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  1. Alys added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    Hi Anon123
    My husband was also addicted to internet porn for 16 years and before that he was buying porn mags and videos, and going to strip bars, so his habit goes back maybe 20 years but the internet turned his habit into a compulsion that took over. Sex dwindled as soon as he could see porn online at home and eventually we had a 100% sexless marriage. He disclosed nothing after d-day except the porn he bought in the 1990s and admitted to going to another strip venue, also on the 1990s. Everything else I had to find out for myself. Unlike you, I knew he was using porn as soon as we had the internet at home but although I found out and had a few confrontations with him about it, he just carried on. 
    Even so, I can't believe I stood for it. Eventually I ended up with depression and body dysmorphia, no self esteem, I had become sexually 'shut down'. I reached breaking point one day in 2015, like a depressive breakdown. At that point we hadn't had sex in about 7 years. Our sex life ended in failure, and I couldn't bear the thought of begging for sex with a man who couldn't get erect for me but he obviously  could for porn. I believed that he had no desire for me whatsoever and that belief was very damaging. 
    After our d day in 2015, I didn't know what to believe. Is he capable of honesty? Because he seemed to lie at every opportunity. There was a side to him I had no idea existed. The porn was one thing, but going to strip bars was something I wouldn't have known about had it not come out by accident (because he didn't know what he'd told me or not). He honestly intended that I should never know. And of course, with all the lying he did, and the deception and 'lies of omission', what else don't I know? He says I know 'everything' but then he said that before I discovered more about his behaviours. And I'm afraid that this is as good as it gets. I have had to learn to live with the possibility that there are aspects of his behaviour I might not ever know about. It's not a good situation but if I choose stay it's something I have to live with. 
    I don't believe my relationship is fully recovered from this. He may have quit porn but the relationship has its problems, mostly to do with communication. Sexual recovery has been erratic too  
     I am still traumatised by seeing what my husband watched. His tastes were relatively tame, but then again, porn is a lot more ugly and explicit than it used to be. I can't understand the appeal of watching people being paid to perform sex for the camera. Against my better judgement, I did return to the scene of the crime to make sense of what the big deal was, what was so great about porn? I don't see anything to do with female sexual pleasure. It's impossible for any woman to perform those acts and actually feel  anything remotely pleasurable. It's all about maximising as much explicit detail as possible for the camera. And for what? For some guy masturbating into a tissue? It's ridiculous. 
    I refuse to feel bad about myself or feel bad about my body because of this porn shit. The problem is my husband's. He brought this garbage into our relationship. I never asked for it. I never wanted it. The horrible realisation was that HE was the problem. HIS behaviour created these issues.  I'm not saying that there aren't other relationship issues. Of course there are.  And those issues are preserving very difficult to fix – communication, honesty, trust, objectification of women, etc.  Some problems are my responsibility. 
     You can only give it time. You need to see whether or not your husband will quit, stay quit, and whether you can put the relationship back together again. It's not easy. I started out with high hopes, I believed in the "better than ever" outcome, but this hasn't quite happened.  He still wants to hide behind his evasiveness even for things that don't really matter.  He blames me, he says I make things difficult for him if he is honest!  But that's part of the deal. Being honest it's difficult. Listening to what you don't want to hear can be upsetting too. But I don't see any other way otherwise we can't move beyond where we are always getting stuck
    Good luck. I know it's not easy. X
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  2. sargam added a post in a topic Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman   

    I totally agree with you that I am responsible for all my actions however as I mentioned in my previous post I want to confront my parents , just  with a hope that I am not caught by them while I am in the act or they come across any of my videos, as this would be a really awkward situation for the whole family.
     
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  3. Rob added a post in a topic Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman   

    Hello Sargam,

    I'm glad that the links were useful for you - there is a lot of content out there and growing and many good sites with a lot of educational material. All of those links I have found personally useful.
    I can related to being introduced to porn at quite an early age through a friend and I think it's quite common that this thing goes on as teenagers grow up and become curious about sex. Unlike you, my experience with my parents wasn't one of hypocrisy - although my mother was (and is) an ardent feminist which meant that porn particularly was something quite taboo, being abusive and exploitative particularly towards women. So for me, it was also partly perhaps rebellion too. I think it's very interesting though that you could talk about it with your cousins at the time because I couldn't and I think for me particularly, the secrecy (and feeling the behaviour must stay hidden or made me a bad person to have such thoughts) meant I suppressed it and tried to bottle things up, which you didn't. It seems like you had a more positive experience in being able to talk about and it and share that regard overall. For me, keeping it all hidden contributed to a sense of shame - that I couldn't or shouldn't have sexual feelings (they were "bad" or it was "wrong" to lust after women) and therefore needed to be shut down at all costs within myself.
    One very interesting thing you touch on is one of your (male) cousins feeling that sex is "a right he deserves" in a relationship. Personally, I find that to be quite an entitled attitude and I found within myself that I would get much more entitled like that when I was a heavy porn user. It was part of the path of objectification of women. A woman is there to serve my sexual needs as and when I want, on tap. That's nasty and quite messed up really but would be the n'th degree ending of that thought process for me when it went too far. The flip side is of course that for people in a monogamous relationship, their partner is the only person who can meet their sexual needs. And most people have/want such a relationship. That is what makes that relationship special above all things. As soon as one partner starts getting their needs met outside (in whatever form, porn, masturbation, affairs etc.) then big problems are occurring. I find a sense of entitlement dangerous in this regard because it can easily become "I am going to get my sex whatever way I want" i.e. is selfish and selfishness kills kindness in a relationship and leads to such behaviours as porn/affairs etc. if unchecked. Now, I want sex at different times when I feel physically and emotionally present as a means primarily of connection and acceptance above all. It's difficult because while I don't feel entitled to it, I do feel that my wife is the only person who can meet that and I do feel rejected when I don't get what I want. But that is part of life and doesn't give me the right to then go and get my needs met elsewhere with something else (a computer screen) instead. Personally, I feel a lot more grown up and happier in myself with that attitude but it's taken me a long long long time to get there and isn't always nice.
    Regarding your parents - I appreciate there is likely a cultural aspect involved too - perhaps they don't expect you to do anything before getting married to someone (that they approve of). It sounds like you think your parents are in denial of the realities of what their children get up to. But above all, I would ask then why you would want to tell them or what you would expect to gain from telling them? It seems like your biggest fear is they will try and shame you into thinking you have done something wrong or a bad person but actually you seem OK with your past/present sex life/boyfriends in yourself. Again, personally I've found that the it's my own opinion and judgement of my actions that matters - that's not to say other people are not important to me, far from it, but that ultimately if I am satisfied with how I've conducted myself then at the end of the day that is what counts. You cannot control other people nor their feelings. I presume you're an adult and even if you still live with them, you are old enough to make your own mind up and live your own life in whatever way you see fit and take responsibility for yourself accordingly. If you change your mind and conclude you're not happy with having sex outside marriage anymore and want to now wait, you're perfectly entitled to do so and that's up to you and you alone. But you can't change the past either, whether other people like it or not. Ultimately, it would be your parents having a problem with it, not you. Yet at the same time, they are obviously trying to raise you up in the best way they know how. It is a difficult situation.
    If you're not happy being caught with porn (which I think is common for a lot of people who use it) then I also think that indicates some shame about it too - that maybe you are not entirely comfortable within yourself, particularly if you are using it regularly or find it hard to stop. If this is the case, then having a clean period and stopping using it entirely and being free of it in your life would be one way of solving that problem and is entirely independent of what physical sex life you have with your boyfriend or a partner.
    Peace.
     
