Author Topic: Looking for some insights  (Read 1282 times)

Sliced

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Looking for some insights
« on: August 28, 2020, 11:50:48 AM »
Hi, first post here. I found out 2 days ago that the man I am engaged to is addicted to porn. Now everything has changed. I am here to ask for some support. I know a lot of text, my head is very full - questions bullet pointed at the end.

I am still learning about porn addiction. I worked in addiction (drugs and alcohol) services for 10 years and so I feel that my brain is very torn at the moment - I am too emotionally involved to be able to be logical and professional (and sometimes sensible) about this. But I also do have some quite comprehensive understanding of addiction, which at times I have been able to use to support him but is also causing me to feel quite guilty about some of my reactions towards my partner so far. I have shamed him about things that on a logical level I do understand he probably has been powerless over. I don’t feel good about that and I would like to do work to become a good support for him.

My partner is incredibly good at lying. I had no idea about - frankly, what feels like a complete double life - for our whole relationship.

A couple of months ago he went to open an app to show me and opened a google drive by accident. There were images of another woman who he advised he used to sex chat with and he had bought those images.

He told me he used to have a problem with porn (he had told me this previously but I hadn't given it much thought as he seemed to be able to engage in a healthy relationship) he gave me various very poor excuses which I fell for, he said he would do anything to keep me, he was beside himself. We set some boundaries for the relationship (No cam girls, sex chatting, buying images etc).

It shook my confidence, but I believed him. I even came home one evening and he had a picture of a girl on the screen, when I questioned whether he was buying photo’s he swore to me in the most sincere way with even tears in his eyes he was being honest and would never do anything to make me feel the way he had previously. I didn’t check what he was looking at because he was sincere and you know, bunny boiler fear. He was sex chatting.

To cut what could be a very long story short, what comes out this week is that my partner is addicted to porn.
- Watching porn to the extent he was experiencing ED.
- Talking to people online, seeking them constantly messaging them. Asking for pics, offering video chats.
- Buying images and videos from people. He has spent £500 in the last 6 months on this.
- Posting comments to peoples photos 'perfect' 'goddess' etc
- Posting adverts online seeking people in our local area to chat to and 'meet IRL'. He tells me he gets off on talking about meeting but doesn't go. At this point this seems too far fetched for me to believe.
- Sending sexual videos of himself to others on the internet.
- Talking about me, letting other people get off on the thought that he is hiding their chats from me, and telling them about the sex we have.
- Messaging an ex of his, he tells me he doesn't know why but cant say 100% that he wouldn't have asked her for pictures.

And I had absolutely no idea. It chills me how good at lying he is, and how easily he did it. I know he must deep down have a lot of shame but at the time I found out I kept questioning ‘how do you even sleep at night’, ‘how do you look me in the eye?’. In the end I did demand to see his phone. I saw things I wish I hadn’t. I said to him, tell me before I have to see it. He kept promising there was nothing more then I would find more, this happened 4 or 5 times when there actually was more. Again this destroyed a lot of trust because he tried to hide anything I didn’t have proof of. Even now I worry - he tells me there is nothing more, but there is also nothing more I can *prove* so I don’t know whether I believe him.

Still, we are working forward. I’m making no promises about whether I will or won’t stay in the relationship. I will work with him to help us both heal and see whether there is a relationship at the end. Might sound harsh, but I know addiction well and have been in a previous relationship where addiction ruled and I need to see whether he is actually motivated to change. If he is, I will be there with him. If he isn’t, I will have to put myself first and go.

He has done lots, found a counsellor and booked a session, joined and started a journal here, deleted accounts he was using, installed a blocker on his phone, has told some people around him who are close. I am actually really proud of him. I know it is easier right now because he is seeing my devastation so that will be driving it. I hope he keeps it up as the initial panic wears off.

