Recently broke up with porn addict partner

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by mellowbluebird, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. mellowbluebird

    mellowbluebird New Fapstronaut

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    hey guys,

    my porn addicted partner and i broke up a month ago after three years together... the last six months of our relationship was hellish as i'm sure most of you can relate to (it all came out a year into the relationship and after an initial phase where he seemed to be dealing with things the momentum died down and we got stuck in the cycle of promising to change/relapsing/lying/blaming/getting caught/promising to change etc.) and yeah sex life had fallen apart by the end... the usual pattern of results.

    Anyway the actual break up was quite mutual... we were still very inlove but both of us knew we had a hit a wall with the addiction, and he wasn't going to truly deal with this while in the comfort of a relationship.. the hurt was just growing. He also has mild aspergers which i think may have played into things aswell....

    my dilema now is that he is wanting us to try again after he has dealt with his addiction... he feels he has hit rock bottom etc. since we broke up/ telling me i'm the love of his life etc. It's really hard to keep him at arms length when he is telling me this. I've said i need two months at least no contact.... and I would not consider getting back with him before six months. But i have no idea if he is just manipulating me back into the relationship, and once I'm there everything will slowly devolve again. I feel like my love for him is sometimes my biggest weakness. I'm relatively young (27) and i just don't know if it worth the risk... the longer i have away from him too, the more i am seeing the damage he has done to my psyche. i am terrified of ever being with another man too for fear of this happening again.... i'm assuming this is normal? have any of you guys who eventually left your partners needed therapy to work through some of the porn/trust/intimacy issues?

    also as an aside, I've been lurking here a lot and I noticed at least one of the posters here mentioned they had some aspie traits. I was wondering how you think your traits interact with porn addiction, and if there are any unique difficulties associated with having aspergers and PMO addiction? i wondered if some of his aspie traits may have made him more susceptible to it? and how does you partner feel about it? I guess sometimes it's hard to decipher what is the aspergers and what is the addiction in terms of periods of emotional disconnect etc.

    I'm not sure what i even want from this post.... but i feel like i have taken massive backward steps in the last few weeks in terms of moving on from this.
     
  2. I am in no way stating that you should follow this but only relaying a message from my counselor who has 40 years of addiction specialty experience. I had my first visit with this counselor a few weeks after I left my PMO addicted fiancé and decided that I could not continue to be with him after finding out many horrible things that was going on in our 5 year relationship that I was not even aware of. This counselor told me that with any addiction, the partner should never even attempt to reconcile before a year of sobriety. I was completely stunned at the time, but he explained that most addicts lose that drive to get healthy when they have their SO willing to go back to them after a short time. Although at the time, I was completely shocked about that kind of time line, having 5 months of time away from my ex, I can now understand why a year is a good indicator of seeing true change. I know it seems crazy, but really if you think about it, the time away helps both partners really decide what is best for themselves. You said yourself that just the few short weeks have given you a different perspective and realization...in a few short weeks. This is only the desperate beginning for your addicted partner who will do anything just to get things back to "normal". Mine did, and I believed him, but found out it was just a way to manipulate me further.

    I am in no way saying that every single addict is the same, but all addicts do try their hardest to get things back in their comfort zone, rather than actually committing to change, some later do realize that life is better than fantasy and commit to change, but most addicts take years to do that when their SO is still available to them. A year of separation may not be as harsh as I initially thought. That may have saved our relationship if I had been given that insight when I first ended our relationship almost a year ago. Not that it is my fault, but I took him back way too soon and all along he was just better at hiding things because the real feeling of loss was gone very quickly in our first separation.

    As far as aspergers, I cant speak to that with this addiction, but have worked with kids and can only imagine this addiction must be much more difficult for someone to let go of when they are on the spectrum. But talking with the SO of someone with aspergers on here would be helpful for you, I'm sure.
     
  3. mellowbluebird

    mellowbluebird New Fapstronaut

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    Thank you so much for your reply, it means so much to me and is exactly what I needed to hear. When we first broke up I was thinking that if we were to ever give things another shot it would have to be at least a year later... otherwise I would be enabling him in a way and also launching myself straight back into what I had tried so hard to get out of (I had broken up with him for a month the year before and he seemed to turn his life around/everything was fantastic for a few months until things began to devolve again slowly). And I also felt that I needed to be 'free' enough of him to make rational decisions about what was good for me. But of course he began to wear me down after a couple of weeks. Most people close to me are saying give it at least a year... and who knows after that time I may not feel the pull to return to him. So yes, I take your advice to heart and that gives me more resolve... it's interesting to hear that a therapist said the same thing. I'm thinking of going back to my psychologist to regain some rationality and talk about these things too. Having another two months with no contact will give me some good mental space too I think.