     
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  4. Rob added a post in a topic Constantly Thinking of sex   

    FWIW In my relationship, I felt this was more a function of the (dis)honesty going on rather than an ego or insecurity. I think I got so used to always hiding part of myself (and my behaviours) that when my wife would actually be open and vulnerable I would find that very hard to accept at face value and instead put my own spin on it. I see it as a function of broken communication more than anything. I couldn't be honest with myself, my own thoughts and feelings nor be vulnerable about it. So when my wife could be so with me, it was puzzling and wouldn't make sense. I would find alternative explanations to rationalise my acting out - she must be lying about enjoying it or being satisfied, therefore she's rejecting me, therefore I am justified in running off to my fantasy world porn harem. This is the kind of messed up thought process that goes on inside an addict's mind. I would project my inner anger gets outwards at my partner, sadly.
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  5. Rena added a post in a topic Constantly Thinking of sex   

    Hey Ava,
    My personal situation is pretty complex, but I definitely found that the more I tried to talk about the lack of sex in our relationship, or lack of intimacy, the worse it became. Even when I would make advances in the evening, I was rejected very often, and the more I tried to turn him on, the more he pushed me away. Only now that we have come full circle to the real root of our relationship problems, have we been able to have a satisfying sex life.  (It turned out he had been cheating on me for years and had long running sex addiction problems) But In terms of worrying about alienating him, I think it might be part of the male brain not being able to cope with feeling they cant satisfy a woman. Egos are very fragile sometimes. In my head when I would say to my partner "I love you, I enjoy sleeping with you, let's do that more often please" it read in his head as "You don't satisfy me, I am going to leave you for a man with a ten foot penis who will sleep with me 17 times a day" or something equally as crazy.
    Do you have a very active sex life? You could try talking to him openly and say "I have a high sex drive, which I would like to share with you because I like it when we both feel good" or something else kind of positive?
    Good luck!
    XXXX
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  6. Rena added a post in a topic Constantly Thinking of sex   

    Hey,
    I am the partner of a sex addict, and it sounds like you might be having difficulty.

    I am a woman, and have a high sex drive. I'm a sexual person - I suppose I think about sex a fair bit throughout the day- but I would always look to flirt with or initiate sex with my partner. It never really occurred to me to look for that elsewhere, because I love intimacy and sexuality with a partner.

    Over the years it emerged that actually it was my current partner who has serious and long running sex addiction problems. He thought about sex 24/7 and spent all his time looking at porn, contacting women, cheating on me, collecting images, living a double life... But all that time he could very easily have been having sex with me and we would both have been satisfied. I couldn't for the life of me understand why I was being largely ignored.

    I wanted desperately to be more sexual with him, but instead he took his sex obsession and rejected me, and outpoured it in lots of damaging and unhealthy ways on to other fantasy women. In the end we both felt bad  - I had been rejected and was sexually starved and lied to, he felt terrible and was living double lives everywhere.

    The point is, maybe your wife doesn't want to participate because it has become more like an ultimatum than a pleasurable activity - there is all this pressure on her. She probably feels bad too because you, probably without realising, might be acting stressed out or different because you feel frustrated. Women don't tend to feel sexy when things are stressful, men are the opposite. Take the pressure off her, show her some attention, give her a massage... make her feel special and try to satisfy HER. I'm sure she will be happier and more open with you in bed with you when it stops being weird and obsessive. (I really don't mean that to sound rude)
    If it interferes with your day to day life, read Paula Hall's book on Sex Addiction. It is very helpful.
    Sexuality should be the joyful fire in your soul, not the source of pain.
    Hope you find some peace
    XXXX

     
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  7. Rena added a post in a topic Ali   

    Hey Ali,

    Sending some love to you.
    I had similar problems to you in my relationship. Unfortunately for me it turned out to be the tip of the iceberg, but obviously that is not the case for everybody.
    Women tend to beat themselves up quite badly when they have a gut feeling about something. I would say 98% of the time the gut feeling is correct, but for some reason we are trained to doubt ourselves. If there was something going on with your partner while you were together which made you feel uneasy, then there is the problem. The fact that you looked on his computer and found the source of your discomfort, just shows that you understood what might be wrong. And that is okay. I woke up one day after a very difficult patch, and something clicked in my brain to check my partner's old mobile phone. Inexplicable, but spot on.

