I may have just ruined my marriage

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by Loveless, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Hugs, Penelope. It sucks to be us right now. I am so grateful for this forum and the kind, supportive people who post here. I hate the reason we are all driven to this forum. But I'm thankful beyond words for the understanding I have received here. It is a refuge from the misunderstanding and sorrow that is my life at home, and it has been a source of inspiration too.
     
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  2. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    I did something similar to this as well and it was the moment where things started to change. I took my wedding rings off (married 13.5 years) and gave them to him and said you broke these vows, this doesn't mean what I thought it meant, etc. He LOST it in a really emotional way, not angry, but it woke him up. But like loud sobbing, breaking down, I have never seen him like that, ever. That is the moment I can pinpoint when things started to change for the better. It changed him and started him on a different path. I didn't do it for that reason, but that was the result.
    After that, we decided he would keep the wedding ring until I asked for it back when I felt like it was at that point. That was almost 7 months ago and I'm still not ready to have it back yet. He wears it on his pinky. It is a reminder to him every day as well. Things are going as well as possible given the situation, but I don't know when I will want it back, if ever. Honestly, I think that marriage is dead and I'd want a new wedding band. I don't want anything fancy, just a different one that isn't "tainted". My original one was just a cheap, small, white gold band and that is fine, that would be fine again, just not THAT one. I don't know if that makes any sense but it just... it represents a broken marriage, broken vows to me.
    Anyway, sorry, I guess that went down a tangent a little bit, but I just wanted to say, a moment like that was what it took for him to jolt out of his fog and get he was about to lose EVERYTHING if he couldn't get it together. I was done.
     
  3. WantsToBelieve

    WantsToBelieve Fapstronaut

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    I totally get that. Sometimes it's a trigger for me to wear it. Mostly because of him PMOing the night he asked my father for permission. Many times I have thought about asking him to propose to me again with a different ring, when all of this is better. The other option would be to just ditch the engagement ring idea altogether and get married without one, having the actual wedding band as my only ring. After all, no one said it was mandatory to have an engagement ring. LOL

    Sounds like a very deep insecurity on his part. He doesn't want to feel like he hurt you, so he is avoiding it, pushing it away, lying to himself. Don't let him make you feel like that. You are strong, and you can choose to be free of this burden he has placed on you. Not necessarily by leaving, but really making it known that you are done with the lies and done with playing games.
     
  4. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    I totally understand wanting a new ring. It's a way of saying goodbye to a painful past and the start of a new life. Maybe that is one way I can interpret my data dump of SO's porn. No continuation of that old life. We need to see a new way forward.
    I am recognizing that a new way forward is difficult for both PAs amd their SOs. One is the addict struggling with addiction. The other is SOs have many defense mechanisms that protect feelings about ourselves, our bodies, our relationships, really intimate stuff. PAs don't see porn as intimate, so I think they miss the need to show empathy. When I have acted in anger, it is because anger is my armor. That does not justify it, but it does show how a reinforced behavior becomes established response over time.
    I want a way forward. But I'm doing it with all of my old armor on. I'm scared to take it off. If I insist on no old porn for my husband and make the big gesture of throwing it out, I need to figure out how to move forward now, without holding on my usual methods of protection. The books I have been reading about narcissism are helping to give me insight into how to speak to an entitled person. Maybe if I can make this new vocabulary my own, that will be a new and more productive kind of protection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
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  5. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

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    The 4 years between DDays.
     
  6. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    You are a woman of incredible strength.
     
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  7. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

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    Thank you, there was a lot of other stressors going on for us during the 4 years as well (to much to put down on a quick reply) and I was focused on the physical infidelity part of it (the first DDay).
     
  8. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    I have been living in 3-4 months of hell. For you to endure 4 years is to see that you have a capacity for love and compassion that very few can ever claim to have.

    In the short time since my SOs day of revelation and my day of discovery, I have exhausted and appalled myself with the shameful ways I have behaved. I felt my SO showed no empathy, whining only about his porn deprivation and his need for validation, which I was unwilling to give. Many years of hiding porn, 3 years of heavy addiction and file downloads and hoarding, and I don't know how many years of hiding fetishes. From his own wife of 20 years! It was all too much at once for me, and never felt more alone, or more like my SO was a stranger living a parallel life in my house, but without me.

