Author Topic: I guess this is it  (Read 4766 times)

stillme

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I guess this is it
« on: September 26, 2016, 11:27:59 AM »
My husband and I had a long and painful conversation. He said he understands how deeply he hurt me and that he should provide restitution (emotional) for everything that happened, that the least he should do is help me to feel loved and needed and wanted in this relationship. However, he does not feel that he is going to be able to do that. He said he is finding out he is dealing with a lot of selfishness and is having a hard time putting me first and making my needs a priority. He is doing great with the kids. He admits it has been my support and standing by his side that helped him give up porn and beat the addiction.

But, just what I thought would happen did. I had a feeling I was going to go through hell standing my his side, burying my anger, my fear, my frustration, and supporting him and making him whole and that when it was my time - he would have nothing left to give. And, here we are. He is porn free and now is at a loss of how to support his wife, how to help her feel loved, feel wanted, feel needed. I lowered and lowered and lowered the bar and it never got low enough for him to cross.

I guess tonight we will be talking about how to do things in ways that will hurt the kids the least. I am kind of numb right now. Thirteen years of marriage and months and months of hell as I supported him through the valleys of recovery from porn addiction and now, all of a sudden - he doesn't know if he has enough to give. He doesn't think he could ever fully restore what his selfishness and porn addiction took away.

I should have left when I first found out. D-day should have been discovery and divorce day, at least I could have used the emotional reserves I gave in supporting him to myself. Everything kept telling me to be selfish, everything kept telling me to dump him and look out for myself and the kids. I didn't do that. I supported every single element of his recovery from PMO - the flatlines, the ups and downs, I was there. I was available to him physically, mentally, emotionally. This was the only place I vented, whenever I felt overwhelmed I would come here and vent and complain because I wanted to be gentle with him. I didn't want to burden him with my pain and my anger and my resentment. I will admit there were a few times when I couldn't hold it in, but I always went back and apologized.

And now that he is healed and I am sitting in a broken heap, there is too much work to be done. He is unsure of his ability to ever make amends, he doesn't think he can ever fully repay me - so, we part ways. Nice prize at the end of the rainbow, right?

Who knows, maybe this is him having an emotional crisis. I don't have time to figure out if this is just his emotions talking or if this is it. The reality is, I guess I am no longer a "partner" of a recovering porn addict, I am an "ex partner". Being strong for the kids right now. Oh well, life goes on. I don't feel bad about having high standards. I don't feel bad about asking to be made to feel like I was loved, like I was wanted, like I was appreciated. I know if I would have just accepted scraps there wouldn't be an issue. But, I am not a dog. I deserve to be loved, I deserve to be appreciated, I deserve to be wanted. So, I close this door with my head held high.

FTL

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 01:10:54 PM »
My thoughts, prayers, and wishes of wellbeing and happyness for you and your loved ones.
[pun]A New Hope[end/pun]

aquarius25

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 02:08:17 PM »
Wow! That is a lot to process. I can imagine that is very overwhelming! I am glad that you see the worth within yourself not to settle. You deserve happiness and by making that stand you are showing your kids what it looks like to advocate for yourself. You are leading by example. For that I applaud you. I will admit I go back and forth almost daily sometimes. I think you are brave. I can see and hear the hurt but also the strength. I know that you will find peace and happiness and when you do meet someone else, down the road. You will have a clear understanding of your needs and what you deserve and also a new level of understanding of your capacity lot give and love. That is truly incredible. I hope that your family no matter what the structure looks like can operate with a level of respect and love for each other not matter what the future holds. I know there are going to be some hard days but with the level of strength and love you have I know you will come out of this ok! Sending you many blessings! We are here for you!

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 02:52:05 PM »
Thanks so much everyone.
It is frustrating. I lot of what he is saying is based in guilt. He finally sees the mess he made of both of our lives and he doesn't think he can do enough to repair the damage. Instead of doing what I usually do - which is encourage him, lift him up, tell him everything will be okay, I simply agreed. There is no more cheerleader left in me. I gave it all to him during his recovery.

