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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, new here and desperate for some advice.  Sorry if this is a bit long.

I'm looking for some advice on how to explain to my partner how I know he has been watching porn with me in the room.  My daughter who is 24 recently stopped over and has just told me that while we were all sitting watching tv, he was blatantly watching porn on his ipad.  (He's not her dad). He was sitting facing me so I wouldn't see it but obviously didn't realise that she could see it from where she was.  It has made her feel very awkward about coming round and she doesn't want to me to tell him about this because she doesn't want to feel even more awkward around him and not be able to come to see me anymore.

I really need to speak to him about it as if he can't even refrain from looking at it for one evening then he clearly has a serious problem.  I was aware that he prefers porn to sex anyway, we have only had sex twice in nearly 3 years, which I initiated and both times he lost his erection very quickly.  He made excuses about it being his age (53) but refused to see a doctor. 

 I feel devastated, heartbroken and furious all at the same time.  It's the disrespect of doing this right next to me that hurts the most.  We have had conversations before and he has always said that he only watches it occasionally and that it is not the cause of our lack of sex life.  We previously agreed he could watch porn as long as it didn't affect our sex life but I have let this slide due to being busy moving house etc. I know I should have addressed this sooner but he doesn't like speaking about  it - and I didn't want to pressure him, given that during those last 3 years I  have developed issues which mean I would be unable to have sex very often anyway even though I would like to.

I only found out on Friday afternoon and when I got home I put parental controls on the internet.  As soon as I went for a shower he must have tried to get on it because when I came back down he was not on his ipad which is highly unusual (he says he plays golf on the internet!).  He then cuddled up to me on the sofa, again unusual, and kept telling me how beautiful I am !!  The cheek of the man amazes me.  It's probably a good thing I couldn't say anything as there would have been big drama.  Right now I feel repulsed by him.  He clearly knows I have stopped his access to porn but still hasn't said anything.  He has noticed I am very quiet and not myself but hasn't asked what is wrong, scared I will tell him. He has been really nice to me and took me out for dinner last night but still no moves sexually. Right now I would rather not have him anywhere near me and actually feel like leaving him.

Unfortunately he will still be able to look at porn on his phone and I can't do much about that but it may reduce his use a bit at least.

I have hardly slept the last two nights and am typing this as he sleeps peacefully upstairs.  I so badly need to have this out with him but how can I explain how I know about it?  I can't go on like this it's making me ill.  Someone please help!!

 

Edited by FeelBroken
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Posted

First of all - everyone on this forum will understand just how you are feeling right now, and I am sure we would all say that you have made the first and important step in coming on to this forum and sharing what has happened to you.  It is not an easy or comfortable thing to do, and I hope that you will find the support you get here useful.

Many of us (including myself) have had the experience of knowing about our partner's porn use but not knowing how to raise the subject with them, or what to say.  From my own experience I found that the longer I kept it bottled up inside, the worse I felt, and the more my imagination and fears ran away with me.

What I did was to spend a little time working out exactly what I wanted to say and making sure I covered everything that I needed to tell him, including questions I needed to ask him.  Once I was clear in my own head, I actually set myself a date and a time when I would start the conversation.  I made it a time when I knew we would not be disturbed, and I told him in advance that I needed to talk to him and told him when we would be having the conversation. 

On that first occasion, I told him he had to just listen to me, and to answer my questions as honestly as he could.  Confronting him was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and even though I had prepared myself, I found there were some things I just could not say.   My partner's initial response was to tell me he loved me, that it was 'just' porn, that it didn't mean anything to him.  That first conversation didn't take us very far, but it did open the door, and the conversations we had later, and which we are still having, several years later, were more useful and more meaningful. I have had to initiate every conversation (except once, early on, when he decided to come clean about some of his porn use).  I don't mind that, as long as he really listens to me and answers my questions truthfully.  It took time for my partner to open up and to be completely honest with me.  It also took time for me to work up the courage to ask him the really difficult, and scary, questions, and to tell him honestly how I felt.  Those conversations are still hard, but we are both now in a much better place than we were a few years ago.

