SO’s Rebooting Journey - 6 months of tips and what to expect

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Love_rules50, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    I’m writing this in the hopes it helps people who are in relationships. I won’t go into detail of what happened when I discovered my SO was a PA because it was extremely traumatic. We postponed our wedding day until I could determine if recovery was even possible. I want to encourage those who are going through recovery, both PA’s and their SO’s. We are now approaching 6 months P free.

    First of all, the most important step for him/us was full disclosure. As difficult as it was, letting the whole truth come out was so important for our healing. It was like a light had been switched on and suddenly we could see. PA has much less power when it’s out in the light. My SO chose to disclose his addiction to me, my family and his family. He was riddled with guilt and so ashamed, but also felt a huge sense of relief. Finally, he wasn’t battling this demon in his own anymore.

    Secondly, we set about installing porn blockers and accountability software on all his devices and gave me the passwords. This included all social media which was a trigger for him. This did a huge amount for my anxiety levels.. I didn’t have to wonder what he was doing on his phone or play “police” over his life. I see it the same way as someone who is on a diet... it’s much easier to avoid that chocolate bar if it isn’t even in the house. So much harder to resist if you know it’s sitting there in the cupboard calling you. If you can’t even access it, it’s less likely to be a temptation.

    After that, the withdrawal symptoms set in. For my SO, this looked like deep depression. He was so accustomed to having dopamine hits to the brain all the time, that nothing about ‘normal’ life seemed to interest him anymore. He was miserable and complained about everything all the time. I drove myself crazy trying to find fun things to do or make him see the positives about his life. He seemed so unhappy and bored. It was an awful time because I feared that he would always need novelty and taboo to be happy. He was irritable and I drank a lot to cope! About 4 months down the track, he was like a new person. He is so excited and optimistic about life. He seems to have this new energy and zest for life that was never there before. He says he feels so blessed and can think so much clearer. He never read any of these forums, but I know from joining NoFap that this is what we call the fog being lifted. And I believe his dopamine levels have started the normalise now. Thank God the brain can be rewired!

    The trust in our relationship had been completely broken. I no longer felt safe with the man I was previously so devoted to. Intimacy was difficult for me. I couldn’t bare the thought of him fantasizing while we were supposed to be sharing a very special connection. After talking to him about these feelings, we made a special effort to re-connect in healthy ways. He did not do hard mode, but we tried to make sex as real as possible. It was important to me that any hit of dopamine was coming from a real life scenario and not from pixels on a screen. It wasn’t great at first, and I had to stop a few times when I thought he wasn’t being present. But this has greatly improved now and our sex life has become authentic and enjoyable. It takes time, but I believe that true attraction can be possible again with time and rewiring of the brain. I would encourage everyone to read the article here - http://spokanecares.org/addictions-compulsions-spokane.php

    The other key thing that happened was my SO changed jobs. When he was a PA, he had many hours at home alone and he even worked on his own most of the time. I can understand now that the opposite of addiction is not abstinence, but connection. His new job has allowed him to work with people everyday. He was no longer in a position to look to his smartphone for entertainment or connection. This was a Godsend for us and one I am truly grateful for. As boredom and loneliness was the main underlying trigger for him, changing his whole lifestyle was a huge positive. He did find it hard at first, and the money is much less, but it has been worthwhile in my opinion.

    We also took up new hobbies. He started building model cars which I believe gave him the satisfaction of having completed a project. I have no doubt that having to concentrate on the tiny details also helped to keep his mind occupied. He spent hours on it!

    I invested in an amino acid supplement called NAC. Research on it is only at the very early stages, but studies suggest it is very helpful for addiction. You can do some reading of your own.

    Now, 6 months into recovery I can honestly say that I believe recovery is possible. We aren’t out of the woods yet and I suppose I will never know what is going on in his brain on a day to day basis. But I can see that the motivation and the hearts intention is good. I am so glad that I chose to forgive him and support him. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with... I am a sensitive individual, but I also have a strong belief in God. Jesus is a healer and “who the Son sets free is free indeed”.

