How wives can help

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

  1. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

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    A couples therapist is of very little help for an addiction. Too many of them follow the old school codependency model anyway which is victim blaming. I would never recommend couples therapy to anyone who hasn’t first dealt with their addiction and betrayal trauma separately.
     
  2. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Couples therapy can actually be far more harmful if the addict doesn’t have months of recovery., It is not recommended until after the addict gets into recovery and the spouse has some individual counseling for betrayal trauma., my husband and I went to weekly couples counseling for 3 solid years after first dday. I wanted my marriage fixed but sadly porn addiction/sex addiction wasn’t really heard of in 1997. We went again for a year with another counselor again , no real help for porn addiction and nothing changed in our marriage. Now, he’s been working recovery for 3 years and our marriage has never been better. No couples counseling, he goes to his csat and I go to mine. Everything about our marriage is changed. If he had behaved this way from the beginning, there would’ve never even been a thought about couples counseling because we wouldn’t have needed it. At all.
     
  3. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

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    I said what I said because from the OP it seems like there are a lot more issues than just the porn. Yes, individual therapy is great - I go to mine and my wife did hers for a while as well. I wouldn't use a couples therapist for his porn usage - but the other stuff.
     
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  4. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    The problem with this is that until he is clean for some length of time he cannot be fully present in couples counseling. Until he quits using pmo, that’s like taking an alcoholic while drunk to counseling. That unclear thinking, self absorption, fog from pmo is till present.He won’t be able to engage unless sober. Honestly, I don’t understand why couples counseling doesn’t help while still using because I’m not an addict. I don’t even get the “ fog” you guys talk about, nor do I understand the selfishness and “ in your head” that most addicts describe. I only know what I’ve been told repeatedly by experts and my own experience. Couples counseling can be very harmful to the non addict while the addict is not in recovery. Obviously this depends on the counselor. I got a lot from each marriage counselor but it didn’t help my marriage at all, in fact it just confirmed my plan to divorce. It helped me to grow, but definitely not my marriage.
     
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  5. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

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    Thank you everyone for your input. My husband and I have talked extensively about both of our issues and what our shared and individual goals are and are very much on the same page. Like it has been the main topic of conversation for us since I discovered his addiction. He actually also views it as infidelity, has always felt guilt and shame and would much rather give that part of himself to me, he could just never get it under control and it sort of spiraled over time. I did not express that I felt it was like cheating until he told me he himself felt that way - I didn't want to add to the guilt by sounding accusatory. There has definitely been a learning curve to see what would work best for his recovery, but I think we're there now. He thought giving up porn was going to be enough, but ended up doing MO every day to pictures and videos of me that I sent in an uneducated attempt to help him. I thought giving him something else to look at would help, but it turns out it was just his replacement for PMO which we decided was not going to be helpful to his recovery. I mean, at least he wasn't using porn, but we both felt it would have long term detrimental effects. So he deleted all of that content along with most of his social media since that is also a trigger to want to MO and is now abstaining from MO altogether. It has actually significantly reduced his urges to PMO to pretty much none. If he has urges to MO, it's usually because he is craving interaction with me and the urges he does have don't drive him online.

    We have also rekindled our intimacy in non sexual ways. We are much more affectionate and seem to have found a deeper connection than we've ever had. This has helped his recovery immensely as well. He is much more respectful of my boundaries too. He used to always lead any acts of affection to groping which is why I distanced myself. His lack of self control made my trust and other psychological issues significantly worse and hindered my progress. I have received help for my issues by means of counseling and have been able to change my perspective in a constructive way. Having this intimacy even if it doesn't lead anywhere has in and of itself made a huge difference for both of our recoveries. When he felt that wasn't a possibility and would never happen it made it harder for him, but now he cherishes this connection too much to jeopardize it. He also knows that I'm willing to help where I can. If that means talking him out of a relapse if he has a strong urge (he knows he can call any time if he thinks he needs support), being more intimate in our overall relationship, or even a sexual encounter (as long as I'm not forcing myself to for his sake alone since that would be damaging for my issues, but that hasn't been the case yet). Even knowing that sex is on the table now, even if it isn't every time he feels he wants it, has helped him. He knows I'm here to help in any healthy way I can.

