Long story; need help...

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Stefanie, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    I posted this in the SO section, but would also like some male input. I just think I need to hear it from both sides. Super long background, but if you could be so kind to read and help, I would be so grateful.

    Where do I start? I met my husband in high school. He and I were just friends. We reconnected eight years ago (2009) on Facebook. Both married. He was in the long process of a horrible, bitter divorce from a woman who cheated on him with at least ten guys WHILE he was deployed and I was in a platonic relationship with my soon-to-be-ex... my ex and I had agreed to stay together for our daughter, but lived in different bedrooms. We got along great, didn't date anyone, just hung out as a slightly dysfunctional family.

    Anyway... my current SO and I started chatting as friends for six months and had a chance to meet up for coffee one day (we lived 1200 miles apart). It changed everything. We had an immediate attraction to each other and wanted to be together. We had been speaking for months, so we knew each other very well, but had not seen each other since high school, so the attraction was overwhelming. I dissolved my platonic relationship (and my ex and I are still friends; he stays with us when he comes to be with our daughter). Current SO had to fight his ex for a divorce. During this fight with her, she filed adultery complaints with the Army (though I was 1200 miles away) and it led to my SO not being able to promote, so he was separated after 14 years. My SO and his vile ex had been apart for nearly two years, but her money was about to dry up, so she lashed out. It caused him to go into severe depression. I knew that when he was 'single' he was doing PMO and he started PMO as a substitute to sex when he was a teen, because in his mind, it was "more Christian/better" to do that than have sex. He lost his virginity when he was 25 and had only one girl-friend, and five one-night stands prior to his adulterous ex (all of this was shared when we were just friends/not dating, so I do not doubt its validity). He told me he had stopped during our relationship, out of respect for us. I believed him. When he was discharged from the Army (2011), I found out he was still doing PMO, and he swore he would not do it again. I was hesitant, but decided to believe him. He was unemployed for almost 16 months, and I was working five jobs while attending graduate school to support us.

    Throughout the years, our sex life had always been a little less than I wanted, but when it started to further decrease, I became suspicious. In 2013, two years after our wedding, I discovered that he had been using PMO every time I worked (I work nights as a nurse), and I nearly left him. It is not just the withdrawal of intimacy and lack of respect, it is the deception. He and I went to individual counseling for eight weeks, but to be honest, couldn't afford it. He was making half of what I make and we had moved to a new home/new state (more expensive) to have a fresh start away from the military town we had lived in.

    He cried; he begged; he pleaded... he SWORE he would never, ever do this again! He just went cold-turkey (we had sex, but he said he never went back to PMO) I put filters on the internet, I had parental settings on his phone/iPad - all with his approval and knowledge. I even had a keylogger on his computer. Nothing ever flagged. Not sure if he is smart enough to circumvent any of these measures. Our sex life improved marginally. He is not the romantic type, and doesn't really make any effort.

    I have to admit, I am not the most forgiving wife. In arguments over other things or when I felt he was not as loving as I wanted and would assume the worst, I would sometimes bring up his betrayal in 2011 and 2013. It was brought up about twice a month for the last four years. I am ashamed that I am this way and I am working on being better.

    Money is tight; he took a new role in his current job, and it is commission based; starting out he is bringing home much even less. I have been frustrated with his career after he left the Army, because I have been working non-stop 50+ hours a week since 2011 without a real break (no vacations; every blue moon I would have just 3-4 nights off in a row and I would be staying home). He continues to make less than half of what I make and it is hard on us. So again, I suck at being the most supportive wife, because I let my frustrations be known and in reflection, I almost feel justified BECAUSE he was somewhat responsible for the loss of his job (should have divorced his ex so much sooner) AND because he has betrayed me. I see all of this in me, and hate myself for it. Again, I am working on it.