    For those of you rebooting in a relationship, please understand how your actions have hurt your SO and be gentle with them. Don’t hide your weaknesses anymore.. talk about them and enlist their support. You own your recovery, but you can’t do it alone. Find a hobby, find God, find a new job if you have to. You will be glad you did.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  2. TheManDude

    TheManDude Fapstronaut

    I don't have a SO but I read the whole thing and is quite amazing, i'm glad that things have work out for both of you and yeah I think that a PA can hurt A LOT their love ones...

    Again thank you for your story and I wish you the best!
     
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  3. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    It has been tremendously hurtful and nearly destroyed us. But he knew PMO was ruining his life and although he’s not on this forum, I know he would encourage everyone to not give up. Life can be good again and relationships can be amazing.
     
  4. ShamefulSpouse

    ShamefulSpouse Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for this. My hubby just accepted his PA this week once he heard it from a CSAT. He agreed to weekly therapy sessions, and he decided to do a reboot.... he believes no sex for 60 days or longer and no PMO ever again. He agreed to go to “second base” with me, although we haven’t even made it to first this week..... please tell me it gets easier. His feelings of guilt and shame are eating him alive.
     
  5. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    It will get easier... the first few weeks will be tough, and he may go through some difficult withdrawal symptoms ranging from insomnia, headaches, irritability, depression and even a cold! Remember, the brain is fighting for its regular dose of dopamine and it will be painful to resist those urges. But the brain is also plastic and will adapt over time. I know this doesn’t make it easier for you, but may help to understand what’s happening for him. Slowly things will improve, but everyday will be different. Expect good days and bad days.

    Have you spoken to him about how you feel? Without judging or punishing him... this will only fuel his feelings of shame and guilt which can drive some men back to P as a type of comfort blanket. Tell him how this has affected you. We can’t expect total honesty if we ourselves are not totally honest.

    How long has he been PA? It may take longer than 60 days to recover (usually a few months depending on the severity of his PA) although that’s a very good start. The main goal is to get rid of the P and establish new, healthier neural pathways in their place. If this means no sex for 60 days, then that’s what you have to do. Support him and Speak to him about what you feel comfortable with. I chose to continue having sex, but nothing that replicated anything from a fantasy or a P scene.
     
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  6. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    Everyone is different, but my timelines were roughly as follows:

    Month 1 - Suffered betrayal trauma big time. My world was shattered. Everything I thought I knew about this man was all a lie. I felt extrem my hurt and angry... cried every day, hurled anger towards my SO, asked a LOT of questions. I didn’t know what to do really. It was awful.

    Month 2 - We both started therapy. It took a while to find a psychologist who is qualified to handle behavioural addiction. The CBT therapy really helped.. we had some actionable advice. Also reached out to someone at the church who spent a lot of time praying over me. I tried talking to my friends, but they didn’t understand at all. I spent a great deal of time researching how addiction works to try and understand the problem. I chose to postpone our wedding. That was hard.

    Month 3 - my SO has shown real effort to address his PA. He gave me full access to his phone and bank accounts. We put porn blockers on everything. He went to all the therapy sessions. Revealed his PA to his family and mine. He even started praying with me every night. Although still terribly hurt and broken, I chose to forgive him at this point. A huge darkness is lifted.

    Month 4 - We make an effort to start new hobbies and join social events we would normally say no to. I also work hard to make sure we eat healthy and pray/meditate as often as possible. We don’t talk about D-day as much anymore, and just try to look forward.

    Month 5 - Things have started to return to normal. I can concentrate at work again and don’t drink wine every night. I don’t think about D-day as often as I did in the beginning, but it still happens at least once a day. The hurt is making way for compassion. I want to help him and others more. He seems happier and more optimistic about life. His face looks different and his actions are speaking louder than his words.

    Month 6 - We have re-scheduled our wedding to next year. He seems to be closer to understanding the underlying emotional issues that caused him to turn to P in the first place. It will be a long time before it’s all crystal clear, but he appears to be better at coping with life in general. I do wonder what he is up to sometimes, but also realise that it’s not in my control. We continue to pray and give thanks... healing is possible.
     
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  7. Grman

    Grman Fapstronaut

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    You saved him from the dark. You give his life back. I hope all goes perfect for you.
     
