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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
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Lesson #1 response:

It is a bit scary to be divulging my own difficulties with relationships. I wish I had a better sense of groundedness -- but that's what recovery workshops and forums are all about aren't they? In my background, I have had lots of difficulty relating to men. As a teenager, I was all enthralled by someone who had a few attractive qualities (nice hair, played guitar) but that was about it. He wasn't interested in me. Then I found someone who was, and got heavily involved until he told me he didn't want exclusivity, and so that ended it. But later I really realized how bad he had been for me, since I wasn't genuinely attracted to him, and therefore didn't really feel good about myself sexually with him anyway.

Then the next guy turned out to be a two-timer, and I turned out to be the mistress. When I discovered this, I ended it. Then a fling with someone who turned out to use me to get over his ex. That ended immediately. Then along came a very devoted man but I wasn't attracted to him and it ended messily when I picked up with someone else, Dream Guy, before terminating the relationship with Devoted. Then Dream guy left town and only saw me occasionally. I knew he had a sexual addiction and crippling fear of intimacy, but I adored him naively and simply hoped he would fix it. Meanwhile after about 3 years of minimal contact with me, he encouraged me to date but that wasn't satisfactory since I didn't find anyone else appealing. I had a short-lived fling with someone who said I was unexciting in bed. That affected my self-esteem badly, even though I really didn't care about him anyway, and pined for Dream guy.

Eventually Dream guy admitted he had a serious problem with sexual compulsion but said he could not change and therefore attempting to do so would be a waste of time, so sadly I left him.

Then I took up with Rebound Guy, which lasted 12 years. He was a supportive friend in many ways, but I hated him sexually and he also ridiculed me for my sexual style of being too passive. I should have ended it there but I thought I could make a go of it, and would eventually become attracted to him. But that never happened, and I was not happy, and I cheated on him twice. I finally decided I would never cheat again, and never did. But the relationship was very unfulfilling and sex with him felt wrong.

But I had not ended it when I met the current "man of my dreams" MOMD, and after a year and a half of knowing MOMD, I told him how I felt and that I wanted a relationship with him. But during my revelation of my attraction, this MOMD (who was inebriated at the time) warned me about someone else that he had his eye on, and to this day does not recall that part of the conversation, although I was sober and clearly recall him saying it, right down to the facial expression he had.

However, I made light of it, expecting he would forget about her once he saw how fantastic I am, and within a week, I split up with the 12-year Rebound guy, and started with MOMD, with only a few days overlap. In hindsight, I wish i had moved a lot slower and had given myself time on my own to heal. But that was how it happened. And it was MOMD who told me he expected monogamy, and that made me happy since that is what I wanted with him.

But after a few years, I realized that MOMD was only sexual with me when drinking and usually after viewing porno, and I said I would not have sex with him if he was drinking. After that our sex life declined tremendously and he never felt very sexual when he was sober and forced himself to dutifully relate to me sexually, and he told me I was boring in bed. I'm sure this set the stage for him regarding sex with me as a chore instead of pleasurable.

Then he got sick with diabetes and continued drinking and the sex was dull, no matter what I did. He didn't want to take erection pills. Besides he was never horny while sober anyway, and he frequently said that the pills create an artificial erection and he said he wanted things to be "real" with me. But I knew he continued with porno in my absence. And that he kept a secret diary with fantasy girlfriends. And I could tell his interest in porno seemed to be getting more entrenched as time went on. I eventually went to a counselor and decided that if he continued with the porno I wouldn't stay with him and told him that. I realized the porno edged me out. His porno use declined a little and by spring of 2009 he was reading a lot of self-growth books and spiritual literature.

It was around this time that he told me that as a youth he had been sexually assaulted by a man, a stranger when he went to a big city alone. And I knew that his initial sexual contact with women was with streetwalkers and then continued off and on for most of his sexual experiences. And that before relating to me, he had given up on women.

Then a few months after that assault disclosure, slightly over two years ago now, he confessed his big secret: that for 11 years, ie shortly after I told him no sex if he was drinking, that he HAD been having sex off and on with the “someone else” (I'll call her SE) he had warned me about – a prostitute that he had seen on the street downtown for many years before he actually got involved with her. He admitted that he carried on this liaison for almost 11 years. And I realized she was the main “fantasy” girlfriend mentioned in his journals.

Within days of his confession, he showed me all his journals and notes – bad idea since much of it was praising her sexiness and describing how ugly he thought I was – which he did explain was how he was able to go through with it, but it was hard for me to believe it since he wrote such complimentary stuff about her. He also told me that even when he resisted seeing her, he still had an obsession about her, and he showed me the copious notes about her, which included questions about whether he wanted to have an actual relationship with her instead of me. I was absolutely crushed. And shocked since he had demanded monogamy from me in the first place and led me to believe that this was something he valued highly when we first started to get intimately involved.

Furthermore, I went to see her once without revealing who I was, pretending to seek directions on the street just so I could get a good look at her. She looked glamorous and seductive, although unhealthy and underweight and very strange somehow, with huge hands and a really big bony build. She had a short skirt, enormous fake tits, and was amazingly tall and appeared so self-assured with such a dramatic-looking and commanding presence and with a very strange deep voice. She looked like she shaved too, I thought.

I wonder if she might be a transsexual or intersexual person. And she looked so much like most of the particular porno models he had in his collection. So on the one hand, seeing her made me realize she wasn't “beautiful” in a fashion model sense, but she still did have qualities that I could see could be captivating for someone looking to replicate the strange, artificially-enhanced image so rampant in today's porno. Something I couldn't offer him unless I was willing to artificially alter my appearance too. Seeing how seductive she looked made me feel fat, flat-chested and ugly in comparison. A feeling I have had a hard time shaking to this day.

I strongly doubted that he was attracted to me if she is what he wanted or needed. And being a prostitute made her safe from the risk of emotional pressure on him to meet any of her needs. With her he could be totally selfish, he said, and then walk away. Also, he told me that he was capable of being sexually “functional” with her (of course, after hours of porno viewing, drinking, taking erection pills, and being relatively anonymous) so a very distorted functional. Very dissociated. But since he was barely even interested or functional with me at all most of the time, and rarely initiated sex with me, I was nevertheless that much more convinced that he secretly preferred her to me, even if he had quit seeing her.

We tried going to counselling but our counselor was not very experienced in this area of serious sexual dysfunction. After that, he has now become uninterested in seeing counselors and does not want to talk about the sexual assault with even sexual abuse counselors. So I have had to do my own self-healing, including online support forums. But there is nothing quite like this, with a step-by-step approach and so far I like this the most.

I have told absolutely no one of my family or friends. I am sure they would not be supportive of my continued relationship with MOMD. So it has been a terrible and lonely struggle. MOMD was at first elated after the confession, and we did have a few weeks of high-energy sexuality. I do believe he has stopped the prostitution behaviour and the porno too. He tells me how disgusting and unrewarding he finds the voyeurism to be, and how he is happy to look at the movies and documentaries he gets out of the library, on space exploration and real things that make him appreciate life as it really is. Which is great.

I made a lot of mistakes after that initial post-confession period, asking questions, demanding explanations, making accusations and adding to the pain. Now, some of that was after he made the mistake of describing SE in favorable terms. For example, at first he felt that if I dressed up sexy like she did then this might help him recapture some interest in me and change the focus from her to me.

And after years of a very lacklustre sex life, when all I wore was baggy clothes most of the time and he had discouraged me from dressing seductively, saying nice girls shouldn't dress like that – I was thrilled that he wanted me to dress alluringly. So I did dress up and arranged to meet him on a dark street. I was optimistic that he was actually turning on to me. As he approached, he said “You look so much like SE in the distance, for a moment I actually thought you were her!”

