TooMuchTooSoon - A Partner's Journal

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by TooMuchTooSoon, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I talked about starting a journal so here I am doing just that, to hold myself accountable as a partner to a PMO addict. I welcome suggestions/advice and am just so happy to have found this community. I will add posts here as the journey continues though I may post separately for standalone questions/topics.

    Here's my (whole) story:

    When I was 19, I married someone who I had been with for 1 year but he was about to become deported. He was a J2 visa, dependent on his parents' J1 visa status - they were leaving so he had to go also unless he married... me. Long story short, it didn't go well. After a very short time married, we had the worst fights. He resented having to marry me to stay in the US and I resented him for being so ungrateful for what I did/sacrificed to keep him here. Intimacy dwindled to nothing and I learned he had turned to P instead of me. I was devastated to be replaced by pixels but I didn't address the issue very much further at the time. I ended up leaving shortly thereafter but it has always been in the back of my mind. That was my first experience with P interfering in my relationship, though it wasn't the last.

    I had another relationship where I suspected P was at play and had even woken up to him Ming next to me in bed on a few occasions. There were other issues and I was still pretty young (21/22) so again, didn't really address the P problem. The next 15 years I was really only in 2 serious relationships. One I don't think looked at P but if he did it didn't impact our relationship at all. The other, an 11+ year relationship that ended early 2016, I knew he was into mostly hentai type P as I discovered on MY LAPTOP coming home one day. I almost broke up with him for it - less for the P and more because he had looked it up on MY computer. That seemed disrespectful on top of the P. He apologized and we managed to move on. The last few years of the relationship were strained and it died a slow death. I'm sure he turned to P - he was home all the time while I worked - but I was no longer invested so didn't really investigate or care to know.

    Here we are at my current relationship, a little less than 5 months in. I suspected SOME problem pretty early on, after we were first intimate. If you've read my other threads you know that he thought he had ED issues stemming from antidepressants, yet he had made a comment that alluded to him having no issues during solo time. So I started researching online to see if the antidepressant thing was legit. It was; however, most people had the same issues alone as with a partner. So I kept looking and found out about DE which fit our situation and led me to PIED, again matching our experiences. That in turn led to finding the TedX talk by Gary Wilson, YBOP, the NoFap Reddit group, and then here, perhaps not in that order, but probably close. :) I currently have literally 25+ pages in a word doc of links, quotes, etc. relating to this subject: P addiction, S addiction, Objectification, various disorders and their effects. It's probably more now, having a bunch of tabs open on my computer and on my phone that I still need to add.

    After educating myself, I talked to my partner re: my issues with P on a few occasions and explained my history. He was sorry it was an issue but also didn't seem to see the correlation. I brought up the fact that P got him more than I did - both in amount of time as well as enabling him to finish while he couldn't with me. A tear-filled conversation on 12/11/16 (I'm almost sure it was that day), prompted him to take it upon himself around 12/15 to quit PMO to see what would happen. As I've mentioned elsewhere I really think he did it partially to prove me wrong. However, things did improve somewhat before he relapsed 12/23 (after 8 days). He then started again 12/24 and we saw VAST improvements - he could finally finish with me more regularly and our relationship seemed to have gotten better. He made it 16 days before relapsing on 1/9/17. That turned into relapsing again on 1/10/17 and again 1/11/17. At that point he had seen how positive the changes had been: not just with me, but increased energy and motivation for him. So he went PMO-free again 1/12/17 and today is day 18 to the best of my knowledge. I know we got through Day 16 PMO-free for sure. I am out of town for work as of yesterday morning and don't plan to ask for a report until I get back. I need my mind focused as much as possible and a relapse/reset/slip might derail me, especially from afar. I find myself wondering what he's doing or not doing without me there. Is it safe to Skype in an intimate way if the alternative might be full relapse? What would that do to his recovery and ours?