I have some questions:

- He has installed an app that blocks porn on his phone (his idea) and wanted me to have some sort of power over it so basically he can’t uninstall it. I don’t love the thought, feels too controlling on my end and I feel that if he is going to do it he just will, an app won’t stop him. But I want to take his lead and listen to what he needs?
- On the same lines he wants me to check his bank statements at the end of the month. Again, I understand he wants to be held accountable but it just feels so controlling to me. I don’t want him to come to resent me, or feel that I am parenting him. Could anyone offer insight?
- I do now feel worried about him having free time. I hate that I’m worried about that, and I want to check his phone and I hate that I feel that way. Any advice on beginning to build trust would be very appreciated.
- Initially I had questions about whether things like sex chatting with other people counts as porn addiction but through the research I have been doing I am beginning to understand that this is common for people?
- I am a rollercoaster of emotions. Sometimes uncontrollably crying, sometimes angry (and horrible), sometimes numb, sometimes a bit manic...I am going through and trying to read as much as I can on here. But any advice about getting through the processing-it part of this would be great
- Lastly - I want to be there for him. I want him to take responsibility but I also want to support the fact that this is an addiction. Any advice from people in recovery who could give insight as to what does or doesn’t help from a partner would be very helpful.

If you made it through all of that THANK YOU

mousemat1

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 12:26:48 PM »
Hi Sliced.

What can I say. We're addicts, we're very good at hiding this reality from people. My partner had no idea I'm a porn addict. I don't want her to know. I just want to eliminate this addiction and have a fulfilling relationship with her. I love her more than I can express, but as you know if you've worked with addicts, the addiction doesn't follow rational though processes. It's something deeper and more primal. I feel terrible for my partner, and I feel terrible for all partners of porn addicts.

To answer some of your questions.

"He has installed an app that blocks porn on his phone (his idea) and wanted me to have some sort of power over it so basically he can’t uninstall it."

This is an excellent idea. We enter our reboots with all the best intentions, really we do. I WANT to be free of this addiction. Don't count on his will power to beat this addiction. He needs something to help him stay away from porn. A blocker to which you have the password is a good solution.

"On the same lines he wants me to check his bank statements at the end of the month."

I'm a porn addict. I would find ways of paying for porn which wouldn't show up on the statement I show you. Perhaps another account? Remember, we're very good at hiding these things. Checking his statements might help.

"Initially I had questions about whether things like sex chatting with other people counts as porn addiction."

I can't really offer constructive advice on this. Sex chatting is something I've never wanted to do because that for me really is crossing the line, in my opinion. The same goes for paying someone for images of themselves. There are others who say that simply masturbating to porn while in a relationship is crossing the line. I'm an addict, so I'm probably not the right person to assess this. You are the partner of a porn addict and I would never presume to tell you what you should or should not consider as being unfaithful. I don't want to comment any more on this point. You have your own boundaries and you should use those.

Feel free to ask any questions you like. I can't imagine how devastating it must be to discover your partner is a porn addict. However, I commend you for deciding to stand by him and help him to beat this addiction, at least for the time being.

I hope this helps a little.

MacTx

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2020, 02:47:39 PM »
Partner of porn addict who is in the early stages of research . 
I don’t think you should be his accountability partner.  That puts you in a weird parental role and that is not the role or the relationship you signed up for.  He should probably pick someone else. 
It’s all porn to me at this point.  I don’t care what type of interaction or what app it’s on.  If it’s virtual and it’s being hidden , it’s porn/sex addiction.
Honestly, this shit is traumatizing for a partner.  Of course you are shaken and nothing makes sense and who is this person and why am I not good enough etc etc etc.
I recommend you start with a counselor too. One specializing in sex would be great.  Also start looking at betrayal trauma.  It’s a real thing and helped me see that I wasn’t being over the top about all my emotions. 

Sliced

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2020, 01:33:30 PM »
Thank you both for taking the time to read and for your replies.

Mousemat1: Thank you this was really helpful. I appreciate your compassion. I struggled a lot initially, and still a bit now, with my feelings of contradiction of him loving me and having sexual interactions with other people. I understand logically that addiction has nothing to do with love, and it is the proximity of sex and love that make this feel difficult however it is somewhat comforting to hear other people say that they do love alongside PA.

I read something that said something along the lines of if your partner was an alcoholic you wouldn’t question if it was about you, it is the same with porn. But it is difficult to overcome that.

I am still struggling with the acceptance that my partner is ‘an addict’. I hate that term. He isn’t just a label. I don’t want to group him into a sector of people, he is a person, the love of my life. But of course he is. He is addicted.

At the moment we are referring to ‘him’ and ‘his addict’, I started this initially when I was trying to get information from him when this came out and I thought he was lying. I was saying to him ‘I want to hear from you, ****** (no name obviously for confidentiality), not your addict brain’. In some ways I think this has been helpful, Although I am conscious of not excusing him of responsibility by doing this.

