I think I'm done?

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by liss2402, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    Very, very long history of P & M addiction - 25+ years of in and out of the process. I thought we were done with it all about 14 years ago but since then, its been a roundabout of discoveries, "I'll stops", me forgiving and moving on. Although I guess we never did actually move on.
    Earlier this year I discovered he was M'ing again - he never stopped that apparently. Didn't see anything wrong with it? We went to counselling together and I honestly thought that just perhaps we'd make it. 10 days ago, I made yet another discovery. And now I honestly don't know what I'm feeling.
    Empty? Lost? Sad?
    I know I'm not mad, which is actually a surprise.
    He's advised he doesn't think he can guarantee me it'll never happen again; that its unreasonable of me to expect that, afterall, he's a man. I mean, WTF am I meant to do with that? Told me I should have a more reasonable response to it.

    He denies using P, I don't know what to believe. There's a long history of him fantasizing about people we know, so which is worse? P or him thinking of others that we know, including close family?

    He's offered to see the counsellor again but has made no move to make any appointments for us. I think he's honestly hoping it'll just blow over.
    Do I just turn a blind eye and pretend all is OK? When I am with him I know I still love him. When I am by myself though I fall into this pit of despair that I can't drag myself out of. When I leave him in the house alone I go into a panic attack and can't help but search the house for evidence when I go home- hardly a healthy response I know.

    I just don't know what to do now? We have 3 children, a mortgage and all those other things that tie 2 people who have been married for 3 decades together. It's not as easy as just walking away.
     
  2. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    2,590
    3,871
    143
    You forget about him and focus on yourself and your children. I’ve been in your shoes. Married almost 30 years. 20 years ago, one year old baby boy, pregnant with my daughter, and I looked him in the eyes and knew he wasn’t going to quit. In spite of all his declarations and three years of weekly counseling. I took off my wedding ring and didn’t say I love you for 17 years. I focused on me and the kids. My oblivious husband thought we had an ideal, happy marriage. He thought he was a great husband and had no idea that for 17 years, I saved, and made a plan to divorce as soon as my youngest graduated. Then, I stumbled on a betrayal trauma Facebook group. So much made sense. I spent 6 hours talking to him about what his options were and if I didn’t see a change I was filing for divorce in 2 years. He had to give me a full disclosure with the help of a csat and a polygraph. He’s been working recovery now for 3 years, goes to saa meetings and counseling. You can’t make your husband stop, only he can decide and put in the work to get clean. It’s very difficult and takes a lot of changes and work. Take care you yourself! Find a csat for you if you can afford it. Go to Bloom for women great site with lots of free materials. You can heal. Things can get better. Don’t bury your head on this, he’s wrong, he doesn’t need to masturbate like a horny teenager. He isn’t a child.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov and RUNDMC like this.
  3. I'm sorry you're going through this. I can relate to so much of your story. Been married 25 years, together for almost 30. We been through the same repeating cycle...discovery, promises to stop, forgive and move on...repeat. It's brutal.

    This is his addict way of saying he doesn't really want to stop and doesn't plan to. But, as addicts do, he will say it in a way that takes the responsibility off of himself and, instead, puts it on you. You are not unreasonable for expecting him to be faithful to you and to be true to his word. He knows that his selfish choices hurt you, and although he's told you numerous times he wouldn't continue doing it, he has continued all along. Being a man does not mean you can't be loyal and honest. Being an addict does mean that. And, I agree with @Psalm27:1my light ...no one ever died because they didn't MO.

    Yes, that's exactly it. They get so used to that cycle, and they're fine if it continues that way forever because that lets them continue in the addiction just as they have the whole time. If you turn a blind eye and pretend it's ok, then you will continue to be hurt, and unfortunately, they do not suddenly stop because it's hurting you. They will only decide to change when they are the ones hurting, and if you keep pretending it's ok, it will continue to be ok with them.

