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  1. sargam


    Hi Sargam,

    There's some really interesting questions and points there.

    May be 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. 

    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.

    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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  2. Rob


    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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  3. sargam


    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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  4. Chris


    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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  5. Chris


    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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  6. K65


    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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  7. Anon123


    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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  8. PJ


    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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  9. Anon123


    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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  10. K65


    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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  11. K65


    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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  12. K65


    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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  13. K65


    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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  14. K65


    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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  15. Rob


    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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  16. GMTherapist


    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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  17. GMTherapist


    Hi Ali

    this must have been a devastating shock for you. It's very hard to discover that the person you thought you knew very well has a part in their life that they have kept secret 

    Many partners would describe similar responses to yours. Such as feeling that they haven't been enough for their partners sexually, losing confidence in themselves, feeling the need to uncover their suspicions by playing detective but being very uncomfortable in doing that, and feeling they would find it hard to ever fully trust their partner again.

    i would echo PJs comments about being honest with your boyfriend and being clear with him  on what you expect in a relationship.

    I would also recommend reading Paula Halls book on the Partners Perspective as well. If you could get your boyfriend to read both books, for the addict and for the partner it might help him understand his own situation and the effect his compulsive porn viewing is having on you and his own life. 

     

    Good luck. 

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  18. Grace


    My partner of 14 years and 2 children later has admitted he is a sex addict, in the sense of watches porn daily, fantasises daily and is ruining a family and relationship because sex is more important to him than his actual reality and life!

    It all started 2 years ago when he tried to cheat on me with a friend of mine and as he so kindly put it, "I was only fixated with her and wanted to F her!" To him it was "just" sex. To me it opened up a massive can worms and a lot of truths learnt about him and still finding out now.

    He admitted to me then his daily use of pornography since a very young age, before me and him were together. He watches straight, gay, bi, any really as any sexual act gets him off. He about 8 months ago came out to me bisexual which was yet another blow I was not expecting but reassured me that he "didn't want to experience men, just felt attracted to them and its me he wants to be with."

    I do, however, have my reservations about him being bisexual though and feel its just another part of the addiction taking over his life due to the fact he has admitted its gay porn he watches 90% of the time and the fantasy of it is all he gets off on, he doesn't think a sexual encounter with a man is what he expects it to be or what he actually wants. 

    Its like he lives constantly in his head and has no grasp of the actual world around him. Me, his children, his job! He is self employed and has rarely worked over the last month as he just lies in bed thinking about sex. I seriously don't know what to do!

    I am frightened, lonely and have no one I can talk to about any of this and if I try to with him, he just gets amgry and says he doesn't want help and can do it himself and just stop watching porn. I have a feeling this will all end in disaster.

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  19. PJ


    Hi Ali

    I think it is more complicated than that.  Strangely people with sex addiction, are lonely, they want intimacy but at the same time fear it.  His pain latches onto sex, but it could have latched onto anything.  It isn't really about sex, perhaps surprisingly. It sounds like you have a good relationship - hold onto that.  

    Can I suggest you read Paula's book on Sex Addiction - it will give you a very helpful insight into this rather strange but dangerous addiction?  It is called "Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction".  

     

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  20. Ali


    PJ and Rob, many thanks for your replies, very interesting reading, much appreciated. I just think men and women view things differently I view it as a betrayal and I'm not pretty, slim, good enough in bed for him so he looking elsewhere. I wrote to a problem page about it and was told he probably looking as our sex life is lacking! Before this I would of said we had a brilliant relationship, never row, laugh all the time, have date nights every week, and lots of sex. Which is why it has come as a big shock. His only saving grace is that he is not looking at porn on the days he sees me (4xs a week) 

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  21. Rob


    Hello Rena,

    Your experience sounds really shocking and devastating with a huge amount of damage done. It sounds like your world has been completely turned upside down and the man you thought you knew is actually somebody else entirely.

    My wife has expressed very similar feels of questioning her own judgement over my complete denial and covering up of my porn problem for pretty much 20 years. I think the fact that she had no clue whatsoever and all other parts of our relationship were apparently "good" caused a huge amount of damage. That you can recognise the very bad treatment you've had from him is really important although terribly painful too.

    How long it takes for an addict to recover I don't know for sure. I can tell you that personally I am 18 months in and still find days and behaviours difficult and challenging. I think I have changed significantly but it's not something I feel has completely vanished from my life. It is something I could easily fall back into and recovery is still a fragile and precious thing for me personally. People can change but I think it's important to be realistic about the time frames involved - I don't think it's something that anyone can get over in a few weeks or months. It really takes years because you are reversing patterns of behaviour that have often gone on for years or even decades.

