not sure where to turn

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by 808River808, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. 808River808

    808River808 New Fapstronaut

    Hello, new here just signed up.

    I'm here as I don't have anywhere else I can turn to on this. To give a quick run down two weeks ago I went to the bathroom and my SO had left his phone in the bathroom with a site still open. I had the wind knocked out of me, but I took the phone to him and asked if there was anything we needed to talk about. He was full of remorse, massively embarrassed and could not stop apologising. We talked, a lot, we have always had a very open and what I thought was a very honest relationship, (we have been together nearly 20+yrs) and through the conversation we had over the next couple of hours he said it was something he did once a month a quick stress buster so to say. I said that I get it, I get that people look to this sort of thing and it wasn't necessarily what he was watching or doing, it was that he has lied to me! and he hurt me more than I could put into words.

    This is the first time in our relationship that I have ever had pause or concern on our connection. He knows that my trust in him had been diminished, but that I am prepared to work on my emotions and trust in him, just as he is willing to work on rebuilding it. He promised to not look at it anymore, and the past couple of weeks I know he has been true to that. I said to not make that promise as I didn't think it would be something that could be solved as quickly as that. I said I didn't see it as an addiction, but it would be something we both needed to work on, I thought it was a small hiccup!!

    However, yesterday morning I walked into the bedroom to find him in the midst of it, to say deer caught in a headlights would be an understatement! He tried saying that it wasn't what it looked like. I said it was exactly what it looked like!! After some back and forth of this he backed down and hung his head, it broke my heart seeing him like that, but it hurt me more with him lying to my face.

    What compounds the hurt more than the first time is we had been damn intimate couple of hours before hand. I was on my way to him for a kiss and a cuddle as I didn't think he would be up for a 2nd round, only to find out he apparently was, just not with me!! I even said to him that I believe he wouldn't have told me later that he had broken a promise I never asked him to make. His reply was "I would like to think I would". However, I'm really not so sure on that! not anymore anyway! This event leads me to believe that he actually has an addiction and not realise it, that it is not just a stress buster a "Dopamine hit" as he calls it, to need that hit that close in time, he even said that he wasn't even thinking about it he just picked up his phone looked up the site and got on with it.
    So how often has he looked at it in the past, more than once a month? Was I not enough that morning? Does he think of what he watches when he is with me? These and a thousand other questions are now racing through me head. All of which led me to this site, I'm hoping to learn from other addicts and partners of addicts, and at the same time offer some help in return if I can. My SO doesn't know about this site (yet!!) and strangely enough I don't know if I should tell him that I'm on here, and that is even more f*cked up as I have never kept anything from him in the past. I just need somewhere to sort through my head and I don't have anyone that I can talk to, we have moved around a lot due to work, so I don't really have any friends close by, and the invisibility of the internet gives me a safety net!

    We have been through a lot in our lives together, we have been through hell and back (maybe some bits I will talk through on here as I start to sort through my head and my heart, it may be part of the puzzle of rebuilding our relationship) but we have always faced it together, talked everything out and come out stronger nothing in this world could ever bring us down. However, this is just something I don't know how to approach. I love him to the end of the universe and back and I know he loves me completely and unconditionally. I know he is upset that he has hurt me like this and is willing to do whatever it takes to get us back on track. I just don't know what that should be! How do you rebuild 20+yrs of trust that has been broken in a matter of moments? Should I guide him to this site, or will it make him upset or angry that I've posted here?? Could I make things worse???

    Not sure if this is a great opening thread.. Hey I new here, hear me rant, I guess it kinda snowballed, and even then I have held back on all I need to say right now I still need to process it all I think

    anyway, if you got this far, thanks for sticking with me!!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    TryingHard2Change and Trappist like this.
  2. Trappist

    Trappist Fapstronaut

    You are in the right place.

    Hope he finds his way here, too.

    I’ve been with my SO 19 years.
    Sober the last year.

    The lie you caught him in
    is the lie I caught myself in.

    I told my SO and she has been supportive
    of my 100% reach to recovery.

    Hopefully for you, your catching and
    confronting him leads to his recovery.

