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How to discuss his porn addiction without confrontation


Lenet4
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I've known for a long time he's addicted, discovered when I looked at his laptop history, I continued to monitor it for weeks then discovered the explicit messages with other women (this is all online he never leaves house unless together or for ordinary reasons alone). I eventually asked about the messages and was told I'd misread into it and if I was upset it was my own fault for snooping (2017) . I've read enough information on here to know he's addicted to porn but he's so aggressive I've avoided bringing it up, he looses his temper and this only happens if provoked and I know this will provoke so I've avoided, any tips on how to discuss, I know deep down he'd know it's not right, but if anyone else found out that'd be his worst fear, so I know we'll never get to a place where he'll speak to a professional for help. It's eating me up. Any advice would be appreciated.

- Married 13 years. Online videos I've found saved on harddrive would suggest it's been a problem long before we met. We've more of a roommate relationship

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Lenet 4 thank you for your post, sounds like you really want to have a conversation with your partner but without the defensive reactions, I am wondering if it might be helpful for you to seek professional help for yourself. If you fear the aggression then I am left wondering if it is safe for you to raise the issue? Your safety has to come first. So think about what is right for you.

Still want to raise the point and feel it is safe enough to do so then, perhaps sending him a letter sharing more on how you feel about this might help, but only if it is safe to do so. You could then request a reply, without the aggressive response and see how that goes.

Take care and put yourself first

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Hi @Lenet4, so sorry that you’re having to go through this.  I would second what Christine says above about having someone to talk to yourself, especially if you are becoming frightened of your partner’s aggression.

My partner had some elements of this when I gradually discovered his addiction nearly two years ago.  I wasn’t scared of him, but I realise now that I was scared of him walking out - he tended to do angry stonewalling rather than aggression in the ‘traditional’ sense.

I’ve come to realise that for my partner the anger is intrinsically attached to shame, so anything that hits his shame buttons has the tendency to provoke an angry response.  As such, eye contact and ‘being seen’ while I tried to talk to him about his addition was not conducive to having any kind of productive discussion.

We’ve had the most meaningful talks about it and about his past experiences while walking side-by-side - I think the lack of eye contact and the exercise helps to reduce the shame.

It’s a hard path choosing to stay with an addict, and I think that I was too understanding initially, and did not put my own needs first enough of the time.  However we are in a much better place now where we can discuss things more openly, and (I believe) he’s been sober for a while now.  This has included a year and a half of therapy for him and I still wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet.  The road out of addiction is a long and winding one!

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Thank you both for your advice, I can see how these would work but I am feeling such emotion I don't think I've the courage to speak to him, I know he'll blow up. I feel such guilt for not being there for him.  I think my next steps are to get legal advice and move on, it's been years since I've felt 100% safe and happy, of course I'm not always fearful but alway suppressing the conversation that is needed. Thanks again for your help and I hope it all works out

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  • 2 months later...

I discovered some snapchat porn on his phone by accident and confronted him in lock down and My husband admitted to being a porn addict. He told me he has been since he was a young lad. He has had online  chats with a women in 2016 which I confronted him about and we saw a marriage councillor.   I made the decision to stay with him but he never then told me about the addiction. He saw a online councillor last year for almost 6 month and claimed it helped him. I saw him watching porn again yesterday. We have no sex at the moment.

What do I do now?

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Hi Worried, sometimes people struggling with addictions can have a slip or relapse, if he is struggling right now I would suggest he connects with his therapist again and looks at other recovery support options. This recent discovery will be triggering for you and will remind you of your initial discovery, take care of yourself and take time to consider your own options, try and do things to keep you out of your own head, this might not be the time to problem solve, but may be a time to do things which make you feel secure, so that you can just get through the day. Connecting with someone you can trust, doing activities that allow you to feel some level of calm. His addiction is not down to you. Maybe you also would benefit from some support as a partner?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm so sorry to read that so many of us "walk in the same shoes".  I also don't know what to do and need help or advice. My story is a bit more complicated though.  I was about to marry a man about 10 years ago, but his family separated us.

After his failed marriage and relationships following our separation, he has been begging me since 2019 to pick up communication with him and told me that leaving me was his biggest regret. We started talking, however as he lives overseas, I couldn't visit until recently due to COVID restrictions. We chatted almost every day nonetheless.