    The best thing to do is to have a discussion with him about it. I tore myself up for months because I didn't want to have that conversation with my partner. It made me feel bad, and it made the situation worse. Just let him know that you love him, but that you felt something was off and you found he was watching porn. Ask him if he is okay, and what the porn means to him. I am sure that he, like most men, is using it as a quick 'fix' for his endorphins. It makes him feel good about himself for 10 mins, and he doesn't need to do anything. If the porn makes you feel bad, tell him. Let him know you love him, and want a beautiful and loving relationship, and that for you porn is not part of that. Be clear about what you do want in the relationship. If he gets angry, or upset, take a deep breath. He won't like being called out on it, as it is uncomfortable, and he may be unpleasant about it at first, but it honestly will open up your communication together, and hopefully you can have an open and honest discussion about your relationship.

    Don't let it make you lose confidence, or feel bad about yourself. From what I understand, men watching porn is a detachment, and will have very little to do with you as a person, or how you look. ( I used to watch very specific types of porn both alone and with partners as it was joyful and celebratory, but since being with a sex addict I have stopped as it makes me feel really sad now)  I have spent the last year feeling terrible after I realised that my partner was watching ex gf porn and internet porn every day, plus cheating on me for years with other women (again - not that porn = cheating!) and none of the women looked or acted anything like me. It was a real shock to the system, and a difficult thing to feel confident afterwards. But please do remember that his porn life is a fantasy, and whatever he is watching has very little to do with you, or how he feels about you. It is ENTIRELY about how he feels about himself.
    The most important thing for you to do just now is open up lines of communication. Don't make him feel bad for watching porn, just tell him that it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you would like to talk about it.
    Good luck!
    XXXXX
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  8. Rena added a post in a topic Will things get better?   

    Thank you PJ and Rob for your insight, and for the links to other forums. I really appreciate it.

    It was good to read some success stories, thank you PJ. It helps to know that if you put your mind to it, you can change these behaviours and make your life better. I'm sorry I waited so long to reply - I did not mean to be rude - I think I still feel very ashamed of everything, and hid.

    I'm finding it hard because I do understand on a theoretical level the detachment and illogical behaviour patterns. I see the train of thought - or feeling - that led to everything. I'm a pretty empathic person, so I do understand that it comes from a place of pain, and technically it has nothing really to do with me. But I struggle to detach myself from it, because it is MY being which has taken the hit. For me it has been a different journey. He has always known about his behaviour, but I was completely blindsided. The numerous affairs, deceit, and deep manipulation which went along with covering up his hideous behaviour, has just left me feeling very empty, ashamed and abused. Some things he did to juggle me and the other women are so cruel I can't even write them down. I always knew he had a bit of a problem with porn, and was constantly looking up ex gfs on the internet, but the rest was a complete shock. It has shaken my inner confidence down to the core. Therapists have said I am suffering PTSD, which makes sense, but it's getting better. One day at a time and all that..

    I'm trying hard to get to grips with letting the past go, and rebuilding our relationship, but I feel stuck in a bad cycle just now. Because my fiancee feels so bad about himself all the time, nothing I say or do is good enough. I have been (I think) really supportive and encouraging, trying to use confidence building language, telling him that he is a wonderful person, gently complimenting him, being direct and calm when there is a problem, reassuring him that we will get through this.. but no matter what I say he takes it as a criticism - even really nice things like casually saying 'I love the way you kiss me'. Then he gets really stressed and is rude to me, I get upset because he is rude, and he tells me that I make him feel awful every day.
    When we finally get to the core of it, he admits he feels so crushingly guilty for what he has done to me, and that he genuinely does feel bad all the time. But then he turns around and blames me for this stressful behaviour - He is rude to me and I get upset, and it's my fault for being upset.. and so on.. then he starts being secretive again, and deleting the internet history, or making up stories, I ask him directly why he is doing this again, and explain that this makes me feel scared. But then it is my fault - he says I make him feel so guilty every day that even when he isn't doing anything 'bad' he feels the need to hide it from me, he feels like he is being watched 24/7. This upsets me, which gives him more fuel to tell me I am the problematic one. It really worries me. It doesn't help with the trust, and it doesn't help with either of us in building confidence.

    I really feel like I'm losing my mind. I don't WANT him to feel bad every day - that doesn't bring me any joy. Plus it is tiring for both of us. I also have no interest in policing him, or watching him - he is a grown man and in charge of himself. I just don't know how to talk to him. I don't know what to say, or how to say even the simplest of things any more without it spiraling out of control. I also don't like him turning it around and trying to make me feel guilty. Naturally I am upset if he is secretive, because that's what it felt like for years while he was cheating on me. But he really doesn't see it from my perspective. He is the cause of my pain, and now I am the cause of his! I feel bad for what he did to me, and I feel awful that I continue to make him feel bad.. it's too much feeling bad for one girl to handle!
    Is this hypersensitivity towards me normal? Is he just being defensive/attacking because he is ashamed?
    When people have deep routed fear and shame cycles, is there really ANYTHING I can say or do to make it better? I am so very very tired of 'doing it wrong'.
    I know is all comes down to inner happiness and confidence, which he is lacking, but is there any way I SHOULD be talking to him? What I am doing now clearly is not working and I don't want to live like this. I want to help him feel better about himself, and I want to come to him from a place of kindness and understanding. I can't continue on a cycle of being the 'source of all pain'.
     
    Unfortunately there is another thing blocking me at the moment - and is something I would be very interested in hearing opinions on from other men with SA problems - the general attitude towards women in 'acting out' behaviour.

    My fiancee is a staunch feminist in his outer life. He loves women, most of his friends are women, he is very vocal about women's rights and equality - it is something I really love about him. He outwardly demonstrates 'respect' and honour, and a celebration of women. He hates men mistreating women, he has even spoken to me numerous times about an ex of mine who cheated on me and makes a point of saying 'how dare they treat you this way, that's awful - what an idiot! You are the best thing in the world'.
    However, in his 'private life' behaviour for at least the last ten years, he has been absolutely awful to women in just the same way. Not only has he never been respectful, or faithful, but he has actively manipulated and deceived women over and over again. I mean, he has really been - what I consider - not in the slightest bit feminist, in fact he appears to really hate women, and uses them terribly. His treatment of women has been really truly appalling, especially while in 'relationships'- multiple affairs, compulsive lies, huge levels of deceipt and living multiple realities online and offline, plus making the women feel bad about themselves when they ask if he is cheating... Some people act like this outwardly and we just call them assh*les or misogynists. But when it is secret and covert like this, it is very confusing. Without going too deeply in to examples, it is like split personality disorder.  I cannot in any way reconcile the two sides in to the same person. I don't understand it AT ALL. That is not the man I know.

