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Hi there, I've been on these forums for a while now. Relating with so many of you but struggling to put my own words and feelings into writing this so this will probably be a very scattered mixed bag of thoughts and feelings.... It's hard to even rearrange and organise what's worth/more important to share and seek support with others about since it's so much. Our story is short since we've only been together for 2 years but we're already facing issues most of you have years in of marriage .. We're a a young couple in our mid 20's. Long distance relationship (different continents). He's my first serious true love & relationship where we're both sure we're each others "the one" so it's been great, serious and heartbreaking at the same time. I'm gonna skip to last year when shit started hitting the fan. I caught him cheating w an ex, sexting and planning to meet up (but never did according to him, i believe him), sexted some other random girl, being generally shady with his socials etc, found out about his porn addiction in this tornado and it's basically been heaven & hell for almost a year now. Heaven when it felt like we've reconnected and felt more in love than ever, and hell.. well you guys can imagine that part. He's been serious about recovering for the first time it feels like after I recently discovered he's been relapsing multiple times when i caught him going into chat rooms, specific instagram girls and watching porn... while I was in the other room. He's attended a few SLAA meetings, started reading books and booking an appointment with a therapist specialised in porn addiction. But how am I supposed to think it's gonna work this time AGAIN. This man has seen me broken, in so many ways. I know he loves me like no other but he's lied straight to my face about things I've already known the truth about so many times. A LOT of traumatic drip drip disclosure and awful fights where he sometimes just shuts me off and pushes me away when we're away from each other which is extra stressful since i can never be sure about what he's up to. Which sometimes is nice but ignorance is only bliss for so long.. Our fights have been a reason for him to relapse too. My stress levels are just up the roof when i spiral, i literally feel like i'm having heart attack sometimes just thinking if he's hiding / lying to me or not. How will I ever know the truth without dragging my heart and soul through what feels like a million daggers? How will I know when he relapses? It feels like he's just gonna find new ways to hide and delete his tracks. How do you set new boundaries in a relationship since the ones you thought were completely unacceptable to break has been broken and you're still here..? I've done my best to educate myself about a before completely unknown territory for me, staying out of his hair at the same time as getting to learn about his addiction and showing my unconditional support, but I just don't know how much pain I should take? I already know I can take a lot but how much is too much? How do you set your limits when the ones you thought you had has already been reached and passed long time ago? Appreciate if you read this far, i'm so lost as you can tell haha..
I have read a lot of partner posts on the forum and thought it might be helpful to chat about my experience as the addicted partner. I have been an addict for all of my life, but my partner only became aware later on in our marriage and she has been very supportive since. In the same way as I will have to take blood pressure tablets for the rest of my life I have to wake up each day and recognise I am an addict, and like taking my tablets have a routine to ensure that I am not triggered and so far it’s working.. My partner has however suffered much in the same way as many of the stories in the partner posts. If I am feeling low then my partner recognises this, however this is where I see a similar thread running through other posts. The partner when asked if all is OK often gets “I’m fine..” and I am guilty as charged! Why do I respond like this? Often, I feel it is routed in childhood where I was not allowed to show my feelings. “Boy’s don’t cry!”, “Don’t be such a baby”; so the initial reaction is a reaction to that, BUT it really is not helpful as the following example will indicate. The other day I was worrying about my elderly parents and had bottled up feelings of helplessness for a particular situation. My partner asked me if I was OK and yes I responded with “I’m fine!” Clearly I was NOT, so my partner with nothing to go on thought I might have relapsed! Luckily I was able to share later that day. But the damage had been done as it clearly worried my partner and brought back times when I had relapsed. But equally it brought up issues around being secretive and yes dishonesty, as I had lied about being OK! Take note that our actions / statements have reactions which may not be as we intended. Firefly
A few months ago my fiancé (boyfriend at the time) confessed to looking at pictures of women online, but said he had stopped a while ago. Up till then we'd had a basically perfect relationship, and a fantastic sex life, apart from being long distance in University holidays. After his confession I immediately asked a plethora of questions about his habits, and was not convinced by his answers. He had always been reluctant to talk about masturbation, despite my openness about doing it myself, and when telling me that these pictures were very rare and never videos and "what's the point of me lying when I'm confessing everything"... I wasn't buying it. My fiancé has always been prone to little lies, and being quite fake in front of his friends. He claims to have never been happy with himself as a person. A few months of paranoia and self doubt combined with much interrogation on my part ensued. During these months we had countless conversations about the "pictures" and I even started thinking I might need to go to a counsellor to deal with my "trust issues", so many lies were told in this time! All of this pain and evident corrosion of my wellbeing was still not enough to make my partner confess. In this period he proposed, and a few weeks after claimed he had to tell me the full story so he could propose with a clear conscience. However, his conscience was far from clear. I recently discovered the cold, calculated viewing of women purely to "exploit the fact they'd give (him) an erection" was far from the truth. He had a full blown porn addiction. I found teen pictures, snapchat pictures, videos and searches for free webcam sex (of which he looked at some websites). The only thing that held true, and this is the reason I didn't leave, is that there was absolutely no evidence of this happening after his initial confession. I also noticed signs of him seeming happier with himself as a person and wanting to live healthier over the past few months, and it was hard for me to understand why, but recovering from a porn addiction would explain it. I find it very hard to understand that he wasn't choosing these photos instead of me. He claims he never clicked on a web chat, but the way this addiction escalates, I don't see how that can be true. He would do this 2 minutes on average after we finished Skyping, yet claims he wasn't aware he was going to do so when finishing the conversation with me, can this actually be true? And can a person really look at pictures and images without comparing them to the person he is with? And does he really think I'm more beautiful? Since the trauma of finding out his search history I get triggered by anything that reminds me and have a flurry of emotions overcome me. I'm finding this especially hard to deal with when the one person I need right now feels terrible about how miserable I get, and could well still be lying. If he continues to lie, I will never recover. We've started counselling but I'm wondering if for my own sake I should get out now, before the next batch of deceit breaks me beyond repair.