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I have recently uncovered my husbands addiction to porn. He is 68 and we’ve been married for 45 years. It seems that for 20 of those he led his secret life.

i won’t go on about how I’m feeling as you all must know. 

Todsy I asked him many questions and one his answers just doesn’t fit. 

He says he was never aroused while watching and he never masterbated as far as he can remember??????

Is this possible and, if one is not aroused by the images, why would one watch it secretly for 30 years?

why not watch a snooker match instead?

Any thoughts on this???

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Hi Pippa.

I am in a similar position to you - I have been married for more than 40 years.  I was aware of my partner's interest in porn from when we first met as teenagers, but all the boys I knew were the same, so I really just dismissed it.  There were several times early in our marriage when I asked him to get rid of magazines, and later videos, but I never checked that he did it (naively, I guess), and we never had a serious conversation about it.  Things first came to a head when our children were young and we had our first big confrontation, when I insisted that all porn was removed from the house.  He did not argue about this, and again, I just put the whole thing out of my mind (I wish I had known then what I know now!)

Things changed a few years ago, when I realised that he was using the internet to look at porn, and that the material he was watching was much more extreme than I could have imagined.  He was looking at anything and everything (luckily, nothing illegal - I say luckily, because I think he no longer had any idea of right and wrong when it came to porn).  We had one big discussion, when he said he would stop, but 6 months later I found out he had relapsed.  We are now nearly two years into recovery, and I hope, believe and trust that he is honest when he says he no longer looks at porn.

We have had a huge number of discussions about this, and he has also said that often he was not aroused by what he saw.  His explanation is that he searched for porn whenever he was angry, worried or frustrated by work, and that it just took his mind off his concerns and stopped him thinking about things.  Like you, I asked why he didn't watch some sport or something similar, but he said that didn't occupy his mind the way that porn did.  He needed the extreme images to fill his mind and stop him thinking.  We have worked hard to find alternative activities he can use when he feels stressed, so that he doesn't turn back to porn.   He works from home, and is often away on business for several days at a time, so I have had to learn to trust him (which has not been easy, and which still causes me sleepless nights and many tears).

This is an awful thing to be facing after so many years, and my heart goes out to you and to all other women dealing with this terrible experience.

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Hi Pippa

I am so sorry you have had this devastating news.

Yes, that is very hard to believe.   Not sure what more I can say - have you challenged him any more on this?

 

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Hi PJ

i haven’t challenged him again. Not yet anyway! I find it hard to believe because for many years there was no sex at home. He is a man and he he must have wanted sexual relief during those years. He suffered from ED on the odd occasions I approached him sexually. Of course I now know this was probably caused by porn use but he wouldn’t get help and he blamed me because of a brief affair I had 35 years earlier!!!

on the very odd occasion sex did occur between  us, it felt uncomfortable, a bit detached and quite aggressive. I didn’t have a clue why but now at least it all makes sense.

last year he became very sick with a brain virus and he has not looked at a computer since. His mood for months was weird and we all thought this was due to his brain injury.... but of course I now believe this was withdrawal from porn, so that also makes sense now.

Although he had some memory issues, he is recovering both from his encephalitis and his porn addiction so, much as I still need to know details, I don’t want to hamper his recovery.  He has agreed to couples counselling and perhaps we can start again and maybe even have a healthy sex life at this late stage in our lives.  The problem is finding a balance. I am still having sleepless nights and am still devastated by his secret life. I wish I had never discovered it in one way, but on the other hand a lot of what happened in the past now makes sense.

i wrote a lot of questions down and we went through them together.  But there are more so I might try writing the still unanswered questions and attempt this again.

this is all so sad isn’t it. I feel that this last year has been the worst of my life. First his illness and now this dreadful discovery.   So much for a happy retirement ☹️

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I'm so glad I found this board and to know I am not alone in this.  Especially good to know that I'm not the only one who is "older" and has been in a marriage for a long time.

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Hi Ter

you are obviously not sleeping if you live in the UK and posted three hours ago..... it’s only 5 am now. I am awake and have been since 3am too.  I’m exhausted!

i wish we could all meet and have a women’s circle to really talk face to face. We are good at that. I feel we are now leading secret lives..... false names etc...... as if we have done something wrong. I’d like to go on Paula’s course but no way can I afford the fee and then I guess there would’ve accommodation costs too. Anyway, tell us your story when  you have time. Take care of yourself xx

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Hi Pippa,

I am in the USA.  And you?  

