Round and round we go..

I met my husband nearly 6 years ago, and we hit it off right away. We got pregnant shortly after we began a relationship, and have a child together. Two years ago I found out about his addiction to porn.
I study the human brain. My husband and I have had many lengthy discussions about deficits in gray matter when it comes to addiction. It was a complete shock to me when I found out that he had an addiction, and I was oblivious to it.
The pure emotional pain took a huge toll on me for the last two years. After I found out, we set some rules and he promised to never watch it again. We switched from smart phones to phones with no internet. Since we are both students, we still needed a way to connect to our classes, so we had tablets. For two years I heard story after story of his confessions for 'feelings' he had for other women. He would always assure me that these feelings were associated with his addiction, and he did not want to leave me for them. I became so numb to everything.
Then he relapsed last month. He watched pornography for three consecutive nights, then spent a number of days afterwards looking up photos of naked women, women in workout clothes, women in swimsuits, etc. He allowed sexual feelings for women he saw in person to sit with him rather than trying to redirect his thoughts like he was supposed to. He tried to convince me that all he did was necessary for his recovery. I knew it wasn't true. He knew it wasn't true. I've since lost all trust with this man.
After his relapse, he joined this forum and nofap to facilitate his recovery. We found out about these forums during my interview with Dr. Love, one of the researchers behind the neuroscience of porn addiction (I am currently doing research on this topic as well). My husband appears to be getting better. I, on the other hand, am still struggling with everything. The hurt, the betrayal, the broken trust.. it is still hard to look at him sometimes. I try to push through it all and tell myself that my suffering will only add to science to help others in the future. It helps sometimes. Other times, it keeps me unmotivated in my task to where I completely avoid my work. Suffering in silence takes its toll eventually.
Anywho.. I wanted to share, I suppose, in hopes that maybe there are methods other people have used to heal while staying in the relationship with someone who is still struggling. I tell myself that I am just fine, and I can move forward, and he is the one that needs the help, not me. Writing this has brought on the raw pain associated with his confessions, and only furthers the notion that I am in fact, not fine. I've stagnated. Perhaps just getting this out will help. Who knows?
Thanks for reading


Respected Member
My heart really goes out to you. It is very difficult as a partner. There are so many lines that get blurred and, at least for myself, I had so many conflicting emotions. On one had I felt like I needed to be supportive to him, not take it personal, this is an addiction after all. Then on the other I felt like I didn't actually know who this person was that I was with. I felt like everything was a lie. I kept thinking that I thought I knew who he was and that I could judge a good person and yet here I had no idea who the person closest to me was. It was so violating feeling. I felt scared. I second guessed everything. I kept asking "what else in my life am I being lie to about". It was awful. I felt insecure, ugly, fat, unlovable, alone, not myself, and more than anything just plain uncomfortable in my own skin. I really felt I didn't know who I was. I loved this man and at the same time he became the person who caused me so much pain. I had a friend who was in an abusive relationship and her husband had raped her. Thankfully she has left, but I remember her telling me how he had sex with her without her consent and because they were married it was supposed to be ok. She talked about her emotional process and honestly it was like she was describing my emotional experience to a T. I think because porn is so widely accepted culture makes us feel like we are supposed to be ok with this, but no, it is not ok. It is the lying and the break in trust and the feeling of not being safe in the relationship and being manipulated. Its awful.

All of this to say that just because you understand the science doesn't make the emotion any better or easier. Logically you can understand but emotionally you can be a complete mess. It is ok to not be ok. It is ok to be a mess. It does not mean that you love your husband less. You are not alone. I am glad you found this space and that you have a place to process. Welcome!
Thank you aquarius25 for your insight. I do understand those feelings as well. Prior to this marriage, I was in an abusive marriage. He repeatedly raped me, also saying he could do it because we were married. All in all, I had about 20 miscarriages through the duration of that marriage (gave birth to 3 kids). I have healed from that, and I share my story with others who are either stuck, or just getting out, in order to help them.

I think that is why this is so difficult to process. My mind is saying "he didn't hit you, so why are you upset?" I've even had times where I wished that upon myself because I have already gone through and overcome that trauma. I know it is not healthy to think in that way.

I hear you about the dishonesty. My husband told me a few days ago that he wanted to go "hard mode" because he didn't feel as though we should have sex until his mind was right because he didn't want to hurt me. He then decides to watch YouTube videos that inevitably lead him to videos of women. Now, the videos are not sexual in nature, but the fact that he knows that they will be there, but keeps going anyway, leads me to believe that he isn't going hard mode for the betterment of our relationship. I told him last night that maybe he should stay off youtube and instead use that time to do other things, like homework. He agreed that would be a good route to take, but then this morning, he secretly watched a video while I was still in bed. The inconsistencies in his words and actions make it so hard to trust him. It makes me want to further myself from him and this marriage.