Yes, what he did was terrible. Yes, what he did was devastating. Yes, repairing our marriage would have one harder than recovering from porn. No, it wasn't going to be a "90 day reboot", it was going to take deep, emotional and mental work. He doesn't feel up to the task. According to him, he isn't worthy. He doesn't feel he deserves to be happy and he doesn't feel capable of making me happy. He is disgusted with what he was and feels I deserve someone better.

After way too many tears, after way too much hurt, after way too much pain, I am simply agreeing. I walked him through his crisis. I stood by his side in his time of need. Everything in me wanted to leave the day I found those pictures. I didn't and I am glad for that. As angry as I am right now, I am glad I was a better wife than he deserved at the time. I am glad I pushed through the pain and the anguish and the despair to support him. I know at the end of the day, I gave him and this marriage everything I had to give.

Does it suck that now that he is on the other side, he doesn't feel he has the strength to pull me over the edge of recovery? Yes. Does it feel frustrating that after all of this, after I reached in and found strength I didn't know I had, he doesn't feel he can do the same? Yes. Does it make me angry that I loved him through his worst and he doesn't feel this is worth fighting for? Yes. But, I know I did my part. I stayed true to my vows. I sent him daily words of encouragement, I held him when he felt alone, I sometimes wondered how in the hell I did it, but I did it. Even as disgusting and vile as I think porn is, I stood by his side. When everything inside me wanted to run, I stayed with him and supported him until he could say with confidence he was done with porn.

His addiction hurt me to my core. It made me question my worth, my beauty, my ability to be loved, it made me question who I was as a woman. But, in the end I am - still me. And for that, I am grateful. I guess choosing my user name here was a bit prophetic. I didn't know I was 'still me' at the time. I didn't know who I was other than a hurt woman in need of repair. But, now I know - I am still me. Through the hurt, through the pain, through the anger, through the rejection, through it all, I am still me.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for my husband. Now the the fog of porn has lifted and he is looking at the heap of ruins that lay waste after all is said and done, he is questioning who he is. He doesn't think he deserves a happy home, a loving wife, his kids, his life. I could have said the 'right' words. I could have told him to stop being ridiculous. I could have told him that if I wasn't punishing him for the mess, why would he punish himself. I could have told him that divorce was actually a bigger slap in the face to me. I could have fixed this all simply by saying, "I love you." But, I don't have anything more to give. After months and months of loving words, kind gestures, suppressing my anger and rage, putting a mask on my sadness and suffering, I chose to simply say, "okay". He needed one more ounce of support, but my well is dry. I don't have anything more to give. I am out of "fix it for you". I let him know that my well is dry and it is me that needed to support. I had carried him as far as I could carry him and now I didn't have anything left. Now was the time for him to push past the guilt, past the despair, past the shame, now was the time for him to stand up and say he was ready to carry the load. That didn't happen. I accept it. In the end, I am still me.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 02:55:21 PM by stillme »

rebootrapp

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 06:04:03 PM »
I am so sorry to hear this.

If he's on this forum, I speak to how I have tried my best to help my wife heal through all of this in my post in the success story board. It may help him, if you still want to go there. He can pm if he wants.
PMO free since Mar 12, 2016

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 07:09:06 PM »
After talking more (him, not me - I just let him speak), it is definitely guilt and shame. Now that the porn fog has worn off, he is left looking at what he did. Not just to himself, but to me and our marriage and our household in general. He feels guilty that through my hurt and pain I stayed by his side and went through all kinds of drama - over something as stupid as porn.

But, he says he wants to step up. He says that is doesn't matter if I choose to stay or if I choose to go, he wants to see me whole. According to him, his focus is now on me and my healing and once I am restored I can decide if I want the marriage or not and he will accept it. According to him, even though the debt he owes is huge, he is going to repay it and ask nothing in return.

He doesn't think he deserves a good wife after what he did in getting addicted to porn. He doesn't think he deserves a family or second chances. But, it isn't about him, it is about me.