    How soon after your initial break up did you take your partner back may I ask? What kind of things did he say he had changed? And how are you feeling after five months apart from your partner? Do you feel stronger? Do you feel able to date again? And do you still feel that getting back with him after a year is an option for you two, or was the break up final? Are you still in contact with him? Sorry for all the questions..

    It's interesting what you say about finding out things were worse than you expected... a part of me is terrified that I never actually knew the full extent of his addiction (as the more I read the more it seems to suggest that this kind of addiction escalates beyond porn after a time.... and that the addict is so good at hiding it, they would never disclose unless caught). I have no concrete reason to think my ex cheated on me, but the lack of sex etc. got me paranoid about it, and there is no way I could ever go back to him if his issues had escalated beyond porn. Do you know what the likelihood of porn addiction escalating to cheating/ sex addiction is?

    Thank you so much for replying to me, it's really comforting to talk to someone who is in a similar position.
     
  4. Headspace

    Headspace Fapstronaut

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    He definitely isn't over it yet. If he has actually hit rock bottom he is supposed to climb up again, by himself. Deeds, not words.
     
  5. i_wanna_get_better1

    i_wanna_get_better1 Fapstronaut

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    I'm someone who has aspie traits and may have hfa (High Funcitoning Aspergers). After going through my reboot it is still hard to tell what parts of my problems are attributable to aspergers, being introverted, and the addiction... but I will share my experience. I found this article very interesting which describes the intimacy problems that arise between AS and NT partners.

    First, I will describe where I am on the spectrum. For the most part you could not tell that I have aspergers. My wife did not put the pieces together until well into our marriage. I do not have the dead facial affect, I don't have the obvious speech patterns, and I don't have any of the obvious motor deficiencies. I do have sensory sensitivities, social anxieties, difficulty chit-chatting, fascination with numbers, narrow interests, and inward focus.

    You ask if my aspergers made me more susceptible. Absolutely and without a doubt. Porn can take the place of social interaction. People are unpredictable and can be stressful to interact. Porn is predictable and non-confrontational. Social situations are uncontrollable and emotionally draining. When we PMO we are perfectly able to control our environment. Porn has no subtly or misunderstandings. We know the formula, we are familiar with the progression of the story, there are no surprises and therefore no disappointments.

    Sexual interaction can be the most intense social situation imaginable - kissing, touching, reading partner's feedback, sensory overload, smells, fluids, and being unable to let go and be fully present. Porn is clean and stress-free. Aspies also have narrow focus and porn can become a subject of deep interest. It can be viewed as an education tool and a way to become sexually proficient. It can lead to accumulating a collection like comic books or baseball cards and turn us into a curator of sorts. We can cultivate it, sort it, organize it, hunt for it, store it, and nurture it like a valuable collection.

    You asked how my traits interact with my porn addiction. Addiction requires secrecy. I was naturally introverted and keeping that part of my life secret was natural. I was good at keeping it a secret for a long time. I mistakenly thought I could keep it in a little box in the corner of my mind and not have it affect everything around me. I thought if I could be a good father and provider then that would make up for any deficiencies as a husband or lover. It was also very difficult to communicate my emotions... or more specifically translate my feelings into words. My discomfort because of many sources gave me reason to want to medicate or sooth these feelings. PMO is a way to self-medicate using the brain's natural chemicals to alleviate suffering. PMO is a way of hacking your brain. I have had to learn other coping skills. I have had to learn to manage my discomfort in healthy ways.

    You ask about difficulties associated with getting clean. I had to not only give up something that I thought I loved, but I had to learn to be a human being again. As it is, aspies need to learn to mimic behavior that comes natural to others. Porn stunts emotional development. I had to learn how to communicate meaningfully with my wife, how to read her moods, analyze my words to see if they were hurtful, take the first step in communicating my feelings instead of waiting to be drawn out, how to be more empathetic, how to speak her love language instead of my love language. Aspergers can also come with OCD symptoms and obsessive thoughts that are difficult for me to reject, but I try hard not to dwell on thoughts that will lead me back to porn. Seeking out isolation to recharge my social batteries also puts in in an environmental position to relapse so I have to curtail my alone time or take measures to reduce my risk. But the biggest difficulty was the disappointment that my attraction to porn has not disappeared. I still feel uncomfortable therefore I still feel a desire to medicate it. My brain will not allow me to forget what made it feel good. I have had to learn to live with my discomfort. I don't have to always self-sooth in unhealthy ways.

