Question for SOs: is it important who we are giving up for?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by kropo82, Feb 5, 2018.

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  1. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    This is a question for us porn addict’s partners, or to the porn addicts who have talked about this with their partners and know what they said.

    My wife said something at the weekend that's been rattling round my head. She was talking about how difficult it was for me to battle my porn addiction (she refers to it as "a beast") and then she said
    Of course I tried to tell her how wrong that was, how she would always be the centre of my life. But I have been wondering if this is the right approach. For some Significant Others (SOs) here it is vitally important that their porn addict partner is giving up for themselves, e.g.
    For other SOs the effort that the porn addict puts into recovery for the SO's sake helps to heal the hurt (sorry, I cannot find a good quote for that).

    I listed my reasons for giving up porn here and most of them are focussed on me not my wife, but the one that really matters is her ultimatum based on the collapse in her self-esteem.

    How important is it that we are giving up pornography for us not for you? To be honest, although I have many personal reasons for giving up, I do not believe I would be able to succeed unless I was doing it for her. Is that OK?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  2. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    Every morning I send her a message on Facebook Messenger about my day and how much I love her. Today I felt I needed to expand on this sense of her importance but also on my other reasons for giving up porn. Here's what I wrote
    I am unsettled by all this and I do not know if she needs to know that I am giving up for her (which is true) or for me (which is also true, but gives me less strength and motivation).
     
  3. Broken81

    Broken81 Fapstronaut

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    It's certainly a tough question. For my partner, he has told me he knows how destructive his porn use was in all aspects of his life. But he admits that if we had have broken up on DDay, he doesn't think he would have had the same drive to quit. It's something we have chatted about a few times. I think ultimately he has given up for himself, but his main reason for putting so much effort into quitting is because he wants to be a better father and husband. He has also told me that he thinks rekindling our intimacy after such a long drought has made abstaining easier too. I think it's okay to give up for yourself AND someone else. Apply the same to when I quit smoking years ago. I desperately wanted to quit and tried and failed many many times. As soon as we decided to try to conceive I quit for the last time. I had to quit for my future baby and it gave me the drive I needed to never look back and never touch another cig again.
    I think the way you have explained it to your SO is perfect. You have made it clear how important she is in your decision to quit. I would be very happy to read that from my SO.
     
  4. Johns80

    Johns80 Fapstronaut

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    I’ve said both....
    “Isn’t what we have enough of a reason to give up P?” And also “Regardless of what happens between us you should get help because you want to be a healthier person.”

    I think both can be true at the same time. My worry is..he went back. I know that on some level he really didn’t want to risk our relationship and he did anyway. Not wanting to hurt me wasn’t enough to keep himself in check. He has to learn to be accountable on his own and control his urges and actions because it’s the right thing to do, not just because of how I feel. I told him if he truly believes there is nothing wrong with P (after reading all the research) then he was free to keep going, but I was free to continue looking for another partner who shared my values and beliefs because I don’t want P in my life.
     
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  5. Very well put @Johns80. And great thread @kropo82.

    I have thought about this question....I too needed the ultimatum / or the threat of losing my wife and family to scare me straight. But I also always knew watching porn was wrong--I obviously didn't care about that though.

    For me, I stay focused on the impact my secret porn addiction had on my relationship with my wife. I now realize that all of that hiding and sneaking around puts up walls in our relationship -- that would be true of any relationship...and I want a full open, transparent, loving relationship.

    So I guess that puts me squarely in the "doing it for her / doing it for us" side.
     
  6. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    In my opinion if you are doing something to heal yourself, that in turn heals the relationship so it is also for her. I think your SO giving you the ultimatum may be a catalyst for you and many other addicts to finally stop. But thereafter you need to find your way to doing it for yourself. If the addict does not see the benefits himself of quitting PMO he is a lot more likely to relapse. To be clear, keeping your So is one of the benefits. But the addict has to see the damage he is doing to himself beyond what he is doing to his SO. The addict has to want this for himself. Otherwise it’s like your Mom telling you you can no longer eat candy. She tells you all the reasons it is bad for you but you already knew that, it did not effect you. BUT you know if you eat candy your Mom will be mad at you, so you don’t eat candy. When the partner becomes like a MOm or a warden the addict begsin to resent her for it. I hope this makes sense.

    The struggle for the So is that you are telling her that she is your world and you would do anything for her, but she wonders if that’s true why did you not do it before? Did I just become your world recently? Was I not for our entire marriage? She may think well clearly I was not enough before, so how am I enough now? As SOs we are always scared you are going to relapse. We do not want to feel that pain again all over. The anxiety we feel is something I am not sure the addict can understand. You the addict have total control over relapse, we have no control.

