Making a Better Marriage

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by mrtumnus, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. I told both of my sons about my PMO struggle. I waited until they were about 12-13 to do so. Before they got to that age, I was not sure a way to communicate it to them in a way that made any sort of sense. And, maybe I was not ready to do so yet myself.

    We are now partners in purity, and we speak openly and frankly about this issue as it comes up. The Internet is an amazing place, but it has dark corners. My children are well aware of the dangers, and we shine a bright light on anything that comes up. Secrecy and silence are what give PMO power, and we have robbed it of both in our family.
  2. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

    I am guessing you know how to smile, talk, make eye contact? These are the most improtant skills you have to make a difference to so many peoples lives. Try not to forget that.

    So common that men feel this way, and can the source of so much frustration and anxiety during a relationship. "She doesnt want sex means she doesnt want me" is the incorrect negative thought.With " we must have sex to make our relationship valid" another common incorrect unhelpful belief. It is actually the bonding process that is the 'relational glue'. This does not only happen during sex.
    I never thought I would say this but I do not feel I ever 'need' to have sex again. I have two amazing kids so I have procreated. We enjoy having sex but it is not a requirement of a healthy loving intimate relationship.
  3. GID2020

    GID2020 Fapstronaut

    I'm not sure if you meant to quote me or not but if you were responding to something I wrote, I don't want you to think I'm not acknowledging you.

    My question to Tumnus was "What purpose would it serve to tell a small child that information?" He said the ages of his children were 6 and 2 and I'm not sure if he has more kids than that, but the oldest is 6, according to him. I will stand by my statement that a 6 and 2 year old are going to have no clue what any of this means and I can only see that as a passive aggressive attempt by his wife to make him look like the bad guy. I never said anything about not telling older children. Again, people can do what they want with their own children but I have an ex who "Over shares" with our kids and all it has ever done is make them worried.( ie. he tells them things like financial worries he has or health scares he has, because he's a freaking hypochondriac, and all it has ever done is serve to make them more anxious and stressed) I get that kids are smart and they know if something is off, but according to Tumnus he had be "using" his whole marriage so how would they know anything different was going on? Hence, why I said perhaps just telling them that grown up things were upsetting "Daddy and Mommy" but now they are going to work hard so that Daddy and Mommy aren't unhappy or upset. No amount of anyone on here telling me that they told their teenagers about their porn addiction is going to convince me that it's okay to tell a 6 and 2 year old that. The other person on here that I read (and their name escapes me) also told small children because their wife wanted them to. I don't invite my kids into the sexual part of my relationship with my husband (their dad/step dad) so I'm not sharing this with them. It's nothing to do with being secretive and everything to do with my sex life with my husband being between him and I. Not that we haven't discussed the topic of sex or sexual health with my kids, because we have, but I don't think this has anything to do with them. Perhaps I will address my feeling about this more in my journal.

    Again, it's none of my business what anyone does with their kids. I just found it weird and wanted to know why his wife wanted him to try to explain to his children that he wanted to "hug and kiss other women" and how that would be helpful to a 6 and a 2 year old. I still don't have an answer but I'm okay with that. We are all on here on nofap to learn from one another, and because I saw tumnus and someone else say they told small children about their porn addiction I wanted to know the logic. So far I haven't learned what the logic behind it is. I suspect I'm not going to because there isn't any.
  4. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Lol, I wasn’t disagreeing with you about the age, I didn’t know they were so young. However, I think they did it in an age appropriate way and if it helps the family and his wife in particular, then that’s their call. Trying to hide it from older kids though, is perpetuating the shame, it’s not about your sex life at all. It’s about an addiction that is almost impossible to quit. They will notice something is different, because in order to beat this, you will have to change your life. Very few really get into long term recovery. Every wife, gf, so wants to believe that theirs is the one who will beat this. It takes a complete overhaul. My hubby was clean 4 years, relapsed, clean a year relapsed, now clean almost a year. I hope this time is different because this time we completely changed our fight against it. Unlike you though, I don’t have to contend with an ex who overshares, ugh! So each family has to figure out what’s best for them. My children don’t have the added stress that yours do. I will say, my children were shell shocked, ( because , yeah my husband and I are still deeply in love after 33 years, and it shows!) but it opened the door for transparency and they began talking about the amount of porn that the kids at school look at and think is normal. It is so widely excepted, and no one talks about the damage it is doing. AND none of the parents think their kids are looking or they think it’s no big deal! Ugh, porn addiction is like cigarettes use to be. I admire any family that is fighting this and doing everything possible to heal their marriage or heal themselves! Because, they are the true warriors who strive for real connection and intimacy and healthy love. Also, if anyone ever has the chance to go hear Dr. Skinner talk, he’s awesome! I was nervous because , well, everyone knows why your there. It was so healing, and heartbreaking to see how this is affecting marriages. He is incredible.
    GID2020 and Deleted Account like this.
  5. Day 133

