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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

    Thanks, I appreciate all of that. I'll check out the podcast. I have hours upon hours of time to listen this time of year!

    Yea, my mindset really hasn't changed from what I said about waiting on any marriage counseling etc. I really see no benefit in dragging my wife to marriage counseling postpartum especially when I think she did struggle last time with some Postpartum Depression symptoms.

    There are so many dimensions to relationship dynamics and how differing personalities affect them. I've spent quite a bit of time focusing on the affects of addiction, thinking about what I have done and how my wife reacts through a BT experience. It's all real, honestly I can't think of a time where I gaslit my wife though. I did do lots of things though like get angry, emotional, and other things. This topic of affect regulation and how we learned to regulate it really is interesting to me. Adam Young ties all of this to attachment style, going through this is tied to my family of origin story I'm starting to brainstorm about, but one thing that seemed pretty apparent was my attachment style was Ambivalent Attachment, sometimes my primary caregiver was there for me, sometimes not, (Middle Child Syndrome) I need to go back through my notes, but one part that really stuck out is that an Ambivalent attached person constantly looks for validation, and "proof" that their loved ones are there for them, I do this all day long. Mostly due to the fact that in childhood the primary caregiver was either there for them or not, and the child never had a good understanding of the "why" behind the presence or absence of the primary caregiver. This creates a sense of "paranoia" for the child. To complicate my marriage more, my wife seems to me to be an avoidant attachment style who is also introverted, and closed off. So I'm constantly looking for affirmation of love, acceptance, and regulation, while my wife is consistently avoiding those exact things. I've always known we had these traits, but realizing this connection between them and it's affect on my P addiction has put a whole new perspective on things.

    I think I've focused so much on some of the stories of BT, that I've actually ignored this relatively normal difference that is not related to PMO addiction. When you take the differences we have, and add the BT and P addiction on top of it you have a recipe for quite the dumpster fire as you have also said.

    Combining Ambivalent Attachment, Nice Guy Syndrome, my life experiences, and P addiction together, It's pretty apparent that I learned through my life that the only way for me to feel secure in relationships was to "earn" it, by hook or by crook, I was going to get the feeling I needed. When I feel the absence of security and acceptance, I work hard to attain it, sometimes this comes out in quite terrible ways like getting mad, upset, even tantrums if I don't get it the way I think I should. I think this is why I'm typically a hard worker, I learned early on this was how I was accepted, so when I work hard for example (like on P recovery) and it isn't appreciated the way I expected. I get quite upset. In my past, I dealt with a desire to "prove my doubters wrong" some of those doubters were bullies. PMO was a way to regulate myself in those moments of absence, and was quite effective in the short term as it often was how I could "fantasize" about being accepted intimately. It seems my challenge is dealing with these personal issues and dynamics of my marriage in a different way than I have. I have to learn to heal from my past, and not let my wife's personality styles, and issues affect me in a negative way, for me to remove P addiction from my life.

    One more thing on Affect Regulation, P actually I think is a HUGE WAY many find regulates their affect, yet at the same time it dysregulates the person. I think this might point to the oddity of lies and messed up views many develop from P addiction.
     
  2. SuperiorMan95

    SuperiorMan95 Fapstronaut

    I would recommend the book Way of the Superior Man by David Deida and Cupid's Poison Arrow by Marnia Robinson, absolute game changers.
     
    Warfman likes this.
  3. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    Mic drop.
     
    hope4healing likes this.
  4. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thankfully I know at least for @hope4healing, she's not going to just drop the mic. She cares and I appreciate her. There's more to this than just making a point to "win".
     
  5. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    I agree. She is pretty amazing.
     
  6. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Life has been busy, baby is already 4 weeks old. I haven't hardly been on here in over a month and it shows. After 118 days P/PMO free I've fallen. Though I do have lots of experiences, thoughts, feelings and realizations during this time. I hope to work through some of it here.

    I feel alone. I feel bad for my wife, I watch as she struggles with the stress of nursing a newborn, yet struggles so much in other ways. There's emotional stuff I see she struggles with daily from her past, and now she's taking care of two kids on top of it all. I know I've caused her a lot of pain and has made what would have been a major challenge as a mother of two feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Resentment is a b***h and we both still go though these spirals.

    I'm going out of my way in so many ways trying to support her. If she notices I'd be surprised. I suppose it's linked to the cliche "earn trust in drops lose it in buckets." A small trigger sends us right back to square one again. Respect is no different it's earned in drops, lost in buckets. We don't respect each other at all. We don't trust each other. We really don't even like each other most of the time.

