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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:43 am 
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Posts: 190
I'm two years into recovery after my partner had been addicted to porn for maybe as long as 20 years, as well as a few other secret behaviours which may never be fully disclosed. My husband lost interest in having sex with me and we didn't have sex for several years, and all the time I knew that he was using internet porn. It became a big problem as soon as we were connected to the internet.

The 'obvious' conclusion was that he preferred porn women, he found them more exciting, perhaps better looking, perhaps younger bodies. All I know was that he was getting off on porn and his interest in having sex with me was diminishing rapidly. I caught him out. He said it was over. He seemed determined to protect his habit. His interest in me declined further. No matter what I did to up my game, he was indifferent. Angry, even. So of course I felt rejected. I didn't need concrete evidence to know he was using porn, I knew by the predictable times he shut himself in the room being 'busy' on the computer. By the time erectile dysfunction was happening, he was rarely interested in sex, like 3 times a year. Mostly I was turned down, and then he couldn't keep anything going if at all. Yet he was certainly interested in keeping his porn habit going. I didn't decide to give up. I was defeated. He never showed any interest.

I knew there are two ways of interpreting this experience. He became addicted. The addiction progressed as he became physiologically hardwired to produce a reward (orgasm) in response to certain visual stimuli (explicit imagery). He eventually became desensitised to real world sexual experience because it couldn't offer the endlessly 'novelty' that his brain was craving. And that none of this is a reflection on me, nor does it mean he wasn't attracted to me – although I find this difficult to believe. I don't think he 'saw' me at all in a sexual way.

The other interpretation is how all this made me feel and the slow chain of reaction as far as my self esteem went. Initially I felt rejected and saw his interest in porn as a threat to our relationship. Each discovery was a further blow to my self esteem. Besides, I felt disrespected because he thought he could carry on by being careful by deleting any evidence. I felt increasingly rejected as his interest in me diminished. When it reached the stage where I had to practically go begging for the leftover dregs only to experience his lack or loss of erection, inability to ejaculate and a horrible 'bad sex' afterglow, so felt that I'd lost the battle. That was the evidence that I didn't turn him on. I waited for his interest to return but it never did. The porn carried on. My sex drive disappeared because any thoughts of sex reminded me of what I'd lost. By d day, we hadn't had sex for several years. I used to wonder how long things could go on like that. If he wasn't interested in having sex with me, but his interest in porn seemed to indicate an unmet desire for sex, then what did this mean for our relationship?

By 'd day' my self esteem had vanished. My body image was so negative, it was more akin to body dysmorphia. I was breaking down. I was severely depressed. I felt very isolated. I reached d day when I realised I could not continue like this any longer.

Now we come to my sticking point in recovery. If his behaviour wasn't anything to do with me, then why did it nearly destroy me? Why have I had to do so much work on building up my self esteem? Why was I so repulsed by my reflection in the mirror, which I saw as the 'evidence' as to why he didn't want me? Why did I feel it necessary to hide my body from him to avoid being reminded of his indifference? Why did I become devoid of all sexual desire? Why did I concede defeat and tell myself I'd lost? Why did I feel so alone? Rejected?

Then after d day there was the uncovering of the lies and deception. Then I learned about the strippers. More lies and denials, but at least a partial admission. My gut tells me there is more that I don't know, and that I may never know. All I knew about AT THE TIME was the porn, and it was bad enough knowing it was going on in my own home. I just shut it out. In denial. Learned helplessness. Asexual. These were my coping strategies to live with the hurt.

