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  1. 2 points
    Hello. Thank you for sharing. And thank you Josh for appearing to us like an angel to give support to the likes of me and 'outofwishes'. Outofwishes - I am only a few weeks into my new life after reality booted it's way in and changed things for ever. My wife and family have to deal with the knowledge that I committed a crime; the social worker from Children's Services has labelled me as a serious risk and my wife is under a ton of strain. Some things I have read have helped and some have terrified me. This time that you are currently in, this limbo between being found out and being convicted is the time when we are becoming free of addiction, free of stupidity, starting therapy and/or 12 step programmes. It is ironic and paradoxical that at the time you are convicted, you will be the most cleansed and risk free of all your adult life. The conviction and sentencing is haunting because at the moment it is unknown. From your wordpress blog you might be lucky and have a non custodial or suspended sentence. Whatever happens, I hope and know that there will be a good you at the end of it. There will be lows, serious lows on the way, but hold on to that as motivation, hold on to the love of your wonderful friends (I sobbed too at that) and hold on to the knowledge that you are now a good person with things to offer. You can talk to people about where porn addiction can take you, you can save another life with that. Sorry, it's a bit of a diatribe this. All the best and perhaps we'll chat again sometime soon. P.
  2. 2 points
    “What worries me is that, how can he ever really be happy with me. How will I ever be enough? How do I really work through this? Will it ever go away? The boundaries are set and he knows that another serious issue would be the end for us” Oh, Judith, I understand that feeling so well. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with it I’m over 2 years into recovery but what I can pass on to you is that you are competing with a ‘thing’, a substance, an object. No one person can ‘compete’ with that thing, that entity that is at the core of the addiction. Not that lady in the picture No individual woman can. Not even that lady can compete with the chemical soup in the brain of a porn/sex addict. They are chasing the high. Judith, you ARE enough It took me a lot of time to get past this mindset but I did. Learning about porn addiction was an enormous help. There is a website called YourBrainOnPorn.com where there is a video that explains what’s going on in the brain of a porn addict. It’s about seeking and novelty, dopamine, creating pathways in the brain, the hijacking of the brain’s reward system and sensitisation to the ‘thing’ they’ve become addicted to. They appear to be people that the addict is seeking out, but it’s not really. They’re just the ‘substance’ that’s needed to get the high. Obviously, the way to feel OK about yourself takes a lot more than understanding what goes on in men’s brains when they look at porn or similar, but it explains what people mean when they say it’s not about the us, that we weren’t the cause of it or that we weren’t good enough. A bit about me. My husband was an internet porn addict for 15 years and before that he was buying magazines and videos from seedy sex shops although I only ever found two magazines on one occasion. He also went to strip bars, which I was never supposed to find out about. In truth, I don’t really know how far it goes back, but as soon as he was online at home I lost him to porn addiction. Eventually we had no sex life whatsover. Zero. Nothing. No interest in me. Never looked at me. Never complimented me. I could have been stark naked and he’d just keep his nose in his book. Eventually I got dressed and undressed in the bathroom. I knew full well about the porn but after if caught him in the first days and weeks of getting online he had all these cleanup apps installed. It really hurt. Deep down I felt rejected because I was over 30 (oh, hahaha, seems so young now) and then I was over 40... and so on. So I thought it was all over. I only managed because I was in denial. I ended up feeling totally rejected and lonely and depressed. Nobody ever touched me or kissed me. I had to ask for a goodnight peck, otherwise he would just turn over and go to sleep. So, did I feel not good enough? In my mind I BELIEVED I was not good