I'm the new GF of a suspected Addict, help?

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by TooMuchTooSoon, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. ItsNeverTooLate

    ItsNeverTooLate Fapstronaut

    Damn reddit. So much good and so much bad. Like playing with fire. There are adjustments he can make in the settings if he's interested. My SO changed it to reflect he is not over 18 even though he is, to at least prevent NSFW threads popping up. It didn't wean out everything but got rid of a lot of the major stuff that he considered a problem. He has also been able to block certain threads that he knows are a slippery slope for him.

    That's great news! Good for both of you! You for the courage to bring it up and him for giving change a shot.

    It's good to be on your guard. You want to protect yourself from getting your heart stomped on. At the same time, your optimism and encouragement will help your partner see the benefits of tempering his porn usage. You are both better off without it. I wish you guys the best!:)
  2. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    Thanks @ItsNeverTooLate :) I appreciate all the encouragement here. I guess I am a fapstonaut myself too as I am abstaining from any MO and have told him my only O's will be with him. P was never an issue for me. I used erotica from time to time which he brought up after I first mentioned having issues with his porn use. I told him I hadn't used it in weeks/months since he and I got serious to which he replied "oh." I want him to see solidarity and that I am not asking him to quit something I'm not willing to quit myself, especially to improve our relationship. I feel the discomfort, though I know it's not the same, but can at least somewhat appreciate how urges beckon and can be difficult to resist in the moment. WE are worth it though.

    I wrote the following out to help remind me of my relationship goals, especially after dealing with this situation. I waffle between feeling like I shouldn't settle for any less and worrying I'm being unrealistic and asking too much, of him or any man which is sad.

    I understand the world is full of attractive people. Glances are fine. Leering, staring, ogling, and fantasizing are not. While in a relationship, finding people attractive is perfectly acceptable. Being ATTRACTED TO THEM is not. I've read (and believe) that the only difference between porn and fantasy is the mouse. Porn is a destructive lie. Real relationships are worth more than pixels and don't deserve to be injured or replaced by them.

    I want a man who chooses me and my feelings over porn and fantasy. I want a guy who can see women as whole human beings and not just body parts, objects there for his pleasure. I want a man who has discipline and self control, rather than one who gives in to primal urges with the excuse that it's in his genes and he has no control over himself or his thoughts. I want a guy who knows how to respect others, especially me and our relationship.

    I want someone I can proudly introduce to my family without fear that he's checking out my relatives and fantasizing about them. I want a man with whom I can go anywhere in public, who doesn't ogle and fantasize about every attractive female nearby. I want a guy who is present, particularly during sex, and who I never have to worry is imagining anyone and everyone other than me in order to enjoy and/or finish.

    I want someone who doesn't make me worry every time he's alone with time on his hands. I want a man who can disconnect from the fantasy realm, be mindful of his actions and not put himself in compromising situations in person or online. I want a man who makes me feel safe and like I am "enough."

    I want a man who understands these needs and works to meet them, so we can have a true intimate, loving, and respectful relationship. More than anything I want a man who will keep choosing me, over all that superficial crap, and who will love, honor, and cherish me the way I deserve - as does he.
  3. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    Oh, forgot to add this bit which I can imagine is an issue for a lot of SO's here:

    I want a man with whom I can watch movies, TV, or anything online (social media, YouTube, etc.) without massive anxiety over how he might be triggered by all of the sexual content that seems ever present these days

    I feel like unless this porn habit/ addiction and its causes are truly addressed, our society - in person, in media, and online - is too full of triggers to ever allow me to feel safe or secure in such a relationship.
  4. Ted Martin

