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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've definitely tried to implement similar ground rules for our communication. My wife hasn't been a willing participant. And then I have my own issues that obviously blow things up all on their own sometimes and makes me look quite disingenuous. When I've had a bad day, or am edging sometimes I come unglued when she doesn't cause it at all. So it's definitely something we both need to work on. I do feel like I'm in a lot more even emotional state than I was even when I started posting here on Nofap. So I think we are getting there.

    These are just ones I don't have anything to do with.. I am the cause of many others all on my own! But I'm sure trying hard to improve in these areas.

    One major one I need to work on is work-life balance. She has expressed to me many times how much this is an issue for her. I'm trying hard to make big changes.

    Definitely, I think we have had a handful of conversations that went very well these last few months. We have had some others that didn't. I think it's a learning process we both need to work on.

    As far as helping her not react to a trigger I actually did successfully do that a week ago.

    I have to admit that so many of the things I've expressed I think I've unfairly taken personally. (Toxic Shame). It's just hard for me to relate to because I didn't struggle with a lot of these things in my life. When she comes off cold, defensive, or puts up walls it has historically made me feel like I did something wrong. I've thought that I wasn't worthy of confiding in, and when I have heard something pretty deep about something that happened to my wife I wonder why hasn't she ever talked to me about that! Then, I've been resentful from that and acted out because of that feeling. In a nutshell this was my realization 2 weeks ago. I need to stop making everything about how I feel, and let her have her feelings on stuff like this without me thinking that she doesn't love me. I'm pretty sure I've been emotionally exhausting in these ways.

    Yea there's a lot there and I sure don't even know all of them. These are just a few I know of.

    As far as "skeevy men" I think it can be pretty hard on women when they are a "conquest" goal. Every guy I know thought she was drop dead gorgeous, I expect that is something that would be very tough to deal with. She was the topic of many a discussion in the boys locker room and that in and of itself probably lead to some Betrayal Traumas.
    Last edited: May 21, 2023
    MindfulWarrior and hope4healing like this.
  2. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I'm sorry. I wish I had words of wisdom to impart. It sounds like you may just need to be very intentional on your own and state things really calmly. And just keep reiterating that you are trying to create more open conversations for you both to be heard and understood. And if it gets too heated and you need to create a boundary for those moments that she understands that you are not shutting down the conversation that you just need to breathe before you come back to discuss more.

    My husband made changes here that helped. One, he didn't hide anything any more. Two, if he had to travel for work he no longer was MIA. I knew where he would be and he would not just be absent -he'd do what he needed for the client and then he'd go back to the hotel and facetime us. The last thing he did that has had the most impact, is that he is now remote. He had an opportunity at his job to switch and he seized it. Because of all these changes our family feels integrated now. It feels less like he has an entirely different world. Granted I am a SAHM (I intentionally stopped working to mother and school our kids) so it's not like I have a separate world of my own, but it just feels different with him getting his primary emotional/social needs met here first before work and the rest of the world.

    Just be sure that you do not deny that you do have feelings. My husband did a similar warping with his feelings and tying them into shame, convincing himself that I must not love him. So then he had to shut down and hide his feelings on just about everything. Now he's having to relearn how to have them fully and express them. He just somehow put himself into a delusional bubble where he forgot that I actually love him and care how he feels, even when I don't agree. Somehow he crafted this whole marriage where he needed to care for and protect me, but he didn't need the same because it would stress me. He totally overlooked the fact that I'm a caregiver so to not get to care for my spouse was horrible for me. So my long point is, you need to have your feelings but you need to untangle them from toxic shame and then express them in a healthy way.
    hope4healing likes this.
  3. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    To me the solution is to make the major shifts in my life to do the right thing. I can't force behavior but I can do what's best for me and my marriage on my own and pray for improvement.

    This might seem like I'm being mopey and negative.. but I haven't really had many experiences where women cared about what I felt. My intent though was to say that I need to not assume that my wife's emotions and reactions have something to do with me. As this has been a huge trigger for me.

