Making a Better Marriage

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

  1. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    For some reason, every time my counter hits a new ten I get a bit excited, so congrats on 80 days! 10 more til' your next milestone - that's awesome!
     
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  2. Thanks!
     
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  3. Day 3^4

    Nice day yesterday - my daughter's birthday. We had both sets of grandparents over for dessert & presents. She is so sweet and appreciated everything.

    Work was a blast yesterday; I was on fire. Funny thing is I was working from home, which would normally mean I would slack off for nearly the entire day. It felt really good to turn that around, and I think that will be one of my recovery goals from here on out.

    I had breakfast with some friends this morning. Today was pretty chill and relaxed; we didn't really dig into any sin/addict stuff, just talking about our weeks and families.

    I feel: Energized, motivated, excited for the weekend (date night!)
     
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  4. Day 85

    This is what happens when I forget my laptop at home :\ Ah well, it made for a very productive day (I have two machines I use at work - the one I use to journal here is the one I forgot). Plus, my counter is suddenly 5 days ahead (why do I even care about it?).

    I'm feeling pretty great. I feel like I have this addiction under control, feeling better connected with my spouse and kids, feeling closer to God, feeling appreciated at work. Feelings change, so I'm not relying on these for my recovery. But helpful to acknowledge them and give thanks.

    The weekend was decent. I got to watch my son's soccer game, although he has this annoying penchant for taking the goalie position. I don't have an intrinsic problem with this, except that he fills the role by not paying attention, hanging on the net, and just generally not being helpful at all. I know, I know, he's still young. But I don't think it's worth doing an activity like this if he's not willing to put SOMETHING into it. It's especially painful to see, because I see so much of my own past behavior and (lack of) motivation in him.

    Saturday date was fun! We went bowling and had dinner at a pub while my parents took care of the kids. We got home in time to say goodnight, then relaxed the rest of the evening. It was a good reminder that we do in fact click and of why we are attracted to each other; sometimes it's been easy to forget, especially after all the difficulty of working through the DDay this summer.

    Sunday was relaxing, lots of discussion & intimate time with my SO. Church was less triggering than in the past few weeks for my SO, although the kids were misbehaving a bit. We discussed the conundrum of how good, wholesome sex fits in with someone that has struggled with SA/PA. It's like giving a drug addict more of their drug, right? Usually, with these sorts of fixations, the response should be to remove them from your life. The best analogy I've (we've) come across is eating disorders. Everyone needs food, but if you idolize it, it becomes a problem. Although, really it's the idol behind the behavior that's the problem. I abuse P because I'm afraid I won't be loved, I want to escape life stress, I want to escape work, etc. Dealing with the problems behind the behavior is the path to a solution. I can rightfully enjoy sex with my wife if I'm not using it to escape or prove my worth. The reboot helps to train my mind to think this way as well, but it still takes a lot of work to dig and find those reasons for the behavior. This is why sobriety alone doesn't cut it. I can soothe my ills in an infinite array of bad AND GOOD (maybe 'accepted' is a better term) behaviors.

    Anyways, I think I've gotten a decent handle on my triggers. Still working on good things to replace them - so far prayer, exercise, journaling, dating, and learning Spanish. I still partake in behaviors that I would previously have run to escape in lieu of P, like video games and books. But now, I think I do so with more purpose. "I am tired and would like to unwind; I will play a video game now to enjoy a rest from the day". Mindfulness, I guess.

    Monday, as I mentioned, was very productive. The evening was quite hectic and busy, but still was able to end it with some cuddles & discussion with my wife.

    Today has been busy so far, but was able to get a run in this morning. Felt pretty good, and might consider adding some different workouts on my non-run days, both for variety and to actually get stronger.

    Tonight is free, so I'm looking forward to some down time after running around yesterday, and as the rest of the week will be busy.