    Ted Martin Fapstronaut

    I think those are all great relationship goals and certainly things to work toward. Keep in mind that you can only control and be responsible for yourself and your own actions and the same with him. As he is working at his recovery you'll want to focus on working on your own issues and hopefully moving away from feeling like you need to police him or feel "massive anxiety" over the two of you watching something together. Knowing that he is actively engaged in recovery and genuinely working at his stuff will hopefully allow you to lovingly detach from his addiction. Detachment is neither unloving nor unkind. It’s simply accepting the fact that you can’t live your addicted loved ones’ life for them. It’s coming to understand that detaching with love is one of the best things you can do for him. Here's a great article on loving detachment that is a cornerstone of the Al-Anon program. https://www.hazelden.org/web/blog-p...good-for-your-addicted-loved-one.5003069.view

    Certainly in our society there are tons of visually suggestive content that can't be avoided. It's true that it's impossible to avoid seeing a sexy woman on a billboard or TV commercial, girl in tight yoga pants and top at the gym or even on the cover of a magazine at the grocery store. We can't control that. However, what happens when we see that is the important part. Certain things we won't be able to avoid (unless we become a hermit and never leave our cabin in the woods), but we can control how we respond when we do see those things. So for me, if a VS commercial comes on the TV or if there is a bedroom scene in a movie, I avert or close my eyes. This might sound extreme, but I don't even want to let those kinds of erotic images into my head. Why? Because I know for me that if I see those I will struggle with bringing them back up later and allowing myself to entertain them, to play out scenarios around those in my mind's eye. It's all about fantasy life and thought life for me. If I look at what triggered me to act out with PMO, I see that it typically started with fantasies and erotic thoughts. I go up in my head and entertain them and then get aroused and go use M or worse use M with P.

    This is something that my wife is aware of and tries to be a support for me with. If a bedroom scene comes on watching a show, she knows I will close my eyes and she will then say "all clear" when it's done and I can open my eyes. It's a small thing but it allows us to be partners in this and is a way she can be supportive without policing. She can't fix me or be my accountability partner, nor should she try, but she can be supportive in this way and she can ask me at times how recovery is going. We don't get into details as she can't and shouldn't try to manage my recovery but she can ask how it's going. That lets me know that she cares about me and my recovery process and I give her a very high level status of where I'm at and what I'm currently working on so she knows that I'm serious about recovery and actively engaged in it.

    So then for me it's all about needing to nip it in the bud and work at not going down the fantasy/thought life trail as I know that will always lead to PMO acting out. To do that I have to be hyper vigilant 24/7 and recognize that when I see something suggestive at the gym, or on a commercial or whatever, I need to immediately "bounce" to something else instead of dwelling and entertaining. I need to close or avert my eyes and immediately think about something else. That takes work though and also commitment. You can't let your guard down or you'll find yourself going down the path you don't want to be on. Or, I've found sometimes if the triggering was caused by seeing an attractive woman in person who is dressed provocatively that I will stop and tell myself that she is must be hurting and that's why she is seeking out the attention of men by dressing that way. Recognizing that she is crying out for attention possibly as a result of her own pain and wounding helps me to empathize with her from a afar and not objectify her as something to lust after but as a real human being with feelings and hurts and pains. When doing that it's much harder to fantasize about her or later bring that image back in my mind as a p-sub to get off to.

    Does this mean that I have that area of my life mastered? No. I wish I could say I did, but that isn't the case yet. I may have to always work at that in my life and always be vigilant with my fantasy life. I will say that it gets better and easier over time, but there are times that I'm more susceptible and need to work harder at not giving in to fantasizing or looking at p-subs. For example, if my emotional needs aren't being met, if I'm feeling lonely or hurt/wounded, feeling resentment in the marriage, or if I'm bored. In those times I've noticed I have to work harder at it. The other thing I've observed is that as an addict I have a tolerance that is affected by what I see. When I was heaving in the addiction and looking at hardcore P seeing a girl at the gym in yoga pants or a VS commercial wouldn't do all that much for me. It was tame compared to the stuff I was consuming on a daily basis. But now that I haven't watched porn in almost two years? Little things that are fairly tame can now be a trigger if I'm not careful. The tolerance I had built up from viewing extreme images is gone and now I have no tolerance. A VS commercial that many wouldn't find that big a deal is something that is quite erotic for me now given my lack of tolerance. This is why I have to be so vigilant. As you said you can't avoid all the triggering sex and erotic things in our culture and society but I can work at how or if I respond to them or allow myself to be triggered by them. I wish you both the very best in this recovery journey.
  5. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    Hi all. Wow this got long. Sorry!