    So..... I caught him four weeks ago looking at a Facebook page (of all places) of self-submitted 98% naked pictures of girls (mind you, he is 41, and these girls are all 18 to 25ish). To add insult to injury, last week he was texting a friend about his new job, potential income in the next year and his administrative assistant - stating she was "smoking hot" (his phone was facing up, and I saw the text). I lost it! I realize that pictures of nearly naked girls are not porn, but he has been "clean" for over four years now. Plus the statement about his admin is super inappropriate. He tells me he was just messing around, that she is not hot, just teasing the guy because the guy had just quit! My SO tells me he saw the link to the page on another friend's newsfeed and got curious. This all started about six or so months ago - unless that is a lie. He again is using it when I work, which is about four to five nights a week (12-hour shifts) - there are weeks I do not see him for any of those days/nights, since he does not get home before I have to leave.

    I asked him WHY? Why would he do that? The small profile pic of the page was of a naked woman covering her breasts, so he had to know. He knew the consequences were divorce. He knew he would lose his family. He did it anyway. He said he figured I would not find out, since it would not trigger any filters etc. plus, they are not naked nor is it porn, it is like Victoria Secret on steroids. Except each girl has her facebook profile linked to the pic, so these are REAL girls with real identities and real potential to be contacted. I am not sure if he would ever go that far. Knowing him and his history, I do not think so, but he has been a liar for so long, I do not know what to think of him anymore.

    I told him that he needs to think about his trigger - what made him click that link and then go back to it - especially after he said he felt guilt after he would look at the pics and get aroused. He denies masturbation, but who knows. He said he liked the rush of "happiness" he would get from looking at the pictures.

    He said he did it because he was "bored, lonely and frustrated". He is bored a lot; no real hobbies or friends. He is not a social person. Never really had a lot of close relationships in high school/college and due to moving around a lot for the Army. We live in a small mountain town. He works Monday through Saturday and often is not home until 1800. He is lonely because I am not home and he has not seen me in days. Lastly he is frustrated because our sex life has diminished over the last four years to about 2-4 times a month AND we are bickering a lot about bills, his new job, his laziness (not even bothering to pick up after himself, and I am OCD clean freak), which ends up us fighting about why we are in the financial situation we are in (his loss of his Army job and subsequent unemployment and living partially on my student loans) and then to the final punch: his previous betrayals. And if that was not enough, I had a cancer scare in January 2017 and was eventfully diagnosed with stage 1 cancer two months ago. We can't afford for me to take time off for surgery (hysterectomy), so I am on a high stress/anxiety level right now.

    Bottom line, I love him. I could not imagine spending my life with anyone else. We are politically in sync; both have the same Christian viewpoints, agree on how to live, what we want out of life... we don't like the same music, but are open to each other's tastes. We love snuggling, holding hands, cooking together, hiking, climbing 14'ers... I wanted nothing more than to grow old with him, but I cannot trust him. I am heartbroken.

    This relapse... does it under these circumstances mean he has to start over? Will he struggle again with thoughts? Will this happen again? IF I stay, are we or are we not to have sex? I know those are impossible questions, but what is your experience? Given his history and everything else (yea, sorry about the length of this post, just poured my heart out), what are your thoughts?

    Thank you for reading and in advance for your guidance.
     
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  2. NF4L

    NF4L Fapstronaut

    It sounds like your husband may have relapsed. Even though the definitions of those type of images could be argued they are not porn, it still is classified as a porn substitute or psub. If he is using a counter then yes he should reset it. It is all about the intent and him feeding that addiction. Just stopping watching and masturbating to porn doesn’t make someone recovered from their addiction. He found a way around the controls you put in place and wasn’t willing to be honest and communicate with you about it. It is the same addictive behavior. He has to be mindful of his addiction and understand how it affects him and his actions when he is alone.

    He will probably also struggles with thoughts. His recovery is all about what he chooses to do with them. Feeding it through PSubs isn’t a recovery. It could happen again if he doesn’t see this behavior as part of the problem. He has to make that choice and stick with the recovery and retrain his brain to no longer require the behavior. He has to change his strategy, and adapt, and find new constructive hobbies to occupy his time, rather than using the computer and looking at picture of girls.

    As for having sex, that is up to the both of you. Perhaps you both need to set boundaries and consequences to what could be addictive behavior.
     