    Seeing his lack of empathy, I'm afraid I began to mirror him. I stopped crying. I developed this look of loathing any time he looked at me. I said cruel things, that he is pathetic, infantile, that his porn made me hate him (i used the word hate, which made him recoil). He is an obsessive collector, so usually he would just go surround himself with his things while I cried downstairs. I started moving his things, which I know upset him more than anything. I threw out a pile of pocket calendar inserts, which it turned out he was saving, and he is very upset that they are gone (he cried over these, which kind of scares me tbh). It was never right to touch his stuff, but I learned from this experience that in some way his objects are like his porn. Its a security blanket. And I am a monster because I threw out his porn and I messed with his things. I wonder, did I do it because I knew it would hurt?

    I am not at all proud of the nasty person I became when I was angry. I did and said many terrible things. I know the depths that I can fall to. I was petty, cruel, and supremely unkind. I'm shocked at what I've said and done, and honestly would not have tolerated it if it were directed at myself. Somehow I see myself in the mirror today, and I think maybe I'm turning over a new leaf. Is it that I am ashamed? That I'm exhaausted? That I am moving away from my pain and finally able to see his pain, after I hurt him by going after something that did not involve porn, and that clearly revealed my lack of respect for him and his personal property? Did something shift when he said that he is afraid of his own obsessions and fetishes, specifically their non-normativity, and did this help me to see a terrified person trapped in this narcisstic and entitled exterior? I'm afraid I really did stop loving and caring and started loathing, and my behavior and words reflected that. I hope that today is the first day that I am able to see the world without a cloud of pain, anger, hate and desperation around me. Not a proud day, but maybe a new one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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  9. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

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    @Loveless
    I do know, I certainly had my share of not proud moments. Those 4 years were war torn for me. I could see some changes but not enough. The some changes gave me hope but I was very angry, hurt and resentful for myself and him.
    We had many blowouts and we both almost walked a few times but something was still alive in us and that was the real love we both still had and the foundation commitments we made years ago before all of this.
    We have been together for 18 years, traveled the world together and had so many adventures together. I still felt there was some love life left in us and him too.
    When DDay #2 came around I believe we both knew that if it wasn’t handled the right way this time that was it for us, I felt it and I think he saw it too.
    He is not the PA monster he was, we speak of that time like it was another person because we both feel the same way about it. It’s definitely complicated.
    I have very hard clear boundaries at this point. I told him if he makes a mistake with someone else again there isn’t a discussion on understanding why. That’s it I’m done, I’m not looking back and we won’t befriends even. He asked me why, I asked him why would I? After all this hurt, it’s not a “Mistake” anymore, it’s not a miss understanding or confusion, you know what your doing.

    Anyway I feel like I’m rambling, in the end it was his genuine commitment to himself that made the difference for both of us to heal. My anger and resentment has subsided at this point. I needed him to make these changes and want to do it for me to start letting go of all negatives. He needed to honestly prove himself and has been.
    I told him I would do the hardest thing I could and make a leap of faith in trusting him after the worst of came to light and started to be honest with me. I also told him what would happen if he broke it again. So far so good for both of us.

    I’m sad that we went through all of this to get to this point in our relationship, but now that we are here now we are both better people.

    It’s struggle, some people don’t think the struggle is worth it and others do, sometimes the struggle is too long, There isn’t right or wrong answer as it’s just to personal for the individuals.

    My heart goes out to you, I do understand what you are feeling. I now find myself more hurt by his actions but I don’t see the same person anymore so I don’t loathe him but it still hurts, I don’t think that ever truly goes away. It’s how we handle the hurt.
    In the mess of I always told him, I won’t apologize for how I feel but I will apologize for how I handle it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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  10. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    Can I just jump back in time on this thread because something jumped out at me and I did not have time to mention it. First of all I want to reiterate what everyone else has said ...