    How does my wife feel about my condition and my recovery? I made her miserable for most of our marriage. She is happy to finally have a husband who cares about her.... a husband who is finally choosing her over porn. The wounds are still there from all those years of neglect. I still have moments or days where my behavior reminds her of the old me. I think there is also a lot of disappointment that I can never be the husband she hoped I would become. Some things will never come naturally to me... I have to mimic what comes naturally to others. Some skills I'm getting better at... more eye contact, more compliments, more checking in emotionally. She is proud of me and my accomplishments. She values when I make efforts and when I put her need first. So, it's a mixed bag being married to an aspie... but then again, there are pluses and minuses with anyone we choose to marry.

    I'm sure you'd probably want to run for the hills and away from anyone who has a condition like mine. But we also have wonderful strengths. Narrow interests can be a dividing point unless you share those same interests. A person may not be the most romantic person but can be an amazing parent. A person might not be a great lover but can be a great financial provider and take care of things around the house. Does anyone ever get everything they want in a husband? If they are lucky then they do. My wife would ask you - what are you willing to settle for?

    I don't want to turn this post into a novel (too late) so I'll wrap up commenting on your breakup and thoughts of reconciling. A healthy relationship only happens between two healthy people. If things are not resolved before getting together then strange dynamics start to happen. Instead of a husband/wife dynamic you can have addict/sponsor, addict/co-addict, parent/child, or abuser/victim. Marriage does allow couples to lean on one another for support, but one person cannot fix the other one EVER. People get comfortable in those roles and there is little incentive to change. Trust your gut... you are the best one to know if he is trustworthy. If he doesn't make you feel safe then that is a HUGE red flag. I agree with the other posts to let more time pass. Make sure he has gone through a program and is not simply doing it on his own. Addicts cannot get better on their own. They need a therapist, go through a program, and/or join a community.

    I hope I was able to shed light on what goes on in our minds and enables you to make a good decision. I hope you receive the information and support you need to move forward.
     
  6. LadyDefiant

    LadyDefiant Fapstronaut

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    Regardless of whether partners of addicts stay or leave, therapy can be helpful. If you have realized that time away from him makes you more aware of the damage you have suffered and the fear of being w/ another person is real, perhaps therapy would be beneficial. Take time to assess your own feelings and thoughts about your relationship so that you can heal and move forward.
     
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  7. Don't apologize for asking questions, it's difficult to know what to do and we all need advice/ideas/opinions/examples to make better decisions for ourselves.
    We were together for 5.5 years. For 5 years I had so many questions about his behaviour and finally put things together and confronted him with PMO addiction, which he first denied the year before and I wanted to trust his answers do I let it go but still felt something was going on. The next time I confronted him, I could no longer ignore the issues and felt I knew he had this addiction and after not accepting his usual odd explanations, he finally confessed. He promised to stop and We tried for two weeks but I was a mess and still didn't believe he was clean and felt crazy so I looked around and found somethings that I was disgusted with and kicked him out. Two weeks after that, he was talking differently, seemed to be opening up and wanting to change. I agreed to seek counseling with him if he first went alone and we would continue living apart. We were in counseling together after he first went for a month on his own and I went on my own as well. He seemed to be making changes, more attentive, a bit more open, but he slowly was showing subtle signs that he may have not been clean but I wanted so badly to trust him, I didn't trust my gut feelings. He moved back in after 3 months living apart. Immediately I started to feel like I was unraveling because I could feel things were slipping back but I didn't want to police him and he swore he wasn't "doing anything". His answers got more vague, he was more irritated when asked anything (and I was holding back on most things, so his reaction was inappropriate). 3 weeks after he moved back in, I knew he was lying and I finally asked for his phone. He had been looking at p-subs on his phone, then found evidence that he cheated on me early in our relationship. He denied it for 24 hours, then admitted it happened "once". I know it was more. I kicked him out again and searched everything I could think of, all of his accounts etc. I realized that he was still in contact with the woman he cheated on me with, almost 5 years later and it confirmed that it was not a one time thing. He also had at least one dating site account, with current "match ups". I don't believe he was currently cheating physically but it was more than enough to realize that he was not even trying and never intended on being honest with me. He was looking at p-subs and porn the entire time he claimed to be clean, even lying to our counselor during his individual sessions.
    Due to all of this, I realized that I will never feel safe and trusting of him because he is such an amazing liar. I also realized that I do not trust my own intuition, which goes back to childhood abuse and therefore our relationship is toxic for me. I will not even entertain the idea of being with him again. I hate everything he has done, and know I would never be able to get passed it with him. I also realized that I am damn good at feeling things are wrong, but now must value how I feel rather than dismissing it bc my pattern has been to value other people over myself and give them the benefit of the doubt too many times.