    Even though I'm sick of where I'm at. I'm thankful that I'm realizing that my main issue and lure for PMO is not the feeling I get from O. It's the fantasy of being loved, accepted, and vulnerable with a woman in a reciprocal way. This is what I fantasize about.

    This isn't something that I see in our marriage, and honestly I don't know that I've ever felt that with my wife. I remember early on, the days when I felt like second choice to her ex, I remember her telling me (while dating me) that she was thinking of becoming a Nun. Did I not see the signs that for some reason I wasn't worth being loved or accepted by her? That something else was going to be better than me for her? Of course not because I was fully engaged in a P addiction where I could fantasize about what may be someday would be. So I ignored things like this. I thought that because I was nice, (or could create an illusion that I was nice). That I would be able to earn love, respect, and acceptance and receive that intimacy I desired. At the moment I'm not sure that was really ever on the table.

    I know that from the other side of this, how could I possibly be worthy of that as a p addict. I guess my response is, I think I at least am deserving of some love, even though I haven't always deserved much.

    Going through my past has proved difficult, healing, and damaging all at the same time. And it requires more affect regulation skills than I have. That needs to be my focus moving forward. I think I need to be able to be healthily regulated in the absence of my desires before I'll ever be able to receive it, or offer the same in return.

    At this moment, I'm struggling with a huge amount of regret and heartache.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2023
  7. Kn0wbie

    Kn0wbie Fapstronaut

    Sending you love and strength my friend!! All we can ever do is our best and you through hard work and dedication have become a much better man than you were. None of us are perfect and perhaps you have more work to do. But celebrate your achievements… don’t be self critical because of what’s still left to do!!

    and enjoy your young family!! They don’t stay that way for long.
     
  8. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks Knowbie
     
    Kn0wbie likes this.
  9. Kn0wbie

    Kn0wbie Fapstronaut

    Welcome bud!! We all need to look after each other here!! We have similar problems!!
     
  10. Warren of fleabags

    Warren of fleabags Fapstronaut

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    Sending you the best wishes possible, from one dad to the next. Life is so so hard sometimes that we forget to reflect on the positives. I know that’s where i have been this weekend already. Take strength in positives, wherever you find them.
     
  11. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks Warren, I'm trying.
     
  12. ANewFocus

    ANewFocus Fapstronaut

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    My addiction started this way. First, seeking love from the mother that abandoned me and died before I knew her. Then seeking “love” from girls at school. Then replacing loneliness with porn. Then when I was no longer lonely and was finally loved, porn kept me from really committing to it and embracing that love.
    You are worthy of the same amount of love, regardless of if you are a porn addict or not. Just because someone else does not show us love, that is their issue, not our issue. Or at least that’s what I’m realizing and trying to learn. I wish I knew that when I was 5. But now you have a chance to teach your children that.
     
  13. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    My wife and I got into an argument about Christmas plans again. I think I've expressed some of that before. Essentially, she doesn't have any interest in including me in the planning or decision making process. I resent my wife for this, I have always tried and bring it up in a healthy open way, and she finds ways to derail the conversation one way or the other. Typically, I did something "wrong" that has nothing to do with the actual topic, but because I did or said something wrong it gives her the "moral high ground" in her mind, which validates her not needing to consult me. Typically, I am wrong for how I said something, this is often true, I can get upset, but it's also not always true. What is consistent is that my opinion and thoughts are disregarded because compromising for her seems impossible.

    My wife also will tell me that she already has compromised with me in the past on this, and that I'm always pushing for more. I don't feel at all that's what I'm doing. Actually, I feel I have completely capitulated to what she wants. Which basically means spending the holiday with her side of the family on her/their terms. My view is, when I married my wife, we became our own new family, and we decide together how we are going to handle holidays. With that, her family is my extended family, as mine is now hers. For some reason my wife doesn't share this view. It's "my family, vs her family". Her family is very controlling and demanding, in my opinion, and my family tries to get along. In any case, I've tried hard until last year to stay together as a family unit regardless of the fact that I have felt completely disregarded.

    Last Christmas, my wife made plans like normal that didn't fit at all what I thought was fair to my parents and brothers families, she didn't even consult me even though I tried for months to have a sit down conversation about what the plans were. I struggle with boundaries but I decided to make one days before Christmas. I would spend the 23rd and 24th with her family, and drive after midnight on the 25th back to my home, so that I could be there Christmas morning with my side of the family, she was free to stay at her parents as long as she pleased. (In the past this has been the same plan as normal except my wife expects we will stay the night and spend the 25th morning with her family.). This forces my brothers families to wait until mid afternoon to open their presents or make the decision to not include us.

