A solution that will finally work?

Jon11208

Member
I am 38 and have been using porn since puberty. I'm married (for nearly 10 years) and have children and overall have a pretty lucky and happy life. I think I've known on some level that something wasn't right for me behaviorally from a sexual nature since I got together with my wife. However, the last 6 months or so (since I randomly one day confessed my heavy porn use to my wife), I've really learned through looking inward and through therapy how much of a hindrance it is to my relationship and intimacy in my marriage as well as to myself overall. It's actually led to a lot of learning about myself including a diagnosis of ADHD, understanding how I avoid the uncomfortable at almost any cost, and how I use my intellect and abilities to push myself just enough to be successful, but have always felt there is potential I'm leaving on the table by taking the easiest way I can find every time. In this time, I've really improved a lot in terms of being able to recognize when I've avoiding things and have found myself happier, making better choices, and making progress.

The one thing that hasn't gotten fully there is the intimate relationship with my wife. With the admission about the porn use and its dominance in some of my sexual feelings and urges to my wife, she has been understandably hurt. From feelings she's always had that I wasn't attracted to her, to her own issues with her self-esteem around her physical appearance, to her own family history and challenges of not feeling loved and wanted, the admission of the porn use has taken a fairly large toll. That said, she's still worked to support me through the hurt feelings and work together to build a greater and better relationship on the other side. Things have been pretty good between us, but again, we haven't been having much sex or intimacy at all for a while - not unlike most of the time before my admission.

She always had taken my lack of interest as me not being as sexual of a person, so when she found out that I'd had a fairly large porn habit, this is what hurt her most - that I was lying and that I might not be the person she thought she knew and loved and married. She definitely had brought things up to me in the past before and I had explained them away in that nature - that I just wasn't as sexual. I always enjoyed having sex with her, but there was something about porn that made it easier and more comfortable. Until my self-realization several months ago about some deeper issues overall, I had generally attributed it to not being as physically attracted to my wife (while still being somewhat physically attracted) as I was to all of her other amazing qualities that I loved and continue to love and attract me to her. It didn't feel like I was compromising on my partner as much as I was maybe compromising on some of the physical attraction I felt due to some unrealistic expectations around physical attraction and what was attractive that I always felt held me back with women in the past. It just seemed right. I'm a good person. I was always taught it's about what's inside of people that matter and who they are as people. I don't consider myself to be the most attractive person out there, so who was I to have high standards? It didn't even feel abnormal. I didn't think most people's sexual fantasy was their spouse or partner. It wasn't like I didn't She's an amazing woman and I'm lucky to have her in my life. This is truly how I've always felt.

With my work on recent self-realization, and mindfulness, I was relieved almost to find that lack of sexual intimacy with her didn't seem to have to do with my attraction to my wife and my feelings towards her at all. I realized porn was easy and controllable and to boot, what I'd always done since I felt a sexual urge. I realized it allowed me to not have to think about my partner for my sexual needs and how that leaves a relationship to be incomplete. I never even knew what it was like to have an open and intimate relationship with a woman. I realized I had avoided a more physical relationship with a woman in the few opportunities that arose to me in my past. I learned about my tendency to avoid discomfort at all costs and all of the consequences it has caused for me. So, I was happy that my issues weren't with my wife, but were my own to figure out. I was determined to curb the porn watching and allow my marriage to have a rebirth complete with a healthy sexual relationship within it (the one big thing I feel we've had missing).

But even with all of this, I found myself still turning to porn via urges. I've been able to control it in a way I never had been able to before. I was able to explain away the urges because my wife was not there yet to be as sexually active with me (still hurt from the admission and feelings that came with it). I felt like I wanted to have sex with my wife rather than an urge for porn, but she just wasn't ready yet. How could I expect myself to get to the point I need to with this, without that missing piece that's going to replace the hole left by not urging for porn? What I realize today is that this was just myself justifying not going the full length that I knew I needed to kick the habits that I've always had from a sexual perspective and I had to do it the hard way.

Last night, my wife and I planned to be intimate. I was excited. It felt good to be excited about this! I was looking forward to doing certain things that only porn used to truly get me excited about. It also felt like a monumental step in what felt like was a recovery from a selfish and porn-centered sexuality and a true step to a new level in my marriage that was going to make myself and my wife very happy. She found porn on my phone before we even got to getting intimate. Not only was she crushed, I was too. I felt all the shame from my original admittance coming back. I felt like I had ruined all this progress we made in starting to come back together. And most of all, I realized that despite my progress, despite having the right feelings, my behaviors weren't staying up with it. I was still urging for the porn, for the unrealistic aspects of it to turn me on, for the easy, controllable, gratification that it so easily brings me. And I felt motivated to do the thing I've probably been avoiding most - getting rid of the porn.

