Can someone please help me understand...

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by Empty shell of a girlfriend, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. my fiancé and I are working on honesty.... or I should say he is working on being honest. Yesterday we were talking about how difficult this has been for him. He let me know that in the past 3 months certain sexual thoughts have finally started to go away. I asked what he meant. He told me that before he was having a hard time with undressing women in his mind and imagining sex but in the past 3 months he notices this happens less and less.
    I applaud his honesty. He never once let me know this was a problem for him.
    Now I feel as if my engagement ring is a sham. I accepted it believing he had changed. I knew he had quit porn in October and had one slip up in February but he never spoke about this problem until yesterday. How could he ask for my hand in marriage when he was undressing our waitress?! I feel like such a fool for getting dolled up on date night only for his attention to go to any woman that wasn’t me.
    I put my engagement ring away in the jewelry box. What a fucking joke. But yes, I’m happy he told me the truth.
     
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  2. Lostneverland

    Lostneverland Fapstronaut

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    Ya , this addiction really messes with your mind. Slowly it seems, we get wrapped up in trying to fix and monitor the man and situation, when in actuality all we have to do is step back, and let them take control of their destiny.
    They have to want to grow and evolve. Yes it’s nice when they are honest, on the other hand the honesty hurts. Another damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Typical,addict behaviour.
    You need to al so remember that once an addict, always an addict..practicing or not. Do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering if he’s clean and sober? He has to want sobriety more than anything. You did the right thing by putting your engagement ring away. Take time to consider the situation from all angles.
     
  3. lfromcr

    lfromcr Fapstronaut

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    @Empty shell of a girlfriend, You wrote


    First let me say, I really wish this wasn't happening to you. It can be no-joke, PTSD-level devastating, and I hate hearing it's happened to one more woman.

    Here's what I tell my clients who've been betrayed:
    -There are a few things happening here:
    1) He told the truth, which is great.
    2) He told you he was working in his issues, which is great.
    2) He was still interested in other women, which is not great.
    3) He was inadvertently doing another thing, "Drip-fed truth," which can wreak havoc on women's minds. (And this is from the experts in this field!)

    It wreaks havoc because it means he was hiding things while he said he was telling the truth.

    When this happens--well, heck, when any lie happens after betrayal--the women are left thinking, "What else don't I know? What else is he struggling with?"


    But your very last sentence bears witness to a fact that is placed on us: "You need to focus on the good things he IS doing(!!!)"

    Uh, NO, we don't!

    It is far more helpful for both the guy and the gal if she focuses on the TRUTH of the entire situation.

    --

    (I wrote the below, then realized you didn't ask for advice. So if you're not seeking input, feel free to disregard the following. It's just what came to mind when I read your post, so I thought I would keep it here just in case it would be helpful, while adding this disclaimer in case you didn't want to read it : )

    --

    Now for you, these recent conversations could be a springboard to finding out more about him, meaning you could revisit the conversation with something like, "Hey, the other day you said that undressing other women was becoming less of an issue with you. What other struggles are becoming less of an issue? ... What other struggles are still an issue?"

    -If you can do this casually, you may be able to get more information out of him.

    -IF HE GETS DEFENSIVE/ANGRY I would definitely take note of it, as that could be your future on this topic. (In the couples we work with, the guy's anger and defensiveness is an issue about 99% of the time. Even the most mild mannered guys can get pretty nasty at the drop of a hat because of this issue.)

    -IF HE PRESSES as to why you're asking, you can just be honest and say you hadn't known about that one issue and were wondering where else he was getting traction or feeling stuck.

    -IF HE TALKS OPENLY AND FREELY ABOUT IT and you feel you have the whole truth, that can be a good thing. But if he does this and you still can't trust him, that says something too.

    -IF HE DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT I would pay close attention to that as well, because you have a right to know who you're marrying.


    Overall, I am with Lostneverland... I am glad you're getting space to be able to think things through clearly. (All the best to you as you move forward!)
     
