully and completely.

The slow and steady healing process is also beneficial to my husband. It is a motivator for him and it is allowing him to authentically heal himself and be the man he wanted to be. It would break my husband's heart if I was like, "Oh honey, I completely forgive you right here and right now." It would show I didn't think he was a real man and really capable of doing the hard and consistent work to rebuild his marriage. I don't have to sugarcoat things for my husband, he is showing his ability to stick through the hard times, my hard times. I want to know that I can trust him, and I don't learn that I can trust him by slapping on an "I forgive you" and forcing myself to repress any and all feelings of resentment (disappointment, anger, fear).

I can't speak for moving out of a "funk" because I was never in one. I have gone through a litany of emotions, all perfectly normal. I don't beat myself up for anything that I feel, it is all a part of allowing myself to go through this journey. I choose to be absolutely kind and gentle with myself. I choose to not rush myself through this process or cheapen my own feelings and emotions to try to make my husband feel better or put on a play for my children. Healing is hard, especially when you are the victim of circumstances that are outside of your control.

I am proud of the fact that I dug deep and even when I was in the pit of pain immediately following d-day, I supported my husband. I swallowed back quite a bit because I knew how serious addiction was and our first priority was to give him the support he needed to overcome his addiction. He did and continues to do that. Now, the priority is my healing, fully and completely. Not through suppression, covering it up, or berating myself to hurry up already. I deserve patience and kindness. I deserve and opportunity to grieve what was lost. I am thrilled that my husband has taken it upon himself to show me the future he sees, that he is doing everything he can to rebuild this relationship into something beautiful and meaningful and satisfying for the both of us. Taking my time to heal has also allowed him the best gift I could give him - the opportunity to fix what he broke. It was his actions that broke the relationship, it is his actions that will best fix the relationship.

It isn't that I am not doing anything, I am. The biggest thing I am doing is allowing him to make his efforts, letting him know when he hit the mark, letting him know I appreciate what he is doing, allowing myself to smile more and have more fun with him. But, I am letting 'him' do the heavy lifting for rebuilding the blocks that he toppled, while I focus now on my own healing. Three to five years is what the experts state it normally takes, that absolutely looks like it will be my timeline, I accept that and am comfortable with it. I am not wallowing in pain. I actually genuinely love my life. I am having lots of fun, including fun with my husband. But, I am also coming to terms with what trust means for me now and how I might want that to look different in the future. I am allowing myself to mourn the relationship that was lost and figure out what I need in a marriage now. I am figuring out how to balance being committed and fully invested in the marriage, but at the same time not being so vulnerable that my husband's possible failure in the future doesn't completely upsets my world the way d-day did. That takes time. As much as I might say in words that I can't control my husband or his actions, I am seeking to truly and completely live that out. That takes time and I intend to give myself that time.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Celebrate big or not
« on: March 15, 2017, 05:12:58 AM »

 There will be no "better than ever" because what we had before my partner's porn addiction was beautiful and special. It was untainted by the negativity that was created by his relationship with porn. It's different now. It can't be the same because too much has happened and the experience has changed us.

Emerald Blue - this is exactly what it is for me! My husband didn't enter the marriage addicted to porn. He turned to porn as a way to deal with natural pressures of life and by doing so - he damaged what had been a beautiful relationship. Our marriage wasn't built on lies, deceit, and betrayal, those things came with porn.

I am happy with my life, but I believe in being honest and authentic with myself. I don't want to entertain the idea that this journey through porn addiction was somehow good. We survived, the marriage survived - but we are not better for it. I am not a better or stronger person having gone through this. I was already strong. My husband isn't a better husband having gone through this. Porn addiction took some things from him that can't be recovered, and that is the reality. There are sometimes consequences for actions and the consequence for my husband's actions is that I will never fully, unconditionally trust him again. We can absolutely have enough trust to continue to build a strong foundation, but there will always be a sense that I must look out for myself in this relationship.