    So I suspect when she is saying am I enough? What she is really saying is why am I enough now, but I was not for all those years. And I am not sure that you can come up with a good explanation. Maybe, if true, that you now realize how bad PMO is for you individually and how much it damages the relationship and why. You can list all the reasons to her, but I think this is the question that is dodging her. If things between the two of you ended would you go back to PMO? If not tell her that, let her see that it is you that has changed.
     
  7. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    YES! This. I struggle with this a lot. Since quitting PMO it is like my husband now feels so strongly about me, the way I have always felt about him. It hurts. I mean I am glad he feels that way, but it just makes it obvious that he didn't feel that way the whole time, when I thought he did. I didn't realize how much was missing.

    As for this, to me it is important that it is for him. If we weren't married, would you still use P or not, I want to know that about my husband. That let's me see if he truly sees the harm in it, to himself, to society, to perpetuating this cycle, for his kids, etc. Does he really think there is something wrong with it in itself or is he just quitting because I don't want him to? Of course, yes, I want to feel important enough to him that he would do anything to keep me, but on a deeper level, I want him to reject P because it is P, and all that it represents. Hope that makes sense. From your posts, it seems that you still can find a lot of positive things about P, things it added to your life at one time. If I were your wife, it would make me feel awful that this thing that destroyed me so much still had some positive aspects in your mind. That would not make me feel safe that you wouldn't go back to it, hence her statement, I'd guess.
     
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  8. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

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    I think if your SO is the ONLY reason you’re quitting PMO, you probably won’t succeed. Too many factors that you can’t control. What if she leaves? Cheats? Makes you sleep in the garage? Etc. If she is your primary reason a change in relationship could cause a horrible relapse.

    Your SO can certainly be one of the many reasons you quit and a paramount one—but the reason you want to quit must be for yourself first and foremost. Only by helping yourself first can you do right by others. It sounds selfish but it’s necessary.
     
  9. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    I agree, that it's okay for there to be both the reason of yourself and your partner, but at the end of the day it better be for yourself. I've asked Jak many times throughout recovery why he was doing it. Originally the answer was "for you" and I got so sad at that answer because it meant he was more likely to relapse. I ask now, and he says for him. That makes me happy because he see's the benefits of life without P, and see's how much better his life has become. He gets A's and B's in school (instead of failing out when he used P), he has his dream job (instead of working crap jobs when he used P), he can feel emotions (instead of numbing out with P), he can connect on a deeper level with people (instead of only living superficially with those around him), etc. You get the point. Because I wanted to know that Jak would continue life without P if I wasn't in it. His life is so much better now and I would hate to know he would just go back to old ways if I were gone because he has so much potential.

    So yes, you can be quitting for your wife, but at the end of the day you should also be quitting for yourself because you see the benefits of life without P.
     
  10. WantsToBelieve

    WantsToBelieve Fapstronaut

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    For a long, agonizing time, I was always in relationships for those other people. I always did what they wanted. I fulfilled their needs first. Needless to say... that got me in more trouble than I can describe. I lost who I was. I internalized. I developed negative coping mechanisms.
    My point being... I eventually learned that I need to do things for me. For my benefit. Of course, that doesn't mean I do things selfishly, but I do things for my own mental sanity and well-being, even if they are things that I don't necessarily enjoy. (working out and eating healthy, for example)
    Giving up PMO is the same thing. While the pleasure is a selfish endeavor, it is also a coping mechanism that is harmful to anyone's mind.
    Giving it up is less about giving up that "pleasure" aspect of it than it is being able to face reality and step out of that mental fog.
    I'm with most of the SO's when I say it should be a little bit of both, but even single guys should be trying to stay away from it, if not for the reason of it being "bad for you" but for moral reasons, how bad the industry is for our society as humans.
     
  11. Johns80

    Johns80 Fapstronaut

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    This.
    When I started dating my SO I was upfront with how I felt about P. I asked him if he used it and he said no. So the first DDay I was upset and he promised to quit...for me. He never quit. He just hid it better. He said he knew if he got caught he would be in trouble...with me.
    Second DDay I was enraged. This time it was required therapy, reading articles, really confronting the truth about P. His main reasons for not doing it currently is he understands what it was doing to his mind, his body, and his soul. This is a man who helps the homeless, volunteers at animal shelters, is kind and loving to his sisters and daughters. P doesn’t match up with his world views. When he found out how women are treated in P he was disgusted to be part of something that dark.
    So when it was just for me it wasn’t enough to quit. This makes me immensely sad and something we have to work through. That he didn’t really love me the way I think love should be.
    But I am glad he sees the damage he was doing to himself and realizes he doesn’t want to be that person anymore.
     