    Is this something that happens with SA? Is it part of a fantasy, where you can be king of your castle, and women are awful and need to be punished? Does he actually hate women, or does he just hate himself? I know it is not directly answerable, but I am very interested in the psychology or rationale behind it, if anyone has experienced this,  because it really scares me. I am also scared of fooling myself any further. Any insights would be greatly, and humbly appreciated.

    Our day to day life has been almost the opposite of his 'private life', so I don't know which part of it is real.
    The strangest thing for me is that I am a 'hot'/beautiful person, smart, with a high sex drive and am tactile and affectionate. I also enjoy porn (not any more haha) and engaging sexuality. Without blowing my own trumpet, I'm quite a catch all things considered. I have always been very confident about my sexuality but the reality is sinking in that I am with someone who may NEVER consider me to be enough for him... and I don't want to experience that rejection over and over again. The feeling that my fiancee would rather hide in the bathroom and video chat masturbate with some 'super hot model' he was secretly dating, rather than make love to me  - his real life hot girlfriend waiting naked in our bed- is such a uniquely terrible feeling! I would not wish it upon anyone! I was deprived of intimacy for so long I felt incredibly bad, but couldn't put my finger on what it was, only in hindsight did I realise it was intimacy problems. I felt so rejected, and as I don't cheat, there isn't really a replacement for that kind of attention. The thought that I make my partner feel bad, instead of feeling loved and sexy, is a total nightmare! Loving yourself is the most important thing, but some external TLC is what makes us alive!
    Sorry for rambling.. a lot...  I am really interested in perspective from people who have been through something similar. Does any of this behaviour, or split personality make sense?
    No one I have spoken to has any experience in this at all, including therapists, so it has been really eye opening looking through forums, and through Paula's books. I didn't realise sex addiction was real until my world collapsed. It is so different from 'being cheated on', so complex, so deep.. we are all fragile little creatures haha.
    I am trying exceptionally hard to be a loving and compassionate partner, but I'm a bit scared to be honest, and I feel like I'm doing a very lousy job.

    Thanks for listening. XXX
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  9. Ava added a post in a topic Constantly Thinking of sex   

    Hi All, interesting reading however I feel strange as all the posts appear to be from men, I too think I have a sexual fantasy addiction. I am in a loving relationship with no intention of being unfaithful but think of sex constantly, from the moment I wake until I sleep, I worry my partner will get sick of my demands and try not mentioning the sex word too much,for fear of alienating him.
    I have now felt drawn to online porn as a quick hit to try and give me some peace! Any advice would be welcome thanks 
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  10. sargam added a post in a topic Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman   

    First of all thanks for that detailed answer which helped me a lot ,also thanks for material provided (which kept me busy as i researched almost all the links provided by you and also  one link led me to another).
    I have to admit some of the facts were really an eye opener and I could relate to it.
    I was introduced to porn by one of my cousin brother who is really "kool" guy and we would watch it along with my other two cousins as we were of same age group.
    "This is what our prude parents do in their bedrooms and ask us to be chaste" he said one day after he was sharing his experience about how he accidentally walked on his parents. 
    'Well I believe its OK to do it within marriage' I said.  
    To which my cousin sister said "What makes you think our parents were pure and pious before their marriage "
    Soon my cousins started dating and I too had a boyfriend . We (cousins and myself) became sexually active around the same time and we never hesitated to share any information as we never felt guilt or shy.
    Its very surprising that Sex had a different perspective for each of my cousins. Some viewed it as a right he deserved for being in a relationship, while one of my cousin sister saw it as "icing on the cake" after she spent working with her boyfriend who was a good listener . 
    Personally Sex for me is a stress buster and I believe it has helped me a lot during my college days to cope up with studies and work schedule.
    The only thing common with me and my cousins was that no one had the guts to spill the beans and be bold to reveal to their parents that they were sexually active. I feel that the parents are making fool of themselves and are acting ignorant and refuse to admit that their children could get sexually active.
    I am sure that even if I ever muster courage to tell my parents that I have had safe consensual sex with many of my boyfriends over the past decade. They will refuse to acknowledge the fact and act Ignorant and try to emotionally blackmail me by saying "What did we do wrong in raising you that you have brought disgrace by doing such things outside marriage?" 
    I just hope that I am not caught by my parents while I am in the act or they come across any of my videos, as this would be a really awkward situation for the whole family.
     
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  11. Rob added a post in a topic Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman   