Shortly after the confession, he also said she seemed to be able to hold her legs so steady, adding "I don't know how she does it!" making her sound like some incredible sexual athlete with amazing prowess. And he said that, after sex, he wanted to hold her gently but that she treated him coldly and that this disappointed him. And yet with me, he usually acted distant and unemotional. Well, that certainly sounded like he had more emotional attachment to her than he cared to admit. (Of course, I suppose it's natural to want to be close and to develop a crush on anyone who helps you have an orgasm even if you don't really like the person or wouldn't be attracted otherwise. And since he was very unaroused and unemotional when sober with me, he wasn't having orgasms and the sex was lacklustre probably because he was sober and not artificially stimulated by porn -- thus I never stood a chance of being exciting in comparison. And he was probably displacing some anger at her or others including himself onto me by being aloof with me. Also, right after leaving a relationship, I have heard it is easy to see someone with rose-colored glasses, so maybe his crush on her had not worn off yet. I have talked about all this with him.)

But it was remarks like those quoted above, in the early post-confession period, which touched off round after round of quarreling and me crying, and me accusing him of liking her better than me. So over time, he has withdrawn more and more, and he has become quite unresponsive to me sexually. And he has had tremendous difficulty to this day forgiving himself, even though I am avoiding the fights and accusations and trying to be understanding and compassionate and focusing on having fun together with non-sexual things, like making dinner or watching a silly old movie or reading to him from his favorite author, etc.

Now the arguing has taken its toll. Now he has become very depressed, and we have had some serious losses in the last two years which adds to the stress. He has not initiated sex with me for about two months now, although we did have a few minutes of sex when I initiated it several weeks ago. But mostly, nothing. He knows how painful it is for me, but he is having a terrible time forgiving himself for what he did knowing how much it hurt me. He has continued to drink heavily and we have virtually no sex life any more, except for occasional “fooling around” and kissing. But that's it. He never seems to feel aroused at all anymore, other than fleeting instances when we fool around for a minute or two.

Or else if he does become aroused, he stops himself after kissing. He says he now associates sex with horror and unhappiness because of all the quarrels and me badgering him about SE. But it is not like he acts excited to see me. He seems to have lost interest not only in sex but in most things that used to be fun. He rarely wants to go to parties or swimming or active things. He mostly lies on the couch, drinks alcohol, and watches the library movies. Or sleeps. He never phones or sees the few friends he used to have. He has withdrawn a lot, and is distant most of the time, although when I don't talk about the past, at least sometimes he is now starting to be pleasant again, so even that is a big step forward. And he does act loving in non-sexual ways, ie asking me to give him a backrub, buying treats for us, giving me a little money to treat myself to a meal out, driving me to appointments, holding my hand. There is a glimmer of hope left in me.

And I am still very sexually attracted to him, and the sex between us always felt right to me; I always felt peaceful inside, like it was meant to be. So I am really reluctant to call it quits and let him go. Of course, not surprisingly, he tends to relate to me much more consistently and lovingly when I am consistently loving and supportive of him. Self-help makes it so much easier for me to do that.

However, I am worried that he will never become sexually interested in me again (if he ever really was) and in this respect I feel so uncertain about the future. I have put in 16 years trying to relate to him, and I wish we could have a close relationship that includes sex. At least I am starting to not take the dalliances personally. That has been a huge stumbling block for me.

At this point we are trying to mend our relationship. We are close in so many ways, and sometimes he does tell me he wishes he could feel sexual with me. He has so many good qualities: an excellent listener, intelligent, great conversationalist, and the only guy who has really made me laugh like he does. I have more in common with him than any of the others. And I am still so in love with him despite the shock and pain and disappointment that I don't want to leave him before really going through a process of my own growth first to see if I should or not – and also because he confessed that he has a serious problem with intimacy and says that he is committed to trying to resolve it and his compulsions, which gives me hope. The fact that he voluntarily confessed to me that he quit seeing the sex worker is a big part of that hope. So is the fact that as far as I can tell, he has refrained from using porno (except for a few occasional slips) but has not used any for about two months now – and he is now talking about how his fears developed and how the porno started – interestingly some of those insights come when he is drunk. And he is also reading articles and talking with me about how damaging porno can be.

Now I realize that I have had a hard time trying to be in relationships, and a pattern seems to be present: I have struggled by staying in relationships where my needs were not being met, or I was not treated respectfully and I have had trouble asking for what I wanted – and in a way that was well-received. I seem to pick guys who have trouble with intimacy, and I seem to have no trouble attracting guys if I am not attracted to them.

Is it relevant that I did not feel close to my father? He was stern and controlling. He was not very warm to me unless I obeyed him unquestioningly. If I did things he disapproved of he was cold and distant, and I was very afraid to be open with him, for fear of his wrath and disapproval. Also, he and my mother were not close at all, so he was not a good role model for relationships. An older brother and sister had good relationships with their respective spouses and so I did experience some healthy modelling at least.

I feel so confused about what to do now in my current situation, especially since now I know I am with someone who is disturbed and having trouble relating. But for once I do feel that since he had the courage to confess that which was very difficult for him, and he is trying hard to change, and he does what he can to make me happy, and we cuddle and hold hands and he is affectionate in many ways, that maybe for once I am in a relationship that might hold the promise of giving me what I need to feel happy. So I am deferring a decision for now on whether to leave or stay with him, and I am mainly focusing on my own healing for now. And I want to learn about what I might be able to do that can help us get out of the sexual doldrums we are now becoming accustomed to.

Thank you for this forum and the opportunity to get connected to others going through the same pain and efforts to heal.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:25 am 
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Hello Healthlove, and welcome to Recovery Nation.

Quote:
I strongly doubted that he was attracted to me if she is what he wanted or needed. And being a prostitute made her safe from the risk of emotional pressure on him to meet any of her needs. With her he could be totally selfish, he said, and then walk away. Also, he told me that he was capable of being sexually “functional” with her (of course, after hours of porno viewing, drinking, taking erection pills, and being relatively anonymous) so a very distorted functional. Very dissociated.


Addicts often have a dual identity. The secret, selfish one that partakes in addiction, and the social, public one that aligns with values that they know they should have. Often, they do value those things too, but the addiction is so ingrained it feels, in their distorted perception, that their addict life is real and people just don't understand them, they are unique and have special needs. This is all distorted thinking. With this you can begin to separate yourself from his addiction; begin to know that it isn't about you. This will become more evident to you as you continue through the workshop.

Quote:
MOMD was at first elated after the confession, and we did have a few weeks of high-energy sexuality.


This is a result of the renewed commitment, much like "make-up sex" it is highly charged emotionally which lends itself to high-energy sexuality. You want to be wary of this developing into a pattern.

Quote:
I made a lot of mistakes after that initial post-confession period, asking questions, demanding explanations, making accusations and adding to the pain.
Most partners do make these "mistakes" upon discovery. This is natural but the concern and threat is that it becomes an ongoing pattern which only serves to keep you both stuck.

Now, some of that was after he made the mistake of describing SE in favorable terms. For example, at first he felt that if I dressed up sexy like she did then this might help him recapture some interest in me and change the focus from her to me.

Hopefully you both understand that this would only be "switching addictions" (so to speak, same addiction, different mode).

Regarding his apparent emotional attachment to the prostitute--it sounds like there may be a love or romantic addiction going on, and were sheto be really available to him, he would not be so desireous of being available to her. The very fact that he has to be drunk to feel sexually aroused indicates his aversion to emotional intimacy, with anyone!