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  3. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. There is so much information out there, so how does one recover? He has been thinking of “not thinking of” porn and “ogling girls” etc. for four years, which we both have read is still keeping porn in his head. He had a significant wandering eye when we met, but tells me he is working hard to not do... to the point of paranoia about doing it and/or getting caught.

    He swears he doesn’t have urges or thoughts now. Nothing is coming to mind as it did before when he was deep in the PA. No desires have returned. No images popping into his head. But he also does not want a divorce. So....

    In the last four years, he never had a burst of libido, energy etc. as I have read people will have once recovered! Not sure what that means.

    TIA
     
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  4. Hi Stephanie (beautiful name, BTW), you wanted some male input. I'm definitely completely male, definitely not gay, but not completely straight either. I hope that will do for you.

    Firstly, I'd like to say that I am very sorry for your pain, which I can really feel through your words. I'll try to give you my 2 cents worth on how I see your situation, based on my relationship with my wife to whom I have been happily married every day the the past 22 years. If I am on this site, I am obviously also a PMO addict. However, I am also so much more. That is definitely also the case for your hubby. I believe that some (or most) of your hurt comes from a lack of communication, not a lack of love. I love my wife so much that I would probably die if I loved her any more. She is my best friend, my lover, my soul-mate. But I still constantly fall to PMO and, to make it worse, mainly gay porn. Does that mean that I love my wife any less? Of course not! It just means that I have an addiction, a compulsion that I cannot control (yet). I'm 100% certain that your husband feels the same way, even if he can't express it - from what you write, you two are soul-mates too and he does love you, probably a whole lot more than you think or can even imagine. Most men find it very hard to even feel their feelings, let alone express them. We men are not supposed to feel in our society (except perhaps anger and lust), so we end up not knowing that we feel or what we feel. For a military guy it is even much worse. So, you husband isn't lying to you if he says he doesn't know why he PMOed again - he truthfully doesn't know: to be capable of knowing one must know what one feels. I don't PMO to hurt my wife. A wounded part of me just takes me over and I can't stop myself. The PMOing soothes the unbearable pain that that wounded part carries. I believe that that is the same for all of us PMO addicts ... I believe that that is true for your husband. Try to see it like this, if it helps (and it is probably really quite close to the truth): it is not your husband who betrays you, but rather the wounded part of him who takes over control and betrays not only you but him too. When he swears to never do it again, he is not lying to you or trying to trick you: he really means it ... unfortunately, the wounded part of him is not the one swearing to never do it again and it has no intention of living up to "deals" it didn't make. And to answer some of your questions: yes he will do it again, and again, and again, and yes he almost definitely does masturbate while doing it and lies to you about that (you also give him no other option ... more on that below). The question is: do you love him enough to see his brokenness, do you love him so much that you would even give him permission to PMO (that doesn't mean that you have to find it right or good), do you love him enough to stay with him even if he never stopped PMOing, ever? My wife did all this for me. And even though I love her for that, I have realized that I have to stop because I love me, not because I love her. What I mean is, I can't stop out of my love for her (and I truly do love her). And your husband obviously cannot stop out of his love for you - he first has to learn to love himself. Can you go on loving your husband, with all his imperfections, even if he never can change? If your answer is no, you can always look for someone else ... but that someone else will not be perfect either (he might even really betray you, I mean, with other women, or men), he will definitely have faults that will hurt you too, albeit in some other way. We are not perfect, no one is. I know how hard that is to accept - like you I am a bit of an OCDer and a total perfectionist. But that is OK, we are not perfect either adn that is acceptable.
    Back to a previous point: you are making it real hard for your husband to even attempt to change. Even if he agreed to it, your controlling of his Internet access and what not else is really castrating for a man - you are not being his partner, you are being his mom. Most guys are turned off if they feel mom in their partner, so that may in part be the reason for your bedroom issues. Another reason is definitely because he feels like less of a man because you are the main money earner - my wife is currently the sole money earner and, even though she constantly reassures me that that doesn't say anything about my manliness, I feel really castrated over it. Your sticking your finger in that wound just makes your husband feel he is worth less he he already believes he is. Don't beat yourself up over this: as I said above, you are not perfect either. You surely don't do any of these things to harm or hurt your husband - you seem to really, really love him. We all always act in a way that we think is right at the time, so be forgiving of yourself, accept that you are not perfect even if your love for him is. I'm sure his love for you is too.
    I hope things work out for you, sweet lady, with your husband and with your health ... you both deserve it.
    David
     
