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Is honesty ever possible with a compulsive liar and porn addict?


Mona
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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..

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Hi MonA, It sounds like you’re going through a LOT at the moment and I can hear the anxiety in your writing.  I’m not sure I can be masses of help with your questions, but there are a couple of things that did jump out at me from your post.  I’m not experienced in mental health so these are just things from my own experience.

You said that your arguments with your partner are a reason for him relapsing, and I just wanted to flag this as something to take with a pinch of salt.  In my case, I think my partner was slipping into using this idea to try to get me to back down from challenging him with my concerns. I think that this can become an excuse and can become manipulative.  If he wants you in his life he should be prepared to take your feelings and concerns seriously, so don’t let this stop you from speaking about your reality and your needs.

Although it’s not always possible, I’ve found in my own experience that approaching my partner to talk when I’m more calm gets a more truthful response compared to when I’m in an anxious or upset state,m.  I think the latter makes my partner panic and try to minimise the issues to try to stop me from being upset, which actually makes things worse.  It’s really difficult though, especially early on when you’re all over the place emotionally.  Getting support for yourself is really important and can help to stop you from spiralling.  Talking whilst walking side-by-side rather than face to face had much better results in my relationship early on in the process, as shame can make it feel really unbearable for an addicted person to be looked directly at whilst talking. 

I also just wanted to say that you don’t have to provide unconditional support to your partner.  Addictions can make people tricky and manipulative, even if the non-addicted part is a lovely person, so one can end up colluding with the addiction if we don’t keep tabs on what our own limits and needs are.

I hope that you’re ok and this coming week has some good stuff in it.

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Hey, thank you so much for your response. Any answer helps me feel less lonely in this since I basically have no one to speak to about this that'll actually understand or relate to even the slightest - so thank you again❤️

I've been thinking about that as well, he does struggle with mental health issues since before (depression & dark dark thoughts) so I have always just ended up accepting his behaviours because of this. He gets depressed after our arguments and sometimes spirals into the destructiveness. It was also when he was in his darkest place that he started cheating last year. 

It's hard to not let a discussion become an argument because of his defensiveness. He always thinks that I make it sound like he hasn't done anything to help himself or the relationship and gets upset/annoyed. Which is not really true, I'm usually calm and very clear about what it is that specifically makes me feel hurt and a lot of times feel ignored or not taken seriously since he doesn't prevent some actions, even though he always says he understands me in the moment.. 

I've asked him for three things since discovering: to not cheat, not lie and get help. I know that if he's in a good place, so will we be.

I sometimes back from sharing my feelings because I don't want to ruin his day or disrupt  or relationship from having " a good day ". It doesn't matter how calmly I explain things because I feel bad about making him feel bad. I'm working hard to not get stuck in this type of female trap where you always feel responsible for everyones else's well-being more than your own.

I tried getting help last year during fall through online therapy, it was OK but my therapist occasionally made me feel like she didn't believe the relationship would last and it just made me feel a bit naive and dumb for even talking about it or trying. I've of course read some of Paula Hall's books but do think I need more help, I just don't know where to turn so if there's any suggestions out there - please share.

It's so true about the walking side by side and not giving up all of me for his addiction, the physical distance we have now is well-needed and I honestly feel like I can breathe for the first time in forever, even though I occasionally feel the opposite when I spiral into anxiety and stress I'm glad to have my own space. I'm scared to not even notice him relapsing or manipulating me.

The though that makes me the saddest is realising that this will always be a part of our story. It doesn't feel clean and as pure anymore with all the lies and cheating and I know that relapsing will probably be a part of our journey ahead as well.

 

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Hi mona 

It's such a journey isn't it. Do many ups and downs. Not knowing whats truth or not. 

 

One thing I'll say is be open to there being more and that anything can happen. They lie so much due to shame and not wanting to upset us, that I believe there is always more in most cases. 

Look after you. You are most important. Please don't forget that!

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Hi Mona,

So sorry to hear about your situation.  Arhhhh!

From my understanding being a wife may mean giving unconditional support but not unilaterally being responsible and certainly not his for his behaviour.  Supporting doesn't mean treading on egg shells around him or being afraid you'd hurt his feelings therefore not challenging him on issues that affect you both.  This is tough love to coin a phrase.  You are not a doormat to calmly accept your husband as he is......

Mental health issues are complex and individual according to each couple. From my experience I reckon that my former husband's depression/bi-polar/OCD or whatever he has quite frankly is partly a result of his addiction and his internal conflicts and the 'splitting' of his personality as the result of living in two worlds. It may be that your husband had this addiction before he met you and saw in you someone who could 'cure' him because you love him completely. I have come to understand that my husband thought that...not consciously at all, but as I who could satisfy all his needs. Unfortunately the sad reality may be that an addict gets his 'kicks' from his acting out behaviour and not from a loving relationship.

Mona, getting help for both of you is vitally important and be specific for sex addiction.

Sending you a big hug xx

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