How can I get my partner to hear me?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by GG2002, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    It has now been two months since I discovered my partner was abusing porn and lying to me. It was the cause of his ED and I was trying to be understanding and supportive. All the while he kept doing his own thing. He is going to counseling now and has stopped porn but the problem is he's not at all acting sorry and all he does is focus on his feelings. He does not understand why I don't trust him and repeatedly says it's been long enough I should trust now. And if I don't hurry it up he says well then we should just end things. He does not want to hear about it. The problem is that he lacks the ability to put my feelings first. I honestly have never dealt with someone so selfish in my 39 years of life. If I give him a script of don't do this or that he won't but he won't because he does not want to deal with my anger not because he does not want to hurt me. When I bring up the lies and porn use he says I understand it's a big deal to you meaning that I am overreacting to what he did. The other method he takes is that anytime I tell him my feelings he says oh I'm just a horrible person I can't do anything right just leave me but he does not hear what I'm saying because he's so focused on him. This past weekend took the cake. My Mom was visiting and he and I had not seen him for two weeks due to travel. The first night I got there we all went to a taping of a tv show and he was blatantly ogling every woman there! He had not seen me in two weeks and did not even look my way. It was so bad my Mom commented. I calmly asked him twice to stop but he did not. Later when I confronted him he said well you were not giving me enough physical attention in public. I'm sorry what? But this is just another example of his total inability to think of my feelings. He is so Uber focused on his own. Funny thing is that he never did that around me before when he was watching porn. Then when we started talking about it later he lost his mind got furious was raising his voice left the condo for an hour in the middle of the night and came back and told me all about his feelings and that he was tired of hearing about it. I asked him repeatedly to quiet down as my mom was sleeping but he kept saying so so what who cares? Our relationship is like the ____ _____ show (fill in his name. It's all about him never about me. Now I feel like I can't talk about it at all anymore as it will cause this to happen and I know that's why he did it. There is a very simple answer he needs to put my feelings before his and he refuses. If he did that I can guarantee 99% of what he did wrong would stop. If he wants any chance at all of regaining my trust he needs to do this. He's not even trying as far as I am concerned. And the sex has gotten worse he now has legitimate ED not just DE. What can I say to get him to understand me? I get that he has feelings and I want him to express them in a constructive way. But the issue is he is so wrapped up in his own feelings that he will never be able to see mine. He wants to be coddled and I'm not doing that. Guys any suggestions? I read about fanos we tried it but the problem is the conversation always gets railroaded to his feelings and mine once again were lost. Honestly sometimes his behavior is so outrageous I think he's delusional.
     
  2. This sounds awful. So sorry you're going through this. A few unconnected thoughts:

    • Has he accepted that he has a problem? If he is blaming everything but himself for what he's going through, then it's hard to see him truly committing to getting better. Has he read YBOP? Is he on this community? They did wonders for me accepting what I deep down knew - that PMO was causing me big problems.
    • i note that you caught him. When I was in the worst of it, I felt deep shame about what I was watching. Having that bandage suddenly ripped off, without having control of the confession, sounds horrifying to me. It's absolutely no excuse, but it may have made him defensive as a knee jerk reaction, as he wasn't ready to shine a light on his problems.
    • It sounds as if he's so caught up in his own misery that he's unable to listen to you? I've certainly been there, but I always made sure to acknowledge that was the case. Have you sought couples counselling? Even having a moderator for your conversations , plus someone to sort of point a mirror at the hurtful things he says, may be really helpful.
    • All this said, he has to want a healthy sexual relationship with you more than PMO. Your post doesn't indicate he's indicated that he does. I admire your dedication to the relationship, and will assume that he has positive qualities that make it worth saving, but you may need to frame it as a choice. That you're willing to work with him through this problem, but he has to commit to it, otherwise the relationship may not be worth it from your perspective. After all, you're suffering emotional distress, and unfulfilling sex. if you're going to make sacrifices, then shouldn't he?
    Sorry, that was a bit rambling. Hopefully there's something of value in there
     
  3. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    No thanks so much for your insight. I'm not sure if he's accepting he has an addiction. He says he recognizes porn is bad for him and us and that's why he stopped, but he knew that before and he just kept doing it until he got caught. He went to a psychiatrist who told him she did not think he was a porn addict because he did not watch daily for hours and was able to stop. That made things worse because in his mind it's not an addiction we have since switched counselors to a better one. I believe he has avoidant personality disorder in that he does not think of feelings of others and that's honestly been the case not just in this area, the porn. So if I give him a script he will follow but left to his own devices he makes horrible choices that do not consider me. He is very emotionally stunted. I guess I will just have to see but yes he's so wrapped up in his feelings he has zero time for mine.
     
