Please help - self esteem is crushed

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by Deleted Account, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. My partner and I have just discovered the reboot program and this is the only place that has given us some hope. But I need some partner support from you ladies because I feel so lonely with this. I haven't told any of my real time friends due to embarrassment but mainly, to keep my partner's dignity. Here's a little background:
    I met my partner 3 years ago and he is a wonderful man. However, it transpires he was addicted to M & P before we met and thus, has always suffered with impotency. To complicate things further, he had come out of a 10 year abusive marriage where sex was withheld from him and he turned to P on the quiet. When we first got together, I told him that watching porn would be a deal-breaker as I do consider it cheating and, if he can't make love to me, but can cum over some poor, lost naked woman, that I'd have to protect myself and back out of the relationship. He promised he would stop.
    Fast forward nearly 2 years and he's still impotent. I attributed it to the bad marriage and was so very patient. I gave him massages, dressed up for him, told him that intimacy is more important than penetration, that he will stay hard...eventually etc. We've tried touch therapy, couples counselling and his own private counselling - to no avail. Eventually I built up the courage and asked him if he was still using porn and he admitted he was. That was the closest I came to walking.
    Things were okay for a couple of months we had amazing sex and I thought it was over. However, it's slipped back to ED. He admits to masturbating which I said was fine (I know different now, thanks to this site) but insists he's not using porn and hasn't since a year ago.
    Like I said, he is a wonderful man. He has seen me through my recovery of alcoholism (6m sober now), hospitalisation, moving home and treats my child like his own. We moved in together last year and we're engaged although no date set.
    He's 2 weeks into the reboot program and has been open with me about getting frustrated, waking up with erections determined not to M etc. and I am very proud of him.
    My problem is that I feel like it's my fault really. I do not have a perfect porn-star body and I started to stop looking at myself naked because self-hate comes up everytime ("Of course he's not going to be turned on by THAT!" or "THAT'S the reason he goes elsewhere.") He's constantly telling me he finds me sexy, he buys me flowers at random and swears he's always found me attractive. He is the kindest man I've ever known and we've been through so much together in 3 years.

    There are 2 things I want feedback from though, please:
    1) Is it common for the partner to believe it's her fault? Because she's 'not enough' for him?
    2) Should we postpone the wedding until this is sorted out? I have already told him I don't want my new husband to have to take a blue pill on our wedding night. Especially as we're only in our 30s.

    I thank you all in advance. Sorry for rambling. This has been the only time in 3 years that I've been able to tell my story.
    lemonlimeorange, Rachie and kropo82 like this.
  2. Broken81

    Broken81 Fapstronaut

    I think you will find the vast majority of us SOs suffer from extremely low self esteem and self worth directly attributed to the PAs habits. Especially when they favoured PMO to us or even replaced us completely with PMO as in my case and others.
    In my opinion I wouldn't marry someone who wasn't 100% commited yo living a porn free life. I have been married nearly 11 years and have been utterly devastated by my husband's porn addiction and it's downward spiral into webcams and real life. There is no way I would remain in this marriage if my husband wasn't making the effort.
    Also my husband suffered from DE throughout his porn use. Since being porn free this has gone. I would be worried if this came back that he was using again. I'm not saying this has to be the cause but be wary.
    Good luck on this awful journey!
  3. Welcome to the forum. Sry you are experiencing this as it just SUCKS!

    1. Yes I believe most of us SO have felt that way at times. Especially in the beginning. We feel like if we didn’t put on a few pounds, or if we did this more or that less or a number of different things have made us feel like we weren’t/aren’t good enough.

    It is important you know that this NOT your fault and has nothing to do with you at all. It is his addiction and he had it long before you came along.

    2. Imo you should hold off on wedding plans until you are 100% sure he is recovered and committed. Marriage is difficult as it is let alone throwing addiction into the mix with something so important to a relationship.

    Ultimately this is your decision to make so you have to do what’s right for you. Just think if you want this in your life and marriage for the rest of your life.

