Heartbroken but hopeful...

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by hope4healing, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Although I've been coming here regularly for awhile to follow along with others' journeys/journals, I'm just now beginning my own. I thought it may be helpful to put my own thoughts out there in hopes of finding a pathway which may lead me to some sort of healing. For so long now, I've been wandering around in a daze, having no idea which way to turn and not really seeing a path of any kind to even begin to take. I want that to change. I need it to change. So, here's a little about my story...

    I'm the wife of a PMO addict. We've been married for 19 years and have been together for 23 years. His addiction had been around much longer than I have, and although there were signs from early on, I didn't know the depth of the problem until much further down the road. For so many years, I was very naive, gullible, and just plain stupid. I've also continued to make the same foolish mistake over and over again...listening with my heart instead of my brain. Even as I sit here knowing how many times that has caused me heartbreaking results, I still have a tendency to do it anyway. I am, however, starting to get better about it.

    As with many others whose stories I've read here, there have been a series of repeated cycles...I make a 'discovery,' he says he's sorry and hates that he's hurt me so much and promises it will never happen again, I believe him, and it seems to get better. Then, in a week or a month or maybe even a few months, the cycle starts all over again. I am just beginning to realize that part of the reason it's continued unchanged is because I've allowed it to. But, I also know that I'm not completely to blame because he's also chosen to keep it this way.
    I'm now at a point where I know things have to change. Whether those changes will solely be made by me alone or along with changes he's willing to make himself, I don't really know right now. What I do know is that I have no self-esteem left, the anxiety I constantly feel is overwhelming me to the point that I wish I never had to leave the house, and the worrying and insecurities consume most of my thoughts around the clock. Yet, I have to make it through each day doing my best to pretend like I'm ok because I don't want to upset or worry our 4 sons. But, I feel like I'm weakening to the point where I can't keep pretending anymore, and I end up crying in the bathroom or as soon as I lie down in bed at night just to let some of it out.
    Now, though, I'm determined to get out of this hole. I'm so very hopeful that my husband and I will come out of it together, but only time will tell. Either way, though, it has to happen.

    I'm sorry for the long ramble. It feels good to get some of this out, and although there is much more to the story, that's good enough for now.

  2. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    @hope4healing, thankyou for having the courage to fight this with your husband. I feel for you. I hope your husband has a true desire to kick his PMO addiction.
    shinichi1980s likes this.
  3. Mirandasface

    Mirandasface Fapstronaut

    Id like to share one thing that helped me and has continued to help me (besides the wonderful advice I receive on here or maybe even because of said advice).. In regards to feeling low and down about myself.

    I took some time to myself, still do here and there, each day. Even if its only a few minutes/hours. I used this time to relax and just enjoy myself without my BF. Whether you're reading a good book, taking a nice walk, getting hair done, spending time with loved ones, etc. It helps. It allows you time to love yourself again. I don't believe there is anything you can do for him until you remove yourself from the negative he exists in. Give yourself this time. Make it a reward for yourself.

    Its hard to believe that the feelings we get from our significant others words or actions are created by ourselves. Dont let these feelings defeat you.
  4. Handzfree

    Handzfree Distinguished Fapstronaut

    I totally agree with MiandasFace... As well as your own insight Hope4Healing. It's completely understandable your self esteem has taken a hit. Trust me when I say this though (and read it several times)... Your husbands addiction has nothing to do with his love for you. How do I know? I was your "husband" in another marriage... And I can honestly say I love my wife more than ever.

    Expect your husband to have great streaks of progress and he will also fail. It's a journey, not a destination. So yes, your emotions will run the gamut of happiness to anger. I personally believe the more you can center yourself, the better help you will be for your husband. Be firm, but flexible. A quiet mind and calm heart. Meaningful endurance and grounded responses to his failures.

    If you want to read some great posts on how pornography effects men emotionally read some of AlltheRageBackHome's posts. He has a gift for explaining how porn invades a person at their core level.