    I feel: Happy, slightly tired, loved
     
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  5. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    All good things from your last post! Especially ths:
    That's a great analogy, but good to also remember that the opposite of addiction is connection. Came across a great definition of connection in my readings last night:
    If there's ever an antidote to addiction - that would be it! To paint with a broad brush, I think for the majority of porn addicts, sex in and of itself isn't the drug that we're even addicted to, so therefore more of it is not an issue but is rather ideal because the more we connect with other people instead of pixels, the more value we place on those interactions.
     
  6. Great definition! I would add "give and receive without judgment or expectation". That's the part I've historically struggled with. I used P to soothe the rejection I felt from my spouse, and she felt belittled and used by my idolization and relentless pursuit of sex. So, I was dealing damage on both sides of the equation.
     
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  7. MisterDirection

    MisterDirection Fapstronaut

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  8. Daedaleus

    Daedaleus Fapstronaut

    Glad you had a great weekend! As for intimacy and worrying about your addiction, I don't think it will be much of a problem as long as you continue to practice being mindful. I think the important thing, which you have done, is to have the appropriate tools and systems in place to handle urges of P&M, in case they come back in the form of the "chaser effect". I'm not sure if it's been talked about yet, but I think Karezza (sex without orgasming) could also be a good option as well in terms of physical intimacy.

    Continue the great work! You're work and dedication has regularly become a source of inspiration to me as I continue on my own reboot.
     
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  9. Day 86

    Yesterday I was a little scattered, work-wise. Not unproductive, just jumping around between projects.

    Last night was pretty low-key. I got all my stuff done and then read a book until bed. Funny how now that I'm on my phone much less, my SO sitting on her phone is now bothersome to me. Not because I want to be doing it myself, but mostly because I've found it to be fulfilling for me to do, so I want her to experience that as well.

    I got my exercise routine in this morning. I've only been doing stretching, pushups, crunches and planks. I'm considering adding some more dynamic movement exercises once I feel like I'm not getting much further.

    I'm working from home today. Have a slight urge to edge - I already caught my hand starting to wander - but none to look at P. Nipping this hint of a desire in the bud - on to work!

    I feel: head-achy, tired, motivated
     
  10. Day 88

    Skipped another day, not due to slacking, but because work has fired up. There was a very glaring bug in some released software that I should have caught, but didn't :(

    I'm looking forward to the weekend. We are celebrating homecoming with some school friends, and some of them will be staying with us for the weekend.

    I met with my counselor yesterday. Due to a scheduling mishap, I was late and only had half the time as usual. Because of that, and some other things going on, I didn't really connect that well to what he was saying. He wants me to work on triggers (people, places, things), which I'm fine with, but feel like we've already covered that ground. Sometimes I'm not sure where he's going, like does he have a treatment plan for me? My SO suggested bringing up this topic, to see what his overall goals/plans are for helping me. I'm bad at advocating for myself in these sorts of situations - fear of man makes me want to make him feel like he's doing a good job.

    I feel: Scattered, want to connect with my SO, motivated
     
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  11. budvap

    budvap Fapstronaut

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    Hi,

    this is my first post on nofap and I am already going to make it pretty long and even give advices.... But that’s only because I so much admire your journey (read it all through) and have so strong feelings and hopes about your marriage that I cannot resist.

    I am not so experienced Fapstronaut but somewhat experienced husband :) My “business card”: 39 years old, 16 years married, no kids, on porn from 16 with developed PA, now 13 days on PMO-mode (maybe PM-only not fully decided with my SO yet), tried to quit number of times with relapses, now feeling determined more than ever, talking openly to my SO.

    First of all, thanks for this journal! It is written with so much candidness that it has really touched my heart and cheers me up in my own journey. Thank you!

    Only after that few days in nofap regime I already realised how much I have been hurting my wife and destroying our relationship. I can’t believe how blind I was! Thus I fully understand your feelings (as much as some stranger can understand feelings of somebody from his internet blog…) and your position to your SO. Still, I also feel like I understand the point of @2974629562994628, which might have got overlooked here. I empathise all your guilty and responsibility for where you get in your marriage. You feel (as what I could read) like it is your duty to take this responsibility, and it indeed is. Now the hardest part of this philosophy comes… I am struggling with expressing myself clearly (not only because not being a native English speaker). Please do not stick to any single sentence that, as I am aware of, may read weird. The entire context is important.