    Also important is to take care of YOU! We can be so selfless in this by trying to help them and fix them that we tend to forget about us. You have to heal and recover from this too bc it has impacted you tremendously. Please don’t ignore yourself and your needs.
    self healing, Rachie, Kenzi and 3 others like this.
  4. Werka

    Werka Fapstronaut

    As heartbreaking as it is to see another story similar to others, I'm glad you found this place. We are all in different models of the same boat here, so I'm sure you will find all the support you need. And now to answer your questions:

    1) Yes, it's absolutely normal. If your guy can jerk off to someone else but can't even get an erection when you are with him in bed the self-esteem tends to go down A LOT. This is what makes PA such an awful addiction - because the substance they abuse is not something they ingest or inject. It's a myriad of other women they chose over you. That is the seemingly rational way to look at it. However, you have to keep in mind that there is nothing rational about an addiction and in fact, it was the dopamine, not the images, that really keeps a PA going back for more. And, whereas the sexual element is obviously there, PA is "just" a coping mechanism for all sorts of mental ailments, usually embedded in the PA's past. Nothing about you - your body, your attitude, your behaviour, your temperament, or your openness - could have saved him, as he is the one with the problem. And that problem is not you. So that's the scientific way of looking at it. As every single one of us here - you are a perfectly imperfect individual. People don't come off production lines, not even pornstars. Still, the way you feel, or the way we all feel or felt at some point, is not easy to overcome. But for your own sanity, it's good to try to accept the scientific explanation.

    2) I always feel a pang of jealousy when I read posts that start with "I have been with my partner for 1, 2, 3 years..." I have been with mine for over 10. Over 10 years of being lied to daily. The thought of it makes me so angry and I feel such a damn fool. We will have our 9th wedding anniversary this year and my advice would be to wait. That's the advice I would have given myself all these years ago, if I had known back then. Now I'm stuck in a marriage with two kids. I feel so much is at stake and the ball is in his court. I have no idea which way it's going to go. I would feel so much better knowing that I can just leave him if he doesn't pull his weight. I'm worried that he finds it hard to believe I would leave him, as it would be such a hassle (we live as expats, far away from both our home countries, with him being the primary breadwinner). Of course you are the one who needs to decide, but personally I would like to walk down the aisle with someone I can trust, someone I know and someone who makes me feel good about myself. So, in your situation, I would wait for him to hopefully become that person.
  5. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

    Yes it is VERY common to blame yourself for this issue. In fact I have not come across a woman on here that does not blame herself. It has noting to do with you. It’s an addiction, just like alcohol. One addict gave me the best piece of advice on here when I first started. He said that if that woman walked off the screen into your partner’s bedroom, he would have the same issues with her as he does with you. Sometimes the men even try to make us feel like it is our problem, that we have gained weight, or don’t look like those women. That’s just another way to not accept fault for their actions. And ask him, do you look like the men in those movies? Heck no, so why should you expect to look like the women in there? And yes I would postpone the wedding. I was engaged when I joined. I did a thread maybe you can find it that asked married women if they knew what they know now would they have married their husband, and an overwhelming number said no. I have since ended things with him. Congrats on your own recovery. But please knowyou do not owe him anything for helping you. Do not stay with him just because you feel like you owe a debt.
    lemonlimeorange and Hopefulgirl like this.
  6. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

    Partners feeling guilty is common yes—too common. Your PAs porn use started as an attempt to self soothe the neglect, rejection and abuse he felt in his marriage. It became an addiction. As you are probably aware, addictions often have little to do with others and everything to do with the addict’s own feelings of trauma, self-loathing, fear and anxiety. Porn addiction unfortunately takes a devastating toll on our SOs. You’re a strong woman for standing by him.

    My advice would be to extend your engagement and delay the wedding until this is worked out.

    The SOs here are supportive and have good resources to help. You and your PA are welcome to PM if you need help.
  7. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

    I agree with you but just want to point out the comment on how the abuse neglect and rejection caused him to turn to pmo. That seems like excuses and blame shifting on his part and I see that with addicts a lot on here. And we have no idea why the ex stopped the sex or if she even did for that matter only what he says and since addicts are known for not being so honest I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.

    The reason I point this out is this is the thought process for an SO when that happens. The reason he PMOs is because I turned him down for sex, because we had a fight, because I rejected him. That’s not true.
    CastleBlack and Hopefulgirl like this.
  8. osmowife

    osmowife Fapstronaut

    Yes, postpone the wedding. Don't commit to someone who isn't committed to you. If I knew porn would be this big of an issues. I would have postponed the wedding and set a date to leave if it weren't fixed or better.

    The excuses should only last so long. He should seek help for the abuse. I've never been in an abusive relationship so I don't know what to expect from him with that. I would show some empathy but be firm too.