  4. Hi. I had a similar situation, although not as pronounced. My BF now FINALLY started to listen to my side of the story and pay attention to my feelings instead of just feeling sorry for himself and making everything about him and his feelings. It is not easy dealing with an avoidant (emotionally unavailable) person.
    I don't claim to have the answer to your problem, but for me what seems to work the best is try to get him to imagine how it feels to be in my shoes. If that doesn't work, I ask him to imagine we turned the tables around. Sometimes even that doesn't work, since men and women are often quite different. Then I draw an analogy between my pain and the pain he would feel if I kept hurting him in his most sensitive area of his psyche. Lately he even started to truly apologize for how his actions/attitudes have hurt me. I consider that a step in the right direction. Baby steps...
     
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  5. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for your advice. Mine is definitely also an avoidant and so it makes things 100 times worse. I think as one psych told me you just may have to accept that the person may never provide you with the intimacy that you want because they just can't. They will try to if they want to fix the relationship but ultimately with avoidants it will never be what you desire or expect. If you like me are the type of person that craves the intimacy I need to realize he may not be the partner for me. So stopping the PMO is one step but it does not fix the other issues.
     
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  6. ClearChrystal

    ClearChrystal Fapstronaut

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    I may sound patronising and belittling to our partners but these guys seem they ate the same one. It's like it's the same type of personality and emotional intelligence being spread everywhere . It's hidden by all wonderful glittery distractions until someone more attuned force them to peel off masks. Sometimes I lose hope because it's just so clear that emotional growth needs to happen to these men or partners but at the time loss of the more emotionally attuned person. We can't be mother Theresa the altruistic do goober all the time can we. Or is this a test for our emotional growth. It feels like begging up teenagers TBH .trying to help them get self awareness. Sorry I high jacked the thread but I have the same thoughts when I read about these guys. Once again I realise I may sound patronising. I'm married to one of these BTW and hoping for the best ATM.
     
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  7. ClearChrystal

    ClearChrystal Fapstronaut

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    Again highkacjing but hopefully with a more relevant post. The only way I could get my husband to grasp my pain was to make him imagine I was camming behind his back he said he felt left out and stupid and inconvenient. Well. Bingo. A p related example that rang familiar to his experiencrs. But this brings me to my frustration. I'm not a bleepy psychologist. I don't want to be the fixer.
     
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  8. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    Yes I think that the personality of men that are PMO addicts are very similar. I generally think that an underlying issue takes them to the PMO but using it just amplifies. An emotionally healthy man prefers sex and intimacy with a real live partner and can look at porn for what it is. He does not develop a relationship with PMO or prefer it to sex because he knows it's not a sex substitute but something he may use on occasion of his girl is not around or with her. I've dated these men. In my case my partner was divorced 10 years ago and became very angry and closed off to women and relationships and started to PMO. So now not only am I deconstructing a PMO addiction but anger and feelings he buried for 10 years with PMO. Letting go of PMO means intimacy again to him which is scary. He's actually recently started calling me his exes name which he has never done before and it's infuriating. Our names are not even close either think Becky and Loraine.
     
  9. AllanTheCowboy

    AllanTheCowboy Fapstronaut

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    I think others have touched on this, but it could be a bit of a protective wall that he doesn't seem sorry. The fact could be that he isn't actually ready to face the shame yet, and it's taking all his resources to stay clean and sober at this very moment. As much as you rightfully feel betrayed, we rightfully hate ourselves. You've still got to get up every day and function in the world, so this being a coping mechanism. If so, it's important that it's a temporary one. It's hard to say what you should do if that's the case, and first you'd have to know for sure that it is the case.

    As unfair as this sounds (and honestly I can't even describe how baffling it feels to type this, let alone read it from your perspective, let alone do it) it could be that the thing he needs is to feel safe. My guess is that, even if you agree with me, the only possible thing might be for you to let him keep his wall up (so long as he's staying clean, and doing the counselling, etc.) until you've got the resources to let him turn into a mess. And maybe that'll let him turn into that sobbing mess in therapy, so someone else can hold him together.