We shall see. As of now, neither or us is making any moves. He is porn free, so I will be focusing on myself and the children. We will see if he becomes the man he wants to be, the husband he wants to be. In the meantime, I will just - be me. I may not be on the forum very much. I am no longer focusing on being the "partner" of a rebooter. I did my duty and he crossed the mountain that is porn addiction recovery. I don't regret the support I gave him, that is part of the vows - in sickness and in health. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. I am glad I helped him overcome this beast called porn addiction. We won, even if it costs me my marriage, I am still glad he beat it. But, I need to rest now. I need a break from being 'supportive wife'. I have a lot of healing to do. I guess we will see what his role will be in this next phase of my personal journey.

rebootrapp

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 07:43:33 PM »
I hope things work out for you!
PMO free since Mar 12, 2016

Emerald Blue

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 08:13:56 PM »
I'm so sorry to read this, stillme. You've done everything you believed was best for the relationship and only you can decide if you've given all you can and whether it's over or not. Porn addiction can mask a multitude of problems in a relationship or with the addict himself. You know your situation better than anyone so I'm not going to advise you. I wouldn't dream of it. But I can share my own experiences for what it's worth.

For me, recovery revealed two big issues. The first being that I had forgotten about my own needs until I was well into recovery, and that I had been burying my own needs, desires, feelings etc and putting his needs ahead of mine especially in relation to his porn use. Remember, I knew all along but because I had discovered his porn use on the computer and raised it each time I found it, nothing ever changed except his expertise at eliminating any evidence. So, I just "accepted" a situation that was hurting me and I guess I believed I had no choice. Porn very quickly became his preferred sexual outlet rather than our lovemaking so I internalised the belief that if he didn't have porn it would be affairs or someone else. I believed that it wasn't going to be me. As far as I could tell he had voted with his right hand. The other aspect of this internalisation was that my needs didn't matter. His needs had to be met but however much it hurt me, I felt I had no say. It wasn't until I was well into recovery that I learned a few things about meeting my own needs. But more of that later.

The other big thing I realised is that my husband cannot really be the support I need. I don't believe he truly understands. He cannot put himself in my situation. I had 15 years of rejection and deception, of believing I had been 'retired' because he had lost his desire for me. He honestly believed that what he was doing was "harmless" and "safe". He was oblivious to the effects of his behavior on the relationship. He had spent so many years building this wall around himself, the compartmentalisation that goes on, that he lost his skills of empathy and sharing. He can't let go of his automatic tendency to omit things and hide things. At the present stage in our recovery he still cannot empathise. He cannot fathom the effects of his behavior on me. If I mention it, he sees it in terms of his own guilt and shame – which is really all about him. He's never asked me "how did you feel when ...." and "how you you feel about it now" or "how is your recovery going? Is it getting better for you?" Never. Never, never, never. He just doesn't have the ability. He says he doesn't like to think about those times because it puts him back in that place where he doesn't want to be. In a sense, he is still compartmentalising his not only his porn addiction as he experienced it, but all the issues arising from d day.

You see, for us, the female partners of a male PA, we look at that stuff and we feel shocked to see what our partner was getting off  on, to us it makes us want to throw up, or we feel so fucking angry that he preferred that trash to us, or we feel inadequate and powerless, or any combination of negative emotions. But they looked at it and thought "wow! Awesome! What a pair! I wanna fuck her every which way!" Or something like that, I'm guessing. But the problem is, they won't ever be grossed out by it like we are. Perhaps that's why the compartmentalise well into the recovery process. I don't know if they eventually integrate the experience into the rest of themselves but I suspect that's also the reason for this lack of empathy and all the guilt and shame they can't let go of. But I'm just guessing.

