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Marriage issues while trying to reboot

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Warfman, Nov 17, 2022.

  1. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I'm really struggling currently with multiple issues. First and foremost is a porn addiction that I have been aware of for over 2 years that has worsened as I've gotten older (exposed as a 12 year old and currently 33). Attempted and failed to reboot many times and have relapsed for different reasons.

    I'm looking for advice on how to fight relapses within a marriage that is malfunctioning. Below I've expressed a little of my feelings trying to keep it as short as possible (yea right). I am starting a Nofap journey again, Day 2 today. Hope to use this forum as a way to journal my feelings and maybe some support from someone who lived my current situation.

    Thank you,

    Many of my triggers have been:
    • stress at work
    • arguing with my wife
    • self esteem damage from my marriage - feeling less worthy than Ex
    • temper issues
    • inability to handle stress in a healthy way which leads to emotional outbursts
    • struggling with the fact that my marriage intimacy quality continues to get worse which sends me searching for it elsewhere.
    • Burning desire to feel loved
    • A no excuse laziness of will power on my part when I least expect it especially days after an argument that's still festering
    • stress of being a parent in a marriage on ice
    • loneliness
    Now starting out I know how extremely bad my addiction is and its affects on my life. I can't stand it and know I have to change. I am certain that a majority of my issues will go away with this addiction. Though there is a certain hopelessness I feel due to the fact that there are some deep relationship issues that both my wife and I struggle with. Regardless I am certain that kicking PMO will result in positive things in my life even if my marriage doesn't work.

    I have confessed my addiction to my wife and that was rough! I would say she took it very well, she actually has been suspicious that I was having an affair which I have not!

    I know I can't change her, and I don't want to. But I'm very hurt in our relationship. My biggest challenge is trying to understand how much of it is me due to my addiction vs how much is due to a relationship that has major issues? How can I cope in this relationship through the toughest parts of reboot? My only real solution has been to white knuckle through the stress, that works but eventually ends in a relapse. I try to focus on the things a good husband will do like helping with chores, kids, etc. to focus my energy on that rather than how bad I'm edging.

    I know without a doubt that there is no reason to delve into relationship issues with a therapist or anything until I'm clean. Because an addict isn't in any place to be working on issues in a relationship until that is no longer a factor.

    My struggle is fighting through the addiction while in the midst of life in all this chaos.

    My wife also struggles from stress issues. School, work, parenting, homemaking all are hard on her along with the fact that I work 60+ hour weeks. She has issues coping with the stress as well. She has a bad habit of projecting her stress onto me and blaming me for her stress which adds to mine.

    My wife is not a very understanding person. I love her, but she's not someone who is able to empathize with people and she can come down on me pretty hard when I'm edging without her even knowing what I'm struggling through. When I try to express myself I usually don't get a positive response. This has created resentment for each of us toward each other.

    I feel like self talk/prayer is a solution to these issues that I need to work on. What other thoughts do people have?

    Thanks for anyone who takes the time to read!
  2. jtgoshaff

    jtgoshaff Fapstronaut

    This is definitely something hard to overcome when you add the stress of marriage. I started listening to audibles and music to help when I felt I was going to relapse. Eventually I started reading self-help books as well. No more mr nice guy was a good read that I am still trying to work through to improve myself. I also started reading on marriage forums, specifically one called talk about marriage. For some reason reading about other people's issues helped me take my mind off the need for the release and filled in where PMO would normally be. Me and my wife started reading His Needs, Her needs and have also begun marriage counseling to try to figure out our relationship. I definitely feel you about the empathy and creating resentment with each other. This has happened between my wife and I in our marriage and we are still trying to work through it. So, I would recommend trying several different things when you get the urge to look at P.
    • Exercise (can be as simple as taking a walk or lifting some dumbells)
    • Read an interesting book or self help book No More Mr Nice Guy helped me out
    • Write down some affirmations and read and repeat them each day
    I am still working on developing new coping mechanisms for when I think these won't cut it and have started to attend church more often as it does seem to help a little. If you need an accountability partner, feel free to shoot me a message or if you want to talk about your situation more. I am not on every day but do check back in occasionally.
  3. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I'll check out "No More Mr Nice Guy". Additionally I have books like the "5 love languages" and "Husband/Wife in pursuit" books that my wife and I have planned on working together on.

