My F'd up relationship

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by 1dayattatime, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Hey all,

    Im 33 married with 3 kids and i have been addicted to porn since i was 12-14. In 2015-2016 i had several affairs. I was discovered at the end of 2016. My wife and i have been in recovery for 2ish years and we are learning a ton about what it means to be in healthy relationship. We have been through therapeutic separation, Un-theraputic separation, disclosure, relapses, multiple counselors and conflicted over and over and over in just about every way you can. During my last relapse we sat down and wrote relationship protocols for boundaries, communicaion, relapse and restoration. I have a journal for my reboot, but there are so many things that are happening in my relationship with my wife that seem to fit better in this forum. So here goes. Married with children in recovery from PMO and my codependant patterns in relationship.

    Today my wife and i did a FANOS checkin that got messy. It was going smooth until i got to my own, which was "i own that i dont communicate very well when i am feeling overwhelmed" to which my wife innocently asked "what do you want when in that state?" I then told her that i wanted her to be curious, and to not tell me how she feels about my emotions. Basicakly if you are trying to help me don't make it about you. (I was picturing some day in the future if im just having a bad time and feeling overwhelmed and she is in a good place. That is not what she was thinking. She was imagining what happend earlier today, where we were talking about my clairification letter that i am working on. So we both had energy.) not talking about her feelings sounded totally unrealistic to her because of the situation she was picturing. So she got triggered and it got messy and we ended up yelling at eachother.

    This is such a hard situation in our relationship. We both work really hard in our individual recovery we are both commited to the relationship. We both want to heal, but there are limits to our capacity. We ended up in this difficult silence. I was feeling like she didnt hear anything i said and she was feeling defeated and hopeless. The next thing that we did was intentionally say 3 good things. I said, "i am thankful for being in our room, in our house, in our marriage." That changed the conversation. How many times have we questioned those three things in the last year? Countless. Today was a win, a hard fought win, but a win just the same.
    Acky31, Ges852, Upperoom120 and 20 others like this.
  2. Welcome to the community. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Good to see you here and that you are both working together, even when it is difficult.
    htxgirl, samnf1990, Souvent08 and 3 others like this.
  3. Mr Banjoman

    Mr Banjoman Fapstronaut

    I love hearing this. Life sucks, welcome to reality. But having hope, optimism and commitment in the times when it's hardest to have them shows real character. I hope this forum can be helpful for your recovery and your relationship
  4. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thank you. It Continues to amaze me how supportive people are on here.

    Thank you!
    Nugget9, naderzero and Mr Banjoman like this.
  5. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Tonight we talked about divorce. Not about getting a divorce, we are more comitted now then we have ever been, but about how it would impact our kids and how it affects people we know in recovery who are or are going through it. It was a difficult talk, and it brought both of us to a place whee we were remembering times when we thought we were not going to make it.

    What struck me though was the diffeence that it makes to be able to see when i am being pulled out of the present into the past. At one point i just stopped and was like this shirt is soft and my wife laughed and looked up and started counting the specks inour popcorn ceiling. Acknowledging that we both feel the energy and practicing coming back to the present.

    I listened to a podcast today that was talking about non violent communication and how judgement and blame naturally lead to punishment. It was very thought provoking for me and it reminded me that i get pretty blamey when im feeling my shame and that is just a step away from violence. Stepping back and owning my needs and desires is a way for me to get out of that anger cycle.
  6. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Reposting this here from my journal:

    I need to vent a bit. Im doing this for my own processing but feel free to call out the stinkin thinkin if you see any.

    It has been 92 days since my relapse this winter. I have been sleeping in the spare room since then. I chose to act out. I chose to look at porn and masturbate again after 8 months of good sobriety. I let my boundaries slip and got complacent around 6 mo in. Then it was a slow walk back to porn through p subs and fantasy. I own that i did that up front. So here is my problem. I told my wife that i wanted to tlk about through m moving back into the bedroom. Originally i was thinking like a month from relapse. That didn't happen. After two months it just seemed like i was close to 90 days so why not just wait until then. So we have both been thinking about it, but when it came down to it this week she had a few things she wanted from me. I could have done them previously, she could have said that they were required for her to feel safe with me in bed next to her earlier, and lets face it i knew that she could possibly say not yet when i hit 90. I actually kind of expected it. So when we had our boundary talk today i was not suprised that i would be sleeping in the spare room tonight. i am disappointed because of that. That is not the whole need for my vent.