    In the short 2.5 weeks he has been PMO-free, not only did things resume improvement as far as him being able to finish, and get more done with his increased energy and motivation, he has also been more affectionate and more in tune with my feelings. We have had several discussions where he assures me he wants to quit, wants to strengthen our relationship and intimacy. He speaks with the future in mind and has said he always wanted a relationship like we have. He was single for 7 years before me and his longest term relationship had been a year or so at that point. He has thanked me for my understanding and patience, speaking so sweetly of how much our relationship means to him - all while PMO free. He is not doing NoFap, more his own plan, and I am waiting to see how it goes before pushing for more. If he succeeds his way, great! If not, I have an arsenal of data to demand more commitment to this program. In the meantime, I have committed to no MO myself - P not being a problem - so my only O will be with him. He noted that it was not quite the same and I would agree; however, I have been plenty uncomfortable thank you very much. In fact, I would say my drive is actually higher than his, so although not an addict myself I am definitely feeling the physical discomfort from abstaining. But it's SO worth it to save that energy for our relationship. I plan to do this forever and never MO outside of our together time.

    We have a ways to go, I know, and I'm sure much more improvement to experience on both our parts. I look forward to it. Until then, the main struggles I have are

    1) helping him see how this affects me and makes me feel (he doesn't understand as much what the big deal is, if it weren't affecting our intimacy - says he'd be ok with me looking at other guys and masturbating, etc. though the reality might not be as appealing to him in my mind)

    2) facing relapse and determining an appropriately escalating response of boundaries and demands on my part. i don't want to abandon him but nor do i want to enable him

    3) dealing with all the facets of the addiction: the objectification/leering at other women or wanting to; lack of empathy/caring; lack of affection; a constant barrier to our intimacy and bonding

    4) realizing that this will affect him/us for the rest of our lives (though an admitted addict might be better than an ignorant casual user - P is now a total dealbreaker for me)

    So I have hope, not of perfection (I can dream), but of continued dedication and progress. I would love nothing more than for him to never PMO again and turn to our relationship for his gratification but I am trying to be realistic that most addicts relapse - A LOT - before they can finally quit. In our current society, it's much harder to avoid salacious content than it is to avoid alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. In fact the only addiction that might be more difficult to deal with would be food related (binge-eating disorder, anorexia, bulemia, etc.). Because you HAVE to eat. However, P and S addiction hits the partner so personally, even if we know rationally that it has nothing to do with us and our attractiveness/allure. Since it affects our intimacy/bonding, it's a real blow to the relationship. I am taking it one day at a time and trying to be supportive while taking care of myself too.

    As we continue on this ugly journey I will touch base here with both success and failure, hopefully much more of the former than the latter. I also can't say it enough: I feel fortunate to be dealing with this issue so early on. I don't have years or decades of lies and deceit poisoning my relationship. We aren't married and do not have/want kids so I could easily walk away should it come to that. But I do want to help him (there's that co-dependency rearing its head) and hope that we can make this relationship work. My heart goes out to the couples who have been in the thick of this for however long. They have my admiration and respect. Really anyone who is participating in this community is my hero, for recognizing this is a problem despite what most of society says. For wanting to make themselves and their relationships better. For facing addiction head on and getting back up at least one more time than they have fallen.

    I so look forward to being a part of this amazing community for the near and probably far future. :) Thanks again for having me.
  2. So this would be day 30, assuming all is still going well. I am grateful to him saying things that support his ongoing recovery. I commented on how much he's been getting done and how much energy he has lately. He said "it's amazing what you can get done when you stop Ming." I was really proud of him getting through my 10 day work trip without. He admitted to some urges but realized and acknowledge that it was because he was feeling cruddy so he was able to move past it, knowing it would only make him feel worse.

    Like another partner, I'm struggling today. Some of it is work-related (After my trip I need a rest plus job future is questionable), some of it is due to the BF. Sometimes I wonder how to tell what is related to the addiction and what is just HIM. I've been feeling really disconnected the latter part of this week. After I got back, that night and next morning were amazing. The night after and morning after that were pretty nice too. Then it's been 3 days of practically no contact. He was busy a lot, which is good because it helps keep him on the path. But sometimes he works himself to exhaustion. Whether or not he would come over tonight was in question but he leaned towards yes and said he'd let me know. I asked him to please do so because I'm not just sitting around waiting for him. We both laughed a little and he agreed. Well he didn't let me know and I had to finally call and ask - of course he isn't coming over. I told him I'd appreciate it if he'd let me know either way. That he didn't is rude and inconsiderate. It shows he isn't valuing me or my time. Add all that to me being tired and not feeling the greatest and it's not a pretty picture. I guess he got over missing me quick enough. I just hate the hot and cold thing. I probably should have said all that, but I stopped at appreciating him letting me know one way or the other.

