Author Topic: For those on the long journey towards healing - how are you doing?  (Read 1468 times)

stillme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


So - how about others on the long road?

aquarius25

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Re: For those on the long journey towards healing - how are you doing?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 02:31:07 PM »
Great topic! It sounds like you have come a long way and are doing a great job of processing everything. That is awesome! Thank you for sharing.

As for where I am at...

Highs: I no longer want to strangle him, LOL. I feel like D-day was such a huge blow on many levels but two parts really stood out. 1) the fact that he could hide this lie for our entire relationship, it made me feel like I didn't know the man I had married, really scary. 2) the fact that he would use images of my friends to masturbate to. It has made me very uncomfortable to be around them and knowing that has put me in a place where I can't confide in them for support because I feel like I am hiding something and not being honest. I am now in a place with both of those where they don't feel like blows as much. Time has allow them to feel more distant and they don't consume my thoughts like they used to. I have realized that while I felt that I no longer knew this man I married I honestly don't think he really knew himself either. I have learned that we are both discovering who he is and who we are together. THere are still parts of him that are the same and he is still my best friend but in other areas its like starting a new relationship again. That is refreshing. I  can also go out and run into friends and I am learning to not compare myself to other. Having low self esteem for most of my life has made that part difficult but honestly I need to work on that part of myself anyway. I am learning to take ownership of the things I needs to work on and not blame him for everything. 

Another high is that I am starting to feel like my old self again. I am a true optimist at my core. I felt like for a while I was pretty depressed, no sugarcoating that one. I am now starting to feel that spirit that I used to have. It is nice to feel that again.

Lows: I am really working on not allowing the negativity around me to have such an impact on me, but unfortunately it still does sometimes. I get triggered by seeing the friend who I did manages to confide in and it went badly. Our friendship will never be the same. She has apologized but my heart is struggling to let go. Forgiveness. I am working on that. I think it is a daily thing. I am learning to choose to forgive daily. Some days go better than others, lol. My husband has been amazing and doing so much for himself, for me, and for our family. I find when I look back I feel hurt and when I look to the future I am hopeful. I would like to be in a place where looking back doesn't hurt so much but rather I am just be at peace with it. I am learning to reclaim things that porn has taken and to have more ownership in my feeling, and being more present in my life.

Also I have to say this site is triggering to me sometimes. I am working on not allowing others choices to have such an effect on me. I have noticed my emotions well up when I read some of the PA journals where they decide not to tell their partner or spouse. I am working on accepting. Its is their decision, its their life, I don't need to take offense to something that has nothing to do with me. Totally ridiculous, really, lol.

Thing we are working on: (also I know I kinda included that into my lows, lol, I am terrible at organizing everything) We are moving across the country. Its a big change. My husband and I have been talking a lot about fresh starts and starting new habits, routines, and family traditions.  I may even start a new thread asking for some ideas of what things other enjoy and recommend. I feel like we are in a place where there is a lot of newness. I want to make sure we have these thing last and not fade with time.

My score: Um I have no idea how to score myself. I am probably just a loon who is all over the map, LOL, but for today I am doing pretty good.

Looking forward to hearing where others are as well! Thank you Stillme for a great post!

Gracie

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Re: For those on the long journey towards healing - how are you doing?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 03:29:56 PM »
I would have to say that the high for me was when he stopped looking at porn.  Another was he has read everything I have asked him to.  He and I came up with a routine that helped me connect with him.  The main high was we loved each other enough to work through this.

Low is unexpected triggers.  Maybe once every 6 months or so he will track someone and bam! I am sooooo low.

I have started reading at Gail Brenner's site  gailbrenner.com  it helps me to think differently and put things in perspective.  It helps me realize I can't change the past and neither can he, but I can change my thought process.  I read there every day.

Emerald Blue

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Re: For those on the long journey towards healing - how are you doing?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 12:28:33 PM »
I agree. This is a great idea to document where we are now after having survived the earlier stages of recovery, which I think we can all agree were very traumatic. Even though I "knew" of my husband's regular use of internet pornography, I had tried and given up years ago and learned to turn a blind eye to it. Ultimately it was a very destructive coping strategy for me in the long

The negatives
  • The trauma.
    The pain of having to face the reality of my husband's porn addiction.
    Discovering the extent of his addictive behaviours and the deception he used to protect his habit
    The sheer impossibly I felt in trying to find out the truth
    The feeling of never quite knowing what was coming next
    That he could keep an important part of himself secret and hidden instead of sharing it with me.
    The total collapse of my self worth and the very sense of who I am.
    Becoming detached from my sexuality as a consequence of my partner's neglect

The positives
  • Reconnecting with my husband sexually and emotionally.
    Becoming sexual again after several years of sexual neglect and enforced celibacy
    Recovery my confidence and self esteem
    Redefining who I am now
    Becoming educated and informed in areas that I had never fully explored and by doing so I have reshaped my identity
    Spending more time with my husband
    Enjoying each other's company and sharing our interests
    Feeling good about the person I see in the mirror instead of being distressed by my own reflection
    Taking better care of my own needs

All these positive changes in our relationship could only have happened with my husband remaining committed to a life without porn.
I was fortunate in the sense that he was ready to quit. I had no idea that he was caught up in a cycle of acting out followed by remorse and self loathing.
I had no idea that porn addiction existed but as soon as I discovered YBOP and printed off some articles it all started to sense to him.
I'm sad that it took so many years for him to quit and I guess I still have feelings of distress that it cost me so much personally – my self esteem was annihilated by the time I hit rock bottom.
I look back and I'm shocked to see myself as an extremely depressed woman suffering with body dysmorphia and no sense of who I was any more.

What we/I need to improve on

Our communication skills. I've realised that this is a gradual process and that we don't go from poor communication about highly charged sexual and emotional issues to being able and willing to communicate openly overnight.

Our sexual relationship will always be a work in progress as it's an organic entity that will change over time. The crucial factor is keeping it going, keeping it interesting and being able to say what we like, what we don't like, what we'd like to try and what is definitely off limits. At the moment I'm ready for more play and adventure but there is the risk in reactivating porn-related  triggers. I think this actually happened a few months ago when he told me he was having flashbacks.

Spent quality time together. After the 'honeymoon period' after d day the realities of work and other responsibilities can start to eat away at one's time and energy and it's easy to ignore the sexual aspects of our relationship. It's important to make time for sex, date night and the little things that keep us connected.

I have focused almost all my time and attention on my/our recovery and at times it feels like I had to move heaven and earth to get where I am today, but it has cost me in terms of the time and energy I would ordinarily put into my own personal projects. I know that I will consciously have to make time for my personal interests which will ultimately enrich the non sexual aspects of our relationship, in terms of what we each bring to the partnership which is uniquely ours.

Last but by no means least I need to learn how to deal more effectively with various triggers and reminders of my partner's porn addiction. I realise that, just as with communication, the skills of coping with triggers is a slow learning process that improves with time.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 12:34:02 PM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

uglyducklingagain

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Re: For those on the long journey towards healing - how are you doing?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 03:11:17 PM »
We may all come from different walks of life, but we all experience almost the same ups and downs while trying to get through this recovery process.

I'm just going to say a big resounding "ditto" to everything everyone has posted. LOL!

I'm happy that my husband will be starting therapy on Monday. It's a step in the right direction for him and for us.

Tonight we're going to cook a meal together, drink some wine and sit by the fire pit later on this evening. Life is good today.  :)