Want to help my significant other

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by moonbeam34, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. moonbeam34

    moonbeam34 New Fapstronaut

    Hi all
    My bf has been addicted to masturbation for years. (I think you call it PMO)...
    We've been together for 3 years and he told me about his problem right when we met (it started when he was late teenager now he's almost in his 30's). He says that his behavior hasn't got any better with time.. I know that it comes from a dark place of depression and anxiety. He sees a therapist once a week and fills his time with work and gym but it's a vicious circle and in just a glimpse, everything can go to hell: he isolates himself from the world and caves in. If he didn't work I really think that he could just stay home and fap all day.
    I would like to have hints on what to do in order to help or what behavior should I have ? Should I support.. but without encouraging the behavior nor making him feel that is ok because it's really not. Be more assertive ? Talk about this more often (it's never a good time to "talk about it"..). Any ideas of which kind of therapy would give results ? Any medication ? Anything else ?
    My fear is that it could easily be overwhelming for him to have to expose this to me on a daily basis and the opposite effect could happen as he could close down to be too...
    We love each other and we've been on a LDR for 3 years now. It's not easy but manage to find balance but I feel that his issue is also mine now and I have to do something about it.
    Please help, I'm pretty desperate, I love him deeply and truly, but this gets to me and makes me really sad.
    nice-girlfriend and Sterkte like this.
  2. Sterkte

    Sterkte Fapstronaut

    That's really unfortunate that he's fallen down the same path as the rest of us. I've come to realize how confusing and hurtful it can be to have a relationship with someone addicted to porn.
    1) First thing I would say, is that it's not your fault. This likely has nothing to do with you even. I was in a happy committed relationship for years while addicted to PMO, and really and truly loved my gf. My porn addiction was such a separate part of my life that it wasn't until much later that I realized just how harmful and unfair it was to her...that being said, she never found out and now that we aren't together I don't have the heart to tell her. So remember, this does not mean he doesn't love you or isn't attracted to you, porn is just another beast entirely.
    2) Spend some time on this site reading through journals and stories of other addicts, to get a better understanding of what it's like to go through. It really fucking sucks, like really badly.
    3) He has to want to quit watching porn. He can't do it just because you want him to...like he literally will be unable to, I believe. He has to understand why he needs to quit.
    4) Gently ask him about it from time to time, but be understanding if he has failed/relapsed...for me personally it's been the hardest thing I've done in my life and I still slip up. That being said, it's helpful to have someone hold you accountable. Don't do this every day though...maaaybe weekly?
    5) Get him to talk about it with his therapist, I wish I had one tbh!
    6) If he can get to a place in life where he doesn't feel the need to watch porn he will be feeling sooo much happier and full of life. People talk about "superpowers" on here, which is a bit excessive in my humble opinion, but it certainly has changed my life for the better.

    Hope this helped! Feel free to reach out anytime.
  3. Lostneverland

    Lostneverland Fapstronaut

    Sterkte is correct, read lots of stories here. The ones from addicts and the ones from partners.
    One thing I will say, is your partner has to want to correct his behaviour . You can’t do it for him. Good luck and keep me writing.
    moonbeam34 and Bombadil like this.
  4. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I found it useful to talk to my wife about it but hard to find a hook to start such conversations. Talking to her about things I had read here gave me that hook.

    I also wanted to stop using porn long before I found the strength to, and the catalyst for that change was my wife. So being supportive makes sense, but he may also find strength from knowing that you need him to stop.
    moonbeam34 and Sterkte like this.
  5. Bombadil

    Bombadil Fapstronaut

    Definitely second some of this. Also don't underestimate the power of shame: 1) for being addicted to anything in the first place, and 2) for being addicted to something as inherently shameful as porn. The problem is that most addicts (and I include myself among them) use their addiction to cushion bad emotions - it's a way of zoning out and making the world go away for a bit - whether that be alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, whatever. If (and I do understand that this is a really hard ask) you add more shame to someone who is already ashamed of their actions, and is using their addiction at a crutch - you run the risk of making it worse. Which is properly fucked up. None of us woke up one day and said "I'm going to get hooked on something really dirty and shameful today" it's an escalating process which feeds itself.

    For what it's worth, here's my thoughts:
    1. Well done for coming here, it's absolutely the right place to get support and advice.
    2. It's absolutely not your fault, and it isn't fair that you have to deal with it.
    3. It's really good that he's open with you about it, this stuff feeds on secrecy
    4. Previous posters are correct, he won't get better until he wants to. Please don't cast yourself as the one supplying the energy and impetus to this. You can help him, but you can't police him (because addicts are sneaky buggers and it'll just become a battle of wits). This is a thing he has to do for himself.
    5. It can be very hard to get clean if it's become a habitual mechanism for dealing with depression and anxiety (I have these problems myself, as do many others on here) and the guts of the thing is about replacing this coping mechanism with something positive and helpful.
    6. It is much easier to do this in community than on your own. I don't think anybody has ever come to NoFap without having tried to to quit and failing, we've all done it. Personally, I've come from a history of about 25 years of habit, and I've already managed to go without relapsing for far longer than I ever thought possible before. If he wants to stop (or wants to want to) send him here.
    Hope this helps, if not, just ignore me
    moonbeam34 and Sterkte like this.

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