    I'm sorry if I seem harsh. I understand how hard it is to stop hoping they're finally going to realize how destructive their behavior is and decide to turn it all around. It's what you've been waiting for and counting on for decades! But, because they're addicts, it simply won't happen this way. The only way they'll finally commit to real recovery is when they see that continuing in the addiction is actually more painful than getting away from it. And, that won't happen with the status quo...

    Stay strong. You deserve to be honored and loved respectfully.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov likes this.
  4. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    I can’t make my husband stop. 100000% this- I needed to read that. Thank you.
    I looked at bloom earlier this year but decided with the therapist we were seeing maybe I didn’t need it. How wrong I was. I’ve started it today and am hoping working on me will at least help get my head straight.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov likes this.
  5. p1n1983

    p1n1983 Fapstronaut

    964
    1,187
    123
    But is the rigth thing to do, like it or not, easy or not. You only have one life, he already shown you that he is not going to get any better so you are probably going to keep feeling miserable if you keep by his side.

    If you don't do it for yourselve, do it for your kids... do you want to teach them to be miserable in a marriage so when they grown up they are going to settle for a crappy marriage too? I would definitevely dump this guy and go and find a man that is a better male example to your kids, to show them how a healthy loving relationship is so they can go and have the same relationships in the future.
     
  6. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    2,590
    3,871
    143
    Marriage therapy never helps in a relationship with an addict. The addict must first get into recovery. Most marriage counselors do not understand porn/sex addiction. Until your husband is in strong recovery, he cannot contribute to your relationship, he will only take and destroy it. Did I mention after dday #1 in 1997 I told my husband the only way I’d stay was if we did counseling and HE had to find a counselor and make the appointments. We went once a week for 3 solid years. 2 years after that ( 5 years after dday #1) I had dday #2. That’s when I knew he wasn’t going to quit. I cut him off from everything a wife would do, except sex. But the sex was for me not him. The only reason I didn’t leave was because of my children. I detached and we basically lived as roommates. But I made a plan. I handled all our money and I saved like my life depended on it. We get along amazingly so it wasn’t the worst way to live. However, it wasn’t what I wanted either. Three years into recovery has shown me the difference between sobriety and recovery. The difference in my husband when he’s in strong recovery vs when he uses. He is 2 completely different people. It’s so noticeable that family and friends have commented on it. They know nothing of his addiction or recovery. My husband has always been very well liked, but now, he is forming deeper relationships. Not just with his family, but with friends. He is more authentic and genuine and confident. We have been married now close to 30 years. For the first time in 20 years I made him dinner. Well, I was making dinner for myself when I realized if I added some more veggies and shrimp there would b enough for him. When I asked if he wanted dinner, he was shocked, started to ask what I was making but stopped and said “ I would love that”. I probably still won’t do his laundry, but maybe cook for him, lol. Take care of you! First! Always. Your husband is a grown man stuck in a child’s mind. He needs to grown up and he knows it, but as long as he can remain a child and have you there for him, he will. Stop being there for him until he is there for you. That means full recovery. Responsibility. Maturity and selflessness.
     
  7. A very simple thing that will help imo: I think you need to talk to somebody you trust. Maybe a friend of yours (could as well be your sister/brother/mother/father). I suggest that you tell him that, to digest his behavior, you will need to talk about the situation with someone. Ask him, whether it would be ok for him whether you would talk the situation with your friend.

    I think two things can come out of this:
    a) He is indifferent. That is great then. It means that he does not have a problem with porn or masturbation. For people who have an addiction-like problem it will usually be a horror if other people in their proximity learn of the issue. If he is indiffernet, it means that there is no issue and nothing to hide and he can talk about it openly with anybody.

    b) He wants to keep the matter secret between the two of you. That would be not so good and would indicate that he is not owning his behavior and trying to hide it. So then, next thing you do is that you insist that his behavior is really depressing for you and will have to discuss the issue with your friend since he is apparently not able to stop. Don't let him cook you down. The point is that, either he stops, then you will delay your talking with your friend until the next time he masturbates, or you will go ahead and discuss the issue right away in order to cure yourself.