    I do not hate him, I still have love for him, but I am not in love with him at all anymore. I am mostly hurt that my expectations of a life I was looking forward to is gone. We were engaged, planning our wedding, hoping to have kids....But I know I would never feel happy bc he cannot open up emotionally (probably why he got into this addiction in the first place as this issue goes back to his childhood). I am grateful that I stepped up and finally told myself that I am worth more than what he is willing or capable of giving me or our relationship.

    About a month after I kicked him out the second time, I told him I was finished and would not take him back. He spent a couple more weeks trying to do NoFap, counseling etc. Then he stopped. It truly shows that he would not have continued if he thought he had another chance with me. I don't know if he is fully back into his addiction, but I can tell he isn't completely rebooting.
    We still talk here and there, but it's nothing emotional, nothing about his addiction (I don't ask because I can tell and also it is no longer my problem what he is doing to himself). We both miss the companionship, having an SO to talk to, eat dinner with, etc. But that will come one day for me with someone I can trust and who is dedicated to our relationship. I am not really wanting to date at the moment, need time to heal
     
  8. Ukulele

    Ukulele Fapstronaut

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    Reading this thread has been very helpful in understanding my patterns more. Thank you ladies for sharing your pain and struggle!
     
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  9. Carbon Icon

    Carbon Icon Fapstronaut

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    @mellowbluebird Your only 27. You've only been together for 3 years and have no kids. I would seriously consider moving on. Your partners actions show he has not fully committed to recovering. Even if he has, it will take years to sort himself out. He also probably has underlying issues that cause him to be more susceptible to addiction that will need to be dealt with. Do you really want to spend the rest of your twenties dealing with this?

    It may feel like your meant to be together, but the truth is there are many men out there who would be a great partner for you. You can have that feeling with someone else. Your fear of picking someone else who is also a PA seems legitimate considering how widespread this problem is. But it's not everyone. And you can screen people better now as you are familiar with the signs of addiction.
     
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  10. Var2c

    Var2c Fapstronaut

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    Dear mellowbluebird i see this post was uploaded in 2017. I am currently in an uncanny similar situation. I would really like to reach out to you and chat about this. No one in my personal circle is willing to advise me me or talk to me much about this because they don’t know what to say or suggest. I hope you respond so i can tell you about my situation.
     
  11. Var2c

    Var2c Fapstronaut

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    Man, i needed this!!!! Thank you!!!
     
  12. Var2c

    Var2c Fapstronaut

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    Thank you endlessly for posting your painful experiences. You do not understand how much this has helped me. I am going through this exact experience. Should i cut him off??? And out of my life? I love and still but this isn’t healthy for me. Everything my partner has done is the same As everyone here. For two years he’s been doing this and its the entirety of our relationship. I feel so incredibly traumatized. That’s not an exaggeration.
     
  13. You stated above you feel like you've been tormented for 2 years by his addiction...is that something you can forgive and forget any time soon? If not, I expect it will be toxic to the relationship in addition to his misdeeds. You don't need to cut him out of your life, but you both should cut out some of the mutual dependencies and reduce the relationship down to at most a friendship.
    I encourage you to work on your own self-dependence and self-confidence. Your situation is 'not healthy for you', change it (easier said than done). I'm all for people helping PAs, while keeping an arms length, not gonna recommend someone to get closer as thats where they will risk significant harm to themselves.
     
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  14. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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  15. Var2c

    Var2c Fapstronaut

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    Thnk you so much for such a well thought out response. Thank you!!!! He kept/keeps on asking me why i didnt help him or support him, but that he doesn’t need professional help or a therapist just me in my corner to help, but how can i help??? How can i help if im also not able to cope that when he gives into that temptation that i am being used and cheated on?? Thank you again!!!In a dark time this thread has tremendously helped.
     