enough, never would be, never could be. I didn’t see the depression coming. I developed a sort of adult onset midlife anorexia. I didn’t know it could happen. But it did and it happened to me. I developed body dysmorphia. I was shrinking away to nothing because I believed I had no right to take up space. Hiding my ‘hideous’ body from my husband was so easy because it would never occur to him to look. Privately I could see I was emaciated. And then one day I saw myself in the mirror and had a depressive breakdown. My only thought at the time was “he’ll never want me now. Everything I once was has gone forevermore”. That was how far it had to go before he quit porn, and even then it was only the beginning of all the pain of discovering the extent of this habit and all the lying. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. I wasn’t his porn type. I soon discovered that. I had gone through my early adult life with this enviable physique and I’d pretty much stayed the same shape but I wasn’t some 36GG painted Barbie. I didn’t have a negative body image at all. But somehow, in midlife I ended up painfully thin and frail with body dysmorphia disorder, and that was before I had any idea about what he sought out in porn. I stopped neglecting my appearance. I treated myself to some new clothes. I coloured my hair. I bought some nail varnish. I started eating more. I was clinically underweight and it took some time to gain weight. I didn’t want to eat junk either. I bought some self help books. Gael Lindenfield does some good ones on building self esteem. I tried to get back to my previous interests and hobbies though this was hard because I was so distressed and preoccupied as the reality of my husband’s addiction behaviours slowly tricked out, and I was traumatised over and over with new discoveries followed by lying and denial. It was hell. I bought myself some cheap exercise books and biros and I wrote and wrote and wrote to get it all out of my system. My anger, my hatred for porn, and the industries that make money from this misery, the difficult emotions about my husband. I journalled a lot. I saw my GP who arranged counsellor. Not brilliant but it was support for me. Not for us as a couple but just for me. I couldn’t deal with it along. My husband began to appreciate me physically after d day but to be honest this was more of a honeymoon period. As soon as I raised an awkward issue or when I discovered more evidence of his acting out which he would deny, this would create rifts which he did not have the skills and maturity to deal with. So I noticed the compliments were not so forthcoming. And then one day something lit up in my mind — I don’t need his compliments to feel worthwhile. If he doesn’t notice, then so what? I notice! I can see who’s looking back at me in the mirror, and she’s an impressive lady. He’s a man with a problem, he’s a porn addict, and I’m not going to let his behaviour that caused so many problems for me decide whether or not I’m going to feel good about myself. So so that’s how it began. That was my turning point. Of course it’s not that easy. There are many difficult and upsetting moments, but the important thing is to uncouple yourself from his ‘approval’. It’s late and I’ve been writing for ages so i’ll stop. I hope this helps. I still get upset about it all. I still feel like an ugly nobody at times. I still feel wretched when I have my doubts and suspicions. Our ‘recovery’ is far from ideal. But I know that where he is lacking, I must continue to work on my own personal healing.
  3. 2 points
    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.
  4. 2 points
    I asked myself why do I feel sick when empathising with what she needs. I felt that she does not openly reward me. She feels grateful inside but does not seem to have a need to express it. Unfortunately I am very trade-in person, I evaluate what I achieve by how much I get back which in this case it feels like I am getting nothing. Furthermore she wants to tuck herself inside me and grow. This scares me because of my fear that it would annihilate me, wipe me out of existence, leave me like a rotten tree in the roots of a new tree. Obviously I would still be somewhere, I would just have to shine through her. Which does not seem to be the worst case scenario when I think about it. Thanks everyone who read this and let me tap into their collective subconscious to solve this.