    Keeping the love of my SO
    Makes me want to do recovery,
    but I do it ‘cause I want it.

    Your setting boundaries to protect yourself,
    can help guide him to recover,
    If he reaches for recovery.

    See the light,
    feel the heat.

    The choice is his to recover
    as you also recover and
    walk your best path.
  3. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. As a person who has hurt my own partner with my lies, I’m so sorry for your understandable pain and hurt. Those of us who have used or use porn compulsively, become two different people—one who is known by others and one who enters a trance and forgets about all else but the escape made possible by porn. We ultimately realize its initial feel good escape becomes a horrible prison. You didn’t build that prison. You aren’t responsible. We are.
    808River808 and Lilla_My like this.
  4. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    Your story is very similar to mine. Married 19 years when I discovered it. I, too, believed the best only to find out it had been going on our entire marriage (and before). The situation you describe about just having sex a couple hours before and then catching him...I've been there. I'll spare you the details, but I think of all the things we've been through in the last 3 years since discovery, that hurt me the deepest.

    You are not alone. There are many spouses and significant others (SOs) that have been, and are going through this and are here to support you.

    There is also a private group for spouses and significant others of porn/sex addicts if you would like to share things less publicly. Here is a link to join.

    @AnonymousAnnaXOXO has a great thread full of resources and if you check my signature, you find a couple about being betrayed and more resources there. (If you are on a mobile device, flip it to landscape view to see signatures.)

    I'm so sorry you are going through this. We are here alongside you.
  5. Hello..welcome. PA here -- married for 22 years / 6 kids ... Hidden porn addict the whole time. Our Final DDay was June 1, 2017 -- on that day, we hit the pause button on our marriage and we're still paused.

    For me, that pause button was what led me to confront the seriousness / the gravity of the situation. The whole time, I told myself that I just had "a little porn problem on the side" --- I never considered myself anything like a porn addiction.

    For your SO, he is going to have to admit that he has a problem..a SERIOUS problem. Maybe at first he'll think and say things (to himself and/or to you) that "all guys do it" / "it's not that big of a deal" / etc. This is all addict-thinking and addict-justification.


    You need to stay strong for yourself--for you have a lot of hurt and healing to walk through--and for your SO, he needs to love you enough to really look into this issue of porn addiction; he needs to read and understand and then realize/admit that he he is in fact a porn addict---that is step #1 that you want to see from him.

    But you cannot force him. Actually, the more he does for himself / the more positive steps he takes on his own...the more real it is for him and the quicker his recovery can begin.

    It will take time. SERIOUS time. Many never recovery; many don't ever acknowledge it is a problem!

    Ultimately as others have said, he needs to want to change [needs to stop being okay being a porn addict]. YOU cannot force him to change...if you try, his change won't be real anyway.


    I would encourage you to tell him about this website. NoFap is an anonymous community for people who want to stop being addicted to is the perfect place for him to learn and grow and change. (NoFap is also for the hurting SO's who have to suffer being in a relationship with a PA.)

    You are in the right place. Glad you are here. I hope you find encouragement and clarity and peace here. I hope your SO joins NoFap and realizes the lies of porn and the damage it does to relationships.
    808River808, EyesWideOpen and Numb like this.
  6. GhostWriter

    GhostWriter Fapstronaut

    You are very on top of and proactive with this. If got some things, some specific things, you can do that will help you navigate this. So when I get back home this evening, I’ll fill you in on them. Ok?
    808River808 likes this.
  7. GhostWriter