We are definitely baby steps. We initially talked about one day ‘if we get back to normal’. But I don’t want that. Our old normal was him lying, it was a false reality. I want an open and honest relationship.
I am coming to realise that honesty is a real novelty for him, and is scary. His phone is now around more, it was unlocked on the kitchen side last night and he asked if he had set a timer, I swiped down his notifications to check if it was on and he spoke about how ‘that’ part of his brain instinctively panicked and wanted to intercept me looking. Earlier today I asked a question about what he does when in an active addiction state, he lied. I highlighted that to him. I need to remember this is new for him. It must be scary.

I am constantly trying to walk a thin line between wanting him to take responsibility and feel these consequences and not wanting to shame him. That is very very hard I find.

Your situation sounds difficult also, I’m wishing you strength in your journey.

MacTx: Thank you also, I found this helpful.

I completely hear you about the weird parental role thing. Partner is going to ask a friend to do the app permissions thing instead. There are so many other ways I could easily see this becoming a thing though. I’m trying to stay conscious of this.

Thank you for the advice about the betrayal trauma. I have never looked into this before so I will. I am actually already in counselling, however I am going to speak to my current counsellor about the fact I will now need to change my goals in therapy to address this as it feels most pressing and I will assess whether she is going to be the appropriate practitioner to support in this or if someone more specialised would be better.

I am now at a point where I am having some worries around sex and this process of healing. These questions you might be able to shed some light into or any others who read this. I haven’t been feeling able to engage in sex with my partner (nor has he asked) but I worry that if this continues for a prolonged amount of time will this impede his process, leaving him with only masterbating which could be a trigger.
Alternatively, will having sex too early cause issues. I’m sure there are no rules but again insight of anyone who is willing would be very welcome.

Additionally I am really struggling being able to speak to others around me about this. I haven’t told anyone in my life yet. I think this might be about me trying not to accept it.

mousemat1

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2020, 02:47:59 PM »
Hi Sliced.

Firstly, every rebooter reacts differently. In fact, my own reboots (this is my 6th attempt at overcoming this addiction) have each been slightly different. So, what I'm about to describe my not apply to your partner, but at least if it does you can be a little better prepared.

You mentioned that your partner was showing some signs of PIED (porn induced erectile dysfunction). Every time I've started a new reboot I've gone into a flatline. I had absolutely no desire for sex and even if I had, my penis was completely dead. It's a very weird experience. My penis just feels like it doesn't exist. I can't feel it when I touch it. I'm currently in a flatline and it feels like I've had my penis removed. Two things to take away from this. If your partner experiences this, tell him not to panic. If your partner experiences this he might be tempted to look at porn to see if he can get an erection. This was a mistake I made during my second reboot. He just has to wait until the flatline finishes. Unfortunately, I had one flatline (my 3rd reboot if I remember correctly) which lasted over 100 days! My first flatline lasted about 25 days and then I had some great sex with my partner. I have no idea why the flatlines can vary so much. So, to answer your question about whether you and your partner should engage in sex; it might be best to chill for a period because if he experiences the lack of libido, lifeless penis, or both, then it's going to really stress him (which might trigger him to use porn), and perhaps more importantly, his inability to have sex with you might knock your confidence in yourself. At some point, your going to start becoming intimate again. I wouldn't hold onto any definitive rules as to when this happens. I guess just let things develop naturally, is my advice. Sorry I can't be more specific than this. We are all 'lab rats' in this process.

The second part of your question. He doesn't appear to be suffering with severe PIED. Unfortunately, my porn addiction caused this condition in me. Again, I can't speak for every rebooter, but I can give you some insight into some of the things I experienced. The first time I rebooted and had sex, it just triggered my urges to watch porn, which is why I had to reboot again, and again, and again... Recovery often isn't linear. I thought I had healed and then went back into a flatline. Having sex soon after rebooting (but I'm not convinced he's rebooting, he's just trying to kick his addiction) can throw some guys back into a flatline. This has happened to me. So, just be prepared for every eventuality. Hopefully, he won't experience any of the above.