    We're dealing with a relapse. At least once Monday (at my own house after I left for work-we don't live together-which I am pretty pissed about and will address) and then again yesterday plus 2-3 times today. Sigh.

    I'm trying to focus on the positives: He fully admits it's an addiction and will be difficult to fix. He was impressed at my extensive research and told me I'm doing everything right and I'm the perfect person for him to have in his corner. He told me about the relapse himself, though I suspected it after PIED/DE reared its ugly head again tonight. That may have been what drove him to confess since he said nothing on the phone the last 2 nights. I think he will be truthful as we talked pretty calmly and reasonably though I told him I might get emotional at times but would try not to get mad/yell/etc.

    He also made it over 2 weeks which is not nothing. It's the longest for him in years. We spent a lot of that time together which helped. He wants to quit and says he likes how he felt while off it. He said increasing his streaks and remembering that good feeling will help, to which I suggested he also try to hold that memory against how he feels now after a relapse for comparison.

    I mentioned how I'd read that a lot of people can't really quit until the pain of the addiction is worse than abstaining from it. Or some even need a rock bottom, losing their relationships, marriages, jobs, etc. before thy can fully commit or quit. I'm not sure if that scared him or made him think 'I'm not THAT bad at least.'

    The negatives are: he isn't interested in coming here and apparently tried following the Reddit sub and attending SAA previously but didn't find either helpful. So no outside support system other than me.

    He admits that when he gets horny he "can't just stay that way and needs a release." That's a huge cause for concern to me. I previously offered sex anytime (outside of work hours) to help with him quitting and he took me up on it last week but not this week apparently. Though he came over tonight to avoid being home alone any further, worried he'd continue bingeing I guess? So that's good, though the reality is that I can't always be there. I'm wondering if the chaser effect got to him after we spent the weekend together.

    I told him I can be an outlet and will support him but I can't be a crutch not can I do this for him. He has to do it for himself with the bonus being a better relationship for us and a way happier girlfriend in general. :)

    He's huge into social media and movies/tv so triggers will be everywhere. I asked him to remain honest and forthcoming and told him as long as he's trying - genuinely working to stop - I will stand by him. I also asked him to identify triggers and what he can change or do differently next time he gets urges and/or relapses.

    There is a part of his ritual I'm aware of and will ask him to get rid of which could buy time to help him snap out of it. The usual: loneliness/ boredom/anxiety/ stress/ depression/ images on Reddit or other social media, etc. are all likely. I think he's going to block NSFW from his Reddit account at least. He needs to keep busier in general too.

    He mentioned a sort of apathy takes him over and then his willpower is gone and he just doesn't care anymore. That whatever incentive or motivation keeps him from doing it disappears. He needs better coping mechanisms. We talked about going for a run at the first sign of trouble. And exercising more in general. We'll see how it works. I forgot to suggest cold showers! I know that works for many of you.

    I jokingly told him that I had promised to abstain too and have done so which means I'm totally winning. He's pretty competitive so I thought I might appeal to that aspect as well. I used erotica when I was single so he thought we were essentially on even playing ground til I told him I'd stopped using it when we got together officially. That it's better to wait for the real thing. That made him feel bad I think. Also that I could just stop since I'm not addicted.

