Feelings that haunt me....

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Blackswan, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Blackswan

    Blackswan Fapstronaut

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    I try so hard to stay positive... to try to move on in order to help him pass this addiction... but one minute I feel I can do this and the next i feel haunted... haunted by images he may have looked at... haunted by what he watched... haunted by how he may have felt for it.. how he may have found them more attractive or arousing... but most of all I feel haunted by the feeling of him leading this separate life... while I was in the same house... in the next room.... and I never had a clue... will this ever leave me? Is this a part of me for the rest of my life? Will I ever feel the way I use to? Am I strong enough to get through this...?
     
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  2. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Blackswan,
    I was motivated to join this community after reading your post. I feel exactly the way you do. My husband has also said he is determined to get porn out of his life and I want to support him and be positive. But I am also haunted by images of what he watched. I had a particularly traumatizing experience discovering the depths of my husband's addiction. I feel like my husband is a stranger to me, someone I don't know and cannot understand even after all of our years together. I also fear that this feeling will never leave me. Like you, I wonder if I will ever be as I used to be. I used to love all the joy in my life, and I miss that very much. It is like I am grieving my past life. He says he is done with it and I am dwelling on his past, that he is a new person now. But is it the past when I hurt so much in the present? When I have anxiety attacks that leave me fighting to catch my breath? I don't know if I can ever feel secure and happy and confident again. I want to believe that we are both strong and are going to get through this. This sadness and anxiety cannot win...
     
  3. Blackswan

    Blackswan Fapstronaut

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    Loveless
    I too experience anxiety attacks to the extent that I pass out...how long have you been in this situation for? I only found out a month ago but hav been in this marriage for 6 years almost...
     
  4. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    I am so sorry to hear how this is affecting your health. I hope that you can start to heal, if not in your relationship, at least for you, so that you don't sacrifice your health, mind and body to this situation.
    I have been suffering from insomnia, anxiety attacks, and occasional days of unrelenting sadness. It was in mid-October when I learned about how bad my husband's addiction was, and late October when I made a traumatizing discovery that I may never recover from. I don't think I will ever look at my husband the same way again. The pain and anxiety were absolutely unbearable at the start. Anxiety attacks were about every other day. These days I sleep a little better, but I still struggle with anxiety attacks, about once a week. I still have some days when I can't stop crying. Today was one of those days.

    We have been married for 20 years, and I thought I knew him inside and out... We have had countless conversations, and the sad thing is, every time we talk I hear something that makes me unhappy all over again. Like a refusal to accept responsibility. Or regret that I found out. Or he starts picking on my grammar instead of focusing on our conversation.
    I keep thinking that things are incrementally getting better (I do not cry myself to sleep every night anymore, the anxiety attacks are less frequent), and this gives me some hope. I read elsewhere on this forum that the first 3 months are intolerable, the next 3 months are better, and 10 months was a time of respite and recovery. That timeline gave me great hope, although it will also require commitment on my husband's part. I'm wishing you the ability to see some hope, Blackswan, and to also commit to your health and wellbeing. We need to be healthy to move forward. I'm beginning to think that if my relationship cannot be repaired, at least I owe this to myself. We owe it to ourselves not to sacrifice our wellbeing and everything good we can contribute to others or the world to this awful sadness and mistrust...
     
  5. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    I feel exactly the way you guys do. I don't think I can ever look at him the same again. I haven't been able to since I found out about this, and he has completely changed since then and is doing everything "right" now but it doesn't take that away. I don't feel like I will ever be the same again either. I have known about him watching P since November 2016 but didn't find out it was a PA until late June 2017. Still, I feel like I've been dealing with this for over a year and I'm so tired of it.
     
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  6. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    TryingtoHeal,
    I am so sorry you feel this way too. My husband is also "doing everything right" now, but how I look at him has changed forever. On a "good" day, I observe him as a case study and I analyze him from this distant, third-person perspective. I'm not actively hurting, but I'm not loving, either. The bad days are so sorrowful and anxious. A few days have been angry and resentful, and I don't like that at all. He still maintains that P is "about fantasy" not "what I want in real life" and "not important." It seems pretty important to me if you can't let it go. He refuses to delete his files because if he "gets the urge" he wants to have an offline stash. He doesn't want to go online and get lost in click after click, hour after hour, of videos. I kind of understand this logic and I want to be supportive. But I also don't get how he can say it is not important when he behaves like this? I'm trying to understand what our relationship will be going forward. Will I always study him from a distance, think he is pathetic, abhor his double standard (you can bet that if I was addicted he would NOT be sympathetic or understanding to me; he would be yelling about how I've humiliated him or threatened his masculinity...). I'm so very sad that you have been dealing with this feeling for so long.
     
