Concerned my boyfriend's addiction changed me.

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by supportiveso, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. supportiveso

    supportiveso New Fapstronaut

    The title may be a bit confusing, so let me explain.
    I'm a bit embarrassed about this, and I realize I've written a lot but feel as though the details are important. Thanks for taking the time :)

    We've been dating for about 2.5 years now. We're young, in our twenties, and both have a pretty huge sexual appetite (me more than him, generally.) In the beginning, I knew he was watching porn. We explored a lot in different areas and sexted quite often, and he would sometimes send images or gifs, some of these fairly graphic. I didn't think much of it at the time as I figured everyone does it and his kinks were just intense--he never pushed me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. I only later realized it was a problem. As an example, he once was home (he lived about five minutes away) and not communicative for several hours after I'd messaged him expressing that I was struggling with a personal issue, I'd had an especially difficult day and would really appreciate a hug and a smile or something. He finally showed up to my apartment unannounced several hours later, seeming irritated, and he pulled up his phone (the phone to which I'd sent the aforementioned messages) to a browser of several videos he'd been watching and forgotten to close out of before coming to see me. He closed them, seeming embarrassed, and again, I didn't read too much into it at the time. I know, looking back, this certainly wasn't the only occasion on which he opted to stay home and watch porn rather than spend time with me (sexual or otherwise).

    What really bothered me was that he so often leered (not looked or glanced) at women while standing right next to me. I didn't understand that lack of self control, as out of respect for him, I always made a point of never letting my eyes linger on other people. More than that, though, I just wasn't interested in others; I am completely smitten with him and constantly tell him he's the most handsome man in the world. I understand he's human, it's natural to notice, but he would aggressively stare at some girl's ass to the point that other people noticed and looked disgusted at the both of us. Which was fairly embarrassing. Sometimes he would make comments to me about enjoying watching a girl run up the stairs or say "whoa" while staring at an especially bouncy "pair" walk by. This is kind of an iffy area for me because he knows I'm bisexual and perhaps thought I'd enjoy a look, too? But I don't really think that sort of objectification is a healthy way of appreciating the female body. These are just a few examples of behavior that, looking back, might have been indicative of his addiction.

    Let me briefly describe myself and my mental state at the time as it relates to this post and ultimately the question I'm getting at. Early in our relationship, I was fairly confident. I have always received compliments on my appearance and quite a lot of attention from men (which I've always politely ignored while in a relationship.) I thought of porn as something you'd casually do once in a while to get off and then be done with, so his watching porn didn't bother me too much, and I hardly noticed the leering--if I did, I never read too much into it.

    Fast forward to about a year ago. He mentioned in passing at some point that he'd quit watching porn, to which I responded with something along the lines of, "Oh, alright, good" because as I'd mentioned before, I thought it was a once-in-a-while thing and not a huge deal. About a month after that, he pulled up his web browser to search something and again, front and center, more porn. I was a bit confused by this and later asked him why he had lied about quitting watching porn (I'd stopped when he mentioned it, as I was a very infrequent user anyway.) He seemed very embarrassed and ashamed, and we had a long conversation about his relationship with porn, which I'm sure is fairly familiar to some people on this thread: he said that he had an addiction to porn and would watch for several hours at a time. That his tastes would numb and his need for varying/increasing visual stimulation just grew and grew, that the ease of it made it hard to quit, that he'd been doing it for so many years he didn't know what to do without it, essentially. He said he would feel ashamed after using it and as though he had wasted so much of his day. He knew it was not good for his health and affected his libido and wanted to quit. I was a bit taken aback, as I honestly didn't realize this was something he'd been struggling with. I told him that I was only upset that he had lied to me because I value the openness and honesty in our relationship. I held him, told him I supported him and that he could talk to me whenever he felt he needed to. He mentioned that he felt guilty and that he thought it would change the way I saw him as a person or that it would make me insecure. He said that it changed the way he saw women and that when he wasn't on porn, he found "normal women" to be more attractive in general, though he claimed it never affected the way he saw me.