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  16. Numb

    Numb Fapstronaut

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    I don't have much to add, just support. He sounds like he needs to get some help, he can not expect you to be the only support he has. It is not fair to either of you, and to me it sounds like he is blaming you and whining. You need to help yourself first, and begin to heal. That is not an easy thing to do in the relationship if he is unwilling to do what he needs to do to get better. And that is not placing it on you to help him.
     
  17. Torn

    Torn Fapstronaut

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    @Var2c Im sorry you are hurting. We SO's here understand all too well. Your partner needs outside help that you cannot and should not provide. You are his romantic partner, NOT his therapist. I'm afraid he's trying to avoid (even subconsciously) some things.

    I would highly recommend making a list of boundaries and consequences. One of my requirements for staying with my PA was/is him receiving professional help from a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist). If he didn't, I would leave. Also, if he goes back into the cycle of lying and hiding, I will leave. If he slips and he's honest with me, it gives us something to work with, and we will do that. Your boundaries are yours to decide, and they are actions you will take to protect yourself and maintain your sanity if he does or doesn't do certain behaviors. Addicts respond to consequences, otherwise there is no incentive to change.
     
  18. Var2c

    Var2c Fapstronaut

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    Thank you @Numb and @Torn !! I am taking your words seriously and to heart. I needed to hear thAt!!
     
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  19. Sad and done

    Sad and done Fapstronaut

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    I’m in the same boat as you. Been with him 3 years on and off for the first. Then he tells me why. I was so happy at first to find out there was a reason but little did I know what wAs to come. Porn is evil. I’m in the gutter now. No self respect left at all. I have now walked away as he has said he loves me but doesn’t know if he is in love as he has no urge to have sex with me. I don’t know if this is all because of his addiction or he’s just not in love with me. Either way I’ve left and said I can’t be with him if he’s not willing to help himself. He won’t get help. And I can’t help him through it as I feel so low now. I don’t know wether you should cut him off if he’s willing to help himself but maybe keep at a safe distance for your own sake.
     
  20. Hi Mellow, I'm a sex and porn addict / aspie. Your story as well as the stories of others rings true with me. I've been in a relationship with my SO for about 2 years now and it was only a month ago that I came clean about my history. She did not take it well at first but we've agreed to work through things. I've joined an SAA group and I'm looking for a sex and addiction therapist. I haven't looked at P in about 4 years but I relapsed in January with a psub, so I know this isn't leaving me anytime soon.

    Its hard to be unbiased about this question because I really feel for your SO and his pain, but I recognize that you must do what's best for yourself as well. I will say, if he's trying to kick this on his own, he can't. I want to emphasize this: he cannot do this on his own. At the very least he needs a support group and an accountability partner and it shouldn't be you. Yes he needs to be open with you about his addiction progress, good or bad, but its not a good idea for him to lean on you for his recovery needs. This is because, as his SO, you are not an impartial party. Addicts have problems with trust that need to be worked on and they need help from a disinterested party to help facilitate that. So their AP can't be a family member, an SO, or even a close friend.

    Having said all that, this isn't your problem. This is his. He has to want to stick in there and change. No one else can do it for him. From what I understand, addiction is progressive. So if he doesn't get help and stick with it, his behaviors are likely to get worse over time. That's my understanding. As to the Aspie part of things, there is evidence to suggest aspies are susceptible. There's a researcher on asperger's named Tony Attwood (tremendous wealth of information) who confirms that 'collecting behaviors' or 'cataloguing behaviors', unconscious or conscious can get aspies into trouble if they don't check themselves in sexual matters. This all sounds grim, but on the other side of the coin, there's reason to believe that since aspies love routine, if he finds new ways to adapt he will stick with them rigidly. So there is cause for hope.

    I think its common to a lot of us to underestimate the size of this problem when we're first confronted with it. I'd like to think that's whats going on with him right now, because if he knew how much this affected every area of his life, and yours, maybe he'd think twice. In SAA we call this 'taking a fearless inventory of ourselves'. I don't know, but my heart goes out to him and you all the same.

    One last thing. I've observed that hurt people (and sex/porn addicts are hurt people in one way or another), tend to attract other hurt people. It takes two to tango in any relationship. This doesn't mean you're responsible for his behavior, but there is a relationship dynamic there that you might be contributing to in some way. Whether you're going to continue together or apart, I think it would be a good idea seek private counseling for yourself to see what that dynamic might be so you don't find yourself perpetuating this.

    There is always hope. Take care, all the best and God bless.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018

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