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  7. Kenzi

    Kenzi Fapstronaut

    Abstaining is not recovering.
    It's not.
    It sounds like he's still protecting addict brain.
    And there is being supportive and then there is enabling him.

    The first thing in recovery is scrapping the stash.
    Throw everything out.
    Second is education. How will he break?
    How were his patterns?
    What would be the best for him in helping with recovery?
    The third is tighten the perimeter against relapse.

    Personally I believe that the SOs can't heal until the PAs start to.
    Good luck
     
  8. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    Either he's willing to give it up or he's not. It doesn't matter if it's online or offline. He is an addict and is trying to hold onto whatever he can to feed his addiction and is trying to manipulate you in the process.

    We've all been there and many are still there. Hugs.
     
  9. E.liberated

    E.liberated Fapstronaut

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    There is a way out. I was caught up very very bad. I struggled and got out completely. I fell again because of a very difficult period in my life but am on the way out again. It needs determination and discipline. And patience
     
  10. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Thank you, Kenzi, EyesWideOpen, and E.liberated for your responses. It really means a lot to hear from you and to have your support.

    I hear what you are saying about him still being an addict. When I was sad yesterday and he asked me what is wrong, I said his stuff has messed with my head and made me an anxious person. And he yelled at me, "you're going on about the P again! When will it stop, etc." I think it will stop when he lets go of it. In the meantime, it is a part of our lives. He says "not a part of our lives," because it is "not important" and he thinks it is his right to have "his" private thing. But I think this logic is wrong.

    And I understand what you mean about the difference being understanding and being enabling. We're looking at the possibility that he will be away for 6 months sometime next year, and he says he wants to gradually get rid of his stuff so that it is no longer an issue between us anymore. He knows, at some deep level, that this "stuff" is harmful in general, and has been toxic to our relationship in particular. But I also think he just wants me to stop talking about it and then the problem will magically go away (because the problem is me; why don't I just get over it already, it's not like he had an affair, blah blah blah. I have heard all of this.).

    E.liberated: thank you for showing that there is a way out. This gives me much needed hope at a very difficult time.
    I am grateful to all of you for listening and sharing.
     
  11. E.liberated

    E.liberated Fapstronaut

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  12. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    My response to him: "When you stop. All of it. For good."
     
  13. E.liberated

    E.liberated Fapstronaut

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    It sounds to me like being in huge denial. Speaking of myself in the past.
     
  14. Kenzi

    Kenzi Fapstronaut

    It won't magically go away.
    Porn is the third person in your now polygamous relationship, that until you stand up and say I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS! They will continue to hold onto them.
    It's truly unfair to you.
    I speak as someone who had to literally have one foot out of the actual door before my husband threw himself on the ground before Actual changes started to occur in my house.
    And you have rights as a person.
    You don't get to "stop talking about it" because he wants you to... Because it's more comfortable for him.... Him constantly fantasies about other women and masturbation to porn instead of having a intimate relationship with you aand having sex with you and being angry at you isn't making things comfortable for you, is it? No.
    So he can take that request and shove it.
    At least that is what I would say.
    When I finally figured out my happiness wasn't dependent on my spouse, that it was a two way street, I wanted change.
    I was worth respect.
    And I decided to at least have some self respect in the meantime.
    I think you are too.
    I have literally been looking at this thread for hours and it's driving me nuts.
    Don't just let him yell at you.... Porn doesn't control Your life.
    And you are worth good things.
     
  15. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Thank you, Kenzi, EyesWideOpen, and E.liberated! I am truly grateful to you.
    Yes, it will not magically disappear. He needs to work on making it disappear. He doesn't like having to be accountable. He wants to gradually get rid of his stuff and not have to report to me at every stage. He could work with a counselor or therapist and be accountable to a person in a professional setting, but he thinks doesn't need this. I will push for it. If he won't talk to me or doesn't want to, he should have to talk to someone else. There is something to be said for this. A professional won't start crying or destructively comparing herself to videos or fight an urge to snoop on his computer to see if he is telling the truth (all things I have done multiple times). I will bring up accountability to a professional if he doesn't want to talk to me.

    And yes, self respect is missing here, and maybe this is the most important thing. I told him I was going to work on confidence building exercises, because crying and having anxiety attacks is going to take years off my life and put years on my face. I'm not willing to do that because of his stupidity. Maybe if I told him that my confidence building exercises include fantasizing about other men and masturbating to them he would understand my perspective better (irony). Seriously, though, I am committed to building myself up. And I will let him know that I'll stop talking about his "stuff" when it is gone.
     