  5. 1 point
    Hi, This is my journey through addiction, I hope it can help others see there is a way out. I first struggled with alcohol addiction and went to rehab in 2006, there it was quickly identified that my primary addiction was indeed sex addiction. I was hoffied and in complete denial. I refused to accept it and labeled myself an alcoholic. I carried on relapsing with alcohol and stayed in complete denial about SA until July 2007. Then my partner found out about my affairs and I told him I had been told I was a sex addict. But really I wasn't ready to accept it myself. After another two trips to rehab, I finally managed to stop drinking in September 2009, and started my recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous using the 12 step program. I managed to be faithful and not act out until February 2012. Then because all I had done in my recovery up until then, was deal with some of the symptoms (ie drinking) and I had been too afraid to look at the root causes and deal with the real issue,which was sex addiction I relapsed into SA. I tried to convince myself it was actually a new love of my life (even though I desperately loved my partner) and that it was not me using men to deal with my fears,shame, insecurities and pain. It escalated over the next 4 years to many sexual encounters and I came more insane and irrational. Eventually my partner found out again and I was ready to accept my real problems. I went to Paula Hall (as my partner had previously had some partners counselling with her back in 2007 when I was using 12 steps for my recovery). There I was introduced to my therapist and started my real journey into getting well. Too begin with I was still holding onto bits of the truth and lying even to my therapist, but she was patient and she helped me see the need for absolute total honesty. To be honest I didn't know what true honesty was and it took me a while to learn how to be completely honest. I was so ashamed and so afraid to face all what I had done. But I knew that to deal with this meant dealing with the causes of my addictions, not just the symptoms. I had to accept why and how had I became so dependant on sex and lust to fill the pain inside me. The journey was painful and extremely hard at times, but I had the most amazing therapist and I was able to totally trust her in a way I had never trusted anyone. Over the years I have had some many people try and help me but she was different, she understood me and my issues totally. i will forever be so grateful to her. I spent 20 months going to see her once a week and I believe I needed that much time to really process my issues. One thing I did regret was D Day and trying to go through disclosure with my partner on our own and too early. As I took so long to be able to be completely honest, each time I tried to tell the full truth to my partner I either hide something or lied about something or denied it. This caused so much more pain. I wish we had waited until I was honest enough to do it properly. Eventually we did a therapeutic disclosure with two therapists from Paula's practice, which went very well. So I would advise using the therapists to help with this totally. My partner has been amazing and we are still together, I know I have been extremely lucky to have someone who understands my issues and believes in me overcoming them. I am just about to start seeing a new therapist from the practice who is relationship trained, who hopefully can help me further with some of my lasting relationship issues, and take me to a further place of healing. There is a way out, if you can be honest and face yourself and your shame. If there are any other females who would like to talk, I love to make contact, unfortunately the one draw back at the moment is there are not many women coming forward for help, so it can be lonely journey. Cat
  6. 1 point
    So, if you are anything like me I bet you've found yourself here desperately looking for an answer, desperately looking for reassurance that real people get through this, and that this isn't the end of everything as you know it. I remember, sitting there where you are 4 months ago. I had just discovered my husband's sex addiction, and looking back it was the most surreal moment of my life. We'd been together 6 years, married for just over a year, and had just bought a house together. Life in my eyes was "perfect"......planning the future together, wondering what colour we could paint the bathroom, talking about when we'd start a family. Then came the discovery. I won't go into great detail as I understand everyone has their own story, but I found out my husband had a porn addiction, had wracked up a huge amount of debt and had been sleeping with prostitutes. I had every question go through my mind, "why would he do this to me? how could I be so blind, how could I not know? Could I have an STI? Could I be infertile? How are we going to pay this debt?" etc etc. I have never felt so low, or so lost in my whole life. The feeling was overwhelming. It was all rather dramatic, the whole "GET OUT I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!" sort of drama. His addiction started long before we met, and I found out more recently it has stemmed from a life time of