    Sorry for the bummer of a post which should be celebrating 30 days!!! I really am happy that he's made it this far (assuming no slip ups I am unaware of since Tuesday night which was day 27). It's a huge accomplishment. I'd love to sing his praises to the sky. But as another wonderful member noted, it's so easy for the bad stuff to haunt you, come screaming back at you. Is he ignoring me because he IS back to watching porn? Has he not hit a flatline because he's not fully rebooting? Is his aloof and inconsiderate behavior due to regressing into that mindset? Or is he just being a bit of a jerk? I know he doesn't intend to, but it hurts just the same. He could just be a clueless guy thinking all is rainbows and unicorns. Why should he call or text or make any extra effort to see me when everything is fine and he can go about his business? I know my darker mood is coloring every perception but I think even in the best of moods I'd be at least somewhat miffed right now.

    I know I'm feeling bad because I'm tired, overworked, and feeling adrift in several facets of my life. I was looking forward to spending the weekend with him, our first real weekend in several weeks. He has a thing tomorrow but still, it would have felt like a full weekend spending both nights together. I needed the reconnect, I didn't realize how badly until it was no longer an option. He has class on V-day so we're 'celebrating' on Sunday. He won't tell me anything but alluded to having something planned or something for me or...something. However, that afternoon he wants us to go up to his friends place - so I wonder just what he might have planned if anything. The friend thing just came up so I know that's unrelated to any V-day plans. He was the one who wanted to celebrate V-day, moreso than me for sure. We will see. My motto this week is hope for the best but plan for the worst. Sadly, while planning for the worst it's hard to find the hope. But at least I won't be disappointed.

    I will try to check in more frequently. I think I was scared to write about my hopes and fears all week, like it would work me into a frenzy while gone, wondering what was going on back at home. So I suppressed a lot and maybe that's part of why everything is coming out today.

    Writing this out is helping a lot. I'm sure eating dinner will help a bit more. The next 24 hours of feeling disconnected in my relationship, with no real way to fix that, will not. But that's tomorrow's problem mostly. So I will cross that bridge then. This isn't the end of the world. Our relationship/future isn't doomed. I can feel happy again. Tomorrow will look brighter in all respects.

    One of the brilliant and insightful fapstronauts on here recently took on a gratitude challenge of sorts. I really need to do the same. Now more than ever I think. I will likely start a separate thread for that when I'm ready. I know I need it.

    All the best to each and everyone here. Thanks for letting me vent. My next post will be much more uplifting I'm sure. At least I sure hope so :) Have a wonderful weekend!
  3. It rained last night. It's still raining. I love when weather seems to mirror or symbolize our emotions. Last night really felt like a building storm and now the rain has come, releasing all that built up tension. It's cleansing and clearing away all the muck and pollution.

    I feel the same way. Eating dinner helped a little (no one likes being hangry), sleep helped a lot. Clearing things up with the BF helped most of all.

    I didn't want to leave things where we had so I made an overture. He responded immediately and vehemently with an apology, an explanation (which was quite understandable), and followed with some very sweet things. So he feels better. I feel better. Communication for the win. Yay.

    I was pondering where my own thoughts and emotions had led me. Just as the littlest things can dredge up your partners past issues/behavior, it also dredges up any similarly emotionally coded events in your past. So his dismissive behavior makes me worry about relapse AND also reignites all my emotions and issues stemming from growing up with addict parents whose dismissive and neglectful behavior hurt me very deeply. Still does actually. Abandonment issues, check. Codependency, check.

    But. Just as I thought and hoped, today is a new and brighter day. I plan to rest a bit and work a bit. Make it nice and well rounded. Then tonight reconnect with the BF. I think we'll have a good talk. I can now better articulate what bothered me and created a disconnect. Then tomorrow we'll see what 'V-day' may bring. I am hoping for sweet, funny, or maybe even both. :)
  4. A few questions for anyone who's gone through a reboot - either for themselves or with a significant other.
    1) I've read that no flatline = no real reboot. By what time should it have almost definitely happened if it was going to? Although I'm not too concerned yet, I'd like to make sure I don't (over)react prematurely or even under react should it come to that.

