Is true recovery actually possible? Question for PAs

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by trying33, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Multiple times in the past, my boyfriend has promised not to watch porn, been good a few months, and then went back to watching it/lying to me about it despite knowing that it kills me inside (full backstory here). He relapsed again recently and I reached a point where I started to completely lose hope. However, he says he really sees things differently now and he is finally really going to reboot and commit to never watching porn again, not just for me but for himself.

    I want to believe him and support him in making this positive change. I spent a ton of time researching PA and sent him lots of articles and resources to use, including this website. Right now he says he feels really good and has been P free, but I can't shake the feeling that it's only a matter of time before he relapses. I know that people on this site have remained porn free for many months or even years (effectively "rebooting" their brain) but then have relapsed anyway. As an SO it makes me feel really hopeless, because I feel like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That relapse is always inevitable.

    Is it really possible for someone to remain porn-free for the rest of their lives? Society hyper-sexualizes women at every turn (there are tons of triggers everywhere) and it also normalizes porn use and implies that men have a "need" for it and simply cannot do without it for long periods of time. I have been told by many people (both men and women) that asking a partner not to watch porn is unreasonable and only sets us up for failure, especially if I'm not having sex with them all the time (as is the case in my current relationship, which has recently become long distance). I'm starting to feel like my only option is just to accept that my partners will always use porn and I should just "get over it". I really don't want to believe this but I'm kind of starting to. I don't know how to maintain my hope that long-term, permanent recovery is truly possible.
     
  2. It is possible. But the PA has to want to stop..they have to embrace the fact that they can't just stop.

    Having the attitude of:
    "my boyfriend has promised not to watch porn"

    That is akin to me wanting to lose 10 more pounds. If I don't DO anything about it ... it ain't happening.

    So, what is your boyfriend doing to break free from his porn addiction?

    Oh wait..first an important question: does he consider himself to be addicted to porn?
     
  3. Numb

    Numb Fapstronaut

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    Of course it is possible for someone to stop and never use p again, but sadly a relapse is always possible too. I struggle with that. No matter how well my boyfriend is doing now he may slip in the future. It wears on me and I honestly don't know what I would do if that happens. I'm not sure I can keep going through this pain and heartbreak. Some days it is like I am drowning, but I am hopeful that in time it will get better. It took my bf 15 years of lying to me/broken promises to actually come clean. Now it has been about six months clean. He says he feels better and we are closer and more open. But six months is nothing to a life time of addiction. This is a long painful road, with lots of bumps and wrong turns. Sometimes you'll end up back where you started. He has to want to change, to do better. He needs to be honest with himself and with you.
     
  4. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    I worry that he doesn't fully see himself as a porn addict because he doesn't watch it everyday 24 hours a day, but that's not all it takes to be addicted. I've told him that the fact that this has nearly destroyed us and he continues to do it shows there is an addiction. He has admitted he has a "problem" and wants to do something about it.
    He wants to start seeing a therapist which I think would be good for figuring out what his underlying issues are that may be causing the addiction. He's also using some accountability app called Reboot for android that he says helps with the daily check ins. I am trying to get him to post on these forums but I don't know if he actually is since I told him he could keep his username anonymous to me.
     
  5. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Ugh yeah. I'm so sorry you're going through this too. Thanks for replying, I know it's painful. I am also trying to be strong and supportive and tell him that if he relapses I won't be upset as long as he tells me, but part of me knows if he did relapse I would completely fall apart. I don't want him to know that though because I'm afraid he would then lie to me to "protect my feelings". As SOs I think it is really hard to remind ourselves that it isn't our fault (at least for me) and that it wasn't our actions that drove them to this addiction, it is their own issues. I just feel like I'm constantly in competition with other women and I hate that feeling.
    I'm so glad things are going well for you right now and that your bf seems to really be trying. No matter what happens I hope you can find some relief posting on these forums, I will be here to listen <3
     
  6. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

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    Did you ever end up setting those boundaries I mentioned on a different thread? And do you have access to the Reboot history I guess (With Ever Accountable I am the AP on there and can see everything, which means my husband has to be honest because if not I will know). Admitting he is an addict is the first step to recovery.