    I haven't ever been that guy who shuts his feelings out. If anything I probably have my emotions on my sleeve too much. I think it's definitely toxic shame that I need to deal with.
    Last edited: May 23, 2023
    used19, True-Self and KevinesKay like this.
  4. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    So here's some positive affirmation in the midst of all the issues. My 3.5 year old daughter and I worked together today. (The biggest perk to working in Ag).

    We had a great day. Lots of fun things to do in spring. Lots of wildlife with babies to look at. Calves, colts, and everything is happy to be grazing after a long winter.

    My daughter is really growing up fast. She wants to do everything Dad does. And I have to say she's pretty good help when she wants to be!

    Cherry on top was this evening when we were done for the day. (I was exhausted). She asks me if she can ride her horse. I really wanted to say no. But I just can't tell that little face no. So off we went each on our own horse, riding into the sunset. Green grass everywhere singing songs the whole time.

    It was a good day.
    hope4healing, again, used19 and 4 others like this.
  5. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Kinda catching up here posting tonight,

    Things are going well. Hard mode 25 days in and feel great. I feel a certain peace I haven't before that makes many of my issues seem so much more insignificant than they had. They are still there. And they are real. I just haven't had the urges to act out.

    My sex drive is still the same. And man it's hard even looking at my wife because I find her so attractive. Maybe I'm fortunate that since she's pregnant she has zero interest in being touched in any way other than foot rubs.. haha (which I have been giving often.)

    I was listening to an Whatever podcast today. Most of the time I can't hardly stand them. But recently Lila Rose was on, and it was quite good. I am linking a highlight of that from youtube here as well. There is some good back and forth conversations with her and others with differing viewpoints, and I think her points were quite compelling, and I find her consistent delivery quite good as well.

    Lila made one point that I have always understood but have never been actually good at... The importance of the husbands role to love their wives with a sacrificial love. Similar to how Christ loves the Church. I hate that I am so bad at it.

    PMO in particular is such a horrible example of me not sacrificing my sexual desires to love my wife. I make my urge more important than her. And even though I've always known this it isn't an easy thing to do. I get why my wife would close off sexually when I am so beholden to my sexual urges. I feel like such an idiot for not being better at something I've always known to be true. It also upsets me that it is the main the block between the intimacy we could have. I have my reasons to be hurt, but I am still not loving in a sacrificial way as I am asked to.

    All of this makes it that much easier not to PMO, because I know it's not nearly as rewarding.
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
  6. KevinesKay

    KevinesKay Fapstronaut

    Yes, my wife desires that I love her more than I love sex. Sex is not as important to her as the relationship.

    To a wife, everything revolves around the relationship. To her, that's the most important thing. If she thinks that having consistent sex will help the relationship, she will do it. If she thinks that having less sex will help the relationship, then she will pull away sexually. If sex does not build up the love or the relationship, then she will not be motivated to do it. Sex does not always feel good for a wife. Sometimes, many times, sex can actually feel bad.

    In just about every romance novel, there is a demonstration of the man loving her more than sex. She needs to know that he's just not trying to get into her pants. She wants him to love her and feel for her in the same intense way that she feels for him.

    If my wife was pulling away sexually from me, I would first look at increasing my own sexual market value; by working out, dressing better, proper grooming; becoming more strong, confident, and ambitious. And then, if that didn't work, I would start pulling the strings on the relationship. And I would communicate to her that sex is an important element to build up the relationship. What wife doesn't want a stronger relationship? Wouldn't she be open to do anything she can to protect what is most important to her, which is the relationship?
    again and Warfman like this.
  7. Warren of fleabags

    Warren of fleabags Fapstronaut

    I have had to change my whole viewpoint on this area. I don’t refer to it as sex with my wife anymore - I refer to it as making love. Sex is what sells products. Sex is what p stars have. Sex is for people who are dating and want to take things to the next level. Making love is what we do in a committed, loving relationship because it is about just that - love. I have noticed a real difference in my own attitude to it since looking at it in this way.
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  8. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I feel I have always had this mindset. But what I've done is selfishly taken my intimate desires and needs into my own hands (figuratively and literally). Which in turn affects the relationship in ways I never realized. It has always been easier for me to do that than actually express my desires to my wife and risk "rejection".

