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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:48 pm
Posts: 1
This is my first post. I am trying to decide whether to remain in my marriage. Whether I can forgive and move on if I stay in my marriage, whether I could ever trust again. My husband has been heavily involved in pornography for the past several years, though he acknowledges (and I suspect minimizes) porn use for most of his life (he is 59). In the past several years it has had a devastating impact on our marriage. Though we have been together for 13+ years, we have been married for 5. After the first year of our marriage, he stopped touching me at all and we went for nearly 3 years without sex. He blamed this on me for various reasons though he was essentially impotent. I should mention that he has a co-morbid alcohol dependency. Over time I learned the extent of his porn use: downloaded porn filled his Kindle, multiple porn sites on his phone. Disappearing into the bathroom for literally a couple of hours at a time. He became more and more secretive and more and more belligerent/emotionally abusive. When we did (rarely) try to engage in sex, he could only respond to oral sex and it felt like he was completely detached, re-enacting something from a porn video. I discovered a year ago that he had, for an unknown amount of time (he claimed 8 months) been meeting with a prostitute. I kicked him out, I agreed to let him return with the agreement that he would attend therapy for "sexual addiction" and we would go to marital therapy. He took little ownership in the marital therapy and dropped out once he perceived the crisis to have passed. He continued with his 1-1 with a therapist who was supposed to specialize in sexual addiction, yet (according to his report) ended up doing EMDR for panic attacks related to fear of heights. Throughout the course of this process, he readily began to berate me for "not letting go" of his cheating.
After we had reconciled, he agreed to purge downloaded porn and showed that he had. Several months ago he dropped out of therapy, began drinking very heavily again, staying a couple of days a week at a hotel with lame excuses (I learned that the prostitute lives about 2 minutes from the hotel), withdrawing cash from ATMs, and very egregiously watching and downloading porn (as in: I would walk out of my office into the adjacent room and he would be on his laptop watching porn). On his laptop I found multiple downloaded porn videos, as well as Zoom launcher, which leads me to believe he has been engaging in interactive porn.
I ultimately kicked him out again. He swears up and down that he hasn't cheated again but this is simply gaslighting. He has everything to lose with this behavior. He shows absolutely no insight or ownership.

I feel very angry and frustrated with myself that I haven't simply filed for divorce and put this nightmare behind me. I am a successful professional (as was he before he was forced into early retirement), smart and attractive. I am a kind but tough person. I have kept his secret to myself except for my therapist....if I am to be honest, it is not because for others to know would humiliate me, but because there is still a very small part of me that hopes he will change and recover. We have only spoken once since I kicked him out; during that conversation he acknowledged his alcohol use as problematic but states that porn is something he is not willing to give up. I know that in order to protect myself financially and legally I need to take action, but I honestly feel paralyzed.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m looking for right now. Support, yes. Maybe just a good kick in the ass. I actually know that once on my own I’ll be fine, but I can’t seem to take that step.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:49 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 676
slh19 - Welcome to Recovery Nation. I'm sorry you need to be here, but this is a healing place to be. Many partners understand the paralysis you are feeling.

I encourage you to do the partner lessons. I found they were very helpful to me in addressing some of the questions and issues you raise. As well, feel free to post in the partners community forum. It is a safe place with others who understand.

I found I needed to give myself the gift of time to muddle through. The lessons and individual therapy, as well as the community forum have been invaluable for my healing.

With deep compassion,

PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Welcome to the Recovery Nation and the forum, slh19. Not that it’s ever good to find yourself here.

Make no mistake, porn addiction is real and it ruins relationships. I speak from experience. So much of what you describe is similar to my experience. The sexless marriage, never being touched, the erectile dysfunction — that’s how it was. I was aware of my husband’s internet porn use tor 15 years though I know it predates the internet because he admits to buying magazines and videos before that, but he would hide them then throw them away so I never saw them. I don’t really know how far back his addiction goes but once I knew more I could see that it’s probably been going on for much longer.

This is my opinion/experience. I can’t say if it will be the same for you, but my husband’s compulsive porn use has well and truly damaged me. It damaged my self esteem, my confidence, my body image and my mental health. It has also wrecked my sexuality. I “pretended” it wasn’t happening. My coping strategy was denial. I knew, but my mind wasn’t going to go there. In the long term this was a very unhealthy coping strategy. I was blind to my depression. I had a very low opinion of myself. I neglected my self care. I developed late-onset anorexia and hated my emaciated appearance all the more. In the end I had a breakdown. Recovery has been hell but I’m still here. It might as well have been a 15 year infidelity or a “ménage à trios”. The sense of betrayal is huge.

Again, I’m talking from personal experience so feel free to take what you want from my words or reject what you don’t relate to. To this day I do not know about what else other than porn my husband was doing throughout the years of our sexless marriage. Some months before d day I asked him outright about whether he had been faithful. He couldn’t give me a straight answer and then he got mad at me for having the audacity to even think such a thing. It’s a classic lying strategy, but at the same time it’s not evidence of anything. After d day I learned that he had been going to strip bars on his own. Like the porn it was a repetitive behaviour. It started before he met me. He was going to strip bars now and then early on in our relationship but it became more of a compulsion later on. It’s one thing he did admit to but only because I was aware he did it before he met me. I don’t know if he’s ever paid for sex but my gut feeling says probably not. Do I believe that there has been sexual infidelity? My instincts tell me it’s very likely. I just don’t know the details about when, or who, or where, but I think these have all been short term or one off opportunist encounters. I could probably handle a confession to a one night stand or something that took place once or twice a poor decision that came out of a mismanaged physical attraction. Those situations can happen to anyone. But the relentless porn use, the loneliness, the isolation, the feelings of worthlessness, the depression, the body-punishing starvation, the years of feeling like an untouchable, knowing he was getting off to other women’s bodies — that is harder to deal with. A lot harder.

What I have learned is that I have to protect myself from hurt. I don’t allow porn in my home or in my relationship. It’s a hard boundary. It’s toxic. It’s damaging. For my husband to carry on using porn would be a form of emotional abuse. To expect me to tolerate it would be tantamount to coercive control. Yet I am realistic. Addiction doesn’t magically disappear. It has to be managed by the addict as part of his recovery. My husband chose to quit, but there have been some minor setbacks along the way. My personal recovery has been very, very tough but it wouldn’t happen at all if there was porn in my relationship. It’s about survival for me, and I’m still here, I’m still breathing and I still get to wake up in the morning. That’s the way it has to be. I’d rather save myself than give in to accepting porn. That’s never going to happen again. I can’t take it. I can’t take the lies. I can’t take the cowardly deception and I won’t be coerced and controlled by a liar in my own home. Boundaries are a tough concept but always remember this — the purpose of YOUR boundaries is to protect YOU from all the emotional pain and trauma caused by addictive behaviour.

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