I would attribute his depression to not having his addiction to regulate his emotions, or, more accurately to not having any healthy life skills by which to manage his emotions (which is what led him to addiction in the first place). Do not blame yourself for the arguing. Healthy people argue too, the only difference is that it doesn't devastate their relationship, or either individual.

One more thing: human beings often relate to sex like it is a need; like it means more than it does. Sex is sex. Sex is not emotional intimacy. Sex is not love. Sex can be used as an expression of love, but that can only be healthy when mature and healthy love is present first, as a natural expression of that love. Sex, when percieved as a need, or as scarce, is based in biological drives, not emotional ones, but we often confuse the two. If sex is the goal, then you could go and find that anywhere. But I doubt it is the goal, and it is in working on the superoridinate values (the values that are bigger than sex, but currently confused with sex) that need to be worked on before you will ever be able to attain that kind of connection that is a natural extension of healthy love for one another. Unfortunately, you cannot control his end of it, and he has to do that work for himself. You can control your end of it, and that is what this workshop is about (not about sex, but about health based living which is inclusive the values that you hold as part of your vision for you life, which may include healthy sexual expression of love, vs sex motivated by primitive biological drives).

Quote:
I don't want to leave him before really going through a process of my own growth first to see if I should or not

This is good, as we recommend that you don't make any permanent life altering choices before regaining some perspective and balance for yourself. Give yourself time to heal, to work on you and then determine where he fits into your life as determined by your vision and values.

Quote:
– interestingly some of those insights come when he is drunk.


I suspect the insights come at other times too, but it is when he is drunk that he feels safe to express them.

Quote:
Now I realize that I have had a hard time trying to be in relationships, and a pattern seems to be present: I have struggled by staying in relationships where my needs were not being met, or I was not treated respectfully and I have had trouble asking for what I wanted – and in a way that was well-received. I seem to pick guys who have trouble with intimacy, and I seem to have no trouble attracting guys if I am not attracted to them.

As you work through the workshop, you will continue your development in this area.

Quote:
Is it relevant that I did not feel close to my father? He was stern and controlling. He was not very warm to me unless I obeyed him unquestioningly. If I did things he disapproved of he was cold and distant, and I was very afraid to be open with him, for fear of his wrath and disapproval. Also, he and my mother were not close at all, so he was not a good role model for relationships.

This is absolutely relevant, and is the kind of stuff you can work on for yourself, or seek therapy from a professional to dispell the myths that have accumulated as a result of your environment.

Many of these questions that you have you will answer for yourself through the work you do, as you progress through the workshop. Remember that what you get out of the workshop is relative to what you put into it, and it's quality not quantity that is important.

Be well

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:52 am 
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Hi coach Mel, I very much appreciate your thoughtful insights and recommendations. Fortunately, progress is happening within me, and in my relationship with MOMD. We are both realizing what the issues are, and he is committed to his personal growth too, as we try to develop a better communication style based on sensitivity and caring. He now realizes that it is one thing to want to change and another to develop the positive coping skills he needs to be able to handle a real relationship, and gradually things are changing in a wonderful, positive direction.

We are spending time focusing on real love and caring, and we both now see sex as one of the expressions of that, but not the only one. This helps me realize that there is not a scarcity of sex, but that sex is something that will take place in its own time. I am not trying to rush it to get him to "prove" he likes me, cares for me, and is attracted to me.

I am already realizing through his subtle and consistent expressions towards me that he feels all these things. And without the pressure from me -- or from himself -- to perform sexually, he is actually now starting to take the initiative to reach out to me in tender ways that come from a beautiful, deep spiritual place inside himself.

I am thrilled to hear him say he is delighted that he no longer is interested in porn, because he finds it boring and empty and totally unfulfilling now. And we are dealing with the internet together to create a positive association with being online. It's working, and replaces the bad memories of the computer and internet with positive ones. For example, I have been downloading lots of photos of animals, nature, sunsets, photos of friends at parties, and reading inspiring quotes and articles on interesting things going on in the world and these are now a springboard for fun and thought-provoking discussions and a lovely visual library of positive, life-affirming images.

I have been encouraging him to express his feelings, and I have been doing the same thing. Many of those feelings are positive these days as we build a relationship with ever-increasing good experiences, and we now find ways to make each other smile, giggle, feel inspired, and so on. We are developing a new code of silly language that we use whenever we feel we need to lighten things up and feel connected in a way that is ours alone.

I told him yesterday that if he needs to vent, then I will do my best to listen non-judgmentally and not let that "push my buttons" which many times in the past, since his confession, unleashed a whole flood of emotions in me that I did not handle constructively at all. So now, I am discovering how to communicate with him, starting with learning to listen and accept him as he is, and to not take his anger and frustrations with relationships personally. In fact, when he is down, I am now realizing that some of it is his frustration with himself that he has been unable to feel sexually responsive, and I now think that part of this is his genuine desire to please me and to be the loving guy he wants to be.

So just letting him talk might be the best thing I can offer him, especially since getting to be who he is, is what he now feels was taken away from him, by controlling parents whom he felt responsible for pleasing, and from domineering teachers, and a society and social circle that encouraged promiscuity as a measure of being a "real man", not to mention all the sick and perverted messages that he got during years of porno viewing, messages that were hammered into his mind, and which he is now actively fighting by building his own strengths that come from true passions inside -- love of music and animals, to name a couple.

And I am learning how to constructively express myself to him, including all the range in my emotions, by choosing mindfully how I say these things so that he is not feeling attacked, threatened, or belittled, but at the same time, not witholding: to do that always seems to cause tension, so this way he knows we are up to speed and on a wavelength of understanding. And I think that he is realizing my sincerity -- that I really do care about him and that his happiness and self-esteem matter to me.

So I think that when he senses this and trusts me more, then he opens up to me and that becomes reflected in the warmth and affection he spontaneously expresses now. He often asks me for backrubs now and wants my company a lot. And interesting, I don't feel anywhere near as "needy" for his time and attention and find I can occupy my time on my own and with friends nicely without him too. We are developing balance -- and I am developing my own balance inside that is probably making that happen. Things are certainly going in a good direction between us.

Meanwhile, I am embarking on the second lesson, and have been spending a lot of time over the last several weeks looking inside and discovering my real values and desires for my life.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:34 am 
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(I hope I am posting in the right thread now -- I am having a bit of trouble figuring out the format I am supposed to be using, so admins, please let me know where you have moved my thread to if you move it, okay?)

I am so devastated. I have been trying to re-connect with my partner since dday 2 1/2 yrs ago, when he confessed a major porno/prostitute addiction. It has been a huge adjustment process, and I have been really working hard with journalling, working on the second lesson of RN, going to counselling, and trying to build a re-invented relationship with my H. Actually we are not legally married, but we have been together (I thought monogamously) for over 16 years.

Then he confessed that for 11 years he was seeing a certain prostitute repeatedly. I had known about the porno addiction and told him I wouldn't stay with him unless he was willing to do something about it, shortly before he confessed that he had been seeing that prostitute -- but was now ready to start relating to me for real, and that he would give up the porn too.

I knew he had a few slips but it did seem like he was really trying to change his thinking and behavior, and we went to a counsellor for a while. Then when I didn't feel convinced he really wanted me, I finally went and saw this prostitute for myself and realized that most of the porno images he had were of femme-fatale type women who looked almost like that particular prostitute -- with their bleached blonde wigs, the heavy makeup, the seductive attire. This new awareness of the porno images being almost like clones of the hooker was really upsetting because it made it very hard for me to feel convinced that he actually found me desirable and exciting when he had spent hours looking at pictures of women who surely reminded him of the prostitute. Not only the pictures, but he also had a big stack of journals that he used to write in, about how sexy that hooker was, in a repetitive set of phrases that he must have used to mesmerize himself into a sexual tizzy.

