Disclosure, Shame, and partner updates

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by abyssnessman, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    Hi, I'm new here. I just began with NoFap a few days ago. I disclosed my porn habit to my partner early on in our relationship. The problems my addiction created have been present under the surface the whole time but only recently have those problems really surfaced. She called me out on the ways my porn addiction was interfering with our sex life and sense of connection. I listened and tried to remain non defensive. When I did feel myself becoming defensive I quieted my mind and returned to listening. I have updated my partner on my plans and progress since then. But the shame! Oh man did I feel so much shame! Which brings me to my thoughts and questions for today:

    How are folks here dealing with the shame they feel from disclosing and discussing their porn addiction?

    What are some of the mental tools or methods people here are using to deal with the shame of updating their partners on their journey?

    I have come back from other addictions in the past but felt far less shame around addiction to drugs and alcohol than I do around porn addiction. I want to be able to discuss my journey with my partner with a sense of confidence. But right now I feel like a dog with it's tail between its legs. Stories, tips, resources, and advice all very welcome here.
     
  2. de severn

    de severn Moderator Assistant

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    As long as I haven’t relapsed or edged, my shame has been nonexistant. If I have intrusive urges/fantasies, I reject them and continue my day. The longer you abstain, the more you release the shame.

    As for updates, I say what I need to say without hurting our relationship. I’m always honest but I don’t give weather reports if you know what I mean.

    My advice is to be in constant communication with your SO. Tell them how much sexual attention you need to feel taken care of. At the same time, don’t pout or make it their job to satisfy you. Most importantly, don’t go on a solo binge just because you feel resentful. Acting out is childish.

    If you need help with how to make a confession, just make sure that you express how vulnerable the topic is for you even if your SO doesn’t understand why. Tell them that you have a big problem that has nothing to do with them and that you are trying to eliminate a problem that could affect the health of your relationship and your wellbeing.

    What helps me process my shame is knowing that I want to get rid of the problem for life. I appreciate my honest, good intentions. It helps to remind ourselves that no one is forcing us to commit to nofap. We’re trying to better ourselves and that’s awesome. It would be a different story if we were all on here as a sort of fake insurance so our SOs don’t think we’re up to no good.

    Ultimately, don’t beat yourself up. Applaud yourself for actually wanting to change on your own. If you relapse, think of why and identify your triggers and patterns, then prepare yourself for next time so you won’t have anything to be ashamed of.
     
    abyssnessman likes this.
  3. I am a SO of a PA.
    I can only tell you from my own experience... like you, my partner had also quit drugs. This wasn’t very difficult for him.
    It was me that brought up the porn topic with my boyfriend.. I just assumed all men watch it, and it was one of those things every woman just puts up with.
    I honestly don’t know if my man feels shame. He doesn’t talk to me much about this. (I wish he did... when I have no information my brain tends to fill in the blanks and I assume the worst) anyways, if he did feel shame regarding this I would explain to him that it was actually very brave to open up about such a difficult topic and I have a lot more respect for him for wanting to quit and restore our relationship. I feel safer with him now that I know the truth. (Our sex life was almost nonexistent and he never got aroused by me. It made me feel ugly, fat, gross, unloved) I didn’t know it was because of the porn. I assumed he didn’t love me, was staying with me because I am financially independent and he was comfortable. I knew he watched porn but it took awhile to click on that he was using me for emotional needs and using porn for his physical needs.

    The shame that he should have been feeling is knowing that he ignored my physical needs. He should feel shame that he would turn down my sexual advances because he chose to MO behind my back. He should feel shame about all the times I would cry in front of him because I thought I wasn’t pretty enough and he didn’t man up and confess his porn problem- he just let me cry and tell me it’s not true (actions speak louder than words and rejection hurts) these are things he did as an addict and at that time he should have felt shame but he didn’t. Now that it’s out in the open there should be NO shame. His vulnerability and honesty is something to be respected and cherished. As should yours.
     
    abyssnessman likes this.
  4. Tannhauser

    Tannhauser Fapstronaut

    These are excellent questions. I wish I had an answer for them. The shame and guilt can be overwhelming, and communication about such a sensitive topic can be so difficult. In my case, I am even hesitant to share my successes! I worry that letting her know how happy I am that I passed the 150+ day mark, or that I had major urges and overcame them, etc. will remind her of past failures more than of current successes - and that her lack of enthusiasm and affirmation will diminish my momentum. I desperately want her to be proud of me, but she is a very reserved person.

