The last attempt - Talk About Marriage
Relationships and Addiction Whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, pornography, or anything else, addictions can be detrimental to the health of a relationship.

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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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The last attempt

So, here goes. I hope there are those out there who can relate. My wife and I have been married for 20 years, and we have 4 children. Over the past 5+ years, I have been "recovering" from sexual addiction, and the reason I use quotations is because the recovery has not been clean. It has been very much like a roller coaster, with good times of sobriety, and not-so-good times as well. When I say sexual addiction, I mean a pornography addiction, which began when I found a neighbor's magazine stash when I was about 11 years old, unbeknown to my parents, which progressed to an almost daily ritual. When my wife and I got married, and int those years, I didn't call it an addiction, but that's what it was. Looking back now at my intimacy with my wife, I realize it has always been dysfunctional, because much of our sexual relationship was very selfish and controlling by me, driven by the fantasy-type scenarios which porn propagates. My wife had no idea that I would watch porn, but she found out probably 15 years ago. We didn't deal with it then, simply swept it under the rug, and I continued to struggle privately. The pornography addiction advanced to chatting, even emailing from the chatting, etc. Although I never have had a physical affair with anyone, I have had several mind and heart affairs through the images I have seen and the people I have communicated with. Over the past 4 years, my wife and I have been separated for about 2.5 years of that time, and for the past 20 months consecutively. I live only 5 minutes away, so as to remain in close contact with the kids and available. Despite all of this, and this only scratches the surface, as there is a lot of junk in my wife's childhood and life that compound things, we do love each other. Love is present, but we find ourselves now in a strange place. There is something worth looking up, and it's called Sternberg's Triangular Theory of love. My wife and I have friendship love and companionate love, but our physical relationship has died. W have not had sex for over 2 years in the midst of all of this. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of the relationship tumult, my wife gained maybe 40-50 pounds as she was consuming much alcohol to medicate the pain, and, at the same time, she said "I don't care how I look for you anymore". Now, I am in a good place in my recovery, sober, and getting healthy, and although my wife and I do relate well to each other, I have no idea what healthy intimacy looks like with her. I do not think of her as a sexual being anymore. There is nothing that we do to entice the other, flirt with each other, or make each other feel wanted or important, a consequence of everything we've been through. And it has been a long time. We both agree that we are framing the next 6 months as a special period of separation, at the end of which, if we are both in healthy places emotionally-trustworthy, honest, sober, and having integrity, that if we still are not able to relate to one another in a way that would exist within a marriage relationship, that it may be time to move on. I cannot imagine a passion-less, desire-less marriage. I feel that there is effort required on both of our parts to move towards each other by the end of that time, at the end of that time. For my part, and this is where I really need commentary, especially from the females, I believe that I must be about a few things: 1. Surrender my sexuality to God, and ask Him to change me, to give me eyes for my wife, after all we have been through, to help my struggle, 2. To get healthy myself, at all costs, and 3. Relate to my wife in such a way that it motivates her to move towards me; help her to feel loved and cared for during this time of separation, in an entirely non-sexual way(making her life as easy as I can, being available, helping her, listening to her, being patient, loving our children, kind, thoughtful, just being different). I want to attempt to meet needs that she may have in a subtle, unselfish, and consistent way, always looking for different ways to do so. I want to speak her love language. But, in doing so, the way in which I want her to move towards me is in the physical realm. I want her to want to take care of herself for me. What would speak to me at the end of this 6 months is for her to move towards me physically-to somehow, someway indicate to me that she wants me to look at her, that she wants to entice me, to draw me in. If she took control of her diet and began to exercise consistently, doing it first for herself, but wanting me to notice, she would have me. I love her, but I want to WANT her as well, and in a healthy way, not the way we have related in the past. Am I being selfish? Is that too much to ask? I am very fit, and so I do not ask as one who isn't also working hard to stay that way.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 01:32 AM
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Re: The last attempt

Just a quick note here.. I deleted your other thread since only one thread allowed per topic. The other thread was a duplicate of this one.