The journals also included some incredible insights he had about himself and the world, as well as some original songwriting. He always wrote in these journals when he was drunk and showed them to me a day or so after the confession to make me realize what torment and self-examination he was going through. Then he wanted to burn it all, but I wanted to save them so we could pick out the insightful pages and the song lyrics -- I have been thinking about writing a book -- in fact we talked about collaborating on it -- and I wanted to keep it until I could deal with it, sort it, and then discard the rest with him, so I put what he was willing to hand over to me in a locker. The rest, which he called "just more of the same thing" he keeps in a separate locker and refuses to get rid of until I get rid of the stuff I confiscated.

The weather has been cold and I am just getting over a really bad respiratory infection, and so I put off dealing with it. In fact, I had almost forgotten about it all there, for the time being. We have been concentrating on many good things, including getting a new band underway, organizing material for a couple of great shows we will be doing in the coming months, and learning to reconnect. For several months we have been watching library movies, holding hands, having an occasional kiss, and trying to discover how to make things fun and exciting. And even though we haven't had sex for several weeks (and then not very satisfactorily) we have been finding ways to be open and affectionate and even a little flirtateous lately.

So things seemed to be improving, plus he was finally starting to eat regularly again, he cut back on his drinking a lot, and he has been looking and feel much better physically, and even getting a little bit frisky too lately, just a bit of playful touching, so I realized that at least some of his lack of sexual interest has been physical, since he hasn't been even this much inclined, most of the time, for months now. Also, he has told me repeatedly if I don't bring up the past and I treat him lovingly that he will warm up to me again. He has said that that he really hasn't been feeling sexual -- which I fully believed since even when the vibe between us is relaxed, no amount of stimulation from me or fooling around together has resulted in any significant degree of arousal on his part.

But he has kept reassuring me that things will start to get back to him wanting to have sex pretty soon if I keep being positive and we relax and have fun in general. This has been difficult for me, but I have learned to much more go with the flow and try to be patient while trying to sort out lesson two (my vision for how I want my life to be).

We had an excellent weekend this past week, a great stage show with the new band, and he has been feeling so much better about himself. I think this renewed self-esteem is reflected in how he has wanted to at least hug and kiss me again. In fact, I have been staying at his house much of the time in the last month (we have never technically lived together) and we have been discovering that we can get along in many ways, now that the intense pain and all the fighting we did were now looking like in the past. Also he has reassured me a lot lately that he wants a monogamous relationship and does not really want to engage in extra-relationship liaisons. That was so good to hear, and it felt like he really meant it. It felt totally sincere, and I was very relieved to hear him talk like this.

Things seemed to be coming along in a good direction and I was staring to feel hopeful again until this day, when I left to run some errands, including stopping in at my house since I hadn't been there for a few days. But when I arrived home I discovered that I had forgotten my key and so I turned around and just returned to his place several hours earlier than I said I would, figuring I would do something useful like laundry and then go back to my own house tomorrow.

Well, when I walked in the door, there he with a bottle of liquor, the room was filled with tobacco smoke, with a porno video running on the tv, a porno picture on the computer, and several magazines and a notebook all including photos of those same "prostitute clones" that he looked at for so many years.

Most of the porno images were the same models who look very much like that hooker he was having sex with behind my back for so many years. He was clearly highly aroused sexually, and then in fact, invited me to have sex with him as if nothing was wrong.

I was absolutely heartbroken -- not only is he capable of sexual arousal, but it is clearly something he feels when he looks at pictures of women just the hooker he f---d so much and was clearly very obsessed with, based on the pages and pages of notes. I was also tremendously upset with the betrayal -- and the fact that the ONLY time he invited me to have sex in recent weeks was when I was obviously in a totally distressed state of mind -- and after viewing images of what might as well have been the OW hooker.

I didn't want to turn him down, since I have been the one wanting sex so badly for months, but I couldn't stop crying and said "Okay, we can have sex as long as you want to do it with me crying the whole time". Of course I was terribly upset when it seems that he can only get aroused not only by porno rather than me, no matter how provocative or seductive I try to be, which is bad enough, but that this arousal is from images that might as well be of the woman he was cheating on me with for all that time, since the women look so much like her – and they are paid sex workers too, not just movie stars – this awareness of the hooker-clones being able to arouse him when I can't at all, has been extremely painful. We wound up fighting and not having sex, which of course was the likely course of events.

He has tried to tell me repeatedly since dday that he didn't really find that hooker attractive and that he didn't enjoy sex with her -- but now that I discovered this reversion even though I thought things were on a good path with us – now I really don't know what to believe. Maybe he didn't enjoy the sex because the guilt overwhelmed him, but if it hadn't been for that, maybe he really did find her more attractive than me, and maybe that is the real reason he can't respond to me -- and I told him this. I said I wonder if he is really kidding himself and just doesn't want to admit to preferring her to me. The expression on his face reminded me of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar who tries to say, "No, I wasn't really reaching for a cookie."

He said shortly afterwards that this is not true, that he does not find her attractive or sexy -- he reiterate it a few times today -- and that he is just so habituated to only being responsive to porno in order to feel aroused that he can't get aroused any other way. He knows that he is not the only one with this problem and he did look terribly remorseful -- and afterward said he wishes he could change.

But I just don't know what to do, don't know what to believe, and all the effort I have put in to let down my guard, to learn to trust him and everything, all seem to have taken a giant step backward. One thing I did learn is that he is capable of arousal, physically, and is thinking about sex -- he just isn't interested in being sexual with me without the porno, so obviously there is a psychological element which amounts to rejecting me since he is not apparently doing much to satisfactorally relate sexually to me without porno (eg RN forums and lessons, further counselling, erection drugs, etc).

I have in the past suggested he get some erection-enhancing drug to experiment with -- he used it with me in the past and it did work physically -- but he has refused to take any for almost two years, because, he says, he is not horny these days anyway, and the erection drugs seem like they create an artificial erection and he associates those drugs with the porno/hooker stuff, and wants to relate to me "naturally". I have thought that using the drugs would simply help jump-start the physical intimacy again, and rule out any physically-based impediment, as he is diabetic and has been so underweight with the drinking. But he has said he doesn't want to be pressured, and that suggestions like this from me make him feel performance anxiety -- which he says he never felt with any hookers since the outcome never mattered with them.

But the fact that after viewing porno, and without any erection drugs, he had a fairly strong degree of physical arousal suggests that the lack of sexuality between us is not primarily physical – or at least it is somewhat psychological.

Meanwhile, because the music community in our town is so heavily connected, if word got out about any of this, he might very well be ostracized by everyone in our circle of friends and musicians -- all of whom believe that honesty and integrity in relationships is paramount -- including those who have "polyamoury" relationships -- or so they say that honesty is paramount. But one guy who cheated ONCE on a woman was shunned for about two years by the other musicians, so if people knew that my SA cheated on me for eleven years and is now back to using porno secretly – maybe they would never play music with him again – and this would markedly impact my own career if anyone were to know and let this slip out. Plus I don't want to have the guilt of ruining his reputation.

Thus, I have not confided in a single friend about any of this, and now that I am not seeing a counsellor (and he doesn't want to return to any right now) the fact is that this forum is my ONLY source of emotional support.

I am so broken up inside, I just can't think straight. I have put in so much time trying to build up a nice relationship with a man I am so in love with -- the only man I have ever really wanted since another one 30 years ago that ended because of the exact same problems (porno addiction and hookers).