You're clearly very smart, so the following probably doesn't need to be said. Very few addicts quit completely on their first attempt. My porn free runs have all been quite long. My longest was run was 275 days porn free, and then I fell off the wagon. I really hope your partner is a quick fix, but I would prepare yourself for a long rollercoaster ride.

mouse

Sliced

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 09:22:13 AM »
Thank you again Mouse.

Flatline sounds scary and stressful. I can well see how Stress about the flatline can cause flatline to continue and end up stuck in a cycle. I’ve never heard of flatline before all this. Sorry it’s like this for you and rooting for you in your current reboot.

My partner advises he feels he has been close to flatline before but hasn’t experienced it - it is still so helpful to hear about it though.
His PIED seems to have gone at present. Interesting what you say about whether he is rebooting or not. While he isn’t battling the physical side of stuff quite so much, he seems to be struggling with honesty. Still today more things come up that he has been being dishonest about. I think this feels like the biggest betrayal, maybe more so than the act. But I also know it is a massive, massive part of addiction.

Your right, I know this might not be it, it is likely he will lapse. It’s tricky, originally I thought I didn’t even have The ability to deal with even one relapse, but this is unrealistic and in some ways unfair to stay with him if I can’t deal with this. This isn’t what I signed up for, but it’s what I have and I either except him for who he is now or I don’t. I think as long as he continues working hard on himself and I can see that, a lapse I will be able to support him with. I will try.

mousemat1

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 10:26:49 AM »
Hey Sliced.

There is one thing that I think you should keep in mind. If you decide that your partner's porn use is unacceptable and you decide you can no longer stay in the relationship, I would be amazed if the next partner you found wasn't a porn user. I think this is one of the terrible things about porn since the advent of high speed internet. Obviously, not all men are porn addicts, but I imagine that the vast majority of men use porn. I suspect that the majority of users run the risk of becoming addicts further down the line. You're always going to have this doubt in every future relationship.

It's clear you love your current partner. I think it's definitely worth supporting him on the condition he is determined to beat this addiction for you.

Thanks for your concern regarding my flatline, but I'm under no illusion; I have done this to myself. No one else is to blame.

MacTx

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 10:45:40 AM »
Sex after learning this was a weird thing.  It was so difficult to get out of my head.  However a couple of things I have really had to focus on.  Meditation for me.  Huge help.  I feel like my brain and my body are living under this constant readiness for the other shoe to drop or what’s he doing now.  On the days when we don’t see each other, I’m thinking, well, he’s def watching porn today, etc etc. 
so you have to start with you first.  Get real selfish for a little bit and just focus on getting you in a better place:  new hobbies (or picking up old ones), exercise -really hard exercise is great, meditation, etc.
Worrying about what they’re doing-I’ve really had to work every day to let that go.  The truth is, he totally could be watching porn or he could be watching Netflix.  We won’t know.  Period.  So acceptance that it’s not something we can control is a huge focus.
Sex? Well, I still have brain weasels come in sometimes during sex-he’s imagining I’m a porn person, he thinks I’m a transsexual, his eyes are closed so clearly he’s not “here”, etc.  I’ve become a bit more selfish there too.  I just enjoy the sex for the physical enjoyment.  I’m not trying to “save” anything , or change his mind.  It is not our responsibility and we shouldn’t take ownership of trying to solve their issues, but enjoying the physical aspects with them, does re enforce the real world , real women connection, and if I get to feel good from that? Why not?
It’s so very hard, it ALL is.  I don’t know for sure that I’m staying with my partner, I don’t know for sure that he even thinks he has an issue, or if he’s trying to resolve any of this. Our conversations are still pretty new.  I won’t allow myself to feel this way forever and I’m working on finding a sex therapist for me.  Either way, partner or no partner, we can survive this.  It is not the end of us. 

Sliced

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2020, 12:08:39 PM »

Thank you again for replies.

The thing is porn isn’t an issue for me. Have always been open that I am ok with porn use. (Obviously now I am not because I know the behaviour that goes with it/it leads to). It is the unfaithful behaviour that I am not alright with. That’s what makes me doubt if I can stay, that’s what made me doubt if what we had was real.

I am trying to stop looking at specifics, the specific hurts. I know an outline of what was happening and I’m an adult, I’ve had a phone and been sexually active for a long time, I can use my imagination, I don’t need to know. This week I scrolled back through our messages. I sent my partner a sexy picture of me on the same day he bought nudes online. My partner never asked me for nudes, I would send them sometimes as an attempt to encourage him to be a bit more sexual with me, would try to sext with him but he was always a bit awkward and withdrawn about it. I thought he just wasn’t that sexual of a guy. On bad days like this, that sits in my chest like a weight.