    Well, the other side of the coin is that it is the same duty of your SO to take her responsibility, too. You (and she) may argue (with me) where her responsibility for this all comes from! Isn’t it she who was betrayed by you?! Yes, no doubts. The trouble is you got PA because you’ve experienced some troubles in your life (whenever whatever) and haven’t found better solution for yourself. You are not saint (literary, I am happy I can speak to a brother in faith :)). And neither is she. If she were, then she would have been able to give you all you need, all the physical proximity, all the safety, all the trustfulness so that you could have opened your heart and talked to her about your fears and sins (including PA) before it got too far. But it is not fair to demand that from her, right? Just as it is not fair to demand from you to avoid all you did...

    Nobody is (fully!) responsible of where you (two) got. It is the original sin (literally), the unavoidable “sin of Eve” that makes her (co-)responsible for your marriage situation. Now, the important comes. From what I have learned during my marriage, I believe that women (our wives) feel more vulnerable so less prepared for accepting the fact that they inevitably live in/with the original sin. And it is my (husband’s) “task” (among others) to teach her accepting it with all carefulness and love I can. The way I can do so is 1) admit and accept (including redressing) my own sins while not losing respect to myself and 2) reveal her own participation on the evil that exists in our relationship (as a part of her own life) and express all love to her in spite of that I am aware of that.

    I honestly think you too much focus on 1) (which is trully important!), yet avoiding 2). But I also honestly think whenever I avoid 2) it’s because it is dangerous and I am not brave enough to enter this fragile land. Then my wife starts reacting in the way your does (including bringing us to the edge of divorce, not being able to actually do it herself…) – and that’s what motivated me for this post. Her fear of you may actually be (or better to say: likely is mixed with) her own fear of her not being able to “live in Paradise”. Her pleading for “man you up” may actually be her pleading for you leading her gently through this fragile land of her own imperfect life. Blaming her of your PA is definitely not the way to go! (and I know I don't right need to say it here) But starting talking to her patiently about you both being responsible for your marriage (and you both be guilty – in most abstract sense – is unavoidable) and taking – you as the man – the risk of entering this conversation (and prepare for its consequences) may be…

    I mean this post as a friendly attempt to help you in your situation and I excuse for my intrusiveness. I only express my experience from what I can recognize familiar from my own marriage (not necessarily connected to dealing with PA/SA). I hope it may help (or you can ignore it anyway :) ).

    ps. WOW 2 days to 90! I am so envy… ;)
     
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  12. @budvap Thanks for your beautifully expressed advice, and for all the time you've taken in reading my journal. It warms my heart to realize that others actually care to read and comment.

    I think I am in agreement with what you are saying. However, I am not necessarily avoiding helping my wife see her part in the way our marriage is now. Rather, I am giving her time and space to heal. I think once we are in a better place, then we can start peeling back other ways for us to grow (including her). I love the way you put this:
    This reminds me that one aspect of marriage is the agreement to put up with the other's imperfection, and love despite and through it. It's really difficult, and I regret that much more not having done it much in my marriage thus far, especially when my life has really not been so hard.

    I also definitely want to point out that my SO has constantly been working on herself in our marriage. She's put up with me despite knowing about my PA prior to marriage, pain during sex until our first child, severe pain from endometriosis, rearing all three of our kids and giving up a career (for now, at least), and now this betrayal from me. Over the years, she's become more patient, more emotionally-self-controlled, and more wise. She's always had a 'growth-mindset'. At this point, she's committed to our relationship, but not ready to throw all of her effort at working on our sexual relationship yet. I think I at least owe her some time and space to heal before expecting or even asking her to put more effort into it.

    Again, I appreciate the input, both from you and @2974629562994628, and will continue to let it sink in and ponder it for a while.
     
