How wives can help

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by SupportWife, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    Hello, I'm new to this journey. I found out about my husband's porn addiction about two weeks ago. I am trying to be very supportive and help him in any way I can. It was devastating to find out (unfortunately the hard way), but he says I handled it well and now that it's out in the open I feel we have become closer.

    A little explanation of our history...
    We've been married 14 years. I have a history of abuse in childhood which made intimacy and trust extremely difficult. I also suffer from several medical reproductive issues that make penetrative sex extremely painful. I have worked with a therapist to correct the mental blocks and am currently working on correcting my other issues to make penatrative sex more enjoyable, but it's a long process unfortuantely. The years of missing intimacy and connection is what caused my husband to turn to porn to "get his fix" since I wasnt able to satisfy him the natural way. Then it just snowballed as those new unnatural pathways developed. He has always done MO since he was quite young to get rid of urges, sometimes with porn once he was older, but it only really reached addiction levels about 5 years ago.

    He has wanted to quit for several years, but couldn't do it on his own. He couldn't figure out how to talk to me about it since sex had become a touchy topic between us and he was ashamed of how I'd feel and afraid of how I'd react.

    Since I found out, he is determined to quit. He had a relapse the first day, literally less than an hour after we had a long deep discussion about it, but has since then not gone online. He has been very tempted, even sat in his computer chair looking at the keyboard, but hasn't actually done it. He has asked me to track all of his internet activity since if he knows I'll see if he slips up then he's less likely to cave to his urges. I also have free remote access to the computer at any time so knowing I could pop on and look any time helps curb those urges too. Since we are now so open about it, he will call me if the urges get out of control so that I can help walk him through it, even just stay on the phone until he brings himself back down.

    I was sending him intimate pictures initially thinking if he thought of me instead then he wouldn't need porn. Obviously this was before I researched everything and I now realize that can't be the case. I continued to send them though since it gave me a thrill that I was able to excite him so much, finding out the way I did made me feel unworthy and further damaged my already low self esteem and body image so this helped rebolster my confidence to know how much he enjoyed it. Plus I figured if the urge got really bad if he had something from me to MO to it was at least better than him finding something online. However tonight when I asked him if he did MO every time he looked at them he said yes and it was almost daily. Now we realized that was just reinforcing his unhealthy pathways and essentially acting as a porn substitute. So he has deleted all images and videos he had of me and I will not be sending more, at least not during his reboot. He has now decided to do a medium reboot where he eliminates PM, but is okay with O if it's with me.

    My question is how else can I help? Other than just listening and being a support? I can only imagine how difficult this will be and how intense the urges will get without a regular release. His libido is extremely high (although it's hard to tell if that's his natural drive or the addiction). What can I do to assist and ease his progress?

    We do plan to incorporate sex in his recovery since he has no problem engaging, it has created a strong connection between us which is what he always felt was missing, and we feel it will strengthen those healthy, natural pathways. But should we be limiting the number or encounters to ensure it doesn't also become a porn substitute? He does tell me he tries to initiate for a connection rather than just a release and he does seem present during, but it's hard to tell if that's the case or if his addictive mind is confusing the two on him. I've been working on building my own libido quite successfully, should I be holding back on trying to turn him on, teasing him, or initiating sex? He also suffers from DE and can only O with me when he does MO with me engaging at the same time or if it's oral. Are those options going to hinder his progress or are they okay? Should we just enjoy the intimacy shared regardless of whether he can O and hold out on alternatives until he can O with me naturally? I would assume once pentrarive sex is possible it should help, we've had to be sort of creative in the meantime but I'm not sure how those means will affect his progress and success. He also says he gets inside his own head and comes close, but then focuses too much on how he wants to O for me and then it kills it.

    Lastly, now that we've rekindled our private life together and I'm more engaging, we are sort of discovering ourselves like a newly married couple. He really likes the idea of dressing up (not full role play, just costumes and nothing fetish or specific even, just skimpy costumes). Is this going to reinforce fantasy too much and be a hindrance?

    Sorry for the novel, it just feels so good to have found a group of people going through the same struggles as we are. And hopefully people who can give advice from the addict's perspective since I have no idea what is most beneficial for me to do. Any advice or guidance on how I can best play a part in his recovery are appreciated!
     
  2. DeeJ4y

    DeeJ4y Fapstronaut

    574
    599
    93
    Go easy one him, like with every addictions there will be relapses. Of there is not, then great. Making ultimatums about pmo will not help, it will only stress more. From what I have read you are not doing anything wrong now so keep that attitude of support.
     