    I have known for a long time that I wanted the status quo to change. And for me the only way to do that is to be a man worth being married to. This mindset is really what's helped me more than anything.
  9. One thing that I think many PA's don't know or understand is that, while you're active in your addiction, and even for awhile at the beginning of recovery, you aren't capable of sharing a truly deep intimacy with your SO. I'm not talking about just having sex. I mean the deep emotional connection that some SO's really want and need to be fully content in the relationship. Addiction to P prevents real intimacy even though many don't believe or don't realize that. It's part of the brain fog, and oftentimes the PA is either using P as a substitute for intimacy with their SO, or they're using P to avoid it (like those with Intimacy Anorexia). Whether the SO knows about the PA or not, they can feel the absence of connection. They know something isn't right, but if they are unaware of the PA, a lot of times they blame themselves for the disconnect.

    There are a bunch of studies that have proven PA's impact on intimacy.

    I think the shift in mindset that you guys are talking about applies to this...when in addiction, you think of it more as just "having sex" with your SO because your brain isn't able to see the need for intimacy that's supposed to go with it and doesn't feel the lack of emotional connection. In recovery, it's about something more than just having sex, partly because you're able to feel your emotions more since you're no longer numbing yourself by acting out. And, the SO can feel the difference, too, once they begin healing from their betrayal trauma.
    used19 likes this.
  10. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    So I'm not saying I know everything here because I sure as heck don't.. I probably don't know a darn thing and am not aware of plenty I'm sure. Sorry this got long as I'm venting a little as well.

    My wife says she's very satisfied with our sex, it's easy for me to please her because I like to and know what she likes. It's what I enjoy most about sex and physical intimacy honestly. I love giving massages and making her physically feel good. She's asked me before how I'm so good at physically intimate stuff, it's simply because I enjoy it. But, I can definitely see that I've been like a zombie unwilling to express what I like. There's times she does something I don't like, there's also times I wish she would do something when she doesn't. And I have a hard time telling her that and I don't just mean sex. I almost feel like I'm insulting her when I say I don't like something. So I fake it to not mess up the "mood". And I know I probably don't seem normal to her. Then with acting out I can just imagine what I like and cut out the uncomfortable part. IDK if that makes sense or not. In a way it links to the "nice guy paradigm" of not being able to express myself because I have thought it's selfish to do so. I do see that I haven't expressed this because I would PMO instead and avoid that uncomfortable situation. Communication is of course a huge part of the emotional part of intimacy and I think I cut that out. I think that can definitely be something that my wife can sense. At times it actually felt like a win win because I didn't have to "inconvenience" her with my desires and she was happy. I'm realizing that this has caused me to be quite resentful and angry.

    I also feel anxiety expressing what I like because I don't like rejection. There have been times where I have been rejected by her so I try and avoid it. One particular instance comes to mind, in marriage prep we had to go to a retreat. It was really good I thought. They had a bunch of activities and I really enjoyed it, being that she was the one raised catholic she did as well (I'm the convert). One activity was a foot washing, where each partner would wash the others feet. This is biblical and is a great expression of how we humble ourselves for someone else. I went first, and enjoyed it because I feel it's part of my love language and I felt that I was expressing that love by doing this act. When it came to be my wife's turn she literally refused to do it. This has really upset me and is still something I haven't forgiven my wife for. She was a dang C.N.A. at nursing homes for years, has been an R.N. for years... but can't wash her future husbands feet at a marriage retreat? This really bothers me and to me it was a big red flag that I thought a lot about but ended up ignoring. I take it as selfish, inconsiderate, and as though she doesn't understand what serving your partner is supposed to look like. Thinking back on it I think I just clammed up and probably didn't even say a word to avoid a confrontation. I have never brought this up before to her but this small little thing meant a lot to me. Since then I expressed that I wouldn't mind a foot rub once in a while, as I give them to her often. Her response was that I hadn't been giving her "enough" lately. Really...? This is usually what happens when I muster the courage to express something. Then one time she actually did start giving me a foot massage but I think it was more to appease my demand. It was the worst experience. She just buried her knuckles into my foot. It actually hurt pretty bad. I think I just told her to stop, so did she win? is winning even an option when it comes to this? idk just a situation that bothers me quite a bit. It makes me feel like she thinks I'm gross, and that my needs aren't important. I'm a good looking guy, who had no problem finding women interested in me. This is just not something I'm used to.