    Fast forward to about a month later. He'd been porn free since then, and I was proud of him for getting rid of what was causing him so much anguish. I have read a bit about some common symptoms that occur at this point, and they were starting to show. He was so irritable, and I felt as though I was an inconvenience to him. His leering became out of control and increasingly embarrassing. Now that he wasn't watching porn, he said he found "normal women" more attractive and would not stop staring in public. He lost interest in sex, however, or couldn't stay erect with me. I would dress up, dance, otherwise try to entice him and found myself a bit embarrassed by his complete lack of interest when just an hour prior he'd been drooling over another woman walking across a parking lot. I didn't understand, and I was hurt by it, but I was afraid to talk about it because I knew he held this shame and guilt over porn. I mentioned the ogling once, and he said that he "felt guilty for feeling attracted to other women when I tell him he's the most handsome man in the world." and then became upset, so I comforted him and left the subject alone. Weeks later, he nearly broke up with me and then apologized profusely and explaining he wanted more than anything to be with me. I feel as though at that point and in the weeks/months after quitting where he continued to exhibit these symptoms of withdrawal from pmo, I tried my best to support him while myself having no one to turn to or speak with about it. I think my self esteem degraded over this time as similar things would happen. I was supportive when he had difficulty continuing with sex, while something in the back of my mind wondered why I didn't do it for him but the women he ogled at did. I didn't know who to talk to about it, so I just dealt with it, hoping these feelings would pass. I once mentioned to him that he'd been leering in an especially embarrassing scenario where a couple we're acquainted with were involved, and he was so embarrassed and mad, I felt guilty for bringing it up. (His leering has drastically improved since then.)

    Fast forward, again, to now. He's still free from porn. Our relationship is fantastic, sex is better than ever, more close and intimate, and we talk about our love and living life together. I am so happy with him, with us, and with what we're building as a couple. However, I've realized that I am different now, or at least, I respond to things differently. When he looks at other women, I wonder if he's fantasizing or fetishizing them. When we have sex, I sometimes wonder if he's using those memories and images to get off. I know he finds me attractive, and we're "at it" all the time. But I find myself wondering if I'm enough now, and I don't understand why. He's constantly reminding me of how beautiful I am to him, and still I wonder if he compares me to others, women he watched often in porn or those he just sees in day-to-day life, or if he's looking for anything and everything to fantasize about when we're together because perhaps on my own I can't do it for him. I don't know why I am suddenly self conscious when things in our relationship are better. (I've also continued exercising and my physique is better than ever, though I realize this shouldn't be related.) I don't know how to deal with this, regain my confidence, and not worry about what he's looking at. I am completely aware of how ridiculous these thoughts are as I type them out. I just don't know how to make this feeling go away. I never worried about other women before, and now I do. I trust him completely and realize this is a problem of my own that I need to deal with, but I have been trying to use logic to reason with myself about these things to no avail.

    I realize I've just typed a novel--sorry about that. I'm just hoping some advice here might help me to deal with this, as I've found that nothing I've tried on my own has helped much.

    TL;DR- Wasn't self conscious or jealous in my relationship until months after discovering that my boyfriend was addicted to porn. A year later, some things that happened during his withdrawal have me doubting myself, though I realize the issue is with me. Want to feel normal again.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
    CH3RRY, Nugget9 and SuperiorMan95 like this.
  2. SuperiorMan95

    SuperiorMan95 Fapstronaut

    I just got back with my former gf. I'm struggling hard with PMO addiction right now. I've already had thoughts of infidelity. I seriously doubt I will act on them but it's true. This stuff is HORRIBLE. If he's gung-ho about being with you and he says he's off porn then I wouldn't be too concerned. Just make sure to hold him accountable and make sure he understands that you aren't judging him for his struggles. If he feels accepted and understood, he'll be less inclined to hide it if he still struggles. Good luck.
    CH3RRY likes this.
  3. supportiveso

    supportiveso New Fapstronaut

    I'm not at all concerned that he'd cheat on me, and like I said, our relationship has been fantastic recently. The issue isn't with him, but with me; it's complicated, which is why I felt the need to type so much.
    He's open with everything, his phone, PC, etc, for example doesn't have any issues with me pulling up the browser to find a recipe or opening his messages to send one to his mom while he's driving. And we live together now and spend pretty much all our free time together.
    CH3RRY and SuperiorMan95 like this.
  4. SodaSuds

    SodaSuds Fapstronaut

    Thank you soooo very much for this post. What you're feeling is very normal I think as with partners who are not only victims of a porn addiction SO, but also those those who have cheated/seek more in the relationship.