    Not a great weekend, but not a horrible one either. I keep falling into the same trap of being inwardly focused. I don't quite know how to pull myself out, other than continuing to reevaluate my thinking. I need more prayer, Scripture, and service in my life, perhaps. Thankfully, I didn't totally devolve into a sullen attitude. We were pretty busy on Sunday running around, and by the end my SO appreciated my help. So, at least the weekend ended on a good note.

    I attended a funeral for an old saint in our church, founding member, marine, great-grandfather. It was nice to hear during the sermon about how vulnerable he was with the pastor. How he'd be the first to refute anyone's claims that he was an upright, shining example of a Christian. I appreciate that, and aspire to be that open with those around me. Reminds me of Paul's claim to be the "chief of sinners". I think it's easy to express this sentiment with a sense of false humility. When someone truly means this, sees the depth of their sin, and how powerless they are to pay for it/change, that's really something to aspire to.

    Recovery is still going one day at a time. Temptation to PMO is zero. Temptation to be tempted is low. I was flirting a bit over the weekend with staring at "scantily clad" video game characters in Zelda. Pretty lame for a P-sub, but to my brain it doesn't matter. Noting it here and moving on.

    I feel: optimistic, recharged, determined

    Also, not ignoring the discussion regarding telling children about "adult issues", @GID2020. I haven't brought it up with my SO yet.

    Finally, thanks for the thoughts @Nicko Stretch. I'm perhaps jealous of your ability to "transcend" beyond your fleshly desires. I've had moments and periods of feeling this way, but often am drawn back down. I'm still reading through Sue Johnson's book on connection. I hope to develop a similar perspective. Right now, I don't feel very bonded with my SO, and am trying to figure out ways to move further along those lines.
  6. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Prayer ! It helps bond like nothing else, at least for me‍♂️
    mrtumnus likes this.
  7. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    For me! Lol
  8. GID2020

    GID2020 Fapstronaut

    This is really all I've been saying. Lol. A child that is too young to even know what sex is can't possibly grasp this concept. I'm 39 and I'm not sure I understand porn addiction yet. Lol.

    I understand exactly what you are saying but since we've agreed that the children were too young to even recieve this information then the way they did it is totally moot. My point has always been that as a mother I do not understand telling children that young about any of that. It smacks of being hugely passive aggressive to me. I can't be in her head but I know and understand having to explain grown up concepts, (ie. divorce and death) to children and that you have to pick and choose what you say. I had to sit down with my then 4 and 6 year old and explain that Mommy and Daddy would not be living together anymore and that Daddy would move to an apartment and that Mommy would stay in the house. I also bought books on divorce to discuss it with them and spoke to counselors with my kids and for them. I HAD to do that because my ex told them things like "Mommy is making me move out", "mommy is a liar", and "Mommy is a bad person". Do you have any idea how badly I wanted to scream at him in front of my kids and tell them EXACTLY who their father is? Super tempting but I know what that would have done to them. So, I kept my mouth shut and I told them that we both loved them very much but we just could not live together anymore. Because you can not explain grown up concepts to a child the way you would explain them to another grownup. I can tell you that it took a long time for my oldest to really come around and for a long time he believed my ex's crap but now, sadly, he doesn't want a relationship with his dad because of all of those things that his dad said about me. I support my son in whatever he wants to do and because I never went after his dad, my son sees it all pretty clearly and the result is that he has a great relationship with me and my husband. I never disparage my ex in front of the boys because I understand that telling a child that one of their parents is "bad" is only going to serve to make them feel bad about themselves, and I refuse to do that.

    So, I guess my point is that I don't see how any mother could possibly think telling a 6 year old about what her husband did to her, could possibly help her or them! So, hurting and confusing her children helps her? I don't think that's what you saying but I can't see it any other way. But, as I always say, I'm not there in their relationship and I can only go off of what tumnus wrote. I apologize if it seems like I'm harping on this point but protecting my kids well being is, and always has been, a top priority for me. I've seen children being used as pawns between parents (my ex and my husband's ex are masters at it). It does not help small children to burden them with grown up problems that they can't understand.