Marking d-day would be marking the day a special bond between my husband and I was broken. No matter how much we mend it, scars will always be there. The reason why my husband's addiction hurt so much was because I trusted him so fully. Had I been snooping around his life, had I been checking his devices, had I been sneaking his phone and reviewing his internet history and creeping around the house or setting up cameras to monitor his behavior - his porn never would have reached the point of addiction. D-day came the day I found out, but that was five years after my husband first started to use porn. It is still hard coming to terms with the fact that this recover was so hard BECAUSE of my trust in my husband. I honestly thought his ED/DE was a medical condition, because never in a million years would I have suspected he was jacking off to porn multiple times a week. I thought there was important work his was doing that was keeping him from reading to the kids with me some nights - never would I have thought this man was so consumed by porn he would choose that over cuddling in bed with me and the kids. And never, ever, in a million years would I have thought this man would participate in an industry that objectifies and exploits women. Studies have shown the life expectancy of a 'porn star' is 37 years old - that is how damaging the industry is to women - no way would I have thought the man I feel in love with would go within ten feet of such a world. I did not think my husband was perfect, I knew everyone has flaws, including myself. But, I absolutely thought this was a line he would not cross. I thought his love for me, his love for his children, would make this kind of action a non-starter. I thought I knew his moral boundaries.

Yes, we are rebuilding. Yes, things are actually going quite well in our relationship. But - some things that were lost due to his porn addiction will never be recovered. I never get to say, "I know that my husband would never ...." That is hard for me to accept. I can never say, "My husband loves me too much to ..." I don't know where those lines are and I don't get to assume where those lines are. I can provide him some level of trust, but too much trust allowed this situation to get out of control. There is a level of intimacy, a level of trust, a level of peace and calmness in the relationship that died. Most of the relationship was damaged, but can be recovered. But, this part died. That is hard.

We both know it is there, but don't really want to mark it with a flag. We are rebuilding and we are doing a very good job at that. We are making the most with the pieces that we have left. We are already taking family vacations, doing romantic getaways, having date nights, talking openly with the children about the damages lies cause and have even openly talked with the kids about the importance of avoiding porn. I can't say there is a need to commemorate the day.

I actually don't think my husband wants to commemorate the day honestly. D-day was one of the lowest days of his life. It marks one of his biggest failures as a husband, as a father, as a man. It is the culmination of the consequence of his stupidest decision ever. I think the best thing that I can do to support him is to push through that day. We talk openly now about how the both of us are doing and I am we will bring up that fact that we are hitting the year mark.

The thing about this journey is that every story is unique. For some people, recovery might lead to the best relationship they have had in their marriage. For others, we started with a strong marriage and porn addiction came in and destroyed that - little by little. We can't get it back because it was built on things like truth and trust. Thankfully we had the foundation we did, because no way would our marriage have survived if we didn't. But, there are cracks.

Everyone is building something different because all relationships are different. Some people will accept relapses and an ongoing struggle. Some people have already determined they will stay even if their spouse turns back to porn. Some people have decided to allow substitutes. Some people have decided they will not stay if porn returns. So, we won't all be having the same responses to various milestones because we are all building something different. Some people in the forum even decided to leave the marriage and are happier for it. I think that is the big thing - we can all find happiness in our own way.