    I read your posts on other forums so I have a little more background on your story. I plan to use you as an accountability partner if that's ok! Mostly like you said hearing someone else that is struggling with PMO while in a marriage helps me know I'm not alone. Over time I will comment on some of your other posts and hopefully it's mutually beneficial.

    I copied this from your initial thread and thought I'd try to answer them as if I were talking to myself. I'm just brainstorming and in no way is this a complete or even a very well thought out response. Hope maybe it helps you as well in some way or another. Feel free to call me out on my crap or make any additions.

    "Is anyone out there in a similar situation or has gone through this in a marriage? I am looking for someone to talk to that can try to help me figure this out."

    "How do I regain her trust?" Actions speak louder than words. Time heals all. In some ways I never have had her trust as she is a very jealous person who didn't trust me from the start (both of us have had many relationships and partners, definitely an issue that we deal with) we married at 29 years but dated for 7 years before. Start with the little things and build them up. Do what you say and be accountable with the kids, house chores, doing things she asks you to do to help. Stop expecting a response from her, she'll naturally come around and if not forcing her won't help!

    ***At this point we are past old dating issues but they still hurt us, she essentially dumped me twice because she thought still had feelings for an ex and didn't want to be in a weird two person deal, both times I started seeing other people and she would get upset and act like I was cheating. She's never acknowledged how messed up and hypocritical she was being, to her it looked like I always need a woman in my life which she now sees P as the same thing. This really has damaged trust on both sides, there's more to the details obviously but that's a summary.***

    "How can I prove to her that I have not been PMOing?" I am not sure I'm ready to make a very good response to this question. But in my past reboots and relapses this has been one of the most frustrating parts for me. Making it a week or two is a huge accomplishment to me and I feel like I've conquered the freaking world. To her she says that its sad if a person can't go without sex/P M and O for a week. I would prefer to have sex with her a couple times a week. It's extremely frustrating! It's even more frustrating that our sex lives weren't always like this. I am somewhat convinced that the problem is PMO has hyper sensitized me to everything and what to her is a small thing is HUGE to me! A "Dopamine Detox" is in order and as much as I don't want to do Hard mode I think it would do a lot of good for both her and I. (I am really pushy in wanting intimacy and it's driving her nuts and actually stressing her out) I think it's time just to back off to focus on the PMO issue because it's my first problem. From there I'm certain that my timeline will still be shorter than hers but we both need to be ready otherwise in my experience the cycle just continues.

    "How do I get over these feelings of needing sex or a release?" This is why I'm here! Still trying to find that solution and know I need to focus on them more. I'm just still trying to find ways to cope with some of the triggers in the moment. Also my wife and I have had a great sex life. Things really started getting worse once our kid was born because it really increased her stress levels along with going back to school. I married an absolute babe, objectively she was the girl every guy wanted. And before our downturn she initiated things more than I did. Knowing my wife if I take intimacy off the table while I do some healing she's just going to want me again even if it is to my own detriment. This has been a huge issue for my relapses because it starts my supercharged sex drive up again during reboot. We have sex, she's satisfied, I want more more more.

    Overall I think my goals are to try and do a total sexuality reset, she needs space, so do I. I don't really want to make rules as to what's acceptable when. In some ways I don't think 90 days is near long enough but I've never experienced the 90 day mark so I can't really say. What I know needs to happen is we both need to be on the same page about things. Number one is to do the right thing and kick the habit. After that I know I'm going to have to be way more patient than I think I should.
    Wilderness Wanderer and Don80 like this.
  4. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    You’ve accomplished more than most married men with a pmo addiction-you told your wife. It’s probably one of the single best things you can do to help in your recovery. Bad news, time will not heal your wife. She will need to do her own work on recovery from the lies and deception that has been a part of your marriage. If she can find a csat and go to individual counseling it would help her greatly. Much like addiction has changed your brain , the trauma of lies and deception has changed hers. How much trauma she has from before she met you will also impact her healing. How do you prove you are clean? Changed behaviors. Complete honesty in everything. You lose trust in buckets and earn it back in drops. Consistently doing what you say and honesty. I was adamantly against a hard reboot when my husband first started recovery. He kept relapsing, slipping so he asked me to reconsider and I agreed, and it definitely helped him. But it only helps if you actually stop all sexual behaviors and thoughts. Good luck
  5. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I get what you're saying that time doesn't fix the issue alone and I definitely need to amend my thought process above by saying what you added. Though time definitely plays a huge role! I don't care how intensely someone tries to get over something it takes time to process things.

