My F'd up relationship

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

  1. I agree about the complexity of every element involved. Although our feelings can be very clear in our own mind, sometimes it's still hard to translate them into words so that others can understand them clearly, too. And, for PA's who've spent years in their addiction doing everything they can to not feel anything, learning to navigate through all of it (their SO's and their own) can really be challenging. There are times when all the things you feel aren't even clear in your own mind, let alone trying to convey it to someone else.

    I know it takes a lot of time and work to figure all of this out, but I think you're headed in the right direction.
    1dayattatime likes this.
  2. Clarifying: I’m not saying all emotion is not valid, I’m asking whether are all valid emotions are relevant?

    I submit to you that there are two different pieces to this : one is the “venting session” on what is your feelings here, the second is “what do we do about the issue” (independent of how we feel).

    If both pieces are left together, emotion can overcome reason since we “don’t want to make her mad.”

    3 examples to illustrate:

    Child is crying that they cannot have a toy. Parent says “you cannot have that toy, the end.” Child’s emotion is upset/anger but their anger is not accurate to the situation. Parent validates their emotion — and the child continues to wail. Emotion over reason however the emotions are not relevant.

    Let’s say a customer goes to a counter and complains that a waiter took her order wrongly. The waiter looks at her notes and knows she did not err. The customer uses their anger to convince a manager to give them a new item, they used their emotions to get their way. Their emotion is valid but inaccurate. They have used emotion over reason. Again their emotions are inaccurate and irrelevant.

    Lastly, president t is accused of X. He says “I feel this is all a witch hunt .” His feelings are validated but inaccurate to the pursuit. He gets his way, because he is arguing emotion over reason. His feelings are inaccurate and irrelevant —- ought we use emotion instead of reason and side with them?

    Understandably every PA has a responsibility to listen of course, AND the SO has a responsibility to commit to a “reason over emotion” when it’s time to discuss.
  3. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Rereading your post i think that the confusion is coming from vocabulary. Your examples are all missing the point with our wives. The term validate the emotion is one that isnt often used outside of recovery and so i think you may be reading something into it that it may or may not actually imply.

    To validate an emotion all we have to do is say something like. "No one should have to feel that way" and "for someone going through what you are experiencing what you are feeling is totally normal." Or "i can understand why you feel that way"

    That is all. Do not attempt to fix or act. All that is needed is to hear and understand. This is soooo key for healing. Sitting with some of those giant emotions without offereing solutions is amazingly difficult.

    I often just try to fix it without showing any empathy or understanding. And that doesnt help because often times her presenting problem isnt what is really bugging her. She may not even know what is really beneath it. And me just trying to put a bandaid on it and move on doesnt get to the bottom of it. We have to be detectives when it comes to this stuff. Ask good questions. Look for clues and help her understand what it is that hurts. The times i have done that genuinely are the times my wife expereiences safety and healing.

    This is something that i struggle with regularly.
  4. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thank you! i sure as hell hope im going the right direction. She is definitely worth the effort.
    hope4healing likes this.
  5. samnf1990

    samnf1990 Fapstronaut

    You reacting negatively to something she says or does is not her 'having an influence over you'. A relapse is the last thing she wants from you. Your wife is not the enemy, nor is she a barrier to your recovery/happiness/fulfilment.

    A better way of conceptualising the progress here is to think that you are no longer responding to her emotional venting by relapsing as readily as you once were. You are the only cause of any of your relapses. But this is a good thing. It means that with the right amount of recovery, no external circumstances could ever make you fail.

    Remember that being heard is important for both of you. A conversation is never derailed because it went in a direction not intended by half of the people involved in the conversation. It is simply a conversation that two people with their own needs, intentions and perspectives are participating in.

    Do you feel the need to discuss boundaries so that you can disclose your slipping? Or so that you can bargain for boundaries that allow you to engage in the behaviour you have been slipping into without guilt? Because only one of those motivations is going to aid in your recovery. The other will most likely lead to relapse. You can halt your 'slipping' in its tracks without a discussion about the topic. Just be super strict with yourself about not overstepping any of the boundaries, no matter how innocent or trivial they may seem. You know you are slipping. Stop yourself. Behave better. Your wife will better respond to you telling her that you noticed some slipping and reverted to better behaviour successfully, than she would to "I've noticed I'm looking at p-subs and worry I might relapse, please can we make it okay for me to look at p-subs so I don't shame-spiral and go all-in with a P binge or affair: I need YOU to stop ME from relapsing".

    I'll end on a positive: well done for coming to nofap to vent rather than actually relapsing. Well done for not blowing up or acting out when you felt yourself getting frustrated. That self-control is super-important and can be hard to exercise. You just need to use that self-control to stay within whatever boundaries you already have agreed upon.