Also, please edit your thread and add paragraphs. It's hard to read a wall of text.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 01:35 AM
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Re: The last attempt

My bet is that your wife has put up walls to protect herself from your acting out sexually. Few people could emotionally survive what you have put her through without those sorts of walls. So she has shut herself down sexually.

Her weight and not taking care of herself is part of that wall.

What sort of counseling has she had to deal with what she has been through?

What sort of marriage counseling have the two of you been through?
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 01:37 AM
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Re: The last attempt

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Originally Posted by 71Climber View Post
Looking back now at my intimacy with my wife, I realize it has always been dysfunctional, because much of our sexual relationship was very selfish and controlling by me, driven by the fantasy-type scenarios which porn propagates. ...

The pornography addiction advanced to chatting, even emailing from the chatting, etc. Although I never have had a physical affair with anyone, I have had several mind and heart affairs through the images I have seen and the people I have communicated with. ...

In the midst of all of this, in the midst of the relationship tumult, my wife gained maybe 40-50 pounds as she was consuming much alcohol to medicate the pain, and, at the same time, she said "I don't care how I look for you anymore". ...

I do not think of her as a sexual being anymore. ...

I want her to want to take care of herself for me. What would speak to me at the end of this 6 months is for her to move towards me physically-to somehow, someway indicate to me that she wants me to look at her, that she wants to entice me, to draw me in. If she took control of her diet and began to exercise consistently, doing it first for herself, but wanting me to notice, she would have me. I love her, but I want to WANT her as well, and in a healthy way, not the way we have related in the past. Am I being selfish? Is that too much to ask? I am very fit, and so I do not ask as one who isn't also working hard to stay that way.
Ok...it does sound like you love your wife in some parts of your post. But I just broke out the parts that are very difficult to read without feeling sad for your wife. It sounds like you....

compared her to women in porn

expected her to look and act like women in porn

pressured her to do so

disrespected what she actually wanted to do and controlled the sex to your own wishes

eventually started chatting with other women and had EA's

....and literally broke her self esteem in the process.

Now she doesn't care how she looks for you, she has developed a drinking problem just to handle the pain you've caused her, and yet...you still want her to prioritize being attractive to you and fulfill you sexually.

It is funny because on another thread I am discussing how important I believe attraction is, and that it is a necessary component for me in a relationship (to feel mutual attraction with my partner). And yet, if someone did to me what you have done to your wife, I would never even want them to be attracted to me again. I wouldn't want them to touch me again, either. It would just hurt too much, if what you wrote was a fair portion of the truth (and I suspect there's so much more to it and you've downplayed it) I just could not ever feel loved and cherished by you, no matter what you did.

I do wish you luck, I just don't know how you'll ever repair the wounds you've delivered to her self esteem. If it were me it couldn't be done.

Remember the goal of feminism: Making sure only alphas get laid!
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 02:04 AM
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Re: The last attempt

Re: and we have 4 children.
IMO, any parent needs to put the wellbeing of their kids way out in front of every other obligation so I'd do whatever it takes to make sure my parenting does NOT damage my kids and can HELP them grow up healthy and happy.
good luck....

choose happiness
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 03:46 AM
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Re: The last attempt

OP,

You've wrecked your 20 year marriage with porn and multiple emotional affairs. You swore before God and man to love and honor your wife, but you expected her to be a porn star and do things that she may feel degrading to her. How does that honor her to tear down her self-esteem and self-worth? You are the adulterer in your marriage, you are the serial cheater, but now you expect your wife to make herself attractive and presentable to you? OMG, have you any idea what you've done to your poor wife? Do you understand how much you have abused her psychologically and emotionally? Your actions drove her to the bottle to numb her pain. She's given you the best years of her life and you've been a selfish prick, but you now expect her to draw closer to you? If that doesn't reek of an entitlement mentality, I don't know what does. You throw the word "love" around so cavalierly, but people like you have no concept of what love is. Love is patient, love is kind; love protects and nurtures. You've done the opposite of all those things!

You say you've turned over your sexuality to God but you've given her a timetable to make herself to want you sexually or you'd walk away and abandon your wife. Holy Mary, how is that being patient and kind? It's all about you and what you want, and what you need. What about her? Have you thought about the hell that you've put her in? Where's your empathy?