    My husband never binged or used for hours on end. My husband used as quickly as possible to get it over with because of the hate he had for it and himself. He used 2-3x/day for 10-12 years. With me there were times he went a couple days, even a couple months, but eventually went back to it.

    Try asking him about what the experience is like (i.e. is he anxious and overwhelmed before he uses and after does he feel relief from stress - those are signs of addiction)

    Addiction is something that helps an individual escaping reality and deal with stress and emotions they don't want to face or trauma. Addiction has negative impacts on your life and despite the negative impacts they cannot stop.

    Have you broken it down like that to him?
     
  7. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Hey, I did set some boundaries and ground rules with him, kind of complicated though now that we are in a long-distance relationship (can't really withhold intimacy if I can't give it to begin with, etc.) I told him no porn in any form (videos, sexy pics, etc.) and also no TV shows with nudity (he didn't like that because he is a Game of Thrones fan). Sadly I am not there to monitor his device use and as someone in IT he has a LOT of different devices. He told me he did install P blockers on chrome. I don't know if his app allows someone to see the reboot history but I can ask him about it. I want to make him do Ever Accountable but I'm not physically there to see that he has installed it on all his devices and again he doesn't want to pay the monthly fee for it. I'm also just kind of scared to have something like that because I think I will obsessively check it, like I used to do with his web history. I've asked him about what leads up to the porn use and he usually evades the question/says he doesn't know but he has said that it is because of loneliness and afterwards he feels really guilty. I have sent him studies on how porn affects the porn user's brain to try and make his recovery more about him and dealing with his own issues than something he is doing to please me.
     
  8. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

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    If he is taking recovery 100% seriously $7 bucks a month is nothing. Therapy costs much more! and you can vid chat as he downloads EA and see that its on all devices and once he invites u to be the AP you can see all the devices it's on
     
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  9. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. Really appreciate it. Some hard to swallow truths here but ultimately I know you're right. I enabled him for far too long, I thought I was being supportive but I guess it backfired. I guess I really didn't want to believe that he was that kind of person. I still don't. It's so painful. And realizing how ubiquitous it is in our society makes me even more sad. I'm at a point where I feel disgusted by my own body, and angry whenever I see a remotely attractive woman, because it just reminds me of all this and how I feel so reduced to a sexual object. Used. My "personality" and other qualities meant nothing compared to some moments of pleasure from pixels on a screen. That's the pain I wish he could feel, but he never will and I hate it. I will look into the books you've suggested to try and address my feelings on that.

    I'm trying to move forward and follow your guys' advice on the boundaries consequences and execution. I guess I don't know if I'm doing it right. I have set boundaries/rules like no porn, no suggestive pictures, no TV with nudity, no reddit, no anime, no strip clubs, no checking out women irl (how do I even enforce/monitor that), no masturbating (can't possibly enforce/monitor that either, but I put it on the list because I'm worried it would lead to porn use). He said he agreed to the boundaries. The consequences part is where it gets difficult. We are in a long distance relationship so "no sex" or "no sleeping in the same bed" can't really be a consequence. What would a consequence be? That we just stop talking, effectively breaking up? Aren't relapses inevitable in recovery? I'm worried if I make consequences like this he will just lie to me in order to avoid them, as he has before. He lied to me because he didn't want our relationship to end. I guess that's what accountability software is for, and I am going to talk to him about that and say that him installing it is a requirement for me. But I'm worried that if he installs it he is just going to find ways to get around it, and I will be lulled into a false sense of security that he is following the rules. There's my paranoia talking...
     
  10. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    How do I get him to be honest about that though? It's not like I can be there to make sure he isn't ogling.
     
  11. An SO cannot force a PA to be honest. If dishonesty continues, in any part of the relationship, that is a serious red flag and there should be boundaries and consequences.

    A relationship where both parties cannot be honest with each other is not a relationship worth having.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    Numb, Queen_Of_Hearts_13 and Kenzi like this.
  12. Kenzi

    Kenzi Fapstronaut

    You can't force him.
    He has to want recovery.
     