    I think this is something I truly struggle with. There are many more issues than just PMO in my relationship and have been since before we were married. And time isn't healing them for me, I've always been a very open honest person, and my wife puts up walls, stonewalls me, sets expectations for me to follow and then doesn't follow them herself, then refuses to acknowledge my feelings. There are things I know about her she has lied to me about directly when I have tried visiting about them. I saw these issues when we were dating but love my wife and thought things might get better and over time in this area as we do have great times together and have a lot of common values. I have resorted to P as a coping mechanism though to escape the issues rather than continue to try and confront them. I'm not trying to dismiss my part in this whatsoever as I know that what I did by resorting to PMO not only hurts my wife but also myself and my marriage. Additionally I know PMO is not my only fault nor are my PMO issues caused solely by my marriage. I guess I'm just worried that through it all things won't change in our marriage. We struggle with a spiral of resentment that doesn't stem from PMO directly. Which makes this reboot process much harder in my experience. I know deep down my wife wants to work on the issues she's just a very guarded person and hard to communicate with.

    I feel really bad that it's come to this and am totally aware that there are unintended and unnoticed consequences from my actions. I know I can't solve my relationship issues alone. I just need somewhere to voice my thoughts and feelings while going through tough times.

    Also I think the people hurt by significant others porn use don't realize that we users are also victims. I think it's very important that people start talking about that rather than porn shaming. In particular I think men's wants, needs, and desires are often neglected. But, I think that's a topic for another post.
  6. lp1313

    lp1313 Fapstronaut

    It's hard to acknowledge that the abuse I put on my wife with P has in part to do with issues that we need to talk about and work through, and her stonewalling and dismissal is even more isolating. Appreciate this write up.
  7. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I'm glad you appreciate it. I think its probably an issue most of us are dealing with.
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  8. Peter.Parker10

    Peter.Parker10 Fapstronaut

    That's funny, I read this thread and also thought of this book ("No More Mr.Nice Guy").

    Now, to my fellow @Warfman:

    Sounds like there's a lot of tension between you and your wife. Here's something that has helped me, it hasn't solved the problems, but it's helped me:

    Don't take your wife's comments to heart, she's struggling a lot too.

    Look at yourself, and work on how you react to her projecting stress onto you, improve yourself in this matter.

    Just to go briefly onto something you said:

    You say she's not someone who is able to empathize with people... but, are you?

    Now, from what you've written, it sounds like each of you is very focused on what each one feels (she does something and then you feel a certain way).

    Work out those emotions, and respond with empathy and love when she treats you disrespectfully or without any consideration.
  9. tawwab1

    tawwab1 Fapstronaut

    Hi! I see you've already found what you're seeking, but I just want to chime in because our stories sound so similar. I suffered a lot of what I would consider abuse from my wife which I allowed her to do, and this eventually led me to relapse into PMO addiction. This started a spiral of resentment just like you mentioned that's difficult to stop.

    I want to strongly suggest that you start a journal in the 30-39 age section and be diligent in posting your progress. You will find a lot of support here from men who understand what you're going through and that's key. Most people IRL, including and especially our wives, don't understand what we go through at all and never will. IMO, sharing with unsympathetic people or people who shame/guilt us is not constructive to recovery. We are dealing with a very serious and dangerous issue that many people are confused about.

    Try to make friends IRL you can call on to vent to about family problems or any other kind of problems. You don't have to share with them that you're dealing with PMO addiction - you can save that for this forum. I'd like to help you in any way I can.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
    hardtoname and Daruvil like this.
  10. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    *I posted without a reply to your specific post on accident so I deleted and reposted, I also added a thing or two so if you already read once please take note of this*

    I think you really are on the right track here. I do take her comments to heart. I struggle with the fact that I do in fact acknowledge what she says and try to understand her feelings and voice them. But don't get that in return which frustrates me. (I see No More Mr Nice Guy addresses this). I have always understood that men often try to fix women's problems and sometimes need to be a better emotional partner who just listens. Though I don't think I am ever good at doing that!

    As far as my empathy I wouldn't call it a strength of mine at all. This and many other common human faults I'm guilty of. And I definitely fit the category of a "nice guy". I've just gotten into the books explanation and I fit the almost every single thing mentioned. The good and the bad...

    I'm trying not to dismiss my faults in my posts but I'm also trying to get some of my emotions out as well without making posts too lengthy. I am more than willing to go deeper into them because I think it's an important part of healing.