    I have also been noticing myself being more complacent around other boundaries and so i asked if we could talk through all of our relational boundaries this weekend and make a couple changes. She agreed to do this for me. But that didn't happen. We started talking about boundaries and she got pulled into the past and we spent the better part of an hour talking about her fear. I get that she is afraid, but is it ok for me to need to get through a tough conversation without her emotions completely derailing it?? I matter too and i felt that i neeeded to talk through these things with her because i am genuinely concered that i am slipping towards relapse. How am i supposed to handle this? I can do the independant thing and just say fuck you i will choose my own boundaries, write them out and you can deal with them (been there before) or i could do the codependant thing and just never talk about it letting them slip and slide all over the place (been there too) but what i dont believe is actually possible is for me to go through my boundaries with her and have it actually be about my boundaries and not her fear/pain/trauma/anger/grief etc. Lately I have been better about hearing her and expressing my empathy for the pain i have caused. The problem is they are just so big that they push anything i want out of the way completely. So we will be in a conversation and she will be simultaneously accusing me of making everything about me and at the same time bulldozing over anything i express in a conversation that i initiated because i needed to go over things for me. It is fucking difficult. I try to hear past the accusations to the pain and to respond to that, but i reached a tipping point today. The weird part is i didnt know that i had hit that tipping point. The conversation ended and i went thruough the boundary document and rewrote a bunch of stuff by myself, but it was still eating at me that we didnt actually talk through everything.

    I let it go and didnt think much of it until this evening when after taking the kids to the park and having a fun time we come home around 3:45. I have been needing do some yard work, so i went to town on it. She made an awesome dinner that was ready around 6 so i was out there cutting up branches and loading them into the truck then cleaning the garage and mowing, picking up dog poop and raking up old leaves for a coulple hours. At dinner the kids were being super negative, so i initiated our thankfulness sunday habit. We go around the table and everyone says something they are thankful for for each person in the family. We started doing this on sundays like a year ago. We forget often, but tonight it seemed appropriate and I always like hearing what my girls will say about each other. After dinner i headed back out and mowed half of the back yard so that my dog has a place to do his business and i can actually see it and pick it up. When i came back in i told my wife the garbage is full again because i threw away a bunch of dead flowers in broken plastic vases. She got upset at me. They were her dead flowers and she wanted to give consent to throw them away. That set me off internally. I couldnt say anything empathetic to her. I was so mad and thinking "i cant even clean up the fucking yard without having to apologize for something" i realized that this seemed to be a large reaction for the circumstance, so i just went silient and we did bedtime and then she said something before she went to bed, but i didnt want to talk about it yet because I didnt really know what was bugging me. I didnt even really know until i started writing.

    I guess i am really just afraid of relapsing and I see her emotional needs as a threat to my sobriety in this specific circumstance. I dont imagine too many people are going to read through all of that, but if you do i am really interested in what you think of that mess that i just vomited out into the internet world.
    MNWinter, Acky31, Rehab101 and 7 others like this.
  7. Mr Banjoman

    Mr Banjoman Fapstronaut

    Doesn't real life suck? Read through it all my friend and I don't think I'm in a position to give any wise or sage advice on your situation, all I can say is keep on going!!! Don't give up, don't relapse because it doesn't solve any problems, just the complete opposite! It makes the even worse and take even longer to resolve. I know you know that but you might need the reminder.
    Be patient and don't give in. You're 33 and if things go incredibly well you could be with your wife for another 50 even 60 years. I bet another 90 or 180 bad days requiring your patience and self control is worth it for all those decades to come. You will get past it as long as you keep going, I believe in you
    Nugget9, drewharbour, SLAA1 and 4 others like this.
  8. Thanks for getting real and sharing all that. This is the cool thing about a forum like this. It allows us to blow some this steam off without resorting to PMO or doing the big emo-dump on the wife when we aren't at a good place to do so.
    And just for fun, go back and read some of what you just wrote. I mean, you mowed the lawn, so your dog could shit in it, so you could pick it up.
    You can do the difficult things and know what you need to do.
    Yes your feelings are real and it's reasonable that you could share them if everything was working perfectly. They're not right now but they are getting so much better and will continue to if you keep at it. As stated above, you're 33 which means you are figuring this out a full 20 years earlier than I did. Add that to your list of things to be thankful for.

    Boom!!! Soooo true.
    1dayattatime likes this.
  9. Faceplanter

    Faceplanter Fapstronaut

    And just remember that your issues with PMO have nothing to do with her and boundaries....nothing she does should be able to cause a slip towards relapse. Work on your relationship, your communication and your need to be heard, but consider it separate from the PMO.

    Typically, boundaries are for her benefit or at least boundaries are for protecting one's are you rewriting boundaries to protect her yourself? Or, rewriting just boundaries that protect you. Obviously, the first option doesn't really work.