    The shattering of trust is a huge issue and again that takes a lot of time to very slowly rebuild and is not a linear path. My wife had an affair shortly before I confronted my problems with porn and (for various personal reasons) we are only recently starting to tackle some of the root issues. There is a lot of brutal honesty needed on both sides and often the answers are painful and difficult to hear. Deciding to stay or go has been very hard for both of us and the emotional ground can shift day to day.

    I think the painful truth is that it's not really all over because it's out in the open - quite the opposite actually. That is now the starting point for the real work to begin and things to change. I am learning to accept that it will never really be "all over" or done with - rather instead it has become part of my life experience and learning about myself and my wife and how relationships really do (or do not) work.

    For me, it's critical that I owned my porn problem and stay on top of it. That's something that's totally on me to do and that I am responsible for. I can't expect my wife or anyone else to do that for me. I didn't always have that level of emotional maturity and sometimes I still find it hard to stay in that place but I feel it's part of shaping a different future and changing my behaviour. Sometimes accepting responsibility for all the hurt I've caused and the undermining of trust, hidden behaviour, anger etc. is very hard to do.

    This has been my experience.

    Some of these online links may help:

    http://recoverynation.com/partners/

    http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?board=7.0

    All the phases of grief you describe - the anger, depression, anxiety, shame are very difficult to tackle and take a lot of time. These things in many ways have been thrust upon you by your fiance's actions. It might feel very unfair and frustrating and it is. The most important thing I think is to take all the time you need and find more help and outlets to help you process the huge range of strong and painful emotions that this situation creates. Above all be kind to yourself because this isn't anything that you've done in any way and is no reflection on you but instead on him. It many ways, the relationship that you thought you had and the man you thought you knew is gone - that's a extremely tough thing to have forced upon you and I can definitely connect a lot with those feelings of grief. It has got better for me over time as I slowly accept my wife's affair and working at my issues but that doesn't make it easy and there are no quick fixes sadly. It is a truly awful situation as you say.

    Peace.

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  22. PJ


    Wow, what a dreadful experience for you Rena.  I am coming to this from the other side, as an addict but free of this stuff for 2 years.  I think I would say two things.

    1. You intuition is correct, for an addict to recover, s/he has to be brutally honest with themself and I would suggest (though some others will disagree with me) honest with their partner.    It is painful, but it is the only way to recovery and the only way to rebuild trust in a relationship.

    2. There is hope.  You can read a short post from me about my recovery in the Success Stories section.  People do kick this.  

    Keep going.

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  23. Rob


    Hello Ali,

    I'm very sorry to hear the great shock you've had to learn of your boyfriend's problem and the effect on your confidence. I can only imagine how difficult it is to try and come to terms with it, especially if it's come as a surprise. It's so sad to hear.

    I think the most important thing is for you to take care of yourself and get help wherever you can to just try and get by and process things, which takes time. Whatever help and care you can take of yourself is what really matters. I'm not an expert on partner's help but there are support groups out there and other women who've sadly had to go through similar problems with their husbands and partner's who can offer a lot better help. Saying "no" to porn in your relationship is a perfectly reasonable thing to want and need - there's nothing in the slightest wrong with you in any way whatsoever for asking that. Maybe it is a deal-breaker for you if your boyfriend ultimately can't stick to it. That's a very tough place to be.

    Your boyfriend sounds like a man who's very unhappy with himself and unable to cope without porn. I think he needs to get help for his problems and sort that out himself. 4 years is a long time of misery. Really there is nobody that can do that for him apart from himself and he has to want to do it and acknowledge the damaging effect it's had. That's a really difficult thing to do though and takes time but it's on him and not you. He has to want to change and seek out sites like this and others for himself. It may help in time to recognise that his problems predate your relationship and are therefore nothing really to do with you - logically and rationally that may make sense but emotionally I appreciate it's very different. If you want to understand more about his problem and where it came from, that's something to explore but right now please take good care of yourself as number one priority. Maybe finding some trusted close friend (your friend who had a similar problem with her husband) or professional help could give you a one possible outlet.

    Also one more thing, I'd like to say, please don't feel guilty or beat yourself up about "snooping" or let him use that against you - yes, it's obviously not a great to do in a relationship but clearly you suspected things were being hidden from you and there are much bigger problems to tackle. He is the one who has been hiding this from you.

    Peace.

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