    Miranda is right... take some time for yourself. Take off with the boys for a picnic. Visit friends, restart old hobbies that used to bring you pleasure. You can't prevent your husband from sneaking porn, and I'm sure you realize this. It is something he has to do on his own. Even the best internet accountability software and filters can be overcome. Do however hold him accountable! and make sure you are Fair and Firm. You expect the best out of him for his own good and be willing to forgive when he falls short. And don't expect it to be a quick... "it's ok honey"... forgiveness needs to process and take time.

    Best wishes... and you're husband has a fantastic wife. Let us know how things are going!
    WantToBeAMan and JustADude like this.
  5. Limeaid

    Limeaid Guest

    A lot of us women in relationships with addicts are co-dependants. Most people do not put up with things we put up with. We desperately hold out hope for change at the detriment of our self esteem and our sanity. A lot of times in my marriage and in our recovery I felt insane! It wasn't until I discovered my own codependency that I was able to help myself and my marriage. I am not saying you are a codependant but something you might want to look into. When another person can affect your self esteem so much that you feel lost, have crippling social anxiety and are even suicidal it is time to look within and question why you are here and why you have allowed this to happen to you. For me it came from my childhood. I learned that everyone else came first so that was how I conducted my life. I allowed my marriage to get to the point it had without forcing some sort of resolution, whether that be divorce, counselling, intense discussions, ultimatums or whatever. When I finally stood up for myself everything changed. I was no longer willing to accept the behavior from either of us.

    If your marriage is worth saving (and with 4 boys it is!) then you need to fight for it. Get as much help as humanly possible. Come here, get counselling, get your husband on here, put porn blockers on your computers and just do whatever it takes. Your children deserve that! Never stop talking to your husband about this issue, it is the most important issue in your life right now.

    I am here if you need anything :). My husband has been PMO free for over 2 years and we did it completely alone with no tools or resources so it can be done!
  6. hope4future

    hope4future Fapstronaut

    thank you, i didn't understand how to create a new thread when i posted this and I will delete it from hers.
  7. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and reply to my story. It's reassuring for me to get input from people who understand what it's like to go through this because. until now, I've done this all alone, never having anyone to talk to about it.

    @JustADude, I, too, hope my husband will find a true desire to beat his addiction. For the most part, though, as of yet he's still trying to convince me (and himself) that he doesn't really have a problem. I've tried everything to help him realize that isn't the case, but as always, he's in complete denial unfortunately. Anytime I bring it up, he gets so defensive and angry and then tries to make it seem like I'm in the wrong for suggesting he has an "issue."

    @Mirandasface, thank you for the encouragement. You're right, I do let his B.S. get me down, and I shouldn't. It's so hard, though, when I'm trying everything I can to help the situation, and he chooses to pretend like I'm just making it all up in my head because it's easier than facing reality. I always intend to take time for myself like you suggested, but it seems there's always things I need to get done, and I end up spending all my time making sure everyone else is tended to first. I really need to be better about including me in the "to do" list.

    @Handzfree, I understand and agree with what you said about being fair and firm, and I also know that forgiveness takes time. But, until he will finally acknowledge his addiction in the first place, I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. I'm so ready to do all the things you've suggested and prepared for the ups and downs of his recovery. I just have to somehow get him on board with me...which is seeming the impossible task.

    @Limeaid, you are absolutely right. I've been wondering for awhile if I am codependent and if that is a factor in my seemingly inability to deal with things properly. I do believe my marriage is worth fighting for, and it definitely is the biggest issue in my (our) life right now. I haven't stopped talking to him about it, but I often feel like it's pushing him away instead of bringing him closer. Right now, I guess the most I can do is begin working on my own codependency issues. I have ordered a couple books about it, along with a couple more about forgiveness and marriage intimacy.