    Good luck, and keep up the hard work.
    Faceplanter likes this.
  6. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    I get the sense that you are trying to be helpful here, but it is coming across insulting to me. Do you think that all boundaries are supposed to be permanent? That seems unrealistic. I was not "slipping" there was no fantasy or psubs or any sexually deviant activities. It was other things like doing dishes and communicating at work. And being on top off it and proactively wanting to communicate is the right thing to do in relationship. I dont get your point think it isnt ok for me to change my boundaries about what time i call her at work when it is not working for me due to schedule?
    need4realchg likes this.
  7. [/QUOTE]

    I again agree with your statement.
    I think the problem happens because people don't calmly, rationally, reasonably say: "I feel this way" unless they are in a counseling session. We normally bark our feelings across or surround them with facts, or inside vessels of belief.

    So... what do you suggest when the "feelings" are not expressed as feelings, but as "I believe" statements of fact? (This is where I personally find it the most challenging).

    For example:
    "I believe you are not doing what you committed to."
    "I get the sense you aren't being honest about our problems."
    "I don't want to talk about this until you are ready to face your problems."

    These are all feeling statements, but they are being expressed within declarative function; I know even in writing on this forum, we have to be careful to identify where "feelings" are being laid out versus statements of fact.
  8. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    This is a fantastic question. I still really struggle with this. I think that the real for me the best thing I can do is try and hear past the beliefs. I am very difficult to argue with as I used to go into logic mode and debate all beliefs and minor inconsistencies, but i recently had an experience where I was feeling something big and I couldnt even articulate what it was and my wife let me just vent and then made some guesses as to what I was feeling like. "It sounds like you are feeling some anger abou x" and "it sounds like you are feeling afraid about x" this helped me immensely and is what I strive for when she is throwing those beliefs at me.

    So try and make some educated guesses. Use words like, "man if I believed that i wasn't being honest about my problems I would be afraid of the next bomb dropping in our relationship." Or "if you think that I am not ready to face my problems, I can imagine that you are feeling some hopelessness and grief." "I have caused you so much pain and I am doing my best to get out of these things that are hurting you" I am sorry that I is taking me so long to change. You didn't sign up for this"

    If those words cannot come out of your mouth honestly then don't say them, but these types of things are what I have said when the conversations go better.
    hope4healing likes this.
  9. I am again smiling , we are in this are very alike. I use the logic of a attorney and can seem uneasily cold and calculating but I do it with charm to soften the interaction.

    I use a low, measured, even tone and that normally helps keep the conversation stay focused but I am working on my “empathy voice.” It’s not something I have any expertise in.
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    1dayattatime likes this.
  10. samnf1990

    samnf1990 Fapstronaut

    Why would slippig into laziness and lack of communication (or not finding the time to do the things your wife wants you to do) lead to relapse? Why are these your boundaries? How do they relate to your relationship problems? Probably because your wife needs to feel valued, like you are making gestures that her wants and needs are valued and prioritised. Maybe reconsider if you can meet these expectations before trying to move or redefine the boundaries.

    I'm not surprised that your wife wants to talk about her emotional healing and it is getting more attention in your talks than your appeals to not have to do as many chores or bother to text her.

    Dealing with betrayal is harder than dealing with the frystration of having many commitments to fit into the day. Show your wife how valued she is by redoubling your efforts to keep to your boundaries. Strugglig to meet them does not make them unreasonable. Quitting P is a struggle for us all, but we are all the better for it.

    Remember, you can vent and process your feeligs in a journal that isn't in an online forum if you wish to avoid points that may offend you. My motivation is to help. Sometimes we need to see our thinking or our actions from another perspective to see that they are flawed, misguided or unwise.

    My assumption that your 'slipping' was related to P-subs, ogling etc is because you mentioned you feel like you may relapse due to it. I see no connection between not washing up and having a wank. Other than laziness and a lack of commitment to self inprovement.

    My boggest point that I hope you take on board (whether you appreciate my style of communication or not) is to make sure you do not treat your wife as an enemy or a barrier to your happiness. If you catch yourself doing that, remind yourself of why you love her and all of the good she brings to your life. And get out of that negative mindset.

    Again, good luck with your recovery and with mending your relationship.
  11. Bro... I mean this gently:

    1). This IS his online journal.

    2). No where in it did he say he’s slipping, perhaps you have this thread confused with another ? What are you talking about psubs for?