    I hide nothing from my kids. Since our final D-day was October 6th, 2019, I believe they have noticed both that their dad/step dad and I are both more stressed and more lovey dovey with each other, which is saying something because @Browns4life and I are always touchy and the kids make jokes with us about it. The younger ones think it's funny and the older ones roll their eyes about it. Lol. If they notice that something is different then they will surely notice (mostly) positive changes. We also have the benefit of having my husbands boys only half the time. My boys are with us more like 80% with us and 20% with my ex, because as I mentioned before he's not really a great guy. In any event, the kids have seen us stressed before so I don't think that is anything new. I do not hide feelings from them. We discuss feeling a lot in our house. We are forced to because of the nature of our family (briefly explained, we have 6 kids, 2 are mine, 2 are my husbands and my 2 siblings were put into my care after my mom died 4 years ago, my brother is 21 and out on his own, my sister is 17 is off to college next fall) We have a fairly crazy (in a good way :) )blended family and we talk about everything! Even and especially sex and pornography and the ramifications of both. The youngest is 8 so obviously have not discussed those things with him yet. I imagine the first conversation with him will be about where babies come from. Lol. But the teenagers absolutely know about both sex and issues with pornography use. Our kids are well informed on pretty much any topic they want to know anything about. I do not hide feelings from my kids, nor would I. I just do not tell them things that I don't think they are prepared to handle or that I feel would unnecessarily burden them with more stress. Being a kid now is hard enough.

    The fact that the kids know there is stress and that they know it's grown up stress and nothing to do with them will have to be sufficient for now. They know that Grandma (my husbands mom) is sick right now, they know that Daddy got a new and exciting job that can stress him out (in a good way), they know that I can be more stressed since my husband isn't working from home anymore and that I need a little extra help from them all. They know all about stress, but I fail to see how telling them the nature of this one particular thing that is currently stressing us out is going to help. I guarantee you that if they have noticed a change in us it's that we are happier, in spite of everything that stresses us.

    All of that being said if my husband wanted to tell the kids then I would talk to him about it. We discuss things as a team and he did actually ask (I think sort of jokingly because we had been discussing people on this board doing it ) if I wanted him to tell the kids. And we discussed what that would look like and the pros and cons. Perhaps we are just not to that point yet. I definitely understand and respect your point of view on this topic though and I appreciate you @Psalm27:1my light for all of your insights. I need to do what I think is best for my kids (and I do see them all as my children and love them all as my kids). And it sounds to me as if you did the exact same thing for your family and that's all anyone can do.

    Whether or not @Browns4life can "beat" it (which is a really bad pun, btw Lol ) is almost irrelevant to me. As far as worrying about whether or not he can, I believe he can, but also what I believe and what is going to happen could be two totally different things. We literally can only take this one day at a time... Did you ever see the musical RENT? There is a song that is called "Another Day" and in the song it's a couple singing to each other and the woman's part goes like this:

    The heart may freeze or it can burn
    The pain will ease if I can learn
    There is no future, there is no past
    I live this moment as my last
    There's only us, there's only this
    Forget regret or life is yours to miss
    No other road, no other way
    No day but today

    There's only yes.
    Only tonight.We must let go
    To know what's right
    No other course, no other way
    No day but today

    I can't control my destiny
    I trust my soul
    My only goal is just to be

    There's only now
    There's only here
    Give in to love or live in fear
    No other path, no other way
    No day but today
    I highlighted the relevant parts to me. I guess my point in sharing all that is that is how I choose to look at my life now. I won't live in fear of the addiction but I can "give in" to loving my husband because it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do ever since I met him 10 years ago. I hope that everyone on here can take the advice to "forget regret" because "life is yours to miss" will be the outcome.

    @mrtumnus please don't feel that you owe me any explanation for anything. My curiosity is sometimes greater than it should be. Lol. I will try not to hijack your journal again. I appreciate you and wish you all of the best. :)
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  9. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

    For us kissing and hugging are great bonding activities. As well as playing games and serious conversation. Kissing for at least 6 seconds at a time apparently is the key. I do not resist the flesh, I get to be close to my wife every night, it is just not always sexually focused.
    And yes, 'prayer' is a form of mindfulness and can help you be aware of how you are thinking when your behaviour falls out of sync with your personal beliefs and values. Try to pray for strength to be aware of your thoughts maybe?
    budvap and Psalm27:1my light like this.
  10. budvap

    budvap Fapstronaut

    I fully understand your feeling, and I also contributed with several posts in this direction, like here or here. Yet, I did not find words to express myself clearly, either.