    Hi Sargam,

    There's some really interesting questions and points there.
    For me, a lot of it stems from what is your own personal definition of acceptable sexuality and sexual behaviour. Some people and couples obviously do use pornography and most people obviously encounter it at some point in their lives. It's something that can be seen as exciting or taboo and people can be drawn to out of natural curiosity too. For me, it started when I was young (a teenage) as I didn't have any sexual experience and it is a way of "learning" of a sort.
    For me, the real problems came with it when I realised that it had actually turned from something that it was a "dirty little secret" that I couldn't or wouldn't discuss with my partners. And then further on, when really I became fully addicted to it and "needed" it regularly, often easily spending an hour or two every couple of days for many years on end. It became something that I felt I wasn't in control of and was very ashamed about. It helped drive a wedge between me and my wife as well. Particularly, I felt that whenever she was withdrawn or not wanting sex, I could instead go and masturbate to pornography to "make myself feel better" - it was a crutch and meant I didn't have to work harder at improving the relationship or really discussing our sexual needs fully. In turn over time, real sex with her became dull and monotonous because I couldn't spend hours with her edging to the multitude of wild crazy content and unlimited variety of online porn. Why try harder to enjoy sex with the same woman you've been with for 17 years, when instead you can have a unlimited supply of novelty - different women every night, limited only by your imagination? For me, this is the real problem at the root of online porn - it sets up extremely unrealistic expectations of what sex is and should be that no partner or human being can ever compete with. At the same time, I would also be secretly disgusted with myself at some of the content I was looking at and needing to view more and more extreme material to keep that hit going over the years. Then asking partners to do these acts that I wouldn't otherwise in a million years thought up myself. I felt really ashamed of that. It is a myth and fantasy world that I would run to whenever real life was a bit too tough or things didn't go my way. This created greater emotional distance between me and my wife and also a much bigger disconnect with the world in general. Nothing (except maybe serious drugs) competes with sex in the human brain reward system. So, when you have unlimited sex on tap 24 hours a day with unlimited fantasy, what happens? Well, I withdrew from the real world. Why bother going out to meet people and talk about real problems? Why bother having real hobbies or going out an doing things? Why bother sorting myself out and actually achieving my life goals? Instead, porn would always be there for that instant hit. But it's not real. Although I knew for a long time deep down things were badly wrong that I "needed" porn so much, I thought I was the only person in the world like it and was in deep denial about quite bad the effects of it were in my life. It's taken quite a bit of clean time and lot of help to really understand the depth and the impact my issue with porn actually was causing in my life. The good news is, now I am straightening things out and enjoy a lot more from life - my time goes elsewhere but mostly into myself in other ways. I do still masturbate but much less frequently and only in ways that I am comfortable with are a completely physical experience for me. That means staying away from any form of sexual contact having any form of computer or phone screen involved in any way. That's what's good and what works for me but it's taken me time to figure that out and everyone is different.
    Maybe things aren't like this for you with porn and you don't have the problems I have with it. I really deeply hope not. Maybe you use porn responsibly or it doesn't affect you like it affects me. Only you can answer that because our sexuality is deeply personal thing and everyone has different needs and boundaries. My belief is that the only person who can define those is you. Clearly there are plenty of people who do look at and masturbate to pornography but don't feel it's a problem or impacts their lives. For those people, great. I'm not one of those people. The really interesting thing with a lot of those people who insist they can easily put it down is that when you ask them to stop to prove it, they come up with many excuses why they can't or won't. They enjoy it, so why stop something you enjoy? Why deny yourself? If these people feel so OK about it, why don't they go and tell their wives and friends and mothers all about what porn they watched last night? Probably because deep down they feel ashamed at some level of what they are doing and especially if they are doing it regularly. All these creeping rationalisations can often be because secretly they are hooked and cannot or do not want to let go of their "crutch." Again for me, the real reasons came down to wanted to escape and actually needing to radically change my life because my previous life sucked a lot. Sometimes people who use porn heavily can think that porn and masturbation causes all the problems in their life. I have found that what's really going on is that I had a lot of nasty problems already in my life, porn was just one more of those that was pretending to "make it better" or comfort me but actually just burying it all and making even more mess to sort out.
    Weirdly, although I have never been a religious person, since starting my journey I have started to see more of its merits in attitudes towards sex. Previously, I would regard most religions as prudish and discouraging of enjoyment or pleasure in their attitude towards sex, porn and masturbation. But I can now appreciate more keenly some of the moderating views they cultivate because of the damage I feel using porn has done to me. Because sex is such a powerful and potentially destructive (as well as creative) thing, the message to treat it with more care and respect is something I had not fully given it credit for. Western society also has specific social attitudes and perhaps a more relaxed approach which makes this harder still for people to figure out for themselves. Yet at the same time, putting in hard boundaries that people don't fully understand or make porn and masturbation taboo also can cause a lot of harm and push people away from trying to work out their own ideas - it can easily feed shame and the feeling you are bad for having sexual desire and that it must be repressed at all costs. It can easily blanket all forms of sexual activity as destructive, apart from procreation, if taken to the extreme. Personally, I find this attitude too restrictive but again, different things work for different people.
    One last thing also I have found is that while it mostly men who have serious issues with porn addiction (in its many different forms, images, "soft" sites, chat/sexting etc.) or even escalation to sex workers, sex addition, serial affairs etc. this problem most definitely can and does affect women too - the forum at rebootnation.org has a specific women's section, for example.
    There are a lot of links here if you want to explore and understand further:
    http://paulahall.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/505-online-resources-for-addicts-wanting-help/
    Most notably if you only have 5 minutes:
    http://paulahall.co.uk/resources/am-i-an-addict/
    Thanks for taking the time to read my very long reply here. I hope it's helped in some way and if you want to discuss further, it would be great to hear your thoughts back.
    Peace.
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  12. sargam added a topic in Sex & Porn Addiction   

    Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman
    I grew up in a very religious Catholic household. My parents had seven girls, so they never really felt the need to talk to us about sex , porn and masturbation.
    They grew up in a time when porn wasn't widely available for young women, so they wrote it off.
    The church taught us that those types of things were forbidden. I don't know about other churches, but I'm sure that some of them preach the same. Now that I'm older and have been masturbating and watching porn for half of the years of my life, I don't see anything wrong with it. It's always spiced up my sex  life with my lovers, it's never made me antisocial, and it's actually taught me how to be one with my body and how to enjoy myself. Although I agree that too much of anything is bad , I've started to wonder if masturbation and porn addiction are just myths made up by religion. (I'm not longer religious)
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  13. Chris added a post in a topic Sex addiction and lack of empathy   

