Author Topic: Things I miss  (Read 6394 times)

stillme

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Things I miss
« on: February 13, 2017, 07:57:08 AM »
My husband and I are doing well, we have settled into this 'new' relationship. It is no where near what we both wanted when we took our vows thirteen years ago. It is better than it was when he was masturbating to porn for five years of our marriage, but we don't lie to ourselves - it is no where near what it could have been had he not made such terrible choices. I am just not one of those folks that will lie and say we have a "better marriage because of what we went through", just that we have 'a marriage' because of our commitment to try to make something of the rubble that was left after porn.

But, now that we are settling into a new normal, there are some things that I miss:

1. Intimate connection - I still have an almost cosmic connection with my husband. One example - the other day I badgered him about what he was wearing before he left for work. His shirt was a bit wrinkled and that generally isn't him. He relented and changed his clothes then headed off to work. Low and behold - he had no idea he was being honored at an event that day. Had he went to work in his wrinkled, unkept get-up he had on that morning - he would have been mortified. I normally don't obsess about his clothing, but I just could not let him leave the house like that on that day. This happens quite a bit, when I feel strongly about something for him, it generally turns out to be true. This happened even through our disconnection due to porn. I would reach out to him - sometimes through email, before every single escalation. I would be pleading with him that something felt 'off' and we needed to talk and if he couldn't talk to me, maybe he could talk to someone. He used to have a similar connection with me before porn. He would know if I was upset or frustrated, just be able to 'read me' a lot better than most people. I was hoping he would regain that connection once he was free from porn. Sadly - it has been over eight months since he last viewed porn and still - that connection isn't there. If I don't explicitly state exactly what I am thinking or feeling - he has no clue. I miss having someone on this planet that truly "got me" that was truly connected to me in a way that we didn't need words. I makes me feel even lonelier because it seems like we will never regain the connection both ways. I can still look at him and read him, feel him, connect with him - but that connection back to me is pretty much nonexistent.

2. Depth - wow, my husband and I used to have some really fun and deep conversations. We could discuss everything from religion to string theory. Those conversations dwindled as he got further into porn and by the time it escalated to d-day, we hardly talked about things beyond the needs of the children. Again, I was hoping that depth would return. Unfortunately, it hasn't. We do talk, but only about things that are a pretty shallow, especially compared to the levels of conversation and analysis we used to have. To try and bring some variety into our conversation my husband recommended reading a book together and discussing it. The first book we tried I was absolutely shocked. He could hardly follow it. I almost hate to say it, but it was like communicating with someone that had suffered a traumatic brain injury. His short term memory appears to be shot, so following along with a complicated storyline that has several major characters or elements that have to remain distinct in the mind is difficult for him. I have no idea what wiring got crossed in his mind, but that ability to analyze and pick things apart is completely breaking down for him. I even see it with things for the kids. My kids are into the Percy Jackson series - which is all about Greek gods. Of course, there are scores of gods and my kids are happy to discuss each of them as well as the additional layer of demigods created for the book series. You have to be able to keep each god and their powers separate as well as understand some of the complicated relationships. This was something my husband would have been able to in the past. Now, when the children talk he looks and me and says, "Do you have any idea what they are talking about." Yes, I do and I can't understand he doesn't.

3. Genuine fun together. When my husband and I got together, we genuinely enjoyed each others company. We liked a lot of the same things and even picked up new hobbies over time. Things were even going okay when he first got in to porn. But, when things really escalated the last two or so years of his addiction - we drifted apart. With all of our attempts over the past eight months, I still cannot say I have had a genuinely good time with my husband. The things we used to do together just don't feel quite the same and trying to develop new hobbies and have new experiences with each other keep falling kind of flat. One example - when we were engaged we took some ballroom dance classes together and really enjoyed the experience. As part of our marriage reboot, we thought - hey, lets do that again. Ugh, didn't work out well. I couldn't look him in the eyes as we were dancing, something that is a big part of ballroom dance. I just didn't feel right, because I was am still trying to deal with all the lies he told me while looking me in the eyes (he told some big ones to keep porn before d-day). We started with a male teacher and that worked out. But, the teacher had a schedule change and we had to move to a female teacher - and you can guess how fun that was for me. Nope, I really don't want my husband recovering from masturbating to whatever kind of crazy he found online to be hugged up with a young, petite woman getting lessons in lots of sensual dances. He didn't try anything, but it didn't feel right - I didn't feel our marriage reboot was in a strong enough position to have that happen. I guess what is really interfering with fun is that everything has to go through the filter of porn. Will this be a trigger for him? Will it be a trigger for me? Will it put us in a bad position? We can have all the fun in the world with the kids, but whenever it is just about the two of us - I have yet to find myself laughing and smiling and genuinely happy when I am with him.

I guess I am coming to terms with the idea that my husband has been permanently changed by the experience. I am accepting the new reality the same way I would accept if he had suffered a stroke or a brain injury that permanently altered his personality. He isn't the same guy I married and honestly, if this was the guy I met all those years ago - I would not have dated him, let alone married him. I am crying even writing this, because it is the most honest I have allowed myself to be in eight months. He is still a nice, sweet guy, he is a really good dad, and he is trying very hard to be a good husband. But this guy, the guy he is today, just isn't my "type". I think it would be easier to accept if this change came from a medical condition or an accident, but to think this change came from jacking off to porn is unreal. When I first read YBOP and I read about how porn addiction re-wired the brain - I thought I understood it, but it didn't really dawn on me what they could mean long term. We I first read about guys rebooting, there were all these stories of men getting "super powers", being more sensitive and aware and emotionally open. I was hoping against hope that my husband would be one of those guys, that was able to re-find all those things about himself that porn had stolen. I was hoping he would be one of those guys that could re-find their soul. Sometimes I just look at my husband, I try looking into his eyes desperate to see passion, to see emotion, to see a sparkle. Instead, it is almost like looking at someone on the autism spectrum - where they want to feel, want to connect, want to experience true and deep human emotion, but they just can't reach it. Sometimes when we are talking, I see his eyes moving, like he is desperately trying to figure out what emotion he should be experiencing at the moment, trying to figure out what he should be feeling - but it just isn't there. Not even just with me, even with the kids he just isn't "feeling", he is doing - he is doing a ton, but he just doesn't seem to be connecting in any emotional way.

Sigh.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 08:04:03 AM by stillme »

AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 10:19:42 AM »
I can relate to some of the things you've mentioned in your post. Everything is through the filter of porn. It really takes a toll on us at times. I can't go out in public without there being at least one trigger. I can relate to settling into this "new" relationship and it's very strange. I still think about where we would have been if he hadn't of been addicted to porn. It hurts to think about. I try focusing on where we are headed. Is your husband in therapy? Is there anything that you would want to mention to your husband to bring up in therapy to work on? I know that when I had an issue with my partner, I would mention that I would appreciate if he would bring that issue to therapy and work on it for the sake of our relationship.

Intimate connection for me and my partner has improved. The thing is, even though my partner was emotionally stunted with himself, he always could read me. I mean, he literally can read my mind at times I believe because he will say the exact thing I am thinking when I am thinking it. Sometimes I feel lost though with him. I feel like I am the one who struggles to feel the right things or know what I am feeling in certain situations with him. We are also around the 8 month mark. There are still many things that haven't changed much, and then there are other areas in where I've seen great change. I think one thing to factor in, is
A. How long did your husband use?
B. How often?
C. How far did escalation go?
D. How much damage was done overall?