I have not spoken to anyone about my side for the majority of all this process (over two years) because I didn't want people to judge him when they didn't know him. I broke down and told a friend of mine the other day. Between her and my post here, these have been my only outlets to how all this makes me feel. I would like to say that it makes me feel good that other women out there have been going through this and I am not alone, but I would be lying. It breaks my heart that this is so prevalent, and others have to suffer as well.

There are many lines that get blurred, i do agree with that. The conflict of emotions is also very tough and makes it harder to process everything properly. Thinking you know someone only to find out that you only knew them to the extent they allowed you to know them, especially when you've given your full self to them, hurts. I am sorry you are going through this as well. My heart goes out to you too


Respected Member
That sounds like a lot, the past experiences can make the current even more overwhelming. One of the trick parts to addictions and abuses that are not as physical and don't leave marks is that they are easy to rationalize as "ok" because there aren't any physical signs of them but the emotional scares hurt just as much and it is never ok.

Something that I have learned in my relationship, and this is something I never believed before, is that you can love someone without trusting them. Before this whole thing I believed that you can't love without trust and part of love is trusting. Today I do not believe this to be true. There are points in my husbands recovery that I didn't trust him, but I still had love for him. When I am trusting him I would say the relationship feels stronger but either way the love is still there. It is ok to not trust him, and it is ok to communicate that. Then sit down together and discuses what both of you want this relationship to look like, feel like, and to be. What are the goals? How can the two of you together meet those goals. I think if he is going hardmode then it needs to be a real hardmode. Take is seriously, no youtube, facebook, maybe set up parent controls so her doesn't have access to those sites till he has better self control and some time under his recovery. But these choices have to be made together. Be sure you are both on the same page.

It is not easy but as someone who have been in this for 4 yrs+ now, I will say it does get better. Hang in there. Be honest with yourself about your needs and don't hesitate to seek support! You are not alone. Feel free to DM me anytime!
The love and trust thing is something I struggled with through this. I found myself wondering how it was that I still wanted to be with this man even though I didn't trust him. I thought for sure I had gone crazy because that is something I think we all learn from a young age, that love equals trust.

I did go and look at your journal and saw that you have involved your kids in the process. That is something I have struggled with. I've wanted to talk to them because I feel they need to see how much harm it does to someone, but I have also been afraid of how they will look at him if they knew. He is the stepfather to my older 4 kids. Our youngest one is 5 and autistic, so she will probably never know about any of this. I am so glad that it has worked for you and added that extra layer of accountability, as you've called it. I imagine it helps him strive to be better so they dont fall into the same addiction.


Respected Member
A lot of guys on here will say things like "It is easier to recover when you have a partner". I think they understand it to be because you have someone to be intimate with. They think having someone to have sex with helps with urges. Yes in a lot of cases it does the opposite due to the chaser effect. They imaging having a partner as being this encouraging cheerleader in their corner. I have noticed after coming on here for a few yrs that, yes having a partner helps, but not in the way they think. When you have a partner that you love and you are honest and come clean you have to deal with the fact that your addiction has greatly impacted another person, someone you love. You have to accept responsibility for the hurt caused by your actions and it adds a layer of seriousness and weight of responsibility to the addicts actions and behaviors. It is hard for a lot of addicts to do this so a lot choose not to tell their partners. I believe this only feeds the pathways of lies and you will find a lot of those men tend to relapse often as there isn't a real life change. That is what it takes, a life change. It is like dieting in some ways, you can roller coaster off and on reboot getting a few good streaks of a week or two of no pmo, maybe even a month or two but until you actually have a life change you will always just be rollercoastering from reboot to reboot, just counting days. Real recovery takes looking at root causes and really putting in the hard work to accept your brokenness and working towards rebuilding in a stronger and healthier life. When you have other people counting on you it makes the necessity of recovery more imperative. That is why a lot of men with partners, who they have chosen to be honest with, are more successful with their reboot. At least this is just my observation and opinion.