    Anyway last year I decided enough was enough. I was going to do what I thought was right. The night went good, and I started packing things up. My wife looks at me and says are you going to go? I said yes, and then almost like we were playing a game of chicken the whole time she gets in my pickup and we drive home together. In that moment I felt good, because I felt like with her actions showed me what I felt mattered actually did too her as well. At the same time I felt sick, because I don't think a power struggle belongs in a marriage, and that's how this feels to me.

    Until last week. When I brought up Christmas, I screwed up and used a resentful tone opening the conversation. I know I did, and was feeling my resentment when I said it. My wife is a professional at finding that and then using it to tear down my intentions, it got pretty bad, and at one point she said that last year I made her go home with me. Which I did not. We had separate vehicles, I stuck to my original plan. She had free choice of what she wanted to do. I said some things I regret last week, though I meant them, I shouldn't have said them.

    Since then, my wife and I have been distant but normal. We did though have a conversation about this, where she demanded I apologize via text. This happens so often, and when I do. It's followed by nothing from her end. I'm not worried about keeping score, but there are things she should genuinely feel sorry for.

    Anyway, via text this time she did apologize in a odd way, saying she was sorry for how she treated me in the past but that she isn't doing that now, which to me seemed like she was diminishing and minimizing her role in this. This actually is the first "apology" I've gotten on this topic. She was adamant though that this was past issues and not present and that she had been conscientious of me in the present which I do not agree.

    She demanded an apology from me for things I said. And even though I meant them. I did need to apologize, so I did. Again this was all via text, then my wife demanded that I do so in person because a text apology is not sincere... I had flashbacks to how many times that's exactly how she has apologized to me, and never addressed it in person like I thought she should. I remember talking about that here and people said not to worry about it because it was a huge step for her. But this brings back my feelings that there will always be different rules for her than me in the relationship. Ugh it made me so sick, does she even realize that? Honestly, I don't think she does. However, I told her I can do that and would appreciate it if she would approach me about why I am frustrated with this topic sometime, so that we can have an actual discussion about it. If this ever happens, I would be very surprised.

    Through all this the main thing I see I consistently do wrong is let my emotions get the better of me. Even though I'm not treated fairly I need to be above that. That's got to be my focus, while continuing to try and facilitate what I think a healthy relationship should be like on my end. It takes patience, strength, maturity, grace, and love. I will try hard to extend that to my wife the way I beleive someone should in a marriage, and let go of the resentment.
     
  14. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your reply, and I think you are right, P gets in the way of us fully loving someone else. I don't think it makes us incapable of loving fully, but the unintentional consequences have damaging effects.

    I really struggle with this topic of it being "their problem". As a whole I try to offer understanding to others and it really hurts me when I don't feel someone does in return. Mostly I'm trying to learn to let it go. Though inside a marriage, it can feel like a prison sometimes. Working though focusing on the self takes an incredible amount of fortitude, I'm trying to focus on that even though I do fail often.

    Hope all is well with you.
     
  15. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    My wife's brother got in a pretty tough relationship problem for several months. He's not doing very well, and so they are on the phone a lot as she talks him through things. This hurts me. Because I've always felt they are closer than we have ever been, she goes to him before me when she has an issue. Maybe I haven't been the greatest support system. I don't want to replace him, but there's a level of love and understanding I don't think we share. It also hurts because she talks about her ex a lot with him what happened and all that went with it. I hear it as I'm walking by or sitting near her, I just wish that was something she didn't still talk about. She asked me if I knew anything about my ex last week, nope I haven't heard a word from her or even know where she has lived for over 10 years. On the contrary she does seem to know plenty about her ex, my wife snap chats my ex's sister very often, they share the same profession, but still if I were messaging my ex's siblings she would go berserk regardless of the reason. I struggle with the whole notion of this being ok or not, maybe I am scorekeeping? What seems to bother me most is the same different standards of conduct within the relationship that has always existed. Maybe I need to work hard on just letting this go, I do all the time, but eventually when my guard is down stuff like this builds up and I eventually let my guard down and relapse. It seems to me unless the whole issue of the different standards can be addressed I will struggle to grow closer to her. Definitely something I'm trying to work on.
     