    There are lots of things that have brought me to this point. At the forefront though is that my current situation isn't what I had pictured for my life. From my experience so far just cutting out porn hasn't been enough. I think so far things are already becoming apparent that I need to focus on during this time.

    Appreciate your comment very much!
  11. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I hate admitting that what I think I receive is verbal/emotional abuse but I have always felt that is what I receive. I have voiced that before to my wife and she tells me to quit being a "victim". She's a controlling person for sure and for the most part I'm content and happy in most any moment so I go along to get along. (Or at least that is how I would describe myself historically) But anymore I find myself much more calloused about things like that. I've thought for a long time how do I stop this part of our relationship? So far No More Mr Nice Guy is maybe identifying some things I need to take some time to think about.

    Another thing I have struggled with is that I was a college football player and coached college sports for many years. It truly was my identity for my entire life growing up. Now that I am away from the game in that capacity I really think I have lost some of myself and in search of what's next. It's put me into an depressed like state of bitterness that I know shows through not just in my marriage but everyday life.

    I will start with that in the 30-39 age group section. In my experience friends IRL don't have the time to focus on these issues or at least as much as we need them to be. So far this is definitely helping.

    I appreciate your post. I would like to know more about your story especially if you see similarities in our circumstances. I assume you have posted previously about some of yours so I will look into that.
  12. tawwab1

    tawwab1 Fapstronaut

    Sure dude, just read my journal, all the juicy details are there :D

    Also check out my essays, they may help you who knows?
  13. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I am working through not only No More Mr. Nice Guy but I'm also starting into My "Husband in Pursuit" challenge. It's a 31 day challenge that is faith based. I plan to somewhat alternate between both so 31 days will likely be more like 60 some days. It's a bible study style challenge. The focus on Day 1 is really talking about how to understand Christ's love for "us" (the church) and how to then apply that same love to how we love our wives. It tasks me with looking up verses and researching this some. Anyway this one article in particular really stuck out to me. Here's a quick review of the 10 ways Christ loves us and in turn how we are called to love our wives.

    (1) A Sacrificial Love
    (2) A Serving Love
    (3) A Faithful Love
    (4) An Understanding Love
    (5) A Caring Love

    (6) A Sanctifying Love
    (7) A Consistent Love
    (8) A Leading Love
    (9) An Enduring Love
    (10) An Eschatological Love

    Below is a link to the full write up. I think it's definitely worth the read. One point in particular to me that stood out during my study through this is Christ's acceptance of our failures, problems, etc. in that through him that burden is lifted off of us. A husband in kind is asked to bear that same burden for their wives. Essentially the way I take that is that we can't be critical of our wives (As I have been in these posts above) and instead are called to love our wives with a selfless love that is unconditional.

  14. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Got through a third of the audiobook of No More Mr Nice Guy. This book is really hitting home to me. I need to get a hard copy so I can flip to the exercises and work through them.

    First one about childhood toxic shame I am realizing that I really have suppressed that deep. I was the good kid, always did the right thing. Worked hard and excelled in high school athletics and extra curricular activities like music and band. I continued this into college in sports as well as being involved in many other activities on campus, put a lot of emphasis on how I looked, and also in how others viewed me by doing the right thing.

    I really think my problems were enabled through this because I was able to stay inside my little "box" and get the praise and validation I was looking for.

    As a child I had good parents, but thinking on this hard the last few days I'm starting to see that my parents were very controlling. My father is a perfectionist and would withhold his praise unless I did things his way. I still deal with this to this day as I work in the family business with him! My mother definitely lived through her children and loved us very much. But also constantly would tell us what to do, wear, etc. Both parents tabooed things like dating while in high school. Both caught me with P in high school and essentially told me it was wrong and I needed to stop. They never brought it up again.

    I never really had great relationships with women. Seemed like either they really liked me and I wasn't interested. Or I was interested and they weren't. I suspect if I look back I'll see issues I caused from my nice guy syndrome.

    Applying this to my marriage, my wife and I met in grad school when I was a college coach. At that time I still was very much in my little "box" still. Once graduating I was at a crossroads. Continue following my life's dream or make a change. I decided to grow up and take over the family business. I Believe I made the right choice for me however it also ripped me away from my safe place of feeling valued. I think at this point I have looked hard for my parents approval daily since I'm always around them as well as put extreme amounts of focus on validation from my wife. I also have done this with friends. I'm almost ashamed I haven't seen this in myself before this. My wife has told me many times that I can't get my self worth from her. At the time I couldn't fathom what she even meant by that. Now I think I can.