For me my partner used 10-12 years, used 2-4 times per day. He didn't escalate past vanilla because he was very shocked at things that were online. He did search teen once, but he doesn't know if he went through with it because of how disturbing that was. He did search girls and cars, and celebrities on occasion, which we felt was due to the novelty effect. He, before me, was into lesbian porn, which was due to the fact that two women together meant he didn't have to compare himself to a man in the video and he didn't have to feel any more inadequate than he already did. He did things that were "innocent" escalations so to speak. The emotional damage to him was pretty deep. He, when I met him, said he didn't feel anything. Only within the past month has he started feeling things he has repressed for years. There was one week where he cried 3 times. So emotional healing takes time, and he still has a long ways to go with feeling his feelings.

I can agree the depth can be shallow sometimes. Their brain really did go through severe damage. I know my partner's critical and analytical thinking skills declined. He often forgets things, which memory loss is a huge effect of porn addiction. I am not sure how much memory can be recovered, but I've seen improvements in my partner's memory in the past 2 weeks. But still, for the most part, his memory seems to be shot. There are memory exercises you can do to improve your memory, so maybe suggest those for him? The brain is plastic, ever changing and evolving, so it's possible to regain some of his former memory strength back. The brain is a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it will get.

I can agree that I sometimes feel like I am more intelligent and capable than my partner, and I end up treating him like he is "stupid" at times because of the impairments that have happened because of the porn addiction. I like that you approached this as if your husband got in an accident and had permanent damage, I think that is a somewhat healthy way to look at it. I personally sometimes think of my partner as having brain damage to keep me calm in times where I can't even wrap my head around what could have possibly been going through his head when he made certain decisions.

Have you talked to your husband about this? Or mentioned that it's something to talk about in therapy, something to work on? I can attest to feeling detached from my partner and not from my side. There are times where he is not connected to me, and those are the scariest most painful days. Usually, if I mention I feel his distance we try to sit down and talk about what might be going on in his head, or at work, that might be making him pull away. Usually, it's stress at work, or him working through his issues with his mom.

Also, I loved the Percy Jackson series when I was a kid! I have noticed my partner can't get through reading a book either. He has to re-read the chapters he has read a week ago, so he can read further in the book because he can't remember what he read. I think the memory and the ability to keep track of complex things will take the longest time to heal.
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Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 02:08:38 PM »
Stillme, I recognise a lot of what you are saying. I think it's part of the grieving/healing process that we have had to do in order to move on.

We need to mourn the loss of what we had, or more accurately, what we though we had. We can never regain the innocence of the time before the addiction took hold but almost always the roots of the addiction existed within the addict before the relationship began.

We've lost all that might have been, all the opportunities lost, that it could have been better, should have been better. We were dragged down, disrespected, betrayed and deceived. We didn't ask for it but we got it. They had their "fun", their escape, they temporarily abdicated their responsibilities for a cheap thrill. We were the losers.  There's no denying it. But it's also part of the grieving process, to mourn for what we didn't have as well as what we did. Somehow we have to come to terms with this before we can move in to the next stage in our healing. The best thing we can do is to continue respecting ourselves, nurturing ourselves, growing into the person we should have been and not the one who forgot about her own needs. I choked back the hurt for years. Now I can't believe I actually did that.

Like you, I see a damaged man. He's trying his best. Sometimes it's mimicry. Sometimes he's sincere. Sometimes I see real change and real growth. Sometimes I see him mishandle his new challenges and he falters. He's proud. He's stubborn. When he's under stress he becomes defensive. I know he's not mastered all these new skills in emotional management. Maybe he never will. I agree that porn addiction is brain rotting. We know from the theory that the changes are permanent. They may weaken but we live in such a pornified culture that feeds those pathways. It's tough to know that. But it's their issue.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

stillme

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 06:39:05 PM »
Anna - I have talked to my husband about these things. He is trying, hard. But honestly, I am just to the point where I am tired of being the only adult one. After d-day, I put a lot of my own needs on the back burner to be there for my husband. I was his cheerleader, his biggest supporter. his encourager. Even though I was pissed by what he had done, I tried to swallow all of that pain and support him on his journey toward recovery. I thought that if I was there for my husband on his road to getting back to "healthy", there would be something left over for me. I thought that once he saw just how much his porn addiction rocked my world, he would be the strong one and a support system for me.

The reality is becoming that "healthy" isn't quite what I thought. My husband absolutely understands the devastation his porn used caused. He truly wants to make things right. But, we are facing a situation where 'healthy' isn't quite 'whole'. Our counselors agree with the research that we are looking at three to five years for true trust to be rebuilt and after that - true healing of the relationship take place. I am already in my forties, I can even imagine knocking on the door of being in my fifties before the husband that "I" need is ready. So, for five years he was physically and emotionally unavailable due to jacking off to porn and another five years before he is emotionally and mentally ready to be a full, equally loving and giving and supportive partner for me. Ten years is a hell of a lot of give up, it is a hell of a long time for me to wait before I get the man that was supposedly promised to me in our wedding vows.

The truth is, I could sell myself short and just accept what is standing in front of me as "good enough". I could tell myself to be content with someone who can't even hold a conversation about something interesting for no other reason than he jacked off so much he turned his brain to mush. Before his porn addiction - my husband was such a fun person to talk to, we really had some great conversations. We also had some really fun times on vacation - no worries about if other women were around in bikinis not one thought about triggers or relapse or anything else. The fact that the first time the pressures of life hit (move and job change), he crumbled like a paper bag and threw away a great life for porn is just heartbreaking. We will make something of this mess, but I gave up a LOT for our family. I thought we were both in this together, that we had a common goal for our lives. To realize my husband gave it all away, blew this entire marriage to bits, for porn - there aren't enough tears to cry.

It isn't that my husband isn't healing, it is that "I" deserve better than what I am getting. And, I have had to come to the harsh reality that I will never get what I deserve. I am on my own when it comes to my healing, he has zero to offer. When he was at his lowest, I dug down deep and I supported him even though my heart was broken. I bit my tongue when I was angry and broken to make sure that I never did anything to interfere with his recovery. As his penis recovered, I was physically available to him whenever - even when I was disgusted by it all. I put on a smile and I gave of myself - because that is what a marriage and a partnership is all about.

The problem is - he has nothing to give. When more than anything else I need someone who is strong and secure and able to wrap their arms around me and help me feel safe - he can't provide that. When I am longing for a peer based partner, he can't provide that. His therapist and mine have both let me know that when men recovery from porn - they often have to go through stages of development that should have been done in adolescents. They actually have to "re-mature". I will probably be in my fifties before he will be a true peer. Porn addiction sucks. If your husband was in his twenties or thirties, it might not look like he has that far to grow. My husband is in his forties. Being 29 and going through developmental stages as if you are 17 or 18 is bad, but when you are 45 and going through the developmental stages of an 18 or 19 year old - yikes.


stillme

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 06:58:45 PM »
EB,

Yes, I am definitely in mourning. I honestly thought we were building something wonderful, something beautiful - and to think my husband threw that away makes me very angry. He made some exceedingly terrible decisions in his porn fog, and it wasn't just porn. Things like - cashing out an investment we had without telling me first. He didn't steal the money or use it for porn, but it was a really, really stupid financial move that has absolutely negatively impacted our retirement.

He is devastated that he did it, because it was so stupid. He is horrified because not that he got some of his mind back he sees that porn wasn't just about sexual stimulation. In an effort to get back to porn quickly - he did a lot of things without truly thinking them through. When an unexpected medical expense came up for one of the kids - he just did something quick and easy. There were at least five other options that we could have chosen, but he chose the one that seemed "quick" and then told me about it later. That financial decision is going to absolutely haunt us - he cashed out an investment that was growing amazingly well, that continues to grow well, that even if growth slowed would still have probably paid for at least one of our children to go to college - and took the cash, paid a penalty, and lost a ton of interests. It was an investment that used both our our earnings to invest in - so it wasn't his decision alone to make. And - you don't cash out a rapidly growing asset to pay a debt, especially one we could have easily afforded to put on a payment plan and would have been no sweat. That is just one of the dumb "porn fog" things he did that goes beyond simply jacking off to porn. When you masturbate away brain cells, the consequences are massive.

