Moving beyond or moving on

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by fuzzywaz, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    I don't really know where to start. Almost a year ago my SO started complaining to me that we didn't have sex enough. For a couple of months he was harping on this idea that we weren't doing it enough to "satisfy" him. Honestly I found his complaints to be a little unrealistic, we had been together around 10 years, had 2 kids under 4, both working, and still managed to have sex at least every other week and sometimes more.

    The sex we had was usually good. On my end, I did my best to treat him right, offer random massages, plenty of oral sex, and he always got off in sex. On his end not all that much effort was put into making sure I got off as a regular thing. Good sex for me is a treat that does not happen as much as I would like...I am responsible for this of course too, I am so busy putting everyone else's needs before my own and i have struggled in the past really being fully present in sex. But I also think this is part of a bigger problem of disconnect, that I don't doubt is related to his porn use.

    So I tried harder and we started do it at least once a week or so and but still he complained. I also noticed he didn't seem happy with any suggestions I would make to attempt to improve the "problem." It got to the point where I was just confused. He was complaining and acting hard done by, but also didn't seem to want to employ any changes that I had been researching, that I thought might help... I even offered that maybe he just wasn't happy in the relationship anymore and it was time to have a conversation about what that might look like. I have always been very realistic and open about the fact that if our relationship was ever at the point that one or both of us were not happy anymore, or if we grew apart and it no longer made sense to stay together, then we could face it together and find a way to split amicably. He didn't seem to think that was the direction we should go either. It was like I couldn't win.....This went on for a couple months. In that time he was becoming more and more disgruntled.

    I was at a loss and started doing some research on line to try and figure out what was going on with him. I then came across info on porn addiction and the problems it causes in relationships. His dissatisfaction suddenly made sense. I asked him point blank if he was using porn regularly. He admitted he was. This was last January.

    TBH I knew he had a past with porn. I had found, what I considered to be, a disturbing amount of porn stashed in our basement, (magazines and dvds), about 7 years ago. I was shocked and extremely hurt. I confronted him and we sort of talked about it, but in retrospect we didn't go as in-depth as I guess we should have. I made it clear that I was not cool with it and he made a big show of throwing it all away, agreeing not to use it anymore and I thought we were done with it.

    Over the next couple of years I came across one or two things here and there on his computer and on his smart phone (when he first got it about 3 years ago). It bothered me but, TBH I thought maybe he looked once in awhile, which I wouldn't be thrill about, but if it was once in while I would over look it. Another reason I didn't confront was I was damn busy because we had started a family.

    Three years ago, just before our 2nd child was born we got internet at home for the first time. It's obvious to me now that him pushing to get the internet at home was probably motivated by his desire to access more porn. Since then the intimacy has eroded and our relationship in general has suffered. If I had known, after the initial discovery of the basement stash, that those things I would occasionally find on his computer or phone, in the years after, were evidence of pretty much daily porn use, I would have confronted then. I was naive I guess. I thought we were on the same page. I would never dream of investing so much of my energy and sexuality to something that had nothing to do with the person I proposed to love.

    So this all came to a head last January. We had it out and some very hurtful things were said. He was very defensive. Claiming he needed to use it to keep him from cheating. He went through all the excuses; "it's normal", "you have a problem with male sexuality", "it keeps me from cheating", "I don't use it that much".

    I was beside myself and ready to undergo counselling in order to figure out how to split up amicably, and keep our kids as happy as possible in the process. After the initial blow up, we barely spoke for two days. Finally when we did come back together to talk, he seemed to get it. He dropped the excuses and committed to quitting. I explained at this time that I was there to support him through out this process and do what ever he needed me to, to help him. But I also explained that this is a deal breaker for me and that I have NO interest in continuing the relationship if he did not give up porn.

    Right around this time, like within 2 weeks after the discovery, we found out we were pregnant again. It was planned, but I found myself almost sick about the timing. I was happy to be pregnant, but at the same time, I was angry at myself for not realizing how bad our relationship was and I found myself feeling like I would never have been trying if I had known WTF was actually going on. This made me feel guilty and also resentful of him.