When I hit the internet to try and research this, I found the same things I've found for such a long time when these feelings would creep in that I needed to do this. I found things that were written that I could identify with only to find out they ended in Christian-based justifications for the evil nature of porn and a bunch of things that I just plainly disagree with from a spiritual sense. This didn't feel like a spiritual challenge - I have the right feelings and intent, but I just can't get the behavior to work with that and it starts a shame cycle I can't seem to stop. If it wasn't a bible-thumping motivation about getting rid of porn, then it was scientific research saying how porn addiction isn't really a real thing and it just led me to try and justify what feels like an addiction. "What I'm doing is normal." But today, I found YBOP and this site and was attracted to the scientific and non-faith-based approach to explaining what is happening in my brain and what makes this so challenging. It also seems to include a level of accountability and habit with this forum and starting this journal that I feel is something I need to prevent myself from justifying any actions and veering from a good path.

This the first day of my reboot. This is the first time I've tried this. I've read a lot today about people relapsing. But I've also read about a lot of success. I'm trying to not get overwhelmed about the journey ahead and feel gratitude that I hopefully found a solution that will work. It seems to work with all of the things I've learned about myself the past several months. But I also realize it is a journey and while today's an important step, now that I've taken it, I just need to work on tomorrow...
 

Jon11208

Member
Day 3

I was very busy with the family yesterday and wasn't able to post here, but I'm happy to say that so far, things have been a bit easier than I was expecting. I've really focused on trying to avoid specific triggers that are the usual times and places that I'd find myself looking at porn and it's worked quite well. Doing that has led to much less temptation or urges than I was expecting at this point.

I had been off of work last week, and have been with my family a lot over the past few days. I am a little bit worried about going back to work on Monday and getting back into a regular routine and how it might put me in the same positions that I find myself when I do get the urge to look at porn and/or PMO.

I do feel that I'm currently also succeeding off of a bit of a high or height of motivation to truly kick this because I know inside that if I can, life will be better on the other side - not just for my relationship with my wife, but in my own self respect, productivity, etc. It feels like if I can show myself I can kick this, that motivation to make other healthy choices will come along with that naturally.

I'm a habitual marijuana smoker for almost as long as I've been looking at porn. There are definite correlations between my urges to get stoned and my inability to control my behavior as well when I am that certainly leads me to porn as well. Since starting my reboot, I was not planning on trying to curb my marijuana use outside of being extremely mindful and aware of it being a trigger. However, I feel like because of their relation in my own behaviors, I've actually found myself with less of an urge to smoke weed as well.

It's only been 3 days, but I'm more hopeful than ever. I don't take this for granted, and I know there are going to be much harder days ahead. That said I'm grateful and excited about how I feel about this right now after a few days. Now, I just need to work on tomorrow...
 

Jon11208

Member
Day 4 (yesterday)

I didn't get to post this yesterday as I was again buy with the family dropping my daughter off at camp for the next 2 weeks. After we dropped her off, my wife and I were able to go with friends of ours (and parents of my daughter's friend who is going to the same camp) to go to a vacation home they have access to and use the development's pool and clubhouse. One thing I've noticed that without looking at porn the last several days is that my noticing of other women (especially around the pool) was heightened. I've always been careful not to look when around my wife, and it wasn't like I was yesterday, but it was just something I noticed. I think the part I'm happy with on that is that when I did, I immediately thought of my commitment to this effort and instead of shaming myself for what could be a similar urge to that of watching porn, that I was able to recognize it, be mindful of it, and continue on without ogling or letting those thoughts or urges lead to anything else later.

In the car yesterday, my wife, who knows that I've been posting here as a new tool to help in my efforts to kick this habit did ask me how things are going with it. I continually find myself in a weird spot where I want to share it with her and tell her how things are going, but she's also been so devastated by this for so long that I don't want to be the one to bring it up. I know that's not quite right and that not talking about it with her would put distance between us. We are very good communicators which is one of the reasons this is so devastating to her and she has lost so much trust for me over it. We had a very good and productive convo about my progress. I was able to share with her the new thoughts and feelings I've had because of reading various threads on this site and new perspective and motivation it's given me as well. Also, to make sure she understands how much she means to me and that I have no expectations of her in terms of specific forgiveness, time it will take to regain trust, or anything of the sort. I'm just so motivated to have the best relationship we can have together and how freeing it feels to even feel like I'm on the right path now. I was even able to bring up my apprehension with talking to her about it because I don't want to make her feel bad by continuing to rehash anything, but also feel like we need to keep having good communication. It was a very positive discussion.

