Same story as a lot of you... need some advice

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by Stefanie, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    Where do I start? I met my husband in high school. He and I were just friends. We reconnected eight years ago (2009) on Facebook. Both married. He was in the long process of a horrible, bitter divorce from a woman who cheated on him with at least ten guys WHILE he was deployed and I was in a platonic relationship with my soon-to-be-ex... my ex and I had agreed to stay together for our daughter, but lived in different bedrooms. We got along great, didn't date anyone, just hung out as a slightly dysfunctional family.

    Anyway... my current SO and I started chatting as friends for six months and had a chance to meet up for coffee one day (we lived 1200 miles apart). It changed everything. We had an immediate attraction to each other and wanted to be together. We had been speaking for months, so we knew each other very well, but had not seen each other since high school, so the attraction was overwhelming. I dissolved my platonic relationship (and my ex and I are still friends; he stays with us when he comes to be with our daughter). Current SO had to fight his ex for a divorce. During this fight with her, she filed adultery complaints with the Army (though I was 1200 miles away) and it led to my SO not being able to promote, so he was separated after 14 years. My SO and his vile ex had been apart for nearly two years, but her money was about to dry up, so she lashed out. It caused him to go into severe depression. I knew that when he was 'single' he was doing PMO and he started PMO as a substitute to sex when he was a teen, because in his mind, it was "more Christian/better" to do that than have sex. He lost his virginity when he was 25 and had only one girl-friend, and five one-night stands prior to his adulterous ex (all of this was shared when we were just friends/not dating, so I do not doubt its validity). He told me he had stopped during our relationship, out of respect for us. I believed him. When he was discharged from the Army (2011), I found out he was still doing PMO, and he swore he would not do it again. I was hesitant, but decided to believe him. He was unemployed for almost 16 months, and I was working five jobs while attending graduate school to support us.

    Throughout the years, our sex life had always been a little less than I wanted, but when it started to further decrease, I became suspicious. In 2013, two years after our wedding, I discovered that he had been using PMO every time I worked (I work nights as a nurse), and I nearly left him. It is not just the withdrawal of intimacy and lack of respect, it is the deception. He and I went to individual counseling for eight weeks, but to be honest, couldn't afford it. He was making half of what I make and we had moved to a new home/new state (more expensive) to have a fresh start away from the military town we had lived in.

    He cried; he begged; he pleaded... he SWORE he would never, ever do this again! He just went cold-turkey (we had sex, but he said he never went back to PMO) I put filters on the internet, I had parental settings on his phone/iPad - all with his approval and knowledge. I even had a keylogger on his computer. Nothing ever flagged. Not sure if he is smart enough to circumvent any of these measures. Our sex life improved marginally. He is not the romantic type, and doesn't really make any effort.

    I have to admit, I am not the most forgiving wife. In arguments over other things or when I felt he was not as loving as I wanted and would assume the worst, I would sometimes bring up his betrayal in 2011 and 2013. It was brought up about twice a month for the last four years. I am ashamed that I am this way and I am working on being better.

    Money is tight; he took a new role in his current job, and it is commission based; starting out he is bringing home much even less. I have been frustrated with his career after he left the Army, because I have been working non-stop 50+ hours a week since 2011 without a real break (no vacations; every blue moon I would have just 3-4 nights off in a row and I would be staying home). He continues to make less than half of what I make and it is hard on us. So again, I suck at being the most supportive wife, because I let my frustrations be known and in reflection, I almost feel justified BECAUSE he was somewhat responsible for the loss of his job (should have divorced his ex so much sooner) AND because he has betrayed me. I see all of this in me, and hate myself for it. Again, I am working on it.

    So..... I caught him four weeks ago looking at a Facebook page (of all places) of self-submitted 98% naked pictures of girls (mind you, he is 41, and these girls are all 18 to 25ish). To add insult to injury, last week he was texting a friend about his new job, potential income in the next year and his administrative assistant - stating she was "smoking hot" (his phone was facing up, and I saw the text). I lost it! I realize that pictures of nearly naked girls are not porn, but he has been "clean" for over four years now. Plus the statement about his admin is super inappropriate. He tells me he was just messing around, that she is not hot, just teasing the guy because the guy had just quit! My SO tells me he saw the link to the page on another friend's newsfeed and got curious. This all started about six or so months ago - unless that is a lie. He again is using it when I work, which is about four to five nights a week (12-hour shifts) - there are weeks I do not see him for any of those days/nights, since he does not get home before I have to leave.

