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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:15 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
I get that no addict can ever be perfect in recovery and as partners in healing we will inevitably get it wrong, but there are a few worrying behaviours that I can see have the potential to undo a lot of the progress made along the way.

I've had a longstanding issue with my husband's masturbation. The obvious reason is that it disrupts our sexual intimacy. A lot like his porn habit did. He'd masturbate to porn and then he wouldn't feel like having sex, only this time around it seems that he's masturbating without porn and then not showing any interest. The only problem is that he won't admit to it. I can now pick up on a rather predictable pattern. Sometimes he's behaving a bit sheepishly, avoids eye contact, says very little, busies himself with trivial tasks or whatever. But he's always a bit distant and avoidant. I've done the usual looking for clues and I've sometimes found evidence that seems to back up my suspicions. I'd far rather he was honest with me but he has denied it consistently. I try not to be confrontational. I try to approach the subject like adults but I still get outright denial. So I have now accepted that I can't have this conversation with him. The problem isn't so much the activity of masturbation, it's more about how it relates to his previous addiction behaviour. He didn't have a healthy relationship with masturbation, and by d day he probably hadn't masturbated without porn for years. When he quit porn he quit masturbation and we working on rebuilding our sexual relationship.

Then something happened. I think it was a cluster of factors. For me, the most significant was that when we were able to have sex and I was able to reach orgasm during sex, he seemed to retreat from the relationship. That's when I believed the masturbation started. Once he started masturbating, the pattern began to repeat. So I would pick up on what was essentially subtle but obviously avoidant behaviour.

What my concerns are:
1. It's feeding the old addiction behaviours
2. It's isolating (for him, for me) and created a distance in the relationship
3. His body/brain is associating this 'alone time' with a reward (orgasm)
4. It is undoing our sexual reconnection
5. It may involve fantasy, and very probably does involve fantasy, which is essentially reinforcing the old patterns rather than breaking them
6. It may be reactivating the old pattern of shame after acting out (hence the avoidant behaviour afterwards).

Even last weekend I detected that avoidant pattern and sure enough no sexual interest either. I haven't searched for clues. I'm at the Personal Daily Monitoring stage of the partner's workshop and I am purposely NOT checking or snooping because what good will it do? He admits to nothing and probably never will unless I caught him in the act.

My concern is that it's too easy to access sexualised imagery even with all the internet access strategies in place. He has his phone. Google images and google video don't block the thumbnails completely and I know it's not impossible to block out porn completely. He knows the workarounds. Besides I can't control his phone. He's not stupid. He knows about private browsing. So it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to see how porn can creep back in by stealth. In the past he watched movie clips and music videos, not classified as porn, so I can see how things could progress in an environment of secrecy. I would have no proof. He wouldn't admit to anything if he can't admit to what he's already doing.

I'm not in favour of stifling anyone's sexual expression if it occurs in a healthy way. My issue is not masturbation, but masturbation in the context of an unhealthy sexual history and a longstanding porn addiction. I suppose it's the "unhealthy relationship with ..." part I am most concerned about. Secrecy, lying, retreating into isolation, the possibility of unhealthy sexual fantasy, not communicating openly etc. I told him in the very beginning that if he returns to masturbation, could he please tell me. In fact I told him this twice and he had forgotten I'd said it the first time round. Chances are, he probably has "forgotten" I ever said anything about masturbation.

But my question is this. Is this as good as it gets? Can I expect anything better, that is, healthy open communication with him? Can he carry on like this without going back to porn? Do I have to accommodate this in my relationship? If that's what he has to do, I would rather he did it in a healthy way without secrecy, lying about it, etc. Is it wrong to see this behaviour as a "red flag"? I feel that I am trapped in the "gray area" because if he's not using porn, and he's masturbating without porn, im stuck in a place I didn't anticipate or could have predicted at d day. And I have no clear boundaries to protect as a consequence. Any opinions are welcome.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:59 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3913
Location: UK
Hello Blue
I believe that you have posted this by mistake in the wrong forum I suggest that you go back in and delete the text by using the edit button
I wish you well in your healing
and on behalf of all addicts I apologise for your hurt

Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo

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