I don't know if I should regard this as just a glitch, and plan on a clear course of action with him to burn the porno like he suggested right after dday. Or maybe I should just walk away. But even if he does get rid of the porno will he ever relate to me sexually? How can I compete with women who have undergone complete body modification to look like permanently slim, huge-breasted 20 year-olds, when I am 57 and a bit heavy set? I actually think I look pretty good for someone my age with NO body alterations other than a very minor facial procedure, but compared to all the porno women and that hooker he saw for so many years, I feel so unsexy – at least in his eyes.

Yes, he compliments me on my sexiness sometimes, and he has even told me lately that he really is in love with me, and since he has been inviting me to touch him, and give him backrubs and footrubs, and even kissed me enthusiastically lately I thought we were really on track with developing genuine intimacy and I thought we were kindling some real sexual desire in him for me.

And now this. I feel so alone, so empty, like so much that we built up is now undone like a house of cards that collapses in a gentle breeze. Or like that childhood game of snakes and ladders, where you slowly climb upwards toward the goal, and then if you land on the wrong square, you go crashing down almost to square one. I wouldn't be so intensely devastated, I don't think, if this pattern seemed to be ongoing, but it's particularly bad now that things seemed to be going SO much BETTER lately. This makes it doubly shocking and hard to fathom.

I guess I have to take a hard look at the possibility that he actually did or DOES find that hooker more attractive or somehow more appealing on some level than me, especially since the main images he seems to focus on -- the ones he puts into his notebook -- look so much like HER, since for the last 5 years of his cheating, he tells me he cheated on me ONLY with her.

I also need to consider that even if the above is not true, and that he did NOT find her desirable, and that his attraction to her was only based on the exaggerated artifice that he seems to gravitate to in porno, ie that his desire for sex with her was only porno-induced, and "safe" because she was emotionally unavailable, it still might be true that he does not want sex in a situation where love and emotional vulnerability exist.

It seems like he has totally separated love and sex, and that his return to porno is only making that separation worse. Just when I thought we were making such progress, and that he actually felt good about opening up to me. Now maybe in his distorted thinking, he thought that looking at porno might help loosen him up, and that he would have put it out of sight by the time I got back hours later, but even then, I would not have wanted him to "desire" me based on artificial stimulation. Then I would have perhaps been just as objectified as the hooker must have been by him.

Regardless, clearly he is willing to be secretive and deceptive, and he even got angry at ME for being so upset – even though it was the porno that pulled him away from relating to me sexually most of the time, and that prompted the infidelity – or at least fuelled it. So in our case, I think porno has had a major negative impact on his ability to relate to me sexually and to even want me sexually at all in the first place, since I was not a slut (ie not "sexy" like those "real" sexy women that are depicted in porno – because in his way of thinking, he evolved to think that women are either non-sexual friends, people you care about but didn't have sex with, OR they are sexually-indiscriminate sluts that are good for being sexual with.

Interestingly, he never cheated on any former lovers, just me, even though those women were not promiscuous. It seems that his mind set about only giving himself permission to be sexual with prostitutes escalated as his SA escalated. Now it seems we are right back to where we started in terms of his state of mind – even though he has said he confessed about the SA and the hookers to get over all that "crazyism" as he calls it and heal.

But I don't really see significant healing of his attitude about relationships nor about his performance anxiety. And he was angry when I showed up today that I want to "own" him and am not willing to go along with him having sex wherever/with whomever he pleases. He also tells me that I am obsessed with sex, and shouldn't worry about any of this because sex is trivial anyway.

What a contrast to the lovely, heartfelt reassurances when he is sober that he wants only me and would not be happy with outside sexual liaisons. But when he is drinking he wants me to accept whatever he wants to do, no matter how hurtful, and if I don't like it, he just yells, "Why don't you just forget about me and get another guy?" Then when he is sober again he wants to work things out, and he acts affectionate and says that it is just his fears or lack of self-esteem surfacing that prompt him to be so defensive and rejecting.

As far as performance anxiety, I know I have pressured him for sex too much, partly because I miss the closeness, partly for reassurance that he desires me, and also of course, because I like having sex with him very much. It feels so special and precious to me. But I know that pressure has not been constructive so lately I have been focusing a lot on the non-overtly sexual aspects of relating.

I have been mindful about relating in the moment whenever there is a glimmer of sexual ambience between us, enjoying whatever small amount of intimacy we have had, even though we have not had ANY overt sexual activity together for many weeks and it is very difficult to always have to hold back so much – and to feel so rejected when, after kissing for a few seconds, he stops and goes to get dressed. Despite my deep pain over his sexual aversion with me, I have tried to reassure him that things will happen in time and that staying positive about everything in general is important, and that I am glad we have been doing that, for the most part. I have encouraged him to talk about what he is excited about in his life, and that has been a very positive thing. So this set-back does come as a big surprise, and it is indeed very upsetting – and also upsetting how he discounted my feelings so readily.

After the big blow-up we had, he said he needed some time to himself, and he went to sleep and we have not spoken for a few hours. Needless to say, the fight that we had put the brakes on any amorous or sexy feelings he might have had towards me when I first arrived and caught him with the porno in full swing.

Now that he brought out the pictures of women who look just like the hooker, I now feel that I have no idea if he ever really desired me anyway – maybe he just suggested sex today because he was stimulated by the porno, so it certainly didn't make me feel like he wanted me specifically – maybe he just turned to me because he can't bring himself to go to the woman he really prefers (the OW hooker) because he doesn't feel morally right about it – but perhaps he genuinely does prefer her despite himself and I am just the consolation prize. Not really knowing the truth of this since dday has been eating me up. How do I know he isn't actually kidding himself, and maybe he really is in love with her (according to MY definition of being in love – not just someone you like to hold hands with as seems to be the case with his idea of "in love", but someone whom you find physically appealing in a subjective way, someone you like having sex with or would like if you didn't feel guilty because of cheating or whatever, and someone you care about whose personality "clicks" with yours in some way). Maybe he has merely rejected her on moral grounds or on principle that it was associated with the porno models he seems to prefer, and/or because he can't really "have" her, and so has resigned himself to me despite his deeper desire that he dare not admit to me – or to himself – that he really does find her sexier, more exciting, etc.

And of course, when he creates an upsetting situation that I naturally respond to by losing my cool, crying and so on, then that only serves to erode whatever good feelings he might actually otherwise feel towards me. After all, he was never with her long enough to have to deal with issues, laundry problems, etc. And so with her he was able to create a friendly, highly sexually-charged atmosphere, complete with Cialis, and he says they never once had a fight or argument in all the years he spent time with her. He even gave her music lessons in exchange for sex for several months, so they actually did spend hours together over the course of the eleven years he was seeing her.

I wish I could inspire him to want me, and I feel like a failure at not being able to turn him on -- even when I dress attractively, act fun and loving, make him realize I admire and desire him, etc. But maybe he has never gotten over his obsession with her or infatuation or whatever he felt – and he obviously did spend a lot of time thinking about her over the years, based on the numerous pages of writing in the journals he showed me. Even if the writing was just "crazyism" and "processing" everything as he has told me, he still clearly spent hours with her in mind.

If nothing else, in a way he DID prefer her, at least when under the influence of alcohol, hepped up on porno and tobacco, in a situation that felt free and easy, without risk of someone trying to control him (after all, she never questioned his motives, never challenged his drinking, never asked for fidelity, kept a tidy house, and was apparently pleasant enough to be around). And therefore, in contrast, when I was unhappy with his horrible behavior towards me and asked for change, then in comparison he saw me as excessively demanding. He put me in a no-win situation, and with the self-mesmerizing notes about how awful/ugly I am and how charming and exciting she is, then at least AT THE MOMENT that he was with her, in a distorted way, he probably did prefer her -- maybe not necessarily the way she looked, but maybe he liked how he felt around her, and felt more comfortable being aroused in her presence.