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  8. Ridley

    Ridley Fapstronaut

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    I'm also approaching six months without porn (also approaching three months without masturbation), and it was really cool of you to share your story. I disclosed my addiction to my partner maybe eight months ago (can't remember the exact dday), which I consider to be the real beginning of my recovery. As you said in your OP, @Love_rules50 , the opposite of addiction is connection, and I think the moment I told my partner about my addiction was the moment I started making connections about it. Fortunately, we didn't have to postpone a wedding or anything like that, but my partner has been very supportive of me throughout this whole process. One of the first things she suggested was that I start seeing a therapist, which has been enormously helpful (it's also another connection).

    I also agree with the sentiment that abstinence alone is not enough to treat an addiction. It requires a shift in your entire lifestyle. When I quit porn, I knew I was going to go back to it if I didn't fill my life with something else. So, I started running regularly, meditating regularly, I started taking music lessons (and practicing regularly), I started working on personal projects (I'm a programmer), I started reaching out to people with similar hobbies, I started meditating regularly, and I journal almost every night before I go to bed. I never really did any of this stuff with any real consistency before I quit porn, but my life just feels so much better now.

    I also feel like I'm not quite "out of the woods" yet. I'm almost six months clean, but in some ways it still feels like I'm just beginning. However, it's a fresh and new beginning, and it's one where I have an opportunity to be free and live my life in a healthy way. I can feel my relationship healing every step of the way, and I think things will just continue to get better as long as I continue to focus on my recovery.

    Thanks for sharing your story!
     
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  9. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    This is so encouraging!! Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like you’ve made massive leaps forward and been very brave about it. I have a strong feeling you’re going to beat this thing. :)
     
    Fortheking1111 likes this.
  10. Fortheking1111

    Fortheking1111 Fapstronaut

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    Can’t thank you enough for sharing this...
     
  11. Ridley

    Ridley Fapstronaut

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    In some ways I have, and in other ways I still have a long journey ahead of me. Recovery isn't really like going on a hike. You don't follow a path to reach a summit. It's really more like a labyrinth. Sometimes, it feels like you're backtracking even when you're making progress, and things start to look similar to stuff you've seen before even though you're so far away from where you started.

    That's actually a large part of the reason I find journaling so useful. I always find it very instructive to read over my old entries after I've forgotten what I wrote about, as it allows me to have some sort of empathy for myself and ask "what advice would I have given myself then if I could go back in time?" It's a way to show you that, even if it doesn't feel like it, you've made progress.

    Thank you! I have the same feeling, and it's nice to have it validated by a stranger. I just have to stay focused and remember that it's a process, and that it's going to take time before I really start to feel completely free from this addiction.
     
    Love_rules50 likes this.
  12. cH33SE

    cH33SE Fapstronaut

    @Love_rules50

    Thank you for posting, your story resonates with my circumstance. I also read the link that you posted on addiction and it helped me understand it even more and gave me actionable advice to use.

    I do however want to ask what the extent of P was in your SO's life?

    I myself was exposed to P, unfortunately very early in my life at the age of 9 or 10. I'm now 27 and 3 months away from getting married. My SO discovered my P use about a week ago and I can't get past what I have done to her, I never saw the damage that it did until that day and now I am doing everything in my power to make sure that I get over my addiction and that she recovers from the betrayal.
     
  13. Love_rules50

    Love_rules50 Fapstronaut

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    He said he started with P when he was about 10 and he couldn’t remember the last time he didn’t watch it. He also didn’t realise the hurt and the damage it was doing.

    Most partners of PA will tell you that the lies and betrayal are in many ways worse than the P. Keep doing what you’re doing to repair the relationship. Be completely honest and transparent now, now matter how difficult. This will help to re-build the trust that has most certainly been broken.

    Your case is not too far gone. No matter how “bad” you believe the extent of your PA is, you absolutely can walk away from it. Think about what you will lose if you don’t take this seriously.

    Write a list of all the reasons you want to beat this and read it frequently. And then make sure you know your triggers. Take what ever practical steps you can to avoid or eliminate those triggers.

    You can overcome this addiction. The brain can be rewired and rebooted like a computer. You are not a hopeless case. Get Back to factory settings. Most people discover a much better quality of life; more energy, better quality relationships, free time, motivation, etc.

    It might be a difficult time for you and your SO to work through. This is one of those tests in your relationship that will define you. But the sun can shine ever brighter when you walk out the other side of that storm. Good luck, we’re here for support.
     

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