    Anyways, try to deal with the facts and not get to tied up into the emotional side. The dead flowers, you made a decision and it was a mistake but you could not know. Own it, apologize for the hurt caused, and move on. Its awesome you figured out what was bothering you by writing it down... Hopefully you can share that, deal with it and move forward.... Don't sweat the small stuff and all that.

    As for the emotional dumping in conversations, it sounds like you first need to expect that to happen and second maybe setting up expectations (boundaries?) that you will pause the conversation if you feel it's become derailed, coming back to it in 30min or similar.

    Good luck with moving forward.
    MNWinter, samnf1990 and hope4healing like this.
  10. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks for the encouragement friend. I am thankful that i started on this journey now. Someone said the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Just a couple days after that post i am feeling much more positive and my wife and I were able to communicate. It took 2 days of conflict though. I wil post more about it later.
    samnf1990 likes this.
  11. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Haha that is a nice fantasy. I will say she has less influence over me now, but it hasnt been easy.
    Committed to One likes this.
  12. Yeah, it doesn't help when we walk around with these big red buttons just waiting to be pushed and BOOM! Off go the emotional flares and the indignity and wounded feelings. Been there. Been triggered and relapsed because of it. Not immediately maybe, those poor wounded feelings are patient and will wait for an oppertune time to remind you they're still there and deserving of some distraction.
    Glad you're hanging in there.
    Rehab101 and 1dayattatime like this.
  13. Jefe Rojo

    Jefe Rojo Fapstronaut

    Hey @1dayattatime , I just read through this thread. It makes me grateful that I don’t have to go through these same struggles. My problems seem minuscule in comparison. I think your efforts to save your marriage are commendable. Keep working hard and be patient. Even in a healthy relationship there are times when something my wife does or says sets me off. I wish you and your family peace and happiness. I like your idea to have your family express thankfulness in order to combat negativity. I might use that idea for my own family. 99 days is impressive my friend, keep up the good work!
  14. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks @Jefe Rojo it has been a hard and worth it road so far.

    As a follow up to my vent. The conflict lasted through monday and tuesday. On Monday she got triggered because i didn't email her when i said i was going to and when she brought it up i was defensive. So she was triggered and we were supposed to talk about my feelings on monday. Needless to say that conflict was difficult. I own that i was the one who crossed the boundary of communication. In the end on monday we tried to repeat everything the other person said and went to bed both feeling hopeless. On tuesday we talked again and were able to get to a place of more understading. It was good for me to get perspective by having the roles reversed. How frustrating it can be when you want someone to understand and they don't. One thing about our conflicts is that we may have more than the average couple, but we keep re-engaging and usually make it through better for it. At least we do now. When i was out of the house for 8 months it was a different story. So close to 100 days!
    Jefe Rojo likes this.
  15. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks for the validation man! It does feel like a land mine sometimes. What is suprising is without PMO how emotionally triggered I can become. And trying to stuff the emotions just leads to acting out. So the only real path is to acknowledge them and allow myself space to process.
    samnf1990 and Committed to One like this.
  16. Faceplanter

    Faceplanter Fapstronaut

    I've been there, done that. My wife basically said that she would not be able to support me in any way to get off porn, this after many multi month cycles of her promising to fit the gap that porn had been and her failing to do so (and me relapsing)

    It was exactly what was needed. Now, the end result isn't all good, in that I might be rebooting for my next partner if things don't work out. But the porn work became 100% separate from the work I needed to bring intimacy back into our marriage.