    2) I've let him do this his way so far, and it appears to be successful, but if the reboot doesn't seem to be progressing beyond no PM, I'll have to start asking about P-subs and Fantasizing which I've read a lot of people here find harder to quit than porn itself. How would you recommend bringing this up?

    Baby steps has worked really well so I'm going to try and keep that up unless s**t hits the fan. By that I mean if I found out he's been lying, hiding things, etc. Or if P-subs/Fantasizing are an issue that he's not willing to address/rectify. I want a full reboot for our relationship: one free from PM, fantasizing and P-subs, and leering at/objectification of other women. I deserve that much. Everyone does I think. So although I don't believe he's lying to me or hiding anything, I imagine more savvy folks than me have found themselves in that same position and mindset and been disappointed/betrayed/heartbroken.
    One thing that could drive us apart is his consumption of social media. He spends a lot of time on his phone - he doesn't hide it or what he's looking at so the content doesn't worry me. So far Reddit has been the only one to cause a problem (triggering photos in r/all when we first started this) but he also has FB and Instagram. So far they're not a problem though I could see where it becomes one for a lot of people and just because it's not an issue now doesn't mean it couldn't happen in the future. I, myself, want to decrease my online/social media presence and consumption to live more "real" life experiences. In some ways social media seems like P in that you're reading about or watching other people doing things instead of going out and doing them yourself. That more than anything could be the downfall of our society. I know I hate it more and more each day. I'm hoping to replace home/phone time with real interaction/outings/adventures so it's less about giving up something than it is making time for more active things that are better.

    Sorry, that turned out longer than expected which is usually the case for me. As always, thanks all for taking the time to read my novellas and offer any suggestions or share your experiences. They are immensely helpful and I follow many of you here to glean some wisdom in this sh*tty situation. This community is amazing and I'm proud and happy to be part of it.
    i_wanna_get_better1 likes this.
  5. Today is Day 41. So it'll be 6 weeks as of tomorrow. This is a HUGE achievement. I will not downplay it because I really am proud of him. I'm amazed that what is essentially his third attempt has gone so far. First was 1 week. Second was 16ish days and now this third is more than twice that. It's fantastic. So why can't I just be happy? Many people on here have written about how a partner's recovery often progresses at a different pace than the addict's recovery. So I guess I'm still struggling. Mainly with:

    1) Just how much is he actually rebooting? I haven't witnessed a flatline, though we could be entering it now, or as of yesterday or Sunday at least. I know he's given up PM but I worry about P-subs and fantasizing and still don't know how or when to bring it up. I worry about overtalking the issue because...

    2) He has told me it hurts his feelings when he feels that I overemphasize the PA when discussing our relationship. He doesn't seem to understand why I'm so hurt in all this, though he acknowledges how it negatively affected him and our relationship. I worry he is only seeing it from a sex/performance perspective and not the bigger picture. I wish I knew some kind of analogy that would allow him to understand my pain better and see how it has affected everything.

    3) Things have gotten much better between us, seriously! SO MUCH! But it's still very hard for me to let my guard down and let go of doubts and concerns. When will I feel safe? Can I ever feel confident in him and us? What kind of future can we have? Will there ever be the possibility of "normal" for us? When do I need to figure out that by because it's not fair to keep up a relationship that will always be in question.

    4) I know this is a process. It's not going to be fixed overnight. It's just so scary having no control in this situation and only be there to offer support and love. This isn't my fight but it affects my life.

    5) As long as he's struggling, I don't feel comfortable introducing him to family or friends because many of them are attractive. And some younger. I know I'll just be worrying the whole time which isn't fair to either of us.

    6) Am I being too unrealistic in my expectations? Is it controlling to expect mental fidelity as well as physical? To me it's an issue of respect. With so many attractive people in this world, it's impossible not to notice them. But to take it from a quick "Wow, they're attractive" which is reasonable and to be expected to then mentally undressing them and otherwise objectifying them while they fantasize about having sex with them? Not so much. Am I wrong?