    Anyway, this blog is a big source of inspiration for me on how serious we should be about our problem and @mrtumnus was apparently born to take his own cross for showing us this fact… Respect.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  11. Day 140

    Time is flying! Things have been good at work and home. This weekend was full of both productive house/yard-care, as well as heart-warming family time. We had a nice fire going most of the weekend :)

    I also enjoyed a good bit of quality time with my SO. At one point, she said she is at about a 90% level of being able to trust that I am being truthful with her at the present moment (not actively looking at porn and in recovery). As evidence, she cited my increased enjoyment of the kids and better attitude in general. Beyond that, there is still much work to do to regain trust for the future. But this was a big encouragement to me to keep up my dailies. She still struggles to not be pessimistic about the future, but I can only hope this will subside as time goes on.

    I mentioned that I feel the same way about porn as I did about pirating media. I used to pirate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seed it, and just keep doing it, even though it really was against my values. Of course, I found ways to justify it, or just not think about it (same as P). One day, I decided I didn't want to do it anymore, probably after I realized that I could afford to buy the things I actually wanted to watch/listen to, and support the content creators. Quitting porn feels like a very similar decision. My body and mind finally agree that it is not necessary for me, and instead I will invest in my wife, who provides much greater satisfaction to me. This is framed in somewhat selfish terms, but I think that was my initial impetus to quit. I hope this remains to be the case, as I have yet to feel any sort of pull to engage P.

    Looking forward to the holiday (American Thanksgiving). Hoping to have more of the family time I enjoyed this weekend. I'm learning more and more to enjoy the good things I've been blessed with in this life.

    I feel: Blessed, motivated, thankful
  12. Day 147

    The longer the holiday, the faster it goes, methinks. Ah well, it was enjoyable and I shouldn't complain. Lots of fires, down-time with kids, games, movies, food, etc. My body will be happy to get back to the regular routine.

    My attitude was a bit sour on Saturday night. I was hoping to spend more quality time with my SO, but she kept herself busy most of the day and in the evenings on Fri and Sat. I didn't really communicate my desire to just hang out with her (no agenda). We talked through it after I had some time to sort through my thoughts, and after I slept on the couch a bit. It seems to help me to get away for a bit and force myself to think rationally, rather than just stew in bed. As a result, we had some nice relaxed time on Sunday night and this morning. I feel recharged and refreshed for the week.

    I have been dreading the return to work today. I have a deadline that I expect I will be late for. Must resist my compulsion to procrastinate and avoid it, rather than meeting it head-on and trying to overcome it (or at least make some headway on not being overly late).

    Semi-busy week looking ahead. Lots of birthday parties now that we have two kiddos in school. Three this weekend!

    I feel: Content, connected
  13. Day 150

    5 months in, but it doesn't particularly feel like anything. Progress is slow, and I feel slightly stagnated right now. I haven't been journaling privately, only online here (and you can see how often). I'm not exactly worried about this, but am concerned that it's not helping my SO build trust, as she can see that I've let it go. I am still running, but haven't been keeping up with my strength training. I am still meeting with my IRL APs weekly, going to counseling every other week, attending Bible study every other week.

    All this is really secondary to the fact that I've felt spiritually dry lately. I've felt this on and off for most of my life, but particularly after I've had some sort of spiritual awakening and gotten over the emotional high from having new-found freedom. In this case, I've finally found a set of tools (nofap, accountability, journaling, counseling) that has significantly helped me in my fight against lust. However, the long-term attitude change that I desire (self-denial, being united with Christ) can only come once I fully surrender myself to God. I haven't quite done this yet - still holding on to many things in my life that soothe me and make me feel like everything is OK. Even good things, like affection/love from my SO, positive family interactions, job satisfaction, these forums, reading self-help books, etc. Problem is, what happens when all these things go away? Then there are the addiction-replacement, self-indulgent behaviors: video games, media, food, alcohol, etc. These things do not satisfy, and lead to further discontentment. I want to have my satisfaction in something (someone) that is always there for me and truly provides it. The answer for me is obviously being connected vitally to God.

    The above is written (as I have noted before) in a self-focused manner. What can God and others do for ME? This is my battle! I have only ever cared about myself and my needs. It's awful, but it's the reality of where I find myself. Sure, I look like I care to a lot of other people, and perform actions which indicate otherwise. But my heart is often not in it. Everything is a transaction to get what I want. I used to (and still do sometimes) wonder whether I'm a sociopath.

    I hope I can find a way out of this spiritual funk. I think I can carry on my sobriety without it, but I will certainly not be able to succeed in my marriage or life without a stronger foundation.

    Speaking of sobriety, I had an incident last night where I started watching a movie and was bombarded within a minute with nudity. I turned it off immediately, but took a second look later. That's where it stopped, but I am ashamed that I took a second look. I confessed it to my SO and APs. But obviously, the beast still lurks and is waiting to seize an opportunity.