    There's a lot more to unpack here that I'll keep thinking about. But I'm definitely causing a lot of my own problems. Going to take some time to change my view that good deeds won't get my needs met and that I need to become an integrated man.

    Good news on an 8 day steak now. First week went by with ease. Today and last night I kinda was in a low energy flatline state.
  15. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Day 13 today. I have to say 100 percent this has been the easiest 13 day reboot I've ever tried. I'm actively trying to look at myself and focus on self improvement and it really helps. There's still times I've been edging but I've fought through them well. I'm finding the more I think about my issues the more relaxed I feel just thinking about them. Definitely have toxic shame!

    I have yet to fully commit to a hard mode reboot with my wife but so far she's hasn't initiated. Finally I'm actually ok with that. As soon as I tell her I know in the next few days after she's going to push for sex. I hate that I know that she will because it makes me feel like I'm manipulating her. I know that it would especially get me what I want in the short term but know from experience that it would be short lived as I'm still just scratching the surface of focusing on me.

    Hope everyone on here is doing well and had a Great Thanksgiving.
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  16. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Is your wife willing to work with you at a 90 day hard mode? It’s easier if you are both in the same page. Does she understand why you would do hard mode? If not, explaining that might help.
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  17. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I don't think she'd have any problems with it. And I don't think she'd get upset with me turning her down for sex. I'm much more worried about myself than her in the situation. No more Mr nice guy talks about nice guys being controlling and manipulative. I don't want to do this expecting a certain outcome and deep down I know I have that expectation. It's really a internal battle of my desires for my wife and what I know I have to do while not having agenda and expectations of what I get in return. Currently I just don't have my mind wrapped around that but know I'm a long ways from finished with self improvement.
  18. tawwab1

    tawwab1 Fapstronaut

    Can you have intimacy with her during your reboot just with the intention of benefiting her, and not for yourself? That might actually help your recovery because it will help you think more about giving and not just enjoying.
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  19. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I've sure been thinking both ways on that. I've never had much issue with a want to to please my wife. I actually fit the mold of the nice guy who puts so much emphasis on and that I don't worry about mine. The book sure addressed this and it is me spot on. It suggested going on a moratorium to release the pressure nice guys put on the situation. It stated that often women feel pressured to orgasm and it becomes an obligation that I make her orgasm before me. I think we'd benefit from that in that way. She'd be no longer pressured and could enjoy the moment genuinely.

    Currently I'm just trying to do nice things like walk up behind her and rub her back. Hold hands in the car. Tell her I love her, that she looks beautiful, and try sparking more regular conversations. With no agenda of sex after. Maybe that's enough and I can be sexual with her and still be open about my reboot process?
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  20. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    So funny enough we were driving home from a families house today and we talked about some things. First she thanked me for my streak and told me how much that means to her. Our convo went really well. I apologized for some things that I realize I'm doing. Covert contacts being one of them and getting upset when she doesn't reciprocate.

    We talked about sex as well. I told her that i really desire much more sex in our marriage. She totally understood and admitted that she does to. It's just she's so worn down raising our daughter, going to grad school, and working. She said she will dream about having sex with me and wake up wanting it and then the stress of the day takes it out of her. I told her that it hurts me to get rejected because it feels like an insult to me and she apologized for making me feel that way. I felt like that was a good step about just talking about our feelings.

    I also told her for the first time about nofap and that I've started this forum to help with my 90 day challenge. I asked her what she thought of normal or hard mode and explained what benefits there may be for either. She laughed and said well we are pretty much on hard mode other than masturbating. I haven't truly had a conversation about her masturbating but do know that she does I just don't know how much. I know this is hypocritical but it bothers me because I'm always ready for sex and she isn't and uses up her desire without me. Yes yes I see the hypocracy... My past validation for being upset is that at least I'm not turning real sex away! Hope someone gets a laugh at how silly my logic has been there! Past that we really didn't come to any agreement and the convo kinda just ended. But I feel that she's supportive of either direction we go.

    I really felt like we turned a corner, hope to continue to be in tune with her on this in the future. I'm not sure how I feel about sex and kinda wonder if I should see how I feel in another couple weeks. I do feel like now she will respect my decision if I decide to wait a little longer.

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