    @WantsToBelieve has been helping me with this issue in a thread I started. It is tempting to think in black-and-white about these things, breaking your word is bad. But no real world problem is like that, especially deep relationship problems. There's always so many competing complex ways forward. Were your actions trustworthy? No. Were they helpful? Yes. Were they honest to yourself? Yes. Were they what he needed? Yes. Were they kind? Yes. Life is a balance, you chose the right course. As @WantsToBelieve said

    I can only echo @NF4L on this one - no! That would be totally insane. Sure, if we were just recreational porn users the occasional pick-me-up would be fine but it is obvious to you and to anyone reading your posts that like most of us here (including me) he is an addict. This idea is just bonkers.

    But this is the bit that jumped out at me
    When this thread started I couldn't really understand your husband's need to cling to his collection, though it is a need he shares with many addicts here. It would be easy to go out and find that porn again, even some better porn! I didn't keep an offline collection, but I did use porn Pinterest rip-offs to collect and categorise my favourite photo-sets and videos. However, I never spent much time viewing, tending, or curating my collections. For me the pleasure was always in finding something new (even when, as often happened, the amazing new picture turned out to be something I'd already pinned.) But your husband is a collector, and so for him I think the curation of his porn collection was really important. I think that makes your action all the more powerful. But it also gives him an opportunity. There are many reasons I am grateful to my wife for giving me her ultimatum — me or porn — one of them is the opportunity this struggle has given me to learn about myself. I have learnt more about myself in the last 483 days than in many years before because to give up porn I have had to reflect deeply on my own needs, desires, and motivations and others here have helped me do that. If your husband really tries to honestly and deeply reflect on what he lost when you destroyed his collection I think he will get a valuable insight into his own psyche.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  11. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    I'm in awe of you guys. It is great that your SO could make that commitment to himself to be the person he wants to be. You are amazing for making that leap and being able to trust again.

    This is what I am learning. I am learning my own boundaries. I am learning what truly upset me about my husband's behavior (the secrecy, the lying, being out of control and not realizing it, doing hurtful things and making excuses for why he needed to). However, I am still afraid to trust. He moved a goalpost recently (no more porn shifted to no more downloading porn), so I'm no longer sure where we stand on that issue. I am still tired of being angry and hurt, and with that, I'm afraid that I am too tired to enforce my boundaries anymore. It seems I'm shifting into a kind of nihilism when it comes to our relationship. Almost like, do whatever you want, I don't care anymore...Maybe this is what giving up feels like.
    This is very wise. I'll have to remember this. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. There is so much that I can learn from what you have posted here.
     
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  12. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    This. Yes. Relationships are messy and individual. Perhaps you are right that my actions were not consistent with a standard that I hold for myself, but they were what was needed. Has it helped him and our relationship? This remains to be seen. My sense is that he will just shift over to watching streaming videos, rather than downloading. In other words, he's keeping the collecting impulse for the coins and other objects, but because the porn collection and curation caused a problem between us, he isn't collecting that anymore. We need to have a talk about this, but I'm afraid that at some level, I am giving up. If he wants porn that bad, he can have it. I'll just change how I feel about him and our relationship. As I said to Jennica, I'm concerned that I am becoming somewhat nihilistic. I don't know what I value or believe in anymore. Too many goalposts have shifted, and it seems that each new conversation reveals a new shift.
    Thank you for this insight. Your decision to reflect on your needs and behaviors is really inspiring. It is hard to confront the self in all of its complexity, but this something that we all should do, whether we are trying to change or just trying to understand ourselves and our motivations. I realize that my husband's obsessiveness, his overwhelming need to collect, says a lot about how his psyche works. There is something deep going on there, and thankfully, he is going to therapy and perhaps he will uncover some realizations about himself. My fear about him shifting from collecting downloaded porn to watching streaming video stems from two things: 1) he said that giving up porn is unrealistic, but he never wants to be addicted again; 2) he might see refraining from collecting downloads (just watching streaming video) as some sort of victory against his collecting impulse. Although I am dreading it, I think we need to talk about this. I really fear my nihilism, which stems from the notion that I'm going to have to live with porn in my marriage for as long as it lasts, so maybe I just have to stop caring about porn, about him, and let go of any ideals I had about us and our relationship. My hope is that this, like my pain and the unrestrained anger, will also have its limit.
     
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  13. Giving up downloading porn to only stream porn Is. Not. Giving. Up. Porn. AT. ALL.