The things that help me are more to do with myself taking on the responsibility to look after myself. I'm the one whose opinion matters when I look in the mirror. I'm the one that acknowledges that my outfit suits me and flatters my figure. I'm the one who owns this body. I don't need a man's approval to feel good about myself, and certainly not the approval of a recovering porn addict. He showered me with compliments after d day but after about 6 months it started tailing off, and now it's not that often. It was an important lesson. I felt so bad about myself at d day, and afterwards, after we re-started our physical relationship, he was so into me, and it felt great. It really did give me the confidence to believe in myself again. When he seemed to stop paying me the compliments etc, that's when I realised it had to come from within. I'm actually doing an art therapy project around the issues to do with body image at the moment. It's just another stage of repairing the damage that his porn habit did to my body image and even my identity as a woman. The important thing is that it's about me believing in myself again, accepting myself for who I am. He can't be the one I depend on to feel OK about being myself.

As for his lack of empathy, he tries but I don't think he has it. I feel that my recovery is way ahead of his. He's still stuck in the he stage of having quit porn but struggling to heal emotionally from the guilt and shame. He knows his behavior really hurt me and he feels responsible but that also brings a burden of shame. My only hope is that he gets over this stage. It is a barrier to healing our relationship but as long as he compartmentalises everything to do with his PA we will be forever stuck in this limbo. Emotionally, he's still a bit stunted. It feels frustrating at times and sometimes, because he won't go that extra mile in trying to reach out to me as I have done for him – and believe me, I've read everything and listened to his side of the story – he cannot do the same for me. I guess I have to let go of that expectation too. I guess the answer is self-compassion because it can't come from him. I feel very alone with it. I really do wish he'd make a bit more effort as I have for him.

This is just my experience. I hope it helps.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 09:51:42 AM »
Thanks for the feedback EB.
I think my husband's issues are coming from looking at himself in the mirror. I think it is only the young men that feel they have "super powers" after recovering from porn addiction. It seems older gentlemen, like my husband, see what a mess they caused and feel absolutely foolish to have wasted so much of their life to something so stupid. All my husband could say was, "I cannot believe I almost lost everything, my entire life, to porn." And, that is the truth, he almost lost everything important. I guess in reality, we still aren't out of the woods.

I think my need for "healing" comes from realizing just how much of a weight I was carrying for those five years he was focused on porn. I was doing it all - keeping the house going, keeping the kids going, keeping the marriage on life support, and that entire time he was in a boyhood fantasy world of porn. He is embarrassed about just how consuming it became and that it turned him into a liar, a deceiver, and had him doing things he thought were beneath him. Even getting caught up in thinking some of those cam girls were actually into him and not just the coins he was paying for private shows. I can imagine it being hard to come to terms with being so much worse a person than you ever thought you were.

He can't believe I stayed through all of it, even when he was in the worst fog. Now that the fog has lifted and he sees the mess, reality has set in. Before we truly can rebuild, we have to move away all the rubbish and the rubble. That is taking a good, hard look at what was our marriage - what led to his journey to porn, what allowed it to go on for so long. Hard questions to ask and answer. The easy road is to sit in the rubble and self loathe and that is the road he originally wanted to take. Now, at least, he sees that if nothing else - he should clean up the mess. Whether or not we stick to it enough to rebuild is a road we will cross when we get there.

My emphasis has always been - he is either with me or not. I didn't want to lead two separate lives while pretending to be married. That is actually what his parents do - hate each other, but throw a huge anniversary party every year so everyone can compliment them  on their wonderful marriage. I didn't want the big happy lie and he knew it, so he had to decide if we were going to get to the heart of our issues or go our separate ways.

His porn addiction showed me some very ugly truths about my husband. His ability to be deceptive, his addictive personality, and other things. We will see where we go from here.

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2016, 06:45:26 AM »
Lots of conversation. Lots of putting things all on the table. Lots of discussing real, concrete ways to rebuild a broken marriage. The hardest part has been putting "feelings" and "ideas" into action based items.

This is more and more becoming clear that his reaction was the "after effects" of porn addiction and something more men with partners should be aware of. When that fog wears off and you see clearly exactly what you did to yourself, your partner, your family - you will be absolutely horrified. Don't try to run away, stand and face it. But know, there will be a LOT of clean up left to do.

Getting your dick working is the easy part, believe me.

aquarius25

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2016, 12:11:16 PM »
Stillme,
I agree completly! The 90 day reboot is the easy part.