The fact that your partner is talking and even trying and making an attempt to include you in this, while it might not feel like a lot, it is. Even if he has hid it for a long time, better late than never. My husband lied and hid his addiction for well over a decade. When shit hit the fan he went through the slow disclosure, telling most but still grasping at a few lies, until there was nothing left. Now we have open communication. I trust him and it is because at some point he wasn't being honest for me. He realized that living honestly was for him too. I loved him when we married and I thought he was a pretty great guy, but the man he is today is so much better. He is not perfect, but he knows suffering and brokenness. He has empathy for others and is less judgmental towards those who are in different places. He has a desire to encourage and help build those up around him. All of those things came from him facing this addiction. It is a long journey but it is worth the fight. The hurt is a lot to deal with and leaving is easier for sure, but if you can muster the strength to stay it might be worth it. Not every relationship is the same you have to sort out for yourself what is your priority but in my experience if they are talking and trying then it is good for us partners to try too.
Hang in there! This too will pass, and you don't have to do it alone.
I do understand how talking and being honest about it on his part leads to more self accountability. We have talked extensively about his childhood, his adolescent years, and his young adult years. We have uncovered a lot in his past that I believe, is a big reason for the addiction. He has told me about the fetish P he used to watch, and it was another layer of what he felt he was lacking as a child. It was as though P became his parents, because it was there when he needed comfort. It didn't judge him as being inadequate. He had control over it. When his mom came to visit in August, I talked to him about a possibility of him having an urge to relapse. I knew it would be possible for him to do so because of everything that was going on with his mom and siblings. He forgot about our conversation, but sure enough, just as I foresaw, he relapsed when his mom was here. Part of me feels like it had to happen to get him in the right mindset of healing because prior to that, he still was not ready to quit. After seeing what it did to me, and after seeing me snap and turn into a different person that he's never met before (I was really, really mad) something sorta clicked in his mind. I made it very clear to him that I wasn't the one that took something from him, because he was free to leave at any point. He was the one that took something from me instead. I ran down the list of everything I gave up to help him. He finally understood and made the commitment to change.

It was the videos on YouTube and the lying about those that upset me, because I agree with you about how lying just opens more doors for other things. The youtube videos were not sexual in nature, but his lying about them is what made it just as bad as if he were still watching P.

It is funny that you said that addicts say that recovering is easier when you have a partner, because my husband and I just talked about that last night. How I observed that those who had a supportive partner seemed less likely to relapse than those who did not. I feel it is the same as how you said: that it is another layer of accountability for them, and they have to see the damage they cause. Him and I have a rule about how he has to tell me everything. I know from his past behavior that by keeping something to himself, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, it starts to build up into something bigger over time. So if he tells me the small things, then we won't have to worry about the big things because they won't happen. He is still struggling with this because he doesn't want to tell me the small things. He feels he should be able to work through them on his own. I have explained to him that in time, he will be able to, but for now, his mind is still too close to his addiction.

I do feel as though there is a root cause to this addiction. As I mentioned before, I am doing reseach on it for my dissertation. I wanted to pool a sample from this site and assess them for that. Perhaps eventually I will be able to do so.

The opposite of addiction is connection. I feel that to be true for all addictions. This one is a bit tougher since they 'connect' with people on screen, even though it isnt real, in their brains, it sorta is. My husband had said in the beginning that giving up P was like breaking up with a girlfriend that has been around since he was 10 (when he first started watching P). That was one of the reasons it was so hard. Like, he had to mourn over it, if that nakes sense?
My husband decided to trickle some more confessions last night. He does not seem to understand that the more he does that, the more it effects me. I started to look into betrayal trauma over this last week, and finally made the connection to my current health issues. I am currently being treated for adrenal problems. Knowing how his actions almost caused my death is devastating, especially when he continues to withhold information and slowly tell me. I have made it clear to him time and again that doing that hurts me more than just saying it all at once. I am hoping he has finally gotten it through his head now that I've shown him just how much the trauma impacts my body.

It was about a year ago when I started having severe heart problems. There were some nights I would go to sleep not knowing if I would wake up in the morning. I had PVC and bradycardia. My heart palpitations would last all through the day and into the night. At night, my heart rate would drop below 40bpm. I would wake up gasping for air because my heart had such a difficult time keeping a rhythm that was normal. I went to several doctors who could not find the source of my problem, and would just send me on my way. I finally found a doctor that listened to me, and tested my adrenal functions. I had been in a constant state of hyper vigilance for 2 years and my adrenals could not handle that much stress for that long anymore and my body was starting to shut down. I am being treated now, but whenever he does these little "I didnt tell you everything" or "i have been lying to you" confessions, my stress hormones go back into that state of wanting to shut down.

I would not wish this on anyone. I can't stress enough how important self care is should you decide to stay with your partner through their recovery. Please, take care of yourself too. Be mindful of what your body is going through. Seek counseling and medical care. This impacts us on a biological level as well as a psychological level.