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Marriage issues while trying to reboot

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

  1. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

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    You’re allowed to have emotions and put up boundaries. Is it possible for you to talk to your wife and tell her that making comments like that is not acceptable to you? She expects a foot massage? You expect to be treated kindly.

    We should be humbled, kind and honest with our addictions. We should show grace with our partners, but it doesn’t mean we have to be silent doormats.
     
  2. Now's as good a time as any.
     
  3. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks,

    I know I have a hard time with boundaries. Always have. I'm trying my best to establish some like you are suggesting but it's hard. Seems like typically when I try to in a situation like the one from last week no matter what I'm wrong and since I'm wrong my boundary I try defending or establishing is crossed, or my wife will try to make it not a valid one. It's hard for me because I've never been good at this stuff.

    I will say though I think things are working out. Progress in my view isn't that every instance is "better". But, that we have more positive interactions, and fewer negative ones than before. The negative ones feel just as bad as they did and like nothing is changing, and the positive ones feel like things are going great. So ultimately I think a lot of it is working through the flow of that process. That's probably also what my wife felt in that moment when she said I hadn't changed a bit.
     
  4. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

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    It's very easy for us SOs to feel tricked in moments where our spouse exhibits a behavior or reaction that we associate with the version of our husband when he was acting out. An example for me is yelling or snapping at our kids. He did it a lot in the bad years because he was a jerk. Had no patience for anything, not even normal child behavior, if he was in a mood. NOW he's good most of the time. But every once in a while our sons really push a button and he won't cope, and will yell. In that moment I feel like he hasn't changed and it's all a show. And then I frantically start mentally going through the other signs to make sure I'm not missing something. It's very hard to remember other progress and changes if you find yourself repeating a moment that feels identical to the ones from the bad days. Don't be surprised if in these kinds of moments if you wife asks you if you have relapsed or are lying. We always have to check.

    You also have to remember for a lot of us we never caught our husbands in what they were doing. We always knew something was off because of all the other things that were wrong and didn't add up. Now we know what was wrong and it all makes sense. So now those kinds of behaviors or reactions become our early warning signs. Even if things are better, even if we want to trust, we also can never let ourselves ignore our intuition and the signs ever again.
     
  5. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I definitely can understand that mindset, really that's not all that different than I feel about the unfulfilled promise for physical intimacy. I didn't ask or pressure she freely offered, when she doesn't initiate after saying she will I felt the same way, that nothing has changed, that my reboot is relatively useless, that her phone is more important than me, and that getting to where I desire to be as a couple is hopeless.

    I think for both sides offering lots of grace is important, it's not right for either side to expect the other person to always act the way the other expects them to. We all have good and bad moments, and using the past to control the future isn't right either. Traumatic pasts seems to be like kindling for any little issue to blow up into a big deal, in our instance, my wife wanted me to do something for her, I didn't say no, but she kept nagging until I told her I will get to it when I have time. (my tone wasn't good). Honestly it was something she could have easily done herself, but sometimes like @Thor God of Thunder said in a thread it seems sometimes it's a test. In the end, I was busy, working on things I needed to, and she wasn't being patient with me. It definitely set me off, I can't communicate my need for her to be patient without being yelled at. So I just keep my mouth shut rather than confront it. Nice Guy Syndrome to a T.
     
  6. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I want to add that I keep it quiet until it boils over and I say things harshly, by being quiet I'm trying to be a nice guy who gets along. I'm still learning to just keep my emotions level and state things honestly and calmly. It's a hard for me because of how much I desire approval, in those moments I feel she says things to prod me, which feels manipulative much of the time. For instance, there are times where she'll call my name from across the house urgently, and when I come she asks me to fill her water cup, or just grab something from another room, like my time is worth less or that I'm expected to do that. I acknowledge that this is probably a part of her way of receiving love, seriously though it often feels extremely manipulative especially this last comment we had. And I can't hardly help but think, man, if I did that for my needs it would be world war 3. I sit here trying hard to prove I'm worth a damn foot rub or a loving gesture, but since I don't jump up when she asks, I haven't changed at all... I do see how my harsh reaction mirrors that of the volatile emotions if a p addict. Though for me in this case I don't think I'm feeling that way. It's a real feeling, and one that I think often gets dismissed as a symptom of an addict. If I said "you know maybe if we had sex once in a while I'd be more excited to reciprocate an expression of love to you." If I said that, I'd be hit with the stereotypical, sex isn't a need, and be blamed for the typical accusations p addicts get of making everything about sex. And how I'm gaslighting or something. No, I'm not, I just want to be loved and accepted. At least for now thats how I feel.
     