Emerald Blue

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2016, 06:57:02 PM »
I sometimes feel my partner will never understand what I've been through. He thinks he can put right 15 years, probably more like 20 years, of his porn addiction and somehow it's as easy for me as quitting porn has been for him. The thing is, when he was using porn it was his idea, his choice. He sought it out. He made decisions to act and he never intended for me to find out. Somehow I was supposed to be this dumb stupid woman who would be none the wiser. He had his "freedom" to do as he pleased. Sex became something he watched on a screen, not with me. Women existed to feed his fantasies, but I was excluded from that world. Eventually I was excluded from more and more of his life. And somehow, quitting porn is supposed to put everything right?

The worst thing for me, right now, is that I'm coming to terms with the emotional damage of years of neglect and rejection, all those deep internalised feelings, and because I'm a long way from recovering from 15-20 years of feeling alone and rejected because of my very physical being - that is my body - he's getting impatient and sees it as some kind of insult to him. That I should just "get on with my life" instead of my art therapy work that's based around the body and body image, etc. He doesn't get it. I'm not the same person as I was at the beginning of his porn addiction and by the time he quit I was beginning to self harm. I mean, how the fuck does anyone just politely "recover" and put on a happy face? I have to do what I have to do to recover and the stuff I'm doing now I would do if I wasn't with him. I won't show him my work. I need to protect it because I know it's what I need to do.

Right now, I'm not sure I like where I am. I don't know if it will pass. I wrote in my journal the other day that I've had enough of feeling unhappy. You're so right, you learn a few home truths about someone you believed was someone else for many years. The shock that he could lie to me so easily, that he kept things from me, that he was actually a very selfish man with a nasty aggressive streak, and that he allowed me to make important decisions about my life by keeping me in the dark about his own behavior. I would never have married a man who went to strip bars. Not ever. I am so reviled by men who pay to objectify women and use their bodies as commodities to be bought and sold or hired, and there he was, an utter hypocrite.

Part of my healing and recovery is about taking ownership of my own body. It doesn't belong to my husband. It doesn't belong to my gynaecologist. It doesn't belong to the public. It belongs to me. Nobody gets to decide whether to use it or rejects it. Given his history of sexually objectifying probably thousands of women's bodies through porn alone, he isn't the one who can assume ownership of MY body, to use for his own pleasure or to reject as he chooses. That's one thing his porn addiction has taught me. I spent years passively responding to his desires, and it turned out that his desires were outside of our relationship in the online world of porn. As a consequence I began to view my body in a negative way.

There are so many attitudes that you discover after porn. It's the addict who assumed control and took away our right to have agency in our own sexuality. The addict controls what we know and what we believe through lying and being very selective about the "truth", not just with porn but other areas of life. They become experts in non-communication and that's a big problem after quitting. It's not an easy situation. I'm sick of feeling so unhappy and lonely.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2016, 08:28:56 AM »
I completely understand EB.

I realized I had some choices in the situation. I could settle for the "same old, same old" - just exist in this relationship being unhappy or I could be honest about what I want in a marriage and he could take it or leave it. That is where we are at this point. Really getting down to the nitty gritty of what we both want. We are also coming to terms with the what it takes to rebuild trust.

One thing my husband has to come to terms with is porn addiction is different from lies and deception. "Intensity seeking" might make someone flip through hours and hours of porn, that doesn't make someone lie, give half truths, and actively deceive their spouse. That is an entirely different issue and that is really what we are dealing with at this point. He had to understand that porn addiction didn't make him lie, didn't make him be sneaky, didn't make him download secret apps on his phone or have private windows and all the other things he tried to do to cover his tracks. He might have gotten rid of the porn, but we still have to deal with the character issues.