  13. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    He has said he really wants to recover, for himself and not just me. I guess what I really mean is...how do I know he is actually telling the truth and that I'm not just enabling him again? I guess there is no way to really know...
     
  14. Kenzi

    Kenzi Fapstronaut

    How do you know?
    Because the honesty will be transparent and he wont' be defensive.
    He will accept the changes and make adjustments without a fight.
     
  15. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Scary thread. Unfortunately a lot of these things require face-to-face interaction which we don't have, only over the phone. Not to mention that he is a master liar. I mean, absolutely flawless. Part of what disturbs me so much was how absolutely effortlessly he lied to my face while seeming completely "transparent" and genuine.
    So far he is embracing the boundaries but maybe he's just telling me what I want to hear again.
    It always comes back to the fact that I cannot trust him.
     
  16. Tiburon727

    Tiburon727 Fapstronaut

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    Trust is very complicated indeed and on top of everything else you have a long distance relationship which makes it much easier to get away with this addiction.

    My wife caught me a few weeks ago, and I am working hard on my recovery. We talk about it everyday. But before being caught I had hidden this addiction for our entire relationship. That is about 4 years.

    What comes to heart, is wondering if your SO talks to you and updates you everyday? Or if he shares how long his current streak is without a relapse?

    I made a vow to my wife that I would call her if I was about to relapse and that I would give her daily updates on how I am doing. This has brought a lot of transparency and does help with trust. I understand she can still doubt me and I have deserved that doubt, but the more we communicate and the more honest I am with her the more I realize the trust is building.

    If your SO is wanting recovery then he should be willing to give updates everyday. Resistance and excuses show that something is holding him back from being transparent with you.

    On the other hand it is important on your end to keep up your awesome support and recognize the recovery process may involve relapses but it is important for you to know when a relapse happens. That he does not need to hide relapses from you, but you are there and want to support him during those relapses.

    Apologize if I missed some info in previous posts. In what I read so far this came to mind. Communication in recovery needs to happen everyday if only for a minute. How he responds during these times will really help see if he is truthful. A recovering addict should not deny this opportunity.

    Personally it has been my daily celebration as I so far have not relapsed since I was caught. Hoping to be one that is one of the success stories that never does it again.

    Best of everything to you.
     
  17. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for your kind response.
    We talk on the phone every day, but usually I have to prompt him for an update. He always reassures me and says that he hasn't watched any and feels really good about not doing so. As with your wife, doubt still creeps into my mind as he's said similar things to me many times while secretly lying. So I don't know. I am trying to be supportive and tell him that if he tells me about a relapse I will not be upset, I will be there for him. It's just a matter of him believing that and being brave enough to come clean if something does happen.
    I am happy to hear that you committed to being honest with your wife, it gives me hope. She is very strong for supporting you. I very much hope if you do relapse that you have the strength to tell her. My boyfriend always excused his lying by saying he didn't want to hurt my feelings, but I can tell you that being lied to hurts so much more than anything and does lasting damage. I hope you continue to update this community on your progress, and I really wish you luck!
     
  18. If the porn addict was hooked on porn for years/decades....I don't think simply asking if he watched porn -- and him saying he did not...that is not enough.

    Abstinence is not recovery from PA.

    That is not just a cute saying. What it means is true recovery is a change, on the inside and the outside, evidenced by someone who is really committed to learning all about porn addiction and Recovery, learn about what it takes to rewire the brain. Someone who readily admits that they were addicted to porn.

    Those are some of the key things to be on the lookout for. Simply answering your question about whether he has looked at porn or not isn't nearly enough.

    Do you see any of these positive signs of change / of progress?
     
  19. trying33

    trying33 Fapstronaut

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    I agree, and I suspect right now he is running on pure willpower which is not healthy or good because it's not actually addressing his underlying issues/causes of PA, and it will just set him up for a relapse. He did say he has been using a Reboot app for android that checks in with him daily and has installed filters on his browser. What other sorts of changes/actions should I be looking for?
     
  20. Does he admit that he is a porn addict?

    Words matter. How does he talk about it or reference it?
     
    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 likes this.

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