We came to the realisation he was messaging other girls on Facebook . Nothing sexual, but more of the robotic compulsive frequent type messages he had been doing elsewhere. This time when I spoke to him about it, he got defensive and annoyed. This is the first I’ve in all of this that he has done this. I know addiction, defensiveness and deflection are sure signs of manipulation. Eventually he admitted he finds the behaviour unhealthy. I don’t think he gets it fully.

We were working things out and it seems that even completely innocent things like speaking on the phone to genuine female friends he was keeping from me. We were so disconnected and I didn’t even realise, that makes me feel so selfish and stupid.

It’s weird, there’s one girl and there was nothing sexual between them since we got together, but he admitted he used to ask for pics of what she was doing and he used to send her selfies. This hurt so bad. I’m sure it didn’t, but it felt like it hurt more than the buying of images from sex workers. It put my head in a weird place, I thought I had fully accepted that his P use is nothing to do with me, but this situation got me having thoughts about how I know I can’t compete with Sex workers for looks/appeal, but I can compete with average girls, and I felt I was more attractive than her. I wrote a message to him saying horrible things about her and I really felt them. I hate that I let myself become that way towards another girl.

I also felt a lot of embarrassment, I know what girls are like, I know that they know what he is doing, they probably love that he is messaging all the time because it gives them an ego stroke. I think about how they must look at me. Do they pity me that my fiancée is messaging them, do they feel superior to me? It doesn’t matter does it.

The messaging thing is tricky, makes me realise how much deeper this goes. I don’t think he realises how difficult this is sometimes. Every disclosure of something he has done or lied about feels like a cannon ball to my chest. Every time I have to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’m trying not to shame him too much, worry if I get too angry I will make him close off. Managing these feelings in this type of way is so difficult.

I feel like there is a weird dynamic beginning in our relationship. I am still only recoiling after the shock of it all, and yet I am trying my absolute hardest to be his cheerleader and support him.

Overwhelmingly I feel like I am in mourning. It’s as if the man I knew has gone. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want him back because he was unfaithful and made me believe a lie. But I was 100% invested in the relationship. I was happy for the first time in my life. He change everything and was the most important person in the world. I thought we were closer than anything. I miss that connection, it’s as if it just suddenly got ripped away and I miss it. I find myself wanting to be with him, I want to cuddle him in bed, and stroke his face and wrap my arms around him because I so desperately miss us. Even though it wasn’t real.

mousemat1

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2020, 05:14:46 PM »
Firstly, you are not to blame. There is no woman alive who can compete with internet porn. Not even porn stars themselves! It's the ability to change to a new sex scene every 10 seconds to something new or shocking. Imagine a heroin addict who can inject himself every 10 seconds to maintain the 'high'. That's what internet porn is like. Remember, this phenomena only started with the advent of high speed internet. If vanilla sex has become 'boring' for him, it's because he has desensitised his brain to normal stimuli. You shouldn't feel compelled to recreate some of the stuff that porn stars do. You are not the problem. He might ask for more adventurous sex, but where does the need come from? It comes from conditioning due to the kind of porn we watch (obviously, some turn ons are innate).

Every man is different, but from my perspective I know porn is 'unreal'. I can separate fantasy from reality. I would never ask my partner to indulge in some of the things I've seen in porn, because I see her as a real human being who should be loved and respected. I've never lost sight of this fact. I'm addicted to the dopamine hits I get from watching porn. I have no feelings toward the women in porn, they seem like caricatures (which is unfair, because they are people with feelings too). I've just thought about it now and I could only think of five porn star's names. I suspect your partner is pretty much the same. I get the impression he made you feel loved before you discovered his secret. I'm sure he loves you and can separate reality from fantasy. Where the boundaries between the two become less distinct is with sexting.

I can't remember where I read this, probably on this forum, but I remember a quote about the only way to trust somebody is to actually trust them. This is something only you can do in your relationship. It might be that from the day you found out he has never sexted anyone, bought pictures from sex workers, or watched porn in any form. He might now have left all that behind him. Where do you go from here? If you don't trust him then the situation is almost as bad as the previous situation where you trusted him but he was a porn user. If you do trust him and he's using, then your trust is misplaced. This is a very confusing situation. Fundamentally, you have to do what is best for your own state of mind. He might be offended by your lack of trust in him, but this is something he has to live with. He is the cause for your lack of trust.