  16. Real Jerry Seinfeld

    Real Jerry Seinfeld Fapstronaut

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    Really sorry to hear you're having a hard time of things at the moment, especially with a new baby. However, it seems as though you're gaining a lot of perspective on quite a few matters relating to yourself and your relationship, so that's positive.

    With regards to the lack of respect, trust and intimacy you describe, what are your plans for improving these areas? You don't seem particularly hopeful about finding these things in your relationship. Is it a case of learning to bear it and hope for the best?
     
  17. Friend, the honest truth: It sounds like your wife has loads of her own problems. She doesn't seem to understand healthy boundaries (e.g., she may have been following her ex on Facebook or something to learn what he's up to; she is closer to her brother and maybe parents, than she is to you). She doesn't seem to understand how relationships are supposed to work, how authority works in a Christian marriage, nor how forgiveness is supposed to work (she tells you to demand an apology when she should be open and clear about how she feels hurt by something you've done, which means it should virtually always be done in person). She may have a narcissistic personality, which means everything is always going to be your fault, even when she's at fault.

    I would suggest patience, reservation, and going very slow in addressing the above. You've been in this marriage for a while. This pattern has already been established. It seems you're just becoming more aware of it and how hurtful it is and can better articulate the dynamic. I strongly suggest you find a counselor if you're going to try to navigate these marriage issues, even if your wife is unwilling to see a counselor with you for marriage counseling, you shouldn't try figuring these issues out on your own. For the time-being, I'd recommend continuing to learn about yourself, your story, developing a healthy view if yourself and life (even if there is the tension of the relationship with you wife), and weaning yourself from P. In other words, hold the concerns you have about your wife in suspense. Take some time to really find yourself first, to be clear on your own trajectory, your own path of healing, before inviting your wife on her own path. Honestly, many of the issues your wife has - you know as well as I do that they aren't going to be resolved without delving deep into her own childhood trauma, so don't be tempted by shortcuts.
     
  18. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    I think since joining NoFap I've tried to do the right thing expecting certain things in return. (I've expressed that while on my long streak). I think in those moments I'm still operating from the mindset of a nice guy, that if I do X then I will get Y. I think that's something I need to bear and hope for the best. Rather then expect certain outcomes. This is particularly difficult for me.

    I'm terms of respect, intimacy etc. I'm no expert on relationships, but I think that we have built a relationship on some poor foundations. For a relationship to work the way I think one should, we have to work together to correct these issues. Obviously my P addiction is one that I need to fix on my own. My wife also has things she needs to work on personally. Then there are the things we have to learn to work together on. Like communication, teamwork, understanding one another, Etc. If we can't do this, I don't know if things can ever be fixed.

    In terms of physical intimacy, which is particularly important to me, I've felt this part of our lives is amazing at times, but it's 100 percent on my wife's terms. When she's in the mood it's great, if not she's mostly absent. Our personality differences seem to be a huge hurdle. I can say at our best, the sex I've had with my wife is incredibly connected.

    We haven't had sex since February and it feels like with the added work another child puts on things there's less time to foster a romantic element between us, it's important to note that I put a restriction on things for 90 days, and my wife has either been pregnant or postpartum. So there are some reasons for it. During our first child though we had sex quite often while she was pregnant.

    I think my abivalent attachment style messes with me here. As I take no sex meaning something is wrong with me, that she doesn't love me, and that I'm not worthy of love. Rather than the reality that sometimes my wife is emotionally exhausted being a mother, and that she genuinely struggles with that. I didn't realize this when we were dating, but I don't think she fully enjoys the 24/7 demands of motherhood and actually it's largely due to her introverted nature I think. The solution to me is simple, let's face the problem as a couple, and work to find what works for us. I try to do that often, but I don't think that's the start of the real issue, it's a level deeper. We need to learn to have healthy communication skills in spite of things like the resentment we have, before we could ever come to a mutual solution to issues in day to day life, especially ones where we already resent each other.

    All of this I think points is towards counseling. And I'm ready, as much as I'd like to drag my wife there. I'm going to start going on my own, and work on what I can control. I suppose that's where bearing the issues and hoping comes in. I really can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to. All I can do is try to get a little better each day, ultimately for myself, but also for the ones I love.
     
  19. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    Thanks WW. I'm headed to work now, but I will respond in more detail tonight.
     
    Wilderness Wanderer likes this.
  20. Kn0wbie

    Kn0wbie Fapstronaut

    Buddy - I feel like I could have written that post to describe my life too!! We are in such a similar position!!

    I feel your pain and sending you love and strength my friend!
     

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