  13. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Had to reply to this.... no. There is no one person who can provide/supply another or meet ALL of another persons needs. If you expected that from marriage then you are the one who was wrong. Only God can meet all of our needs. Also, you put the blame for his infidelity on his wife not being a person he could trust? He vowed to be faithful, he broke the covenant, he chose not to trust her. Obviously I don’t know if his wife is trustworthy or willing to try and meet his needs. I do know that I was trustworthy, totally willing to have sex with my hubby and he still chose porn. He couldn’t be honest because of HIS addiction and his relationship with his mother. All of us bring sone dis function to a relationship but an addiction to porn/sex is a whole other level of destruction.
     
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  14. Day 92

    It's been a while. I've been very busy at work, multiple critical issues to deal with from several projects. This happens from time to time, and it's something I've grown used to. But not really since I've been journaling, so while I'm still committed to journaling daily in my private journal, it will have to be "when time permits" for this one. I do like journaling both in morning and evening, as it gives me a good way to bookend my day and be more reflective.

    My weekend was really great, but very exhausting. We were at our university's homecoming and got to see lots of old friends. Then we hosted a dinner for some of our closer friends and spent some more quality time. It was a fun day, and we collapsed at the end. We had my SO's roommate and her family stay with us for the weekend, and we spent most of Sunday chatting with them. Again, ended up pretty wiped on Sunday night.

    Sunday night, while I was rather tired, I was feeling pretty fired up sexually. I expressed this to my SO, but she was very tired and still hesitant after all that's gone on this summer. I didn't push it and set it aside, and let her know I was doing so.

    Monday was very busy at work, and didn't really get any chance to get on here. We saw off our friends in the morning, and I had a long day with an interview at the end. I skipped some evening plans that I had made due to my longer-than-expected work day. I ended up breaking down a little and numbing out with video games and binged a little on food later in the evening. I think I "allowed" it due to the long weekend and "because I'm an introvert". Not a good line of thinking, as it is the same sort that I'd use to justify P use. I again felt fired up sexually last night, but didn't push or ask anything of my SO. I was able to let it go after reading some of my book and get something of a night's sleep.

    Ready to get it done today (already have had a productive morning)! I had a smoothie this morning, and that always seems to perk me up (or is it the coffee?). Glad to have no plans tonight :)

    I feel: motivated, engaged, focused
     
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  15. I'll let @budvap speak for himself, but I didn't quite get "blaming" from his post. More the recognition that indeed SOs are still imperfect partners and also need to be working on themselves. He directly said "Blaming her of your PA is definitely not the way to go!". Partners should be helping each other grow.

    Maybe the thing we're overlooking here is that this is MY journal, focused on MY problems and how I would like to grow. If she had her own journal, it would be more focused on HER and how she is growing, and rightly so. I don't think it's helpful for me to speak to how I think she should be growing (nor should I be expecting or depending on her growth), unless there is abuse or neglect happening (which I don't think there is). But it is something I will be discussing with her, as I feel called to lead our family in that way (including her). Not in the sense of pointing out all her flaws, but rather in giving her an outside perspective, especially when she asks for it (which she often does, being a growth-minded person).
     
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  16. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Well, I love reading your journal and progress. I also acknowledge that I’m very touchy about blame being placed on the so because I see so many men justify their affairs/porn use with the “ my wife doesn’t meet my needs sexually “. Or better yet, my wife is no longer attractive! Given many of us so’s have actually been very pro sex and literally rejected repeatedly by our husbands. Your journal is one of my favorites to follow, I certainly wasn’t saying you thought this. Just countering budvap.
     
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  17. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    I agree with you, and I'll add this. Any PA who justifies their addiction by blaming their SO or anyone else for that matter doesn't understand the nature of addiction. That's not to say that the underlying causes of addiction can't be external or precipitated by another's actions, especially when trauma's involved, but recovering from addiction involves taking personal responsibility regardless of the underlying causes, and then working through any associated trauma that may exist. And I also agree with you that this journal is also one of my favorites to follow!
     