    7) I tried explaining to him that I think it's wrong to look at people and see just parts. He says people are just a collection of parts walking around until you actually know them as a person. That makes me sad and puts a dent in my hope for the bigger picture.

    8) I just posted on the SOS board about empathy and how it's mostly an issue the SO's worry about. Is that a concern any PMO addicts have as well? I know the desire to avoid/reverse sexual dysfunction, get "superpowers," reduce depression/anxiety, and otherwise be freed from the chains of P is a big motivator. As is the desire to save relationships and families that might be threatened. Does seeking to have greater empathy factor in at all? Or is it avoided because empathy might intensify the feelings of shame/guilt/etc.?

    9) I worry that he's not doing NoFap or anything structured. Just his goals and willpower, plus therapy. I worry that can't last and am prepping my strength and courage to ask for more if/when it becomes necessary. I need to ask him if he's shared this issue with anyone else. I know he shared his ED/DE issues with friends but that was when he thought that (like them) it was a medication issue that they could lament about as it was "out of their control."

    10) How do I balance between being supportive and loving while still remaining firm re: consequences of relapse?

    So, nothing really new. Just the ongoing questions I have in my head and my heart. I love this man and I believe in him. But. We are all fallible. I know I am not perfect and that there are no guarantees with anyone ever. Still, starting out on such rocky ground makes me wonder how much hope I should have. I am continuing my own codependency recovery and am trying very hard to look out for myself and stand by my own boundaries while I'm still figuring what that all means for me. We're all works in progress. I am very grateful for all the support in that endeavor that I've found on here.
  6. GG2002

    GG2002 Fapstronaut



    I am new to this page and a partner of a man with PIED. A few things you said really hit home with me, one is that your partner lacks empathy. Mine has zero. Not just towards me, but anyone. Fortunately he does not leer at women but I think he does not truly believe the porn is his problem. It sounds like your man is the same. He cannot do it just for you he needs to do it for him. I think our guys think porn is a normal part of a man's life and there is nothing wrong with them looking at it. Of course there are plenty of people that can drink one beer and stop and others who can't. It's the same. Props to you for sticking this out though!
  7. i_wanna_get_better1

    i_wanna_get_better1 Fapstronaut

    I don't have too many answers to your questions. They are good ones but most are out of my frame of reference. I'll answer what I know and have experienced.

    Most of your questions revolve around trust and how to avoid getting hurt again. All of the books say basically the same thing. The person who betrayed their SO needs to keep proving that they are trustworthy. Time after time they need to pass the test. Every time they succeed makes them more trustworthy. Over time that becomes a tested quality that can be relied on. In the beginning you have every right to withhold trust because it is too risky. But after he has built up a track record of being trustworthy then it falls on you to start dropping your guard. When you choose to do that is up to you, but it is necessary if you are going to deepen your relationship. If you cannot do it then the relationship will stall.

    41 days is great but there are other phases he might be going through. I experienced an 'emptiness' phase around this time. It is described here. It happens after the detox phase and because we were living life in extremes the calmness we feel after detox feels alien, strange, and uncomfortable. I still felt irritable and angry. I felt empty and fake. Many of the behavior things I was instituting still hadn't become a part of me yet.

    You mention a flatline in your first question. The libido is a complicated thing. You can't measure progress against the flatline criteria. Is he in control of his behavior? Is he present with you when you are intimate? Is he consistently turning to other things rather than porn? Is he addressing underlying triggers? Is he less secretive and deceptive? Does he seem more relaxed and transparent? Does he seem happier? Do you feel happier? Those are the things that hold much more weight.

    Question 6 involves mental fidelity. Hopefully he has been instituting some sort of 3-second rule. Immoral thoughts happen and will continue to happen. But they must be altered or rejected within 3-seconds. That process trains the brain to see people not as objects but as people. 3-seconds allows him to acknowledge that someone is attractive but prevents it from going any further. It doesn't allow them to mentally undress or fantasize about sex. Ask him if he has any rule like that in his mental toolbox.