I guess that is the difference in some partner's attitudes versus others. Some have lost a bit more than others. I can honestly say the man that stands before me today is significantly different from the man I married. If I met him today, I would simply not be interested in a relationship. I get that it is brutal, but it is honest. He is nice, sweet, working amazingly hard on his recovery, but we are in two completely different places in life.

Kimba

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 08:24:56 PM »
I agree totally, it's funny on the memory thing my partner has terrible memory except when it comes to actresses and movies, which gets my goat ! I didn't realize that memory is a side effect but I get it, he also has little emotions which I've said before but wasn't like that in the early days but I know now he did use soft porn then but the stuff these days is totally beyond comprehension and I would love to swear here but it has stuffed his brain in some ways and is totally undermining society and relationships which is so sad for future couples.  I too mourn the innocence lost, not a lot of laughter and also I was so confident in bed where as now I'm very self conscious and I'm not as interested in him really like I was, I have too many questions getting in the way, like a big question I have is - is he having sex with me or some image he's hung onto for our lovemaking, I have to really try and relax now don't let my thoughts take over! Stillme you have been through a lot and it must be tough some days, it's just shit isn't it. U just wish they could man up and tell us it all every time just go over the stuff unburden themselves but the shame overwhelms them and so they stare into space while we cry at their side  :'(
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Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2017, 04:03:10 AM »
Stillme, I also get this time passing/life stage issue. The lost 15 years of my relationship to porn addiction, or rather, I had my spirit beaten down relentlessly by what he brought into the very core of our life together, into our home. It was like a creeping sickness but now I have a fuller picture his behavior had already taken root before the internet happened, and I knew nothing. The internet might have made it easy for him but in another sense it made easier for me to find out. Even when

Quote
I can honestly say the man that stands before me today is significantly different from the man I married. If I met him today, I would simply not be interested in a relationship

I am still coming to terms with how I managed to live in a situation I didn't want, didn't like, didn't agree to. There was a time 1-2 years into his addiction that I wanted to leave. I didn't see the role of a porn addiction taking root. I didn't see it taking over. I didn't know why he'd gone through this big personality change. He became moody and aggressive towards me, more like a passive aggression. The other part of it was that he became emotionally unresponsive to any signs of upset and distress I ever showed. I had never known him to be like that. Instead of concern he would show contempt and intolerance. It's just occurred to me that that period of time was when I learned that my feelings didn't matter. I could be completely broken and depressed, awake half the night in tears wondering what was wrong and not having a clue why. He had changed drastically. I put it down to a midlife crisis. I thought it would pass but nothing was the same after that. He learned to be emotionally distant and oblivious to my upset. I learned to put up with being treated like shit. It was also during this time that I was making numerous discoveries about his porn habit. I thought it was getting out of hand. He ignored my feelings about it. I learned that whatever I did or said made no difference.

When I look back, that's the time I should have acted. Instead I became passive and submissive. Why? I guess I thought if I could just sit tight whatever he was going through, some midlife shit he had to face up to, whatever it was it would pass. I thought I was being stoic and holding things together. What a fool I was. I never asked myself what I wanted.

Now I have to come to terms with how I have changed and the havoc his behavior wreaked on the very core of who I am, how I felt about myself for years, all the negative beliefs I held about myself all because of a so-called "bad habit" that was "not personal". How do I recover myself from all of this when who I am isn't who I was, and who I became was just a fragile shell without any sense of identity or power? I'm shocked at what I became.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2017, 05:01:43 AM »
 
Quote
I am already in my forties, I can even imagine knocking on the door of being in my fifties before the husband that "I" need is ready.

Quote
Ten years is a hell of a lot of give up, it is a hell of a long time for me to wait before I get the man that was supposedly promised to me in our wedding vows.

Knowing that you can never get that time back again, realising things were not, probably never were how you thought, that's such a lot to have to live with ON TOP OF all the years when we knew things didn't feel right and we were already living a life that was compromised. It's such a piercing blow. The time is gone. You can never get it back.

What do you do when you're in your 30s feeling "old" because of porn? By the time you're looking at 50 you're going through the change and there's no denying that you'll be in a different life stage. There's no going back. As women we know this. We expect it. How do you put back the years you lost in your 30s and 40s, or even your 20s. You can't. You lost all those years, all that potential for happiness and fulfilment because someone else believed their right to use porn was even more important than that? So we have to grieve for our younger selves too because that person is gone. Gone forever. You can't go back and do it differently.

When I look back at my younger self I see a beautiful young woman who had so much to offer, so much love, so much life, so much fun. I remember that heads would turn on the streets, the men would whistle and guys would come over and want to talk. I moved with absolute confidence. I never thought twice about baring my legs or my midriff. Where is she now?

I used to imagine growing older, like when we'd be turning 40, and I had an absolute confidence that the smart, intelligent guy I would marry would develop the maturity to appreciate his wife as they passed through one stage of life into another, just as I believed I'd find him as attractive at 45 as I did at 25. I know that there are many middle aged men who appreciate women of their own age, that beauty isn't over at 25, that it's not ephemeral but something far deeper. But with a porn addict, everything is warped. Porn addicts fantasise about women who might be 20 or 30 years younger. They don't even see themselves as being older. They are stuck in some place of arrested development, emotionally and sexually. The more time they spent on porn the less capable they are of being fully functioning in an adult relationship. So I didn't get the older version of the man who appreciates the mature beauty of a woman.

Even past d day I'm appreciated for appearing "younger" and staying in good shape. I still feel it's a false appreciation. I'm still on borrowed time if I'm judged on those grounds. It's not "flattering". It's a burden. It's like the song that goes "keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved". It's like d day granted me an extension of my shelf life. That's just not right.

Sometimes I yearn for one of those guys my husband's age who would appreciate me, that don't judge me as a surface and value me accordingly. I wish I could be with someone who could emotionally connect without all the layers of trying to give me their edited version of a false reality. An honest guy, someone who can be straight with me. I've given up on that. I've accepted that I'll never have that kind of relationship.

You don't get the time back but worst of all is the realisation you'll never get yourself back. You'll never have all that potential that is now lost forever. There's no happy ever after. Even if it didn't work out, even if we split, could I ever go into another relationship feeling that I can trust my own judgment? I don't think so.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

uglyducklingagain

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 06:57:45 AM »
It's been a very long time since I have posted here. I even deleted my old account. So much has happened in the past few months. My husband took ill the day before Thanksgiving. The past few months have been an emotional rollercoaster. As if the porn thing wasn't enough, now this...again. This is the second time in our 38 years that my husband has been gravely ill. The first time he had esophageal cancer. He is a 10 year survivor and lived through treatments and surgery, which we recently learned from his oncologist that that wasn't supposed to happen. This time around an MRI revealed he had 14 abscessed lesions on his brain. He's been in and out of the hospital the past couple months. He's had a craniotomy and brain biopsy. He's had every kind of test imaginable. He's had so much blood drawn that I'm surprised he even has any left. He's been on and off steroids and on a course of 6 weeks home IV infusion antibiotics. All of this he has been through and no one can tell us what type of infection, how long he's had it or what caused it. So in the midst of trying to recover from all his years of porn use this happens and I, once again, have to put my life on hold to take care of him. My husband is also bipolar.

