Hannah added a topic in Partner ConcernsDisclosure to partner: what should be told?I’ve read in Paula’s book for addicts and also read Esther Perel and sometimes it seems the advice to the addict/betraying partner is that disclosure is not always necessarily the right thing to do. On the other hand, we read a lot about the importance of honesty and transparency during the disclosure ‘stage’, assuming that disclosure actually happens.
What I want to ask is this:
What if the partner asks? What if the partner wants a full and honest disclosure? Should the addict/betraying partner answer honestly and completely? And what if, after some time to allow the addict some time to come to terms with the reality of having damaged his relationship through to his previous behaviours and quitting, what then if the partner asks him to disclose anything not yet made known?
Is lying or non disclosure still justifiable when the partner asks? Is it still OK to uphold any previous lies and denials just because the addict has quit and doesn’t want to experience conflict or ‘upset’ his spouse? In other words, is it OK to keep secrets because it’s not a good idea to rock the boat again?
If relationship experts warn about purging the soul to feel better, or to think long and hard about upsetting the relationship by revealing the truth, what if it’s the partner who is actually proactive in seeking the truth? Is it ‘right’ to lie? Is it fair on the partner to expect her to believe lies, even if she asks for honesty?
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Hannah added a topic in Partner ConcernsPartner of a porn addict and my own painful historyMy partner quit porn last year after many years of porn addiction. I just couldn't deal with it any longer. I was at the point of emotional breakdown and self harm. My husband was shocked to discover me in such a state. He quit as much for his own reasons as he was suffering in secret and had tried to quit but found that he couldn't. He has been successful so far but I've had a lot of trouble coming to terms with how we ended up in such a negative rut.
Reading through Paula's book for partners I have had to face my own sexual history which began with a very traumatic sexual assault at the age of 12 by a group of youths aged about 14-17 years old. The grabbed me, stripped me, and intended to rape me one by one, telling me they'd kill me if I told anyone. Someone must have tipped off the police or witnessed it because two policeman came running past and the boys ran, with the police in pursuit. The two policemen ignored me, which at the time I was glad about because I feared my parents finding out and my school too. I thought I'd get into trouble. This was in the 1970s and I know from campaigns in the 80s that rape was not taken seriously and victims were not treated with respect in those days. I was not raped. There was no penetrative sex but I was sexually assaulted. Most of all I remember being in a state of shock. I went to my friends house and told her what happened, although I didn't quite remember that clearly because I was numb with shock. The following day I didn't go to school. I stayed at home whilst my parents were at work. I never told them. All I remember was that I was still in shock that day. I was just 12 years old.
I grew up with this shameful secret. I've never told anyone in my adult life. My husband doesn't know.
I have never liked porn. I have always considered it abusive, the gratuitous objectification is disturbing to me. I was really upset when I learned of porn categories like "teen porn" and "gang bang" and "rape" for obvious reasons. Even in social media, the abuse directed at women in the public eye, with threats to rape and murder is disturbing.
My husband says he didn't watch "abusive" genres of porn, but to me, that whole realm of watching and objectifying and consuming women as commercial products is horrible anyway. Not only do I dislike porn for its objectification of women, I dislike the male attitudes to viewing consuming porn, and the normalisation of this porn culture. As a 12 year old, although this was before Internet and hardcore videos, I felt that I was reduced to the level of entertainment when I was sexually assaulted by that gang, a lot like being the subject of a "teen rape" genre of porn video.
I watched a documentary on sexism and "lad culture" which included references to online rape threats directed at women on social media. I found myself crying by the time the programme ended. I couldn't believe how violent sexual threats towards women were just like "hey, it's ironic" and complaints about sexism were dismissed as just humourless feminists who should "get over it".
How what happened to me at the age of 12 ties in with my difficulties in overcoming the effects of my partner's porn habit on my self esteem and self image, I don't know. My reaction to his porn videos was visceral, like a physical blow to the stomach, and I felt traumatised by it too.
I don't know what to do now. I just want to cry. I can't make sense of my experience as a 12 year old and my experience as the partner of a recovering porn addict.
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