    Again, thank you all for your insight. Coming here and reading others' stories, along with your thoughtful replies, gives me hope that we, too, can eventually conquer this destructive and painful addiction.
    WifeInTheDark likes this.
  8. The Eleven

    The Eleven Fapstronaut

    As long as he's able to get away with it without any real consequences, it's unlikely he's going to change. Sometimes, especially when we're deep in the throes of addiction, we need a slap in the face to wake us up. Believe me, I've been through the cycle you're describing -- not with PMO, specifically, but with other behavior. I would do exactly what your husband has been doing -- apologize, feel bad for a bit and then go right back to my old ways. It wasn't until it was clear to me that I was putting the marriage in jeopardy that I finally took control of myself.
    fadedfidelity, MaKa and WifeInTheDark like this.
  9. Handzfree

    Handzfree Distinguished Fapstronaut

    Fully understood. I like Eleven's response. At this point he doesn't want to acknowledge where he is at, because if he does, he'll have to admit he was wrong. People who are addicted avoid admission because it means a "part" of them must die. Someone who has been prejudice all of their life has staked their identity on being right about their racists views. When that is stripped away, they are exposed, vulnerable and much "smaller" than they pretended to be. All that being said, there will be (and are) "real" consequences. The possibility you will leave, his employment if he is viewing at work and worse if things progress.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of "professionals" out there that see nothing wrong with viewing porn. I came to a point in my life where I asked myself... okay, even if this is excepted behavior... is it really who I want to be? A guy, staring at a computer screen, pleasuring to people engaging in sex, when in fact it's staged and the women are abused? Until your husband sees himself as an addict, there is nothing you can do except protect yourself from the hurt and despair. Educate yourself on the addiction and also, I think it's very important that you address any co-dependent issues. This may sound completely perverse, but we grow in times of trial.

    I wish you the very best and my heart goes out to you and your husband. I would encourage you to love your husband as he is... (addicted), but also put up boundaries that you need to protect yourself .... Finally... important... Remember too, unchecked, habitual anger is a form of emotional abuse. No one should have to endure a spouse continually yelling in a relationship... either wife or husband. So if you ever feel threatened physically or emotionally, I would suggest finding a safe place for yourself.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
    WifeInTheDark likes this.
  10. Davepl

    Davepl Fapstronaut

    For me I have been married for 12 years... Been PMO for over 15... My wife and I would go through the same routine of she catching me, I'd say sorry, and it would happen all over again... I love my wife with my whole heart and hated the fact that it hurt her... But the fact is I didn't try to stop untill I realised I was hurting myself more than her... With an addiction like this that is usually an escape from deeper rooted problems only once the person is ready to realize those problems and face them head on for themselves will the healing prosses start.. That's my experience... And let me say there were many of tearfull nights that I knew I hurt my wife's feelings and I completely hated myself for it but the messed up thing is it would make me want to look at porn more. It is a nasty circle... The other thing that Is completely twisted is that the women in the pornos completely disgust me... My wife is way more beautiful than the women I was watching... When ever I was single I was only attracted to classy dressed women and my wife caught my eye because of how much of a classy lady she is... Whenever I saw a woman that was dressed trashy I wouldnt give her a second look yet when I was in porn mode its all I could look at... It is like I was a completely different person... The man my wife fell in love with when we would spend time together and this total self hating loser when I was alone... I never stopped loving my wife any less throughout my porn addiction, in fact like I said before the guilt I felt drove me deeper into a porn filled spiral... I guess my main point I'm sharing is that for me my porn addiction had absolutely nothing to do with me not being happy with my wife... It is simply I'm not happy with myself and not being the man she deserves. Wow I'm pretty choked up now so I think this rant is long enough sorry if it's so long... I'm willing to bet a million dollars that your husband does love you... But untill he quits for himself and trys to love himself it will be a nasty cycle... I hope things will get better for you both.
  11. WifeInTheDark

    WifeInTheDark Fapstronaut

    After reading this thread, I'm curious how life is going for you since these past posts?

    There is another angle you haven't really talked much about. You said that you have four sons. Since most porn addicts have a stash somewhere....usually computer files and also magazines and or DVDs.....what are the chances your sons will stumble upon a hidden stash? It seems to be an American tradition that boys find their fathers stash and keep the cycle going from generation to generation....

    If your husband never breaks free and talks to your boys about the dangers, statistically speaking, the chances of your sons following the same path are pretty high. Just something to think about.