  12. Queenie%Bee

    Queenie%Bee Fapstronaut

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    Hmmm . Both answers probably work for different relationships. Our counselor right after DDAY asked if he would have stopped on his own . He said probably not , he didn’t SEE any changes in himself . But he was clearly in his addiction still in his brain anyway , not his hand . I think yes me definitely leaving if he didn’t fix himself /the issue /do the work was the absolute catalyst for the change . I required , NOT requested certain things from him . I did not require an accountability partner other than myself , I did not require meetings . I did require couples counseling , something we are headed back to . So to me it is IMPORTANT that the change happened . I don’t give a shit how it happened , who was the cause . We are WAY passed me caring about that . 22 years I’ve invested in this relationship/our family . I agreed not to walk if he showed he could and would change . He knows I am not interested in being with a white knuckled porn addict . I did that the first DDAY almost a decade ago . We will do this right , all in 100% or I’m out . It’s just that simple . I know I’m his world / was his world . He’s always been good to me in every other way , which is the ONLY reason I stayed . If he was a porn addict and an asshole forget it I would have left . A porn addict can easily compartmentalize the P . Just like I can seem like we are fine , live life to the fullest and put my betrayal trauma in a box so we can take Kids to movies lol
    Sorry for the rant
     
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  13. Kenzi

    Kenzi Fapstronaut

    I never gave it much thought...
    My SO says he might have originally stopped for me but by a year sober, he loved who he was so much that there was no way he wanted to THAT person again.
    It might have started when I put my down... But he kept going (and still does) for the benefit of himself.
    He's more aware, more creative, a better father and the lover and husband I like, not just love.
    Etc etc

    He simply loves who he is now.
    If I ever left, he said it wouldn't lead to relapse... He wouldn't want to give it up.
    "it costs too much"
    &
    "he has more self respect now" (than to throw it away again)
     
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  14. self healing

    self healing Fapstronaut

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    Great thread. Around the AA rooms, it's said, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. BUT he might get thirsty". So even if the impetus is the SO, perhaps eventually the PA does recovery for himself.
     
  15. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    They don't have to be exclusive. When you are married, you are one. Or should be. So when you give something up for one, you give it up for the other, making your union stronger. I know for my husband, he is doing it for both of us. He was caught up in it for so long, in the fog, that he wanted out but didn't know how, but also the addiction made him not want out at the same time. So it wasn't until DDay and me being the catalyst to set the ball rolling. It was a relief for him when I found out. He doesn't want it in his life. He doesn't like what it did to his mind and soul. He wants it gone forever. But he needed me to help him get it started and he didn't know it (neither did I at the time). I am his motivation. Our kids are his motivation. Our marriage is his motivation.
     
  16. PaleAle76

    PaleAle76 Fapstronaut

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    I think when we tell our SO's that we'd do anything to keep them, anything to stop them from leaving, in a way we're admitting that we were cheating. You're making the confession that you want to keep doing what you're doing, but you'll stop because you don't want to lose them. When they hear that, I imagine it feels to them that we are not really wanting to change. And I think we've all been there. It took my fiancé catching me for it sink in that I needed to change. And I will be perfectly honest that if it wasn't for our relationship, I wouldn't have stopped. Primarily because I wouldn't have realized I have a problem, but also because I wouldn't have the support I need to quit. Whatever the catalyst was that is spurring this change is not as important as how you approach it. You are of course doing this for your wife. But if you're ONLY doing it for her, than you're not doing it for the right reasons.
     
  17. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

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    Agree. I think the reason we (PAs) shouldn’t use our SOs as our primary reason for quitting is b/c we can too easily distort/manipulate our rationale for quitting.

    “I’m doing this for her so since she won’t know if I PMO a little, it’s okay.”
    “I’m doing this for her and she’s acting all pissy so screw it. I’m gonna watch a few vids.”
    And so on...

    When the PRIMARy motivation for quitting is the PAs own self-value, it’s much harder to run from the relapses, slip ups and hateful behavior. I know every single bad thought/temptation/edge/relapse that occurred. I can’t hide from it. I have to face it.

    So I’m doing this for ME. But being connected and truly intimate with my wife is just a nose behind.
     
  18. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut

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    Exactly. My ex addict was only doing it for me and he hated me for it. He was always angry at me it was horrible.
     
  19. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

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    Which is totally wrong.

    “Hey I’m quitting b/c this has caused you all kinds of pain but while you’re trying to work through that I’m going to resent you for something I’ve ultimately chosen to do that has caused us both pain.”

    If I keep it on me, I have no one else to blame. My SO and our relationship is the prize when I win the fight. But I fight to win the fight, not the prize.
     
  20. Veritable

    Veritable Fapstronaut

    This a great reminder the kind of thing a PA can do to help his wife heal/feel confident in your recovery. I really like it
     

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