You want to heal the rift between you and her? Then go to her; fall down on your knees. Humble yourself before your wife whom you've wrong, in front of your children. Confessed your sins to her and to your children and beg them for their forgiveness. See if you have the integrity to do that! I doubt it. You've wrong them, so you need their forgiveness, but no forgiveness can be given until confessions are made. Set the example for them, to show them what being a righteous man really means.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The last attempt

Faithful Wife, thank you for your honest appraisal. That's why I posted. Yes, there is much messiness that I have created these past many years. I haven't ever been with another woman physically, and yet the time with pornography, and in the chat room are wounds which I am responsible for creating. The points you make are all valid, and tremendously valuable for me to see someone else make, someone who is not involved in our situation. I need to be able to see things from her perspective, and yet somehow in an objective way, without the emotion. My wife is an amazing woman, she truly is, and I do love her. We have both undergone a tremendous amount of counseling, we relate well, and I still believe we can enjoy a marriage unlike we have experienced in the past. It is a process handled carefully and patiently, and requires commitment on both of our parts. I hope that we can establish a new covenant between us, a testimony to God's faithfulness to us, not our faithfulness to Him. I have broken that trust, but am working on getting it back. Along the way, I need to be reminded of the impact of my actions, and the amends that must be made. I am fortunate in that my wife wants everything to work out between us. The years of porn and its associated results prevent true intimacy. Anyone who believes that pornography is "healthy" is very naive. It is a destroyer of intimacy. We are starting over from scratch, I am optimistic because I am seeking to discover and live in my true self, with integrity and absolute honesty, and seeking to love her in a way that seeks intimacy, not intensity. Again, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your candor. True healing, if possible, within our relationship begins with me, not with her, in my ability to love her unselfishly and completely, asking nothing in return.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The last attempt

Becareful2, thank you for your time to comment. Please don't assume you know the entire story by what I have posted. You call me a "prick", and then you quote Scripture to me. I find that very interesting. I understand the marriage covenant, and yes, I have broken it multiple times. I don't deny that and never have. And do not think that I have not had an absolutely full disclosure to my wife, and my children as well. My reason for posting is for someone to offer constructive perspective rather than an insulting diatribe. There are ways to get your point across without resorting to an all-out tirade.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 10:41 AM
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Re: The last attempt

I read an article recently that says only 1/100 obese people ever get back to normal weight.

You refuse to accept her as she is, with that extra 45 lbs. I'm not judging you, in fact I get where you're coming from and if that was the only factor I agree it would be an issue for me too.

Anyway, she's probably not going to lose the weight, therefore there's really nothing else to talk about in terms of trying to fix things. All that other stuff, you do to improve yourself as a person, although if it was me I wouldn't rely too much on some invisible guy in the sky to save me.

Things are more like they are now, than they ever were before - Dwight D Eisenhower
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The last attempt

EleGirl, thank you for your comment. I have sort of responded in the thread, in a couple of responses. I have needed this discussion, as it is helping me to see things outside of myself, which was my hope. Sometimes it's truly difficult to have such perspective when there has been the passage of so much time, and with so much messiness. It's really necessary to put the boots on and wade through it. I am thankful I have a wife who is willing to walk through it with me. Alongside us both we have good men and women, we are not alone. I for one, believe in the power of God to heal even things such as this. Many things that have happened in both of our lives, in our childhoods, outside of our marriage have contributed to the challenges of overcoming addiction, healing, and moving forward. But our marriage is worth fighting for, and any perspective I can gain I greatly appreciate.
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 11:43 AM
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Re: The last attempt

My heart aches for your wife when I read this post. There is just so much broken here. Your expectation for your wife to get healthy in 6months is selfish and asking too much. There should be no timeframe, especially since you spent your 20 YEAR marriage wrecking her self esteem.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 11:45 AM
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Re: The last attempt

Define was sober means. When was the last time you watched porn? How often do you masterbate?
What are you doing to better yourself? IC? Church?
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 12:00 PM
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Re: The last attempt