Like you, I am not interested in feeling lonely and unloved while I am married. What is the point of that? I tried living like that for all these years and it wasn't something that I could sustain. I hated it and that is how I ended up finding out about his addiction, I could no longer take feeling rejected and unloved and unwanted. Okay, the porn is gone. But, that didn't address those other fundamental issues. Those are the things we are being open and honest with now. It is hard because I know we are at a critical point. These conversations right now are going to determine our future. They are going to determine if we stay married or if we both move on and go our separate ways. I just refuse to be in a relationship with a liar and a deceiver. That makes me way too vulnerable to be put into a situation that could compromise me. What if this man had downloaded porn from a minor? What if instead of acting out his fantasies on camera, he acted them out in real life and contracted a disease? These are the types of risks that take place when someone is in a relationship with a person that has a character flaw of being a liar. Am I willing to compromise my livelihood just to be married? Because if he ever did something stupid like view porn from a minor - he could be going to jail, but only after a very expensive trial. Am I willing to compromise my health? Because if he ever had sex outside our marriage he could have gotten a deadly disease and then passed it on to me. I am NOT willing to risk my life, my health, my well being just to claim the title of "wife".

So, now that the porn fog is gone, we are dealing with the hard stuff, the character stuff. It isn't pretty or easy, but it is necessary. Because I simply refuse to risk my life, my mental health, my emotional stability for someone that can't tell the truth. When I think about all the times over the last five years that he looked me in the eye and lied through his teeth, it is scary. He ended up being a much better liar than I ever expected and that frightens me. How can you trust someone who lies so well you believe them? How can you love someone you can't trust? Those are the things we are putting on the table now. Yes, it is a scary time, but I am worth it. I put up with this for far too long. I deserve to have control of my life. Like you said, porn addiction and deception put them in control. I am taking control of my life back. I am not asking him to change, simply telling him what I will and will not tolerate. He doesn't have to change, we can simply go our separate ways.

aquarius25

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2016, 01:27:28 PM »
Stillme,
I agree with you completely. The poor character choices are the for me where the real hurt came from. porn just happen to be the thing that brought them out. Frankly I don't care if he was lying about a tootsie pop a lie is a lie and done for so long over so many years has created a poison that has rotted our marriage. We are now working on rebuilding that. Today is my husbands 90 days porn free and even he said he didn't really feel like celebrating much because he has finally realized that the porn was just masking deeper issues. Sure his dick works a little better (still not great) but all of the other issues are still there. He is realizing just how much shame he has internalized over his lifetime. Unfortunately lying has become a habit for him. I think sometime he doesn't even realize he has done it till after the words leave his lips and then he has to apologize. Old habits rooted in fear and shame are hard to kill. We are doing a lot better now but its still a long way to go. Things that have helped are:
1) He has taken the initiative to see me as a person, hurt and wounded and he has started to put himself in my shoes instead of just feeling sorry for himself.
2) He has started to look at the things that bring me joy and he has been encouraging me to make time for those things. He is watching the kids and I have registered for some really cool metal working Jewry making classes at a local university. He has decided not only is it worth the $ investment but the times investment to see me invest in myself.
3) We sat down and looked at the approximate amount of hours over the last 13 years that he sat in front of a computer and jerked off and he has basically said if he can selfishly use that time to destroy our family we can invest the same amount in rebuilding me and our family over the next 13 years. So I am going to be taking classes and doing things that I love and rebuilding my confidence. We are going to take more family vacations and just working on being us again.
I wish all of you women the best and pray that you will start really thinking  what it is you need to heal and have those conversations with your husbands.

stillme

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2016, 05:34:18 PM »
Aquarius,
We have a similar agreement at this point. I get time to focus on me. He takes on more responsibility at home while I get to take some much needed time to explore what makes me happy outside of the home. He works on character issues and getting the help he needs for things that were a problem for him well before porn. The porn addiction just exposed those to me. The lying and deception is frustrating, but hopefully with counseling and grit he can work past that as his go to reaction to stress.