    I asked him WHY? Why would he do that? The small profile pic of the page was of a naked woman covering her breasts, so he had to know. He knew the consequences were divorce. He knew he would lose his family. He did it anyway. He said he figured I would not find out, since it would not trigger any filters etc. plus, they are not naked nor is it porn, it is like Victoria Secret on steroids. Except each girl has her facebook profile linked to the pic, so these are REAL girls with real identities and real potential to be contacted. I am not sure if he would ever go that far. Knowing him and his history, I do not think so, but he has been a liar for so long, I do not know what to think of him anymore.

    I told him that he needs to think about his trigger - what made him click that link and then go back to it - especially after he said he felt guilt after he would look at the pics and get aroused. He denies masturbation, but who knows. He said he liked the rush of "happiness" he would get from looking at the pictures.

    He said he did it because he was "bored, lonely and frustrated". He is bored a lot; no real hobbies or friends. He is not a social person. Never really had a lot of close relationships in high school/college and due to moving around a lot for the Army. We live in a small mountain town. He works Monday through Saturday and often is not home until 1800. He is lonely because I am not home and he has not seen me in days. Lastly he is frustrated because our sex life has diminished over the last four years to about 2-4 times a month AND we are bickering a lot about bills, his new job, his laziness (not even bothering to pick up after himself, and I am OCD clean freak), which ends up us fighting about why we are in the financial situation we are in (his loss of his Army job and subsequent unemployment and living partially on my student loans) and then to the final punch: his previous betrayals. And if that was not enough, I had a cancer scare in January 2017 and was eventfully diagnosed with stage 1 cancer two months ago. We can't afford for me to take time off for surgery (hysterectomy), so I am on a high stress/anxiety level right now.

    Bottom line, I love him. I could not imagine spending my life with anyone else. We are politically in sync; both have the same Christian viewpoints, agree on how to live, what we want out of life... we don't like the same music, but are open to each other's tastes. We love snuggling, holding hands, cooking together, hiking, climbing 14'ers... I wanted nothing more than to grow old with him, but I cannot trust him. I am heartbroken.

    This relapse... does it under these circumstances mean he has to start over? Will he struggle again with thoughts? Will this happen again? IF I stay, are we or are we not to have sex? I know those are impossible questions, but what is your experience? Given his history and everything else (yea, sorry about the length of this post, just poured my heart out), what are your thoughts?

    Thank you for reading and in advance for your guidance.
     
  2. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    Hi, welcome. Sorry you have to be here, but it is good company. It sounds like it may be addiction for him based on what you said, but of course that is just my opinion. Yes, he has to start over. Yes, he will struggle with thoughts. It will happen again if he doesn't put in the work and effort it takes to be in recovery. As for having sex, that's up to you. What we did was a reboot, where there was going to be no PMO at all for 90 days. About halfway into that, we decided we would allow O with sex but still no PM. We worked it in slowly and it went well. Everyone does it differently. I didn't even want to have sex with him prior to that, so that was an easy decision for us. I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. It really is heartbreaking. Hugs to you.
     
    Hopefulgirl, Love369 and Stefanie like this.
  3. It definitely sounds like he is describing the addiction when he mentioned the feeling of “happiness” from looking and the guilt. He would need to educate himself on PA as yourself. The more you know the better and it could help you with the decisions that would be best for you. Every journey is unique and only you will know what is best for you and your family. Sry if that doesn’t seem helpful. Is good you’re here as you can find a lot of support and advice here.

    Taking care of yourself is super important too. It sounds like you over work yourself which doesn’t help with this stress. Do something for you to make yourself feel good...massage, mani/pedi, bubble bath, shopping...anything as long as it’s for you!

    *hugs*
     
    Torn, Love369, Kenzi and 2 others like this.
  4. A new day

    A new day Fapstronaut

    208
    290
    63
    I’m agree with the other posts. It also sounds like you are having a tough time communicating in a way that is effective and makes you feel good. I hear a lot of guilt about how you express yourself. Although you aren’t to blame for his behavior how you share your feelings and needs will impact how well you go on through this.

    I highly recommend the works of Rori Raye. She gives women really amazing ways to inspire change in the relationship and inspire connection. She’s at havetherelationshipyouwant.com.

    After recently discovering that my husband’s porn use is affecting our sex life I recommitted to following Rori’s methods. It turned things around fast. I haven’t even told him I think porn is an issue. He needs the emotional safety I emit when I’m feeling emotionally safe. That’s ultimately what her work creates.