    Question 9 talks about his goals and willpower. Has he done any research into addiction? Is he aware of the invisible forces affecting his thoughts and behavior? Has he read any books or articles from YBOP? I would agree that what he is doing is good... but is it enough?

    I'm glad to see you guys are making progress. Hopefully some others can fill in the blanks.
  8. Hi @GG2002 - Empathy is a big thing. I addressed it in a separate post in the SOS forum. Have you joined that yet? It's a great place for the SO's to discuss things and it's private.

    My guy does see porn as a problem - he experimented to see that his ED/DE issues were totally because of PMO. When he did it, he couldn't finish with me. When he stopped, it got much better. There's still a ways to go but we haven't had an encounter where he couldn't finish since his last relapse. I think that's pretty incredible. However, seeing porn as an obstacle to a healthy sex life is different than realizing how it's a problem to me and perhaps how deeply it has altered his perceptions of women and sex and romance. It's a long road ahead. I'll stick it out as long as he will. :)
    GG2002 likes this.
  9. @i_wanna_get_better1 - thank you. You have been one of my biggest inspirations on here and your words are always welcome. Thank you for consistently taking the time for me and for all the other fapstronauts and significant others. You really are a HUGE source of hope.

    Trust is huge. I honestly have had a hard time not keeping the door cracked on our relationship. My foot isn't out per se, but for my own emotional protection I know I'm withholding and consciously choosing not to go any deeper until I feel safer. I do think as time goes on I can relax bit by bit as I see things continuing to improve even if it's only little by little.

    He deals with depression so irritability and emptiness are nothing new to him. However, he has seemed happier overall, more positive overall which I find encouraging. He has become more open, more affectionate, and just last night asked me what he could do for me to help me feel more loved in the relationship. He recently said "I Love You" for the first time and that seems to have opened many things up. I am happy and grateful for that. I have been happier with all those changes but I admit it also has left me more fearful. To be happy is to be vulnerable and I already have felt so vulnerable in the relationship. However, what's the point in being in a relationship if it's not making you happy? The struggle goes on.

    I will be having another conversation soon and will bring up the mental toolbox as well as where he is at with his journey in general. Given the progress, I don't want to be too demanding. BUT if I see any backslide or start to worry about him not being present with me, I have no problem bring it up and asking what he plans to do about it. That's when having the door cracked comes in handy. It gives me a little bit more strength and detachment which I think will help me during difficult conversations.

    As always, thank you kindly for all your insight. :)
  10. This might be day 50. I say might only because I haven't confirmed it. He has not told me of relapse so I feel fairly confident.

    That said, yesterday was a weird day. For the first time I felt a bit used. I took some things he needed from my place over to his as he has done a lot of the driving to come to me rather than vice versa.

    Possible triggers ahead? Still trying to figure these out. What all constitutes a trigger? I imagine it's different for everyone so I'll try to avoid being graphic as much as possible.

    After cuddling for awhile he mentioned how he'd been really horny that morning and it quickly became obvious that he still was. Before and during he seemed very self-focused. It wasn't particularly intimate or loving. No kissing. No attention paid to my pleasure or needs. It was almost perfunctory. I felt like just a body, even just a body part or two. After, there were kisses and more cuddling. But still I felt almost used.

    That's when I started to wonder if he was still on track or if he'd relapsed since I hadn't felt that way since starting down this path. Or maybe it's that this was the first time since other addicts on here asked how I felt to help gauge his progress. I had also just recently read a thread on here about sex vs. making love. I now wonder if I truly know the difference.

    I woke up today contemplating the difference between me and him or maybe men and women. When I'm in the mood I want him. When he's in the mood he wants sex. I happen to be the gf and thus the appropriate person to seek this from. Maybe that's just a fundamental difference between the sexes or maybe we're just not to that place of intimacy yet.

    I do know that I didn't particularly enjoy last night. I will take today to detach a bit and really articulate what I'm thinking and feeling. Then I will let him know during a neutral/non-sexual time and see where the discussion leads. Part of what I was looking forward to with reboot is the focus more on us and creating that special intimacy. So times like last night are disheartening even while they reinforce that his PIED is still better.

