Author Topic: Unicorn Magic?  (Read 3230 times)

stillme

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Unicorn Magic?
« on: February 14, 2017, 04:46:35 PM »
So, I started venturing in the other forums - something I said I wouldn't do, and by gosh are they severe triggers for partners!

I have seen multiple posts this week with guys confessing to "secretly relapsing" and trying to recover without telling their significant other - often times a wife. This sends me in two directions. The first is feeling extremely sad for the partner. We all know - nothing is truly hidden. The recovering addict is simply playing with his partner's head - basically emotional gas lighting. She probably absolutely feels something is amiss, but he is there pretending everything is fine and he is doing well. She is wondering why she can't trust him and if she is being hard on him and why is she feeling this way while he is lying to herself to save himself from negative consequences.

The second direction is wondering if I am really going to allow myself to believe that I lucked up and got a magical unicorn that can be that one in a thousand guys to decides one day to give up porn and never look back on it, never relapse. I saw one story where they person was clean for over a year - then relapsed and didn't tell his wife. My husband has agreed to take a polygraph whenever I need one to reassure me. I still have access to all of his passwords if I even feel I need to look at things. He comes to bed at the same time that I do and changed the behaviors that allowed porn to thrive, but - can I really trust that he is a magical unicorn?

I mean, this time last year if someone would have told me that my husband was jacking off to porn - I would NOT have believed them. If someone said my husband was doing cam-to-cam sessions with webcam girls I would have NOT believed them. If someone told me my husband went to a massage parlor and got a blow job - I would NOT have believed them. I have already had to get doused in the face with finding out my husband isn't who I thought it was. Can I really let myself think that now he is a unicorn? Is he truly recovered, or is he like so many guys on this board that 'think' they have recovered, until that trigger comes back and opportunity knocks and they are sitting there with their dick in their hand again?

That was the reason I stopped going to the other forums in the first place - it was too depressing to see the constant relapses. But, to see the relapses that also include lying to their partners or keeping the information from their partners is a trigger for "me". I mean, these guys saw how much it hurt their partner, and instead of them using that hurt as motivation to stay away from porn, they are just doing it behind their partner's back.

Again, this is just more of my musings as my one year date draws closer and I really consider what life is like with a recovering porn addict. Watching other men actively deceive their spouses and trying to hope against hope that your own spouse won't do that to you is - tough. Very, very tough.

malando

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 07:24:54 PM »
Recovered addicts are not common, but they aren't as rare as magical unicorns either. A lot of the people who have moved on from porn addiction are no longer on the forum. There are 8-10 guys I know who decided it was time to finish up with the forum after several years of being clean. So what you see on the forums tend to be more recent rebooters and guys with very little insight into themselves or their addiction. There's no doubt there are a LOT of relapsers there (and a lot of them are lying about it, which is sad), but it isn't so rare to find somebody who has given up successfully. I guess the question would be how long before you can even ask if somebody is recovered? I think there is hope, but it always comes down to the individual in question. It sounds like your husband is clean and I sincerely hope he is not deceiving you about anything.

Giving up isn't as hard as many will have you believe, it's learning to be honest and trustworthy that people struggle with. To do that, a person has to confront themselves in the barest possible way and face very uncomfortable truths about themselves. The people who do give up P successfully must go through that stage. I'm slowly inching my way to one year and I have certainly been through a thorough stocktake of my life and attitudes. Only a small proportion of it was about porn. I went through all aspects of my life and I have definitely come out the other side with a lot more awareness. If somebody is making more generalised changes to their life and attitudes, you can be hopeful. If they are mainly just bunkering down and focussing on fighting their P addiction, not so much.

Best wishes,
M.

malando

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 10:09:19 PM »
PS - I just read a thread on the 40+ forum and it made me feel totally disgusted. I couldn't contain my contempt for this person with the greed, betrayal and deception he is perpetrating on his wife - all the while adopting a "woe is me" attitude about who hard it is to contain his lustful urges. Pathetic. I let rip on him, he deserves no support for his pathetic efforts. When I read that, I can imagine how disheartening it would be for the women here. Just know that jerks like this do not represent everybody on this journey.