I know some people whose marriage survived physical affairs and they no longer celebrate their wedding anniversary, because they say that first marriage 'died' with the affair, so they pick a different date to celebrate their marriage. Heck, in one of my recovery books there was a story of a woman who stayed married to a sex addict even as he sat in jail due to downloading child porn - every single person has a different focus and goal. We should all have different stories for what we are going to do as we hit various milestones. Just like every recovering addict's journey is different, so is every partner's journey.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Celebrate big or not
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:01:51 PM »
I can understand your perspective, I just personally hate the narrative that hurting someone was "worth it" because things got better.
Sure, my marriage is now significantly better than it was on d-day, but it could have been one thousand times better than that if my husband had made different choices with his life. That isn't something for us to celebrate.
I also have children and want to always be honest and authentic with them. If we purchased a cake am I going to tell my kids we are celebrating because it has been an entire year since daddy jacked off to porn? If not, I am lying to them - because that is what the clock is celebrating - the last time he jacked off to porn. It would be a bold face lie to say we are celebrating our better communication - that didn't happen on d-day, it took time to develop. We aren't celebrating the fact that we have a more open and honest relationship - that didn't start on d-day.The only thing that 100% started on d-day was my husband giving up porn and unless I am willing to be honest and order a cake saying, "Yay for 365 days of you being PMO free!", then I am being a liar. I wouldn't celebrate d-day if it was about him sleeping with a co-worker, I don't want to celebrate this d-day either.
I am extremely happy with where my husband and I are now - we have come a LONG way. I am genuinely the most satisfied I have been in with our relationship in years. But - no, it wasn't "worth it". The pain d-day caused me, the trauma, the betrayal - none of that was 'worth it'. I don't ever want my husband to think for one minute what I went through was an appropriate price to pay for a good marriage now. And I darn sure don't ever want to send the message to my children that lying, deception, betrayal is all okay because you can come out of the storm better than you were before - and you even get a cake.
I know people whose house burned down, literally. They ended up being unharmed - but they lost their home and many wonderful possessions. They ended up getting the home rebuilt and it is beautiful, better than even the original home. That doesn't mean the house fire was 'worth it'. While everyone is aware when the anniversary of the fire comes around, no one 'celebrates' it and gives a toast about how worth it is was to lose the first house, because the second one is nicer.
Just like losing a home to a fire, something was lost in my marriage that we will never recover. Yes, we talk more - openly and honestly. My husband now treats me like a queen. He is so much more engaged with the children. He says constantly that he is happier than he has been in years. But - we still lost something important that will never return. My husband is a recovered porn addict, I am proud of him beyond measure. However, I can never forget that before d-day - he had the ability to look me in the eye and lie to my face. He had the ability to lead almost a double life. He had the ability to get addicted to porn. He participated in an industry that objectifies women. That is nothing to celebrate. We are never going to look back and say maybe it was all worth it, it wasn't worth it.

My heart is breaking for you, but it might be time to admit this is not at all a healthy relationship. It is hard enough being in a relationship with someone who is actively recovering, being honest, and succeeding in his recovery. It might be time to stop and focus on yourself and your own recovery.
There should be no one, that you are willing to sacrifice your own mental and physical health for because they choose to participate in damaging behavior. You can love someone and still not be in a relationship with him. And, is being in an unhealthy relationship a sign of love?
Do not allow this man, this relationship, to keep you in bondage and crisis. It is fine to love him, but you have to love yourself more.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Celebrate big or not
« on: March 14, 2017, 07:29:03 AM »
We will not at all be 'celebrating' d-day. Just like I don't celebrate the day I got into a really bad car accident. My trauma and the damage to our relationship is not at all something I want to commemorate in our marriage. We are actually doing quite well in our relationship recovery at this point, but there is no way in hell I would mark the day my life blew to pieces with any sort of celebration.

We will celebrate birthdays and our anniversary. We are even thinking of renewing our vows on our anniversary. But 'celebrate' d-day - not a snowballs chance in hell for me. I know I will remember the day forever, as will my husband. But, we will not celebrate it, honor it, or give it any place of reverence in our marriage.

Like I said, we will be doing something big for our anniversary, to acknowledge the fact that we survived, even though we were pushed to the limits. But d-day will in no way be cause for cake and ice cream. Our marriage could have gotten better, our communication could have improved, everything could have gotten better without my husband jacking off to porn. We didn't need this to improve our marriage and it did a lot more harm than good.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Is it true?
« on: March 14, 2017, 07:21:55 AM »
I think what I have come to realize is that recovery from porn and recovery of the relationship only comes when the addict decides they no longer want porn. Simply resisting porn because they also want a relationship, or want a relationship more than they want porn isn't enough. They are always going to be fighting with porn and sometimes they will lose that fight.

My husband didn't really want porn, he wanted the escape from reality that porn provided. As a result, giving up porn was the easy part of his recovery. The harder part was learning how to handle stress and the realities of life in an adult way that didn't bring up more problems for himself as well as the family. As soon as he recognized porn was causing more stress, not less - letting go was easy. That doesn't mean recovery was easy, just that not ever looking at porn again wasn't a struggle.