    3). As far as your point in dealing with betrayal , there’s nothing wrong with his wife exposing sharing and venting feelings ; but you appear to not realize the SO also has a responsibility. She now has to work through her trauma like anyone who is post-traumatic or ptsd from a partner betrayal. She has her own recovery to deal with and must resist the temptation to harness her pain to be manipulative in her own right—even if she’s justified in feeling pain that he has caused her.

    Other than that I like your advice.
  12. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    I read through some of your other content and can see why this advice makes sense for you to give. It just doesnt seem to apply to my situation with my wife. So thanks for trying to help. I think you are super smart, and you have a different perpective than a lot of other guys on here which can be benificial.

    I really dont feel like i need to explain why my non sexual boundaries relate to my sobriety. If you are curious you can read other posts of mine. In fact the single post that you replied to talks about it a bit. I dont find a bunch of value in continuing to debate with you about a post i wrote to vent. i do read quite a bit of material on betrayal trauma and work consistantly to communicate with my wife and help her heal.
  13. samnf1990

    samnf1990 Fapstronaut

    Point 1 of yours does not counter anything I've said. An OFFLINE journal will never get replies. That is a place to vent without ending up with comments from others. Plus, most threads intended as journals have a title to indicate this. This thread does not, so to me that implies a desire for replies and other perspectives.

    2-The mention of struggling with boundaries, to me, implied a slipping back into behaviour that is not acceptable in the relationship. The assumption that this was related to psubs or ogling is exactly that: an assumption. From my own experience and the pattern of the posts of many other users, this is the sort of behaviour that often precedes a relapse/reset: breaking the softer or less deal-breaker type boundaries until escalating to breaking boundaries you never intended to.

    3-Implying that a betrayed SO is leveraging their situation and being manipulative is going to help nobady in their recovery. I appreciate that you are stepping in to defend another fapstronaut in his own territory (a thread that he started) but encouraging blame of others is never going to help somebody improve themselves.

    As the OP has said, he sees no value in debating these issues or explaining the connection between non-sexual boundaries and his increased impulse to throw away his prgress and recovery, but hopefully he will consider the points made in my posts and take control and responsibility, rather than looking elsewhere to place blame.

    Venting can be cathartic and therapeutic, but don't let the venting reproduxe itself in your calm thinking as internalised resentment over your SO. You don't need that negativity in your life.
    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 likes this.
  14. 1) Id recommend reading more journals to get a better feel for what they look like. All journals on nofap are obviously online for both the writer and the community to help and hold each other accountable. If you check the signature some of us put a link to it to help you find them.

    2). I see your point here , it was best states in rebutting me, but I actually agree with you. Prior to relapsing one can expect a deterioration first. Honestly —-Good for you to identify it, bad on miscategorizing this thread as such.

    3). I hope you reread what I said. I did not encourage blame I actually said she has a right to express and vent. I believe in balance. I cannot, for the sake of argument, go around hurting everyone in my rants and say “ I am allowed because I’m in pain and trauma”. This is reckless. You may think any person (including a SO) can do this ; but I completely disagree. There are men and women who express themselves violently when traumatized and their behavior is not acceptable solely because they were hurt. It has nothing to with internalized resentment. Adults, PA’s and Children can become “walking time bombs” with their pain this if it’s not vented ; and there I fully agree. This is why an SO needs to deal with their trauma like any ptsd patient does. Again— balance. A couple dealing with this issue yields TWO damaged people according to most authors on the subject.

    To continue dialoging with me ; I invite you to reach out directly so as not to distract from the ops journal. Thanks!!
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  15. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    Just want to say something here.... an SO with betrayal trauma will never fully heal if the PA is still acting out/gaslighting/lying/manipulating/breaking boundaries.....

    The SO is TRAUMATIZED. What does that mean? It means that they have trauma because of the PA and if they are going to stay with the PA if the PA keeps doing the Same Traumatic Behavior it doesn't matter what the SO does - therapy, self-help books, self-care - if they are still living in a traumatic situation on a day to day basis they get set back to zero with each PA behavior or boundary break.

    As I;ve seen it on here the PA needs to get his shit together first and once the PA stops negative behaviors you end up seeing the SO's journal start to really heal and move forward.

    To put it another way....

    Let's say someone has locked you in a room and they stabbed you. You grab a shirt and tie it around the wound, and then the next day they stab you again in a different place... now you not only have one wound that isn't healed but a new one.... and then every day or week there is a new wound.... that person that keeps getting stabbed can only heal "so much" because they keep getting stabbed. So until the person who stabs the other STOPS, that person getting stabbed cannot heal.

    And to the point of two damaged people.... usually the SO had their shit together prior to the PA entering their lives.... yes everyone has issues but the SO's honestly seemed to have their lives together -moms, kids, career, etc. were all going for them and them their life blew up with this bomb that was set off because they ended up with someone who tricked them into the relationship (most times).