We will see. For now, I look forward to having much needed time to focus on me, explore the world for myself, and see what life has to offer. I am feeling good right now. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Emerald Blue

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2016, 05:46:19 PM »
In my experience, these character issues are very deep seated. The individual has to recognise their own behavior but it's so ingrained and it goes back a long way, to childhood, very often. The lying definitely goes back a long way, as does the manipulation. The problem is, we get wise to the manipulation after the porn etc has been exposed. In fact, after he said he would quit, what he wanted was to keep me in the dark about as much of it as he could, he still believed he could lie and expected that because he always could lie his way out of a tricky question he always would be able to – and how angry he became when his lies weren't believed any more. It took him a few weeks after d day to delete the porn videos that were still on his computer and external drives. I don't know whether he carried on watching it, but in any case it took me a few weeks to wise up to the reality of porn addiction. I might have theoretically "known" he was using porn but I was ignorant in many other ways.

I get pissed at how dopamine and addiction are supposed to explain everything, because as partners, all we know and all we see is how we are treated. Somehow if it's hidden from us it somehow makes it OK. How many times do we see porn addicts come to the partners section and say they are quitting and they love their wife, and they see what we write etc, and how much insight that gives them into how damaging their behavior is BUT.... they still haven't told their partner!! They want to fix their relationship whilst keeping their partners out of the loop. Well how is that going to fix anything??!

What if they heard a few home truths? Choose any or all of the few following:

- Your distance made me feel worthless
- I've felt alone for years
- I gave up planning romantic weekends because you were always too busy on the computer
- You were looking at girls half your age and it made me feel sick
- I gave up on taking care of my appearance because you didn't seem to notice
- I've often wished another man would notice me and pay me compliments, because you never do
- The way you look at women on TV makes me dread spending time with you
- When I think of sex it fills me with sadness
- I don't want to be treated like a masturbation toy whilst you play out some porn fantasy in your mind
- I hate being looked at and touched by you because I feel that I'm under scrutiny
- I feel like I've wasted years waiting for you to switch off the porn and come back to me
- What's wrong with me? Why don't you want to make love any more?
- What is my future going to look like? Am I always going to feel alone and unwanted?

All these women who "don't know" will almost certainly FEEL like this some of the time, if not all the time. Whilst I am certain there are some genuinely naive women, they're going to be pretty rare. Most modern women have sexual expectations which they believe should be met within a committed  relationship, if they are in one. This was the sticking point for me – just what did he expect me to do? What wasn't he concerned about MY sexual needs? Why wasn't he concerned about my emotional needs?

And this lack of thought and consideration is a big part of what porn addicts are lacking!!

So, "fixing" the porn problem and then expecting happy ever after is totally unrealistic. Look at the questions above, the questions that partners more often keep to themselves. The shame WE feel! Imagine telling someone "my husband hasn't wanted to have sex with me for years but he uses porn all the time" especially when people are saying "all men watch porn" and "it's normal for men to watch porn" as if we have no reasonable grounds to complain. It's our "fault" for now being "porn" enough or we're old-fashioned and stupid to expect anything else. Shame??! That's shame!! How would the difference in the levels of shame feel between "I watch porn" and "my wife hasn't wanted to have sex with me for years because she would rather look at photos of pretty boys and play with her sex toys in secret"? That's what the latter feels like to us. And do they ever get it?

There's still a lot of macho pride, even with recovering addicts. They still want to be in control not just of themselves but in their relationship. They decide what we know. But when we say how we feel, suddenly they realise there was this whole thing going on with us, all this negativity we were going through, and their first reaction is "I didn't think what I was doing would have those effects" and how it was supposed to be harmless entertainment. And we're generally in a state of shock. How could they NOT know? You see, this not telling us and lack of awareness of how low we end up feeling blows apart all that not telling and wanting to feel in control.

This is the gap where I feel the conflicts lie, and how it's handled after the problem is that exposed is what predicts how well the relationship recovers. Also, continuing with lying is extremely damaging.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Gracie

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2016, 09:06:16 AM »
EB you are correct this describes exactly how we feel.  And women are limited in their ability to find some form of support, for all the reasons you say.  I did have one person I told.  I chose her because she would not tell me to leave.  We have to figure out what we need to heal.  That is not easy.  There have been times when I have though okay this is it, the one thing I needed and it turned out it was not the final thing.  I think that what makes it difficult is our husbands can change. 