  5. In general, an addict has to clearly define what he or she believes is an addictive behavior and then reset the counter if they perform that action. If it's looking at social media, TV, video games, alcohol, porn, edging, masturbating, prostitutes, even sex. Only they can define that. SOs can help, but the addict knows or has to know himself.

    A few random thoughts that may or may not help:



    He is. We are. Something like Covenant Eyes (Accountability, not just filtering, software) might help since it let's you know when something is circumvented or questionable. It certainly helps, but it's not a total cure, but I never met an addict who didn't need all the help he could get.

    Social media is one giant gateway drug for a porn addict. I would block and log out of all of it for at least 90 days or until he can get sober. Plus it's a giant waste of time and just another way to escape reality (just like porn).

    He will ultimately have to decide if certain friends are helping or hurting his recovery. It's likely that they are not helping since most men either don't have or don't think they have a problem with porn. People in recovery need other people in recovery. Everyone else will only excuse the behavior or lead them back to it.

    Furthermore, when a man gets married, he will often has to choose between his friends and his wife. Friends are the easy choice.

    Get rid of social media = get rid of most triggers. Same for news and other internet sites since they all use pics of cleavage to grab men's attention.

    Never underestimate an addiction. There is no such thing as "rock bottom".

    Triggers are not feelings. Triggers are places, things, or people that lead you to act out. You can't control your feelings. You can control your environment. Don't just think about triggers; write them down and eliminate them. If an alcoholic said "Yeah, my triggers are boredom" but he drives by the bar every night, talks about drinking all day, and carries around a flask in his pocket, then he will not experience recovery no matter how much he talks about his boredom. A smartphone is almost the equivalent of a flask to a porn addict. I had to get rid of mine for 40 days to experience what real energy and motivation was like.

    All of that can improve if he gets clean from PMO. Focus on the problem, not the symptoms.

    Sidenote: as someone who loves politics, I just want to say politics is total garbage and doesn't affect your day to day life at all (unless you live in a communist country). It's just another escape and it's entertaining. When I gave up being a political junkie, I started enjoying life.

    Just my imperfect experience!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2017
  6. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for your honest and open reply. I won't go into too much detail, but I would rather be alone than to be in this much longer. I think that - despite how much I love him - I love my daughter more, and she is suffering more than I thought. She asked me to divorce him tonight. She can't handle the way he treats me. Walls are thin when we are shouting and I will forever be sorry that she heard us. I don't want to see her see me this way. I don't want her expectations to be that this is just how it is and men are going to hurt you.

    If I am not in charge of the internet, which I did with his knowledge and request, who else will be? He swears he is not lying about M after the pictures/during the viewing of the girls in seductive poses... I don't know. We have been intimate more in the last two weeks than we have in two months. It has been intense for both of us. I do love him. I know I am not perfect, but I would never betray him - ever - and he has betrayed me. I am a nurse and if I were assessing a patient with my symptoms and story, I would say "she" is an abused wife. I swore I would never be one. My mom was one. I was beaten as a child by my bio-father... I need to find the strength to leave or he needs to find the strength to face his cause, find alternative methods to sooth and repair us. Asking for a miracle... maybe.
     
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  7. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    WOW!! Thank you. So if I am understanding you correctly, boredom, loneliness and such are not trigger, but feelings... so what about him being in bed, scrolling through Facebook and getting this urge to type in the site name to go to the Facebook group while being bored is the actual trigger? Facebook is the trigger? Social media triggered him and his feeling of boredom and loneliness contributed?