    And, more in general, considering your health, I think, the question you might want to reflect on is, "why does the self-directed action of one person make another person feel bad"?

    Don't let his actions affect your quality of life. You lived together for 30 years and I understand that at least the 2nd half of that time, life was good.
    Now, you found out he is masturbating and you think he might be watching porn.
    Suddenly, life is not good anymore? (although actually, nothing changed. Only your perception of the situation)

    Did you ever consider that life could just continue to be good despite his actions?
    (I mean, I agree it would be better if he would not masturbate, however, he does and apparently does not want to stop. So what. Why does this have to do anything with you?)

    In my opinion, what will help you is to re-focus:
    You need to disconnect your 'feeling comfortable' from his actions. You are an independent person, as well as he is, despite your connection through kids, marriage, and mortgage. When he makes a mistake, this does not say anything about you. You can be disapproving his actions and stil be his wife and love him for the person he is.

    Is it possible that you fear what OTHERS may think about YOU when they would find out about HIM? If this is the case, you should realize that, really, when others will find out about his actions, they will draw conclusions about HIM, not about YOU. They will even feel with you and be on your side.


    I know that is easier said than done, however, you should not feel negative for anything he is doing.

    You are not responsible for him or for any action he takes. If he decides to fall into that hole, there is nothing you can do about it anyway. Only he can stop himself from hurting himself. So, don't waste any time contemplating what he should and should not do. Just makes you ill when you constantly think about his actions, which are out of your control anyway.
     
  8. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    2,590
    3,871
    143
    I don’t think she needs to ask if its ok for her to talk about his behaviors that hurt her. He doesn’t ask if it’s ok to pmo. Far more detrimental to their relationship than talking with a friend. Unfortunately when a spouse cheats in a committed relationship it almost always hurts the other person. He’s been told how it makes her feel but continues to do it and says she is unreasonable, lol. I agree she needs to quit focusing on him and start focusing on herself and start making boundaries or determine if she needs to leave in order to heal.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov and stegiss like this.
  9. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

    528
    842
    93
    He's being honest when he says he can't promise you 100% never to touch himself or think about someone else the rest of his life. Would you rather he lie to you like in the past?

    No doubting you've been hurt, and specifically by him and his actions. Just that one part stuck out to me.

    What others have said above about him being the only one who can change his actions and habits. You can't force him, and if you try and guilt him or threaten him into it, it's not going to work long term.

    Also - last part - and this is just honest curiosity in me - is the problem with M religion based or something else? I removed M (and will probably readd it with boundaries in 2022) because it had a connection to P and I didn't want to give myself reasons for a P craving. I wasn't raised christian, so the shame around sex wasn't part of my upbringing. For my wife, M wasn't the problem in and of itself, so I was just curious.
     
  10. Yes, true. It is not ok he continued even though he knew she does not approve it.
    I meant that (threatening) to go public might generate a strong motivation for him to quit. You are right that she does not have to ask, that would be only to try to push him to finally come to his senses.
     
    Psalm27:1my light likes this.
  11. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    Honestly, I think the whole P & M are so intertwined in my head that to me, if he's doing one, it's an easy switch across to the other, and a slippery slope back into a full blown binge. I am fully aware my response to this is somewhat irrational and that I have a totally unhealthy relationship with masturbation, which, for some people & relationships is not an issue at all.
    Unfortunately for me and my OH, his addiction has warped my perception of both so much I can't see a way I'd be OK with it - perhaps I am selfish like that, but when he is not engaging in that, he is 100% mine and I can totally feel the difference in our relationship when that is the case.