    I had/have an online porn addiction for 20+ years .... and never downloaded it.
     
  14. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

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    @Loveless

    I was afraid to trust for those four years too. I delt with all those things that come with Betrayal Trauma. It was incredibly difficult to trust him in any area that came to other women and even at times that he loved me.

    During the affair recovery I asked him to give up porn, I asked for 3 months, his defensiveness was bad and it started to turn into a fight. I was angry at him that he wouldn’t even consider it. I pushed hard. He even told me that it was an “unfair” and “unreasonable” to ask of him.
    Some how we got it to 1 month no porn, and I had to agree to give up Starbucks.
    During that time he had to go in a business trip and asked if pictures were ok. I said no.

    I was hoping he would see and appreciate the positive difference in our relationship with ou it. He did for a short time but the whole month he was planning on going back to it and did, the very next morning after the 30 days. He only did it to “prove he didn’t have a problem”, it certainly proved he did to me. Even though our sex life was amazing during that time it wasn’t enough.

    I was validated in what I feel about it all and so are you. Your feelings are real and reasonable. There were times when it was incredibly difficult to hold myself to my own standards too especially when feeling angry and resentful. I had dark revenge thoughts that I’m thankful I never acted on, I ran on a treadmill for an hour a day just to get the anger out, I started a sewing class, I made a point of seeing my friends and getting out and away from the house and him, I had many conversations with my mother and I would write any negative, revengeful venting thoughts and feelings down to get out. I didn’t deny or suppress any of it, I let myself feel it but I worked on doing my best on how I expressed and handled it with him and I wasn’t perfect, how could I be.

    I had spent to many years trying to change how his behaviors left me feeling and I wasn’t going to do that to myself anymore, I am as guilty of gaslighting myself just as much as he was.

    I found the most important boundaries are the personal ones. I made promises/commitments to myself on how I would handle things. I voiced those to him and his first response was asking if I was making threats. “No, I’m communicating to you the promises I have made to me, my personal boundaries. These are not unreasonable and they are mine. You know what will happen if XYZ happens, it will not be viewed as another mistake. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. The only thing I can control is me, if you choose to XYZ this is how I will feel and react. The ball is in your hands, you can run with it or drop it, that choice is yours”.

    As far as Porn, I ended up hating it, I was loosing the ability to understand and deal with it. I caught him one morning and was instantly pissed. He was trying to make it up to me but it wasn’t working. I told him if I had it my way it wouldn’t be on our lives at all, I began to believe if I told him me or porn he would choose porn (that may have been true at some points). About a week later I found his special collection and the became the line and I believe he knew it. That’s when the change happened for us both. It wasn’t easy the first week but we got through it.

    These are not easy waters to navigate through, it’s a different journey for everyone. My only real advice to not compromise you, be true to you and you will always have it.
     
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  15. self healing

    self healing Fapstronaut

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    Not just opening up his floodgates, but also normalizing the behavior for you.
    Part of my journey with my husband: He was avoiding sex with me, and I realized he wasn't able to maintain an erection. So I did a lot of tiptoeing around it, not wanting to pressure him more. I knew he used porn, I just didn't know how much, and I certainly didn't know anything about PIED (this was about 6 years ago). So we didn't have sex at all for about a year. I did PMO myself as a substitute, but never became addicted. One day, after about 9-10 months without sex, it just hit me how effed up it was that I acquired his habit. He was defining my sexual behavior in a way I did not want, and did not find fulfilling. I didn't know at the time that he had an addiction, and it influenced me in that way. I'm still catching up with this thread, so this may already been addressed. In the AA rooms, it's called cosigning his BS.
     
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  16. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Oh @TryingHard2Change I wish my SO would listen to you. He just told me that he has no intention of quitting porn. He just won't be addicted or downloading anymore. I'm afraid I just have to accept it in my life in some way, or change my relationship/attitude toward him in some way. He keeps saying I'm "looking backward," that "I'm not committed to change" the way he is. Yes, I admit he has changed, and for the better. I am committed to change too. I sure as hell do not want to go back in time or stay in a sad place. I guess I'm just not sure what being "committed to change" means in this relationship? These are things I really need to think about more.
     