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Originally Posted by 71Climber View Post
EleGirl, thank you for your comment. I have sort of responded in the thread, in a couple of responses. I have needed this discussion, as it is helping me to see things outside of myself, which was my hope. Sometimes it's truly difficult to have such perspective when there has been the passage of so much time, and with so much messiness. It's really necessary to put the boots on and wade through it. I am thankful I have a wife who is willing to walk through it with me. Alongside us both we have good men and women, we are not alone. I for one, believe in the power of God to heal even things such as this. Many things that have happened in both of our lives, in our childhoods, outside of our marriage have contributed to the challenges of overcoming addiction, healing, and moving forward. But our marriage is worth fighting for, and any perspective I can gain I greatly appreciate.
Iíve been through something similar to what your wife has experienced. I can tell you that the on-line affair, the emotional affairs (EA), can be as devastating as physical affairs (PA). The same with porn addictions.

These things chipped away at my self-esteem. The only way to survive it emotionally was to put up those walls. And yes, gaining weight was part of it. In the end I had to divorce him to save my self-respect.

He always said he right things about changing, fixing himself, loving me, etc etc. But his commitment to it was not there.

Your wife says that she wants to work on your marriage. You are so lucky that she is still willing to even try. This might be as good as it gets. She might never be able to let you any closer than she does now. You are not a safe (emotionally) to be in a relationship with.

It will take years for her to let those walls down and trust you. Each time you slip up, her ability to trust you goes back to square one.

What are you doing to protect yourself, your wife and your marriage so that you donít mess up again?
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 12:35 PM
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Re: The last attempt

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Originally Posted by 71Climber View Post
Faithful Wife, thank you for your honest appraisal. That's why I posted. Yes, there is much messiness that I have created these past many years. I haven't ever been with another woman physically, and yet the time with pornography, and in the chat room are wounds which I am responsible for creating. The points you make are all valid, and tremendously valuable for me to see someone else make, someone who is not involved in our situation. I need to be able to see things from her perspective, and yet somehow in an objective way, without the emotion. My wife is an amazing woman, she truly is, and I do love her. We have both undergone a tremendous amount of counseling, we relate well, and I still believe we can enjoy a marriage unlike we have experienced in the past. It is a process handled carefully and patiently, and requires commitment on both of our parts. I hope that we can establish a new covenant between us, a testimony to God's faithfulness to us, not our faithfulness to Him. I have broken that trust, but am working on getting it back. Along the way, I need to be reminded of the impact of my actions, and the amends that must be made. I am fortunate in that my wife wants everything to work out between us. The years of porn and its associated results prevent true intimacy. Anyone who believes that pornography is "healthy" is very naive. It is a destroyer of intimacy. We are starting over from scratch, I am optimistic because I am seeking to discover and live in my true self, with integrity and absolute honesty, and seeking to love her in a way that seeks intimacy, not intensity. Again, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your candor. True healing, if possible, within our relationship begins with me, not with her, in my ability to love her unselfishly and completely, asking nothing in return.
This sounds good, but I do not think it is realistic that you would ask nothing in return. We all ask things from our partner.

It sounds like both you and your wife need to be as honest as possible, first with yourselves, and then with each other.

And if you cannot meet each other's needs, I think it would be healthiest if you parted ways.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 02:05 PM
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Re: The last attempt

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Becareful2, thank you for your time to comment. Please don't assume you know the entire story by what I have posted. You call me a "prick", and then you quote Scripture to me. I find that very interesting. I understand the marriage covenant, and yes, I have broken it multiple times. I don't deny that and never have. And do not think that I have not had an absolutely full disclosure to my wife, and my children as well. My reason for posting is for someone to offer constructive perspective rather than an insulting diatribe. There are ways to get your point across without resorting to an all-out tirade.
You dragged God into this first but God had nothing to do with your betrayal of your wife and kids. I find it very interesting that a serial adulterer is now hiding behind God to make himself look good and his wife the "weaker" partner in need of help. Next, you're going to tell me you're a church-going family man or a deacon.

It's one thing to disclose; it's entirely something else to do it on bended knees. You asked for constructive criticism, well, there it is. Let's see if you have the humility to do what it takes to repair the damage you've caused or just do the bare minimum and declare that you've tried, and walk away.
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