    GhostWriter Fapstronaut

    Ya see, this is why I say "It isn't a matter of 'if' you get caught. It's always a matter of 'when'. As an addict, you're going to do something stupid, like leave your phone on and open, and then BAM, you're busted!"
    I'm sure you did. This is rather damning evidence beyond the simple RED FLAGS that I talk about.
    First of all, he is minimizing it. To put it bluntly, "once a month, my ass". It's not impossible, but very highly improbable. And of course he had remorse. Of course he was massively embarrassed. And of course, he apologized. But what you learn as the Partner of an addict, those apologies come in all forms all the time and are short on substance and long on rhetoric, for an addict can't help themselves. Sorry is just a board game anymore.
    Well, of course you get it because society as a whole has made it a mainstream activity. The pornography industry has made it the norm. But the lying? Yes, that is by far the biggest betrayal of them all above all other forms of betrayal.
    Here's the thing. You needn't work on your trust in him. He has to work on your trust in him. And that occurs with action/word alignment. Otherwise, he owns your trust in him. Work on determining what is necessary for you to trust him. But the trust in him can only come from him.
    He shouldn't make promises he cannot keep. And how do you know it's been true? Seriously, what makes you think so? You don't see it as an addiction YET because you don't have sufficient information to make that assessment. As you say "...I thought it was a small hiccup..." Oh, and it IS NOT something you both need to work on. It is something HE needs to work on. You CANNOT help him in his recovery any more than you can get up and go pee for him if he needs to go pee. He has to own it. He has to do it. You can support him in his recovery. But you cannot help him. Make sense?
    No excuses, but the lying and deceit is indicative of Addiction. He will hide it at all cost to protect his addiction. That's the way the brain operates with it in a dysfunctional manner. It is those protective instincts of the mid brain making all the decisions for the frontal cortex which is responsible for good rational decision making. And of course, here we go with another round of lying. And with each twist of deceit, the trust deteriorates to an all time low.
    So, the lying is compounded by the fact he would rather go for round 2 in his hand than to have another round with you. Yeah, that hurts tremendously. Like another said a long time ago on another thread, it makes you feel as though you're "...not even worth more than a wank..." And I know that cuts deep. Really deep. He wouldn't have told you. Mark my word, he wouldn't.
    OK, this is where the conversation changes directions for a moment. And this is an important distinction to bring to the forefront. In order for him to have known about the whole concept and idea of "...a Dopamine he calls it...", he would have assuredly have had to have done research of his own on sexual/pornography addiction. This isn't something that is a normal topic of conversation outside of addiction circles. So curiously, where did he get the concept and idea of "...a dopamine hit..." from?
    I would place bets on it.
    Let's be clear. You were always enough. He wasn't. That's why addicts do this. This isn't about you. You are beautiful in body, mind, and spirit. Remember that. This addiction has nothing to do whatsoever with you.
    Maybe. Maybe not. With addiction, there really isn't much of a way to tell except for watching the signs that only intimacy exhibit. When you're actively engaged with him in intimacy, you know when he is present and when he is not.
    No doubt. But all thousand of those questions, if you remind yourself that this isn't about you, most of them are self evident right off the bat.
    You are remarkably in tune with what's going on for someone who just showed up. So I'd say you're quite ahead of the eight ball.
    What? You're keeping secrets from your Partner? I don't suppose he has kept any secrets from you, eh? Oh, that's right. He did. Don't feel like your tenacity to seek answers is in any way a betrayal of your relationship. You never would have come here had he not given you sufficient reason to do so. Isn't that correct? So, while it is f*cked up that you had to come here, it isn't so f*cked up that you had to come here if that makes sense.
    Even if you had friends and relatives close by, you're probably better off discussing these things here as opposed to with them. People, all with good intentions, don't know what they don't know. And they don't know a damn thing about navigating this addiction. You're much better off coming here where you have sufficient numbers of people with lots of experience navigating this shit. You're in a good place here doing so as opposed to those friends and relatives. Besides, mark my word. They will judge you. And they will gossip about it. Let me repeat that second one. They will gossip about it.
    That is an exciting place to come from. I'm glad to hear this.
    Is he? Only time will tell.
    Boundaries & Consequences. If you want/need help with that, let me know and I'll walk you through it.
    You don't. He has to. He has to want to.
    I wouldn't guide him here, but I would mention that you found this site and what you've gotten out of it.

    As to it upsetting him? Who cares really! I mean, you're seeking help and answers, and you need to find and enforce what you find acceptable and tolerable in your relationship. This is for your protection, not to control him.

    It can only make things worse if he is not yet ready to embrace recovery. Anyone who is ready to embrace recovery is ready to accept all forms of recommendations to help resolve it to better his relationship with you.
    No, you did great! You did an outstanding introduc tion. But you also have a long road ahead of you and so too does he. But he has to own it. He must take responsibility for it.. Anything short of that will not work.