  4. Thank you both for the reply.

    October was DDay for us. He’s recently admitted that at first he quit PMO because I wanted him to. He didn’t see the big deal he didn’t think he had a problem. During this time he led me to believe that he wanted to work on quitting PMO for himself as well as me.
    4 months later he relapsed. I found a soiled paper towel in the trash. When I confronted him he lied right to my face until I asked to see his phone history. He was caught so he admitted it. After that he swore he was serious about changing and getting help. I was becoming angry because I was the one in all this pain and wenever I asked him how his sobriety is going he would tell me it’s really not that hard. This made me angry. Why was I having such a hard time and he’s finding it easy? Recently I broke down. I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him the reason I don’t trust him is because I have always found the evidence he’s never told me anything. So I’m always wondering what I am going to find next. I explained I needed the truth from him about everything.
    Yesterday I wrote him a journal about how unattractive I feel. How worthless this makes me feel. He cried. The first time I’ve ever seen him have any empathy for what he’s put me through. He told me it hasn’t been as easy as he pretends. I asked what he meant and he told me that he’s struggled with as I put it eye-raping other women. I AM happy he told me because it shows me that he’s putting my need to know above his need to hide shame. I did ask him if there is anything else he’s struggling with and he said no. How do I know if that’s just another lie? I am so angry that he would ask me to marry him knowing he struggles with this. I feel like such a fool to believe he could love me.
     
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  5. Lostneverland

    Lostneverland Fapstronaut

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    And the last couple of sentences are the conundrum! I think there are two distinct sides to the addict..well like most people, the shadow side and the real side.
    It’s hard discerning who is who. That’s why it’s important to trust yourself, your thoughts feelings and emotions. I’m glad he’s showing emotions. Just always trust your gut.
     
  6. lfromcr

    lfromcr Fapstronaut

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    I know you didn't say you felt like a fool for believing his lies, but a lot of women I work with do. And in case that's part of what you meant, here's what I tell them:

    "Remember back to the last time you cried at a movie. Or look at all the actors that get academy awards. Those are both from good acting. THAT's what your guy is. He's a good actor. Actors move us to tears because we believe them."

    Then because I come from the Jesus brand of spirituality (and they normally do to) I add,

    "You have to realize lies are SO damaging that those outside our faith even believe lying is wrong. Why do they believe that? Because it is so easy to believe people when they're lying. If it we were all human lie detectors, no one would have a problem with lies, but because EVERYONE can be duped, we all have a problem with people who lie!"

    So, rest assured, most, if not all, people would have believed him exactly the same way...


    PLUS, some would have called you wrong if you HADN'T trusted him right off the bat.


    PLUS, it's in your nature to trust. That's a beautiful thing!


    YET it's what makes this hurt all the more.


    Overall when it comes to believing his lies:
    It's not foolishness on your part, but on his.

    --
     
  7. lfromcr

    lfromcr Fapstronaut

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    BUT when it comes to believing he could love you, here's something that might be helpful to know:

    Because men's brains are more like apartments than women's, it means that their thinking is very compartmentalized (they can focus on one thing and block out other things).

    But here's the thing: When guys use porn, the walls between the compartments become thicker. This means when they're with you, they're more apt to forget about porn, and vice versa. It's like when they're looking after other women, they can forget all about us.

    As a guy gets more into it, however, they can begin longing for porn even while around their partner.

    Either way, here's an option I give my clients to say to the guy, "I know you love me, it's just that you love something else more." Because the thing the man loves more is his pleasure.

    I hope that helps.
     
  8. alphazingersalsa

    alphazingersalsa Fapstronaut

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    Says the book, Men are like Waffles, women like spaghetti.

    It’s devastatingly amazing how porn can turn a great man into a monster.

    Clearly, Porn is one of the Enemy’s greatest tool
    To destroy families and people’a
    Integrity.
     
  9. Hi all this is an interesting thread. Can't say I have too much advise as we are all in the same boat. But did wanna comment on the big picture as I see it ( currently).

    Whether it's waffles or spaghetti, Venus and Mars or apartments, yes the sexes have different cycles in respect of sex hormones and drives.