  12. Thanks for reading and replying to my thread @WifeInTheDark. I understand what you're saying about the 'stash.' I used to find them now and then. Now, however, I really don't believe he has any more of them because who needs to? With cell phones and internet everywhere, it's no longer necessary to keep anything tangible hidden and risk having it found. The only place he would have anything hidden, if he does, would be in his lockers at work, and there's no chance of our sons seeing anything there. Life since my original post has been a bumpy ride. I've gone back and forth between being completely determined to get our marriage on track and eliminate this horrid addiction to feeling so defeated and hopeless that I almost feel stupid for still trying. And, then it's back to wholehearted determination again. I have spent so much time and energy educating myself about all aspects of PMO addiction, and having a better understanding of it has been helpful for me. It's changed the way I go about dealing with everything, but even so, getting my husband to acknowledge the 'issue' is still an on-going struggle.

    For a long time, I suffered rather quietly. I would only bring it up once in awhile when I felt like I'd burst from holding it all inside, and then after I'd let off some steam and he'd seem somewhat sympathetic and reassuring, I'd go back to quiet again. For the last few months, however, I've not done it that way. Now, when I have stuff to say, I oftentimes just say it (as long as it's an appropriate place/time). I don't mean that I'm screaming or yelling at him about it, but I don't conveniently (for him) just stuff it down inside like I used to. I decided that it isn't helpful for me or our marriage, and if he's ever going to realize this truly is a problem, then he's also going to have to see/hear for himself all the damage it's doing to me. Consequently, now that I am much more open to expressing my feelings, thoughts, and concerns on a regular basis, he no longer responds with any kind of sympathy or reassurance.

    So now, the issue I'm having is with understanding how it is that a person can be so completely opposite from their usual 'self' at times. What I mean is, under usual circumstances, my husband is caring and helpful and seemingly concerned about various things that happen. If I have an injury or get the flu, he's always willing to do whatever possible to take care of me and anything else that needs done. He shows concern and sympathy and genuinely wants to do whatever he can to make me feel better. If I'm upset about something (i.e. when we were recently told about my Dad's cancer returning), my husband is supportive and expresses that it hurts him to see me hurting so much. This is the guy I fell in love with over 20 years ago. However, when I'm sitting there pouring my heart out to him, explaining the heart wrenching pain I feel about his PMO and how it is deteriorating our marriage, he can sit there absolutely emotionless, silent. His facial expression doesn't change. There's not a single sign of sympathy or compassion or anything else. He's exactly the opposite from the man I described above. And, then when I'm done saying whatever I have to say, he'll once again tell me that I'm upset about things from the past, and there is nothing to be worried about anymore because he doesn't still do any of that. Then, he can continue with his normal day as if I'd never said a word. I don't get it!! If he is having a bad day or is upset about something, it matters to me. I can't just continue through my day unaffected by whether his day is peaches or crap...because I care! How can he care so much about anything else affecting me and seem so apathetic about the one thing that hurts me more than anything else ever has?? Furthermore, it's really the only thing that hurts me that he can actually do something about! Is it a Jekyll and Hyde thing or what? If anyone can help me understand this more, I would really appreciate it.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I'm really struggling with this at the moment. It's making me question so much that I never felt I had to before.

    WifeInTheDark likes this.
  13. DireMerl

    DireMerl Fapstronaut

    Rant away dear. That's what we're here for.

    I totally agree with you about the jekyl and Hyde thing. My husband is the same. Sometimes he turns into this person I don't even recognise. Someone mean and cold. He's said things to me that I never thought would come out of his mouth. I don't really know how to help you. But just know that you're not alone. Finding out about all of the lies makes you question everything. Keep being honest with your feelings. Don't censor yourself just for his sake. You need to talk and understand. He needs to cooperate with that if you're ever to heal. Best of luck xx
  14. Hi, When I was recovering from my divorce I discovered a set of books on the Enneagram theory of personality. The one I read was Understanding the Enneagram by Don Riso Richards and Russ Hudson. This is an extremely wise and accurate theory of personality and it helped me understand why my ex-wife acted (and acted out!) the way she did, and why I reacted the way I did. It has recommendations for self-improvement as well. Since then I've been able to really understand every woman I've dated to the last detail by knowing their Type. I haven't come across any other personality theory that's even close. From what you say it is possible that your husband is either repressing or detached from his emotional center, but you would be the best judge by completing the questionnaires in the book. Of course typing someone doesn't mean you can change them! You just have a better idea of what you have to deal with, and what resources you have with your personality type to help you. In the end it is all about self-growth isn't it!
    All the best, YB.
    hope4healing likes this.
  15. WifeInTheDark

    WifeInTheDark Fapstronaut

    First off, we are all in need of rants....this particular addiction is emotionally brutal for the addict's significant other. No need to apologize there!