No matter what anyone says, it feels so deeply personal. The pain is personal. The damage went right to the core. I just want to bring this up because all partners are told "it's not personal, it wasn't a reflection on you", it still FEELS very personal.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
Yup, the addiction may be nothing to do with us ,or how attractive we are..but when the man you love shows no desire for you, puts you down in subtle ways, prefers porn, looks through you when you dress up, takes the micky when you are trying to seduce him, treats you as if he would rather you were nit around, and generally behaves as if every other woman,even if they are decidedly less attractive than you, are deserving of being yearned for, drooled over etc......
It robs you of any self confidence, it makes you push down your sexual,intimacy needs, because letting yourself feel sexy, or expressing needs is met with rejection..
I spent so many years feeling I was a failure as a woman, my husbands actions and words told me on every level, he wanted women, any woman, e wanted the sort of sexual experiences I had told him I liked..yet he hid all that from me, excluded me and sort it out seemingly with any woman he could
I take that very personally, its what I am struggling to overcome, the resentment and anger about how my sexuality was wasted, and how I am now in my fifties..able to at last understand there is nothing wrong with me..but knowing all those years when I was young..i hated my body, as the man I loved hated it..or so he made me think , it's all the ways he did that to me, that I am not sure I can get over.. The fact he is Sa fades into the background alongside the gnawing pain and self loathing he made me feel, he saw me in pain, and knew what he was doing..and I cant get my head around that


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
I find it strange that this issue, the deeply personal damage as expierienced by almost every partner of a PA/SA is never properly addressed in the recovery literature. We are told over and over "it's not personal" but it never quite feels right. I can understand the addiction process. That's it's driven by a complex mix of unmet emotional need, biological hardwiring and an unrelenting compulsion to seek out novel experiences that no one human being ever realistically can provide. As well as easy opportunity and the belief of not being found out. Yes, I get all that. But there's obviously something else going on that doesn't make sense.

Yes, it's true. Any random woman on the street or even on TV could hold his attention, but I was invisible. When he thought of sex, he thought of porn, not me. There were no more love notes or compliments or any of the little things. You don't really notice the absence of the little gestures for a while until one day you realise it just doesn't happen. Undressing in the bathroom to avoid his disinterest in my naked body, losing my sex drive completely, these were a consequence of his behaviour. Like you, Jenny, I felt a failure as a woman. I didn't feel like a woman at all.

Yes to all those years laid to waste. The years that I was denied my sexuality, or at least its expression. I was in a completely sexless relationship. There was nothing going on at all. Not even once a year. Not even once in five years. Masturbation made me feel lonely and miserable so I didn't do it. I just gave up on sex. But that is not normal. It's not a sign of a healthy relationship, or a healthy individual. I wouldn't look at myself in the mirror. I really believed that I was the cause of the problem, that I wasn't good enough. Depression, low self esteem, poor body image, loss of libido, etc etc etc. All those years of feeling bad about myself and feeling shame about the fact that my husband didn't want me, didn't touch me, didn't even look at me if I was stark naked. I had to keep that to myself for fear of humiliation and ridicule. As if it was ludicrous that anyone would want me in that way.

I realise now that there was nothing wrong with me. I'm not ugly. I was always in good shape and still am. All I needed was a reason to believe in myself again. I feel sad that so many good years were laid to waste. I am now working on recovering my sexuality as something separate from recovering my sexual relationship - and that's another thing we don't see anything about in recovery literature.


It's like I have to rediscover my sexual identity and even sexual pleasure, and become reacquainted with my own body, as it is now. Everything I thought I knew about my sexual self was formed in late adolescence and early adulthood. It's as if I didn't have the opportunity to develop a mature sexuality, and I guess that I allowed my husband's absence of interest in me to define myself as a non-sexual person rather than growing into a different life stage. It feels strange and unfamiliar to see myself as having a sexual indentity and just as in adolescence it's as if I'm having to explore my own preferences and boundaries. I have want to wear nice clothes and lingerie but I cop out and play safe because of the legacy of rejection. I want to be more sexually adventurous but I don't want to do anything that has negative associations with his previous acting out. I have a long way to go and it's very difficult without really knowing what I'm doing. There's so much doubt and pain, reminders of the past, not really knowing the future I'd like to have because I don't know how all this recovery work is going to work out.


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