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Victoria

Recent discovery of partner’s sex addiction

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Rob's perspective and experience will probably be more useful here, but it sounds as though you and your partner are both really hurting now.  I read somewhere that one of the hardest things about this situation is that the person you would otherwise turn to for support and comfort when you are in pain, is the one who has caused the hurt.   It takes a great deal of courage to reach out to each other, but if you feel you want to stay in the relationship (or if you feel that at the moment you are not ready to make the decision whether to stay or leave) then I think that may be what you need to do.  

Something I wrote on another post is that (although I am an atheist) I found the idea of 'hating the sin and not the sinner' was very helpful.  

Has your partner done anything other than banned himself from the internet?  I think it would be reasonable for you to ask him what he is doing to help himself get clean and beat this.  From my partner's past experience, it seems that just going 'cold turkey' and hoping that guilt and willpower will get you through is not likely to be successful.  

This is just from my own experience, and is not meant to be advice!  Everyone is very different.

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Again I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time you're going through. It's a huge amount to handle and I hope you can be kind to yourself and find the support you need. I worry that you blame yourself in some ways or maybe think you are making it harder for your husband. You're not to blame in any way for his behaviour and you certainly have every right to be angry or upset towards him over his behaviour. Ultimately he has to learn to get help and manage his behaviour and feelings no matter how bad his life gets, porn is not an option for coping.

Personally, I try hard not to see myself as a bad person but instead as a good person who's done bad things. Otherwise I know I can  easily start down a path that drives me back self-loathing and to wanting to act out. For me, the test is always not so much what (bad) I have done but how I have handled it and learned from it. That is truly listening to my wife,  being emotionally honest, making amends and doing things differently. I cannot change the past and what I've done.

When I started admitting I had a problem, I did so in part because I was terrified my wife was leaving me. That is a powerful motivator. I also thought that I could do Paula's course and then be fixed in a few months. The truth is more that I need to do this for myself (it improves the relationship as a side effect) and it is never done but instead a journey down a different life really.

Your husband sounds in a bad place and I can connect with that. I really hope he can find some help that works for him in whatever form that is.

Equally I really hope you can get the support and care you need at such a difficult time. I think one of the hardest things to cope with is that the person you normally turn to for support in life cannot often help and is indeed part of the problem. The shattered trust and isolation is very difficult. Again I am so sorry to hear all this, it's very sad.

I hope as well that some of the other partners here can offer you some advice and support.

Peace

 

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A really useful contribution, Rob!

I think the idea of seeing the addict as 'a good person who has done bad things' is really positive, and sums up how I try to view my partner.  He has been, for much of our marriage, a loving, kind and considerate husband, and we have shared many wonderful times.  That is the 'good person' who I have chosen to stay with.  The 'bad things' have, at times, taken over and dominated our relationship, and that makes me sad and angry.

Increasingly, as time goes on and my partner prove his commitment to beating this addiction, my anger is directed towards the pornography industry which drew him in as a teenager, and which, in one way or another, has had its hooks in him ever since.  I have grandchildren, and I fear for what they may be exposed to as they get older.

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Rob and Cowslip thank you so much for your replies. 

The night before last (as usual) we end up arguing when the kids went to sleep. We both agreed that we couldn't keep this up and I told him that I felt I could not talk to him about it anymore as he was not letting me in. I told him I needed him to go and speak to someone for his sake and try to figure out why. This is when he opened up to me......

I always knew that his childhood wasn't the best but had no idea about what he told me next. For obvious reasons I won't go into that. After spending hours talking he told me that he never wanted to disrespect me sexualy and put pressure on me to be with him as he had seen so he started watching porn and mastrubating and thought this was a solution.  He agreed that it evolved from there and became his addiction. 

One thing I can't get my head around is how he never thought he was doing anything wrong. I have so many questions going around my head just trying to understand but he says he doesn't have answers. 

Cowslip,  he is actually back to his original phone now which has access but we share all accounts.  This was my suggestion as i know that i cant control this,its up to him. He told me that he is completely aware now and that he will not let addiction control him. 

He asked me on a date Friday night.....

Rob I think you are so brave and strong to be here and help others.

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There is such a sense of familiarity if not in all your stories but certainly the feelings you are all struggling with.

I found out about my husbands porn addiction 18months ago. Only after he broke down admitting to being depressed and having suicidal thoughts. He immediately vowed to stop and did initially . I found out 3 weeks ago that he had lapsed potentially as long ago as April last year and has again been lying and deceiving me. Even at times making me feel crazy for questioning. He's back on the wagon again and here we are at the start of the journey again.