    Going back to my poor communication... I remember one time telling her in the moment that I didn't really like something that she had done for a long time. She was taken aback. I never have felt comfortable expressing that. I'm sure she felt like saying "dude why didn't you tell me that! How am I supposed to satisfy you if I don't know how!". I can definitely see how that would cause a disconnect.

    John Delony talks about his unpatented "erotic 12 letters" system. Where both partners write down 12 things they want to do put them in a jar and take turns picking them at random out. It can be anything. And can be as simple as sitting holding hands and watching Love Actually 10 times in a row... Lol. It can be a particular sex act, or even just a foot rub. The point he says is that it stimulates conversation about sex and intimacy, which he says is such a hard topic for many couples to talk about in this way. Yes there may be some uncomfortable ones that need worked out with compromise etc. But he says that's part of the fun of it and it's a great way to learn about our partners intimate preferences. And I think that's a big aspect of emotional intimacy that I just haven't opened up to. I don't think I have allowed myself to because I was substituting that with P to avoid having to talk about it. At the same time I feel that if I proposed this I think my wife would just not even fill out her letters because it would mean she "has" to do the stuff I write down.

    I have wanted to do this, however I don't think this is something that can be done until well into recovery. As I think it would actually be worse for the couple to do something like this while there is active Porn addiction in the relationship. There's a feeling I have that my wife will reject this idea as she does so many others. And I think its true that she probably wouldn't want to because it would require her to release some control and she has a hard time with that. I also think I am just naturally avoiding it because of that same fear of rejection and not wanting to open myself up to being vulnerable.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2023
    walker5210 likes this.
  11. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    4 weeks of No PMO.

    Pretty sweet milestone. Almost 33% of the way to 90!

    Got in a silly fight with my wife tonight. She just gets worked up over nothing sometimes. Thinks our daughter has a UTI and I'm pretty dang sure she doesn't. In the end what do I know, she's the medical person. (I'm reminded often that "I don't know S**t about it... Funny enough because I also seem to not know a S**t about finance either... which was my major in both undergrad and grad school) Sure seems like a trend.. I just don't know S**t!

    What I do know is that this has happened before, we've raced our daughter to the doctors office just certain she has some "illness" just to find out she's perfectly fine. It's hard to watch doctors draw labs on a 3 year old for some thing that my wife wanted checked "just in case". Cost us plenty of money which is of little concern. But why would we put a perfectly healthy kid through that experience? I just don't get it.

    In the end she told me I could just go Jerk off to Porn (this is the first time she's ever said something like that to me). For the first time in my life I smiled inside thinking. Sorry, I don't even want to! :)
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  12. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I'm sorry, this sounds really hurtful. I can remember when my husband and I did it at our retreat. It was very special so I can understand why you would be really upset and wounded by it. Do you think she would talk honestly about it now or just shut down the conversation?
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  13. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    She would definitely shut the convo down. And repeatedly deflect from what I'm trying to say. I just don't know how to talk to her about it because of that. Honestly I've quit trying to. Things like this I want to talk to her about in counseling someday.

    I'm not trying to make an excuse for my acting out. And I'm not trying to blame my wife but stuff like this has definitely made my acting out worse.