    Wugazi32 and SupportWife like this.
  3. p1n1983

    p1n1983 Fapstronaut

    946
    1,149
    123
    Is not your job to fix him, is his own.
    So, be supportive on the procces, be his number one cheerleader and help him if he ask you to do something. Don't be all over him, control him or try to help by signing him up on therapy or suggest him to do this an that... that need to come from him, not you. If it not his idea, then is not going to work.

    Of course you really need to pay attention that he is in fact getting better and putting the effort on it, and ask yourselve what if he never gets better? he try for years to beat this addiction, and never could, is highly likely that he is not going to be able to win this time. What are you going to do if that happens?
     
    ANewFocus likes this.
  4. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    Anything I do as far as being all over him and constantly checking in has been at his request. He knows being accountable will help him. I know that it is ultimately his battle to fight. The difference between previous attempts and this one is that he now has support from me and isn't entirely on his own. We've also been able to resume an intimate relationship. His main reason for escalating and continuing the addiction was because he had convinced himself we never would and it drove him to despair and that was sort of his coping mechanism. I know that having intimacy back won't magically cure his addiction, but it will help give him hope and something to motivate him. He has horrible impulse control so I am certain there will be relapses. It devastates me to think about it. I think mostly I feel guilty since I feel it is my fault for putting him in the position he was I'm even though the issues I had were not under my control. It also feels almost like an affair even though I do understand the brain chemistry behind it so I'm sure I will struggle with it. Ultimately though, I will stand by him no matter what happens in the end.
     
    Nugget9 and Wugazi32 like this.
  5. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    Just to clarify, he has never blamed me and has taken full responsibility for where he is now and for his recovery. It is my own insecurities causing me to feel this way. Between the pain with intimacy and having to be on birth control for most of my life due to medical conditions, my libido and motivation to fix the issues were zero. I basically shut down and also stopped other forms of connection since he always tried to lead them to more. Now that my therapist has helped me change my perspective and realize I want to do this for me and us as a couple, not just to satisfy his needs, I have a much healthier outlook and a strong desire to find that connection with him and finally work on my issues. I spent our entire married life beating myself up and feeling guilty so although my logical self knows better now, my emotional self is still sorting that out. Now we are working on both of our struggles together and I think it has helped both of us.

    Thanks so much for sharing!
     
    Nugget9, ANewFocus and Jefferson7 like this.
  6. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    120
    95
    28
    pin1983 I just wish once just once your glass was half full.
     
  7. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    I agree, isn't this supposed to be a place for those with the same struggle to go for support and encouragement? Of course I fully realize that relapses are likely, but that doesn't mean just because he hasn't succeeded before that he won't now. If everyone gave up after a failure rather than getting back up and trying again, no one would ever have accomplished great things. My husband's circumstances have changed this time. He found NoFap, did more research to prepare himself, and most importantly he now has me as a support. I know this journey won't be easy or without bumps in the road and I would stick with him regardless of anything that happens or the final outcome, but I strongly believe he can overcome this. He told me yesterday "it's not so unbearable anymore, like a light at an end of a tunnel....yes the tunnel is long and the light is little, but it's more then I ever had before." I thought it was pretty profound. We know it will be a long road, but focusing on what he could accomplish will offer more success than going into it assuming he'll fail.
     
    stegiss likes this.
  8. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

    920
    1,095
    123
    Pin1983 is giving a realistic perspective and that is important to have. I have been in sexual recovery programs for over a decade. I’ve had months and almost a year on several occasions. I’ve known hundreds in real life and many people using nofap. Lasting recovery without slips is extremely rare. I’ve seen people sober 23 years have slips; seen people sober 5 years do the same and lose their marriages over it. These are many of the best cases. Relationships where the women view porn as infidelity often yield strong results, but when slips happened which they inevitably do, the marriage didn’t survive.

    Support him but if you bank on full recovery without slips, your pain will be greater when it happens.

    While your husband is desperate, try to get him to turn his life around and fully commit as much as he can. Present options to him and let it be his choice but give him as many options to help him build his life around this. Desperation fades over time (sometimes weeks or months later) and it’s hard to get it back.
     
    Nugget9 likes this.
  9. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    120
    95
    28
    "I have been in sexual recovery programs for over a decade. I’ve had months and almost a year on several occasions."

    Then would it be fair to say that what you're doing isn't working?
     
    stegiss likes this.
  10. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

    920
    1,095
    123
    You’re right.

    I wish it would. But I haven’t been able to heal the wounds of being abandoned by my parents as a child and physically abused and neglected early in my life. Recovery is harder for some of us.
     