    We also talked about how even though it's not him choosing porn over me, per se, that that's what it feels like. That I can't compete with it because no single real person can. That I feel like I'm porn scraps for lack of a better word. Sloppy seconds to pixels. I also mentioned how it feels like cheating to most partners which he disagreed with. I told him if that's how it feels that's how it feels. Emotions are not logical. I also said it damages intimacy and bonding in addition to our actual sex life. He agreed and said he had felt really bonded with me during his streak which he was happy about. Now not so much which made him unhappy.

    He mentioned having it affect someone he cares about is major incentive. In the past that was not a factor in his attempts to quit. Of which he made many, I now know, before essentially giving up, figuring he wasn't hurting anyone else.

    For me, I'm on here, which he knows and encourages. I'm also attending CoDA meetings and may try S-Anon in person and/or online. I need to protect myself and set clear boundaries.

    I can't do this for him but I can be informed and prepared to support him as long as he's doing the work. I didn't want to issue an ultimatum because I figured that is a lot of pressure for so early in and on a first relapse. I thought it should be saved for a time when he's not trying anymore or we're not seeing real progress. And when I know I'll stick to it, no empty threats. When I'm DONE. I told him if it came down to it I felt like he'd choose porn over me which he vehemently denied and said he'd choose me a thousand times over it. And yet. That's where the addiction part comes in I guess. So we shall see.

    Any other tips or advice at this point? As always, I really appreciate all the support and insight. You all are amazing fighters!
  6. i_wanna_get_better1

    i_wanna_get_better1 Fapstronaut

    Sounds like a very productive talk you had with him. You talked rationally and didn't get overly emotional. Sounds like he was honest and truthful. You expressed your concerns and he didn't need to be threatened with stronger consequences. Hopefully he learned something from this relapse. If his next streak is shorter then that's bad and he needs to supplement what he's doing with something more. If he can go 3-4 weeks then he will be over his detox period and things should get easier.

    I noticed a couple things that you should be aware of. You mention how he said he needs a release when he feels horny. Is he making himself like that because of the NSFW images? Does he understand what his body is going through during a detox period? Does he know what the withdrawal symptoms are? An addict is used to being in a highly excited state and it takes weeks for the brain to return to a calm state of mind. Constant horniness is often misdiagnosed for the withdrawal symptoms of going back to this calm state. Irritability, twitchyness, frustration, short temper, and discomfort are all signs of withdrawal. We must learn to tolerate the discomfort instead of satisfying them with PMO.

    One other concern is making yourself available for sex when he feels like this. This can be a good and healthy alternative to porn. But be careful of the possibility of training him to view you as an object. You are a person, not a substitute for porn. You do not exist to satisfy his sexual needs. Don't condition him to objectify you. Don't allow him to check out... make sure he stays present with you during sex.

    Overall, it sounds like he's making progress. I'm glad thing are starting to work out. Please keep us updated.
    TooMuchTooSoon and dewdrop like this.
  7. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    Thanks @i_wanna_get_better1. You are a true source of insight and inspiration.

    I asked him whether he was seeking material which then made him horby or if he was horny which made him seek material. It was the latter he said.

    I will talk to him about detox/withdrawal and see if that helps. He loves brain/neurological stuff which will be an asset. I will also make stricter requirements for my help and understanding if his streaks get shorter or I sense things aren't getting better. PIED may come in handy after all, as a gauge at first.

    Funnily enough, the time I went over to 'help out' was one of the best times we've had together, even in general. We felt incredibly bonded. His love language is acts of service so my willingness to help in so many ways might speak to that. I will reiterate that, yes, I am here to help but I am not something to just be used for his pleasure. He has to be building and bonding with me, not using me as a physical receptor to porn and fantasy.

    I stayed up much of the night writing the previous post and a list of tips and info on how this is impacting us. I will include it in a separate post. Thank you again for all your help. It's nice to be connected to a community that is going through the same or similar as him and/or me. :)
  8. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    Here's the list I made and info/feelings I wanted to share with him. Any adds/edits?