    Rob,
    I enjoyed reading your post. Not only were you sincere, but also honest and encouraging. I've been on many blogs and forums for sex addiction and not many addicts are able to empathize with their spouses trauma or anyone else's for that matter. I think it's great that you've come a long way and that distance has made you more sensitive to your wife's pain. I know it's hard not to get defensive when someone is angry. I appreciate that you recognize that your wife was correct in her assessments even though she did so confrontationally. However, it is my sincere hope that you also recognize that your wife was under much duress and healthy communication lacks with sex addicts; therefore she may have continually found herself in a situation where she had to get angry in order to be heard. I don't mean this as a criticism! I commend you on how far you come in recovery and in personal growth. I mention it because I found that many time the addict pleases unrealistic expectations of understanding, compassion, and empathy on their spouses as if we are super human, which only makes us feel more unloved, unimportant, and unvalued as our needs continue to go unmet. Many sex addicts hold unrealistically high expectations for their traumatized spouse to meet the needs of the addicts, but do not hold themselves to the same standards or expectations. I'm not saying this is currently you! I'm only offering another perspective while venting to someone who seems to get it. I appreciate you validating the pain and experiences of spouses like myself. It means a lot. I hope you are now able to do the same for your wife. As much as your comment meant to me and I'm sure others, I know your wife would find this healing as well. My thoughts are with you and your wife. 
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  14. Chris added a post in a topic Sex addiction and lack of empathy   

    I know this thread started quite some time ago, but I felt compelled to post. Claire, you are most definitely not alone. My husband's lack of empathy has been one of the most devastating parts of all this. I'm sure like every other partners of sex addicts or for anyone who has been cheated on, I wanted my husband to be more than just apologetic. I needed him to empathize with the trauma he caused. I wanted him to be truly remorseful and prove that he was truly remorseful by taking the time to understand the intense pain and how my world flipped up side down and crashed! I wanted him to prove his remorse by taking action and doing everything he could to get help for our family individually and together. It took having to kick him out via police after an intense fight and after six months of no effort. Seeking counseling from relational trauma specialist has been very helpful! From much research reading experiences from other spouses and from my own experience, counselors that use the trauma model is the absolute best!! I can't stress that enough!! I was able to find a place that gave us individual counseling with different counselors that met each of our specific needs. They even had a counselor for children. I felt it best for my husband to go to one of the male counselors because many other of my husband's issues had to deal with a lack of a healthy male influence growing up. My husband would never listen to any of the women in his life, but he second a man said the same thing, it was like everything clicked. It was very frustrating that I needed a man just to translate anything to my husband and even more frustrating that much of the advice I received before discovering his addiction was for me to be a more submissive wife (eye roll). I mention this because my husband's inability to listen to women, which makes up our whole family, added to his inability to listen to my pain and needs, and by extension contributes to his lack of empathy. If you're still having a hard time in counseling, I hope my experience can help you find other possible options. My thoughts are with you. 
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  15. K65 added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    Hi Anon123
    You are not alone. I found that husband has been using porn for the majority of our marriage (we've been married 21 years). His behaviour escalated resulting in a big crash, confession to one thing and then a series of confessions that I begged out of him. 
    The impact upon my life (It's been almost 2 months) has been immense. I fully empathise with you. I thought my husband was a rule-keeper - I never expected the devastating  extent of his hidden life. 
    We are attending counselling (a counsellor linked to this website) and it has been really helpful. I am grateful that my husband appears to see the extreme damage his addiction has caused. I have told close and mutual friends and two men have become his accountability partners. We cannot get through this alone. I also know that this will not be a quick process. This is emotional trauma. 
    I go from tearful, to reasonable, to incredible rage, shame, embarrassment, hope, rational understanding and repeat - an emotional rollercoaster. Initially I had medication to help me sleep and have a very understanding doctor.
    There is help out there and I can see that this website runs some group courses. I think I would like to do that because this journey feels so lonely. Even though you can share with friends, if they have not been through it, it can still feel like you are alone. 
    My husband travels away regularly and I feel so vulnerable. 
    My heart goes out to you. 
    K65
     
     
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  16. Anon123 added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    Thank you PJ. 
    I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me. I did tell a friend of mine over the weekend but I'm so embarrassed about it. 
    I can't see to fall soft even if I wanted to. I feel like I'm tormenting him at the moment.
    I'll get the books. Thank you xx
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  17. PJ added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    You are experiencing devastation Anon123.  It is a devastating experience and your reactions, dismay, self-doubt, anger, confusion, to name just some, are normal.  Whilst I have been on the other end, I do feel for you.  
    There is so much I could say but a few thoughts.
    1. You aren't alone.  There are many who are on this harrowing road.  Do reach out to others in the same boat.
    2. There is help for you.  I would commend Paula's book for partners.  Sex Addiction: The Partner's Perspective.  Her other book on Understand and Treating Sex Addiction is also extremely good.  One of the things you will learn is that this isn't primarily about sex and it isn't because of anything you have done or not done.  
    3. There is hope.  Two years on, I have been clean from porn, masturbation and visiting sex workers.  It was awful beyond words telling my wife, but we have got through it - with a lot of help from others.  
    4. If there is one piece of advice I might give you?  Don't go soft on him, don't make excuses for his behaviour - there aren't any.  Help him to face up to his problem - don't collude with it.  Sadly but inevitably, addicts (especially sex addicts) find it so very difficult to be honest.
    5. Oops, perhaps one other piece of advice - tell someone who you know will support you, walk with you on this dreadful road.
    All the best.
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  18. Anon123 added a topic in Partner Concerns   