One of the symptoms of bipolar is hypersexuality. He's been a porn addict for most of our marriage. At first it was an occasional magazine or tape which led to the internet. He secretly charged our credit card to watch porn. Then when it became free, the sky was the limit. He's always been a camera buff and I never thought much about it, but he used to go to car shows and take pictures of all the young ladies with barely nothing on posing in front of cars. He put those photos on top of his desk under glass. What a jerk! He is also infatuated with the young actresses. I always caught him looking at porn subs. I'd tell him to quit and he'd just roll his eyes at me. It wasn't a big deal to him. I have discovered his porn use so many times. I have thrown away boxes of magazines, tapes and DVDs. I don't know where he got them all. He had a huge collection in a locked trunk in the shed. We fought over it. I begged and pleaded with him to stop. He never did. I was told 25 years ago that he was having an affair. Of course he denied it. I'd say the past 15 years of our marriage have been completely sexless. Oh we've had occasional attempts, but he could never get it up no matter how hard I tried. I thought it was because the cancer treatments had left him impotent. Turns out he was right back into the porn. He grew very adept at hiding it. He only stopped 18 months ago because I gave him an ultimatum. It was me or the porn. I was done. I'd had enough and I said when!

It's been about 18 months since d day. I miss everything. I miss laughing. I miss the me that I used to be. I'm a really fun person with a very quick wit and warped, goofy sense of humor. That seemed to have disappeared, but it's slowly coming back. A couple years ago we took up the hobby of kayaking. We started having somewhat of a social life. I made some friends/acquaintances. A couple of them showed their true colors during my husband's illness. They checked on me/us. They made sure I had food. I was so overwhelmed with their love and support. It's not something I'm used to. I don't live by family so for most of my adult life, I've relied on me. I feel like I have wasted the best years of my life with a man that is incapable of truly giving of himself. I have taken care of my kids, my husband, my home. But who will take care of me? Me! That's who!

Since he's been home from the hospital, he's too ill to go out. So I go with my friends. We go hiking or kayaking or take a day trip to explore some history. We hit a bar or have a couple drinks at a friends house or do lunch. I'm doing me. I'm tired of putting me last. I'm tired of being taken for granted. I'm tired of not feeling like I'm good enough, because I am good enough. I'm good enough for me! No...I'm not going to leave him. I do love him, but the passion is gone. There is little trust. Most times I feel we are merely room mates. I would be incredibly sad if something were to happen to him. I do think he loves me the only way he knows how. I do belong to an online support group for bipolar spouses. Compared to what most of the partners are going through, I do consider myself luckier than some. He has always worked. We've always had food on the table and a roof over our head. He doesn't have the severe highs and lows that are so typical of bipolar. I'm fairly sure he is going to recover from this illness. Another MRI will reveal if the brain lesions have shrunk. According to doctors, he wasn't supposed to have survived this ordeal either. You would think a man that has almost lost his life twice would get his shit together and realize the error of his ways. Maybe in time, he will. It may be too little too late for me but as I said, I'm not going to leave. I am, however, going to carry on with my life and do what I want for me.

My advice to you younger ladies...if your partner cannot kick the porn habit, just leave. Don't waste your life being second best. Don't miss out on the opportunity to be your true self. I know it's easier said than done, but don't live with regrets.

stillme

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 07:53:06 AM »
That is where things get tough for me, my husband has given up porn. Eight months and no relapse, he hasn't used since d-day and never even protested giving it up. The problem is, after only five years of use, with the last two and half being heavy use with escalation, the damage appears to be done. Both of our therapist have the same prediction, which is consistent with what I've read on my own - we are looking at three to five years before things would "get back to normal" and the jury is out on rather that "normal" is the man he was before he went to porn, or the man he was early in porn use before escalation. Even if five years from now he could be back to the man he was before porn - ten years is a long time to wait. I will be close to fifty years old and he will be fifty by that time.

This really is our best "moment". Both of our sets of parents are relatively healthy now, but we can see declines in their health - one showing signs of dementia. My fear is the day we finally get any semblance of "normal" - we will end up having to care for an ailing parent and that projection can be anywhere from five to twenty years. These are the years when we should be living it up, having a great time, enjoying the fruits of our work. Instead, this is what we are dealing with. I definitely would have left if we didn't have children, but - he is a good dad and hands on now that he is out of his porn fog. Divorce would do nothing more than double my workload at this point. Now, if he was still using porn - he would absolutely be out on his ear.

uglyducklingagain

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 09:48:57 AM »
In my situation if I knew then what I know now, I would have left after I had my son. But you know that saying...hindsight is always 20/20. I was only 27 and had a career in the military. I could have provided my kids with a stable home, food, medical care. But silly me...always the optimist. I stayed hoping above all hope. After 10 years in the air force I got out. I gave up my career because of the kids. We could have been separated. Once again, I put everyone and everything before me. So leaving was not an option. I no longer had a steady income or health insurance. My brother divorced his wife after 25 years of marriage due to her sexual infidelity. I watched him struggle and carry those kids back and forth between homes week after week. It was tough.  That also played a big part in my reason for staying. Of course everyone has to do what is best for them.

For the past 10 years, porn/health issues have become the norm. I quit my job 2 years ago so I could finally have some time to take care of me. I am unemployed again with no health insurance if we divorced. So here I stay....again. No one wants to hire someone my age, much less insure them. I had totally prepared myself for him to die. The doctors had told me his situation was grave. If anything was to happen to him, I would be financially secure. Against all odds, he is still here. Once again, I am trying to be optimistic that in time, we can have some semblance of what used to be our marriage. In time, maybe it won't always be about him, but about us. I am hopeful.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2017, 09:52:21 AM »
I think that many of us who have lived with long term porn addiction, whether known to us or not, are finding we have to grieve our lost years and opportunities, and the happiness we never had. It's like go through this huge compromise of what we believe is the best we can hope for and acknowledge what we can't have in the relationship we have committed ourselves to. I never expected I'd feel this way, it's like settling for a situation that I never would have chosen.

This is the problem when deception is long term. We don't learn about what happened at the time it was going on and we didn't know we had been deceived until some time later, maybe years. And then we're stuck with knowing about situation that has been, gone and life carried on in our blissful ignorance. They behaved as they wanted. They protected their behavior from us. We did not know because our ignorance was deliberately planned by them. So what do you do when you find out what happened 20 years ago, or 10 or 5? Can you take action against someone who says it hasn't been going on for years? More importantly, can you trust that person? What about honesty? What about all the little things you picked up on that made no sense at the time? Can you trust your own judgement? When it happens like this you realise you never did have opportunity to make your own decisions. It's really tough. And there is no easy answer.
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AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2017, 09:53:51 AM »
I can relate to being tired of being the adult Stillme. There are times where I still have to be the adult in the relationship. It's taken a lot of talking about how he has to step up, to see small changes. I did the same, I put my needs away and focused on getting my partner into recovery and giving him the best chance at success. I do think that now that we are 8.5 months into him being clean, it's my turn to have his attention toward me and my healing. I can agree about the whole healthy thing but not whole is true for me as well. We are getting to be at a healthy place in our relationship, but it's not whole yet. I can't imagine what you and most other women have been through when you talk about the years that this happened. I've been with my partner for almost 2 years, and it was the first whole year of our relationship he was in his addiction. I saw red flags along the way and slowly put it all together. Luckily, with my background in psychology, I caught his addiction early on. I don't think I would have been able to stay with him if we say were together for 5 years and then we were thinking about marriage and I found out then about it. I honestly admire the strength you and all the other women have here. It's more than I would have.

Stress and live changes really do test people and their coping ability. Most people aren't able to cope well with big changes, and that is really sad. It's sad to see porn addiction destroy a person you love, and I say destroy because before their addiction they had life, passion, motivation, etc. and then porn stole all that. Porn stole who they were. It's devastating to us and to them. I know my partner is shocked that he was the way he was. He can't even comprehend it some days. 