depression, anxiety and just generally feeling very low about life, this addiction was his way of dealing with it. I just would like to reassure you, this is real life, people do go through this, and people do get through this. Currently my husband and I have decided to stay together, I am keeping a very open mind, I may decide to pack up and leave at any given point and I have every right to. My husband has a lot of work to do and as long as he sticks to the straight and narrow we should be fine as a couple, more than fine, we should become stronger as a couple. I have been there, where you are. I have had the shame of telling family and close friends, my work. I have had to deal with many situations rippling from this, the effects it has on others, the opinions of others, it's not easy. The sitting there questioning everything you know, questioning how you are going to get through this, not knowing where to start or what to do next. The best piece of advice I was given from someone on this forum is "look after yourself" and that is what I did 100%, and I continue to do. There have been so many ups and downs along the way, and sometimes I have felt like leaving, I have felt like changing the locks on the doors, but somehow found the strength to carry on and you will too. I bought Paula Hall's book for partners, and remember reading it, nodding along to every page like "yes, yes this makes sense, yes this sounds familiar" My husband bought the book for addicts which I found him reacting in the same way. Now, please don't feel that I am here to advertise her work, I am just very much in awe of her work, I am so grateful that all this help exists. This forum, the books, the youtube videos - they have genuinely saved our marriage. My husband and I both have counselling (separate counsellors) who are trained specifically in sex addiction.- who were in fact trained by Paula Hall. Get as much help as you can, you won't regret it, it has helped me in ways I didn't even know were possible. Life will get better, no matter whether you decide to stay with your partner or not. It won't be easy, but it'll get better. I had to slow down, and take life one day at a time. We both have an amazing support network around us which helps immensely. Look after yourself, do whatever you feel the need to do, have a good support network and try and get help as and when you are ready. Please feel free to message me if needed, I am quite happy to talk more about my experience, and how life has been over the last few months. Hang on in there, you're doing the best you can. xx
  7. 1 point
    I'm American, so I can't say 100% what it looks like assuming you're in the UK, but a lot of it has to do with what you have NOW, meaning cars, houses, etc. I've found in most cases, horror stories of insurance, loans, etc. have been overblown. That said, there are a lot of restrictions where a registered sex offender can live and it varies from town-to-town in the US. I wouldn't want to try to find an apartment now. Thankfully, since I've had my house almost 15 years, I'm grandfathered in on most. Ironically, since I've pulled my life together, my credit score has actually greatly improved since my conviction. I am on probation for three years, with about a year left. At first, I had to report to the officer every other week and there were periodic checks of my house. I also had to take two lie detector tests in the first year. Once it was established that I'm low-risk for reoffending, it's been much easier. I check-in once a month and usually he just looks at me and says "Everything good? Any questions?" and then I move on with my day. We built trust and I've shown that I've learned my lesson. So, your relationship with law enforcement will be the tightest immediately after your conviction, but it does get better. I was fired the day I was arrested...and because of my visibility in my community...I was all over the media. I will most likely never work for someone again in a white-collar environment. So I started freelance writing on my own, wrote my book and actually now make more money doing less work than I did before the conviction. And yes, I'm on the register in America for life. But that just involves checking in with the police where I live every 3 months. Sure, it's a pain sometimes, but I look at it as a good reminder to stay in recovery and a small penance considering I created victims. My best advice to you is use this time now to get your stuff together. Find out why you did what you did -- it's a long process, or at least it was for me -- and it involved a formula of reasons I couldn't have guessed when it first happened. You should have nothing to worry about with the police checking on you if you have nothing to hide. Live a life of honesty with your family and friends. I saw on your blog that your friends were great...people usually are. Some aren't, but that's their problem, not yours. Your life will be forever different, there is no denying that, but despite the hoops you'll be made to jump through both in the short- and long-term, you may find that a couple of years from now, this was just the thing you needed to turn around. Consider checking out my blog at www.RecoveringPornAddict.com for more about my story.