And it's that part of him that seems to have returned to the porno. And with continued porno and doing things that prompt hard feelings between him and me, then maybe it really is only a matter of time before he sees her again -- which he swears up and down will never happen, but now I really don't know what to believe -- especially since today proved he still has a secret sexual side that I am not part of -- and which he seems to not want me to be part of or it wouldn't be secret and it wouldn't contain all the elements that prompted him to cheat on me with her in the first place. In fact, he expressed great disgust that I was so upset with the porno viewing today, implying that this is HIS sexual thing and not really any of my business!

If that is so, then we are friends, not partners. Maybe he sees me as friends with benefits at his discretion, but if this is how he really regards me, then I will definitely split up with him. Maybe his true self doesn't want me and he is only with me for backrubs and companionship, and is actively trying to avoid sex with me by using porno. But maybe not. Maybe it's just a deep-seated habit and he just had a slip. How can I tell?

Some thoughts have come to mind as I debate what to do and say now: since he is willing to artificially stimulate himself with pictures and movies, then why not some Cialis too to have sex with me? At least that might give him the chance to relate to me without external stimulation and could relieve some of the performance anxiety he seems to expect to have. I wonder if I should broach that again -- after all, it's much less of an "artificial" erection than an alcohol-tobacco-porno-induced one. But then he might consider that I am pressuring him, and I really don't want to do that either, or make him feel like I am giving him an ultimatum.

Or maybe I should just give up and chalk this up to a dead-end street with a guy who maybe doesn't really want me, doesn't seem to care all that much about how unhappy I am, and doesn't want a sexual relationship with me enough to do anything to substantially change things – and maybe even secretly does desire that hooker – although he swore today that he didn't even think of her at all when he was looking at the pictures -- I got him to swear on the Bible in fact, and he looked me in the eye, so maybe he IS telling me the truth.

So what to believe and what to do? Was he just backsliding a bit, and actually telling me the truth that he never really desired that hooker for real, and didn't really find her attractive? After dday he told me that once he purposely went to see her without looking at porno or drinking first, and that he felt absolutely no desire for her at all.

But what does that tell me? That he really didn't desire her, or just that he couldn't feel aroused without the porno/alcohol stimulation -- just like he rarely feels aroused around me (without porno stimulation). After all, he doesn't seem to desire me much either without the porno, so does that non-porno visit to her really prove that he doesn't actually prefer her to me, even though he has not acted on it for over two years now -- which he adamantly swears is the case.

So if he is telling the truth, the main problem is the porno itself, and not that I am at all displaced in terms of desirability physically or in his affections. Of course, if we were to burn the porno, that would not guarantee that he would not revert to his old habits, but it would mean he would have to make a very conscious choice to acquire the stuff all over again, instead of just digging it out of the storage locker, I don't know.

He says he wants to change and learn how to be normal, but he won't even look at the SA pages of RN, and according to the advice at RN, I have been avoiding suggesting he read it -- although today I did mention it, and reminded him that there are a lot of people with the same problems that we have -- and that they are learning how to live in healthy sexual relationships, and that maybe we can too if he is willing to try more actively to heal.

On one hand, I felt so bad being too upset for sex right at that moment, and I worry that if I go along with it right after I know he has been viewing porno that I am maybe just reinforcing the feeling he has that he can only get aroused by porno. On the other hand, I wonder if I should have had sex with him anyway, because at least at that point he would have been relating to me, and I have been very seriously depressed lately that we have virtually no sex life together anymore at all. Also, the cheating only started when I told him years ago that i didn't want to have sex with him if he feels he needs to drink to be sexual with me. Then he started seeing her, and has only invited me to be sexual during the times he is under the influence of alcohol when he has been looking at porno. Mostly lately, he just hasn't turned on to me under any conditions, so I feel really bad that this turned into a fight instead of a chance to connect on some level since he did invite me to get physical for the first time in ages. Feedback on this?

I am just so distressed at the thought of having to leave a man whom I love so much and wish I could have a real and honest relationship with, since the sex with him has always felt so right for me -- something I have rarely experienced in this lifetime, and I hate to think I might have to let it go.

Anyway, I do feel good that I got it all off my chest. thank you for listening, and esp thank you to RN for being here when I need you. You are my only lifeline to sanity and hopefully healing for myself, with or without my H. Of course, after this meltdown, I wouldn't be surprised if he gives up and leaves me so maybe he will make the decision for me. I wish we could be together, but now I'm starting to think that without real effort on his part to reconnect with me emotionally on a consistent basis, that I am going to be left with nothing more than wishful thinking and a broken heart.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
Posts: 1291
Healthlove,
I am so sorry for all the distress you are going through. I also don't talk to anyone in my personal life about what my husband has done, so I understand how isolated that can feel. You aren't alone though.

I would strongly advice you to keep plugging away at the lessons. I got hung up on a few of them too, trying to perfect my list of values, and realized I needed to just keep at it knowing I could edit them later if I wanted to.

It isn't your fault he started seeing a prostitute. Te me, it doesn't matter what reason he gave you, that was his choice alone. If he said the same thing to you, would you consider going and purchasing sex from someone else rather than being sober during sex? I only say that to point out that he chose to react that way and it has little to nothing to do with what you said....which by the way, seemed perfectly reasonable to me, to want to have a sober lover.

I also understand not wanting to have sex with him in that particular moment. I have had similar moments with my husband and it feels like I am selling my soul (or body) when I have complied. After our different ddays, I have felt so shattered that his sudden attention on me feels good until I realize that he is just using me sexually, that it really isn't about me or even us, but him getting some sort of fix.

My husband now is similar with the long periods of no sexual desire. He blames it on a lot of things but I am pretty certain it is because he is still very immature about how he manages his life and continues to go from one addictive thing to another. He just brought me a huge bouquet of flowers at work, then told me that he needs to get help, that he has been gambling again. Honestly, I can't keep up with his 'activities' anymore and again feel a bit overwhelmed at the idea of establishing boundaries for the so many various ways he can trample on me.

Anyway, I know the world feels topsy turvy again but looking for answers from him and his behaviors really won't get you very far. I have come to believe that it really boils down to my husband's lack of skills to manage from day to day so he reverts to instant gratification, quick fixes from his addictions.

With my husband, I have almost completely stopped listening to his words and look only at his actions, which -sigh- point to a man who seems to want to change, but chooses to continue acting childishly rather than face himself and learn. He told me this morning he 'needs to understand why' he does this and why he can't stop. I told him that anyone can stop any behavior with sheer force of will and that understanding can be as simple as acknowledging you don't know how to do x, y or z, you know or you need to do x,y then z.

Listen to his actions, to what he is actually doing. His words don't mean much until they are consistent with what he is doing.

The part about him saying he will start wanting sex again if you just stopped bringing up the past and being positive felt a lot like a man wanting to have it both ways, to have his cake and eat it too.

Keep at the lessons as they will guide you and help you feel more stable. If you get stuck on one, just post what you can, knowing you can edit it later.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Hi Healthlove,
I am "bumping up" your healing thread so you can find it - based on your recent post on the Community Forum. So here it isn waiting for your second lesson - Your Vision.

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Hi Healthlove,
The lost is found. :g: I found your lessons thread and "bumped it up" so you could find it to post your second lesson. It wasn't moved, but because you haven't posted for a while, it was on page 2 of the lessons thread which is different than this, the Community Forum.
Quote:
(I hope I am posting in the right thread now -- I am having a bit of trouble figuring out the format I am supposed to be using, so admins, please let me know where you have moved my thread to if you move it, okay?)