    He also knows he can come to me to talk about anything during recovery. I have made it clear that although I have my own emotional struggles, I do understand relapses are highly likely to happen and will be forgiving and caring when they do. It is him who is determined to not slip up at all, to prove to himself he can not to please me. He has set his own goals, not me, and I think his standards are even higher than the ones I would have set for him myself if I'm being honest. All of the measures we have set in place have been at his request.

    I think we are in a very good place now and working together on both of our issues has helped both of us. And being more open about what used to be the elephant in the room has also been very helpful. If we feel down the road that combined counseling would be beneficial, we will certainly consider it. For now though, we feel like our marriage and relationship are the strongest they have ever been.
     
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  6. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

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    Love this Supportwife!
     
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  7. Real Jerry Seinfeld

    Real Jerry Seinfeld Fapstronaut

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    In my experience, the best way a woman can help is by being sexually available, which is obviously something you're trying to work towards. Very few men have it in them to hardmode for extended periods of time, so I think offering him some relief is probably the area to focus on. Other things may help but there's no real replacement for the deed itself.
     
  8. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

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    How often is it "healthy" to offer relief? I have made it clear I am very available and he is getting better at telling me he needs some relief. We have been quite active on the past few weeks. However, if we do that daily then is that really helping anything? It's still allowing his brain to get that "fix". He's even felt the need like a few hours after I've helped him get some relief. Sometimes he can go 5 days and other times the urges for release are bad again the same day. So at what point is it doing more harm than good? How often can we do that without it becoming a replacement for his former daily activities?

    Also, I'll try not to be too graphic, but since penetration still isn't a possibility yet, he can only O when it's oral or by MOing with me doing things to help it along (while focused on me and the real world experience only of course). Is this okay or will this cause long term issues with recovery? It will unfortunately likely take several months before I can reach a point where penetration is physically possible. I don't want to do something for that length of time if it's going to affect his recovery. We discovered daily MO was equally a problem even when he gave the porn up. Should we avoid doing it altogether even if I'm involved?
     
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  9. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Why dont you do hard mode since you can’t physically have intercourse right now? It’s a perfect time. It’s also what every csat I’ve talked to recommends. Since they are the professionals and have actually studied this addiction I’d trust them to know that works best. Having sex just because he has an urge isn’t really helping, it’s just delaying him discovering why he has urges. My husband discovered that many times he wasn’t horny, he was stressed or anxious or sad or even really happy. Since he used pmo to cope with emotions he erroneously thought he was horny all the time.
     
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  10. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

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    How long should he hard mode for? Could it be a temporary amount of time or would it need to be until I'm able to engage fully to be most beneficial? We've recently found this intimate connection and I don't want to lose it. We've had lots of times we've been intimate without any release, but I would think doing that too often would be a struggle for him and likely make things a lot more difficult with stronger urges.
     
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  11. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    90 days. You can be very intimate without any kind of sex what so ever. There are different types of intimacy and levels. It’s an addiction . He’s addicted to sex. Learning to control/understand his urges and responses to them is where his focus needs to be. Not having more sex. He has relied on sexual release as his coping mechanism. He needs to relearn how to cope on healthy ways.
     
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  12. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Also in that 90 days, he shouldn’t have any sexual stimuli-not even seeing you dress/undress, he should also be making every effort not to fantasize
     
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  13. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

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    Is fantasizing about a real life woman and having real life encounters not helpful to rewire his brain from pmo though? It was my understanding that would help him refocus to real life, strengthen natural neural pathways, and aid in recovery.

    I'm also not sure how we are to be intimate without being able to even be naked in the same room or touch each other. Even just cuddling or holding hands can turn him on sometimes. It of course doesn't mean it always needs to lead somewhere, more often than not it doesn't, but this would mean any contact would be considered sexual stimuli. We've spent the last 10 years feeling more like roommates (which also greatly escalated his addiction), I don't want to lose the connection and comfort level we currently have with each other for both of our sakes. I think he would be much more likely to struggle with relapses. He hasn't even thought about looking at porn let alone been tempted to in 2 weeks. What he craves is time alone with me. I obviously don't want to hinder his recovery in any way, but being conformable with less intense forms of intimacy (being naked in the same room or while cuddling, holding hands, close contact, kissing) is actually really important in my progress with my own issues. We can hold out until after the 90 days to have sexual encounters of it will help, but I'm not sure how practical such a hard reboot would be in our situation.
     