    I'm here to help you if you want/need help. Start with the Boundaries & Consequences. If you want me to help you kickstart that, let me know.

    Also, go order a copy of Dr. Patrick Carnes book "Out of the Shadows":"out+of+the+shadows"+p,stripbooks,150&sr=1-1
    Write inside the cover "With Love, Beth (if that's your name)", and lay it on the nightstand right next to where he goes to sleep. He'll decide if it's something he wants to pursue. You needn't try to force him into it. If he wants it, that's the only way it will be effective and work.
    Taketime and 808River808 like this.
  8. 808River808

    808River808 New Fapstronaut

    Thank you all for getting back to me, I really appreciate it, plenty to read and digest. I shall get back to you all when I can over the next few days.

    A quick update, my SO and me talked a lot yesterday and we are gaining more understanding, we both know that we need to talk more on this subject and each time it's gonna get deeper and more uncomfortable but it is something that is necessary to enable us to move forward. I made it very clear that I believe he has more of a problem than he thinks he does, I brought up the connection that drug addicts will not think they have a problem and are in full control of the situation. I could tell by the look in his eyes that there was a dawning of, f*ck that there is more of a problem than he thought (well at least I hope that I'm not kidding myself on that!).

    I said that "I know at first I didn't want him to make a promise to never look at it again, but I have been thinking it through and I just don't want it to be part of our relationship. I want him to come to me when he has the urges" (In someways this does concern me because if he is true to this it will revile the extant of his addiction). He agreed on one condition, that if I wasn't in the mood I was to tell him straight no! No sugar coating it! No feeling guilty, just a straight simple 'NO'. He said he doesn't want me to feel like I have to try and replace porn, and force myself to be in a situation I don't want to be in. He said he will suck it up, be the man that he is supposed to be for me, and we will just play cards, or go for a walk, or just sit and talk, or whatever I want to do.

    I know over the next few weeks that shouldn't be that much of a task for him, but as the time passes there will be a likely hood of f*cking up. I just have to figure out before that happens how to react to it. I'm guessing there will be different reactions depending on the way the f*ck up is reveled, I'm hoping that it isn't something I discover!! I would really rather he comes to me after and tell me he f*cked up, I feel as much as it would hurt, it will show he is willing to be honest, and that's all part of the process, right?
    This way, I can let him know before hand what the consequence will be if he breaks his promise to me.

    We haven't discussed this part yet, I know it will be part of the next talk so I need to get it straight in my head first, this is still very early days and he understands that I'm still processing it all and at any random point I will bring the next part that I have processed into the air, but I know this one will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

    We also discussed that we have to relearn each others body language as while we was talking we realised we have been misreading each others signs for a very long time. To be honest we are both finding being very open and talking to each other like this really refreshing. We have always been able to talk we just never realised that we was missing this part of our relationship.
  9. Faceplanter

    Faceplanter Fapstronaut

    I won't add too much here, but I would watch the Tedx talk the great porn experiment to get the basics of what's happening in the brain. I would do that together with your partner. Then a note with a website, a book, something to encourage him to get started on this path himself. He has to own it.

    However, it's fair to say that it does take some of us addicts time to recognize the problems and having a partner pushing can help us. But, just like riding a bike....pushing only gets one so far, you have to start pedaling yourself to get somewhere! If he doesn't pick up the book or the website after a few days....I would suggest you get him to come here and look around a bit for a tour. Hell, I'd sit in the same room but give him space to read without you over his shoulder. That tour would ideally have some SO journals. Some success stories, some introductions, and some relapse stories. Just a few hours should be enlighting. If the collective pain on this site doesn't convince him he has an issue well......I'd be surprised.

    Ghostwriter has some great resources too for SO's, boundaries and consequences. I haven't reviewed them a lot myself, but hope to in time to see if they are useful for my SO to feel safe.

    It sounds like you both are being open with each other and that's a good start, just know that his shame is great and that will make full transparency hard for him (based only on my experience). Wishing you the best on this unwanted journey.
    TooMuchTooSoon likes this.

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