    Last night (unrelated to the above incident), I had another hard conversation with my SO about expectations. She asked me what I expect from her. My immediate thought was the obvious one that I think about all the time - affection, intimacy, and sex. This puts her back into shame for not being enough for me. We were able to recover some emotional connection by the end of the night and this morning, thankfully.

    I feel: discouraged, uncertain, slightly hopeful
    Tao Jones and Deleted Account like this.
  14. When we move from being our own men to being God's men, through and through, it is a significant change. In some ways this seems to me the *real* conversion experience. Maybe some have this at the very outset. I don't know. I only know that I did not.

    We will only give ourselves to him fully when we trust him, and that sort of trust takes time to build, especially if we have had trust broken significantly in our lives already. He is patient. Our part is to not give up and to keep showing up, keep turning to him, through dry times as well as bountiful ones. He will meet you and he will prove faithful. I needed to see his faithfulness to me for over 30 years, ever day, before I found that I had no further reservations and gave him everything. I hope your head and heart will prove softer than mine. But even if they do not, be assured that it is worthwhile to pursue him, no matter the cost. There is no other source of life than him!
  15. Day 158

    I'm still here. This week has been busy. I probably could have posted sooner, but I just didn't make it a priority. I have been on the site reading, as usual.

    Connection with SO this week is so-so. We haven't had much time to spend together. My wife challenged me to define "connection", as I've brought it up several times with her. My former concept of "connection" probably would have just involved sex and physical intimacy. I didn't really have a coherent definition on-hand, so I'd like to think about this some more. I think it has something to do with shared purpose or goals.

    On Monday, my therapist was a no-show. No text or otherwise notification of his pending absence prior to our scheduled meeting. This is the 3rd time I've been "stood-up" or at least had to adjust my schedule last-minute. This coupled with his lack of providing a treatment plan and general disorganization (perceived on my part, but without a plan, what do I know?) leads me to find another therapist, or at least some other substitute for therapy. This would be a good opportunity to try out a 12-step group, probably Celebrate Recovery.

    There have been one or two tugs at my will this week to consider P-subs. I haven't engaged in anything beyond the aforementioned 2nd look at the movie. One other concerning trend is my compulsion to look at female's hands to see if they have a wedding ring. I'm not sure if this counts as "oogling", as I'm not trying to look at body parts or looking for sexual gratification. However, I do think this is still unhealthy and definitely a hold-over from my years spent wallowing in my addiction. In my last couple months of indulging P earlier this year, I had been considering affairs or other forms of adultery, even though I didn't have the guts to go through with anything. I'm definitely not still considering this, but it's almost like I'm still going through the motions of "seeking" for it.

    I guess the point of this post to acknowledge that while I've been sober, the addiction is still here, I still need to be wary, and maybe I need to bolster my defenses. I'm considering biting the bullet and installing A2U on my devices. It's been recommended by several people on here, and definitely sounds like an upgrade from the last accountability software I used (Covenant Eyes).

    I feel: Uncertain, hopeful
  16. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Does a2u cost anything? I might mention it to my hubby
  17. I think it's $70/year per user. They have a family plan too.
  18. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

    Why do you not want to have an affair? Why do you not want to use P? I try to remind myself of the reasons everytime I catch my eyes drifting where I don't want them to, or catch my mind dwelling on an inappropriate thought. I remind myself " Well I could look at that person/image again or for longer, but I do not want to because I want to save all my sexual energy and desires for when I am with my wife". By consciously thinking this statement, I am overwriting the automatic unwanted thought "Ooo, look at that/think that, that will get you high".
    Psalm27:1my light likes this.
  19. Right on. We are trying to build new, healthier ways of thinking and strengthen them every time conflict arises. Then, when temptation arises, we will be more equipped to follow our new patterns.
  20. Day 164

    Quick check-in today. It's been a while since I've felt bad or resentful towards my wife. I'm glad for it (and so is she). Intimacy has been good too, which definitely helps. She still feels "afraid" of me, in terms of falling back into old habits. I guess she's learning to live with that fear, and move on with me. I hate that I've caused this conflict in her, but I don't see any way to "fix" it, at least any time soon. Again, a reminder to keep on with recovery.

    Temptation to PMO has been low, but non-zero. Temptation to linger over P-subs has been higher. Thankfully, nothing much has come my way recently, but I really need to be on my guard (and am!). There's nothing specific I can identify to cut out of my life to improve this, at the moment.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I can't guarantee I'll be on much over the holidays. My goal over the holiday (besides avoiding PMO & P-Subs) is to finish at least one of the books on my nightstand :).

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