    I thought we were on the same page. I thought our relationship was based in love, respect and mutual principals about what is important in life. Finding out that my SO was spending countless hours fapping to strangers on the internet destroyed my whole perception of him and "us". I feel legitimately cheated on. In fact I told him at the time, I would have preferred to find out he had had an affair, at least then it would have been with an actual person, with flaws. It wouldn't have warped his perceptions, expectations, and his sexuality. His actions and choices have cheated us out of a chance at true intimacy and connection. I feel lied to and betrayed. I feel like our whole relationship was a joke, a sham and big fat lie. I felt judged and that I didn't measure up. I ussually have pretty good self esteem. Ussually, I love my body. It is strong, beautiful and fit and can do incredible things. But any insecurity I have gained from the changes that occur after pregnancy, and from living in our pornified culture, have been amplified and magnified. It makes me sick that he allowed this into our relationship. That he let it effect him to the point that he was dissatisfied with me, and our sex life because he chose to masturbate to an endless parade of air brushed 20 year olds, pretty much everyday for years. My view of him has changed, I have lost respect for him.

    So at the time in January he committed to healing from the addiction. He joined this community and got an AP. For awhile things were good. He would talk to me when I brought it up and I could tell he was trying. He went hard mode initially and went 60 days I believe. After that, he and I started having sex again and from what I understand, since then he has relapsed repeatedly, and mostly slipped back into old patterns. I had to pull away and disengage as a means of protecting myself during the pregnancy. Whenever I checked in with him, he would report things were going well, but not perfect, but that he was still committed.

    Around the end of the summer it become obvious to me by his behaviour and gut feeling that he was back to old ways. I brought it all up again just before the birth of the baby. I expressed that I had really hoped he would have taken the 9 months of pregnancy to make a serious effort. I think he tried, but I don't believe he gave it his all and he became complacent and made excuses for himself. When he first started in January, he was taking steps to ensure success, drinking less, eating better, exercising, not taking his phone into the bathroom, using accountability ect. But slowly over the nine months he let that all slide and allowed himself to go right back to where he started.

    In sept he renewed his commitment and I reinstated that I have no interest in staying together if porn was in the picture. I told him he needed to be honest with me so that I could make my choices. I feel I deserve that much. He got a new AP just before this conversation. Shortly after this, he changed his phone password and stopped keeping his FB account automatically logged on on our home computer, as this is how he communicates with this new AP.

    I will admit he caught me snooping on his phone just before this time. I was honest and said I was snooping and he didn't pursue the issue. I was snooping for porn, but didn't find anything, as I am sure he deletes his history regularly. In the last month I have been checked out and caring for our newborn, who was born just after that last convo. But two days ago he left his FB logged in when he went to the shower and I scrolled through the messages from his AP. I feel bad for invading his privacy, but my suspicions were confirmed. Not a whole lot has changed in the last 10 months and he is pretty much were he started. As far as I gathered, after he fell off the wagon after his initial 60 day streak, at the beginning of the year. He has pretty much been using it regularly while telling himself, and me, that he is quitting. Even since his recommitment in sept, he has not gone more than a week or so as far as I read. His AP and him seem to be very easy on each other and I don't really see how it is helping him. He has not been on nofap as far as I know, besides finding this new AP, since the spring.

    We are midst of talking about making a major change. We want to sell our home, change jobs and move to a more remote spot up north with land, before my maternity leave is over, at the end of next summer. I want this future for us so much. I love this man and he has so so many admirable qualities. But I do not want to go ahead with this relationship if porn is part of it. I don't want a half-assed sex life, a intermittent sense of intimacy and lies. I will be confronting him in the next few days about what I have learned by snooping. I will let him know that the level of commitment he has shown to being honest with me and himself, and to quitting is just not good enough. I feel like he needs to be accountable to me now. What other tips can people who have been here offer me that I can pass onto him, if he chooses to get serious about quitting and chooses his wife and family over his porn use. If he does not choose me, I am done. I will have to start making a 12 month plan of how to untangle myself from this mess and start my life over, hopefully without fucking up my children's childhood completely..... :( Help
     