    However, both sexes derive pleasure and therefore distraction from lifes difficulties - otherwise nobody on the planet would be reproducing at all, and it's this basic innate sometimes unconscious drive that gets 'corrupted' in addiction.

    This runs in the face of another human drive or 'need' to be connected and loved, feel safe and securely bonded. Find a problem here and you're most likely to find an addiction or problems!

    So back to the big picture... once an addict always an addict? I think it's much more complicated than that.

    I think you would struggle to find anybody who has never masturbated, when sex hormones kick in they are very powerful- at best it would be a very low percentage of the population.

    In respect of men and male culture it's an accepted thing, even promoted as manly and linked to bravado - add in porn - even back in the day with calendars, mags and vhs - it's easy to see how PMO becomes an established habit. Nobody much saw it as a danger - just what men did ( but not often haha!)

    Things have changed since the internet and smart phones - and now it's just a danger waiting to esculate into a problem.

    There aren't many reliable statistics to go on. But it's a spectrum.
    I've seen up to 90% of men quoted as admitting to watching porn.
    9 out of 10 they don't all have a problem, but it's an established habit waiting in the wings - for if and WHEN life gets tough!

    So finding a good man even if they didn't/don't have a problem in the early years is not as easy as you might think. And NOT suprising why women are traumatisted finding their partner is not who they thought they were. So getting your head round the big picture is quite important to help overcome trauma and shock.

    Most men lie about it too - even to each other and probably themselves, so just asking about porn use isn't enough to establish truth.

    As women I don't think we can ignore it either as it esculates over years with consumption and/ or frequency. It should be a very big conversation before entering a relationship.

    What starts as free porn becomes paid porn, becomes live porn, becomes escorts, sex sex clubs, affairs and even jail.

    Only figure I ever saw was 11% of men paying for sex, the percentage paying for porn much higher or it wouldn't be a multi billion dollar industry. 25% + have affairs when married.

    The whole thing is a pretty grim picture.

    So what can we do? there's lots we can do to lower the risk of a partner developing addiction, ( by understanding this, a partners past and other indicators of mental health, ).

    But it's not as simple as getting rid of a partner who uses porn, because it is so very common. It more comes down to what if anything they are gonna do about it ? what do they understand about it?

    I wouldn't say your partner doesn't love you, only you can gauge that - cause love and pleasure from porn gets compartmentalized.

    Until one starts to effect the other....

    So it's a battle of the human need to love and be loved, and the human need to distract ourselves from discomfort (the power of addiction)

    You are not alone most women are in this boat - most don't even know they are in it!

    So don't feel bad - give yourself some time to get your head around seeing into a whole new world.

    And decide can this man grow and develop himself out of this or not?

    Lastly, yes sexual thoughts about the waitress, the nurse, the police officer are everyday man thoughts to most men, even those who appear respectful....You dont even need to be naked or pornified. Most brains are hijacked by a sexualised society ....we just didn't know how bad it is!

    But now we do :)
    And so my power and my future is in my hands....as it is yours!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2019
  10. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I don't want this to come over as a criticism, but there are a few things about this that resonated with me, and I don't see eye-to-eye with the other respondents.

    I do not see it like that. Rape has a dramatic effect on the victim, it is an act of subjugation. If I fantasize about an erotic situation with a woman then my fantasy has absolutely no effect on her at all. That is not rape.

    I think it is more normal to fantasize about other women than many here feel. I know this will sound awful but I wonder if you (and my wife) read too much Jane Austen at an impressionable age? The idea that when we meet our perfect partner all interest in the other sex vanishes seems unlikely to me. I know that that is exactly what happened for lots of people but it is also not what happened for many of us. I'm a porn addict so what do I know, but I suspect many people do this. Even those who don't feel anything sexual acknowledge a
    when they see an attractive person.

    Have you read Esther Perel's book Mating in Captivity? Some of it is terrible (the last chapter) but some of it is really interesting. For example ...

    @Empty shell of a girlfriend, I'm not trying to persuade you to put the engagement ring back on, I'm just trying to say that one aspect of his behaviour may be more common than you imagine, and may be OK (though, confusingly, it is something I am trying to cease doing).