  8. 1 point
    Hi Hannah, I would like to offer a different perspective. I am someone who wants to know that if I ask for information it will be given to me. I am 8 months down the road form D-day and in the beginning I didn’t ask for information as I was unsure whether he could be trusted to tell the truth. Now, all these months later, and with intensive therapy, I feel that my husband owes me the truth. I feel that without this I could not move forward. Also, not knowing stuff felt like he had got away with it. So whilst Rob has said it would make him feel shame, well so be it - when faced with the question, “why do you want to know what happened?”, then my answer would be, “why shouldn’t you tell the truth, you have acted without any regard for me and you want me not to ask? Well tough, you did it, now face up to what you have done.” That might sound like I am seeking revenge, and in a sense maybe I am. But I am not interested in throwing all this back at him, it is just that I need to be clear about what has taken place throughout 24 years of a 27 year marriage. So, I know that he visited prostitutes on a frequent basis and that with the advent of easy access online porn these visits became more extreme in content. I know the towns and cities where they occurred, including the town where we live, but not exact locations. I know that in the main it was for paid ‘regular sex’ but in recent times there were a lot of ‘extra-curricular’ activities, if you get my meaning. This has come out this weekend, after him doing his step 5 of the 12 step programme. I felt that having come clean to somebody else it was now my turn. The way we did this was I asked questions and if needed he referred to the list which I had not read. The extent of his acting out was quite shocking, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t know that, however shameful it was for him. I am obviously upset, angry and hurt, but I truly don’t think I could have continued to live with him, if he hadn’t been prepared to tell what I wanted to know. So in short, my answer to your question should be, if you want to know more then that information should be forthcoming. I did not accept the excuse ‘it wouldn’t be good for me to know’ as that is my decision to make and no one else’s.
  9. 1 point
    Hi Florrie, First of all - I am sorry that you are one of the many women who are having to deal with this. There are so many of us, and we each have a different story to tell, and are finding different ways to cope with this situation. I also have adult children, a few years older than yours, who are no longer living at home. My partner's addiction has been present, to a greater of lesser extent, throughout our marriage, and so throughout our children's lives, but the extent of his addiction had been hidden until the last couple of years. These are my thoughts, and are in NO WAY meant to be advice - this is just to share what I have decided to do in my own life. I decided at the beginning that the children should be told if I ever suspected that either of them had ever been exposed to, or harmed by, his addiction. As far as I can tell, this is not the case. They are both extremely loving towards their father, and he has been (and still is) a great and devoted Dad to both of them. I know how agonising I have found this whole situation, and I see no reason to put them through the same misery. I am not sure how either of them would react, but I know that they would find it devastating. We all keep some things from our kids (as they keep things from us) - in this situation, I think that disclosure would only cause harm. I have also spent a lot of time getting to a place where I truly understand that this is my partner's problem, and it is his responsibility to fix it, and to put right the damage he has caused. If I ever felt that the children should know, then it would be up to him to tell them, and not up to me. I am not going to be an intermediary in this; I am not going to apologise for or excuse what he has done; and I am not going to put myself through the agony of telling my children. That may sound selfish, but I think when we are coming though this situation, we need to be putting ourselves and our recovery first. Finally, 18 months on from 'D' day, I am getting into a better, happier place, and my relationship with my partner is beginning to heal. If I had told my children early on, I am not sure I would then have been able to stay with my partner - I suspect once the information was out there, it would have pulled us all apart. These are just my own thoughts, but I hope you may find them useful. Thinking of you and hoping you get some good advice and find the right way through this for yourself and for your children.