    How does one recover? He is working on creating this:

    1. Strategic Plan (What do you want, and why?)
    2. Tactical Plan (How do you get there? What milestones are you looking to reach, by when?)
    3. Risk management (How are you going to manage difficult challenges/triggers?)

    What else can he do? Also, he is trying to move forward and not think about porn or anything artificial stimulation anymore; he was working so hard not to think about it that he was still thinking about it. Should he stop watching any movie with nudity? Is that the same? Or Game of Thrones? What about internet body building sites with blogs? He frequents T-Nation, which every once in a while will have a female body builder highlighted. Sexy bodies and such, but with weights? Is that too much for now?

    Thank you again!
     
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  8. Dr_prof

    Dr_prof Fapstronaut

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    Maybe consider looking into COSA for spouses of sex addicts. Just a thought.
     
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  9. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. If I stay, I will look into it.
     
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  10. Mikemike666

    Mikemike666 Fapstronaut

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    Male perspective here as well. Relatively new to this - but one question i would have - how is your sex life? Are you both happy with the type of sex you have? I started to look into this a lot (im on day 10 only..) and from my view atm it is important to check what is addiction driven fetish and what is real fetish.

    Me personally i have quite a few perversions that existed prior to P and then some that grew with the P which i think may disappear once the Pdetox is complete.

    I just think it is important to address fetishes openly and not surpress them if they are genuine and not addiction related - especially if you have firm religious beliefs there may be things unspoken as they clash with beliefs.

    Worst example which i know from friends of mine where he has a very kinky fetish and it took them years to work it through but in the end totally worth it they said. (Not going into details as i dont want to trigger)

    Just my thoughts from reading all this.
     
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  11. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. I am much more into things than he is... with my job and money stressors, we do not have sex as often as we like. His job is very physically demanding and he is asleep by 2030 on most nights that I am off (while watching a movie or such) and in bed by 2100 on the nights I am working. He is super tired, all the time, so we just didn't have sex. We would talk about it - plan on it even - and then both be passed out. He tells me he is frustrated that we do not have sex as much, which he states, is another reason he started looking at those models/girls on the Facebook account.

    Since his latest discovery and our constant fighting, we have had sex more in the last week than we had in the last two month leading up to it. It has been very intense sex; practically ripping clothes off each other. Afterwards, I will retreat to the restroom and cry. So there is that.
     
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  12. Mikemike666

    Mikemike666 Fapstronaut

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    Maybe i missed it before - but why u cry after?

    Also, before my relationship sex got screwed by P (which i will fix now) - we had a similar problem due to exhaustion - back then we agreed to have lazy sex - as i minimal effort - really lazy sex and ot honestly turned out to be helpful and really funny at times - if it fits ur situation - i can highly recommend it.
     
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  13. Mikemike666

    Mikemike666 Fapstronaut

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    Still thinking about your post - whats ur husbands new job? If he came from army he must have had so much structure. Is his new job as structured or much less - i could see this as a potential drastic change as well?
     
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  14. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    I do not know exactly why I cry - I think because I am so sad and during sex I feel connected and in that moment, I think I can survive this, but afterwards, I get this let down and feeling of doom.

    He was an officer in the army; he went to West Point and has a degree in military arts and science, which is super useless in civilian world. I asked him to pick a field now that he thinks he will want to do for the rest of his life - he wanted to work outside. So, he tried to go back to school, but made low C's (due to PMO) and did not graduate. He was getting his forestry/natural resources degree. He decided to pursue being an arborist. So he had to start over. First learn how to climb and maintain trees, etc and then foreman and now tree/plant healthcare sales (commission only - and guess how much you can sell/work on in the winter... uhhh, nothing).
     
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  15. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Arborist now. Been doing that for three years... started when he was already not doing PMO anymore.
     