    We are both works in progress As is our relationship. So. Onward.
  11. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

    I don't know for sure what was going on in your SO's head, but it sounds VERY much like he was fantasizing during sex. My SO would do this before he started his recovery. Basically using the person you are with as a masturbatory aid while, in your mind, playing out some fantasy of having sex with someone else. This type of unconnected sex feels terrible to the person who is being used. I would often feel so empty and lonely after that I would actually end up crying. I didn't know at the time what was happening during these encounters, but since finding out I have made a firm boundary that it is absolutely unacceptable to me and that my SO does not have my consent to use me in that regard ever again.
    I am willing to bet that this all comes back to your SO's use of P-subs and fantasy. He will likely not recover past a very superficial point, (and will likely eventually backslide back to "regular" habits), if he doesn't address these things. Looking at pictures of bikini clad or sexy dressed women is basically the same as porn. He is looking because it arouses him and he is stringing along the dopamine addiction in the process. Same with fantasy. Same thing. If your SO isn't willing to address these things I would guess that he is just not that committed to actually changing and healing his brain. Does he journal here? I hate to be pessimistic but if he is not researching and spearheading his own recovery, if you are more invested in it than he is, then he is likely just going to carry on this superficial recovery, to appease you, for only so long. *hugs
    WifeInTheDark, Bel and JohnnyReid like this.
  12. @fuzzywaz Thank you for your input. I don't disagree with you. I'm hoping that's not the case but am bracing for it. I think I'll tell him I'm struggling with our last encounter because it felt like he wasn't really present or engaged with me and it made me feel used, as you said, like a masturbatory aid. That should allow for further discussion and I can delve into p-subs, etc.

    Given how much we've already gone through you'd think I'd be used to dealing with all this but today I feel an emotional wreck. I can't focus and I kinda just want to cry. The worst part is I won't get to talk to him in person until tomorrow night. I really don't want to have this conversation on the phone. I find myself avoiding his texts today. I just can't pretend I'm fine and go on as usual. This sucks. :(
    fuzzywaz likes this.
  13. fuzzywaz

    fuzzywaz Fapstronaut

    It's does suck. It can really occupy you mind. Be gentle with yourself *hugs
    LizzyBlanca and TooMuchTooSoon like this.
  14. Thank you. I'll take all the hugs I can get. :) I have a lot going on in my life with no real anchor or rock to tether me so everything seems to be hitting me hard(er). I finally texted him that I'm having a rough day and would not be very talkative or responsive and left it at that. I will save the real/full story for in person tomorrow.

    I need to face the reality that he may never be as fully invested in this as I am. This is my soapbox now no matter what :) But he has continued to surprise me in positive ways throughout so maybe this is just another thing I need to express and discuss and we can get onto an even better track. Or maybe this will be his sticking point that he refuses to progress beyond in which case I will leave. I deserve better and have to keep remembering that.
    WifeInTheDark likes this.
  15. i_wanna_get_better1

    i_wanna_get_better1 Fapstronaut

    Instead of assuming he's edging or looking at p-subs or fantasizing during sex maybe I can throw out a few alternative explanations. Over a year into my reboot there are times when my wife and I are intimate where we are making a connection and sometimes we are just scratching an itch. Was it a 'scratching an itch' thing or do you think he was not present at all?

    @Ted Martin has described our addiction as an intimacy problem. Maybe we are so used to interacting with a screen that we have not developed the skills to be truly intimate with a real life person. I know in other ways I've had to relearn how to be a human being again. Addicts learn to not trust people but they trust their addiction. Some addicts are emotionally stunted and are unable to bond easily. Through much of my relationship with my wife she was often way ahead of me and I had to catch up and I often experienced 'growing pains' in the process. Some people still harbor a fear of emotional intimacy and they don't have faith that they won't get hurt, so they are unable to experience the deeper qualities in a relationship. Do you think it's something that needs time to grow back? Do you think he's capable of being caring, empathetic, and nurturing again?

    One last alternative is even more bleak. When a person starts their recovery nobody knows what bad qualities can be attributed directly or indirectly to the addiction. Once you remove the addiction and eliminate all the side-effects what you are left might be just what the person really is. Some of those things are able to be unlearned. Unfortunately, some things can't be rewired. Sometimes a person needs to learn to 'mimic' behavior that doesn't come naturally. And finally, sometimes the person we are underneath isn't really compatible with our SO... it may be nobody's fault... it may just be a bad match.