    I can't force him to change you are right, but sometimes I wish I could.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov likes this.
  12. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    2,590
    3,871
    143
    I just want to say your response to masturbation is not irrational or unhealthy. As a society we have normalized masturbation even within a relationship! There are societies where this is not normal. Masturbation does not bother me nor has it ever. Porn didn’t bother me either. Until I realized what it was doing / husband was doing. Just like alcohol/drinking doesn’t bother me but I know if he was an alcoholic it would. You are not irrational or unreasonable or unhealthy in asking for a completely faithful, monogamous ( no masturbating) sex life.
     
  13. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

    528
    842
    93
    You have the right to set your boundaries and hold them.

    edit: that doesn't mean he has to agree with them, or stay with you with them, or anything of that sense. But as adults we have agency and don't have to put ourselves in harmful places.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
    Psalm27:1my light likes this.
  14. That is true. She can set boundaries, and he doesn't have to agree or comply with anything. What I think is so frustrating for some SO's is that many of us set those boundaries in the very beginning. We made it clear how we felt about P and M. We expressed how hurt we would be by those things, and we were told those boundaries would be respected. We were led to believe that our partners saw the same importance in faithfulness and exclusivity that we did. Some of us believed for a long time that our boundaries mattered and our partners would never betray us. We had no idea that we had put ourselves into such a harmful place until we had been there for years. So, 20-30 years down the road, it isn't just a matter of setting some boundaries. We did that a long time ago and thought it mattered, but clearly it didn't.

    I understand it's still up to us to protect ourselves, whether by setting new (or the same) boundaries or getting out of the painful, damaging relationship, or whatever is best for ourselves. But, as the OP said, after decades together, it isn't as easy as just walking away, and it's obviously not as simple as making some boundaries either. It's a tough place to be.
     
  15. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    OMG- I truly feel seen. I won’t go into all the details, but back in the day I took part in some recovery nation workshops that centered around P&M addiction and worked hard to lay out my boundaries with my husband. That was over 14 years ago and I think that is the biggest thing I am struggling with.
    He KNOWS my boundaries- I may not have laid them out recently, but he knows them. Unfortunately for me, as naive as I was, I structured them around P use- assuming if P was gone, so too was M. How wrong I was.
    Now I am left wondering what to do - it’s not as easy as walking away, regardless of how easy some of the replies seem it might be. My children (all girls) truly see nothing but a loving father- he treats me respectfully and lovingly in every way except this- which we keep secret. He loves our girls with everything he has.
    Aside from this, truly our relationship is almost perfect. But it’s a pretty big wedge to have in there.

    I am working through the bloom website and have told H that I am working on me- I can’t control him and won’t try (or will try not to anyway). That I am trying to work on my emotions which at times I am definitely quick to anger (which he blames for the acting out ), and that I will see where it all lands as I work on me. I hope it’s with him, I really do, but I can’t see a life with him if he is not going to fully engage in recovery. I guess time will tell.
    thanks for your support and insights.
     
  16. happenstance

    happenstance Fapstronaut

    142
    124
    43
    Are you familiar with gaslighting? I see a bunch of it in this thread alone. I'm just curious. Just exactly what is he doing if anything to try to recover at all? Then we have what I discovered a few years ago. That is almost all of what is recommended to us is flawed. It is just wrong. I agree with the boundaries. The problem isn't with boundaries but the implementation of them. They are just implemented wrong. I know of one person here who had the most comprehensive boundaries and consequences I have ever seen. It wasn't until I implemented those that they actually worked for me. But remember this. They're only as good as your willingness to enforce them as written. Otherwise you may as well not bother to write any at all. Most books I have read just gloss over them and didn't really give us much of a strong foundation for creating them.