    I remember @AngelofDarkness started an interesting thread about this kind of thing back in July 2018: How to deal with the Coolidge effect in a porn-free monogamous relationship?

    I had this too. When I finally decided to deliberately curb my ogling I told my wife. She had no idea I fantasized about the women I saw out and about and imagined them undressing. She was horrified and hurt. I hadn't meant it to be a new disclosure. I'd assumed she knew. She thought it was something I had grown out of thirty years ago.
     
  11. It’s always nice to hear from the other side. I still stand by my original thought and words when I said “eye rape” these women did not ask to be imagined in such perverse ways. They didn’t consent to being disrespected. When you say that that it doesn’t affect the woman that’s where you’re wrong and I can’t blame you for that, you’re not a woman so you couldn’t understand. When I was much younger and prettier and slimmer I would get attention from men. The man that thinks he is being discreet by looking me up and down? I could feel his eyes on me and it didn’t feel good. That man that was holding his wife’s hand while ogling me at the mall. I was embarassed for her, and disgusted that he could be my father by how old he was. in high school I would walk home with my brother- not because I liked him- but because there was always a creepy neighbor that would stare at me. He made me feel uncomfortable and afraid. You assume that it has no affect on the woman but that is because porn has made you believe it’s okay. Actresses in porn are paid a lot of money to cater to male fantasy, they are paid knowing they are being watched. Women on the street are daughters and mothers and wives who deserve respect. I have no issues with my fiancée finding other women attractive. I find it disgusting that while on a date with me he would be imagining our waitress naked and imagine having sex with her. That’s disrespectful in my presence.
     
  12. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    My thoughts varied, but typically I would imagine them letting me watch them undress. I'm not sure how perverse that is, though I can see where it is rooted in my psyche. I am a very social creature. When I meet people I go out of my way to ensure that they like me. But sometimes they don't and I have to let go of that, what people think about me is not something I should try to control. (N.B. That maybe harder for women, I think there is a greater pressure in society on women which socializes them to care what people think of them.) But if someone really takes umbrage with me, and sits there imagining that they are shooting me, is that 'eye murder'? I did not consent to being mentally disrespected or imagined in such violent ways, but has it harmed me? Rape is about coercion, fantasizing about someone is not coercing them into anything.

    But you are angry and frustrated, and rightly so: pornography is wrong and we should have stopped years before our partners needed us to. So I can see why you are using extreme language, I should leave it alone.

    This will make me seem like some crazy pedant, but I think it is a quadrant diagram:
    [​IMG]
    Women assume that everything is A and D, but I think there are many more false-negatives, i.e. there is more in B than you imagine. The fact that my wife was so shocked to discover my behaviour is evidence that I was actually discrete.

    This may sound too calculated. I do hear you when you say "it didn't feel good" and "he made me feel uncomfortable and afraid" and I am genuinely sorry that you have been made to feel like that from men's unwanted lascivious stares. The possibility that my behaviour was making someone feel like this is part of what made me decide to try to stop. That and the thought that continuing to ogle and to fantasize was reinforcing the thought patterns that I have been trying to leave behind as I give up porn. My therapist said that the initial notice is involuntary but that what I do next, where I take my train of thought, that is under my control. I did try to push back, to say something like @Sadgirl said ages ago:

    My therapist pushed back: OK, what has it taught you about your subconscious and its desires? That's proved a potent question, and surprisingly formed the basis of the technique I borrowed from @daemonswithin here.

    This bit is painful to read. I may have been discrete with my ogling, but there have been many occasions (one only a few weeks ago) where my wife was embarrassed by my flirting, or at least the attention I gave another (younger) woman. I feel horrified by this, but I can see the truth in it. Not good. I need to be the husband that makes her feel confident and happy, not the husband who makes other women embarrassed for her.

    The age thing is interesting, it came up recently in a discussion with @Susannah, @Wolf2019, and others on my journal recently (e.g. @Susannah's post here.)