It feels like a betrayal of trust because that's exactly what it is. Try not get too hung up on the idea that he kept a secret from you. His motivation for keeping it a secret might have been good. He might have been trying to protect you from the pain of his addiction because he loves you. You can never know for sure. But I'm sure you have some secrets you have kept back from him, probably because you love him and don't want to hurt him. However, I'm willing to bet that the scale of his secret overshadows any you might have.

You are right when you say you are 'mourning'. If you think about a time when you lost someone you loved; a grandparent, a parent, a friend, then you will recall that the pain is 'raw' at the beginning. The pain may never go away, but it becomes bearable and eventually almost imperceptible. You will have good days and bad days, but hopefully the good days will eventually outnumber the bad ones. At the moment you still feel that your relationship is with fighting for, which shows great inner strength. Now your partner has to fight his addiction to save your relationship. I wish you both luck.

Sliced

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 03:13:57 PM »
Mousemat1 thank you. A lot of what you said has come up for us in the last week.

I thought I would update, just as I have frantically found myself searching through this forum for signs that I am not going crazy. This might help others in the same situation.

I had a really bad night earlier in the week. It scared me. (I have a bad relationship history with issues that this is feeding into) I felt very out of control and only have very limited memory of the evening. My partner reflects that it appeared I ‘wasn’t really there’ at times and I imagine this was quite accurate.

This came after discovering my partner had kept a really close friendship hidden from me with someone he has slept with in the past. These weren’t the robotic, compulsive addiction driven messages of the girls on Facebook, but still hidden. It makes me wonder whether this is innocent, or a more emotional betrayal. We’ve put a pin in this while he thinks on it and might take it to counselling. This isn’t the only friendship my partner has hidden with girls he has a history with and it is hard to believe it isn’t connected.

Since then, I realised that I needed to do better at looking after myself. Initially I found suggestions such as limiting the amount of time we spent talking about the issues as repressive. I felt resentful as I felt I had the right to talk when I needed, why should he get the privilege of being able to limit my process. But then I realised that the limiting of the discussions is actually helpful for me. (Of course I care about his process as well, like I say they were resentments and not my full feelings)

- We have agreed not to have discussions about things by text, as we cant tell tone and it was fuelling anger. (It is also nice because I want to message him sometimes so we are having normal-ish messages)
- We are having a check in phone call during the day. Might seem intense, but works for us.
- We are having a talk during the evening - not on the evenings that either of us has counselling as emotions are already heightened, unless the person who has had the counselling needs to talk.
- At the suggestion of someone on the forum to my partner we are going to start reading love you, hate porn together chapter by chapter to structure our discussions. (Have done chapter 1).
- If I get hit with worries or paranoia during the day I’m trying to write those things down to speak to him about in the evening instead of just messaging him it. Sometimes I’m getting to the evening and deciding my questions are actually not things I want to know so I don’t end up asking them.

I feel a bit like I’m in an odd place. My partner is working hard, he is being vigilant and I am proud of the steps he is taking to get better.
We have spoken loads, have had some great calm and honest discussions. I am angry but I am saying what I need and I feel that I have been heard and listened to by him. It almost feels weirdly calm, worrying. But maybe it is ok that things are sort of ok?

I mean they really aren’t ok, but they are calmly not ok....

It’s making me wonder if I am in a little bit of denial.

I am struggling a lot with my self esteem, as much as I logically understand his P addiction isn’t about me, it’s set off some sort of thing in my head about not wanting to loose him. I think it had already been knocked during our relationship because of his seemingly low sexual interest in me. I have been feeling very sexual towards him. I spoke to a friend whose partner had an affair and she told me she remembered feeling the same, very overly sexual which felt surprising.

I am also getting angry quickly at things around me.

I have been doing research into betrayal trauma and have noticed some symptoms in myself.

My partner has opened up to me about some more P related issues in his past. Increasingly I am feeling more and more sad about the pain he has been through and the fact he has been alone throughout it. It makes me even more hopeful that he will continue to work hard to work through this addiction so that I can stay in his life and give him the genuine connection and love that he deserves.