    Looking for understanding
    Hi.
    I'm gutted to have found myself in this position but this is where I'm at. I discovered last week that my husband has been using porn for the last 15 years.  I can't even begin to get my head round it. I feel like he's been cheating on me even when there's no real 'other' woman. 
    We have what I thought was a decent or at least reasonable sex life. So I can't understand why he's been attached to this behaviour all this time. Why did he not just have sex with me?! 
    When I think about the lies he has told over the years including a situation where I believed him over others and ended friendships with a number of people, I can't get my head round why he has deceived me so much.  
    We have a tough life one way or another. Just a couple of weeks ago I was distressed about my sons health and struggled to sleep all week/cried myself to sleep. Meanwhile my husband was downstairs mastubating to a perfect 10 on the Internet.  
    How have I not known for 15 years that this has been a problem? To the best of my knowledge he had a normal upbringing and didn't suffer any abuse. Why then is he so obsessed with watching people have sex and mastubating at every given opportunity? 
    Am I too controlling? Am I boring in bed?  Tell you what, I know I'm no porn star.
    I've been looking through pictures from over the years and feel like all our life has been a lie.  Smiling and looking happy but clearly one of us wasn't. One of us was waiting for the next opportunity to be alone. 
    I can't even look him in the eye at the moment. He always likes to give the impression that he's some kind of a gentleman. I spoke to his brother looking for support for my husband and he dismissed me saying all men do it. 
    Do all men do it with such regularity? Do all men put porn ahead of their family? Do all men leave their wives upstairs to go and masturbate elsewhere whilst watching God knows what?! 
    What else has he lied about? He literally told me the briefest of details. Has he been meeting other women for sex? He tells me his colleagues at work sit and watch porn between work duties. What kind of world is this?? I go to work and do work. I can't imagine going to work and during quiet moments making sure I have quiet time! 
    Who is this man that I married? How is it that the man with whom I thought i had loving sex, can be so turned on by sex that is so degrading to women. Women incidentally who aren't fat or saggy or marked with stretch marks. How can I let him see me naked again? Surely I can only ever be a disappointment to him. 
    How could he break my heart like this. I've swapped at times to wanting to view this like an illness and wish that I could help him. But I can't maintain anything I feel. I just feel ashamed and embarrassed and worthless.  
    I've read posts that say just leave as it'll only get worse and I don't think I've got the strength to cope with worse than this! I'm so tired of the same thoughts going round my head. I wish he had just cared and respected me enough not to do this.  I know I sound harsh and am making it all about me. I'm just so overwhelmed. I chose this man. 
     
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  19. K65 added a post in a topic Should I be stressed out?   

    Hi Jo
    I am in the early days of full disclosure from my husband (7 weeks ago) and the devastating impact of realising that it has been through the course of our 21 year marriage (although his addictive tendencies predate that, accessibility and opportunity kicked in during our second year of marriage). The escalation of his addiction has been frightening to me and caused so much pain.
    I am grateful that he wanted counselling and we are both gaining knowledge about such addictions. I mentioned in another post that what has surprised me most recently is not just what I am learning about him (and others with such addictions) but about what I am learning about myself. 
    Not every story ends the same way. There are success stories on here which can bring hope for couples. There is one thing I believe we can know though, if we take care of ourselves  (as individuals) and commit ourselves to this painful but illuminating journey of understanding, we will have a personal success story of coming through painful and devastating relational trauma to a place where we can be stronger and make good choices for ourselves. 
    I want my marriage to work. I hope it does and in my best moments I believe this to be possible. Regardless, I am committed to me! I want to be faithful to my own recovery and love myself  well. I want this for you too and for all those beautiful, incredible and brave women that share their story and those that have not done so yet but I hope will. 
    I salute you sister! 
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  20. K65 added a post in a topic Sex addict partner and had enough :-(   

    Grace
    I found out the extent of my husband's sex addiction almost 7 weeks ago. It was devastating. I am grateful that he wanted to get help and together we have been attending counselling - I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this has been.
    Counselling is not accessible to everyone because of the expense and time but if you can invest in it, I can really see no better investment. If this is not accessible  for you (and even alongside counselling) I would encourage you to look at the Naked Truth website which now has a forum for partners. http://thenakedtruthproject.com/xxxposed-hearts-a-new-network-for-wives-partners. It's important to know that you are not alone and,whilst other women have different stories and are at different points of recovery and healing, all appear to share a common understanding of the pain and grief this causes. The website also recommends books and knowledge really is power. 
    Learning about why people turn to this addiction (I am only recently coming to greater understanding I add!) has really begun to help. What has surprised me even more so is what I am beginning to learn about myself. My husband isn't the only one who needs understanding about why he did those things. I need to understand why I tolerated what I did know for so long, why I feel the way I do about myself and how I can take care of myself. It seems that treasure really can be found in the thick of mud as well as palaces. This learning for me will (truly) be a prize that I am determined to take away from this dark period of my life. 
    Grace, my heart goes out to you. I am sending you a virtual hug and want you to know how wonderfully valuable you are, how worthy of faithful love you are and that there is hope. Right now we are broken but restoration is possible. Right now we are in pain but joy can also be ours too. I couldn't believe it when I signed up to this site (what has happened to my life I thought!) but after only a few days I am beginning to feel that I have something to gain from all this (strangely) - to know and understand myself and others better - to know and begin to better take care of myself. Would I choose this knowledge to come to me this excruciatingly painful way? - no, I didn't get to choose. But now I choose. I choose to find the treasure in all this muck! 
    Love to you
    K65
     
     
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  21. K65 added a post in a topic I Just Need To Vent   

    Noticed that the poem came out weird once posted but didn't have time to fix so her goes:
    Cost 
    She was free
    (Or so you thought)
    But I cost 
    Time, effort, thought...
     
    When I knew of her
    (and there were many)
    When I drew each encounter
    From your tightly clenched fist
    It cost you
    Shame, fear, me?
     
    She doesn't remember you
    (I hope)
    What did this freebie cost her?
    Pain, degradation, freedom?
     
    I wanted to hate her 
    For the desecration of my heart
    But the cost was too much.
    She is my sister
    Her story unknown
    Her value too great.
     
    She should never come free
    Of love, faithfulness and care. 
    Compassion, friendship and commitment 
    Should be hers.
     
    This 'cost free' fix
    Spent my trust.
    The history of us depreciated.
    The no claims bonus gone.
     
    Husband,
    She was never free.
    It cost you, me and her.
    All of us so valuable.
     