    I appreciate you reading this and commenting. To some a simple foot washing exercise at a marriage retreat may not seem like a big deal but it sure is to me because of what it meant to me.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2023
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  14. From what you've said here, I don't think there even is a way that you could talk to her about things like this, at least not right now. For whatever reason, she doesn't seem ready to confront any of these issue with you, and I believe that probably won't change until you are able to gain some ground in your recovery and then you're able to get into marriage counseling together. She makes it pretty clear in her reactions to you bringing things up that, for the time being, these types of discussions are not something she's willing to do. I know that sucks and it's not helpful for you, especially because you are one who wants to talk about things. It's very similar to the situation in my first post on @Joe1023 thread where I described how it goes when I try to talk to my husband about how I feel, but he's determined not to have the conversation. I realize that he's coming from a place of shame and your wife very possibly isn't, but it's similar in that, one way or another, you don't get to talk through whatever it is you feel you need to because the other side will have no part of it. So, when you say you've quit trying to even have these discussions with her, I think that's exactly the outcome she was hoping to get...the same way my husband has successfully shut down my attempts to talk about things.
  15. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I definitely agree that she is getting the outcome she wants. I think I have tried expressing that before here. When I try to communicate about something she just stonewalls me shifts the blame to me. It seems that if she can stonewall the situation that is a win for her. Because then she doesn't have to change or admit she is ever wrong.

    I refer us back to my story about her texting her ex that I stumbled onto because her phone was in my pocket. I was blamed for that.. it was my fault that she did what she did. "If it weren't for me, she wouldn't have tried to hide this"

    I'm very tired of the blame game that results in nothing. I have pushed on many issues like this one, I also have requested that if it "isn't a good time" that she make time in the next week to talk about it. This never has happened. She just ignores the issue until the next time I muster the courage to confront her about it.

    It seems that any feeling I express makes her feel she did something wrong and she just can't handle it. When she feels that attack she blames anyone and anything to get the spotlight off her. That cuts off all communication. I feel I should be able to express what that foot washing exercise meant to me. And not hear an excuse or that it was somehow justified, there shouldn't be a validation. I get that all the SOs experience this as well with your partner's addictions. As you know it freaking sucks. I'm also not saying I haven't done things like this myself. I think there were times I did what you said addicts do saying if you (the SO) just did this then things would be better.

    There's definitely an aspect of this that has always scared me about reboot. Because I think there's a pretty high likelihood that things will never change. And what am I going to do about it if nothing does? I don't want to leave. But I need change. I need her to want to make some things up to me just as I'm trying to do. I'm focused on me right now. But these things do make it hard. Even though I know this is true, I am in no place to be making demands that she change.

    I was talking to my AP about this. My plan at the moment is to just keep plugging. Get to 90 days for starters. At that point my wife will be 7 months pregnant. So i will just continue hard mode. From there I think there is some time say 6 months that I need to just fully back off of my needs and focus on support of our new baby. My hopes are 2 things 1. I would be almost 1 year into full recovery if I am successful by then. 2. It will give me ample opportunity to display all the benefits recovery offers. Once the baby is 6 months I think I'm going to expect marriage counseling. If she refuses I will have to make decisions on what to do about it I guess. Lots of unknown here that really just don't matter right now.
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  16. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    So Today I went to Mass for the first time in a really really long time. We haven't been good about going. My wife is just as bad and almost worse. Mass has to fit into her world. And her world requires sleeping in until 9:30 or later daily. In rural America priests have to travel to multiple towns to do Mass so sometimes it's hard to fit it in. Our local church (which is my favorite) used to have mass at 6PM on Saturdays and 8AM on Sundays. Both worked quite well for me and before covid we were able to go often, my wife was only interested in the evening Mass on Saturdays. But then another community needed a priest so Father started covering those Mass times and they changed ours to 4:30 on Saturdays which is quite inconvenient for me as I work Saturdays a lot. 8AM Sundays work great for me but my wife just cant muster the energy to get up and go. Years ago I asked on 2 or 3 occasions to go on Sunday mornings, she agreed, so I got up showered and was ready. 10 mins to 8 My wife was till laying in bed. She didn't go and I almost felt like I couldn't go by myself back then because she would say it "looks bad" if I went by myself. This was 3 to 5 years ago.