But even when they do, there is this culture of what women should be.  That we should be a certain weight, have a figure that is equal to porn women, no cellulite, no sags, no bags, no wrinkles and girl parts that bear no signs of childbirth.  And we have a great sunny disposition and are dressing with sex in mind every time we put something on whether it is under or outer wear.  We should eat hamburgers while washing a car with suds everywhere.  We should have yoga pants that do not have a stinky crotch. (a commercial).  No hair anywhere.   This is what society is teaching.  What we hear and encounter everyday.  Men do not get this treatment.  They are told even if you are 90 years old, fat, bald, stinky breath, saggy balls, saggy belly, and need a helium balloon to get it up, YOU my man deserve this young nubile over sexed vixen of a girl.

It makes it difficult to get back our self esteem.  The lying is probably hardest.  But I don't necessarily approach it that way.  I tell my husband he needs to talk to me.  Tell me what he is thinking.  I remind him all the time.  He is not a talker and never has been.  Living inside their head is what PAs do best.  Numerous times I have posted on men's threads communication is the key.  We can't heal from this without them participating in conversation. 

I will say once again Geoff Steurer has great videos on healing marriages from porn.  You and your husband should watch together.  Reading "Love You Hate the Porn" by him and Mark Chamberlain is a huge help.  I read it and then my husband read it.  The blog markchambelainphd.blogspot.com will help you both as well.  It talks about the why of using porn, it talks about how it affects the wife, it talks about what to do to get things back on track. 

You can PM me if you want. 


Emerald Blue

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Re: I guess this is it
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2016, 08:27:09 PM »
Thanks Gracie. I have 'Love You Hate Porn' on my Kindle. It's worth another read. I'll check out those videos too. I think I may have seen them last year but it's always worth going back to as a kind of revision exercise.

I've been reading a lot about the sex trade, of which porn is a significant part, from stripping, lap dancing through the various forms of prostitution. No matter how you look at it, selling sex is an exploitative and dehumanising business. Perhaps I'm getting off-topic here, but selling sex can be used to advertise the most mundane products, like men's underarm deodorant in a TV ad campaign, to the human trafficking of underage girls for the purposes of prostitition where girls as young as 13 and 14 are kept as nothing more than modern day slaves. That women's bodies are seen no more than disposable, cheap commodities is an absolute travesty. And why? Because there's a demand and people will pay, and they know what they're paying for — paying for the "right" to rape an underage girl. And I say "right" because it's as of handing over the cash makes them feel entitled.


s for the porn industry, it isn't some ethical holiday camp for college-age girls, there's no Porn Star's Union negotiating fair pay and conditions. I don't buy into the idea that it's an ethical business at all. I mean, the fashion business is ruthless in its treatment of young models – we all know about eating disorders and depression being rife in that world. The music business, the movie industry, wherever young people are lured into by the dreams of fame and fortune you'll find people being used up, burnt out and discarded with no thought given to their health and wellbeing. Is the porn industry somehow going to be run like a benevolent charity, looking after all these waifs and strays? I don't think so. I can't see how anyone could watch porn with a clear conscience if they are the least bit aware of how ruthless and exploitative an industry it really is. Paying the pornographer doesn't suddenly make it "ethical". The fact is, in order for anyone to do porn as a "profession" they have to disassociate themselves for the physical invasion of their bodies, numb themselves physically, mentally and spiritually whether it's with local anaesthetic on their body parts, alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs – whatever it takes, it's ultimately the consumer who creates the demand who has to take their share of the responsibility. Stop pretending it's "harmless" and nobody gets hurt just because you're paying the pornographer.

I'm aware I'm maybe drifting away from the original topic. I guess I'm trying to say that porn addiction is so damaging in many, many ways. Sexual liberation wasn't supposed be about sexual enslavement, or sexual exploitation. It was supposed to be an expression of the love, passion, or attraction that people felt for one another. It was supposed to be about transcendence. Making love in the literal sense. There is beauty in lovemaking, spirituality even. But porn? Cheap, tawdry, appealing to the lowest common denominator of all – the cheap thrill, the fast easy premature ejaculatory reflex.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it