Are SOs a good choice as an addict's accountability partner?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by kropo82, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    Over on @Acky31's thread Trying to gain back my SOs trust a few of us had the following exchange:

    Are the wives, girlfriends, husbands, or boyfriends of porn addicts a good choice as an addict's accountability partner?
    MindfulAchilles likes this.
  2. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I do not have much experience of accountability partnerships, I do not have one and I am only taking on the role for one other addict. There is some good advice on the interwebs, for example How to be the Best Accountability Partner Ever mentions that

    My own experience as an accountability partner (and who knows, I may be a useless one) is that I need to constantly remind him how well he is doing. His wife and he have set very tough guidelines which he is committed to meeting but when he falls short he feels shit. My job is to suggest tactics and hold him accountable but more importantly to remind him how well he is doing, especially because in his focus on these guidelines he is staying miraculously porn free.

    I am there for him. I expect honesty, but nothing he will say can hurt me. His porn addiction did not hurt me. That's important.

    So I do believe we should be totally honest and transparent with our partners, and recognise the journey they are on to move from hurt back to trust (hopefully), but I do not believe they make a good choice as an accountability partner.

    (@Jason Russo NYC, does that make sense?)
  3. Numb

    Numb Fapstronaut

    I think it depends on the people. It isn't really a yes/no thing. For some I think it could be the best thing to do, but for others it could cause more lies and hurt.
  4. Jason Russo NYC

    Jason Russo NYC Fapstronaut


    I understand that an S.O could be triggered by their PA having to be honest with them, but I still it's the better option. Just my opinion though.
    GG2002 likes this.
  5. Torn

    Torn Fapstronaut

    This is a great question. I believe it depends on the individuals. Regardless, I believe the PA should have at least one accountability partner who understands addiction and is not his/her SO, even if the SO plays that role, too.
  6. I can't imagine AP needs to be 100% supportive, however with an SO the PMO is usually causing a rift in the relationship. Unintentionally or not I expect a SO will punish a PA more than necessary because they are directly impacted by the underlying issue. Even if their is noth action by the SO the PA will probably punish himself more harshly.

    Kind of in support of my point, best friend is going through some difficulties with her fiancee (also a best friend of mine). And she put all her faith that for the past year he has been her pillar for support, the only thing constant. And because of this big fight now she feels like her entire foundation is collasping. So I spent the night out drinking with her letting her vent to make her realize you can't always lean on a single person because no matter who it is they cannot always be not healthy for anyone.
    kropo82 likes this.
  7. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

    I am my hubby’s AP, for us it’s working, for me it healing.
    It’s the vulnerability and understanding each other, it’s the honesty that we really never had. I feel loved, respected for it and in turn I feel I have a better understanding to support him. This also helps me so I don’t wonder and second guess everything. I’m getting to the point that we can be in public and not feeling the anxiety as having the knowledge and communication sets a level of expectations so we can work through them appropriately. My mind isn’t working in overdrive that he is looking for someone to bring home because we can talk about it.

    If we pass by a triggering place we can hold hands and be there for the other, we can talk about it. With that kind of honesty we have built a safe place, talking about the harder stuff is easier but not always perfect. It is helping us tremendously with building trust.

    I do agree it really depends on the couple. From an SO perspective, I know how I work and some SO’s knows it wouldn’t work for them. I also know it can’t just be he and I, we have another married couple that we have been friends with for 20 years. They are 100% knowledgeable of everything and we have someone to talk to if needed for both of us.
  8. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

    From my personal perspective, I would want to know everytime that my partner relapsed. That to me is part of trust rebuilding and part of a boundary I would have. Some, but I suspect not many SOs would not want to know. There are really two different things going on her, regaining trust and mending a relationship and recovering from an addiction. The need for an accountability partner is to help one recover from addiction. In that sense I do think that is helpful to have another man in recovery do that. Also some SOs don’t want the passwords or to be monitoring porn filters, etc and so an accountability partner can do that. But accountability partner or not if trust is to be rebuilt the addict must account to his partner when he releases and provide whatever details she asks for. I think this is also about recovery (learning to be open with a partner) but also about trust.
  9. Jagliana

    Jagliana Fapstronaut

    I think I can add a little input on this, as I am @Wade W. Wilson's AP. He has a few on NoFap as well, but I'm his first go to. I am also his betrayed wife.

    At first, I wasn't too sure when he asked me, not because I was worried about my own triggers but I just didn't know how it would work, as I am not a PA. I accepted his offer to be his AP anyway and it has been the best decision for both of us during this recovery. It has helped him be unafraid to remain honest with me and it helps me heal and cope/manage my own anger/triggers. Obviously, this will not work for you (as an S.O) if you tend to get fired up when triggered, because it will have an adverse effect. What I mean is, I am able to hold my composure when he tells me things about his urges, triggers or ogling issues. Even if I get frustrated I remain calm and collected, and I am able to think rationally and help him understand his own issues and/or mine. However, if I lashed out every time he came to me, he would shut down and be afraid to be honest with me ever again, to avoid my anger.

    We've been talking about our issues for almost two months now, every day. Before his recovery, we barely spoke on any serious level, if we did talk it was about the kids or tv shows/movies. The last 12 years, our marriage has felt (to me) more like friends with benefits. No true intimacy, connection or even romantic love. It's been stale, now with him being so honest and vulnerable with me and I do my part as well and not bottle up my feelings/fester -- we are on a whole new level, neither of us has ever experienced before. EVEN after he gave me a gut-wrenching full disclosure last month. We were able to talk through everything, always.