In October 2020 a shocking event happened, one of his exes got pregnant and he thought that the child was his, in spite of the fact that the court blocked his declaration of parentage as invalid. He said I was still important to him, but his behaviour changed significantly since he found out about the pregnancy.

It turned out that this ex was meeting up with multiple men.  As a consequence he started projecting her behaviour on me. He tried to persuade me to sign up to a webcam site. I told him no. Then he tried to persuade me to engage in deviant sexual behaviour for him, suggested an open relationship, etc.

He did not want to exclude me from his addiction, but I told him that these things are not for me and he was just incapable of understanding it.  Being naive, I visited him at the end of 2021 and thought that things would change.

He told me, that he suggested these things because he was afraid that he would lose me if he becomes jealous and wouldn't let me do whatever I want or have "fun".

Again, I had to explain him, that I'm not that kind of a woman. Besides that, I found nudes of his exes on his phone and conversations where he discussed being on different webcam, porn, adult friend websites with friends. When I confronted him, he became angry that I invaded his privacy!

When I asked him why he was on cam sites, he said that it was a man thing and I had to just deal with it (but I can't). We had a quarrel and after that I thought he started to realise that I had feelings too and that he would not do it again!

I noticed the other day that he started to follow a young webcam girl with explicit photos on Instagram. At the same time he is saying that I'm important to him.

If I confront him again, I'm afraid that he'll accuse me again that I'm invading his privacy, but this can't go on.  How can I best tell him that I don't want to offend him but what he is doing is not right and he needs help? I mentioned therapy before, but he does not really believe in it.

Edited by Firefly
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  • 2 weeks later...

Beatrice123, wow you’re a very caring woman to put up with him for so long and give him chance after chance.  He sounds very like my husband manipulating, trying to get you to engage in and gaslighting the situation to make you tow the line and make you feel bad so he can carry on. It also sounds like he’s totally in denial of his problem and is more than happy to carry on as he’s not really experiencing any negative consequences.

Until the pain of addiction is greater than the highs it gives they never feel a need to change. I went through this for 8 months with my husband as I think I was too soft and scared of being alone so I didn’t set or reinforce real boundaries and ultimatums. Until I realised I was worth so much more and he couldn’t give it, how long I was prepared to be treated that way.

I  realised his addiction and behaviour was damaging me and our children.  I realised that in actual fact the addict wasnt the man I loved and couldn’t get my husband into recovery so I could get the real man back, then I was stuck in misery.

It forced me to look at myself and realise I could make it alone and I started to gain inner strength. I checked my finances, his finances and looked at what I’d be left with and how I could make it work. I then give him the boundaries and consequences straight.

He failed after a couple of weeks and was gone. Sounds scary and heartbreaking but it worked because as the weeks went by the pain of losing me and the children and realising his addiction couldn’t give him happiness he started looking at recovery and then asked for me to help him.

I was totally prepared for divorce if it hadn’t worked as I didn’t have the strength to live or be married to an active addict.

 
You’re worth more than this and there is a better life away from an addict. Maybe look into co-dependency if you haven’t already.

I hope you’re ok, be kind to and love yourself x

Edited by Firefly
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Thank you very much for your kind input, Jo Joy. Recently, he went so far that my friend interfered and wrote him that if he can't respect me, he should get out of my life.  This made him realise, that he doesn't want to lose me. I told him that in this case he needs to go to therapy if he wants to improve.

As for independence, during the few years we didn't talk I could do a law degree and master's with a full time job and now hopefully I'll gain some relevance, which could lead me to a traineeship. I'm trying to focus on that. You can make it too, we don't need an addictive partner.

I wish you all the best and sending a big hug right back at you. X

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Evening everyone,

As Jo Joy so eloquently wrote the fear of loneliness for us the partners somehow outweighs the downs of an abusive relationship...because that is what it is and that perhaps holds us back from moving forward.

If we value ourselves as human beings and recognise out true worth we will realise that we crumble inside when we are with them. We cannot be ourselves, we have to be their version of us and it's crushing and can end up causing our spirit to split. I spent 23 years of my life living a version of me that wasn't truly me. Only when I started to learn more about what controlled my then husband did I start to piece together a jigsaw of a life in parallel. 

In my case he knew the consequences of his addiction as it was written by his hand in a workbook, unfortunately the pain of loosing his family wasn't sufficient.

Beatrice123 don't compromise your boundaries and hold firm, your friends stand with you sister! xx

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