  2. Anona

    Anona Fapstronaut

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    HI, welcome , and before anything else, I am sorry you have to be here among the PAs Sos. I am not sure how much you have read already, having 3 small children do limit your time searching for answers how to get out of this mess.
    He has still not reached his rock bottom I guess, it is the one thing that can snap them out of it, and make a real effort.
    You can chose to involve him in your plans about leaving, tell him you are working on an exit plan, and you/he have a deadline. Make some clear demands, you need to set up some clear boundaries. You need to take care of you and the kids. You can not fix him, he is the only person that is able to. Has he read the book Your brain on porn ?
    Before he understands it, it is very hard to quit. He should start with reading it, and after that if he are into saving your relationship he could read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow.
    It is the two demands I have set up for my partner as a start.
    Please take care.
     
  3. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for your reply. He does understand the addiction. He did a short stint here in nofap with the initial attempt and had done/has been doing some research as well. He wants to quit. I hope it will not take a dramatic rock bottom to make it happen. I tolf him January and Sept that I would not wish to stay together if this problem doesn't get fixed. I plan to talk with him tomorrow and really lay it all out, so that he is crystal clear about the fact that he will loose me if he doesn't beat this thing.
     
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  4. dewdrop

    dewdrop Fapstronaut

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    I'm so sorry that you are in this situation but welcome. I would suggest to set boundaries which you are ready to follow through. What do you need him to do? What will happen if not?

    The most important thing is that you take care of your self. It is so easy to be completely absorbed by this addiction but as a SO I find it necessary to lift my head and breathe in the air.

    I wish you and your husband the best.
     
  5. Hi there, welcome to the forum, and thank you for bringing up the courage to share your story. I can strongly relate to your partner's actions as his story bears a striking resemblance to my own, and I'm terribly sorry for the pain and sorrow he's causing. I reached rock-bottom after countless years of denial when my wife made it crystal clear that our marriage would end right here, right now, if I don't take action and be brutally honest with her from this point on. The lies and deceit are what keeps the addiction alive, nourishes it, it whispers into the ears of us addicts that it's not so bad when nobody knows about it, but once I committed to complete honesty, things soon turned for the better. This is why I tend to advertise the "working things out together" approach, because the relationship with my wife is basically unicorn farts and rainbows right now, every single day, so there is still hope. But on the other side, your first responsibility is to take care of yourself and your kids. Drawing a line in the sand and being consequent about it is definitely the way to go. Also never ever even think that any of this is your fault. You went above and beyond to understand, support and help him, but his recovery is not your job, it's his own.
    I don't know how much time you spent in reading and understanding his addiction, so I try to be brief and add links to additional articles in case you know the concepts already. Please be aware that I'm not telling you this to justify his actions, but so that you can understand what's going on in his mind.
    • His initial discontent with you "satisfying" him stems from the Coolidge effect, conditioning him to always seek novel stimuli, something a single human being can never provide. I've seen SOs come here in despair after undergoing breast augmentation surgery and a complete P-star makeover in a desperate attempt to appeal to their partner's needs, to no avail. After the initial thrill of novelty subsided, they regressed into old patterns and rather turned to internet P all over again.
    • His 60 day hard mode reboot was awesome, but recovery is not just about abstaining from P, it's about changing your whole life, because P heavily influenced your whole life for years, often decades. He has to actively work on himself every day or he will soon find himself back in old patterns, since he's not magically healed after 60, 90 or 365 days. I hate to say this, but engaging in marital intercourse after 60 days was probably the trigger for his subsequent relapses due to the chaser effect. The chaser can be incredibly strong for us addicts and weaken our resolve and affect our decision making. My first chaser after 80+ days of hard mode hit me like a cement truck. It took me another 80 days of hard mode to rewire my brain and get the chaser effect under control.
    • Honesty is vital. It's hard for us addicts to be honest, especially to our SOs, because the desensitization of P use often lead us to genres we initially despised. He might try to protect you by keeping parts of his addiction in secret, but secrecy only fosters the addiction. If he's able to come clean with you, you are the only AP he will ever need.
    • Love is the key, love releases oxytocine, the "bonding hormone", and binging on P effectively flatlines the oxytocine levels. If you're willing to support him through his next necessary hard mode reboot, consider scheduled, nonsexual, possibly naked cuddling, it will create an all-natural counter-balance to his dopamine-driven urge to PMO. FANOS is a great tool to encourage communication in your strained relationship.
    If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. If he decides to give NoFap another try, I would be the first in line to offer him a helping hand. Stay strong and take care.
     