If you husband is struggling with porn itself, you may have to determine for yourself what you want in a relationship. It is going to be hard on the relationship anyway, but the threat of porn still being there will make it that much more difficult.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Is it true?
« on: March 13, 2017, 02:40:22 PM »
If he isn't willing to be open and  honest and if he is treating you in a way that you don't like, it may be time to make some hard decisions. Recovering the relationship with a fully engaged, hard working recovering porn addict is really hard, so trying to recover with someone that isn't dedicated would be a non-starter for me.

It might be time to start thinking a bit selfishly and think about what you want and need at this point.

Honestly, it hasn't even been a year yet - you should not trust him fully. That doesn't mean you should interfere with his use of the internet or try to stop him from using technology. However, he should agree to a completely open policy. You should have access to all of his passwords and he should never delete his browsing history. If you ever feel you need reassurance, just look and see what he has been viewing.

It is his job right now to show he is trustworthy and to gain your trust, slowly - over time. He should understand that he is not completely trusted right now and be okay with that and be doing things to show that he is trustworthy. This is on him to help you feel more relaxed, not the other way around.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Report from the Field;)
« on: March 06, 2017, 02:36:50 PM »
So glad things are going well. I love your "low tech loving" dating approach - very smart move!

Definitely inspired by your mightiness on this issue!

NewBeginnings - if your wife's porn use is escalating, she may be going into addiction. A marriage should have open and honest communication. If it doesn't, how much of a marriage is there?
The concept that you did it, so she gets to do it, is kind of a tough relationship to be in. My 'reward' for staying with my husband isn't that I can go and get myself addicted to porn as well.
Let me be the first to say, closing your eyes to the situation is the worst possible solution. I think all partners here can tell you that is a choice that leads to everyone involved being extremely unhappy.
If the marriage cannot take open communication, even about tough things, then it doesn't have the strongest foundation. That might be okay, but just know what you are getting and what you are setting yourself up for.

Not all porn addicts stay at porn. My husband quickly escalated to web cams, doing cam-to-cam, and eventually finding his way to a 'massage parlor'. When I confronted him, he had started looking at hook up sites. He never went through with it other than looking, but the fact that his mind went there was horrifying. I am not trying to scare you, just letting you know that porn addiction is on the spectrum on sex addiction. If your wife is escalating quickly, think about if you want that type of relationship.

If nothing else, at least talk about things openly and honestly and see where you both want to go in terms of porn use in the home. 

Only you and your wife will know what will make her feel like she is your one and only. My husband tried do a lot of "canned" things that really did more damage than good at one point.
What she seems to be asking is that you show her that you know 'her' specifically. It isn't about what most women want, it is about what she specifically would want. Watch her, listen to her, remember the things that made her happy in the past.
Also, only do those things that you will be able to sustain overtime.
And remember, it may not only be things, but words, spending time with her, random acts of kindness, etc.

One thing my husband needed to show me was that he wasn't choosing me over porn simply based on obligation or that choosing porn would make him look absolutely ridiculous and get him laughed out of town.

Be honest about where you are in that you are going to be re-learning how to be an adult in an adult and real world based relationship, so if she could give you feedback when you do well and feedback when you could have done things better/differently, that would be good as well.

It's not just porn but technology in general. I see 5/6 year old kids with smartphones and other devices all the time. People have allowed connection technology to become widespread and have given it to their kids before there was a chance to properly study its effects.

I would recommend to anyone becoming a parent, if possible, to keep the kids away from screens until at least 13. At this point they should be educated about the potential effects of porn and internet technology on the brain. In the case of boys and porn, this puts them to the point where they're already conditioned towards real girls and not pixels. If they end up seeking out porn despite what they've been told they'll have at least reached a point where they're not as neurologically vulnerable. There still appears to be a sizable minority of college-aged men who don't watch porn (20+%), presumably because they already had pre-existing conditioning* before they were exposed and thus didn't find it appealing.

*"Conditioning" can include any real-life experience of being around the opposite sex at any age where attraction is present, not just explicit sexual experience.