    How much have you clicked around on this site? There are some really useful and informative links that talk about the brain function of porn addicts. One significant issue involves the part of the brain where 'higher' thought happens. That pre-frontal cortex is what separates us from animals. The longer a person is a PMO addict, the more damage they do to this part of the brain. This is the part that helps you decide to overrule your baser instincts. The longer they PMO, the less this part of the brain operates. So when men on this site claim to be mere animals incapable of 'monogamy', it is because they have so extensively damaged the part of their brain that would make this possible, that they are telling the truth.

    For some, they have SO damaged this part of the brain that they become Completely fixated on getting that next high ....and then they find themselves pursuing call girls and transvestites and fetishes that they would have never before thought themselves interested in. They honestly love their wives and girlfriends but that emotion just doesn't figure into the equation anymore. It's compartmentalized. Some just go after more and more violent or depraved porn. Some seek to fulfill their fantasies in real life and seek to find partners on Craigslist. It all depends on how long they've been addicted and how much they've escalated.

    They compartmentalize their wants and desires. The higher part of their brain that is capable of empathy and emotional connection is switched off. While they chase after that next sexually arousing high, they no longer are the kind man you know. They more resemble the family pet digging under the fence to get to the animal in heat somewhere else in the neighborhood.

    That same pet would defend you to the death if a large predator came after you. But in the moment, all they can focus on is that sexual craving that they want to fill. It's a compulsion that they no longer have the power to resist because they've broken the part of their brain that would allow that higher thought that is absolutely necessary to reason their way out of the situation.

    When you tell your husband how much his activities hurt you, he is overwhelmed emotionally and so shuts down. He is trying so hard to NOT feel the pain he is causing you that his face shows nothing. He is actively burying the emotion in the moment because he no longer has the ability to respond like a normal human being. The poker face is a result of intense emotions.... Fear, regret, panic, pain, depression, no self worth ... He uses the porn to drown these emotions.... To NOT feel them. They are his 'medication' to counteract all the bad feelings.

    So in the moment, when you are confronting him with how you feel, he's doing his best to sit there and listen and pretend to be the person you thought he was... The more shut down his face is, the more intense the emotions are behind his mask.

    I don't know how helpful this info is to you...but for me, understanding what was happening in the moment gives me some comfort...just realizing that he DID feel something for me still helped me get through it.

    You're not alone. All of us wives and girlfriends have experienced those moments of questioning whether this man chasing after beautiful, perfect, willing women had any feelings left for us at all. Until they choose to get better, they resemble animals. I've come to realize that not all men are dogs. But men addicted to PMO are most certainly the worst kind of animals. Because they masquerade as caring humans.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  16. Rav70

    Rav70 Fapstronaut

    Whoa! I love your post. Animals is 100% correct.
    My boyfriend told me when he was deep into PMO everything made him horny. Chicks, guys, transgendered people, transwomen... You name it.
    It reminds me of the neighbors potbellied pig that wasn't neutered. It would try to hump my dogs. It terrorized the neighborhood. Eventually it's luck ran out and was disemboweled in my backyard.
  17. lfromcr

    lfromcr Fapstronaut

    Yay, Hope4Healing,
    Another 45 y/o woman out here.
    fadedfidelity and hope4healing like this.
  18. Yes, I was just reading your blogs earlier, and I intended to message you then, but time has gotten short today so I will have to do that later. Thank you for reaching out to me. I'm really struggling with this right now, and I appreciate all the support I can get.
    TheWife and WifeInTheDark like this.
  19. lfromcr