It is still on him, but I am invested in it working.

Sliced

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2020, 07:52:22 AM »
I'm finding myself getting quite frustrated with the amount of advice my partner receives on this forum to be dishonest with me.

I understand that specific details aren't always helpful, eg - I can know that he bought lingerie for other women, but knowing the type of lingerie is likely to only hurt me. (I learned this the hard way early on)

But my partner is an addict. Addicts develop certain behaviours to keep their addiction hidden. So that it stays safe. My partners 'addict brain' has used gaslighting techniques, dishonesty, aggression and playing the victim to try to keep itself safe.

Dishonesty is a massive one. My partners addiction will make him look me straight in the eye, well up with tears, hold my hand and give me the most sincere look. And lie.

Addiction is more than the 'drug' it is behaviours that surround it. Dishonesty feeds addiction. If you are being dishonest you are feeding it. You are protecting it. I have spent years working with people who are addicted. I dont say this cause I read it in a book, I've seen dishonesty lead people to relapse time and time again.
 
I require 100% honesty of my partner. I dont enjoy it. I'm not getting off on the thought of him fantasizing about sex with other people. Or his attempts to meet with other people for sex. But I know that he wont be able to build an honest recovery based on lies, and I dont see that I can build a relationship based on lies either.

It doesn't matter what the lie is, hell, if I ask you what you had for lunch and you said you had a chicken sandwich when you know you had ham it's still a lie. Sound harsh? It isnt. If you can look me in the eye and lie you are acting out of your addiction. You are gaslighting me by skewing my sense of reality. You are manipulating me to think you are trustworthy.

My partner wants me to be with him, support him through this and build our relationship. For me to do that I need to know what happened in my relationship. I need to understand the gravity of the problem, potential triggers, things I've overlooked in the past, behaviours used - so that I can help. So that I can stand next to him in this. Not underneath a rock 5 feet away. I cant support him from there. I need to be with him.

If I just wanted the facts and to run, I probably would have run when my partner told me about him relaying our sex to a Taiwanese man on Kik who got off on thinking about me and my partner having sex.

If I ask a question, and my partner says 'the answer to this is going to hurt you, are you sure you want to know?' or something along those lines. I have respect. Do I need to know? I can make an informed choice. But if I decide I need to know, I have a right to know. If he disagrees that I have the right to know what has happened within our relationship, he can leave the relationship. He tells me he wants to choose me, not the addiction. If he lies, he is choosing the addiction.

He has the right to ask me to support him with this. I have the right to know what I am supporting him with. I have the right to give him an offer of support with my own conditions (100% honesty). He has the right to decide to take that offer with those conditions, or whether he would rather keep his dishonest addictive behaviour. We are adults, we have choices, we make them. It is actually very simple.

Triggers are another huge element of this. I understand that my partner can no longer use P. I wont suggest using it. I wont send him explicit pictures of myself, or sex message him. I wont humiliate and shame him for his addictive behaviours. I wont manipulate him, in the style of the hypno porn or Findom people who have told him for years that he is worth nothing more than providing for them.

In response, I expect my partner to learn about and respect my triggers. I am experiencing betrayal trauma, which is a hard, horrible experience. His addiction caused this. In the same way that he would likely feel sick should I show him a sex chatting site, and might experience flashbacks, I feel sick when anyone shows me their phone and I experience flashbacks of the things I've seen him say to other people and the images I've seen. When I ask my partner a question and he says no, and I ask it again 5 minutes later and he says, actually yes - that is a trigger for me. I experience flashbacks of the times he has lied, manipulated and gaslighted me in our relationship previously to keep his addiction a secret.

My partner was the most kind, caring, loving man. He made me feel that I was seen, heard, respected. He made it ok for me to feel sad, he supported me. He was the furthest thing from abusive.
Still, I ended up with a belief that I was really damaged, because I couldn't quite trust him, because I couldnt let go of small inconsistencies in his behaviour, or couldn't quite understand little odd things that happened. Even my kind loving man's addiction gaslighted me. Addiction will make you believe that your lies aren't hurting anyone, if you are kind and nice with it. That you are lying to protect them. That lying is really the responsible, kind thing to do. It isn't.