It is impossible to keep kids off screens, at least in the United States. In my area, the schools require all students to have a school issued laptop. They do not have physical textbooks, only online textbooks. This is from elementary through high school.

I have children of both genders and they are all tweens/pre-teenagers now. It is absolutely scary and frustrating to have kids at this time. One of my children already encountered porn. He was looking at videos on YouTube and his innocent searching for Minecraft videos for kids led him directly to porn. What is worse, sick people actually make videos to lure kids. They say they are cartoons for kids or videos talking about kid friendly topics - then all of a sudden sick fetish porn will pop up.

It was not a fun thing to have to deal with, especially when it was relatively early in my husband's own recovery.

My daughter is nine and shopping for clothing for her is a pain in the ass. I have to spend and arm and a leg for swimsuits that don't make her look like a swimsuit model for Victoria Secret. What passes for "kids clothing" is horrific. I started buying her boys clothing for a while. Why did they have cargo and other loose fitting jeans for boys, but all the jeans for girls were tight, hip hugging, trying to emphasize body parts that weren't even there yet.

As my boys hit puberty we are trying to talk to them about the balance of being attracted to girls without objectifying them as well as being able to walk away from 'friends' they say horrible things about girls or talk about them as if they are objects.

I will admit, it is HARD being a parent right now.

I think that is why I am having such a difficult time 'getting over' my husband's porn addiction, even though he is fully in recovery. I hate the objectification of women. Women and young girls around the globe are harmed daily at the hands of men who feel they have a 'right' to the body of women. A woman can't walk down the street without getting cat called and men want you to 'feel good' for their whistling because you satisfy some festish they have. And here I am, married to a man that was doing some of the shit that makes me scared to walk down the street by myself at night. No, he wasn't out on the construction site yelling profane things at women - but he was surfing the web thinking he had a right to pick and choose what woman he jacked off to.

I am in a group where women talk about trying to save money and make good financial choices. The topic came up on dancing for money. No less than a dozen women spoke saying, "Just don't do it" You get in to dancing thinking you will make a quick buck, but it almost immediately crushed their souls. Some admitting to getting hooked on drugs, but not in the way most people would think. They said the vast majority of strippers and pole dances get hooked on prescription pain pills! They are in so much pain dancing is ridiculous shoes, doing crazy acrobatics on poles, and having to do so many body contortions so that men will give them a five dollar bill. In order to continue working, they go to the assigned doctor and get their pain prescription and before they know it - they are an addict. They all said that they knew very few strippers that weren't on pain pills.

To think that men a jerking off to women who are in excruciating pain- no wonder rape porn is so popular. Guys have no idea they are messing up their brain to thinking a woman in pain and agony looks 'sexy'.

I am not overweight, but I am not skinny. I am a healthy weight - well within the norm for my size. But, I still fight constantly with feeling fat. My body has done its job well - I had three kids and a nursed every one of them. I am still good in bed - when my husband isn't messed up from jacking off to porn. Why the heck am I looking in the mirror and feeling like my body isn't good enough? This body was good enough to bring three strong, healthy, amazing children into this world. This body was good enough to give them their first nourishment and keep them nourished and healthy for the first year of each of their lives. Why the hell do I sometimes look in the mirror and think, "Oh, I look frumpy", "Oh no, look at my belly".

It is all so ridiculous. My husband jacking off to some women who is either being sex trafficked or addicted to drugs of some kind or suffering from some mental illness to demoralize herself life that for a few 50 cent tokens, while his wife that bore him three children and still wanted to satisfy him in bed was waiting on him. He chose to jerk off in front of the computer - it is all so sickening.

I sometimes feel as much contempt for him as I feel for those guys on the street whistling as you walk past as if you are a piece of meat that exist only for their pleasure. I am grateful my husband has turned from that life, but I also hope he comes to terms what whatever craziness allowed him to turn to it in the first place.

Okay, so I have seen two types of unhealthy advice. The first time was when my husband had a counselor that told him all of his addiction was as a result of 'low self esteem' and that he should go online to try to find some 'friends' that would help him find happiness - since of course his wife was being so down in the dumps. I was reading online and saw that LOTS of other folks have had equally bad advice from some therapists. I mean really - what could go wrong with encouraging a recovering porn addict to go online to find 'friends'?