  10. 1 point
    As Christine says, there is no right or wrong in this - only what feels right and makes sense to you. First and foremost, take care of yourself. I am the same age as you and can understand how devastating it is to find out that your partner of so many years has been deceiving you all this time. In my case it was 'only' a porn addiction, which started when he was a teenager. There have been several times over the years when this has come to a head and he has told me he was giving it all up - only to go back to it at some time afterwards. And each time he has returned to porn, the type of thing he has been viewing has become more extreme and more at odds with the kind of man he appears to be. We had our rocky patches over the years (and looking back now, I wonder how many of those were when his porn addiction was at its worst), but despite everything I still enjoyed his company, he still made me laugh, he was a good father to our children and he was still my best friend. On the last occasion (18 months ago), I was where you are now, and had decided to end the marriage. I have since changed my mind, and would like to share my reasons with you. Firstly, I did some research into porn addiction, so that I could begin to understand why and how it comes about, and what the chances are for recovery. I reached out to other women through on-line forums (like this one), so that I felt I had some support and that someone else understood where I was coming from. Finally, I told my partner that if he wanted our relationship to continue, it was up to him to make the running. Basically, I took a step back and made it clear that this was his problem and it was up to him to fix it. His responsibility to save the marriage and not mine. He had ruined our relationship, not me. The turning point was when he decided to come clean about his porn habit - the kind of thing he was watching, when he watched, why he watched. I recognised how difficult this was for him to say (and how difficult it was for me to hear). This was the first time, in more than 40 years, that we had properly talked about it. He did some reading and spoke to some counsellors and was able after a short while to talk to me about how he was fighting this and what he was doing to stay clean. I made the decision at that point to wait six months to decide whether to go or stay (I didn't tell him this). I decided to stay, but I now feel it is my right to ask him, at any point, if he is still clean and to expect an honest answer. I make it clear to him that I expect him, from time to time, to let me know how he is doing, and the bottom line is that if I once again have to find out for myself that he is using again, then I leave. If something triggers a bad memory or a reaction in me (something he says or does, something we are watching on tv, or a news item), then I tell him, and tell him exactly why it makes me feel so terrible. He has to own this! The best thing is that on a day-to-day basis, everything is fine, and we now have a level of honesty between us that was missing before (about everything - not just the porn). My partner taking real and genuine responsibility for this situation has been key. I could not have stayed if we had continued to have that elephant in the room. The worst things are the sadness which I think will never go away and the feeling that I may never entirely trust him. Staying has not been easy, but (for me) leaving would have been harder, and I felt I stood to lose more than I would gain. Please give yourself time and space to process what has happened to you. This is not 'all about him and his recovery'. This is about what has happened to you and the impact it has had on you. Be kind to yourself, and whether you go or stay, just make the decision that is right for you.
  11. 1 point
    Hey, sorry to hear what has happened. Look I am just another human in this struggle but surely seeking professional support ASAP is wise.
  12. 1 point
    To all of you above, from a wife who did find out by shocking discovery, rather than being told the truth, do please consider telling your wife and asking for her support in your recovery. To not be told the truth and to be constantly betrayed and deceived was the worst part of my husband's addiction, even more than the behaviours themselves. And even then, once I discovered it, I supported him. It was his lack of commitment to recovery and his arrogant declaration that he was 'cured' after just 12 months which did not bear out in his behaviour or respect towards me that ended things for me. I congratulate you for having the courage to challenge your addiction, but I agree with Paula - if you don't recover, you probably won't stay married. A marriage based on betrayal is no marriage at all. i wish you all the strength you need.
  13. 1 point
    Hello, It's great to start over with a new chance and do things differently. I wish you every success. I think understanding when and how you get into such a "bad frame of mind" is really important to stopping yourself going back down the old paths of coping by acting out. That's tricky to do sometimes but if you can spot that ahead of time and realise you are getting in a vulnerable place then you can do something about it before it gets too bad. You also list a lot of healthy habits there but sometimes I think it's necessary to give yourself permission to be less restrictive at times and have fun when it is nothing to do with sex. Finding hobbies and activities can be a lot of fun in itself. For me, I found I need something and I'd I try to be "good" all the time or be needless then it just gets bottled up more and is a trigger to acting out. So I definitely need things that are mine. As long as those hobbies are safe, without shame and in the open then all is well. I would really like to encourage you strongly to stay away from places and areas where you used to go and act out. Because I know from experience that going back there becomes a big trigger in itself, even if you're otherwise feeling fine. It can easily destroy hard work especially at the beginning where things are so fragile in recovery. Further, for me, a critical part of recovery has been keeping away from any and all sexual fantasy and thoughts as much as possible and avoiding masturbation. Different people are different here but I found me always gently guiding my thoughts away from any sexual fantasy helps tremendously. Just being aware of that made me realise actually that I used to think about such things a lot but not really acknowledge how much time and distraction it was. It continues the porn fantasy in the mind, even when you are not acting out. So, if I let the fantasy thrive, it will keep the battle in my mind going on and on. I am fighting myself. Peace