    lfromcr Fapstronaut

    Oh, I'm sad to hear you're struggling today. I will send up prayers and good thoughts for you. Hang in there, girl. I know it's rough… So Rough… sometimes. I hear you. You're not alone.
    hope4healing and jfromcr like this.
  20. Although I'm on here almost everyday reading others' journals/posts, I haven't written anything in my own journal for a very long time. I really need to be better about it because I think it helps a lot to get my thoughts and feelings sorted out. I write often in a private journal, and not long ago, I wrote a letter to my husband trying to describe how I feel (although I haven't given it to him to read yet.) I thought I'd post it here, and hopefully someday he'll be open to joining nofap and will see it...

    》》I'm not a beautiful person. I never have been, not just by nature, anyway. There was a period of time in my life when I was beautiful, though. I was made beautiful by pure and simple happiness. When I was truly happy, that's when others (including you) thought I was a beautiful person. To you, it was important for me to know that's what you thought. You not only told me so all the time, but you treated me in a way that let me know, to you, I was beautiful, inside and out. All of that made me feel so good, and it made me very happy to know that the person I loved most in the world saw beauty in me. But, I believe that whatever beauty I reflected was really just happiness and love that I felt...the way you made me feel. You made me seem beautiful because you made me feel loved which gave me such joy.

    Because I'd never been beautiful before I knew you, I'd never felt these things. You gave them to me. And, now that you've taken it all away, I'm no longer beautiful. No one sees me as they did during that time, including you. Sadness and heartbreak have made me so ugly. They are reflected from me now just as clearly as the good things were before. Sorrow is not beautiful. Anguish and despair are not beautiful. They are wretched, as I am now wretched, filled with the torment of having gone from ugly to beautiful, only to lose it all and even more of myself.

    In the beginning, before I met you, I was just plain. I was neither up nor down. I didn't yet know the enormity of emotional and spiritual expanse. You are the one who brought me to the highest of highs. With you, I soared beyond anything I ever imagined possible. There we were, aloft in the clouds, and for the first time, I believed my life was perfect. Nothing or no one could have made me doubt that this was how my forever would be. You and me, together...loving each other like no one else could. It was then that I finally realized, the same way a caterpillar evolves into a colorful butterfly, the love and happiness you gave to me had made me beautiful. At last, I was beautiful to someone.

    Never did I believe that you would let me fall, much less that you would just drop me and watch me plummet. After all, you're the one who gave me your word, your promise to never hurt me or let me be hurt. So, as I've continued to fall while you stand idly by, watching, hearing my pleas for help, ignoring my cries, choosing to do nothing, though knowing you are truly the only one who can save me, my heart is filled with disbelief. I look at you with desperation, unable to understand why...why won't you do something, anything to help me? Why won't you reach out your hand to grab me? Why don't you care about saving me? Why would you take me up there so high and then knock me down to the lowest of lows and watch me fall to my death? Why??? That's not love. That's not keeping me safe. That's not what you promised when I gave you my heart!!

    Every foot of my descent, every gasp of air I try to take, every tear that rolls off my face...they're slowly diminishing the beauty I once had. The rays of happiness have faded away. The sparks of your love have died out. The glistening beams of joy that were your gift to me have been snatched away. I'm once again ugly, but now I'm also empty. I'm not even left with the person I was before I met you. So much of my soul has withered away, leaving me hollow. I'm merely a shell of who I once was, the girl who laughed at everything and loved making others laugh, too...the girl who hated to be around mean, grouchy, or negative people. I don't really laugh anymore. I don't make others laugh anymore either. I miss that girl and those happy times. I really wish you missed her, too, but you don't even remember her. Your memories of her and those times have been clouded over, smothered by the hundreds or even thousands of other girls who stole your mind and your focus away from me. They took over, and no matter how hard I tried to hang on, you slipped away from me taking everything that was supposed to be mine forever. Now, here I am, just sad and ugly with a shattered heart and beaten down soul. And, you are perfectly fine with it this way. Indeed, you are the one whose choices made it this way.

    I wish you cared enough to want me to stay beautiful.《《

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