Just today I was reading a book that was designed for "Good guys that cheat". Some advice was actually pretty good. But - oh my gosh, the bad advice that surrounded the good advice was criminal! Things like telling the man to erase all evidence so the wife doesn't find it and create your own narrative that would be the most acceptable to the wife. It also said that if you don't think your wife knows about the affair - don't tell her! Juts end the affair and tell your wife you want to go to marriage counseling because you are unhappy in the marriage.

Mind you, earlier in the book it said that wives can feel a small sense of relief when they find out the man did have an affair because at least they know they aren't crazy because they generally suspect something. Now it tells the man to just gaslight the wife by denying an affair happened in the first place unless the wife has absolute proof - really?

One chapter says be transparent while the next chapter says destroy evidence and pretend like you never cheated on your wife.

The messed up part is the stuff in the middle about meeting the needs of the wife was really good. But, imagine the poor woman whose husband follows this advice and then she finds out later on after 'marriage counseling' that her husband was sleeping with the neighbor. Knowing is extremely painful, but being lied to and gaslighted is a million times more painful than knowing the truth. I swear there is a bunch of absolute rubbish out there posing as professional advice!

We are also not Christian and found these resources very useful:

After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust when a Partner has been Unfaithful by Janis A. Spring

How Can I forgive Your? The Courage to Forgive and the Freedom Not To - also by Janis A. Spring

Those two books were really helpful for me.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Cross Addiction????
« on: February 18, 2017, 06:52:06 AM »
Is he currently in therapy? It sounds like he has an extremely addictive personality or basically - a pre-disposition to becoming addicted to things. Was porn his first addiction or were there others? Has he dealt with the underlying things that made him susceptible to porn addiction? Basically, it sounds like he has some intensive work to do beyond giving up porn - which was an excellent first step.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: He lies and won't stop
« on: February 17, 2017, 04:00:01 PM »
Unfortunately, breaking the addiction of porn has to be all of your husband's doing. He had to be willing to dedicate the time and energy to breaking the habit on his own. It doesn't sound like he is at the point where recovery is important to him. So, you have to decide if you are willing to continue in a relationship with an active porn addict. Try to figure out what you need to be healthy and whole for yourself, regardless of his addiction if you choose to stay in the relationship.

I wish I had better advice, but any recovery addict here will tell you that he has to be the one in the driver seat. You cannot make him give up porn. There is a workaround for any road block you try to put up - whether it is an app, monitoring software, etc. If he wants it, he can get to it. He has to decide he wants health, he wants you, and he wants the marriage more than porn.

Until that happens, you have to decide if you are willing to continue in a relationship with someone who is not dedicated to recovery.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: How do you handle "anniversaries"?
« on: February 16, 2017, 12:14:13 PM »
Makes a lot of sense Emerald Blue. There were a couple of reasons I needed full disclosure. The first was that my husband was spending money. We have joint accounts, so it was completely disrespectful to take household funds and use them on porn/webcam/massage parlor. I needed full disclosure of exactly how much money he had spent out of our household funds.

Also, once I knew he did act out physically, I needed to know how often he did it and exactly what he did. Thankfully it was only once and it was a blow job. I needed to know "what" because prostitute aren't clean. When you have sex with random strangers, the chances of having a sexually transmitted disease is VERY high. His acting out put 'my' health and life in danger. I also made him get tested and provide a copy of the results. Talk about scaring someone straight - having to walk into his doctor's office and ask for a full round of test, including HIV testing was humiliating and scary for him. He also had to go back at the six month mark for a follow-up HIV test because there can be a delay. Again, thankfully he was clean, but if I didn't know he had physically acted out I would not have known that I needed to ask/demand he get tested. I have a right to know where my husband's penis has been if he is having sex with me. I refused to risk my health.

I also asked for disclosure so that he would have to face what he did. He would talk in general terms, but to have to sit there and face the fact that he missed out on important things so that he could jack of to porn was huge. It made him see just how much his addition had cost him and our family.

So, knowing is painful, but for me it was absolutely necessary.