    Something else that happens, or happened to me anyway, is that once it starts to get better, you can't imagine how freeing and exciting it is. Basically, you've forgotten who you were, and who you are. You've lost that person, and you didn't even know it happened. Then he starts to come back. Your brain comes back. Things you used to enjoy start to give you joy again. And it gets better and better, because you are going from wraith to human. We want to share that and show you how much better we are, and how excited we are that we are becoming someone who actually deserves to be loved and respected. We want you to feel the amazing impact of this healing. At the time, it's hard to understand why you aren't getting excited about it, too, because why wouldn't this be something to celebrate?

    Looking back, of course, it's obvious that the message we're putting across is "I'm all better! All fixed! Let's get right back to normal; you don't have to worry anymore!" What it actually was for me was "I don't want to lose another minute of time with someone as perfect as you, and I want to start making up for all the things I did. Right now! RIGHT NOW!" Of course it gets mixed up at different times with the emotional backsliding - the attempts to blame others, or to justify, which are probably as much to protect us from our own hatred as they are to protect us from consequences with the people we've hurt. So, yeah I get how we look like we haven't learned a thing. Plus, you think you're so much farther along in recovery than you really are, because by comparison to who you were at the worst of it, even at the best of it (the addiction) it looks like way more healing than it is. Plus, you have no conception at that point of how much better you'll become. There comes a point, more than once, where you think you're healed, because how could a person be healthier than this? How could you get any better? How could colors be brighter, or food taste better? How could life be more beautiful than this? And then it happens, and one day you look back and can't believe how broken you still were when you thought that. This whole cycle happens more than once. We don't know how much different real and healthy are from what we became as addicts. Imagine you live in a black and white TV show, and someone shows you a powder blue shirt. It would be so vibrant to you; you couldn't possibly imagine royal blue. Then more colors start to emerge, and you end up closer and closer to full color, and one day you see that same powder blue shirt again and think to yourself "is this really the same shirt I thought was the most vibrant thing in existence?"
     
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  10. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    I
    All of these are very valid points. The problem is though the SO has already been asked to accept and deal with so much and so asking them to put up with more is not something they are usually okay with doing. To me the addict should see that they are blessed to have a partner that will give them a chance to make it right rather than just leaving them but they don't see it that way. I think that they don't see it that way because they are too caught up in their own feelings wants and needs to take a second to think of anyone else's. Part of gaining forgiveness is showing the SO you can put their feelings first and sadly I just don't think most addicts can at that point or maybe ever.
     
  11. AllanTheCowboy

    AllanTheCowboy Fapstronaut

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    You're right on every point. I didn't mean to suggest that any of what I described was fair, or that it was your responsibility to deal with it. There is a point where we get healthy enough to be able to put other people first, but there is a lot of time in there where we are deluded into thinking that we are both capable of it, and doing it, when we still are neither. We think we're doing all these things that our SO's want from us. We're wrong for a long time before it begins to be the slightest bit true, but we truly believe it.

    I know that nothing I've said points to any solutions or solace. I'm not trying to say these are answers. They're just realities. Realities are not always helpful.
     
  12. Silas

    Silas Fapstronaut
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    Would he read or read with you? "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair: A compact manual for the Unfaithful" by Linda J. MacDonald. It is a really slim volume - it's succinct, but it doesn't pull any punches. You might not contract an std from his porn addiction but in every other way he is being unfaithful to you with multiples of other women and body parts.

    promises of faithfulness.jpg

    "former Chicago Police Superintendent Dick Brzeczek is one public figure who "got it" and managed to save his marriage, "The shame of my actions rose up like bile, nearly choking me. Until that day, I never realized how deeply I had hurt all the people I loved. No one deserves the kind of misery I had put Liz through... I knew I was no longer a winner. I was a pathetic, selfish, self-serving asshole".
    Your SO is still in denial. He is throwing addictive logic at you and that is pure madness. His addict is telling him to minimize and trivialize and just keep chasing that dopamine hit... The path to recovery is through owning your mistakes, making amends and striving to be a better person.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  13. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    Thanks. I did not think you were implying it was the fault of a SO at all just offering insight which is very helpful. Sometimes when you can understand the behavior it allows you to tolerate it more or at least emphasize. I think recovery is on his timeline just like with SOs the forgiveness after betrayal is on our timeline. We could push the addict to recover faster or tell them what we need them to say or do and many will try to do that. But until they feel it truly they will be stuck and so will the relationship.
     