    Today I decided to make a change. As just last month our church changed from 4:30 on Saturdays back to 8AM on Sundays. So I went by myself.

    The homily felt as though it was pointed directly at me. Father knows about my addiction. And he knows about the marriage issues. He started the homily saying "To this Priest (him) the most heartbreaking thing he experiences is when he sees a person who doesn't feel loved, and doesn't feel loveable." I don't know if he looked at me or not but I felt it as if he did. I couldn't help it I started crying in the pew. He went on to talk about Love and that without love we are not fully human. Pointed out that even if someone is not loved by another that Christ does and that it is the most powerful love there is. It was a good thing that I went.

    I do feel dehumanized by my wife. I'm not saying I'm prefect. Because I'm not.

    I need to get to confession. They do them Thursdays and Saturdays so I plan to get back to see him this week.

    I expect when my wife finds out that I went to church "without" her. I will have done a bad thing in her eyes. I'm going to choose not to respond. She's more than capable of getting up and coming with me next week if she would like.
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  17. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    One more thing I want to express today.

    My wife last night told me I don't need to be on Nofap. That all I need is God. And being here isn't "good" for me. I think it ties in to her fear of losing control as to her I'm here being "influenced" by people I don't even know.

    This has been one of the few places I feel I've been able to actually be honest to myself about things.

    I want to thank you all for your time and effort posting and messaging here. It means more than I can possibly describe.

    Edit: I have no intentions of leaving. I'm not going to leave the thing that has helped me most with my addiction. My wife just doesn't understand. Hopefully someday she does.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023
  18. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    I have noticed there are some partners who do not want the addict to go to SA, or therapy or feel their partner puts “ too” much time into recovery and wants the addict to “ just stop”. I think this is due to fear and ignorance about addiction and recovery.
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  19. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I think this is a well thought out plan. Getting into a stable place in recovery will only increase the chance of marriage counseling being successful. You are already doing the hard work on beginning to untangle your feelings from the influence of toxic shame. We are all cheering you on in this because being able to feel and deal with feelings in a healthy way is critical to recovery. I also think this approach is really thoughtful given that she is pregnant. From my experience, I had my dday and then got pregnant (the only one I didn't plan). I cried probably a good half of the pregnancy. We talked and talked and talked. I kept catching inconsistencies in some of what he said. It wasn't until after the baby was born that I insisted in a disclosure. It is clear looking back that my body was only letting me process some of my grief in order to protect my baby. Around 5 months into the same pregnancy we caught a flu (or maybe even covid). We all were horribly sick. I had chills, aches, and a decent fever - but my pregnant belly was cool to the touch, everywhere else on my body was on fire. But my body diverted all the heat and pain to every other corner. I'm certain my grief and processing was the same, because after baby came it was like a dam broke. So I am hoping that maybe some of her walls will come down a little bit after the baby is born for you two to make some progress in healing.

    I think even those on here who are not religious can feel the truth in this. When we are in a place of love porn doesn't seem to be able to get the same foot hold. When it creeps in, it dehumanizes and makes using other people as objects for gratification seem like nothing. And it's all such a complicated cycle, I feel anyway. If we aren't loving our spouse, it can creep in and we dehumanize our spouse and then subsequently others for self pleasure. If we aren't feeling loved (either because we aren't being loved how we need OR because of justifications for an addiction), it creeps in and we dehumanize ourselves in order to justify doing something against our vows.
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  20. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I think this is true. I think back to what you said about your husband and that it took a full year be of recovery to see all the improvement. Her comment about that made me want to tell her your story. But I also find telling her stories I learn here. Especially from SOs makes her feel threatened. I think she assumes I'm on here talking to women in inappropriate ways. And that if I'm on a forum filled with p addicts that we are all here bashing our partners and making excuses for our behavior.

    I get the feeling it but for me it's wrong. I'm so tried of being told I'm no good.
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