  7. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

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    It sounds like you still hold a lot of resentment toward your wife.

    Part of our journey is learning to communicate things calmly and appropriately and in a way that resonates with our partner. And also knowing that our partner is a separate person and may not agree with us and that’s okay in most areas of our lives.
     
  8. Kn0wbie

    Kn0wbie Fapstronaut

    I feel your pain bud! I really do. I have no idea when or if I’ll see sex again. I live in hope. And somehow - and trust me I know how hard it is - we have to let go of the ill feelings as they carry across silently in our actions. Unless we can find a way to unconditionally love again - it will always be hard to rebuild.

    I hope one day to tell you this from a perspective of success - rather than just theory!! But I’m loving in hope! I’m trying every day and I know first hand just how hard it is.
     
  9. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Yea we both definitely harbor resentment. Probably from the tough few years we've had. It's really hard feeling like the only one who wants to reverse that trend. My wife seems content in a relatively sexless marriage where interaction between us in any form is fully on her terms. It definitely hurts.

    It's hard to try and offer unconditional love. When it seems there are so many conditions on love being expressed back to me. I'm just as guilty as my wife in this I'm sure. That's where I hope some counseling and practice improving communication can help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2023
  10. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I struggle with tying hope to covert contracts. I suppose I've had close minded hope. Rather than open minded hope.
     
  11. Real Jerry Seinfeld

    Real Jerry Seinfeld Fapstronaut

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    Really impressed by your candour in how you express yourself on here, kudos to you.

    I think based on your comments and some of the other guys in here, you're aware of some of the issues in the dynamics of your relationship. You're looking to her for your self-esteem and that gives her a certain power over you. Her refusals of affection therefore have a really demoralising effect. The long-term solution here is to derive your self esteem from elsewhere. Sport, gym, job, friendship, whatever. Just not porn.

    Have you discussed your needs in terms of affection? I would let her know plainly how it makes you feel and that you're not happy about it. As for the behaviour you've seen your daughter imitate, I'd raise that too. I don't know if this goes on, but in no way should you ever tolerate being being emasculated in front of your children. That should be a hard line. Don't be sad about it, set out your boundaries along with clear consequences for when that line is crossed.

    I think you are to some extent on the money when you mention Nice Guy Syndrome. It's good to be a nice guy, but it's got be reciprocated. You don't need to offer unconditional love when the other person doesn't offer a baseline level of affection. I wouldn't be giving footrubs to someone that wasn't meeting me halfway in terms of my needs for physical touch also. It's important to communciate your expectations for the relationship moving forward and start questioning her about what she's doing to achieve it. You're working on yourself and your behaviours but that cuts both ways.

    I hope this advice isn't too forward but I feel like it's been circled already anyway. I can tell you want to change the dynamics in your relationship. I'd anticipate major resistance to that requiring some serious resolve on your part. There's no way around it other than confronting the problems and dealing with the fallout.
     
  12. Newwaters22

    Newwaters22 Fapstronaut

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    What I'll say might tag me as insensitive perhaps polemic but I will say it anyway. Both ends of the relationship deserve a happy healthy life where sex is part of the equation. Now happyness could be seen as a value and as such it can be felt and read differently. Sex does not equal happyness in a relationship but it's definetly an important component of the marital life. Porn robbed us years of our life and hurted our relationships badly but the relationship can't be frozen on that stage for ever, there needs to be a compromise on both ends to get through. Not saying to go and pressure on your spouses for intimacy, on the contrary there needs to be understanding, support and patience but the prospect of a positive change needs to be there. A pretty frank chat with your partners should be have on this point. Again, if you recovered from the addiction I don't think it's insane to want to have a normal a life. I don't think it's fair to think that because you were a porn addict now you have to give up the idea of having intimacy or even receive a minimum of affection.
     
  13. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks,

    I really appreciate your compliment. Even though I haven't always been honest in my past especially with P addiction. I see the key to unlocking the addiction being as open and honest as I can. Even when I'm downright wrong.

    I've addressed the needs you've talked about in the past, maybe not in great ways, but I have.

    To be really brutally honest, I'm scared, scared to death that my recovery (whatever that may ultimately be) walks hand in hand with the doom of my marriage. I know there's a realistic path to healing. I really do, I just don't know how to get past a lot of this and I can't do it alone. I fully agree with you on how hard it will be, and the need to confront it and deal with the fallout. Ugh.