    I agree with pretty much everything psalm and hope4healing said and that's about it. As for the rest of it I would take with a grain of salt. Better yet sand.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov likes this.
  17. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    2,590
    3,871
    143
    Yes, this. Boundaries only work if YOU enforce them, and here’s the thing, boundaries are for you. They are to keep you safe. They will not necessarily make him change even if you have good boundaries and enforce them. Ironically, 20 years ago I set boundaries without realizing it. Dday#2 I took off my rings, I quit cooking, doing laundry ( I wouldn’t even pick up his dry cleaning) quit attending his work events, quit initiating affection, I did nothing for my husband. When he asked me to renew my wedding vows ( at 20 yrs married) I said” I would never take wedding vows again and most definitely not with you. You have made my life far harder than it should be and you did not honor your vows the first time. Why would I say vows I kept while you will just break them again?” Maybe that’s why the instant he learned it was an addiction he threw himself into recovery?
    I cooked dinner for us for the first time in 20 years the other night. Asked him if he wanted some and he was so thankful. He was ecstatic and grateful. I didn’t want to leave my marriage when the kids were small , but I left my husband in almost every sense of the word. Unfortunately he took a long time to start recovery and I’m a far different person than he married.
     
    RUNDMC and Ivan Kalashnikov like this.
  18. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    100% they are only good if I enforce them. I did enforce them 14years ago & we had an in-house separation for some time whilst I worked my head out and he sought help.

    I feel I am now left to redefine them at the moment and am not really sure how to put them down in a way my husband will respond to. By that I don’t mean “obey me” but more get where I am coming from. He seems confused himself, which I know is really just the Addict talking and trying to bamboozle me again.
    Gaslighting is a huge thing he’s done- although he still, surprisingly, seems to struggle to see it when I call it out.

    Like you @psalm27 I am not the wife I was 14 years ago so I am not sure how this will play out yet.
     
    Ivan Kalashnikov likes this.
  19. That's one of the toughest things about boundaries...you are setting them to protect yourself from further harm, but so often, they are only able to see them as an attempt to control them or as punishments for themselves. But, that's because, as addicts, they make everything about themselves with no concern for what's hurting you. When they've spent years ignoring your boundaries, thoughts, feelings, etc. without you knowing, IMO it's very difficult to set new boundaries or to have much faith that they'll mean anything this time around.

    It is very hard for them to see the truth so much of the time because they even lie to themselves. It's like the addict vs. the real self, and the addict is cunning, manipulative, and a masterful liar. They believe their own B.S. to rationalize, justify, blame-shift, minimize, deflect, deny, or anything else necessary to continue acting out while making it anyone's fault but their own. It takes awhile after really committing to recovery before they can start to see everything for what it really is.

    This is something that I think about all the time...how much his addiction has changed me as a wife, mother, friend, just as a person. It makes me sad knowing I'll never be the old 'me' again, and even if I'm able to find healing at some point, to an extent, I'll still carry this with me for the rest of my life. I don't know if they can ever understand the scope of the damage done. Probably not.
     
  20. liss2402

    liss2402 Fapstronaut

    10
    12
    3
    Thanks @hope4healing , that's a really helpful and honest reply. I know the boundaries are to protect me, but, honestly, as I don't think he wants to make any changes, boundaries are pointless for me.
    He just wants me "OK" and admitted that he plans on just white knuckling it to not engage in MB'ing - to which I did sarcastically ask him how well that's worked so far. Honestly, I think he thinks that because he isn't engaging like he used to, there's no issue with what he's currently occasionally doing.

    His addiction has changed everything about me- the friendships I have built up over the past years have largely now gone again as I don't want to be around anyone. I don't want to spend time with anyone. I've largely stopped doing the things I do for me (running, exercise classes) for fear of him acting out whilst I'm gone. I've become hyper vigilant again. Even the mum I am has changed. The only positive I can feel is that I am not angry about it anymore. I am both overwhelmed and over it all and feeling like this is going to be life with him forever. If I choose to stay.

    I've been doing the bloom for women course and the one thing I can't get past is the finding a safe place - I have realised I don't have one. I have no one I can talk to about this, no place I can just go and feel what I'm feeling without having to hold it in in case anyone sees or it upsets my Husband further and causes him to AO again. And I know this is why I am stuck in the overwhelmed state I feel. I know I need to find one, but how?
     
    ANewFocus likes this.

Share This Page