  14. Tested

    Tested Fapstronaut

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    I'm sorry you are going through this pain. To be honest, it sounds like he is emotionally abusing you; that the P has abused him, it has de-sensitised him to the level of pain it is causing. The P has abused him; he is now abusing you. He is toxic and argumentative; I know, because I was like that, too, any my marriage failed due to my P induced behaviour, made worse by my wife not knowing about that, because I could not tell her.

    Either he dries out -- commits to sobreity now, or you have to end the relationship. If he wants to dry out, I can be an accountability partner for him. I am helping others; I can help him. But he has to want to get sober. He has to admit that his acting out, his blaming you, it has to stop. I am also starting a book reading programme on NF, we are reading The Way of the Superior Man; David Deida. If you want you can give him this free link and see if he bites. If he reads this, he will wake up. At present he is in a porn coma, and that is sad to see I am sure.
    http://ferryfalkenburg.nl/wp-content/uploads/The-Way-of-the-Superior-Man.pdf
     
  15. Tested

    Tested Fapstronaut

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    Sorry I posted some thoughts on your page. Hope it might help.
     
  16. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for the site for the book. I will read it and ask him to read it. I think the biggest problem is that he does not see it as an addiction, he just sees it as something he likes and can easily stop. It does not help that a counselor he went to see told him he was not an addict because he did not use it everyday and could control it. He is committing to sobriety but he is angry about it and angry at me, hence the abuse. There are so many helpful people on this site and it really has made getting through this much easier so I am thankful. Thanks for your input.
     
  17. Tested

    Tested Fapstronaut

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    OK I would use this book as a test. My hunch is that he won't read it, because the topic is too strong. I may be wrong. Do you have children? I realise that leaving a relationship is very hard, but this is your emotional well being at stake. There cannot be this type of behaviour in a relationship.

    Read the Introduction, then ask him to read just that part.

    If he won't it means he is not interested in self development or self understanding. That in my view is not on.

    The whole saga of going to the event, and he ignoring you and looking at other women, that is very sad beta male behaviour. Unless he rapidly changes course, I think your relationship has to end, to stop you being emotionally crushed.
     
  18. Silas

    Silas Fapstronaut
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    @Tested I haven't read this book - tbh just reading the chapter headings alarmed me and the dips in I took to ensure they weren't "jokes" confirmed it. If you are a porn addict you are by your own definition, someone who objectifies women. Since you are addicted you also have problems with self awareness, self-regulation and you lack the ability to see others as full human beings with rights. Part of the objectification process is to dehumanize women, to no longer see them as living creatures with feelings and hopes and dreams... they are merely sexual receptacles for your amusement. This misogyny and narcissism is in no way helped by this book - rather it, imnsoho, fuels it. By creating a separate compartmentalized sexual life and reality quite separate from your wife and lying and deceiving her about that you have allowed an atmosphere of mistrust to pervade your home and swirl around you. You have chosen to live in the shadows and that is not where a healthy and/or happy relationship can survive.

    I wish you luck and light for your journey of self growth and rediscovery but I sincerely doubt you will find it in this book.
     
  19. Tested

    Tested Fapstronaut

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    Ok, I'm sorry to hear that.
    I hoped to help. In my view the book is all about rescuing men from addiction. It is really all about asking men to treat women properly. There is nothing in the book about creating a parallel addict life; in contrast the author is developing a narrative of greater understanding and intimacy.
    I'm on day 91 now and the book has been central to my recovery.

    Having said, it may not be for everyone. I wish you well in your situation.
     
  20. stygian

    stygian Fapstronaut

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    +1

    In my experience, if someone does not see that there is a problem, there is no need to seek help, read books, or anything else, so those measures can be ineffective. The anger persists because of the denial. "Since there is nothing wrong with me, why is everyone on my back and wanting me to change?"

    I don't know what to do when someone is in the precontemplative stage, but I imagine that someone has written about it, perhaps the book Changing for Good has some advice? For me, I did not know PMO was an addiction until I came across some materials on the internet and then this site. I tried to give it up and realized I couldn't, at least not easily. At that point I became very angry. Because I saw that I was being controlled, and who is okay with not being in control of oneself, knowing that they are a puppet and someone else is pulling the strings? Is it possible to get him to agree to give up PMO for say 2 months. If he says there is no point, since he is not addicted, then you can set it up as a challenge and say it should be easy for him to demonstrate it. Once he gets the realization that it is not so easy to stop, and actually he can't, then I think his perspective will change quite a bit.

    @Tested, I don't think you should be posting links to copyrighted material, unless it is permitted. I actually just got the book and will be reading it, I can post somewhere if I find it useful.
     
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