    I know my wife isn't a terrible person, there are many great things about her, we hit it off so well when we met. I believe most of our issues stem from deep resentment that we struggle getting past. There have been some glimmers of hope through rebooting, and she's apologized for things I never thought she would. So there is hope, and I am trying hard to remember that.

    A huge part of this is I seriously don't know how to ask for my needs. Like the foot rub example, I've brought this up to her, and she responded with "well you haven't been giving me very many lately" It's a very typical interaction when I bring something up like that. I'm at a loss of how to even respond. Even if it's true I ask myself well I have never had one from you before... even in marriage prep when you were supposed to. I believe I actually said that (except the part about the marriage prep class), and my memory of that interaction was she said "well you like giving them, I don't", my thought is where is the compromise? Maybe I'm way off base, but I feel like my only option is ultimatums or manipulative demands, withholding intimacy from her the way I naturally want to express it, seems like manipulation to me. Maybe it isn't but deep down for me it feels that way. And I do not want to do that, I want someone who actually wants to be affectionate with me. I admit I don't have my mind wrapped around this topic very well.

    The best example of a successful boundary I have established myself is not allowing her to shout me down during a disagreement. Reboot has calmed me. I don't react near as emotionally as I used to. So when she throws out an attack or blame back at me to deflect from a point I'm making, I'm able to let it bounce off and stay on point. I'm obviously not perfect, but I know I'm getting better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2023
  14. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    My thought has always been, if I don't have the hope of some sort of normalcy, I don't know if I can ever beat this thing.
     
    Thor God of Thunder likes this.
  15. Kn0wbie

    Kn0wbie Fapstronaut

    Buddy - I’ve spent much of the last 5 years feeling that way… and I’m closer now to getting my marriage back by letting go of that thought and being the husband I should have been anyway. I can’t tell you it’s worked yet - but you know some of my successes! I’ve achieved more in the past 5 months from quitting PMO and being a devoted husband to rebuilding my relationship than I did in the previous 5 years or more!!

    hang on in there and believe in your self buddy!! You can do this!
     
  16. Thor God of Thunder

    Thor God of Thunder Fapstronaut

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    Progress, not perfection…
     
    Wilderness Wanderer and Warfman like this.
  17. Thor God of Thunder

    Thor God of Thunder Fapstronaut

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    You make a good point. You have to be doing this for you. Not to get a change from someone else or to save your relationship. Counter-intuitive but when you stop trying to influence her and just live your life being the good man, husband, father that you are without expectation of her changing anything, you have the best chance of seeing the change you want.
     
  18. CrushedandLeaving

    CrushedandLeaving Fapstronaut

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    Remember there's some context here as well where he is only three months clean, and even in there said something about using p-subs.

    Yo some extent, my partner-role response is "three months ago, he cheated on her, why would she want to have sex with him right now?" (Or be affectionate at all)
    90 days is always raised up as a milestone for addicts, but for partners..... Three months just doesn't seem like very long to have to not cheat on us for. In five years, if this is still a thing and she is still communicating that she wants to keep the relationship, this vein of conversation about moving to a more.normal sex life seems appropriate. Three months in? That's a blip to a partner.
     
  19. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    To be fair to me, I've also been free of p for about 9 of the last 10 months or so. That doesn't have to matter to you persay, it doesn't have to matter to my wife. But it matters to me. Reducing myself down to a day count of perfection isn't fully being fair to my full journey. I'm not where I want to be in terms of recovery, just wanted to affirm this for myself of all I've done. My definition of p sub is just any thing that catches my eye in a bad way and causes temptation. I'm not MOing to a p sub. Maybe I use the phrase out of context.

    You are right that 90 days is a blip on the radar. And I understand that, I do think I have the right to feel this way, I just have to work to change how I behave and react because of it.

    Also I'd like to point out that my main frustration isn't that my wife isn't having sex with me because of 90 days. But that she told me leading up to this how excited she was to do certain things when I got there and hasn't. This is not a new thing for us, and it sends me back to past similar times this happened. I'm venting frustration trying to come out of this with a clarity of mind and positivity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2023
  20. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks man, you are always a beacon of positivity. I feel you there. And I'm not saying that I'm going to go back to PMO addiction. Just expressing myself. I've hidden so much of how I feel about this stuff with things like PMO and other coping mechanisms that I do constantly ask myself what I would have done differently had I not made the choices I have.

    I don't have many outlets for these feelings. So I post here. I'm Trying hard not to be overly critical of my wife, or make me seem like I'm innocent. Just trying to process this in a different way than I had previously.
     

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