  16. First Thought: I don't think this phrasing is near strong enough.

    Second Thought: before he will work on anything .. he needs to want to work on it. From what you wrote, I don't see any evidence of that. YOU want him to; he does not....actively "saving porn, so he can access it offline" is ANYTHING but working on it to make it disappear. He simply doesn't want to do that.
     
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  17. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    TryingHard2Change,
    Thank you for your reply. He has told me that he wants to change, and that he has wanted to for a long time. At the same time, he tells me he is "not a saint," that he is a man and "men are visual," blah blah blah. So I think you are right. He doesn't want to change. We got in a huge argument over this yesterday. Are you changing, or aren't you? He keeps telling that he is "working so hard, not downloading" etc. But I have a very hard time being supportive because of the double talk. Last night was a blowup argument when he was simultaneously trying to convince me that he has changed and told me that he would not get rid of his stash. I said some very harsh and cruel things that were not at all supportive. I want to stay and fight this fight (we have been married for 20 years, lots of good memories and happiness in that time), but I am losing the losing the energy every day...
     
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  18. You have other options....you can choose to accept your husband's porn -- we have friends that live that way.....I don't think it's right or healthy.

    But the fact that you are here tells me that you know porn is destructive / you don't want porn in your marriage. You need to make that clear to your husband.

    I too have been married for 20 years .. we have 6 kids .... and my wife made it abundantly clear August 2016---ultimatum stuff. Unfortunately, it took until June 2017 for our real DDay (100% full disclosure) to happen. 7 months since and things are still uncertain as my wife is dealing with 20 years of betrayal trauma.

    My point is make your intentions known and be clear ... if you want a porn free marriage, that is what you deserve..that is what you should have. Be supportive, yes, to a point. Ultimately, HE has to want to change (b/c fear of losing you or b/c he realizes it's wrong...doesn't matter too much in the beginning) ---- but he has to want to change.
     
  19. Omnitron310

    Omnitron310 Fapstronaut

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    I think it's important to remember that while porn, like any addiction, can utterly consume someone's life, it doesn't ever define them. It may look like that from the outside because they're so far down the proverbial rabbit-hole, but what you're seeing is the ugly face of the addiction. It gradually and insidiously worms its way into more and more aspects of the sufferer's life, like a parasite except it is mental rather than physical, and if they don't fight back against it, it has free reign to take over whenever 'it' chooses.

    What I mean by that is, while you have absolutely every right to feel betrayed and traumatised by such a discovery, it shouldn't invalidate everything from the past. Your husband is still your husband, the man you've always known and fell in love with. Any good times you had before, any happiness he brought you; that was genuine. I obviously can't say for certain since I don't know the ins and outs of your situation, but from my own personal experience, I expect he still loves you and cares for you, especially if he is now making an effort to change (provided that effort is genuine).

    Addiction creates such self-defeating behaviour in those who suffer from it. They may feel shame about the fact they're 'betraying' you, but rather than have that spur them to attempt to emotionally connect, they do the opposite and instead lash out, hurting you and creating an emotional barrier. That's the addiction defending itself, seeking to shut down anything that could challenge its power. And especially in men, there are many societal expectations at play that reinforce this behaviour. You're expected to be strong, to be a man, to never show weakness or vulnerability, to be a constant rock that others can always depend on, to soldier on no matter what. An addiction is very much a personal weakness, and especially one related to pornography, which can be supremely emasculating when discovered. So the instinctual response of most men is to lash out, close off, and shut down any attempts to get through to them because they don't want to appear 'weak'.

    Of course, none of this justifies or excuses the selfish and dishonest actions of an addict. Ultimately, only they have the power to cure their addiction, so if they do not it is because of a lack of resolve or willpower on their part. I'm not trying to defend your husband in any way, I just wanted to offer some hope that this addiction is separate from who he really is, and that the man you love and the good times you had still very much exist.
     
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  20. StartingOver

    StartingOver Fapstronaut

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    Have you considered deleting his stash? If he was trying to recover from a drug addiction I imagine the stash would have been flushed down the toilet on day 1. This is no different. If course it doesnt do anything in the way of him being active himself about recovery. But at the very least he knows that you are serious about what you will and wont accept. It might even push him into realising how deep into this PA he is once he feels the pain of losing the stash.
    Everytime my SO saved porn on any device i would delete it immediately (b4 i understood it as an addiction). Being the shame filled person he is...he never asked what happened to his beloved porn and pretty quickly learnt how it was going to be.
     
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