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2017, 11:26:20 PM »
I went for a snoop on over 40's as that's close to my partners age.  I felt very disheartened as well that was two days ago and I did have a bit of a go st my partner last night where he must of been thinking what was that all about. His favorite pastime was catwalks and celebs etc plus lingeries ads basically anything free and easy to get at, well, this one guy on there goes on and on about getting triggered all over the place, he just didn't seem like he was giving it a fair go or respecting his wife at all,  I felt soooo sad about it and really gutted when I looked at my partner. Stillme and Malando it's sorta weird u brought it up, as I don't like to comment anywhere other than here as I don't feel comfortable and also want to be supportive etc but gee that's really F....d up!!  My big thing with my relationship was, if u feel u can't do it or live up to my expectations of porn and porn sub free then let's end it, I said it wouldn't be nasty either I just would want to spend my energies on someone who is really worth it,  because I am ! I am glad u said that there are ones who do really GET it and recover it does give me hope where I've been again thinking of running.  I like to read bout the struggle they have as I've had next to nothing from my partner so I'm interested to have an insight into the workings of the porn affected mind. I really wish more guys GOT it and I do like reading the successes, everyone deserves a second chance but over and over that's not right !
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stillme

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 05:33:32 AM »
Malando,

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

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

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

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

Kimba - yes, I do wish there was more of a place to see true success stories. Sometimes the success stories here are a bit awkward and the end result is more sad than fulfilling. It would be nice to read more about guys who kicked the habit long term and also regained their life back.

uglyducklingagain

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 07:25:58 AM »
Yeah I rarely go to the other forums, especially the teens. For heavens sake, I have a teenage grandson. It creeps me out reading some of those posts, and I would hate to think he is doing the same. How sad that at such a young age these boys are having ED problems. I have no use for posts by men who want to blame their wives for not giving them enough sex, like we are supposed to service them at a moment's notice. Gah! Don't get me started.  :-X

stillme I get what you're saying. What makes us think that our husbands will be the ones to never relapse? My husband has used porn on and off again for most of our marriage. I'm not so arrogant to think that just because I gave him an ultimatum this time that he will stick with the program. He only stopped because I said enough. I am staying with him but if he ever uses again, I'm gone. I can go live with my son until I make other plans. I'm pretty healthy and have a good 30 or more years left in me. These are supposed to be the best years of our lives, and I'm not wasting anymore time being with someone that would rather jerk off to pixels on a computer screen. I have honored my vows and stood by his side in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. It's time for him to honor his vows and stop living in a fantasy world.

It never really is about the porn for most addicts. I think it's about what they feel they are lacking in their life, some made up fantasy of what they think their life should be like or an escape from the real world. So while I was dealing with children, cooking, cleaning, living in the real world, my husband was whacking off with magazines and tapes thinking that's what our sex life should be like, some temporary escape. So where was my escape? I didn't have one. He only compounded the problems in our relationship. Instead of dealing with our problems head on, he used porn, drank too much and spent too much money hoping that those things would make up for what he thought he was lacking.

I remember in the early years of our marriage, he would buy me lingerie from Fredericks of Hollywood. Anyone here old enough to remember that place? LOL! He would receive catalogs in the mail and pour over them. I would think that he's just looking to buy me something, when really it was nothing more than a porn sub. Looking back on the past 38 years, there were so many signs. I feel so completely stupid for not recognizing that such a huge problem was brewing.  If I knew then what I know now.................

I know I went completely off track, but sometimes thoughts just flow.  :-[

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 07:53:04 PM »
**posted in the wrong forum earlier - I intended this reply to appear HERE**

I used to wonder whether my husband's quitting was "too easy". I can accept that quitting porn is probably the easiest part. It's the rebuilding of what's missing in an addict's life and addressing the issues that contributed to the problem developing in the first place. I would say that my husband has faced up many of his underlying vulnerabilities but I don't believe he has successfully challenged his sexualised thoughts and how he looks at women. Of course he *pretends* he doesn't look at women in that way and if challenged he might say it was "natural" but he has actually admitted that he doesn't really know what is natural and normal and what is condoned and encouraged by an increasingly and explicitly sexualised visual culture. In that respect, he probably has recognised his own behavior and has perhaps questioned it but without any further understanding. I can't really comment because I'm not a man and I'm not a porn addict.

The men's sections can make for depressing reading. Some of the attitudes towards their partners can be harshly critical and negative, and that's upsetting. Some of the attitudes to pornography are just ridiculous, so out of touch with reality like jerking off to porn is something elevated state of ecstasy that would be otherwise unattainable in reality and that it has become an everyday essential in their lives like toothpaste or soap. I suppose I should be grateful that my partner's addiction never made him lose touch with reality to that extent, but honestly.... "the hottest girls on the internet"? You could take just about any girl and put her in stupid clothes and teach her the cliched moves and these Pavlov's dogs would respond in exactly the same way. There really isn't anything special or unique about anything in porn. That's why there's so much of it and it's formulaic. I want to ask these guys, Don't you have a mind of your own? I mean, it's lowest common denominator stuff. Do they really want to be just another thoughtless robot masturbating to a screen?