People have the right to choose who they are in a relationship with. They have the right to know who those people are. A partners dishonesty, manipulation, betrayal, gaslighting, lack of sexual interest WILL be having an effect on them. It is selfish to put your needs above your partners. Addiction leads people to selfishness, and it doesn't go away on it's own.

Millions of people have found recovery in the world from various substances and behaviours, and they all did it from taking responsibility and control back.

If my partner want to get better he will. He is strong and capable and he deserves better than she shame and guilt he has led under for years. I will be with him as he works through this and will try to heal with him.
If he chooses his addiction, that is his choice to make. But I love him too much to stand by and watch him continue living that way, because I now know how much pain that way of life holds for him.




aquarius25

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2020, 01:37:17 PM »
Wow, yes Sliced, this forum can be a most frustrating place at times. It can also be encouraging. Just don't pay mind to the people who are less than helpful. All you can do is focus on yourself and your partner. My husband used to get told all the time that he didn't need to tell me things that I had requested he communicate. Addicts love to excuse behavior when they are doing it themselves. I honestly think it is hard for them to hear that their actions cause hurt in others so they excuse it not just to make your partner feel better but also to make themselves feel better. Focus on the integrity in your relationship. It sounds like you are both really hurting but both trying as well. The hurt can be overwhelming, for both the partner and the addict. It is such a complex situation. I know for myself I felt like I was on this roller coaster of emotions and I couldn't get off. It took months before I felt ok. Know that it does get better.

As far as honesty, my advice which you can totally take or leave because everyone is different is this. Give him time. There were a lot of things I would uncover that my husband wasn't intentionally hiding but that he just didn't think about. Then I would ask him and even though he said he had told me everything one more thing would come out. I would get sooooo angry. My anger was really because I was scared and didn't feel secure. Know that sometimes it isn't that he is hiding but that he has forgotten. Grace is hard to muster when the hurt is so deep but it is imperative if you are going to make a relationship work, any relationship.

Also with disclosure have an agreed upon amount of time for him to disclose new things that come up. Like if he has a relapse or and urge. For us we have a 24 hr rule. I know that he will be super stressed and nervous to tell me anything. Plus we are both so busy with kids it is hard to find the right time. So the rule is that he needs to tell me we need to make time to talk about "something important" within 24 hrs. That give him time to mentally prepare. Honestly it also is time for him to torture himself, because that is pretty much what he does. If he waits longer than that to initiate a conversation than he has cross a boundary and that has consequences because I need to be able to feel safe and secure in my relationship, as does he. All of our boundaries go both ways. If I ask him if I can look at his phone than I need to be willing to allow him to see mine. Transparency on both sides build trust.

It sounds like a lot of rules and you are probably thinking " I don't want to be his parent". Yes I have felt that for sure! BUt now that we are years into recovery it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels like respect rather than rules and boundaries. I know you are hurting so much right now but I do want to assure you it does get better....for both of you! If you ever want to message me direct feel free. I don't post in forums as much but I do respond to messages pretty good. My heart goes out to you, this is not easy and frankly it just sucks sometimes. Know I am thinking of you and sending you peace and love!

Gracie

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2020, 06:52:05 AM »
Like Aquarius I have been here a long time.  In fact I became a member from day one.  This is a hard walk for partners.  I thought I had married the one man that would walk beside me for life and that we both had the other topmost in our lives.  Then I discovered his porn use.  Oh my God did I feel gutted.  I do not know how I carried a conscious stream of thought.  That was several years ago.  So he was a little at a time revealer.  Kind of like water torture.  But once it was out, we began to heal and work on it as a team.  It was rough some days. But we were telling each other how we felt, what triggers there were.  We had been married 20+ years when I found out.  In some ways, I wondered if it was all a sham.  But we are on the other side.  There are some on here that say Don’t tell your partner about your use it will hurt, you can do it without them.  My husband and I are half of a whole unit.  Both halves have to work together.  They each need honest and open feedback.  No secrets.  I agree with you, we do not need to know explicit detail, but we do need to know.  Like Aquarius, you can PM me here and I will answer questions. 

westie

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Re: Looking for some insights
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2021, 09:38:45 PM »
What if my husband keeps secrets other than porn like emailing other women and chatting on Whatsapp?

2 weeks ago he said he was leaving to pickup a Urkaine woman at the airport. I knew it to be a scam ...how do I get him to reconnect to me?