I understand you don't want to bring your daughter into this, and I think you are right about that.  I never told my partner how I found out about his porn use, and he has never asked me.  Basically, over a number of years I developed a sixth sense about when he was using porn, and when I did, I went looking for it on his computer and phone.  Yes, I was snooping on him and checking up on him, but I don't feel I need to apologise for that - he should not have brought that stuff into our home!  You may find that your partner won't ask how you know, but if he does, make sure you have a reply ready (this may be a time when a white lie is justified in order to protect your daughter).

None of this is meant as advice - we are all in very different situations, and we all need to find our own ways to get through this.  I am only sharing with you my own experience.  One thing I would say is that you must take care of yourself, and put your own mental and physical health first.  

Let us know how you get on, and stay strong!

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Posted

Hi 'Feelbroken', 

In my experience if he is an addict you will be dealing with someone who is in denial and will be unable to be truthful with himself never mind anyone else about his behaviour. It wasn't until I bought, read and gave a copy of a book on this problem that my partner even considered he might have a problem and I wasn't talking bs. Again this is just my experience and what I did. Do what you think is best for you. 

I wish you well. 

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Posted

Feelbroken, thank you for sharing your story. It appears a very familiar one as many women on this forum will testify. Like you and Cowslip, I was also aware of my husband’s porn use. I knew he’d been using internet porn regularly for at least 15 years before I couldn’t take the isolation any more. Before that he’d bought magazines and DVDs, and VHS movies before there were DVDs. It was always something that he kept hidden but as soon as we had the internet at home he was straight on the porn sites, which I found in his browsing history. He soon learned how to clean up all traces of what he’d been doing, so I couldn’t prove anything. As with Cowslip, it was my intuition that told me he was using porn, not his internet history. 

I noticed an immediate effect on our sex life. His interest in sex decreased almost straight away and even physically his responses and reactions seemed less intense. Our sex life dwindled to maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I’d always have to initiate, and I mean ALWAYS. Every time. I’d be getting turned down more often than not, and in the end he was losing his erection and couldn’t finish. It was soul destroying for me, to know he was masturbating to that garbage and making all that effort to make the time for it and then make sure there was no evidence that I might accidentally stumble across. I never touched his computer or his phone but he was still very meticulous about leaving no trace. 

The reason why I’m saying this is that porn addiction is progressive. I had no clue at the time. I had reached a sort of a truce with him where as long as there was no physical infidelity I would ‘accept’ his porn habit and turn a blind eye. This turned out to be a big mistake on my part but the way I saw it at the time was that he didn’t want me sexually, he wanted porn, and not me. I felt that the rest of our relationship was good. So what else could I do? Every time I confronted him about the porn he’d say he’d stop using it but within the week he’d go back to it. He wasn’t interested in having sex with me, so I ‘tolerated’ it as the only option. I thought our relationship would carry on working well in every other respect but some years later I realised that the porn had a very damaging effect on other aspects of our relationship. That’s why I believe it’s never a good idea to put up and shut up. 

I’ll have to continue this post later on, but please remember you’re not alone

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Posted

What you’re saying about parental controls, I blocked porn on my ISP account. It didn’t take my husband very long to get around it, but even then he still was able to access porn. He some videos stored on his computer/hard drive back up. He was able to access other materials not blocked by the parental controls that involved partially clothed/topless/near nudity and full frontal nudity. He certainly considered buying DVDs although I’m not sure if he did. 

Unlike your husband, there was no apparent charge in his behaviour towards me. If anything, it was around about this time that the distance between us was getting bigger and something didn’t feel quite right. But nothing changed. I had a false sense of security from the parental controls for a little while but my intuition told me otherwise. He’s very tech savvy so I figured it was only a matter of time, and I was right. 

I recognise all those fakey “I love you’s”. If I had interrupted his porn time which I sometimes did because I so wanted to catch him in the act, he’d jump out of his chair after closing the lid on his laptop and be all hugs and kisses and I love you, and offering me cups of tea. Of course I knew what he’d been doing but he had it all set up to avoid detection. I had this idea in my mind that unless I had any evidence there was no way to confront him, and nothing had ever changed early on when I did find evidence. To him, getting caught out was a learning s opportunity. I felt completely powerless. I wish I’d actually just come out and said it, but I was scared  of the aggravation I might cause. I ‘ll come back with the rest of my story because I paid the price of “put up and shut up” and it’s not good for any woman to do that. Just as their porn addiction is progressive, so is our distress. 

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