    From his end I’d say “honey I love you. I want us to be happy together. Things have felt terrible since I found out about the Facebook stuff. I found this NOFap site. It would feel great if we could look into this issue together. What do you think?”
     
  5. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18

    Thank you; we tackled this four years ago, and I thought "four years... certainly, he is over this by now!" He doesn't want to blame me, very reluctant to even say so, but with the way that I have addressed it and constantly bring it up, our lack of time together and our minimal sex life, he clicked the link. I am relieved that his initial relapse was by pure chance, disappointed that he kept going back, but (maybe making excuses here) at least he didn't seek it out initially.

    He won't go to this site; he does not process like most; very solidary in his "treatment" last time. He agreed to counseling because it was that or divorce. He will do what he did last time; just abstain and go through with it. He claims now he can't even bring a specific image to mind... the girls were all naked, but covered the bits and pieces to be Facebook approved (which is shocking to me... these girls were covering their breasts with hands/arms or sheer fabric... had thong on and bend over... legs spread wearing a thong... very seductive posing, something you would see in an erotic boudoir shot).
     
    Love369 likes this.
  6. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    Thank you. We did this four years ago. He is aware of this addiction, but feels he can just cold-turkey and never look back now. I ask, what's different from last time, he said the same thing and clicked on a Facebook link that took him to near naked photos of girls AND he kept going back to it after that... that temptation was there. He does not want to blame me, but given our reduced sex life and time together and me bringing it all up so much, he just felt frustrated. I am not excusing it, but after much thought and prayer, I do see it a bit from his perspecive. I am trying really hard to open here.

    What hurts is the lies. Plus I am 44 years old and feel so little right now. He has a book of erotic pictures of me that I made for him... hasn't looked at it in years. Tells me "I see this all the time, it doen't arouse me like something new." OUCH

    I do try to take care of myself. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, I get facials every quarter (ask for this as gifts), do my own mani/pedi every week. I get my hair done by a close friend for less. I shave daily; wear lingerie or Victoria Secret sleep shirts/pajamas to bed... been told I look in my mid 30's, but I guess I am no longer "exciting" enough. :(
     
  7. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18

    Thank you; we did this four years ago, and we both have exhaused the PA topic. SIGH

    We had sex twice since discovery. Both times I had too much to drink (bad choice on my part); he refused me both times, not wanting to be with me when I am drunk, but that did not last. I cried after the first time.

    I don't know if I can stay this time. I feel if he does not know his trigger/whatever made him decide to click that link on Facebook and continue to go to it after four years of nothing, then we cannot move forward. I also told him he has to have a plan on what he will do if he feels bored/frustrated/lonely, because I work 50+ hours night shift a week and I don't want to live a life where I have to worry constantly.
     
    Love369 likes this.
  8. A new day

    A new day Fapstronaut

    208
    290
    63
    Big part of porn addiction is that novelty fires up the dopamine. It feels personal though so it hurts. It really is the addiction talking when your pics don’t do the same thing. Any woman’s pics no matter how hot will eventually not fire up the dopamine.
     
  9. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    I figured that; I work with addicts (drug/alcohol) in the emergency department and they keep having to up it to get high, so I get that. I do not get why it is so hard to break. He has been PMOing since he was in middle school and stopped four years ago, so about 25 years. It is just images - because he claims he did not MO this last time. I get he had the dopamine release and I bet if he had not been caught, he would have found them boring soon and moved on. It is hurtful that our entire relationship he has not had that dopamine release for me, with the exception when we first had sex/saw me naked.

    I still have butterflies when he kisses me - eight years later.
     
  10. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    Are you sure he is telling the truth? Is there a way to know if this just started up recently, not that it was going on for longer? What about the MOing to it? Does he not M at all? Maybe he didn't M in that moment, but did he M later and fantasize about that? Those are the questions I'd be wondering.
     
    Torn and Hopefulgirl like this.
  11. Abstaining is not recovering I’ve told my guy he’s s way hasn’t worked obviously. He needs to get to the root to truly overcome.
     
    Torn, Stefanie and TryingToHeal like this.
  12. DemonSemen

    DemonSemen Fapstronaut

    1,479
    2,379
    143
    While the material your SO looks at may not be by his definition “porn” my guess is he wouldn’t show them to his mother, or you for that matter. He is using them as a Porn Substitute (p-sub). The feeling of “happiness” he is getting is a surge of dopamine, same feeling he use to get from porn.