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  16. I feel your pain! I too was very abused by my dad and my mom as a kid: I got a good beating at least once a day "for my own good" with any object my dad (and often mom) found at hand. I have tried a lot of different stuff to heal, but nothing helped. In a way, I am grateful to masturbation and maybe even porn, because it soothed the otherwise unbearable pain from my inner wounds (I hope that doesn't gross you out - I've decided to be totally truthful about myself on this site). About a month ago I came across a self help site for healing inner wounds (sfhelp.org). I have healed more in a month than I did in the rest of my life, even though I haven't even started the healing exercises. And that healing has allowed me to start to break away from my PMO addiction - I have found a much more efficient way to soothe my pain, that not only soothes the pain but heals the wounds behind them. And without the pain I don't need the PMO anymore. In other words, I'm not trying to directly tackle the PMO addiction, which I think is just a symptom, but rather the cause behind the PMO addiction, i.e., the inner wounds. As a nurse I'm sure you can understand my perspective.

    Concerning your relationship with your husband, only you can decide in the end. But I don't think you should shift the decision to your daughter ... she will eventually leave the house and you will be stuck with your husband ... it must be all about you. And the heart doesn't necessarily understand logic: even though you do love him, your heart might be saying that he has hurt you too much to be able to forgive him. In your position I would follow my heart. However, I would first move out or get him to move out for a few months to get some distance and perspective, and only then with a clear head and less wounded heart make the final decision. That's what I would do ... you must decide what is right for you. Whatever you decide, I definitely don't judge you. On the contrary, you have my full acceptance and support.
    Be well and take care,
    David
     
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  17. Mikemike666

    Mikemike666 Fapstronaut

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    Honestly i think the problem is wider than PMO - likely PMO is one of the symptoms but surely not the only cause. My sense is that he needs proper counselling. He sounds like a man who lost purpose in life - he is a damn west point grad - and now an arborist - thats heavy mental load - i bet he loathes himself silently - he needs to re-find his mission in life. My sense is that quitting PMO wont be the solution you guys need. Im not too familiar with US healthcare but cant you get free counselling somehow if money is tight? (Or is mental health not covered in the US??)
     
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  18. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you! I do not judge you or think ill of you. It is your journey, and the thing is, I am a nurse... I deeply care about people and want to them to be happy and HEALTHY. I want you to be healthy. I hope you will find a way out - I know that is what you want and ultimately it is the best decision for you.

    I will take your advice in consideration. I do think that my daughter - even when she moves out - does play a part. It is also damaging her.

    Take care,
    Stefanie
     
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  19. Thank you! You take care too.
     
  20. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    I think so as well... isn't it usually something deeper that causes this in the first place? My ex-husband and I are still friends and I asked him about his porn use - especially since he and I stopped being intimate five years into our relationship and we both decided to just be co-parents (I did mention that in my original post)... anyway, he said he never really liked porn all that much; he found it to be disturbing - he kept thinking of how the women were objectified and that some are not there by choice. I am a forensic/SANE nurse as well as an ED nurse and nursing faculty and could tell you horror stories of sex slavery, forced drug-induced underage against-their-will prostitution, child sexual assault and abuse... I would have nights I would come home after a traumatic patient experience and evidence collection and it rubbed off on my ex... he just could not disassociate what I had shared with him from what was on the screen. So... not all men become addicts, just like not all people that drink alcohol become alcholics. With that being said, my ex watched porn about once a month while we were together and asexual, and after I became a nurse, he stopped all together. I said all that to say, in my nursing experience, people become addicts usually to mask a deeper issue.

    My husband losing his job with the Army was a signficant blow and one he will never quite get over, but he really loves what he does now. He is not tied to the phone, does not have to deploy and is outdoors (as an officer, he was always "on call" to respond to issue with soldiers under his command and he was stuck in a basement office for 60 hours a week).

    I do believe that quitting PMO is one of the solutions we need. I do know that he needs to figure out what got him here in the first place and then he will be able to tackle that as well. As for our relationship, he needs to get rid of PMO, or I cannot stay...

    Our healthcare system is horrible. We are completely underfunded for psych and insurance covers five to seven appointments, then it is at least $150 per session out of pocket. SIGH

    I grew up in Germany and lived in Canada for three years, not saying both countries have the best healthcare, but it was better than what we have here.
     
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