  6. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Thank you both for your reply. Thank you changematterstome, for the insight on the other side and the offer to help. I am hoping to talk with him tonight and get this all out in the open and start moving forward.

    Basically I have decided that, from now on, I need him to be accountable to me. He needs to commit to giving his all to change; identify and have a strategy for all triggers, and be completely open and transparent. When he does mess up, I need to be told within 24 hours. I need to know when, why, how, and what.

    I think with the horrible timing of this coming out when I was pregnant, he thought it was best to "handle it" himself, so as not to cause me additional stress. I do believe when he was in hard mode and researching the effects of porn, he had every intention to quit. I just think he wasn't prepared for how difficult it was and how powerful the addition is. Up until that point I think he seriously believed he was "choosing" to pmo pretty much everyday and that it was all very typical. And after he started to slip he would give himself a little more slack and justify. I think he is probably using porn subs, and rationalizing it as not as bad, more so then full on porn right now, but in the messages he did state he had "binged" on occasions, so if left unchecked I am sure it will all go back to how it was, inevitably....

    I noticed in the messages that spanned over a month from, Sept to now, that at first he was checking in daily and then the more he slipped up the more he would miss a day or two here and there, and come back with an admission of falling off, but also an excuse of why it happened. "I have been so busy" or " I am stressed" " I need to get recommitted". He said in one of the last messages that he was "there logically but not emotionally".

    He has struggled with addictive behaviours for as long as I've known him and he has overcome most of them. He had a pretty rough childhood with a mentally ill mom and mostly absentee father. He has done some work with a counsellor about these issues in the past, and has made huge changes over the past almost 12 years since we've been together. One of the patterns I have noticed with him in the past, when he has tried to change a habit, ( smoking for example), is that he will allow the everyday stress of life to be an excuse as to why it isn't a good time. Like,"I'll do it after the holidays" or " things are really hectic at work right now, I'll start once things calm down". The problem is, there is always something perceptibly "stressful" going on, it's called life LOL. I mean we don't live a terribly stressful life, but there's work and the kids, and the sometimes random bullshit life throws at you..... There is not going to be a good time to quit. I really hope he is strong enough to do this....
     
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  7. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Also, I have looked into "fanos" and I would like to try that. When we were pregnant with our first son, we did this "hypno birthing" class, which involved guided meditations and relaxation exercises that involved gentle touch, ect. We would do them together, as a couple every night. It was really wonderful and we really grow so close and loving with each other during that time.
     
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  8. You are an awesome human being for still trying to see things his way, and for still having hope. I know from own experience that a relationship can basically come back from the dead and grow into something wonderful, better and stronger than it has ever been before. Don't expect this to happen, but hope that it will happen. Expect the worst. This addiction is often too strong to fight on your own, he has to understand that he would be much stronger with you on the same team, but he has to chose that path by himself. He has to learn that relapses will happen and are a part of the learning progress, and that he has to introspect and analyze every relapse afterwards to adjust his strategies. P-subs and fantasies are just as bad as regular P, he has to avoid them at all costs because they will lure him into escalating things; he has to completely starve of his fast-firing addiction neurons for at least a couple of months. PMO addiction often starts as a bad coping mechanism to soothe, medicate or numb yourself and often stems from other underlying problems like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or child trauma. He has to find out what those problems are and address them eventually, and he has to learn how to cope with life in healthy ways. He has to learn that there is no short-cut to recovery, and he can't try to half-ass it. He can't just wait for recovery to happen. He has to put in all his determination, he has to binge-read YBOP and pour his heart out on the forum, he has to make the decision to reboot a hundred times a day, he has to actively oppose every unwanted thought or flashback or fantasy that slips into his mind. He has to realize that he's the boss of his own brain, and he has to accept that the addiction is fully capable of influencing his decision process. He has to learn to tell addicted and reasonable thoughts apart.
    I dearly hope that you come to an agreement with him. I'm rooting for you!
     