    I prefer to be the person he can come to with all of his triggers, urges, pain, fears, relapses etc., because I am his wife. It should be me, even if it means I might get triggered. There is no other way for me to heal or learn to handle my triggers (that he causes) without his honesty. We need to rely on each other, to help build each other back up. This is a good way to build back all of the trust that has been lost over the years. In my opinion of course and well, for @Wade W. Wilson and myself it has really helped and made a difference.

    This is exactly how it is for us as well.
    Torn, Tan3110, Numb and 4 others like this.
  10. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

    Your post nailed it!
    Jason Russo NYC, GG2002 and Jagliana like this.
  11. SpouseofPA

    SpouseofPA Fapstronaut

    Mic Drop! :)
    could not have said it better myself
  12. Walter Milowski

    Walter Milowski Fapstronaut

    My wife is not on this forum but she is my AP as well. I completely agree with @Jagliana's take on it and @Jennica

    We, the PA spent most of our marriages/relationships lying to our SO, so why when we finally decide it's time to be honest with them, would we hold back? then we are just continuing the pattern of deceit. I no longer want to lie to my wife, it is how I got into those whole mess in the first place. I feel as though having your spouse as your #1 AP helps retrain your brain to always be honest with her. Otherwise, it's too easy to tell your PA AP the truth about a relapse and then have the option to "consider" whether or not to tell your spouse. It's a slippery slope in my opinion, so being honest with her before anyone else is a must for those in recovery. I'm an AP now and the first thing I tell any PA I talk to is: BE HONEST WITH YOUR SO, NO MATTER WHAT.

  13. Tan3110

    Tan3110 Fapstronaut


    This is the perfect explanation and exactly how me and my husband @Acky31 Are and how we are managing and I agree 100% that total honest is the only way to regain trust. During ourcoversations I try and stay very calm and ask leading questions to make him think why does he do this or that and try to get to the bottom of some of his actions. And feel those conversations are very good and helpful for change within our relationship. I am making changes to for him and he is for me.
    Acky31, Jagliana and Jennica like this.
  14. Jagliana

    Jagliana Fapstronaut

    Precisely, I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Jennica likes this.
  15. Wade W. Wilson

    Wade W. Wilson Fapstronaut

    To me it has been the most help, but of course it has to welcomed from the SO. SO need to be understanding and don't lash out every time a PA is sharing and being honest. I understand that may be in the beginning it might be hard, but I'm sure in time it would get easier. In recovery honesty is most important and it is accountability for me if I tell my wife everything, also if I tell her everything she won't have to wonder if I'm doing anything or hidding anything. Now that i have been sharing everything with my wife i dont have to worry that she can find out anything and our connecrion is so much better. Also, since I started to be honest with her she also started to open up to me. I learned things about her that I didn't know over 12 years. So, yea I strongly recommend having your SO as an AP.
    Trappist, Torn, Jennica and 2 others like this.
  16. Johns80

    Johns80 Fapstronaut

    I’m my partner’s accountability partner. His therapist was against it. We discussed it and decided that this issue was between us. He wasn’t comfortable having a friend or family member involved and I think it’s helped our communication and honesty. To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever trust it if one of his friends was the AP, I’d always be worried they’d cover for him somehow.
    Jagliana likes this.
  17. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

    No they are not.
    kropo82 likes this.
  18. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    I am not my husband's accountability partner, nor do I want to be. I do not want that responsibility. I do not want to quiz him everyday or have him "check in" with me. But we do talk about the issues as a couple and how it affects us and how we are working through them. I expect him to be 100% honest and transparent with me. I don't consider that an AP.

    He does have an actual SO with whom he checks in daily and they discuss whatever it is they discuss. I think it is important to have someone else besides your spouse to talk to that is objective and can truly hold you accountable, someone who isn't coming from a standpoint of emotion and betrayal. No matter how much we want to be objective, we SOs have too much invested, have to much to lose, to be the full AP that our PAs need us to be. I agree with the article quoted above.
    kropo82, Deleted Account and Torn like this.
  19. PMO is an addiction. As this is a site dedicated to recovery from that addiction the number one priority should be given to the recovery from the addiction.

    If the SO being the AP will help with PMO recovery then it's good. If it will harm it, it's bad.

    If not disclosing it will help, then don't disclose it.

    Some care needs to be taken not to confuse relationship issues with PMO addiction issues. I'm not talking about cheating with actual women, that's not PMO. PMO is not cheating. Some will disagree, but again, I am talking from the perspective of the PMO addict, and for their benefit alone.

    From the book in my signature:

    "Should I tell my wife, girlfriend and SO about my PMO ?
    The intention here is that it would help you in quitting.
    I am of the solid opinion that all these (sic) are not needed.
    It would only reinforce your weakness against PMO.

    If you slip, you will feel miserable and guilty if you are following the Willpower method. Add to that the feeling of deceiving your loved one will definitely push you through the vicious cycle of slip-lapse-relapse."

    To give some context, the book puts you on a path that is intended to take power away from the addiction. For the PMOer to not see themselves as a PMOer. Putting the idea in someone else's head that this is the "type of person they are" goes against this method of recovery. The passage above may not work for everyone, but it has that goal in mind.

    A PMO addict needs to own their own recovery.
  20. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    One quick point, I am not saying us porn addicts should not be accountable to our partners, I think we should, but the role of Accountability Partner goes beyond that.

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