    It is important to separate the two. It is not a fantasy, it's taking your life into your control. If your wife is causing you to move to relapse, why the hell do you want to let her have that control on you!? Work on your other issues, intensely, but just take back ALL the control on the PMO issues.
    Nugget9 and TheNewDrew42 like this.
  17. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    I went through this already. I had to separate from my wife for 8 months. And it was very important for me at that time to define what I was doing for myself and what i was doing for her. I think that is a normal phase in the recovery process. For the last 8 months i have begun to focus more on restoring the relationship. That change in focus was only possible because of the individual and separate work that i did. I think we have similar perspectives. I own all of the responsibility for my relapses. I own my recovery 100 percent. I hear what you are saying and i totally agree that relationship work and my own recovery are not the same thing, but i don't think that they fit into nice separate boxes that never overlap. If you are in the headspace to be preparing for your next relationship then we are at different places. I was there last year around this time, but i am now fully committed to my wife AND my recovery. Making progress to heal the relationship causes some chaos in my life. That is normal. My wife doesn't have control over my sobriety. There are times when we conflict and those are becoming healthier. I desire to be in a healthy relationship where there is space to have big feelings for both of us and to know that we can get through it. Knowing that we will disengage and lean on our separate support networks when needed. The purpose of this thread is to provide me a place to work out that balance and specifically talk about my relationship with my wife. I also have my reboot journal that i post things that are more specific to me.
  18. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    FANOS checkin today as it is saturday. I appreciate the structure and it only took an hour this afternoon. We have a lot going on right now in our relationship. I am so glad that we could make it through this week in a way that brings us back together. Last night she asked me to not get on tech after she went to bed and i agreed. It was a bit tough as i wanted to do my normal routine, but it worked out because i was able to make some progress on my clairfication letter and do some paper journaling. Almost done reading Intimate Deception. It has been enlightening for me and given me a whole new level of understaning and empathy for my SOs pain.
  19. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Yesterday was a rollercoaster. It started out with my son waking up pretty early and I was not ready to get up yet. So i threw on a pair of sweats and got him out of his crib. I brought him down made coffee and the girls come downstairs in a fight. So i sat on the floor with them and talked through it. It was not the way i pictured my morning starting, but my oldest has been really emotional lately and she needs to talk through things, so after that i finally got a cup of coffee and put on some clothes. I go to a therapy group on saturdays so i was out the door by 730. I got home, ate some lunch and it was time to do a FANOS with my wife. She has been feeling a lot of grief this week so we talked extensively about our grief during our checkin. I am actually feeling grief as well. Especially with easter. When I was in my addiction we were super involved in our church. Actully we were pretty much only involved in church. I was good friends with all of the leadership and their families, we didn't have many friends outside of that setting. When DDay happened my wife lost a community. Some of her friends in the church abandoned her in her grief and some were just unhelpful and unequiped to be there for her. We havent been to church in months and the last time i went it felt so fake and I felt really out of place. Honestly there is just so much confusion for me around faith. At this point i am at a place where I know i have seen God work in my life, but there are so many doctrines in the western Christian church that I have big problems with. So Easter brings up a lot of memories and grief. The amount of pain is so deep sometimes it seems like a black hole. We somehow made it through our checkin feeling pretty good, then went to a community easter egg hunt. We had a ton of fun as a family then spent the afternoon doing yardwork. In retrospect, I am so glad that I did some physical work yesterday because of what happened later.

    In the afternoon we watched the Brene Brown netflix special on vulnerability and we were both in tears during some of it. Afterwards we tried to talk about it and it just turned into a conflict. My wifes grief was right there and she kept saying she just wanted reassurance from me that she mattered. In that moment I thought I was saying things that were reassuring. I litterally told her that she mattered and I wanted to know what she was thinking and feeling, but the way I was saying it did not feel reassuring for her. It sucked. We were in the black hole and so we disengaged. She went and laid down and I went and let the kids finish watching their show then did bedtime. After all the kiddos were in bed we started talking again. I don't remember everything that was saidI remember her saying that she believes she is damaged goods. She is too messed up, too hurt. She said that when she was younger she believed that she would get though any hardship, but now she doesn't. She told me that she tried her best for her whole life and it didn't save her from the pain. That her efforts made no difference. I listened and said, "if i believed those things i would feel extremely hopeless" Then i said that I dont believe she is too messed up and that I am not going anywhere. At some point in here she started crying really hard and we ended up sitting on the floor. I remember looking her in the eyes and feeling such hope. We cried together. One of the reasons I feel so much hope is because of the changes in me. A year ago I couldn't handle her messy tears. I would stand there afraid and ashamed and not emotionally present. I couldn't sit on the floor with her in the mess. I see so much hope for the future. Just a year ago that conflict would have left me feeling like i needed to run, but now i see the other side. I see a way through. I see each time that she allows me to see her pain as an opportunity for healing. We are not there yet. I don't know what tomorrow will bring and I am sure that there will be a time in the future where I am not as emotionally present as I was yesterday, but we will keep re-engaging. I will keep trying. So far 2 years in I can authentically say it is worth the effort.

    That was a book...i guess vulnerability happens sitting on floor in our house.
    Rehab101, fuzzywaz, samnf1990 and 3 others like this.
  20. My faith has grown a lot, too. I have a lot less religion in my life than I used to, and a lot less of the fake junk that goes along with it. Overall, I think it is one way God has matured me in faith. Even this awful addiction and the ruin it wreaks has served to bring me closer to the real God. I am grateful for that. If you ever want to compare "religion notes," shoot me a message. Sounds like maybe we've been through some of the same stuff.

    Hope is good and real and true. Never give up. I'm praying for you and your family.
    vxlccm, 1dayattatime and hope4healing like this.

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