    My husband was single his whole life before me. At first I allowed him to use that as an excuse to ease his way into a relationship and I never expected to have him get rid of porn entirely. But at what point it the "training" over? We've been together over 5 years. How can that still be a valid excuse? It should have been over long ago. And it wasn't his preference for porn over me.

    I constantly feel as though I am not good enough for my husband. I'm destroyed. My dad recommends to me I find my our personal counseling because of the body image issues I have developed because of him. I have not gotten the courage to do so yet.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    self healing likes this.
  9. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

    I was merely referring to the possible cause of the PMOing, not providing a validation for it.

    And my post was referring to the OP’s partner’s experience with his ex.
  10. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

    I did not mean to imply that you said anything incorrectly my apologies. Just wanted to post that some SO may read your comment that way and to make clear that a persons choice to engage in pmo is their own and not the fault of the partner, be that the ex wife in this thread or the current partner.
    realcheese likes this.
  11. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

    I gotcha. And yes. It is ultimately the choice of the Addict. Certainly the onus is on the PA not the SO. PMO is not a suitable mechanism for handling rejection, neglect or other negative feelings.
    GG2002 likes this.
  12. Jagliana

    Jagliana Fapstronaut

    This is our last saving grace as well, 12 years of marriage, 12 years of lies... I'm trying to be hopeful but I don't know if how much more of this cycle my emotional, physical and mental processes can take. I caught him last weekend, for the fourth time, merely a few months after the third big blowout. I told him all I wanted was honesty and he couldn't even give me that. So, I make a fake account on FB and found some SO of PA groups because I too, can not tell anyone about this pain, and one of the ladies their led me to this site... he's been on reboot for 5 days now and I hope to God it lasts, because if not our relationship will not.

    Ironically, I am a professional photo retoucher and believe me when I say, no one is perfect, you have no idea how many hours I've spent removing stretch marks and cellulite from Maxim's 100 hottest and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. So I know for a FACT we all have our flaws, but even given that I too feel like crap. The first time I caught him, I had just given birth to our first and was already suffering from postpartum depression. I can't look at myself in the mirror anymore, because of what his PA did to me mentally.

    But now, I'm working on ME for MYSELF.

    Just know you are beautiful, no matter what - all those chicks, they are fake and people like me get paid to make sure of it.

    - Jen
  13. @Jagliana: is your PA on NoFap? If not, I totally recommend that he join..there are so many good resources, links to material for him to learn about PA and recovery from PA / accountability partners can be found here / him starting a journal and writing in it daily ... these are so valuable and helpful in combatting his porn addiction.

    There are of course great resources for you too, the SO. Both sides get lots of encouragement, correction/adjustment, and support.

    Glad you found NoFap. Let us know if your PA joins.
    Jagliana and GG2002 like this.
  14. Jagliana

    Jagliana Fapstronaut

    Hey @TryingHard2Change Yes, he joined 5 days ago an after spending some time on this site he asked that I join too, for partner support - and here I am, hoping that is site helps us both.
    Kenzi and Deleted Account like this.
  15. @Jagliana, that is great. Feel free to Gove him my name if he wants to talk or ask questions or whatever.
    Jagliana and Kenzi like this.
  16. self healing

    self healing Fapstronaut

    Even porn stars don't look like porn stars! At the very least, they're aided by professional makeup, lighting, and camera angles.
    Personally, I would hold off on a wedding date until you're confident that he's taking his recovery seriously. There is hope, though. I first confronted my husband about the lack of sex roughly five years ago (we hadn't had sex in a year). He told me then that he just didn't find me attractive any more. It was a horrible blow to my self-esteem, on top of the year of rejections from him. I knew nothing about porn addiction, and didn't guess at what was going on until he admitted to not being attracted to any real women. And that was coming from a man who had once told me he'd screw any woman under 90! We've been at it on and off for five years since. About four months ago, I gave him the ultimatum: porn, or me. He has been active on this site ever since, and has taken other steps as well. I've been trying to look after myself. We've actually been having VP weekly for the past month (we're middle-aged, so that's pretty ok). Today he told me he finds me attractive again after having given up the porn. Not bad after being together for 20+ years!
  17. Cbelle41

    Cbelle41 Fapstronaut


    Just getting around to reading your journal and YES its normal to think it's your fault. Feel free to check out my SO journal. There exactly how I felt with the ED until I realized what was going on.
    And yes I feel that postponing the wedding is wise (you may have done this already.... I'm reading from the beginning lol )
  18. Cbelle41

    Cbelle41 Fapstronaut

    This gives me hope. Thanks.

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