I agree with you saying that you deserve better Stillme. I think we ALL deserve better. The thing that really sucks about all this, is that we partners have the emotional capacity to help our PA's out while they are in their worst, and when they "get better" or heal to a good degree, we are still left with a person who isn't completely emotionally there yet. They still are child-like in many ways with their emotions, communication skills, decision making and so on. It's imperitive that we partners heal ourselves, and don't rely on the PA because they just don't have those skills yet. I think they can regain those skills but it will take a couple years for their minds to fully develop properly.

It's true that marriage and partnership is about the give and take and compromise. It just is unfortunate that we partners end up in a situation where we have a mentally handicapped partner for a while. I say mentally handicapped because their thinking ability has been diminished to the point of being a child sometimes. I sometimes am driven crazy by how thoughtless my partner can be with certain things, but then I remind myself that his mind is not that of a 22-year-old at times. His mind is like a teens mind because of old habits, and it takes a long time to break those neural pathways. I am glad your therapist told you that. I figured that was what was going on with my partner. It's been strange to see my partner "grow up" over the past couple months. I feel like if I had a kid, this is the kind of feeling I would have with them. The times I'm proud and happy for their successful moments, the times I'm disappointed, and so on. It does feel like a parent-child relationship at times due to the lack of development.

I just hope that all our partners are able to "grow up" and develop mentally to be the age they are.


Kimba, memory loss or having very bad short term memory is a side effect. Ironically, my partner blocked all memories of his use. Even movies with nudity he can't remember any of it. I think the severe shame led to him blocking those memories.


"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2017, 11:13:18 AM »
Hey UD, great to see you here again although it's never great to see anyone here, if you know what I mean. I was thinking of you just yesterday, wondering how things are with you. Sorry you've been through so much, yet again. I wish your husband a full recovery. His illness sounds awful.

Regrets.... what might have been..... I never thought I'd ever find myself thinking this way but here I am. There were two occasions I might have quit. One was early on and like the porn addiction that was yet to happen, had I known at the time I would have taken a job abroad and I would have forgotten about this relationship. It wouldn't have gotten off the ground had I known what took me another 18 months or so to find out. But by then the issue had resolved. I was never supposed to know. I had a taste of the lies that were to come. I remember him saying "trust me" before telling me barefaced lies. I always had a gut instinct about something but I never really suspected what I'm was all about. Anyway, what could I do? Could I have acted retrospectively? Things were as they were. What had passed was in the past.

The porn addiction was something I knew. Not the addiction part, though. I didn't equate the changes in his behavior with the development of his porn habit. All I knew was that I was deeply unhappy and explained it away by a "midlife crisis" excuse. He was agreessive as I said, mostly passive aggressive and emotional distant but sometimes verbally aggressive and shouting at me. I wanted to leave. I couldn't understand what was going on. I could still have left and moved into my mother's house but a few years later she was getting too old so leaving the marriage was no longer an option.

After d day I learned the more about the extent of his behavior. I was close to leaving temporarily when I had enough of being lied to all the fucking time. But you know how it is, you somehow believe he'll realise how damaging the lies and everything can be put right again. Once again, you're discovering reality after the fact. He's quit and as far as he's concerned the porn behavior is all in the past.

I've committed to staying but I will admit I think about leaving too. Not planning to leave but knowing that it's an option. I think about what would bring that situation about. I think about my life now, my opinions, and I know I'd be alone but my life would be my own. My mind would be more own. I'd know who I am rather than someone whose identity has been hammered into shape by being defined by my relationship to others, my assigned role, my usefulness to others. After all what was I to him during the worst of those years when I wasn't "invisible"? An obligation, a burden, a millstone, an embarrassment, a secret perhaps, a drain, a dependent, an expense, an encumbrance, a leftover from the past? It's hard to acknowledge that I may have been some or all of those things to him. How do you find yourself again after years of being emptied out? I guess we just have to do the work of recovery. Recovering who we are.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 11:28:12 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Loleekins

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2017, 12:13:37 PM »
Like you, I see a damaged man. He's trying his best. Sometimes it's mimicry. Sometimes he's sincere. Sometimes I see real change and real growth. Sometimes I see him mishandle his new challenges and he falters. He's proud. He's stubborn. When he's under stress he becomes defensive.

In March it'll be two years.

I'm still not allowed to talk about it. It always results in the same thing the same way - standing up, pacing around, yelling, waving his arms, defensive statements, deflecting things onto me, twisting things in different directions in order to attack me. He has almost zero recognition or responsibility for what he's done as far as other people go. His regret is primarily for himself. He got manipulated by the media. He lost his teen years. He suffered with low self esteem. His education suffered. His professional standing suffered. Blah, blah, blah. It's never about anyone else. Any conversations we have on this topic can only be about him.

It's beginning to make me question his involvement with the baby. I keep asking myself, how could he have empathy for anything this child is going to go through when he can't even care about the mass destruction he's caused? How could a father that can't seem to care for anything or anyone outside himself not be horribly damaging to a child?

Feels like I'm being pushed to a point where I'm going to need to make a decision.
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities --- Voltaire

stillme

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 01:11:03 PM »
The big thing for me is that because of something as stupid as porn addiction, I have no "good" options. I am stuck with choosing the least worse option. I have three kids, all tweens. They have a great relationship with me and with their father. My husband is no longer using porn and is trying to do things right. Divorce is a serious issue, especially with kids involved. If my husband and I were fighting or if he was still using porn - divorce would be a very easy option. However, uprooting the lives of three minor children simply because my husband is now a really big bore and a bit of a 'man child' isn't a good enough reason. Even 'nice' divorces are hard on children and being a single parent would be no fun. My husband is now a 'hands on' dad - he helps with cooking, cleaning, taking the kids to their activities, helping with homework, taking them to the doctor, etc., etc. Divorcing my husband wouldn't bring me a boatload of newfound freedom - it would simply put 90% of the parenting responsibility on me rather than the 60 or 70% I do now. I would have less time to myself, not more. I know for a fact that I wouldn't start dating again while my kids are minor, especially since I would have primary custody. If my kids were adults - I probably would have divorced my husband and just moved on with my life.

But, something really changes in the relationship when you bring in porn addiction. I too used to be very free in the sex department, when my husband could perform. Honestly, if he had come to me before porn and asked me to try something - I would have been open to a pretty wide variety of things. Now - it feels like there is a wall there. That wall is from me, I feel like what is the point of being 'adventurous' when he has seen and jacked off to some pretty yuck stuff. Even though his stuff was relatively tame - it was still beyond anything I would consider in the bedroom. And, when something 'new' is thrown in, my mind immediately begins to think he might be trying to re-create some porn scene in his head. It makes me feel like "I" am being used as the porn substitute. I HATE that porn took my really comfortable, really adventurous views on sex in marriage and completely squished them to bits.

Before porn - I would have donned a naughty outfit and given my husband a dance. I loved being "sexy-silly". I thought I was the only woman he was looking at, so I wanted to keep things spicy. Of course, this was before he completely lost interest in real sex and lost the ability to perform sexually due to porn. Now that his body is working again and he has dumped porn, I am still way too self conscious to do a sexy strip tease. He has been jacking off to women half my age, why embarrass myself. That is the thing that is so sad, I now feel embarrassed about my body. I am not at all out of shape. I could stand to lose five pounds - but I wear a size small to medium, I am not overweight - especially after having three kids. But, I don't look like porn girls. My body is nowhere near "webcam girl", so what creeped into my bedroom and my mind was embarrassment and not feeling good enough.

I get that some people can just jump back in to the trusting game, but I am not that kind of person. I honestly don't know if I could ever truly trust my husband again, at least not with something that was really and truly important to me. He looked me in the eyes and lied, on more than one occasion, that hurt like the sharpest dagger. He actively deceived so that he could get to porn and as a result, our marriage has really changed. I still don't feel completely comfortable with my husband.