  14. 1 point
    Hey, It's good you recognise this problem and want to change. Things can be different and you can sort this out. Here are some online resources: But mostly I would like to encourage you to reach out and find some people in the real world you can connect with and help. You are not alone in this and there are many guys like us who struggle and we can help each other. I did Paula's course and met other guys through that but there are other ways too, e.g. SAA or SLAA. I think it's great you can come on here and ask for help and be honest. That is a big step and it took unfortunately a lot of things going wrong in my life before I could admit that. I also wasted a lot more of my time on it than you did. You still have so much life ahead. I'm really excited for you! Please keep learning and growing. Finding out what things truly make you happy and trying that out is a great way to learn about yourself, it's something I think everyone struggles with to some extent but sadly we don't talk much about it. And then for some guys like you and me, when we feel down or directionless in life, we want the "comfort blanket" of porn or sex. But it's only temporary and doesn't solve the real problems and even creates more because we then feel ashamed and isolated. There's a whole world out there for you. Although it's something you have to gift to yourself, you're not alone and others are here to help. Peace
  15. 1 point
    PatBatemanBlg, did you get psychotherapy through the NHS? How long did you have to wait?
  16. 1 point
    Hi AtWitsEnd, You are NOT alone! And when you said... "...unlike most people, I don't get a hardon and then think "I need to masturbate" - I have usually had a session because I was bored." .....let me tell you, you are definitely NOT the only one who does this. I use P and masturbation as an escape from everyday situations I think I can't handle, so it is very common for me to seek out the feeling of getting aroused, having a hard-on etc, without having those thoughts "naturally"; I would see porn as a "quick-fix" way to get to that place of escape. I still do when I slip. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would say this. We understand here on this forum. I also worry about self-disciplne. I am alone in the house often while my wife is out, and the opportunity based triggers are very real. Have you read The Kick Start pdf and the other resources here and on the Paula hall site? If not please check them out, and look at the courses available. I think you will find parallels between the advice given and your situation. On Monday Tuesday and today I slipped. Before that I was 13 days clean, and before that, another period of being clean, punctuated with slips. But I want to move on, as we all do. The point is, I realise now that I can, that while a slip is not what one wants, that it is part of recovery. Trying to learn from one's mistakes. If you have not yet, please read Rob's answer to my first post, above. He makes some excellent points and has good insights (and puts in more eloquently than I could ). As do 10 and Workinprogress Indeed, all of the repiles and other posts here have have many truths and insights in them that I can relate to my situation and use, to fight on. So I'm sure, and I hope that is true for you AtWitsEnd. To those of you who have shared already, Workinprogress, 10 and Rob, thanks again for having the courage to share and offer your thoughts. And to anyone else reading this going through anything similar, we are NOT alone. You are not alone. And you're not hijacking the thread, you're reaching out. Please post more often! Take care everyone, keep fighting!
  17. 1 point
    Far from alone, ha, like Rob says. Your explanation reads very similar to the one I could have written a few years back. I wish that I'd been brave enough to come clean, instead of always needing to be caught out. That always made me feel even more of an arsehole. Not sure it would have made things any better for my SO or for myself, with benefit of hindsight. Maybe focus first on getting yourself clean for a spell, and then when your brain's not clogged with fog, and you can think straight, consider what you want to disclose?
  18. 1 point
    Hello, You should know you're not alone in struggling with this problem and it is very difficult. I found it easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle where I'd act out, get angry and ashamed of myself and then so act out more to try and hide. Obviously this is a self destructive pattern. The key is finding ways to break it and so things differently. I'd recommend most of all that each time you slip up, you learn and understand why and then what things you can do differently in future. Otherwise the pattern keeps going. You have to find things that work for you. I think for partners, it's very tough on them. My wife feels isolated and rejected. So if I told her when I slipped or was tempted then I think that would be hurtful. I find it's easier for me to be accountable to guys in my group instead. It's very good you're being honest though - I had a big tendency to hide my behaviour. So being open is a good first step. Sorting this out and growing from it requires a lot of learning and self exploration which is a process. There's a lot of material out there both on the Internet and in books that has helped me a lot but required a lot from me to actively work on. The urges don't go away by themselves but can be managed and controlled over time while you build a better life. For me, a real life support group has been essential - I tried to stop on my own before without success and really need the help and insight of others.