    I myself made a post more recently about not feeling myself..

    It sounds like you have been an understanding and nurturing partner for your SO in their journey and if they truly appreciate you, they will have to show you their desire for you overtime. Weigh whether having him explain his thoughts will help or hurt your self esteem.. I personally like details in order to make the experience more practical. If your partner cares for you he will be willing to explain what he's thinking in those moments of weakness.

    There's no quick fix for insecurities like these. It only takes a second for us to falter after years of building confidence.. and we have to be prepared for disappointments in the future. If your partner is patient and enthusiastic, you'll one day feel yourself again. Focus on you and what makes you feel good separate from the relationship too; there are many ways to build confidence. I love the gym idea!

    You're beautiful and desirable. Just learn to be you again
    CH3RRY, SuperiorMan95 and Nugget9 like this.
  5. evs

    evs Fapstronaut

    Hey supportiveso, I'm finding myself in a very similar situation. I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years and he's only recently (about 3 months ago) come clean about his porn addiction. His issue started at a very young age but it became worse when he got drunk on a stag do and kissed another girl. He kept it from me for 1.5 years and his porn habits got worse and progressed to video chats. He was so embarrassed and ashamed that he thought it would be a better alternative to split up than to be honest with me about the issue, but I chose to (try very hard to) put my emotions on hold whilst I tried to empathise with what he was going through. It started very well and we were really open with each other about our feelings and he was especially open about his urges and fears of relapse. Now, he's done 60 days and he says he's struggling with motivation- he's still determined to end the addiction but he's struggling with similar withdrawal symptoms now and, as a result, has become more distant and closed off. When I finally confronted him this morning he's admitted to me that he is finding women out and about much more attractive than usual and it's making him feel uneasy and ashamed. He's also agitated because he's always hyperaroused which makes it difficult to open up a conversation about it without it being confrontational. He seems less interested in me than ever, even though we've always had regular sex and never gone more than a couple of days when we've lived together without. Like you, I've always had a higher sex drive than him so it's not like I'm unavailable to him but he still isn't interested really. I sort of asked him about it and he said he felt guilty using me as a relief for the feelings he has for other strangers that he's aroused by. It's just such a foreign feeling to feel so pushed out of my relationship sexually. I still feel the love is there but I'm worried that when we're having sex he's just using me as that release rather than it strengthening our relationship. I'm afraid of that never going away! It sounds to me like your SO is doing well in his recovery and it's so good to hear that he's come out the other side of the 'leery phase'. It's an innate human thing that just seems like a scary obstacle to crop up in a comfortable relationship. If I were you, I'd just ask him straight up if that's how he's thinking. From what you said he was like before, it sounds like he wasn't too good at hiding it so it sounds pretty promising if you haven't noticed him looking elsewhere for sexual gratification. I'm sorry I'm not more wise and helpful on the topic but thought it might be a comfort to know that you're not the only one going through it. Well done for being such a supoortive partner - I know it's not always very easy!
  6. Butterfly1988

    Butterfly1988 Fapstronaut

    Wow! Thank you for posting this. Sounds a lot like my experience.

    It’s not you. It’s every PA and SO relationship, I think.

    My bf said that even if he was on a relationship with one of the girls he got off to or ogled, he would still have used P or been staring. He said it had nothing to do with their level of attractiveness or my level of attractiveness; rather, it was a bad habit that became second nature and widely accepted and never corrected.
    RedeemedIowan likes this.
  7. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    You are not alone. I think even the most confident significant others begin questioning themselves when they find out their partners are ogling porn/sex addicts. It's a new tough reality we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of.
    hope4healing likes this.

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