    I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I hope that by taking a stand against porn I am helping, even just a tiny bit, to move the world away from that sense of male entitlement and women's (girl's!) availability.

    Well, I don't agree with the first part of this, as I've said, but I do agree with the second part. Us men here are recovering porn addicts, and men do not talk about these kind of issues much when we are alone together, so our views may be totally out of kilter with Joe Average's views.

    It's taken me a long time to think through all the facts, feelings, and issues around (my) ogling behaviour. I've been gathering up all the threads I've found useful and keeping a list of them in my journal post here. The thread that's particularly apposite to our discussion about how being ogled feels is @Kenzi's thread from November 2017 The "Feels" of Ogling (a Females Perspective).

    Porn actresses are daughters too. Respect is earnt, but disrespect is wrong, and porn is destroying the lives of the women who perform in it. It was weak of me to keep watching porn even when I knew it was wrong.

    Agreed. I'm trying to take it further, not just stopping when I am with my wife but resisting that train of thought always.

    I'm not sure all this is 'on topic'. Sorry if I have derailed your thread.

    Is your fiancée planning to sign up here, journal, etc.?

    (N.B. I must be getting senile. In searching out quotes to use in this post I eventually came across a reply I made in November 2018 to one of @Susannah's threads, here. It is almost exactly the same post as this, even down to the quadrant diagram! Talk about repeating oneself. Oh dear.)
     
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  13. @kropo82 As always what you say is interesting, and cause for pause and debate!

    We are definately all different, our life experiences and genetics are different, thats only moderated by learning. Think I've had 8 relationships all different for different reasons and at different times of personal development.

    Only one was pretty much based on desire, and electric connection it lasted 9 months. My learning after that revealed that type of dynamic only occurs with certain attachment styles. ie. a secure and an anxious attachment style...and it usually burns itself out pretty quick.

    My point being yes erotic desire and fantasy exists. But it's not a basis for a long-term healthy relationship.

    Further note - the most common attachment type for porn addicts would be anxious/ fearful attachment, thereby attaching to porn in an unhealthy way as back up, and coping style for life.

    Furthermore, I'd also say I don't fantasize about other men. I appreciate the beauty of form - be that a tree, a horse or a naked body, but that's where it ends.

    However, I think this isn't as common as I'd like to think, for sure I know women who treat men as objects too. Yep, they are also the gossips, the ones who can't wait to tell you about a patient's penis size, or about some sexual misfortune that ended up in the ED. I don't tend to like these people, and sure don't respect them.

    You wanna feel safe in hospital I'm sure. I get comments all the time from male patients - I just think " dick head". But it goes the other way too - some staff are dick heads too! Generally the whole thing reflects a lack of development, a lack of sexual boundary... a lack of respect.

    I think if you're unhappy/unfulfilled in a relationship or yourself then your mind may wander to fantasy to fill the gap.

    I would suggest an addict fantasizes more because of disconnection! And even a subconscious coping mechanism to prevent true intimacy forming with a partner...something a porn/ sex addict has a fear of.

    For me relationships are about equally. If he wants to M or O over other women, that's fine! I do it too

    If he wants to oogle/fantasize/ flirt with other women too - that's fine! I do it too

    But when I asked him if that's ok? He said "No" "It would make me feel horrible and worthless"

    Lastly, I do respect and value your input kropos82 - but I think your wife deserves a medal! If my partner embarrasses me with another woman then he's likey to find his eye hurts where my finger has accidently poked it!


    Joking aside...
    I like to think he already has respect and that's gonna grow the longer he leaves porn behind. If he didn't he wouldn't still be my partner.

    The world needs more respect!
    Normal some of this might be (porn use, oggling, fantasy) with the state of society... it doesn't however make it right! nor is it a recipe for a contented life or relationship! :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2019
  14. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    There is a lot of territory between "all interest in the other sex vanishes" and :
    "too much"? This implies there is something wrong with the way @Empty shell of a girlfriend feels about this subject. Perhaps you didn't read enough Jane Austen at an impressionable age.
     
  15. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    It is obviously not okay with her.
    and in @Bobske 's journal
     

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