    (WARNING: Possible Triggers)

    Tips to Prevent Relapse
    - Get rid of ritual item (stuff he always uses when alone)
    - Stay out of your bedroom/house as much as possible
    - Install porn blockers on your computer and phone
    - Block NSFW on Reddit
    - Avoid social media as much as possible
    - Avoid any known triggers as much as possible
    - Watch movies and use your computer in another room than your bedroom
    - Put up a sign in your bedroom on the back of your door that reminds you so when you close it for privacy you will always see it (he doesn't live alone)
    - Run/exercise
    - Meditate
    - Journal (he has previously)
    - Cold showers - seriously!
    - If all else fails, call for emergency sex and bonding/intimacy

    Remember: Although you have to do the work for yourself, I am here to support you and believe in you. We are in this together. This truly affects both of us.

    Finishing by yourself means not finishing with me and likely not being able to even get or stay hard with me.

    It means you are being selfish and satisfying yourself sexually outside of our relationship, excluding me. You are getting off to and spending time with hundreds or thousands of images, and women, who aren't me. I can't compete. Nor can I decide if porn is the mistress or I am.

    It takes away from me and us and you. You've seen what it does. It wastes your sexual energy. It saps all your energy and productivity.

    It hurts me. It disrespects me, especially in my own house. It hurts us and disrespects what we have together.

    You were able to finish twice via your fantasy method, then even that novelty wasn't enough with porn and masturbation in the picture.

    When you quit, you finished multiple times via PIV in one preferred position. As you continued to recover, we looked forward to you being able to finish in other positions too. With porn and masturbation we won't. We can't, which makes me sad and frustrated and unfulfilled. And yes, angry.

    It also makes me feel 'not enough.' Because next to porn and masturbation I'm not. How can I be? As I said before, it hurts knowing I literally can't and don't 'do it for you' while you use porn and masturbation. Who wants sloppy seconds to pixels? Coming in second place to porn? Because that's how it feels.

    Each relapse is a chance to learn and better yourself and our relationship but it also sets back your and our progress. It may even force us to start all over again which will be disheartening.

    If you feel yourself wavering, here is some math: You finished the same (or more) number of times in the last 3 days by yourself than you've finished with me in the 4 months we've been intimate
  9. i_wanna_get_better1

    i_wanna_get_better1 Fapstronaut

    Here are a few more resources for you from YBOP.

    Here's a sciency article on rebooting that he might enjoy, especially if he likes brain and neurological stuff. Part of the article talks about why our brains become desensitized to real life and become sensitized to artificial stimuli. It also explains hypofrontality and why addicts make poor decisions and are unable to battle this using willpower alone.

    Here's a basic article on withdrawal symptoms.

    Use caution if you attempt to use ED as a warning sign of porn use. There are a lot of factors that go into why the 'equipment' doesn't work right. Be careful not to give him reasons to have performance anxiety. I'm glad that your intimate time is resulting in greater bonding between the two of you. Rebooting together can be an opportunity to bring a couple closer together.

    Please keep posting what is working and what doesn't work. Your success adds to the body of knowledge that resides here and can help new ones that join but don't have the courage to ask questions.
    TooMuchTooSoon likes this.
  10. TooMuchTooSoon

    TooMuchTooSoon Fapstronaut

    I did tell him if the equipment isn't working, I understand there are a lot of possible factors. That PIED may be in the back of my mind but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and trust him until he gives me a reason not to.

    I'll give him those resources. Fingers crossed he's fully receptive. If he starts stonewalling my help or offered information at every turn that will be a problem in and of itself. Last night I asked if I could show him something (my 26 page long word doc of research, links, quotes, and passages -many from here). Before he realized what I wanted to show him, he said he didn't want to watch any Ted Talks but it sounded more like a ...right now. It WAS late and we were both exhausted.

    I will definitely keep updating. This is helping me retain my sanity. :) Happy to help in any way I can after this site has already helped me so much.

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