  17. @Loveless, it is a tough choice you are going to have to make:
    [#1] accept that your husband will look at porn

    [#2] appeal to him that you want a porn-free marriage .. if he refuses, either see #1 or leave him (sorry to be so blunt)
    ..

    We have a good friend (actually the maid of honor from our wedding 21 years ago!) -- and this good friend just accepts that her husband will look at porn. They seem happily married / have a couple kids / etc. So #1 is technically a choice---my guess is millions of wives across the world accept it. But that is a decision that every wife / every couple has to grapple with.
     
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  18. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    Wow, Jennica. Just wow. That must have been devastating.

    Thank you for sharing this. I fear that my "I don't care" attitude it is leading me to a bad place. Almost as if I don't care what the consequences of my actions are as far as our relationship is concerned. You mention that you made a point of getting out of the house and away from him, and that would be a good thing for me to do. I've mentioned that my husband is a collector, and honestly, just seeing his stuff around the house oppresses me right now. Maybe it would be a good habit for me to actually schedule time outside of the house, at a park or a library or cafe. Just somewhere where I'm not reminded of that oppressing feeling. I do run or work out at the gym, and while it has always been one of my joys, sadly I realized that my husband's downloading often took place then, because he knew I would be out of the house. I now try to remove the negative association with running, which is something that used to make me so happy.

    My SO hears everything I say as an accusation or a threat. I need to learn how to talk to him.

    Ugh, PAs and their special stash. My SO literally inhaled and started choking when I said I took an indiscriminate approach to deleting his porn. The great thing is that you were able to say, this crosses the line, now make the choice. Honestly, I think my SO will say he's had it with me, that I am being unreasonable, he'll compare me with someone who was able to forgive behavior that he thinks is worse than his, and he'll choose the porn. Even if it makes me an unhappier version of myself, which is what I am now.

    Your advice not to compromise is the key. I need to figure out what is important to me. At some level, porn is so stupid. It's like, seriously, this stupid crap is what is causing our problems? But I have to take it seriously, the damage it has caused is serious, the hurt it brought to our relationship and to my heart is serious. And my SO has said that he has never lived without porn and does not plan to give it up. What does porn mean to me? Is it stupid or serious? Should I continue to live in a nihilistic "nothing means anything to me" fog like I am now? Should I look for alternative ways of living? I need to answer these questions. Thank you again for sharing so generously about your experiences and what you have learned. This really helps me very much, and I can't thank you enough for your generosity and support.
     
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  19. Loveless

    Loveless Fapstronaut

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    I hear you. A lot of what started our problems was my husband's ED. It wasn't PIED, but illness related. We also did not have sex for a year, and I did not initiate, ever. The one time I did, he got very frustrated and humiliated and I vowed never to initiate again. During that time, he got addicted to porn. He said it was mostly to prove to himself that he still had a libido, even if he couldn't get erect 9/10 times. Here I can sympathize with him, and my SO and I agree that the end result of his actions was not worth the rift it caused in our relationship. In this way, his collecting and hoarding of downloaded porn was the more damaging thing. If I didn't see 1000s of files and his profound attachment to them, I would probably feel more sympathy, less like he is pathetic.
    Your comment about a partner defining one's own sexual behavior in a way that is not fulfilling is very important for me to hear right now. This is part of figuring out what is important to me. Do I live with porn and make my peace with it? Do I categorically cut it, and my SO, out of my life? I'm not sure either is what is what I want, but I need to determine this. Figuring out what is fulfilling to me, what is meaningful to me, or even just what is fun for me, is really the key. Thanks for sharing this. Your input here really means a lot. I can learn from your experience, and I'm really grateful that you shared it.
     
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  20. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

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    I am glad to hear that I can help some with my personal experience and views.
    I do want restate so there isn’t a miss understanding with the don’t compromise yourself, it is your personal standards, integrity and self respect. There are times to draw a hard line for yourself with personal boundaries but it’s up to you and him with the compromises you both make with in your marriage.
    I won’t compromise with cheating and I won’t compromise on lack of honesty and transparency with the porn. I can understand if he finds another woman attractive but it’s how he were to handle the attraction that’s makes or breaks it. I can forgive him if he were to have a relapse but I need the honesty and transparency with it.
     
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