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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:21 am
Posts: 112
I am trying to sort out my feelings, and I'm a little confused, and I guess I need a little guidance. Right now I'm working on the daily monitoring part of the workshop...and my ex is doing the recovery side. We aren't together yet, because I want to take things really slow and wait and see how things go. I love him very much and I appreciate the positive changes he's made so far, and his efforts. We are working on building a real friendship, and so far I feel like he is more of a friend to me now than ever in all the years I've known him. Before I try for a relationship with him, I want to know I can really trust him...as a friend, and as a healthy recovered addict. I want to feel safe and trust that he isn't using sex as a way to cope with his emotions anymore. He says he isn't watching porn anymore, or having sex with anyone, and it seems like he's being honest, although I haven't been checking on him. The thing is, he hasn't done the 90 day abstinance from masturbating. He doesn't think he needs to, and he has told me he will never do that. It's not that I am totally against masturbating, I think it can be ok in certain circumstances...but he has used it as a way to cope for many years. And he says that since it's me he is picturing while he masturbates, and not other people, it's ok. I'm glad he isn't masturbating to other women or porn, but in my opinion, even if he's picturing me, it makes me uncomfortable. I feel like if he can't stop doing it even for just 90 days, then how do I know he won't give in to other urges? How does he know he won't? It seems like it's still something he can't go without. Also, I'm a little uncomfortable with him picturing me as the person he's masturbating to...it just seems like I'm a substitute for porn or other women... I don't know what things he's picturing me doing...it just seems like it's bluring the lines between healthy and unhealthy. And before, when he was using porn and women, he said that he would look for women or porn that looked like me. Now, he says he just pictures me. It seems like the same thing to me just a different face. I'm just trying to sort these feelings out and figure out if I'm ok for feeling this way. He has been improving, and I don't want to seem unfair or like I'm asking too much. I just figured he'd get to the giving up masturbating thing later on in his recovery or when he was ready. But when we talked about it recently, he said he wasn't going to do it at all, and I didn't know that. Maybe he hasn't even actually begun full recovery because he's still using masturbating as a crutch. I don't know. the thought of him still habitually masturbating just brings back unpleasant memories of the past. I'm confused...I know I need to figure out my boundaries about this so I can communicate them, but I'm not quite clear yet. Can anyone help me figure this out?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:07 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
I'm too new at this to know anything, but I know what you are saying about your situation would make me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. It still feels to me like his masturbating is compulsive and still an unhealthy way to cope. And, boy is he defending it. (It's "okay" because it's about you.) It gives me that 'ick' feeling that I am really starting to trust in my situation.

I am reallly, really trying to trust my feelings even if I am confused. I'm trying to accept when I am feeling suspicious, or more importantly, repelled. I figure as I get healthier I will have a better understanding of the "why" but I also know I may never know the "why" of my husband.

I hope that makes sense. I guess I just want to say I feel for you. This is so, so hard. And I honor your feelings.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:23 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
Hi Sammy!
I typed up a whole reply to this several days ago, and I checked back and it wasn't here! I'm so sorry!

Masturbation was the last thing that my husband stopped doing compulsively. He did a 90 day "reset" at one point, but there was very little consistency from him of not masturbating other than those 90 days. There was never a point in his recovery where I felt really comfortable with how he was handling it, up until it was clear that all other areas of his life were dramatically improved and his masturbation really wasn't compulsive anymore. So I completely understand the internal battle you're having over it right now.

I very clearly told my husband that I did not want him masturbating to images of me or memories of me. It felt disrespectful to the sexual moments we had shared and I, like you, felt like I was simply a replacement for porn. I think the key to all it for me was that I was still being objectified, both in day to day life, and in the few moments of intimacy that we shared. So I knew that if the real me was objectified, clearly the memories and images of me were as well. I was well within my rights to ask my husband not to use images of me or memories of me to masturbate to, and I still prefer that he doesn't. The problem was that I had absolutely NO control over how he thought or acted. The most I could do was ask him about it and hope that he was telling the truth. So in some ways, I don't know that it was a true "boundary" for me since it was about something that was 99% out of my control.

The one thing that I could (and did) do, was change my interactions with him. If you don't want him using a sexualized image of you during masturbation, the only way to control that is to remove yourself from sexual situations with him until you feel confident in his willingness to respect your wishes about it. A big part of you finding that confidence is going to come from him showing you that he sees you as more than a sexual object. My H and I spent a long time working very intently on de-objectifying sexual situations, me, and himself.

sammy wrote:
Maybe he hasn't even actually begun full recovery because he's still using masturbating as a crutch.

Quote:
He has been improving


I understand your fear here. Recovery is a long process and very little about it is certain from our end. In what ways has he been improving? What are you noticing differences in? Are the changes building on themselves? Are there things that he's showing consistency in, even if they are small? Is he more open with you? More transparent? Him being unwilling to give up masturbation isn't a good sign. But I'm also hesitant to say that it means he's not in recovery either. If he's being dishonest about it then I would say that means he's not in recovery. But if he's being honest about it, then I think that he's making it harder on himself, but not necessarily not in recovery either. I don't know if that made sense. If you have more questions, feel free to ask. I'm happy to talk about my experience but I'm not sure what, if anything would be helpful for you to know. Be Well!
Mrs Jones


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:21 am
Posts: 112
Mrs Jones!!!
Thank you Thank you so much for your reply! I was going over this issue in my head over and over, trying to make sense of it and discussing it with him for a while, although he isn't happy with me right now. It's very uncomfortable for me to even bring up to him, because I know he doesn't like the fact that I doubt how healthy it is, or how healthy he is. (He started the workshop in Feb) I have some more questions for you, if it's ok I will send you a PM?
Thank you soooo much, because I have no idea what is really ok on this subject, and I can see you understand how I feel. Thank you!
Sammy


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:53 am 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
Of course you can send me a pm! However you're most comfortable is fine with me. :)


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