     
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  22. K65 added a post in a topic I Just Need To Vent   

    My husband told himself that it was 'better' (although not good) because he didn't pay for it too. He knows it's not true now as we spoke. I thought it was deplorable that the women didn't even get money in return for someone else's addiction. (I'm not advocating pay but just the premise of taking with nothing in return). He told himself that some choose it and enjoy it (perhaps but where does this choice stem from?) 
    I wrote this poem over this: 
    Cost
    She was free                                    (Or so you thought)                         But I cost                                      Time, effort, thought...
    When I knew of her                         (and there were many)                                       When I drew the virtual encounters From your tightly clenched fist.                  It cost you:                                                Shame, fear, regret, me?
    She doesn't remember you                     (I hope)                                                          What did this 'freebie' cost her?              Pain? Degradation? Freedom?
    I wanted to hate her                            For the desecration of my heart                But the cost was too much                     She is my sister                                       Her story unknown                                  Her value too great        
    She should never come free                     Of love, faithfulness and care                 Compassion, friendship and commitment                              Should be hers        
    This cost-free 'fix' spent my trust.            The history of us depreciated                       No claims bonus gone
    Husband                                              She was never free                               It cost you, me and her                        All of us so valuable                                
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  23. K65 added a post in a topic 'Enabling' my husband's porn addiction   

    Hi Alys 
    My husband has had a porn addiction for 20 years. Sometimes I would challenge it then tolerate it or be in denial. I told myself (and he told me) that it was getting better and that  all men struggle with this. This was a mistake because it escalated in the last two years to live webcams, interactive cams and sex chats. He had even begun to look at local hook up sites and search for prostitutes sending a photo to someone. His risky, damaging and selfish behaviour has shocked me to the core. It all came out before this progressed to meeting people in person (although he said he'd drawn the line there) due to an incident I won't go into. He was very reluctant to disclose but I hope that all has been disclosed. 
    Like you, I have looked back with regret on my tolerance and lack of healthy boundaries. My self-care has been poor so I know that I must be try and be compassionate to myself now. Hindsight was not mine to have and I acted in the only way I knew at the time. I can't undo this but I can look at how I move forward. 
    The only recent but growing support in the U.K., which is dwarfed by the support in the USA, is a indication that we didn't have the understanding and support that we needed. There is so much shame around this area which makes it difficult to ask and find help for both addict and partners. You don't know what you don't know especially if it's not available or hidden for lack of awareness. 
    I am encouraged to find this website. It is clearly in early usuage given the few replies but, as a growing community, we can begin to build support within the U.K. 
    I have joined a group for partners on The Naked Truth website today (via Facebook) It is targeted at porn addiction and help for addicts and the youth sector but now has a group for partners. Again it is in its infancy but that will change over time. 
    You are not alone. This can feel so lonely and connecting to those who can fully empathise is important.
    It's early days for us and we have started counselling which has been a relief. I am hoping I will move from a emphasis on my husband's recovery to a focus on mine as I grow less frightened.
    As I said I'm early days but there are many that have gone before us. I'm grateful for that. Marsha Means is a name I could offer: she works in this area in the US. and an ex wife of a sex addict. I am encouraged by listening to a podcast she did for Blazing Grace website http://www.blazinggrace.org/blazing-grace-radio-show/)  because she sounded so whole! I feel broken so it's  important for me to see those who have gone before me who have seen such recovery. 
    I am currently reading a book called 'Mending a shattered heart' edited by Stefanie Carnes which is good too. 
    I understand that Paula Hall has written a book as well. 
    I hope this community grows.
    Alys, I just want to tell you that you are not alone and to be kind to yourself. Let's pursue all the help we can get and encourage other partners, like us, who have been devastated by this addiction. My heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for the impact this has had upon your sense of self and trust in others particularly those you love and want to trust the most. I'm on a journey too and in my best moments I can glimpse light ahead of this dark tunnel. 
    K
     
     
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  24. Rob added a post in a topic Sex addict partner and had enough :-(   

    Hi Grace,
    I'm so deeply sorry and saddened to hear about your husband's behaviour and all the distressing rationalisations that go along with it. It's a heartbreaking story to read. It sounds like he has a lot of issues to deal with and needs serious help.
    Your intuition around him having no grasp of the real world and people around him, I can certainly relate directly too a lot - it's a very sad truth and I did the same isolating myself from people, the world and ignoring the damage and harm I was doing - particularly to my marriage and personal life. It is a very difficult thing to have put upon you and I can only imagine the really tough struggles you have with all the strong mixed feelings that go along with having your world turn upside down and this put upon you.
    Honestly, I believe he has to want to change and realise that his is risking losing everything unless his behaviour stops and he gets help and turns things around. There's a lot of damage he needs to take responsibility for but that can't happen until he first stops the destructive behaviour. He needs help for him. But equally, you cannot do that for him - it's something he has to face, as tough as that is and as much as you do want him to be alright. A big change in him is needed and that takes time even with commitment.
    I'm really sorry to hear that you feel so frightened and alone - that's horrible. Is there is anyone you can talk to or reach out to? My wife felt very much the same way as you and that she was ashamed of telling her close friends about my behaviour and problems because that obviously creates other issues too. So the shame creates more damage. I try to reassure her that like your husband, my issues predate our relationship and that my behaviour was not in any way a reflection on her but on me. While that's a rational thing to say, it doesn't help emotionally because all those very real feelings and isolation are still there are present and you have to deal with them. It's not dealing with it. I really hope that perhaps you can find some ways to reach out to other partners, friends, family or anyone to talk - someway you can deal with it. Sharing feelings and being vulnerable is often such a hard thing to do though, especially about sex which has its own stigma anyway. Finding someone you're comfortable with can be a real challenge in itself but there are potential benefits if you can. Most of all, please be kind to yourself no matter what and take good care.
    I don't want to sound too much like a plug for this website, but I think Paula does run a partner's course. There are also other forums out there on the Internet too and material, as well as perhaps individual therapy if that appeals to you. This is not a small thing - it's a really tough, perhaps life-changing, event in your relationship and life that's going on. I think any ways you can find to help and care for yourself is really important for you.
    Peace and best wishes.
     
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  25. GMTherapist added a post in a topic Porn   

    Hello Ian
    i see that you first posted back in September. How are you getting on? Have you managed to kick it out of your life? If you have, well done. 
    If you keep finding yourself drawn back to it then that is not unusual.  Relapses are commonplace with addictions. But they shouldn't mean you give up trying. 
    Did you get yourself some help at all? A group or a therapist? If not then one or both of those things might be the level of support that will help you make the life changes necessary. There are therapists out there who specialise in this area. There are all sorts of face to face or online groups made up of people who are going through what you are now facing. You don't need to face this alone. 
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