If you click on Partner's Development in the blue bar above, you will find that one of the choices is the lessons forum. Click on that and you should see your thread near the top now since I bumped it up. :w:

I recommend that you find a comfortable pace for doing your lessons which will help you locate them more easily. I know that determining your values for lesson two requires a lot of personal insights - I suggest that you post what you have. You can continue to refine, add and subtract to your vision as you see the need. As you work your way through the lessons, many of your current concerns will be addressed and you will gain more insight and clarity about the SA mindset. It's an education really. None of really understands this kind of addiction or how to separate ourselves from it until we do those first several lessons. And I recommend that you don't "cherry pick" to try to find quick resolve - there is no such thing. Your healing is a process unique to you and it will take time, hard work, and seeing the lessons as a continuum rather than isolated topics.

I see that Coach Mel checked in with you and made some great comments that are relative to this post, too. Perhaps, as you re-read her posts to you on your lessons thread, you will connect them this post. :w:

I hope this helps.
Nellie James


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:19 am 
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Posts: 322
Thanks Nellie. I think I'm starting to get how the threads work. Please be patient with me as this is a big site with lots of sections and I am just starting to get how the threads work. And thank you for the input.


Last edited by Healthlove on Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:23 am 
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Thank you for this, Nellie. I am still working on my vision and not worrying so much about getting it all correct and thorough. I need to keep moving on the lessons and your ideas about putting something down and then editing later has helped relieved me of all the stress I was putting on myself. I've got enough of that elsewhere without burdening myself further!

It's been a roller coaster several days, but now that the dust is settling, instead of begging my H to stop using the porn, or giving him an ultimatum, I've been successful in encouraging him to open up and really talk to me about it. And he has been quite forthcoming, and thus I am understanding him more and able to make good suggestions for getting to a solution.

He says he only wants to start the porn once he is drinking alone and then he starts thinking about what I've done wrong, and then he gets angry and turns to porn to get his mind off the anger. Some of the anger is the pressure he has felt from me to be sexual with me, so I have been careful to let him know I desire him, without making him feel pressured to have sex.

I assured him I would much rather him focusing on what is working and finding ways to feel good about all the good things we have been creating in our relationship and then holding hands -- rather than feeling angry but bottling it up and then watching porn to artificially be able to be sexual and then having sex with me while he is angry.

And this week he has been admitting anger rather than bottling it up like he often tended to do in the past and we are focusing on what will make us both happy. And now I really think he realizes that the porn keeps him stuck in that anger and entrenches it -- not to mention that the messages make it hard for him to give himself permission to have sex with a "good" girl like me.

I expressed my hope that he will break the habit he developed all those years when he was using porn (ie the pattern of finding things to feel angry at me about and then turning to porn and/or hookers to try to comfort himself and take his mind off the anger). He says now he is no longer seeing any hookers -- but the return to porn was obviously a return to the anger/porn-use ritual.

He wants me to leave the past behind, and I said that, likewise, I need him to leave the past behind too -- which for him means the habit of ruminating on whatever makes him feel angry towards me when I am out doing errands, and then getting out the porn.

He says that these days he ONLY wants to look at porn when he is angry at me. And I pointed out that when that happens, at the end of the day when I return he is still angry at me and feeling uncommunicative, so the porn isn't making him feel good and not getting at the heart of whatever is bugging him and certainly not helping us become closer.

Also, I said that it seems that since he got into the habit of connecting anger, porn, and prostitutes for eleven years of our relationship, then if he gets back into uncommunicated anger and then continues to get into porn again and hiding it, then that could become a more serious habit again (when he confessed on dday, he admitted that he frequently used to look at porn almost daily for about 6 or 8 hours or more).

I also reminded him that I think any porn use could be dangerous for him and our relationship, because he has it connected to anger and secret sexuality that excludes me, and then if he were to continue the secret porn use, it might just be a matter of time before he eventually goes back to the prostitute end of the spectrum -- and then we would be right back where we were relationship-wise before dday.

If he wants things to go well between us, I said I need him to focus on what is right between us, if he can, or to do something constructive like journaling, but not to bottle the anger up, which only seems to result in him feeling like he has no other way to cope than turning to porn.

Then I told him I need him to communicate with me if there is really something that he is feeling angry about so that we can come up with a solution together -- so that he no longer is feeling angry.

I also said that as hard as it is for me to hear him expressing anger, that I welcome it and would rather hear it than for him to hide it behind the porn and pretend that he is happy and that things are fine between us like he did all those years he was cheating on me. I said that telling me when he is angry is a lot less work for him than hiding it and putting on a happy exterior, that is, pretending things are good when they are not is a big energy drain and is probably a factor in why he doesn't want to have sex with me anymore.

He did agree this week that we have been building up some good experiences together lately, and he admitted that he doesn't feel good when he looks at the porn and said that he wants to get rid of it. I told him I want him to let ME know when he is ready to destroy it (as he once suggested right after dday that he wanted to do -- now it is in storage). But since I want HIM to let ME know when he is ready to throw it out, that way he will not be able to say that I coerced him to discard it and thus give him yet another thing to be angry at me about. We have talked several times since dday about doing some ritual together to discard it.

And I also let him know that I have been learning through RN that porn use does not mean he is a pervert (which is how he has thought of himself), but really just an unhealthy way to deal with problems and relationships, and that he shares this problem with a lot of other people. And RN has also shown me that it's just as important to focus on what you DO want in life as what you don't want. I think saying all this helped him feel better about himself. And to feel more optimistic about the future.

I feel very good about that discussion and the several others we had this week since I found him back using the porn last week. I told him I need him -- and that I need the few close relationships I do have to feel like the people have me in their corner -- I need to feel that they really do care about me -- and that I need that from him if I am to feel motivated to stay together. Then after I said everything that I was thinking and feeling, and he remained calm and really listened and neither of us got emotionally worked up -- talkiing after dinner while both of us were completely sober was a really good idea! -- after all that I focused on light, silly, pleasant and productive topics (such as the next gig we need to plan for).

We were both relaxed and open with each other all evening after that, and he was very affectionate all evening. He reached out for me, without me coaxing or trying to get his attention. There was no tension, we laughed, watched a nice movie together, had a great dinner, and things flowed really well.

I guess that habit of his, feeling angry towards me and staying stuck in that anger, is a habit he developed and worsened over the years -- after all, the brain really does develop thought paths if you allow them to develop -- and I think he is realizing it will take an active mindfulness to catch himself if he finds himself drifting back into the anger and then ruminating on it which only seems to build the anger up even further inside him. If something really is upsetting him, now he knows I want him to tell me -- so we can fix it together.

I also said that I hope he will also acknowledge when HE does something right too, as it seems that he gets caught in being angry with himself, and that is another pattern that takes active effort to break. So the return to porn this week, rather than meaning the relationship is doomed or hopeless, was basically a wake-up call about where his unhappiness lies -- an old habit of feeling negative and not telling me -- and a good opportunity to come to a deeper level of understanding and a commitment to openness, even about when he is angry. I told him I really care about him and do not want him to feel angry, that I want him to be happy.

Today was a really productive day and he took care of some very stressful tasks without feeling an urge to get drunk afterwards, but instead, he took care of himself, ate well and actually reached out to me lovingly. This is so encouraging and he knows I am once again feeling quite optimistic.