  9. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for the words of encouragement :)
     
  10. Hey there,
    any news from your talk last week?
     
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  11. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Yes Hi :)
    I was just about to update hear when I saw your post. We have had two talks. On Sat we talked about exactly what's been going on in the last 10 months. The situation was more or less what I figured it was. He was not back to the level he was before the original discovery in Jan and had made improvements, for the most part, in how often he was using it. Basically he was white-knuckling it and abstaining as long as he could and then relapsing every handful of days. But abstaining isn't quitting and he was still keeping himself addicted to the dopamine. We talked about how in January, we had agreed to him getting over the addiction, not getting it to a point where he was fooling himself into thinking it was manageable, or just cutting back. I expressed how it felt like another betrayal, that he had, either consciously or unconsciously moved the goal post and that by doing so, he was removing my choice as to what kind of relationship I wanted to invest in. I also made sure I was clear about how all this has effected me and in which ways. I know he loves me very much and it really bothers him that he has hurt me in these ways. He was transparent and he owned that he wasn't being honest with himself and with me. I made it very clear to him that we need a new plan going forward and he agreed completely. I made it crystal clear that I was ready to support him through this and help him as much as I can, but I also made it clear that complete honest and accountability were what needed to happen from now on and that if it became obvious that he wasn't doing everything he could to eventually overcome the addiction, that our relationship, as it is now, would be over. I told him that we would always be family and that I will always care for him, but that we would no longer be a couple.

    Last night we talked again and sorted out the plan for going forward. He is starting with a 90 hardmode. He will be getting the book YBOP and making daily reading a part of keeping himself honest about his thought processes. He will be rejoining here and spending some time each day, engaging with this community. He will take precautions to not put himself in situations that could be dangerous, such as not taking his phone in the bathroom. We will have daily check-ins with each other and any thing that could be considered a relapse, (P, Psubs, fantasy, M, edging, O) well be disclosed and discussed so that he can grow from each relapse. He has committed to complete transparency and is happy we are going that route. He reminded me that back in January, he had suggested that I be regularly involved in accountability, but at the time I didn't want to do it. My thinking then was that I didn't want to be put into a role of being the "enforcer" who "makes" him not use porn. In retrospect I didn't have a full understanding about the level of addiction involved and was thinking of it less like a compulsion and more like a completely free choice. Obviously choice and willpower is a big part of getting better and people do have control about whether they relapse or not, or else no one would ever recover, but I have come to realize since then there has to be other tools in place besides just the will of the addict. At the time I was also hesitant to get too immersed in the whole thing because I really felt that I needed to focus on being as stressfree as possible, because I was pregnant.


    He is also going to try to make more time for exercise and we are both going to make time for each other and bonding. I love to cuddle, so I am looking forward to that.

    So that is where we are at right now. I think we both feel better and closer to have finally gotten this all out into the light and really be honest with each other about how we are feeling and were we are at.

    I also mentioned to him about your offer of help, Changematterstome. He is interested in all the help he can get. Is it ok if I direct him to your profile so that he might get in touch with you?
     
  12. Absolutely, tell him to PM me anytime.
     
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  13. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Thank you so much
     
  14. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    Things seem to be moving along. No relapse so far, one week in. We tried FANOS two nights ago, I think it will be an important tool. I had hoped to do fanos again last night but he didn't want to.

    His mood was dark and surly. It took alot of self control for me to remain supportive and not get upset. I have told him a few times over the last two weeks that I really have no tolerance for a dismissive or flippant attitude regarding me expressing my feelings on this subject. I don't really feel that that has fully sunk in... It makes me feel like he really is not understanding of the level of hurt and pain he has caused me. There seems to be a lack of empathy there to some degree- not consistently, but definitely at times...

    I am confused and not sure how much emotional care taking I should expect when he is dealing with physically breaking the addiction. It is still early days so I will try to be patient and rely on my self right now. I would like really start focusing on making time for non sexual bonding touch, ect, but IDK if it is something that is realistic this early in the game.