    The relationship (usually) started with one person suffering from addiction and the other clueless and then the addiction comes out and both people are a wreck. The SO completely traumatized often cannot eat, sleep, move, talk, go to work, parent, etc. and the PA is a mess because they are admitting they are an addict and dealing with their feelings on being an addict and also simultaneously watching the consequences of their choices by seeing their partner - who was formerlly a whole healthy person (most often) - turn into a person that cannot get out of bed, eat, sleep, care for anything and oftentimes struggles from deep depression/self-hatred and sometimes with some SO's they can feel suicidal. The beginning is a royal mess for both sides, but remember the addict must take responsibility for causing this outfall.

    There are three recoveries - PA, SO, Couples

    If PA doesn't start his recovery then the other two recoveries cannot occur. If the PA does start his recovery and does not lie/betray etc. then the SO can start making baby steps.... if this continues, eventually the PA is able to start making relationship repairs.... but again it all starts and ends with the addict and whether or not they want/willing/desire recovery
  16. Butterfly1988

    Butterfly1988 Fapstronaut

    As usual, you named exactly how it feels to be in a relationship with a PA.
  17. Lostneverland

    Lostneverland Fapstronaut

    Queen of Hearts you are spot on in your assessment of PA behaviour and healing the of the SO. Thank you...
  18. @Queen_Of_Hearts_13 I agree the idea is to stop the addiction so they can both heal.

    As for :The “pa needs to get his shit together “ are we agreed the thread indicates that is already in progress? Maybe I read it too fast, sometimes I do that and miss the point.

    Clearly the “boundaries” theme brings many benefits and challenges in how to redraw the lines. I explicitly advocated NOT making the SO a recovery-center-sheriff—-in my opinion those individuals have lots of stuff already. And I agree they were “normal” prior to the revelation.

    I very much appreciated the expertise you shared in another thread discussing the importance of “order, organization, and routine” how that is vital to help ANY addict rebuild. Perhaps that could be shared that here for the benefit of these readers asking about boundaries?

    I found it helpful to broaden the scope of how does a person help an person leaving any addiction (whether it be alcoholism, drugs, sex, porn, eating, etc). Routine and Order—- is paramount in reestablishing healthy self view.

    Your thoughts ?
  19. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    @need4realchg I have not read this entire thread I just saw your conversation with @samnf1990 and wanted to chime in to clarify. My response was not toward any addict in particular... I am just giving both addicts adn partners a sense of the overall theme/journey so they are aware of what is helpful and is not helpful and can fully understand the dynamics at play.

    When it comes to boundaries and consequences those are Essential for healing. Now, boundaries and consequences are not punishments or means to control. They are 100% about safety.

    Control/punishment comes from a place of an individual wanting to control others for shits and giggles....

    The SO's on here are looking for safety with boundaries and consequences so A. the addict understands what behavior is traumatizing and B. the addict starts getting accountability for their actions.

    The thing is a lot of addicts and partners coming into this journey do not understand what it will take to save them and the relationship.

    You have to get rid of it all. You have to create a New Recovery Lifestyle. That may means new routes to work, or not watchign certain shows, or avoiding the affair partner, or coming home at a certain time, or not going to nude beaches, etc.

    One thing I know as an addict to self-harm and a partner of a porn addict is that recovery never takes a day off. I know 100% I should not have safety pins or push pins around if I am triggered. I know that I should not have a lighter in the house. I know that if I go to CVS and walk down an aisle with a sewing kit and safety pins or walk into a office supply store with push pins I know I am walking on thin ice if I am not in a good place. So what do I do? I go with my husband or he will go to the store.

    With my husband he has accountability software on his devices.

    In recovery you learn that the things you sacrafice and may give your partner crap for ("seriously I can't watch that?" "Seriously, you are crazy, of course I will see her" "I am not giving up video games, you're delusional!" etc.) in the long run those things are inconsequential and meaningless to your overall happiness and your relationship health.

    And I fought it too years adn years ago. When I had to get into treatment for anorexia, I thought the therapists there were my enemies. I was so angry that they made me eat. I hated everyone and felt that everyone was against me and that they were ridiculous for telling me I had to eat more than 500 calories a day. But now, years later I see they were right and just wanted to help.

    Same goes for PA's, they may not understand at the time why they shouldn't watch shows with nudity, or have social media, or go to beaches, etc. but when they have recovery and a good sobriety time under their belt (1 year mark usually) they will look back and be like, "Wow, you were so right, had I had those things I would have been at much higher risk for relapse, thank you"

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