Like Emerald Blue said - I am mourning the loss of what will never be. I am owning how I am feeling and accepting it and moving through it. I am no going to deny myself this step of the healing process.

I am mourning the loss of feeling 100% safe in his arms. I remember when I used to be able to lay my head on my husband's lap and fall asleep - feeling 100% safe and secure. If I needed to feel reassured, if I had a long day, if I was tired, if I was upset, whatever I needed - I could get in his arms. I would sit next to him, he would wrap his arms around me, and the cares of the world would just fall away. Now, I am just not comfortable in his arms. When he hugs me or holds me or kisses me - I am on guard. I am wondering if ti is authentic or if he is hiding something. His arms don't feel safe, I find myself guarded, feeling like I need to protect myself. After all the emotional turmoil I went through with d-day, I don't ever want to sink that low again. I cannot in any way bring myself to fully trust someone that hurt me so deeply. I have met enough women online who have gone through multiple d-days to be arrogant enough to say it could never happen. I just read recently in another forum about a guy who came back after being clean almost three years. He relapsed and is currently hiding it from his wife (with the encouragement of men on this forum). So no, I don't feel safe, I don't feel like he loves me and the kids enough to never go down this road again. I thought he loved us enough to not go down this road in the first place. I was wrong then, I don't want to set myself up to be wrong again.

I am mourning the loss of that laugh. You know the laugh that is so pure, so deep, so honest. The laugh that is so natural because you are just completely lost in the moment of fun. I have had that laugh before. Where you just feel genuine happiness. Right now, I am just not happy in this marriage. I am grateful that he has tackled his porn addiction and seems to have won. I feel blessed to have a roof over our heads, food on our table, clothing, recreation, etc. I know things could be worse and I am content with my life. But, I still have to mourn the loss of what could have been. We really could have had a great marriage. We could have had the marriage we both dreamed about. That marriage I wanted can't happen because my husband is not trustworthy. My husband brought something into our marriage that never should have been here. It makes me sad.

I will admit, some of my feelings are based on the calendar. No, not because it is Valentines Day - but seeing that I am only 3 1/2 months from the one year mark following d-day. I said I would give myself a year before I made a decision on divorce. I now realize the decision is not what I thought. I am staying, but not because I am particularly happy or even hopeful. I am staying because I am tired. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally drained from this experience. All those things I told myself in the beginning to encourage myself for this journey - that on the other side things would be better. We would find a 'new normal' and it would be great. I told myself we could end up with a better marriage than we had before, that we would both come out better.

The reality is, my husband and I are having extremely different experiences. He knows that I am a woman of my word. He knows I will be by his side for better or for worse. He knows his wife will stick my his side at his lowest moment. He knows that even if I am hurt, I will still care for him. He knows that I would, indeed, swallow my anger and my pain and put my own needs to the side to care for him in his time of need. He never has to wonder how much I love him, I showed him through my actions. When he needed me to carry the burden, when he needed me to be the adult, I did it. I was the one who found YBOP for him. He knows his wife loves him with everything she has.

Me, that wasn't what I got out of this experience. I found out that my husband had lied to me for years. I found out that my husband could look me in the eyes and tell me a lie. I found out my husband would indeed violate his own moral compass. I found out my husband would indeed put his own needs and his own happiness in front of the happiness of both me and the kids. I found out I was married to a man that would objectify women, see them as a sex objects for his fantasy. And yes, I see a man working hard to better himself. However, the truth is he is only trying to better himself because of d-day. Had I not confronted him, he would still be jacking off to porn and was just at the cliff to jump off into physically acting out. My husband was frightenly close to the point of no return and that scores the hell out of me. Had d-day not come when it did, had I not reached my breaking point when I did - things would be a million times worse.

So, we have two very different spouses. He has a spouse that has been 100% his rock and I have a man child still trying to find his way.

AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 02:34:16 PM »
Stillme, that was a very honest post. I can relate to not feeling free in the bedroom. I also was adventurous in bed before this, and was game to try new things, and buy sexy lingerie and role play or whatever, but now.... I still feel so anxious. I did wear lingerie yesterday because my partner and I were celebrating Valentine's Day early, but when we were having sex and my lingerie was still on, I felt sooo not sexy and kinda objectified and I let him know, and he said he thought I wanted it on, and then took it off me. But I felt so stupid because I couldn't be that care-free fun girl in the bedroom. I was anxious and nervous. I used to have SO much confidence in the bedroom. Every person I've been with before my partner I knew I was sexy and good in bed, and I am not used to the change...I am not used to feeling so anxious in the bedroom, and there are days where I feel so mad because I feel embarrassed to try something or be free in the bedroom.

I also can relate to not feeling 100% safe in his arms. There are days and moments that I surprisingly do feel 100% safe but it doesn't always last. He often asks why I don't want to cuddle because he always loves to when we watch TV and sometimes I just don't want him touching me... sometimes I just want my space because my space is safe.

I think we are all mourning the loss of what will never be, or what could have been. I know that is one thing that I keep getting so angry over. I think about where we would have been if he hadn't had this addiction or if he were honest with me when we met.... everything would have been SO different. I am doing my best to accept the way things are, and I've seen so many improvements, but at the same time, I might be expecting more. I also gave myself a year to make a decision, and there are days where I don't know. There are days where I think, "Am I really going to marry this guy? Am I really going to take the chance?" Then there are days where I'm confident about staying... I guess I am really just angry because before porn I knew I wanted to be with him. Since knowing about the porn addiction, it threw our whole relationship into question. It changed EVERYTHING. I know that our relationship can't ever be the same, I just am hoping our relationship can be better than it was when he was using.
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uglyducklingagain

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2017, 06:24:51 AM »
Hello again Emerald Blue. Haha...I know what you mean.  ;) It's never good to be here, but at least there is somewhere to go when one needs to vent. Thank you for the get well wishes for my husband. Life was going fairly well before he got sick. We were spending more time together and having some good conversations. We got back to having date night once a week. We were sleeping together without any clothes. Slowly the walls were coming down. He purchased the book Love You Hate the Porn. He kept it on his desk by the computer so that when he wasn't reading it, it was there as a constant reminder. Now it's stored away, back in his closet.

Since he has been home from the hospital, it "feels" like we are back to square one. No more nude sleeping. No more talks. No more date nights. All the barriers are back up. He stays holed up in his room day and night while I am in the living room alone, just like it was when he was using porn. All the crazy thoughts and triggers that had slowly been subsiding came creeping back into my mind. I don't dare bring up my uneasy feelings. I know he is not using porn, but it "feels" that way. He was on steroids for over a month and holy moly! Roid rage really is a thing. He was so temperamental and moody and that coupled with his bipolar, well I couldn't deal with it. We were so angry all the time. I know it was due to the unexpected illness. We had already been through a major health crisis once, and now this...again? The uncertainty of the situation is so draining. I would get asked a hundred times a day, how is your husband? Only a few would ask how I was doing.

He tells me he is thinking...all the time thinking...alone in his room day in, day out taking stock of his life, asking "why me" again? He says he thinks God is trying to tell him to get his shit together and don't blow it. He's being given one more chance. Third strike, you're out. I'm not very religious and I'd hate to think that God is a vengeful God. God makes someone sick in order to get their attention? I hope not. I mean yes, being ill can make for some life altering changes. If this is what it takes for him to see the light, then that is my husband's truth. Far be it from me to judge him for that.

All I know is this illness has taken away most of the progress we had made, and it sucks!