    It is hard for me because I feel like I am at the point of starving for some loving, physical affection from him and I have been for awhile. Looking back over the last few years, the lack of non sexual physical affection has been a HUGE issue for me. Basically things had gotten to the point where the only time I could expect anything more then a quick embrace or quick kiss, was if sex was the end result. It feels like the only time he initiates any sort of cuddling is if he thinks it will lead to sex. I sort of thought he was just being lazy or didn't realize that I felt something missing in that department, although I would complain about it periodically, but now I am seriously wondering how that disconnect is related to his porn use....
     
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  15. You're absolutely right, he is not understanding the level of hurt and pain he caused you because he does not understand how he damaged himself along the way due to his porn use. This will hopefully happen soon, though. He can't take care of your healing at the moment, he has to take care of himself and it sounds like he's fighting a battle against himself right now. You're going above and beyond by still supporting him despite his flippant attitude, I dearly hope that it pays off. Expect a different underlying issue resurfacing during the reboot like depression or anxiety, as you mentioned that he's susceptible to addictions.
    Non-sexual bonding touch is important. It's definitely way too early for karezza, but scheduled cuddling worked wonders for me from day one, as it raises the oxytocine levels as a natural countermeasure to the dopamine-driven addiction.
    I sported a wry smile while reading your paragraph about how cuddling only happened when it led to sex. That was literally me. It was completely related to my porn use. It's completely reversable.
     
  16. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    HMMMMM..... yeah it's not 100% of the time, we do on a very rare occasion cuddle for cuddling's sake.... but not very often. It used to happen way more in earlier years in our relationship. I find myself obsessively thinking about our sexlife and how it is lacking in some ways....and just connecting the dots and realizing how much P has robbed from us.... I remember complaining in the last year about the lack of attention, both sexual and affectionate and now I am seeing it all under this new light. I remember making the comment to him a few months ago, while I was still pregnant and we were still having sex, how it would be outrageous for me to expect him to have the amount of sex we have without him having O... Not to be oversharing, but excluding when I am using a toy during sex, I can count on one hand easily the amounts of times I have had O during sex in the last 5 years. All because it was too much work or bother to make it happen... all while he was spending time on P when I wasn't around.... Obviously in a lot of ways P has been more important to him than me. And now I have realized that and am suppose to find the strength to forgive and trust that it won't be again.... IDK if I am that strong.. :(
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
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  17. tbriana01

    tbriana01 Fapstronaut

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    Your situation seems remarkably similar to my situation with my wife. She's the SO, I'm the porn addict. She feels very much alone in this. Sure, we can support each other, and we do. But she needs someone other than me to talk to about this. I worry about her everyday. She has a therapist, and the therapist knows our situation and counsels her on it. But, I feel like she needs peers, support, someone that knows exactly how she feels. Someone she can vent to. I'm trying to get her on this forum but so far she just brushes it off and is like "yeah, maybe". then she just doesn't bring it up again. I don't know. maybe i should just leave her alone and focus on me. but, like i said, i do worry about her.
     
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  18. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    I have found it helpful to be here and read about other people's struggles, both the PA and the SO's. There is a separate support group for SO's that your wife might find helpful, if she did decide to join.
     
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  19. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

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    I keep having so many weird dreams as my brain tries to work through the trauma of being continuously lied to by someone I thought I could trust...

    Last night we were on a deserted island together. It was deserted but there was evidence of people having once lived there. Abandoned houses and cars, but no people. We became aware that some people would be returning to the island and that they would kill us when they came back. It was decided by him that he would flee the island, and that I should stay there, in hiding. He dug a trench in a forested area and I was to camouflage myself and hide there...... Then I woke up.... :(
     
  20. You're not supposed to forgive and trust him again, yet. He has to earn that by hard work and relentless commitment to his recovery. You're dealing with a form of PTSD right now, nobody expects you to be strong and forgiving, you have all the right to be selfish, distant and wary. But don't lose hope, you will feel when its time to trust him again, just trust your gut.
     
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