    So I talk about things in a round about way - about things I read or post on here, about those I correspond with, about what I learn in recovery meetings. That seems to help.
     
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  6. Prov2416

    Prov2416 Fapstronaut

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    @abyssnessman

    One of things I think is important, is you have to be willing to forgive yourself. If you have confessed this to your SO and are taking steps to do better....that's all you can do.

    I would say though that the biggest thing that us happening is you are providing HEALING for your SO!

    You can't do anything about yesterday, but imagine being able to provide happy and satisfying sex with your SO. That is something you can continually work towards. That should give you confidence. Let that be your motivation.

    Becoming closer and more intimate with your SO. Not out of guilt....not because you wronged her.. but because you want to help her be the best version of herself. She can only achieve that with your help.

    So relish the opportunity and challenge. You have the opportunity to give her something NO ONE else can.

    Be encouraged
     
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  7. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    All the replies being posted here are great and really helpful. But this one in particular stands out because of your perspective.
    My partner feels many of the things you've described: feeling undesirable, betrayed, closed out, lies to, ugly. She has expressed feelings of not being comfortable with her body or her sexuality all as a result of my porn use and my secrecy around it. Though I never declined sex with her the disclosure of my habit and the volume/content of the porn I was consuming was enough to cause this rift. This is where most of the shame comes from.
    Yes there is shame about how far I let myself go and how much porn I was consuming (1-3x/day PMO). But the heaviest shame is that I made my partner, a woman whom I admire, deeply desire, am inspired by, and truly love, feel secondary to porn. I hope that over time I can repair the damage done. That I can show her even close to the extent of how I see her. And I hope that your partner can do that for you.
     
  8. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. The hesitancy to share even successes already resonates here and I'm nowhere near the 150 day mark yet (congratulations, that is a massive success!). The idea of updating her on my progress in the one hand feels like openness and honesty, and in the other feels like fishing for a pat on the back. This is going to be a tricky line to navigate.
     
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  9. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    When you say "As for updates, I say what I need to say without hurting our relationship. I’m always honest but I don’t give weather reports..."
    I think that this is where I have been/will struggle. Would you feel comfortable sharing what you feel is a "need to say' is for you vs a "weather report"?
     
  10. 0111zerozero11

    0111zerozero11 Fapstronaut

    There's not a script.
    Speak from your heart without fear of rejection or fear of hurting your spouse.
     
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  11. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    Understood. Definitely not looking for a script. It's more that I often overshare and am looking for examples of what some folks deem too much detail.
     
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  12. 0111zerozero11

    0111zerozero11 Fapstronaut

    For sure.... definitely some things to shield her from unless it's done in the presence of a third party depending on how extensive the addiction went.

    Good luck!
     
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  13. de severn

    de severn Moderator Assistant

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    I tell him when I full on relapse. I don’t tell him about urges but if he ever asked, I wouldn’t lie. I think that you should continue sharing what you feel like sharing because it’s an authentic expression of you.
     
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  14. Each person is different. Have you considered asking your SO how much she wants to know rather than deciding for her?

    What if you were to give her a broad, brief overview, just the basic essentials, and finish with, "I don't know if you want any detail, but if you do, I'll answer your questions honestly."

    It might be scary for you, but your relationship is more important than your fear.
     
  15. abyssnessman

    abyssnessman Fapstronaut

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    THIS! Especially that first bit about deciding for her. VERY good point. Thank you
     

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