    Hopefully I gave you some things to analyze and hope you find some answers that are comforting to you.
  16. Thank you. I feel like this might be a situation between what you've both said. I am probably more focused on bleak because I'm feeling hurt and fragile today. I appreciate having the addict's perspective @i_wanna_get_better1. It very well could be an itch/scratch encounter. And I know that he has steadily progressed in affection and thinking of me, bonding with me. He was VERY leery of forming too much attachment too quickly but now is pretty well on board and we're in the same place. He may even be ahead of time there because I'm having a hard time being vulnerable given what we are dealing with.

    Having both of these perspectives makes me feel a lot better so thank you both for helping me get through my day with a clearer/brighter headspace. And a determined one. Because either way, it will pave the way for what I hope will be a beneficial discussion.
  17. LizzyBlanca

    LizzyBlanca Fapstronaut

    It's so hard to be rational or positive when we feel so weak and fragile. I'm right there with you. HUGS :)
    Silas and TooMuchTooSoon like this.
  18. Ain't that the truth. It's hard not to be on edge and worry that it's worst case scenario. The trust is so precarious. I feel badly for thinking the worst but it's the only way to protect myself and keep off the rose colored glasses. Another example of recovery at different paces I guess.
    LizzyBlanca likes this.
  19. Well crap. I really hoped I wouldn't be here but so I am. Although still P free, we are no longer PM free. I know there is a lot of contention on the topic of M and where it fits in to porn addiction, how bad is it compared to P, etc.

    My issue is that it affects sensitivity and so his PIED certainly won't go away or get better while he engages in M. He's just reconditioning himself to his own touch. No P at least and I do believe him on that front. I was unfortunately tired and caught off guard. Tears happened. I reacted more emotionally and than I would have liked. So there are still questions I need to ask, like what he plans to do moving forward. Im also not sure how much. He said he did it this last week but not the one before. His memory is terrible though and we've had a backside over the last few weeks. So I'm guessing it was more.

    I let him know how it made me feel, and he was initially very defensive. I reminded him he told me he wanted me to express myself and his reaction to that did not encourage me to continue to do so. He apologized. The defensiveness really bothered me. He said he's only human and that it sucks he can't even M without it affecting him. He wants to be able to do it when urges strike, aka when he wakes up or finds himself horny and/or stressed. To me that's a slippery slope and not addressing the issue of escapism and relying on it as a coping mechanism. And yeah it sucks. I told him it also sucks having a partner who makes you feel not enough. And it's true. Not my fault and not against me but when you condition yourself to porn and/or your hand I can't ever be enough for him.

    He did ask to cut back on OUR # of... sessions because he thought it might help. We are at 2ish per week. So I guess maybe try once a week? Twice a month? I'll be gone for 2 weeks starting this Friday so that should help. I'm willing to cut back, cut it out completely for awhile if need be, if he's willing to stop Ming. But if our cutting back results in him Ming more or really at all, or gawd forbid slipping back into P I am going to be pissed. And hurt. And honestly, done. Not because I don't care or understand addiction is hard but because he's done this his way and his way will obviously not be enough. If he refuses to do more at that point I'm out.

    I told him last week that it's painful wanting someone more than you are wanted, so I am hurting. And I reiterated to him this weekend it's not just about sex, but affection and all the other bonding activities I feel are more one-sided. So he agreed to do more kissing and cuddling. We'll see how long that holds up.

    I cannot be the only one sacrificing here. If he keeps being selfish, someone has to look out for me and my best interests. That will be me. I know now that he won't. He can't if his addict brain is still poisoning everything. I know it's hard to quit. But I need him to know it's also hard to stand by and let the person you love hurt you, put you second or third, knowingly cheat you out of sexual intimacy and bonding. Etc. etc. etc.

    I have a mental walk date. If I don't see real progress in that time, which obviously can be measured given his physical reactions to giving up P and M then reverting, that's it. All the love in the world isn't enough to continue to put myself through that, living in uncertainty and always waiting for the other shie to drop. It will kill my self esteem and my self respect. I refuse to let that happen.

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