  18. I think we're all on the same page @Psalm27:1my light and @daemonswithin. I can particularly understand being sensitive about blame, given how addicts are always looking for something other than themselves to cast it on, and especially when you've been the target of gaslighting.

    And thanks for the follows! :)
     
  19. budvap

    budvap Fapstronaut

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    Oh, a lot have has happened here today… :)

    I will try my best to clarify my previous post so we all see we really are on the same page here (sorry for the length again since it’s a lot of philosophy…):

    I am far away from blaming my wife (or anybody) from my PA. Absolutely never ever! Similarly, I by no means expect from marriage that somebody could provide/supply another or meet ALL of another persons needs (and first of all I did not mean sexual needs). To the contrary, I wrote But it is not fair to demand that from her, right? But that is actually the point…

    I struggled a lot in formulating it a way I intended and I am happy @mrtumnus apparently got the message. I understand how sensitive it is and I would hardly write it elsewhere. One has really go through this entire journal to see why I put it the way I did. I think @mrtumnus spoke for me in his post actually quite accurately.

    Let me make just another risky step here. I do not know why but this journal really touched me deep inside so I am more personal than I should be. I mean, I am writing things as if you (all here) were my good friends that I would not normally post on forums, including this one, (for being too sensitive / misinterpretable)

    It seems to me that @[Psalm27:1my light] is religious as well as I am. Please bear with me to the end of this message or another big misunderstanding may happen… :) Let me cite Matthew 7:1-5 here: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? … First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Once I was thinking over this part deeply (not at all in the context of PA or even marriage) because I felt it is not about just seeing sins of others and overlooking ourselves'. As I understand it now, I guess the lesson is this: Taking the speck from one’s eye is a very sensitive and painful surgery. One must be very well trained to succeed without causing unbearable pain or irreversible damage to the other person’s eye. So one should first train a lot on himself/herself. Only if able to remove a plank from one’s own eye, then the one is skilled enough to remove the speck from the other person’s eye.

    In other words, one is never skilled for forgiveness unless he/she understand his/her own needs for forgiveness. And without the real forgiveness to her PA partner, SO can never fully recover from that betrayal, which in the end only hurts her back. Yes, the betrayal hurts but the more our SOs can get lost in that pain.

    What I mean (and you may prove me wrong) is that saying sorry to our SOs all the time does not really heal their pain. It somewhat covers it with something we definitely badly owe them, no excuses. But staying this way is actually the safer way for us – as husbands (notice that @mrtumnus was already - almost - at the day 90 when I was writing my post…). And it can lead the marriage into different trap in the long run. If we want to make our marriages healthy (and this applies whether or not PA is in the question), we - as the men - have to take all the risk, we really have to be strong enough to RISK ALL OUR NEEDS (which is, indeed, nothing but the lovely relationship with our SOs) and, now, the rest is written in my original post and I cannot express myself better here.

    ps
    God does not want us to fulfil one another’s needs. What I believe God want us is this (Matthew 18:21-35): Yes, I made a big mistake, sin, betrayal. I stopped doing this, regret it deeply and do all my best to deserve your forgiveness. Then, you really should(!) forgive me. If you do not, then you are making your own sin. And yes, the former is not worse than the latter since the latter is destroying Love and hurts just in the very same way. Anyway, if you are unable to forgive me, I should be able to bear with you and forgive you not forgiving me. And this is the very fragile circle of any relationship. The circle may either join or broke. Both ways are possible and opening again and again. This is the price we pay for knowing good-and-bad: for not living in Paradise. I believe this reality is something Adam should help to Eve with learning, acknowledging and living with… (if I am to stay on the spiritual note ;) )

    This SO's journal is very inspirative in that respect...
     
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  20. budvap

    budvap Fapstronaut

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    And one short for @mrtumnus

    Thank you very much for this journal. It's highly inspiring to me. Both the way you go through it all and the way you treat your wife with all that patience. Not that I would deny my previous posts but you also help me to "correct" (so to say tune) my point of view :)
     
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