As for the attitudes towards their wives, occasionally you read the journals of some of the guys who are taking a holistic approach to healing including their relationships. They get the stupidity and shallowness of porn and they realise that indulging in that shit takes too much away from not only their relationships but the other areas of their lives. I wish more journals were like that. Because we do see wives referred to very negatively and we think "is that how our partners thought of us?" Especially when the "excuse" for using porn is that their partner isn't available when he wants sex, almost as if putting the responsibility for the porn habit on the wife who knows nothing about it. When we tell our side of the story it's almost always us who were being turned down over and over by a man who is never available. Yet they have no intention of ever telling about their porn habit.


I guess it takes so kind. I sometimes wonder whether I'm just getting the edited version of my husband, the side of him that he wants me to see. This was how he related to me during his years on porn, so how do we ever know? I am certain that there are still plenty of opportunities for porn or substitutes to sneak back into his consciousness. These images are everywhere and the male brain reacts with milliseconds, before the conscious mind has opportunity to engage logical thinking. I'm not naive about the possibility of relapse. I'm not naive about the constant vigilance required by an addict in recovery.

One thing I do know is that I cannot return to the way things used to be. It's the lies then do the damage. Relapses, at least in theory, can be dealt with if the relapse behaviour is disclosed, the damage is done when decision is taken to lie or to conceal. There is never any way of knowing, and that is why partners can feel so despondent at times. Reading these journals can make us feel a lot worse.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

malando

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 10:25:00 AM »
Malando,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


stillme

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 11:49:10 AM »
Malando,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

malando

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 06:38:35 PM »
Malando,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think the biggest thing I have learned is that porn addiction isn't 'natural' and some people are more susceptible. My husband was susceptible because he was trained from the age of five to escape reality when life got tough - and internet porn creates a very serious escape plan. We still have a really long road ahead; but at least we are starting from a place of truth.
Yes, I think your husband fits the profile of people highly vulnerable to escapist fantasy. It seems he grew up with very little in the way of coping strategies. I think people who have addictions almost always have arrested development in some way - usually childhood or early adolescence. Some part of them is frozen at a certain age and they tend to react to situations in the same way a child of that age would. So in a sense, the cure for these sorts of addictions lies in learning how to grow up. That is not a rapid process - probably no more rapid than it would have been when it should have happened at the appropriate age. It's very challenging because you are trying to build confidence in yourself and that happens at a slow pace. Every change you make on your way to maturity needs time to stabilise and consolidate. It explains why relapse is common in the first couple of years after trying to quit - it's like a child that takes a while to get the message. The impulse control of children/adolescents is typically poor, and I really see a lot of the same traits in men with addictions. I do think most men can potentially grow up and redeem themselves, but it does take continual effort, and regrettably, I think it can permanently alter relationships because the partner can often become the parental figure, setting the boundaries and conditions that should have been set by their own parents at a much younger age. It can be hard to reverse that even after recovery because it becomes a stable dynamic after a while. I hope your husband will challenge himself to continue to develop, expand, communicate and take control of his own issues arising from his childhood and later.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Unicorn Magic?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2017, 08:03:24 AM »
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I often read in the other sections of the forum and occasional post there as well, I do get very annoyed with addicts still lying to their wives, I mean really, how can you recover whilst still lying. It makes no logical sense what so ever, not to mention it's totally immoral to carry on duping your partner by making out your are someone you aren't, and then when they make out they are doing it out of some place of good intentions, not wanting to hurt their wife I just want to scream "BULL SHIT" in their face. I mean really, if you cared about hurting your wife you wouldn't have been sneaking around behind her back, the only thing these men care about is not facing the consequences of their actions, it's weak and pathetic.

JKS, we KNOW and that's a big difference. Our partners can admit that they have or did have a problem with porn. They acknowledge that they fucked up their relatonship. If they can at least do this regardless of the difficulties of a post-addiction relationship then they are miles ahead of those guys who cannot face up to the consequences of their own behavior.

As for all this "protecting" their partner's feelings, they are just enjoying the benefits of their own deception. I agree, it's about protecting themselves, and it's also protecting their porn habit too. Secrecy provides the conditions to let the behavior continue. That's why the deception exists in the first place.

I've been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior, we all have, and if anyone were to ask us what the fallout of discovery/disclosure is, we would all agree that the lies and deception hurt more than the porn habit in itself. If we've been looked in the eye and told a barefaced lie over something so dumb and stupid as masturbating to porn videos, then that is not respecting the partner or the relationship. Those guys would say that at least their not lying but maintaining secrecy is a lie. It's living a lie. It's a lie of omission, one big huge lie than can go on for years. Not saying anything means they are spared their own unpleasant reality of telling outright lies, so once again it's about sparing their own feelings.

Sometimes I look at the men's sections and I am dismayed at what I read. I read somewhere, and I hope I'm getting this right, that in addiction the fantasy fakery becomes "reality" and the reality of who they are becomes a fake. I guess that means they construct a good guy image and believe their own publicity.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it