Objectified1

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2017, 07:08:19 PM »
I have been gone for quite a while. I needed a break. I couldn't stand reading the mens posts and seeing the immaturity in the posts amongst other things. I hated the thoughts that I was married to one of "them". I also just needed a break. I needed to go about my days for a while, as best I could, without thinking about porn, or sex or etc... However, we all know how easy that is. Everytime I leave the house or watch t.v. I am triggered by something. Stillme,your last post in this thread brought me to tears. I could have wrote that post word for word. I know what you mean by you used to feel safe and now you don't. I had a dream last week, 2 nights in a row. I dreamt that I met some older rich guy and he was taking care of me and my family (including my husband). I remember him wanting to buy me a horse and etc....but I mostly remember in the dream I had such a huge feeling of relief. It was like, exhaleeeee and relax, someone is taking care of me. I know weird, but I think its reflective of how I am feeling these days. Even when were getting along, even when the porn isn't in-between us, theres always this uneasiness. Like an unrest. I can't have that lay in his arms and the cares of the world go away like before, as you described stillme. Now him holding me and me being able to rest in him, is replaced by a new set of worries and anxiety. It's like sleeping with the enemy or with one eye opened. Even when we are being with them, theres a guard up. All of us women on here have gone through so much. You ladies need a big hand and my heart goes out to you all. I would suggest you guys google redemptive living with Shelly and Jason Martinkus. This man had 18 affairs, 18! It is 13 years past discovery for her and she is still with him and they are recovered (as much as you ever recover). They have a good story and it is very encouraging. I know it looks glum but I do believe that there is hope. I do believe that if our men truly want it they can become whole and 100% different, better men. Not even recognizable. Anyway, thats all for now. God bless you all.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2017, 07:12:08 PM »
Quote
I found out that my husband had lied to me for years. I found out that my husband could look me in the eyes and tell me a lie. I found out my husband would indeed violate his own moral compass. I found out my husband would indeed put his own needs and his own happiness in front of the happiness of both me and the kids. I found out I was married to a man that would objectify women, see them as a sex objects for his fantasy. And yes, I see a man working hard to better himself. However, the truth is he is only trying to better himself because of d-day. Had I not confronted him, he would still be jacking off to porn and was just at the cliff to jump off into physically acting out. My husband was frightenly close to the point of no return and that scores the hell out of me. Had d-day not come when it did, had I not reached my breaking point when I did - things would be a million times worse.

Ditto.

There's nothing good in this experience for partners. It isn't the path to enlightenment for us. In spiritual terms it's a hard slap in the face, a kick in the teeth, a punch in the stomach all at once. It's like everything we used to believe in was just a carefully constructed illusion. In truth, they were the ones who traded reality for falsehood and they couldn't even see it. I used to wonder, doesn't he realise he's the only one in the room? There isn't anyone else there. He isn't having a sexual experience. He's just a middle aged man rubbing at his dick and trying to conceal it from his wife. He's prepared to invest so much time and mental energy on it. On what exactly? The right to masturbate? It's fucking crazy. And what makes it more crazy is his determination to do it regardless of personal cost. Imagine being married to someone like that? Well, I don't have to imagine. None of us do. That's how we lived. No wonder it's such a mindfuck when you are forced to realise it.

Stillme, the "sexy" things we might have felt confident about before would seem so stupid now, tainted by all this crap. I had the figure that Jean Kilbourne describes as the one very few people have, very tall, slim, long legs etc, and as she says in Killing Us Softly, it's genetic. In that sense I was "blessed" as a young woman in that I had what was in the 80s/90s the "ideal" figure as favored by the fashion industry at that time, but that's not the porn industry "ideal". I remember men adoring my body as a young woman but looking back I'm not sure my husband did because I had small breasts, not flat or especially small, but not the big porn tits he sought out. My size never mattered to me one jot when I was young. I was happy to be as I was so I never even thought about it. Why would I? I remember when I was in my 30s my friend, another tall, slim girl with a similar build, telling me that at least when we're older we won't be drooping and sagging like the some bigger girls will. Whether there's any truth in that I can't say. It's not as if we see non-sexualised images of breasts in this culture anyway. All I know is that I'm in very good shape and I'm not even going to say "for my age" because that's a nonsense. I'm in good shape for me, and as the saying goes, comparisons are odious. It's the culture that encourages us to compare and compete and I don't think that's a recipe for happiness.

But getting back to the bedroom/sexy thing, it would feel utterly ridiculous to do a strip tease or wear porn lingerie. The stripping thing, never. I couldn't. My husband went to those bars to watch women strip for money. So that's a non starter. I'm also very particular about lingerie and although there's nothing wrong with "sexy", I will avoid anything too pornified and I won't wear "cheap". I'll wear a satin teddy but no fucking way would I wear a fishnet body stocking. I remember on another forum, a woman linked to a store selling this tacky porny topless corset that her husband had bought and how she couldn't bring herself to wear it. I'd be the same. The idea of wearing special clothes for sex is too weird a concept for me. If the unadorned naked body isn't exciting enough in a sexual relationship then sex has been totally fucked up by commercial interests. Dressing up can be fun but I don't want to look like an off duty hooker, thank you very much. Even so, I think far more about these things post d day because there's no way I want to channel the porn industry into my marriage bed. It's just not welcome there. Never was, never will be.

The point of no return – that's an interesting one because my husband said after d day that he was grateful it came to an end "before it was too late" and I'm sure he said "just in time" on one occasion because I remember thinking "what was coming next?" I had long suspected that porn may well not be enough any more but what else might have been going on I really have no idea. I definitely felt a shift. I could sense an increasing distance. I didn't know what was coming next. It was that sixth sense that brought me to the brink. I don't know how I feel about the fact that I had to break down completely before he made the commitment to stop. I'm still recovering. It's like recovering from trauma and going through a major loss. All the things that never were and never will be Even now, all the things that aren't here. The parts of my life that aren't in place that should be. And this is "recovery"? It's more like carrying an extra load.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2017, 07:48:14 PM »
UD, you really have been through so much. Fate can be cruel. Even without serious illness derailing your recovery as a couple, recovery is a very delicate process even in the most ideal conditions. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, can throw off a recovering addict. My husband hasn't relapsed (as far as I know) but I don't believe he has yet learned to manage his own emotional thoughts and reactions. The very things that contributed to his acting out behaviors. His emotions almost spiral out of control and end up controlling him, and then his mood gets stuck in a downward spiral. In the past he'd escape into porn or sexualised imagery to escape his mood. So far I don't think he's good at dealing with it, at preventing that downward spiral. So it's either ruminating and getting depressed/angry/despondent or escapism. Neither are healthy. His communication skills aren't great. Slightly better but not much better than a few months after d day.

He's not really working on communicating better. Anything that puts him into the spiral, let's say, means he cuts himself off, doesn't communicate with me, reverts to his old tactic of saying the least amount to avoid saying what the problem is, gets impatient if I ask and then distances himself. When distance occurs intimacy suffers. So although there is no porn activity, sometimes it *feels* like I'm back there. I suppose I'm disappointed that there's been not enough progress as I'd hoped. Then again, who ever has the classic textbook recovery story? Nobody here, that's for sure.