    He may not even be aware what he’s doing or that hecould relapse into using porn.
     
  13. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    I have no idea. He swears he has not MO in four years. Only O is with me.
     
    TryingToHeal likes this.
  14. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    I

    I agree; I told him the same, if I had been standing next to him, would he have looked at it. Obviously not. He is aware he is doing wrong. He said he hid it and felt guilt. He knew.
     
  15. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    My SO states he did it out of frustration/boredom etc. I mentioned it in my super long post. He has been using PMO for 25 years. He didn't seek it out; a friend posted a link and he just clicked, after that, he kept returning.
     
  16. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    So sad; I still get butterflies when he touches/kisses me. It is the way it is supposed to be and he is missing out.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  17. self healing

    self healing Fapstronaut

    42
    79
    18
    So sorry you're going through this. Your nursing background may actually help you understand his addiction, as you've probably had to study up on neuroscience a bit. I've found most of what I've learned about porn addiction from the website, Your Brain on Porn. Even fantasizing about porn will reinforce the neural pathways that make him prefer pixel over real women. Unfortunately, we're still in the wild west days of understanding this addiction, and a lot more research is needed.
    I just responded to another SO, and I'll say it here as well: Couples counseling can be an excellent means of addressing what's going on with the two of you. But is it teaching him how to tackle his addiction? Learning how to work out issues in a relationship is not the same as learning how to become abstinent.
    It's too bad he won't check out NoFap. My significant other finally made it here, but did little reading several years ago when we were first dealing with his addiction. He admits that he went kicking and screaming to couples counseling then probably because he was afraid he would need to give up porn. The psychologist didn't think it was a problem, and I knew nothing about PA back then, so my husband continued with the porn. Anyway, if your husband is not into the interactive aspect of NoFap, maybe he'd be open to Your Brain on Porn for some background reading?
     
    Stefanie likes this.
  18. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

    37
    34
    18
    Thank you; he will read what I copy and paste into an email for him... it has to be short and sweet bursts. SIGH

    I just wish there is a way to tackle this... so many opinions on here and on YBOP and elsewhere on how to overcome it. What is the best, most scientific way to overcome this addiction?
     
  19. A new day

    A new day Fapstronaut

    208
    290
    63
    @Broken3 makes a good point about abstinence. My only experience with addiction in myself was smoking. Even when I abstained I always wanted them. When I recovered I was disgusted by them.

    Recovery has to do with understanding and healing the root causes of addiction that are substitutes for healthy coping in life. Addicts struggle with self love, self expression, and handling the expression of others. They find using easier than dealing initially, then the addiction creates bigger interpersonal issues so the using increases. Combine that with the chemical/physical changes in the brain and you have a real beast to contend with.

    Abstinence only can often foster new addictions because a substitute coping mechanism is required. Or the addict will simply relapse whenever the pressure is on.

    Since you are in counseling could the counselor help him get why abstinence is insufficient? Could he/she help him to see there is a much healthier and happier future for him if he gains the skills to feel powerful and healthy in his life and work.

    From my experience, when I began to utilize healthy communication and self love every aspect of my life improved dramatically. I was selling on commission and my sales went up along with my confidence. My roommates and I got on better terms. My husband proposed.

    It’s not just about the addictions. Addiction is just a symptom.

    One tough thing to see is that addicts often attract partners that will unknowingly feed into the cycle of addiction. Are you the child of an addict? Have you had intimate partners with issues like this in your past? If you are/have, it may be important for you to learn about co-addiction or co-dependency. Look into intimacy avoidance/love addiction. If you do have these tendencies it will be helpful for you to be aware and more toward healthier habits.

    These are tough considerations. They are critical to getting all the roots of this stuff pulled out so they don’t keep invading your life.
     
    Stefanie and Deleted Account like this.
  20. self healing

    self healing Fapstronaut

    42
    79
    18
    I don't know if there is any studies yet on how to treat PA; if you come across any, please share here! Classic for substance abuse is behavioral and cognitive with social support added in and pharmacological treatment if needed. A lot of alcoholics and drug addicts respond to the spiritual aspects of AA, while others get turned off by it. I came across one article that said men with anxiety are more likely to become addicted to porn, which happens to fit my husband's case. Caveat: There are so many individual variations as to how someone becomes "sober" from any addiction, that I think an open mind is important. Also, maybe your husband might be willing to at least read through the forums without joining?
     
    A new day likes this.

Share This Page