Yes, that would be great if we could all meet face to face.

I read your post and I'm sorry that you also have to be going through this trauma.  I asked questions and more question and more questions.  I had to know everything; otherwise, I would have made up scenarios in my mind.  The truth turned out to be worse that any scenarios I could have made up, as you probably know by my previous post.  We fought every night for months; I raged and cried every night for months.  He finally took a polygraph.  I felt like the questions I asked on the polygraph were truthfully answered.  And yes, the detached feeling the last few times we were intimate (a long time ago) is very familiar to me.  Like he was there physically, but not emotionally.  I have read so much about porn addiction and betrayal trauma, I could write a book.  I found a disk last Aug. in his laptop when I asked to use his laptop as mine does not have a disk slot.  It was tranny porn.  I will start there...I thought what in the hell is tranny porn?  I mean I am not a prude, but really?  I searched on the net and it is just gross.  So, no wonder he was in la la land when we were intimate!  UGH!!!  The story gets more interesting.  I feel that I'm over the initial shock, but it will take a very long time for me to heal.

I have never heard of a sex addict watching porn and not masturbating, but what do I know?  

Sending hugs,

 

 

 

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Hi Ter

i am in the UK so I guess we won’t be meeting up any time soon.

l used to live in Bangkok for many years, so lady boys are part of everyday life, as are any number of bars and clubs where you can get any type of sex you want.

my husband was into porn starring young Asian girls.  I found this disgusting for several reasons. First, he had young Thai girls working for him. Little did they know what he was looking at while they out of the office. Second, he openly disapproved of the sex industry and the men who hooked up with these girls. Three. He said he never found Asian girls attractive. 

He is a hypocrite and a liar. Twenty years this went on. There may be worse things I have yet to ask. Group sex. Rape. Who knows. As you say, imagining is bad but part of me is scared to find out more in case of more shocking revelations, as in your case.

are  you going to stay with him?

I’m 63..... where do we go at this stage in our lives?

my husband does not look at porn anymore since a brain virus he had last summer. He now brushes his habit off as being of no importance, just a phase he was going through which arose  through curiosity and boredom.  He can’t seem to see that it ruined our sex lives and, had he been caught, could have lost him his job.

worst of all is that everything is blamed on me because 35 years ago I had an affair. As far as he can see, I am to blame.

counselling isn’t working as he just bangs on for a whole hour about his hurt over my ancient affair.

I’m really starting to hate him as it all feels so hopeless. He won’t forgive me.

lets keep talking.

take care P xx

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Hi Pippa,

Sorry it took so long for me to answer.  

Although I was sickened by what I found out,  I think overall I felt better than if I still were imagining things that he could have been doing.  He has done so many sicko things, that I have them categorized in my mind--sick-could have stopped, etc.   His addiction went all the way back to when he was younger.  Some things are so gross, I have to believe it's a sickness.  I will never justify what he did then or in the 25 years we have been together.

To answer your question if I am going to stay with him--I guess for now.  They say don't make any moves at least for a year when you have been traumatized.  At this point, it may just turn into a marriage of convenience--we are still paying on our house-if I take the sickness away--he has been a good companion.  I thought he was making progress in his recovery, trying to be empathetic, understanding, but I have just realized that nothing I have been saying is sinking in.  He is very apathetic, defensive, sarcastic lately.  I think he has been sober or so he says for a year, but I'm learning that is not recovery.  He goes to individual counseling, group counseling a 12-step program and we go to couples counseling and nothing has soaked in.  He is 76; I'm in my early 70s.  So like you say--where do we go at this stage in our lives.

You say you had an affair years ago--I have been faithful through all our marriage and now through this BS, but with his attitude, I can now see why people have affairs.   I feel that I could go away for a year and he wouldn't notice unless he needed dinner.  In my rages, I have said I was going to go out and find someone to comfort me and listen to me, and he said he would understand if I did.   I believe if he was trying to win me back, he would have said no--I will do everything to learn to comfort you.  So---like I said, I feel neglected, part of the furniture, and unloved.

Have you had a formal disclosure yet?

Please let's stay in touch.