Quote:
Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself –- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself -– it is very difficult to take care of another person. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice. -- Thich Nhat Hanh


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:47 am 
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Goingn to jump in here with a few comments:
Quote:
I guess that habit of his, feeling angry towards me and staying stuck in that anger, is a habit he developed and worsened over the years --
This called ingrained behavior. It doesn't change quickly or at all without personal awareness followed by action. This is his job, not yours.
Quote:
If something really is upsetting him, now he knows I want him to tell me -- so we can fix it together.
You are not a mind reader so his being able to communicate is important, BUT he is the one to fix it. You can listen, be compassionate, but not responsible. :w:
Quote:
I also said that I hope he will also acknowledge when HE does something right too, as it seems that he gets caught in being angry with himself, and that is another pattern that takes active effort to break.
Good insight in recognizing his pattern of behavior here. My H was addicted to his anger - our couples counselor identified that along with intellectualizing rather than feeling, and his being a work-a-holic.
Later, his personal counselor helped my H realize that he was caught up in a cycle called the Victim Triangle in which he went from victim to persecutor to rescuer within a day or a sentence - an old behavior pattern that he has learned to aware of and change. He did RN at the same time. It took him at least three years to get there. Hard work. It all begins with a desire to become healthy for himself alone.
Quote:
I told him I really care about him and do not want him to feel angry, that I want him to be happy.
Of course you care about him. You value his becoming a healthy person but he has to want to become healthy and do the work to get there on an on-going basis.
Quote:
Today was a really productive day and he took care of some very stressful tasks without feeling an urge to get drunk afterwards, but instead, he took care of himself, ate well and actually reached out to me lovingly. This is so encouraging and he knows I am once again feeling quite optimistic.
Recovery takes a long time. There will be ups and downs. I suggest being cautiously optimistic. When we have expectations, we take the risk of being disappointed which can throw us into a tail spin. Cautious optimism. :w:

Take one day at a time. And please do those lessons. :w: Gaining insights into the addictive mindset will free you up to focus on yourself.

Hope this helps.
Nellie James


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:33 am 
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I am merging this topic with your healing thread as these seem to be more like journal entries since there are no questions being asked. Your thread would be the place to journal as well as doing your lessons. Also I see that the last lesson you did was on January 24th and the one before was in November. I would suggest that you really start to focus on reading and completing the lessons. They will help you with understanding what is going on with your h but more importantly what is going on with you and how to move forward.

Coach Cheryl


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:40 am 
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I want to be able to feel joy in life. I want to be able to embrace life, to make this life exciting, fun, to feel enthusiastic and energized, and to surround myself with people who love life, who love others, who want to be close to me, including friends, family and, if possible, a partner.

I want to have more of sense of wonder, more humor and silliness, to be able to communicate in a more effective, non-demanding way, a way that inspires and makes my H want to draw nearer.

I want to live my life so that I put my beliefs about relating into practice. For example, to be able to deal with issues when they come up and to have people in my life who are able to be honest and forthcoming with me about they feel, how they want to relate to me, and for us to have the willingness and motivation to make that happen. For example, a partner who I can talk with, who acts loving and respectful towards me, while I do the same. Someone who needs me like I need them. And who makes me feel appreciated as a partner, lover, friend.

And if they do not relate in a way that is fulfilling, then I want to either find a way to resolve the issues or else to have the strength to abandon the relationship and open myself up to new possibilities.

I want to build strong values, first of all within myself based on a life dedicated to healthy choices that make me feel happy and fulfilled.

I am learning to identify my needs, wants and boundaries -- about what I do and don't want in my life, and to learn to communicate them clearly and effectively. And I expect my boundaries to be respected, and to protect myself from harm if they are not respected.

I want a relationship with someone who loves, desires, respects and cherishes me. I want to build strong values in such a relationship, based on honesty, openness, and monogamy. As Marc of Marc and Angel says, “Intimate relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust. If both parties aren’t 100% onboard the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.” This is how I feel. I want that kind of relationship. And not just monogamous, but actual devotion to each other's happiness. And if there is something in the way of happiness, then I need someone who consistently does what he can, either on their own or together, to stay open and loving. To keep at it, no matter what, to be committed to continued personal growth – and then in this situation, relating to him will be fulfilling for me.

And the same goes for non-sexual relationships. To forgive, to stay open, to be communicative – or to realizing the limits of the friendship and not try to make it too deep. I do not want to be in relationships of any kind where I am doing most of the work to make the relationship happen – or feel like I am doing all the giving without being appreciated. I need relationships that are real. And I want to have the chance to be with someone whose heart is open, who feels loving, who is able to forgive, who wants to keep trying when things go wrong.

I want to be the kind of person that people admire, who they feel is their ally, who they feel they can trust with being themselves, who they feel is compassionate and empathetic. I want to be that person, and I want others to recognize it.

I want to surround myself with people who focus on the positive and who are willing to not sweat the small stuff. People who accept me as I am. And to be able to not worry about trying to have relationships with people who do not respect me or like me. To be able to let those people go, knowing that I am creating space for better relationships to come into my life. And I want to actively create the space to help bring those relationships into being.

I value balance, and having a combination of work I enjoy, fun with friends, quiet alone time to think and read and have fun enjoying nature and animals, working on artistic projects, improving my spacial organization, giving myself permission to be as active or quiet as I want to be. To be able to ignore the judgment of others when I do not think they are right. And to have the humility to accept their feedback if they are right and I am wrong.

I want to be able to hear and respond to my H when he tells me he is not happy, and to feel good about working with him on the issues that concern him, to help bring into being the things that he needs from me to feel happy. I want to have the emotional strength to give him those things. To be in a centred, grounded and energized frame of mind to do what is difficult if I realize that those are things that need to be attended to, such as the big cleaning tasks I have allowed to remain undone. I want to create the time and energy to get them done.

And I want to be able to give him the compassion and understanding he says he needs from me to be able to forgive himself for hurting me. I want to do that anyway, even if it does not result in him feeling closer to me, but I want to develop compassion and understanding towards everyone, while developing good boundaries, recognizing my boundaries, and to protect myself if those boundaries are violated.

I want a life that feels fulfilling, with lots of play, enough work to get by with but not so much that it tires me out and deprives me of playtime, and to do work that I genuinely enjoy. I want to develop gratitude about what I have and what is working in life, to feel good about myself regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels. I want to feel free inside, to feel loving towards myself. To feel happy. To create a life that feels rich and exciting. To love and to feel loved.


Last edited by Healthlove on Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:16 am 
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Doing the lessons will help you figure this out. Sounds harsh, but it's really the first step to your healing and knowing what path to take. You are the only one who can make decisions about your life. He keeps gravitating back to his old pattern of behaviors because that's what addiction is. He will either do the work to get healthy or he won't. Not your job, but his.

Your responsibility is YOU. Keep doing the lessons and the pieces of the puzzle will begin to fall into place and you will gain the clarity you need. At this point, you have a lot of conflicts and no easy answers because there are no easy answers. The next few lessons will help you gain more insight into the addictive mindset so you see what you are dealing with. SA is an enigma. It's irrational. He has given you some insights, however, in that he does not want an intimate relationship with his SA partners. That's not uncommon is SA behavior choices. His behavior choices have nothing to do with you.

Telling your story as you have done here does help you process and integrate your experiences like journalling. That's all OK but trust me when I say that the workshop lessons are laid out in a continuum of learning and self discovery that will give you "light bulb" moments of clarity and direction. :w:

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:48 am 
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Thank you -- and such a speedy post from you really makes me realize there are folks out there like you who are listening and who care. This is at least helping me to maintain some sense of equilibrium in the terrible maelstrom of thoughts and emotions whirling around me like a hurricane. I know I haven't gotten a lot of insight yet -- I'm sure it will come in due course. It is nice to get stuff off my chest. And doing Lesson #2 was a big stumbling block that really did take me months to sort through. But it was good discipline to help focus my thoughts and feelings. And this posting I did today is helping me get ready for the next lesson. thanks again for being there.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:22 pm 
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You're welcome. Just happened to be in the neighborhood. Take care.
Nellie


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