  19. 1 point
    My 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.
  20. 1 point
    Maybe out of order of me to say, Tantalus, but until you do have a serious desire to change, you won't. Your story struck a lot of chords with me. Echoed a lot of my own history. I wasted many of the most fertile years of my career in a porn-addicted haze, and it was only after I kicked the behaviors that my home life and career got back on the rails, to the extent that my earnings doubled within 3 years. I found a really fulfilling life outside of porn and you can too.
  21. 1 point
    Hello everyone, I agree with you workinprogress, Schrödinger's story is inspiring...I really hope he hasn't dropped out. Schrödinger, if you see this post, I want you to know something: It's thanks to your courage in telling so candidly about your battle that has inspired me to sign up to this forum. I'm a 43 year old man who has struggled with looking and masturbating to P images since accidentally finding a magazine of a relative since I was about 6 or 7. I have tried unsuccessfully for YEARS to stay away from P. It has only been in the last few months I I have accepted that to truly improve my chances of recovering and staying recovered, I needed to reach out to a forum like this one. But I was so mixed up, I always felt I could do it on my own, I was embarrassed and ashamed, so always procrastinated from signing up and asking for help. I didn't have the stamina or courage to go longer than 14 days or so without relapsing. Anyway, after an abstinence of 16 days I relapsed yesterday and again today. But as I said, it was reading YOUR posts Schrödinger, and the other encouraging messages from the rest of you that has helped me commit anew to this fight. Thank you. Schrödinger, if you have dropped out, please know that you are not alone, and we are all here to help each other. Your story and these other positive messages are the latest inspiration I've needed in order to say this: I'm an addict, and I need help. Thanks for listening everyone.
  22. 1 point
    Oh man.... this is inspiring, and i can feel your pain, Schroedinger. Looks like you've dropped out, which is a shame. Hope you won your battle with The Chimp.
  23. 1 point
    Hi PJ, thanks for responding. I kept going for a couple of months but I felt patronised by the insistance of having a religious angle and how addictions were described as a 'disease'. I stopped because I was looking for genuine help and noone seemed particularly bothered about giving that. I'd love to set up my own group but I've no idea how I'd go about that.
  24. 1 point
    I am happy that you are on your first step of recovery. My husband was also a sex addict. He cannot resist watching porn and other kinds of stuff. He says it helps him to relax. Later on, I took him to a rehab for a sex addiction treatment program in Vancouver. That was actually a turning point in our life. I even thought of having a legal separation because of his addiction. Sex addiction can spoil family life. Many go for extramarital affairs. I am really happy for you that you are back on track. All the best friend!
  25. 1 point
    DAY 33 **** you-you ancient cretinous chimp brain of mine. You have caused me untold misery for 25 years, and most of the time, i did not even realise it was you. This morning you tried to get your foot in the door. After 30 seconds, I realised what you were trying to do and I slammed the door shut. I have now completed successfully 33 days of my no PMO reboot, without relapsing once. I have watched no porn, and this morning, all i did was google image a woman’s name. I will NOT let you beat me, no matter how hard you try and repeatedly rear your ugly head. The next few days, you will try again and again. But i will indulge in healthier pursuits. I will be social, go and see friends, read, walk around a National Trust place, treat myself, exercise, and dress well. But moreover, i will be on my guard, and make sure i complete 90 days no matter what. And each time you try to stop me, I WILL RAISE MY GAME. I will starve you of the oxygen you crave, so eventually-I promise you- you will just wither away and die.
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