Terri

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Terri 

how are you doing? I have been thinking of you . I think you are right in not making hasty decisions right now and somehow you have to try and make some kind of meaningful existence for yourself. I don’t quite understand why your husband is not responding to treatment since he seems to be doing all the right things. Perhaps his brain has been so completely rewired that it will take a long time to recover. I don’t know what sort of things he has been involved in and if I were you I would mainly be concerned if I discovered anything illegal.  I hope this is not the case. It was my biggest fear and I am pleased to say that I do believe my husband has not stepped over that boundary. I haven’t had full disclosure and I haven’t asked because he is not looking at porn and is working hard to rebuild our relationship. Counselling was too painful and focussed mainly on my ancient affair, which didn’t really help me with my problem, so I’m not going anymore. We are talking though. It’s awkward and I am tip-toeing carefully. It a bit like getting to know a completely different person. Our husbands will never be what we thought they were but, as I am an optimist, I think maybe a new start isn’t so bad. I certainly don’t want to be without him. I have really thought about this and although my mood swings from hopeful to desolate, I still believe I will be happier if we can get through this and move on.

i hope things are improving for you and time will help you to come to terms with this awful situation. It’s a bit like a bereavement isn’t it. It never goes away but you get used to it.

i suppose it’s difficult for you to write explicitly on this forum. I wish we could somehow exchange emails.

i hope you are ok Terri. We can get through this. We have too!

take care of yourself

P xx 

 

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Hi Pippa

Sorry to read about your discovery of your husband’s porn addiction. Unlike you, I discovered my husband’s porn viewing as soon as we were online at home, I made several more discoveries but he just found better ways of avoiding detection. So I knew it was going on,  Our sex life became infrequent as soon as he could have free online  porn at home and eventually the it stopped altogether, but by that time he had ED and couldn’t finish and the emotional connection was absent. I always had to initiate sex and I was almost always turned down. I knew he was using porn so I knew he had an interest in sex, but not with me. It was soul destroying. He quit three years ago but it’s been a tough journey. 

The first casualty in porn and sex addiction is the truth. That was probably the worst of it  especially in the early months in recovery. You ask if your husband masturbated to porn  I would say most definitely yes.  The orgasm is the ‘reward’ that reinforces the addictive cycle, and it is the compulsive seeking for the ultimate video clip that  ‘does it’ for him that drives the search for the reward. It would be highly unusual if your husband had a 20 year porn addiction that didn’t involve masturbation and orgasm .

 The first hard lesson I had to learn was that my husband was the least reliable source of the truth. If I asked hi am question he’d lie, and that would be it. Case closed. I couldn’t ask the question again. He also knew what my concerns were by what my questions were about, so I inadvertently gave him enough warning to prepare for any future questions. He became very clever and careful with his words. 

Before the internet I found porn magazines on just one occasion, and put it down as a one off.  The only thing he would admit to after our big d day was that he had bought porn magazines from time to time and he’d visited strip bars. To find out a more accurate  truth I had to dig around on his computer and hard drives, and I found some evidence. Not everything, because he was very good at covering his tracks. The strip bars were a shock because I had no idea. He admitted to visiting a couple in his youth which I could accept as youthful curiosity, but to go repeatedly in more recent years? I had no clue. 

But here’s the most difficult part for me — I know I don’t know everything. There came a time at maybe after the first year that  I accepted that I may never know   This isn’t easy because your pulled between believing that you have a reasonably truthful account of the behaviour and all the unknowns, the doubts, the fears. I have had to learn how to tolerate this ambiguity. 

Pippa, I also recognise this “hyper-religiosity” phenomenon whereby you husband speaks out about the very thing he’s looking at online. I’ve read that this pattern (the sexless relationship, taking an almost moralistic stance about what he’s actually excited by) is typical of some sex and porn addicts. My husband is not religious but as a young man he was idealistic and believed in equality especially women’s rights. Yet he couldn’t resist something so objectifying and that views women as no more than their orifices and body parts. I don’t think it’s just a case of creating a smoke screen, although it certainly works to deceive us. I think that these guys have less healthy attitudes to sex and sexualty.

Anyway I’m almost falling asleep here, so I’m losing my thread, lol. I hope you’re getting through this crap. It’s toygh but you get there.... slowly. 

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