We've been married for 7 years and he has suffered with varying severity of ED throughout. It became clear within days of his first admission that porn had been the reason for this. It's hard to know whether he genuinely believed this not to be the case as he told me.

I have told him this time that I will not leave him for a slip up but that I will if he lies to me again. He's got an appointment with a specialist and is doing 90 day reboot as they call it. Much like others have said my husband is the sweetest most doting husband you could ask for. That almost makes it more difficult.

I really want to stay by his side through this as I feel he deserves that much from me. Plus I love him. I really do doubt whether I have the strength to do that. It may be a cliche but it's like living in a house build on sand. I want to believe he can do it but the fact I have zero trust in anything he says makes it difficult to believe. I know this won't be a quick fix and I'm prepared for that. The thought of getting another 18months down the line to find out I've been lied to again makes my chest feel tight and the room spin. 

Ive read enough information to know that it's not because I'm not enough. Knowing it in fact and feeling it are unfortunately 2 different things. At the minute my life just feels so unsure. My life and future are in the hands of a person that I don't trust and that is a scary prospect.

I look on at a broken man who hates himself more than anyone else ever will. For his sake and mine I hope he has the strength and determination to get through this.

Thanks for listening

 

 

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So, so sad. I’ve let my ex down. I couldn’t be there to support him. I just couldn’t. I had to put myself and my children (not his) first. I think of him regularly, whether he is in recovery or not. Our last messages, he said he wants to get better through SAA and that he hopes we can reconcile in the future. It broke my heart to ask him to stop messaging me. I know I’m not strong enough for that life. But I’ll always feel like I’ve let him down. 

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Dear PJ,

I found your reply to Victoria very moving and helpful.

I discovered my husband sex addiction 5 months ago, it has been so very very painful. He is on a mission to save our marriage, I love

him very much, but cannot believe what he has done. Your reply helped explain it, again, as I need constant reminding! We have 3 children together

and 28yrs history. I have grown up with him, so all the more shocking. He had a tough upbringing, that I am more inclined to blame more than he is!

Since he completed the Paula Hall course he is now struggling with guilt, I don't think I help him by carrying all this pain.

Any advice re overcoming Guilt?

jem x

Edited by jem

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Hi Jem

Sorry for the slow reply, I have been off-line for a few weeks.

Guilt - gosh, there is a big subject.  Guilt is a very complex area and raises some really interesting questions.  I suppose I would want to dig into what sort of guilt your husband feels.  Guilt is very closely allied to shame and I am persuaded is as much a spiritual issue as it is a psychological one.

Off the top of my head (I think it needs longer!), I think there are 3 components of resolving guilt.

1. Repentance.  This concept is often used in religious/christian circles but one doesn't have to be spiritual to take advantage of it.  Repentance means, not just remorse but changing one's attitude and behaviour.  I wonder if, pointing this out to him and 'accepting' his repentance, might give him some relief from his guilt?

2. Forgiveness.  Forgiveness benefits the forgiver the most.  You may have heard the maxim 'unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die'.  Whenever a wrong is committed, a debt is created which cannot be repaid/undone.  We use the concept when we use such phrases as "I will make x pay for this" or "she owes me".   Interesting the original Lord's Prayer in the gospels of Matthew and Luke use 'debt' as a metaphor for wrong doing/sin.  If you think about it, when someone does wrong against you, they take something from you - be it money, self-esteem, health etc.  Such 'debts' cannot be undone, they cannot be paid back.  Revenge doesn't give you your health back, doesn't heal your self-esteem etc.   Forgiveness is then like cancelling the debt - striking it out.  Tearing up the IOU.  Forgiveness is a process and takes a long time.  I wonder, if you are in the (long) process of forgiving him, telling him that might help - using the language of forgiveness.  It might well cause him to cry, but it might help his guilt.  The next step, once you have forgiven him, maybe for him to forgive himself.  

3. Making amends.  In SAA - one works to make amends.  I find this very helpful.  Whilst wrongdoing can't be undone and the debt can never be repaid, yet one can demonstrate a desire to put things right, acknowledge a debt to someone or society, and make contributions back.   I suspect the best amend your husband can make to you is to actually put his life back together again, become healthy - to recover from his addiction.  The second best amend (I suspect) is to help re-build your self-esteem and your marriage.  I would encourage him to channel his guilt into making amends for the damage he has caused you and numerous others.

I would be surprised if the above sorted it all completely but I hope it might help.  It is a long journey.....

 

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