  11. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    I am a very matter of fact thinker despite the fact that my emotions were a little more involved with this discovery. I have a very realistic outlook and completely understand slip ups will almost certianly happen. And I realize it is a life long struggle, I know this isn't going away. In fact, when he has seemed to be doing well I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and for something to happen. I hope to help minimize the relapses, but am not naive enough to think they won't happen. I'm prepared to stick by him even when that does happen, I'm not going anywhere no matter what happens.

    We have taken advantage of his invigorated resolve and strong desire to not do anything to hurt me further. While his motivation is so strong, we have put lots of things in place. He now joins me for my afternoon walk at work and has lots of distractions set up for when he's at home alone in case he needs them. He is also able to move his work schedule around if he starts to find the afternoons alone too much. And we've set up tracking software at his request despite his cravings not being strong now since if he knows I can check it will make him less likely to go online when he does get strong urges. We are definitely capitalizing on his current desperation to set up a solid start and a long term plan.
     
  12. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

    920
    1,095
    123
    I love all this. Patrick carnes has some nice tools like relapse prevention plans and personal craziness index which can help.
     
  13. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    120
    95
    28
    Carnes was brilliant. He pioneered a lot of what sex addiction treatment is today.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
  14. Sign of the Cross

    Sign of the Cross Fapstronaut

    28
    28
    13
    @SupportWife from what I've read here I have to say that you've been a great help to your husband - mainy because you've got some issues of your own to deal with. And it's great to see that he wants to get rid of his addiction.
    I wish you all the best as a couple. I'm sure you guys are going to overcome all these problems.
     
    SupportWife and ANewFocus like this.
  15. rbq

    rbq Fapstronaut

    45
    46
    18
    I'd urge you together to really talk about what recovery will look like for the two of you. It's very important that you are on the same page. Does it have to be 100% abstinence from porn? form mastubation? You mentioned his pmo feels like adultery to you. So maybe that is what you'd like to see happen. But that's a very high standard for him. One he may come to resent because it will be very hard to obtain.

    Consider to many men, who are embarrassed in the first place to have any problem, will be quick to profess their goal is 100% abstinence, even when in the back of their minds they can't really see getting to that point. Setting a goal that is unreasonably high is a recipe for failure.

    Maybe think about other goals that may be more attainable. Perhaps you object more to chat than watching videos. Maybe it's the sheer time he spends on porn instead of being with you. Think about what is really important to you and set goals with him accordingly.
     
    Sign of the Cross and ANewFocus like this.
  16. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    120
    95
    28
    I don't agree with that. If we didn't set goals because we had unreasonably high expectations we never would have put man up in space. We never would have had an electric light bulb. We never would be able to fly. How ridiculous. We were taught to map out what we value the most and figure out what our hopes and dreams were and then establish our goals to achieve them. Set your eye on the prize and accept your failures and learn from them. Eventually you'll get to where you want to be. Never settle for less than your expectations out of fear of failure. We all fail. Maybe think about goals like this instead of what you can achieve only by focusing on the low hanging fruit. Our goals are most attainable if we want them and are willing to put in the necessary work to achieve them. I'm sorry, but this is really crappy advice. Maybe he can't for whatever reason but it certainly doesn't define us. I know it doesn't define me.
     
  17. rbq

    rbq Fapstronaut

    45
    46
    18
    I think we are actually saying the same thing in different ways. Maybe I wasn't clear, but my advice was "Think about what is really important to you and set goals with him accordingly."

    My only caution was to make sure that both the SO and the addict be on the same page with those goals. Otherwise it will be hard for her to be really supportive and him to really achieve.
     
    ANewFocus likes this.
  18. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    120
    95
    28
    Ok. Fine. But remember her goals won’t necessarily be the same as his. In other words, she has to focus on her betrayal trauma recovery while he needs and should focus on his addiction recovery. Neither is contingent upon the other. It’s ok to have common goals but our goals must be self-serving and quite honestly a little selfish at this point in times.
     
  19. rbq

    rbq Fapstronaut

    45
    46
    18
    @happenstance I think it's very possible they won't have the same goals. But, if the question is how can she be supportive, which is what was asked, then she needs to support his goals. If she has different goals, that's fine. I agree she is entitled to and needs to address her own needs. But if their goals don't actually align, then that's a sign of a need for deeper discussion. That discussion might not all be about recovery and support. But continuing along with different goals (which they may not even realize) neither supports his recovery nor meets her own needs.
     
  20. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

    518
    832
    93
    It sounds like the best thing you can do right now is find a good couples therapist while you're both in the growth mindset. It's VERY easy to fall back into old patterns, to assign blame and look backward.
     
    ANewFocus likes this.

Share This Page