Oh yeah, I also needed PROOF that he did NOT access child pornography or view under age women. That is my absolute, positive, no questions asked line in the sand. I have children to protect and his word was not enough for me. I needed undeniable proof that he never crossed that line, because if he did he would be absolutely out on his ear - no questions asked. I also needed proof that he did not access rape porn. Thankfully again, he was pretty vanilla in his porn viewing.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Re: Unicorn Magic?
« on: February 16, 2017, 11:49:10 AM »

Thanks so much for the encouragement. I really do appreciate and see what you mean. I think I read something a while ago about how people who successfully recover generally don't continue on forums. I can definitely understand that. I remember when we were having fertility issues and I was active on a message board back in the day for women trying to conceive. We would all be there go through things together, but as people got pregnant, they would move on. Some would be back due to miscarrying and some would come back because they were trying for another child. But, for the most part - once you accomplished your goal - the desire to keep discussing trying to get pregnant when you were six or seven months pregnant wasn't there. It was also kind of an emotional drain to constantly read posts from people that were struggling - it was hard to talk about your success when so many were still dealing with disappointment month after month. I can see that for guys recovering from porn addiction. Once you get over the addiction and the triggers, what more is there to do?

My husband is similar to you in that he said stopping porn was the easy part. He never relapsed from that, now he is focused on dealing with the things that made him open to addiction, doing things like learning to communicate more openly, finding better ways to deal with stress, and putting his time into the family or more productive things that are fulfilling without causing harm. He really wouldn't have much to talk about here on the forums because he said his mind doesn't even go to porn anymore, he just has no desire for it. He is trying to do things like find better ways to connect with me or ways to improve his memory that seems to have taken a hit - something that you really don't see discussed in forums.

Your two posts were very helpful - thank you again. I will remind myself that there are a lot of guys that aren't on this page and they aren't on this page because it doesn't reflect their journey.

Thanks again and congratulations on being close to the year mark!

Thankyou, I appreciate that very much, Stillme. And thank you for giving me another chance after our rough start last year.

I do think dealing with stress is where this all starts. Men who grow up learning to empower themselves to deal with stress don't tend to fall into such traps as avoiding communication, withdrawing or distracting behaviours that become addictive. I had a long history with anxiety so I'm sure that was a big part of what drew me into the desire to disconnect and distract from worries. I now take a much more confrontational style with respect to my anxieties - that is, I try to act immediately when something is unresolved. I try not to give it a chance to fester or become a hopelessly stuck situation. What can't be dealt with must be set aside and the time that could have gone into worrying should be devoted to one's partner and family. It's actually a big relief to be this way. Nothing can get too bad if you follow these tenets. I guess I'm lucky in that I was never a poor communicator or lacking in empathy so I didn't have to learn/relearn that aspect of myself. I've always been good at expressing myself and listening to others. I think that because I spent most of my 30's single and alone, I just became isolated with my anxieties and became stuck in them - in that situation I took the easiest distraction I could find to avoid the pain. Thankfully I now have a partner and a beautiful little daughter who are my inspiration for living a good life. I'm never going back to that hopeless, lonely place.

I can see myself sticking around the forum for a while yet though, because I still find it important, interesting and empathy building to see how people are experiencing this issue and to offer my support where and when I can. I also feel a sense of duty to guide men away from this lifestyle. I'm horrified at what this scourge of pornography has done to my gender. It's robbed us of our manhood and our dignity. And in turn it has perpetrated awful things on the women in our lives. I can't stand idly by and let that slide. I've already started spreading the word on this to quite a few people. It's surprising how often it rings true with people - even when they start off feeling defensive in the beginning.

What you say makes sense. My husband had to do a LOT of work in coming to terms with how dysfunctional his family was. On the surface, they were 'perfect'; his parents have been married for over 40 years and they all seem very close. However, my husband's counseling for porn addiction threw back the covers and he was finally able to come to terms with how messed up things were. His parents are rarely in the same room - they don't say more than five words to each other in a day. His family NEVER talks about important things. I mean literally - his dad had cancer and they acted as if nothing was going on. No one spoke about, no discussion of what to do if things didn't get better and more aggressive treatment was needed, nothing. His mother is now showing signs of dementia and the entire family just acts like nothing is happening. They let her drive and travel on her own, despite what is clearly diminishing capacity. She is in the very early stages, but they are pretty much going to ignore it until something tragic happens. He grew up thinking ignoring your problems was normal and the key to a 'good marriage'.