  14. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Yeah, you sound like me three years ago. After decades of him lost to pmo to finally have him focus on me was awesome. But it does slow and sometimes stop their healing. They need to heal from the idea that they must have sex. Not just from pmo. They need to be ok without sex. We told our csat that we didn’t think it would help too. Until after about 4-6 months. It was making it harder for my husband to heal. So we did it. We only made it 52days lol,because I couldn’t stand d it. But, we did 52, had sex(karezza) then 50. Only time he saw me naked in 100 days was at day 52. Totally worth it, he began to have much greater success in recovery after that. You can hold hands and kiss , just no nakie, lol. If he gets turned on then he will learn it doesn’t always lead to sex, he will finally learn some self control. It boggles my mind to think we expect/require less from adult men than I require from my make dogs and horses.
     
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  15. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    So she can be his porn instead? And what if she is too tired, or ill, or has some other reason that she can't be available? Is it her fault if he relapses? Most women on this board have been more than sexually available to their addict husbands and have been rejected over and over. No man has ever died from not having sex. It is not a need. It is not a woman's responsibility to become a blow up doll for a man that will not control himself.
     
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  16. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

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    As a man, I agree with this. My wife has always been willing. It’s my rejection that has hurt her and my addiction that has sapped sexual desire from our marriage.
     
  17. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

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    Ha! Eyeswideopen, couldn't have said it better myself.
     
  18. SupportWife

    SupportWife Fapstronaut

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    To be fair, my husband has never rejected my advances, he's always been happy to recieve any and all attention I'm willing to offer. My own sexual issues have held me back from being available. And the fact that he did not respect my limitations and boundaries before. We couldn't even cuddle without him groping me before so I withdrew entirely since it was negatively affecting my recovery and having a very bad affect on my trust issues (my choice technically, but his actions were at fault as well). He is now very respectful, stops if I ask him to, and never expects anything to lead anywhere unless I am clear I would like it to. He usually asks before touching me in any intimate way to be sure I feel up to it. He's really bad at reading female signals so I have to be pretty blunt if I'm feeling in the mood. I am not making myself available whenever he wants, only when we both feel up to it. I have however been able to reintroduce non sexual forms of intimacy now that he has learned to be more respectful and that has helped immensely. He appreciates any physical contact and close proximity I can offer regardless of if it leads anywhere. He is still struggling without daily MO and we know that's something he will gradually work on during recovery, but he actually hasn't been tempted to look at porn at all for several weeks. He came close to a relapse the other day, but was tempted to do so using only memories and thoughts of the two of us, not using outside stimuli.

    I think one of our biggest struggles was the fact that I still am not physically capable of penetrative sex. Bringing him to climax is very difficult without him MOing with me (death grip makes it difficult for me to be the one to get him there) so I hadn't been sure how healthy that would be in his recovery.
     
  19. Real Jerry Seinfeld

    Real Jerry Seinfeld Fapstronaut

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    Every man is different, but I would say relief every few days should keep any serious urges at bay. It's just about stopping the drive from building up so much that he slips. I wouldn't worry about you replacing pornography, I have literally no idea what that could possibly mean. Frequent sexual intimacy between you as a couple is obviously a preferable and more realistic goal than long-term mutual celibacy.

    With respect to penetrative sex, I think it's really admirable you're working towards that. I'd just let him know you're trying and hoping to get there. In a way, you're both in a kind of recovery from sexual issues and that could really bring you closer together. You can be each other's support.
     
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  20. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    It’s not about keeping urges at bay. Addicts need to learn about self control. They will not die if they get an urge and don’t “ make it go away”. By using her instead of pornography, he doesn’t learn self control or why he feels the need to pmo. Many addicts pmo right after sex. Then what happens when he has an urge and she isn’t there or is sick? He could very well start using her instead of pornography if he doesn’t address the issue of why he’s an addict. Ps:the issue isn’t because he doesn’t get enough sex. The issue is much deeper. A healthy sex life is a great goal, but the “ healthy” can’t be reached until he gets help for sex addiction. One of the lies sex addicts tell themselves is they “ need” orgasm ( sex, pmo). No one needs this, we need intimacy, love, safety. You will not die if you don’t orgasm or have sex.
     
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