When we got home in the evening, my wife went out to spend time with friends as she does actually every Sunday night. As you can imagine, being home essentially alone (or with kids asleep) it'd leave a perfect opportunity and has been a time when I've found myself PMO'ing. It was almost something I looked forward to weekly because of it, which now honestly feels kind of gross. That said, I was nervous. As I said in previous posts, I've been busy with family stuff the last few days and I was a little worried that was some of the reason for my success so far in not feeling urges as much - I've been occupied. I'm happy to report that last night I was able to relax, get a few things done to allow myself to start the week feeling good, and got to sleep early so that I could wake up early this morning to work out - a routine that I am able to follow when I'm in a good state of mind. I can also say that this routine has definitely been disrupted before by staying up too late in an effort to find "safe" time to PMO.

So, 4 days in the books, still going strong, but the regular routine starts back up today (Monday) - back at work, lots of time alone, usual evening routines and schedules (which is where a lot of the opportunities for looking at porn happen), so I'm nervous but also confident. The nervous and anxious feelings also have a tinge of opportunity with them that is really driving me right now and taking it all one day at a team allows me to celebrate the small victories and wins which is also motivating. So I'm going to use that, and just work on tomorrow (today)...
 

SimonM

Member
Your thoughts reflect very much how I feel and act... Honesty with ourselves is truly key, and being able to share honestly with a partner can be very strengthening I think. Keep it up this week - getting through a regular routine where you used to fail safely is very powerful I think. Don't lose your vigilance. Let's do this together!
 

Jon11208

Member
Thank you @SimonM for the encouragement. It really is all about honesty. You'll see that even more in my post below if you choose to keep reading. I can't lose my vigilance, I won't lose my vigilance. We can all do this together!

Day 6 (yesterday)

I haven't been posting here daily, but I'm trying not feel too bad about that as long as my feelings and progress has not been hindered. I'm still feeling very good about my progress and still feel very motivated.

The biggest challenge I've been having is really around my wife's feelings. She understandably feels so hurt and is struggling to find trust in me at all. She wants to be supportive and she is, but even in just sharing her feelings, it kills me in side. It's something I know needs to happen and something that I've brought upon myself here., The hardest part is how different it feels this time. Not just in finding this site and feeling like I am not alone in this fight, but in how my mindset feels about all of this. How clear it is to me now that everything I'm losing by allowing this habit and addiction to have a level of control over me is so much more valuable than anything porn could or has ever given me.

My mindset has shifted to thinking back to times when I thought something happened to me due to an outside force, but really it was me, avoiding discomfort, lying to myself, and allowing myself to do something that inside I knew was wrong but couldn't even think clearly enough to recognize it. I'm exhausted from the toll this pandemic has taken on me and my family just in our day to day lives luckily not having lost anyone or even having caught it within our household. I'm exhausted from the fights and the explanations and the feeling that my wife thinks I don't respect her and can't be trusted. I'm exhausted from feeling like I'm not my best self and perhaps never was as good as I thought I was. I know that I can be the person I always thought I was, but it requires commitment and mindfulness and communication and support from others. All I can think of is a life that doesn't have to have all of this in it. One where my partner and I can face anything together because we are in sync.

The problem is, no matter how much I see this, there is no way for her to see that this time is different except for time and action. I've gotten us to a place where nothing I can say will actually make a difference now. It's only about doing. She wants so bad to be in sync, to have intimacy, but this has also given her so much doubt about whether I really do love and care about her. If I did, and she told me this was hurting her so bad, why could that not be enough to stop? This is what she struggles with. My intent and feelings are not good enough - it's the behavior that matters.

So I bounce back and forth right now. I'm struggling less than I expected with staying away from porn, even with the restart of our regular routine this week. It makes me elated and motivated. But then I feel depressed and sad and lonely knowing that none of those feelings are in my wife. She's just scared of a life with someone who can't be trusted, who doesn't actually love her and just sees her as filling a certain role, and who will keep hurting her over and over again. She's also exhausted. She also has no control over this. She doesn't know if being together is what's best for either of us. For 10 years she's wanted what lies on the other side of this and finally, I feel like I'm able to overcome this and allow us to have that. For 10 years I've wanted it as well but I've had to learn so much about myself and my tendencies and what is really going on inside of me to really understand what that means. And now that I do, she's not sure if it's even possible.

So I'm trying with all my might to turn those feelings of fear that I may have already lost her into further motivation to just stay the course, take it one day at a time, and just be the person I want to be, that I thought I was but maybe wasn't based on my actions, and show her through action and continued progress and success and effort that I truly love her, respect her, and would never want to do anything to hurt her...by doing exactly that - loving her, respecting her, and not hurting her.

I do believe that she's not lost to me and that I do have a chance, but this chance is my last one. It's going to take a lot of pain truly listening as she shares with me how she's feeling. It's going to take frustration that I can't easily prove to her that how I'm feeling this time is different. It's going to take more time than I want it to. But for right now, I just need to work on tomorrow...
 

Gracie

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
One of the things my husband told me during this difficult time was, “I’m not going anywhere.” He was in it for however long it took and whatever it took for me to trust again.
 
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