The hardest thing that was uncovered is he had repressed a memory of being sexually abused by a cousin when he was five. Come to find out - his sister was also abused by a family member. His sister told their mother and she told her just to let it go. That is how far they went in not dealing with reality - even sexual abuse was swept under the rug.

I tackle things head on, but it felt like "pushing" or being emotional to my husband. He finally realized that his way, his family way, of ignoring reality is what led him directly into the path of sexual fantasy and acting out. When you don't like the real world, just ignore it and make up something fake in your mind. I think that is one reason my husband is likely not to relapse, he is finally dealing with reality and learning not to run away from problems. He finally got to see how dangerous ignoring something to the point of repression was on his life.

What was strange - he never even noticed that his parents are never in the same room with one another! I pointed it out several times and he thought I was over reacting. Once his blinders came off - he was shocked. Even for dinner - his mother will sit at the kitchen counter while his dad eats at the kitchen table - how can you not notice that? But, no one talks about it and they have a huge anniversary celebration every year as if they have the strongest, healthiest marriage on the planet. I asked his dad about jobs he held when he was a kid and he started telling me about them. My husband again was shocked - he has NO idea of all the interesting things his dad had done - they never talked about those things.

My husband talked a lot when we were dating, but when we got married, he fell into the pattern of his parents. He thought the key to a successful marriage was emulating them. My mom was divorced - so his mom convinced him that of course dwelling on problems leads to divorce, the key to success is 'moving on'.

It honestly all started to make sense as things unfolded, but geesh - I had no idea how far down the rabbit hole went. I mean, what kind of a messed up family covers of sexual abuse? But, it showed why my husband fell into sexual objectification of women - his abuser was a female. There was a lot of clean up that needed to take place and my husband is still trying to find his way to what will be 'normal' for him. I don't think he is ever going to be able to openly talk about problems without a bit of prodding, but he doesn't run away when I bring things up. He is learning to stop fearing conflict. Avoiding conflict was our biggest issue, even though he told himself he was keeping conflict away. It is very hard to learn how to discuss very hard, very painful things when you are forty if your entire life you were raised that talking about things makes the problem real.

I think the biggest thing I have learned is that porn addiction isn't 'natural' and some people are more susceptible. My husband was susceptible because he was trained from the age of five to escape reality when life got tough - and internet porn creates a very serious escape plan. We still have a really long road ahead; but at least we are starting from a place of truth.

Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / How do you handle "anniversaries"?
« on: February 16, 2017, 07:10:47 AM »
I just realized why I had been seething with rage the last couple of days. We are coming up on an "anniversary" and my subconscious realized it before my conscious mind did. But, I definitely started to realize it with my conscious mind - a LOT. I know the timelines of all of my husband's escalations - basically, I know his entire porn journey. My husband crossed a line in that he actually visited a massage parlor and got a blow job. I know when it happened - just about two weeks after my birthday. Well, guess what is coming up - my birthday. He had to plan this little 'adventure', so he had to start planning right around my birthday.

My husband is trying desperately to just move past things, he wants the past to be the past and focus on the future. I, on the other hand, want to know that he realizes consistently just how much hurt and destruction this particular act brought into our marriage. We are coming up on the absolute biggest deception of our marriage. We are about to step directly into the anniversary of the biggest lie my husband ever told. His hesitancy in acknowledging that and wanting to close his eyes and stick his fingers in his ears and just cover up the date with cake and ice cream has me absolutely raging.

So - how do you handle "anniversaries" for things like d-day? I may be the only person here that has a husband that actually moved beyond viewing porn to actually doing cam-to-cam and having a "happy ending' massage, but I do know everyone had a d-day. Do you find yourself getting angry around that time? Do you want your husband to acknowledge the date or just ignore it?

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