Great to see you. Keep posting and venting. Hugs. X
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Objectified1

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2017, 12:16:10 PM »
If we mean enough to our husbands then they will put the necessary work into recovery. Which really means getting outside of their comfort zone and dealing with emotions instead of stuffing them. I have learned that one of the reasons for escape into sexual things is the complete distraction sexual arousal causes. It blocks out all other thoughts/emotions and it is multifaceted. It is emotional, visual and physical. When with a real partner it is also Scent and taste. I have learned that men who become addicted to this stuff actually have replaced their "trigger" for arousal. So in a perfect world a man is "triggered" to sexual arousal by intimacy - real emotional intimacy, with his wife/significant other. In our over sexualized world most people have replaced this trigger with "naked". So men who watch porn and ogle etc, like pavilions dog, hear the bell, (see naked women) and are triggered to sexual arousal. A man who is addicted to porn is past this even. Instead of naked women - arousal, it goes, negative emotion - arousal. Then starts the chain of him looking for things to aid towards orgasm. Orgasm for men is associated with feeling or euphoria and relief..... the ahhhhhhh feeling. When a man orgasms it actually shuts down the anxiety/fear centers in his brain. So a man addicted to porn or the like gets triggered to sexual arousal from nonsexual things like negative emotions .... he has trained his brain to actually respond to these negative emotions with a sexual response. This is how it's not even about sex for them. Once he's triggered mentally.... say he goes to work and had a bad day.... his brain automatically clicks due
To the stress and negative emotions (think your mouth watering when you think about sour candy), without him even realizing it his brain and body is preparing. It's saying stress/ anxiety = reward, in this case orgasm. It's an automatic response that he has created in his body. Once this Reaction is subconsciously triggered, chemicals and the like have already started surging through his body, although at this point not in huge quantities. He is then in a hyper-alert state. Usually men still don't realize anything is going on at this point. He starts to notice the women around him (his brain is looking for MORE of the drugs that have started to release). Each inappropriate glance at a women increases it. Then men go through a ritual at this point.... the "ritual" can take anywhere from hours to months (with our men it was probably down to hours). The ritual leads to their acting out of course. . I'm sure many of you already know this stuff but it helped me understand how it wasn't about sex. I couldn't understand why he used "sex" as his drug either till it was explained. I would agree I suppose that sexual arousal can be quite distracting.  Hubby explained it as , he would feel stress/anxiety etc (never realized this stuff then) & then he would feel the need for a release. So it wasn't , look - girl, she turns me on, I want her, I better go masturbate to the thoughts of her. It was "I'm frustrated. In pops a random thought. It would be nice to have an orgasm." Then starts the subconscious chain of events to achieve one. He totally separated sex from  an intimate act. Sex wasn't sex, nor was it about anything sex should be about, such as loving another individual and being physical intimate as a result of personal, close, emotional intimacy.  It was a release from pressure or anxiety. It was turned into his brains subconscious "stress release". It still hurts. I don't think it ever won't, but understanding why helps a bit. So our Counsellor has him doing things like, randomly stopping through his day, thinking about how he feels, what's going on around him and writing it down. If he has the thought, " I need a release/orgasm" pop  into his head, he ha to immediately stop, evaluate what's going on, how he's feeling etc and replace tjatbthoight with a loving comforting memory surrounding someone he loves. Amongst other things. I have seen more progress with our counselling through redemptive living in the last month then I have seen in the last year and a half. Just yesterday we went to Costco. Usually this results in me leaving quite upset as I encounter many triggers. However he sent me texts the wellie way through whenever he saw me looking uncomfortable, he told me in detail how much he loved me and how much i mean to him and how he has absolutely no desire to look at anyone else BEFORE we went in and he asked how I was and & volunteered  loving things as soon as we left. I was moved to tears. He has never done that and I felt SO loved afterwards. I am feeling so hopeful. I am beyond thankful I decided to take the step and et Counselling from someone who has been there. We tried two other counsellors with no results because really, they had no idea what they were doing. I wish the best of luck to
You all.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2017, 01:18:17 PM »
Thanks for your excellent explanation of the behaviors/emotional chain. It's far more useful than the dopamine theories – which I don't doubt by the way. Too much emphasis is on what's going on in the minutes before the porn behavior, after the decision to seek out the orgasm has been made in the subconscious before it's translated into the decision to act. That's when the dopamine cycle kicks in but it's the emotional triggers that underlie the addiction. The dopamine cycle is what keeps it going.

Very interesting that you say the negative emotion is what becomes associated with the reward of orgasm. It explains this "I deserve porn because I've had a bad day" mindset. How weird is that? We wouldn't think "I deserve sex with my spouse because I've had a bad day". You'd think "that's not fair to the other partner to be expected to provide sex as a pick-me-up". There's no mutuality in such a transaction.

Which also brings me on to the strip bars. My husband said he felt lonely and depressed so he went to a strip bar. WTF? I mean, all he was doing was having an overpriced drink watching an underpaid woman expose her vagina to a room full of leering men. How depressing is that? Well, I would find it depressing that someone reduced to a little performing animal had to entertain a bunch of leering slime balls, who, just like him would be pretending to their partner's they'd been somewhere else. "I had to work late" or "The train was delayed" or whatever.

But you're right. It's the negative emotions that need to be addressed. They were my partner's triggers too.

Of course looking at porn isn't sex!! It's amazing how many guys seem to conflate the two because as you say, it's not sexual. It's devoid of intimacy. In fact it's an avoidance of intimacy. So much is missing, breathing, warmth, touch, reciprocity, response etc. It's a whole body experience, not solely about genital stimulation. That's why porn addicts become lousy lovers. They lose the plot. That's why the men's sections are so depressing. So many of them seem to have no idea about mutuality. It's like their idea of sex is replicating a porn scene. How wrong!

Objectified1, I'm really glad that you are making good progress as individuals and as a couple. Long may your improvements continue to grow.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

uglyducklingagain

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2017, 03:54:16 PM »
objectified1 what a fantastic explanation! It makes so much sense. My husband is exactly the kind of guy that feels he needs a reward for having a bad day. Whether it be having a drink, buying something or using porn, he thinks he deserves a treat for being slighted by anyone or anything. This is truly a light bulb moment for me, and I am going to print out your post for him to read. Of course him being bipolar also compounds the situation. I have to remember his brain is wired differently, but he can learn to control his impulsive behavior. When he knows he's done wrong and I confront him with it, he will do his best to correct the behavior. It does make me feel like his mother though, which I hate. I feel like I'm always having to clean up his messes. The divorce rate is very high for those with bipolar. The fact that after 38 years we are still together is a feat in and of itself. It's a Christmas miracle. LOL!

He is on medication and it helps to slow him down and control his impulsiveness. He no longer has control or access to our finances. Because of the antibiotics he has been on, he hasn't had a drink in over 3 months. He did pour himself a small glass of wine last evening. He took two sips and dumped it out. He said it tasted awful. I know he's not using porn, but we need to talk about it more...his triggers, my triggers. His illness ended up putting a damper on our progress. I really wish we could go to counselling. I broached the subject again and he seems willing. He is trying to recover physically before he attempts talking with someone. Anyway...I digress. Thank you for that post. All of you ladies write so eloquently and have so much information to pass along. Thank you all for your wisdom, courage and strength. We really are charting new territories.

Objectified1

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Re: Things I miss
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2017, 04:21:25 PM »
I think the whole thing isn't really that they thing they need a reward when they have a bad day but more they need stress relief. Although the reward mentality could be part of it. Really for a man with this issue to improve he has to learn how to de-stress and deal with stuff like this normally. Porn has become their de-stressor. I am so thankful this has been a help to you  ladies! I know it opened my eyes big time and that's exactly why I wanted to share it.  You know how when we've had a hard day we need time to ourself, or to get in a hot tub? Well that's what his orgasm is being used as ....unfortunately he's turned it into an addiction. So where a glass of wine for the normal person can help relax here and there, the alcoholic uses it to the extreme. So the PA doesn't just use the odd orgasm for some ahhhhh that's better stress relief, but excessively to the point that they cant have that part for us anymore. I believe God mad orgasm and aex to be stress relieving but coupled with loving intimacy! Not like this where a PA has taken it out of context. He should see his wife and share intimacy with her and the result is sharing in pleasure, euphoria and stress relief.  Sad how our world warps everything.