Reboot Nation Forum > Partners of Rebooters and Addicts

Question about feelings of disconnection

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Hey, all! I am new here and sincerely appreciate the community. I very recently learned of my husband’s struggle with porn. The short story is this, he was married and lied to me that he was divorced. We dated openly - even with our kids involved and my parents and grandmother. I had no reason to believe he was lying so when I learned he was actually married I was devastated. I stopped seeing him but we worked in the same building so I saw him all the time and he wouldn’t leave me alone. I tried to get him to understand he was hurting me and get him to stop pursuing me but he didn’t stop. On a Thursday I finally told him if it didn’t stop I would tell his wife what he was doing. The following Saturday I was in his driveway with his wife and him. I told her what was going on and she was shocked. He stopped bothering me for a time. They filed for divorce and he begged for another chance. I told him he needed counseling which he was already involved in and asked me to go with him. I did and I came to believe the only reason he had lied was because of love and situational. I feel angry at how stupid it sounds when I read what I am writing - I feel like I brought a lot of this pain on myself because I just shouldn’t have dated him after I learned of his lies. But he fooled the counselor. She basically told me he is an honest man that made a bad decision because of a situation (super short version).  Anyway, bottom line is he has used porn since he was 15, we have a very low trust marriage, and he is extremely disconnected from me...from everyone, actually but he is not aware of his disconnect. He actually believes he is connected but to the best of my knowledge I am not aware of any person he has ever been emotionally connected with. It is very difficult to grow in this broken area with him because he says he wants to be connected but he says he IS connected yet he lacks empathy and he admits it and has basically blunted affect (if I understood that article properly; thank you to all that wrote on that topic!!!) but denies it. Yes, it’s a complete contradiction all the time. :). Can y’all please give me some insight to this matter? As I have read some of your boards it seems like you know you are (or were) disconnected but my husband does not know it. How can we move forward toward honest connection?

Thank you all for any input on this!!!

I can only really comment on my own situation. My porn use has basically robbed me of my ability to connect emotionally with my partner, and other people. That's not to say that I don't love her, I do. However, there is an emotional distance. I think this is because I've fried my dopamine receptors to such an extent that I feel no reward from simple, tender interaction with my partner. Because my brain doesn't feel any reward from normal emotional connections, it doesn't seek them. Only porn gives a big enough blast of dopamine to give my brain a reward.

Obviously, I'm rebooting to try and reverse this damage. I'm desperate to change this situation!

In order to even attempt to reveres this sense of disconnection between you and your husband, at the very least two conditions need to be met.

He needs to acknowledge the seriousness of his porn addiction.
He needs to actually want to quit porn. If he doesn't see any real reason to quit porn, then your situation is never going to improve.

I get the impression from what you've written that he doesn't feel there is a problem. If he doesn't feel there is a problem, there are only two option left to you, but neither of them are particularly pleasant.

Thank you for your reply. It isn’t what I wanted to hear but it is honest and helps me not to take his struggle so personally so I do sincerely appreciate it!

My husband has a lot bitterness and anger - I see this as a general feeling at all of life but particularly at me. I am having a hard time knowing if this bitterness and hostility is part of all of this or if it is another matter. Any thoughts?

Again thank you all!

Porn addicts are simply unable to connect. Emotions are all for themselves. Bitterness and hostility is most likely due to another matter.


--- Quote from: Dawgwood on November 17, 2020, 04:40:44 PM ---My husband has a lot bitterness and anger - I see this as a general feeling at all of life but particularly at me. I am having a hard time knowing if this bitterness and hostility is part of all of this or if it is another matter. Any thoughts?

--- End quote ---

I really don't know what to say. The only thing I can add is that at the height of my porn addiction normal sexual activity was uninspiring and I started to resent my partner for not doing some of the acrobatic and, let's be honest, often disgusting sex acts I had conditioned myself to while watching porn.

I had enough of my wits about me to realise that the problem wasn't my partner, but rather my unrealistic expectations. Fortunately, I never asked her to perform any of the sex acts I'd become accustomed to. However, there were time when I just became frustrated with sex with her, and I often released this frustration by masturbating to porn when she wasn't around. I don't think women should be coerced into performing sex acts they are not comfortable with.

Obviously, only you can answer the question about his hostility, but in my case I managed to contain my sense of frustration with my partner because I actually knew that I was the problem and not her. I have no idea if this is the source of his hostility.

You need to try and get your partner to open up to you and share his feelings. This is not an easy thing for men to do because we are socially conditioned to keep our feelings bottled up and not talk about them. Would he consider attending counselling with you?

I agree with scorpion that porn addicts are unable to connect. I think this is often very true. However, I don't agree that bitterness and hostility is most likely due to another matter. It could be that he knows he has issues controlling his porn use and is angry and frustrated that he can't control it. I really don't know. In the past, I have become very angry and frustrated with myself for my inability to control my porn use. I wouldn't read too much from my situation though. Every person is different. You need to try and get him to open up and talk about his issues in a non-confrontational way. If he feels under attack, he'll most likely turn away and become more resentful, when all you're trying to do is help.

I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I wish you luck.


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