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Discussion Starter #1
I’m just looking for some advice on what to do now with my current situation. If you have a thought, please let me know.

My wife and I have been married almost 10 years and were together for almost 7 before that. We met at the end of high school. We broke up a couple of times during college but nothing too long.

To be honest, although I always loved and cared for her, if I look back to the times back then I would say I was somewhat confused and took my time to propose. I was dead broke and couldn’t afford a ring and just overall unsure of the whole process.

Needless to say, we did get married. I’d say the first few years were pretty good. We had lots of financial struggles but made it through ok.

The past 4 years or more have been less than stellar. I think I need to explain a little more though.

Throughout most of my adult life, I spent a lot of time with pornography. When I was younger, it wasn’t very often. However, as I got older it turned into more and more. At my worst, it was close to 10 hours a week. I had a job where I traveled a lot and had lots of free time in the evenings. I felt terrible about it and I know that it caused a lot of issues. Most of the time I spent trying to hide it away and I always denied it. (Just for reference, I didn’t look for other people or go on dating sites; it was me and the images on screen. I felt it wasn’t cheating because it was just viewing and not physical)
I always found my wife to be attractive and have always made a point to tell her so. Our sex life was mostly good and even though the frequency went down at times, we did both seem satisfied.

The first time my wife found out about my porn habit, she was pretty hurt. We worked through it and things seem to get better. However I never seemed to be able to go more than a few months without it. There was always something that got me going on it again – mostly when she upset me or I wasn’t feeling too good about myself. It has taken me a long time to understand it wasn’t just based on the sexual satisfaction.

Just to note – My wife has been very understanding about this issue. She is not against pornography and is liberal when it comes to sex. She is more upset about the lying and deception. And, just as an FYI - cheating with other people hasn’t played a part for either of us in this.


I’ve learned a lot about pornography and how it affects me and my attitudes. I’ve done everything from seeing therapists and even visiting a few group therapy sessions. I understand the damage it has but my gut tells me that even if I stopped forever that we’d still have issues. Maybe that’s why I kept using it off and on for so long.


So, the past couple of years followed a similar pattern of us being “ok” then there was always something that shifted us into a pattern of unhappiness. To be honest, I don’t feel it was all related to the porn. There would be times when it wasn’t a part of my life and the tension in our home was always high. Any little thing would set off one of us. Although we’ve had our share of arguments, including a lot of screaming and yelling, I’m glad to say that we’ve never resorted to name calling or really trying to take each other down. It seemed to always be about who caused the issue.

So, at one point last year things reached an extreme level for her. She had a long trip planned and decided to stay for most of the summer to get away. She wanted to separate (her words). To be honest, I probably didn’t use my time wisely. I was incredibly depressed. Although I limited my porn use, it was still there as a faithful friend. I did see a therapist a couple of times then and although she wasn’t very helpful, it was nice to talk. After a lot of thought, I decided I didn’t want to give up and I ended up going to surprise my wife and we reunited. Things seem to be good for a while.


This past year my wife had an incredibly hectic and stressful summer. During most of this time, I wasn’t using porn but I was very busy on my own professionally. During this time we had frequent arguments on how I wasn’t supportive or very empathetic. A lot of times I simply just tried to stay out of the way to avoid a fight and that caused fights.


Lately it seemed that when I got home I was always worried that a bomb was going to drop and that maybe I did something wrong. She has told me that she also felt stress just coming home because of all of our issues.

Cut to now – Last week we had a big argument that was caused when I was caught in lie. I wasn’t out doing anything wrong, but I lied about where I was simply because I didn’t want to get into a long discussion about my day or my schedule. I know this was a stupid mistake but I think it was just the last straw to a bigger issue.

Anyway, she basically said that I’ve proven I can’t be trusted and I can’t honor promises I’ve made. So, she said there was no point to be together anymore. Although I guess I expected it, I asked her if I could fix it. I asked for more time and we decided on 30 days.

To be honest, even though I got 30 days, from the first day I honestly didn’t know what to do. Everything I did in the past proved to her I never treated her the way I should have. I could have pleaded forgiveness and offered to fix things but she has told me that she’s heard it all before.

We saw our couple’s therapist on Friday and talked about it. He has been very helpful for us and explained how he’s always known we are different people. She is very good for me but I’m not good for her. Although we were much closer when we met, it seems like now we’ve grown apart and even the little things seem to push us apart.

The tipping point for me was when he asked her if she had already had her mind made up. In other words, would her decision 30 days from now be the same as it is now? Her response was basically that unless a miracle happened we would go our separate ways. I would have to do a complete change.


I spent the next 2 days apart from her. After a lot of thinking I’ve realized that she’s right and I did mess things up. But, I wasn’t always actively trying to sabotage things and sometimes it just seemed like she would bring up something small just because the big issues still lingered. I’ve always wanted to stay together and fix it but could never get it right permanently.

She has been a wonderful partner and always did a lot to try and understand me and my issues. I know I never really did the same for her. I know I love her but I couldn’t make it right.

I’ve always had it in my head that I could never be forgiven by her. Even when things were good, she would always take things with a “we’ll see what happens” attitude, rather than planning for the future. I let that affect me for sure.

I came to the conclusion that I cannot go on hurting her like this. She is really “better off without me” and I am not going to be the person that keeps bringing this pain on. Although I want to improve there is no way I can guarantee I will ever fix things permanently.

I admit that I caused all the trouble and she's wonderful. That's the worst part. She was great but I didn't pull through. And, I don't want to do that again.

I told her that I didn’t want to keep hurting her. I said she is much better without me and if not being in her life keeps her from being more hurt, I want that for her.


Now, we’re stuck in this weird spot. Although I’m staying in the same house, I’m in another room. I’ve tried to be respectful of her and her time and I think I’m being more like a roommate.

Over the past few days it seems that she’s upset with how I’m acting. Although I’d love to try to bring the romance back and give this another shot, all signs point to her decision being made.


The feeling I get now is that she’s expecting me to be a great husband or implement some sort of great change. But she made it clear that even if I did do great things, it wouldn’t matter. I feel like I should be as nice as possible but it’s not fair to give her mixed signals if it won’t lead anywhere.


Right now she seems incredibly hurt (which I understand) but she did make the decision that she can’t take anymore. If she wanted me to move out, I probably would but she didn’t ask me to. I know that I need to seek help for myself and I am prepared to do that.

It’s almost like she is telling me that she wants to end it but I’m supposed to be everything I was before when times were good. If all my efforts are going to yield the same result of her leaving, I think we should start working towards ending it in the best way possible. I feel like we can be friends and make this easy and that’s what I’m doing.



If she really wants to end it, what is she expecting from me?
 

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I'm sorry you are feeling so confused, but I have to say, you remind me of my husband.
It's a "move" even children use.
Hang your head and admit all blame. Invoke sympathy.
You deserve better than me. Really?
And how do you know that? Are you so sure that you know what it is best for her? And how come you get to decide that?
She wants to be treated with respect, and honesty.
She gets to make the choice of whether or not you are "good enough for her". Not you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Deejov, you make a good point.

I think the "sympathy" move is one that a lot of men make. I know I've done it before. The difference for me is that before I felt like I knew I was using it to gain sympathy. This time I'm saying it because I believe it.

I am treating her with respect but it was made clear by that unless I make drastic changes, we are done. I don't know that I'm capable of the changes she wants and I know that don't want to lie to her again.

I am admitting blame here because I feel it is my fault. You are right that only she knows what's best for her, but I know I can't keep hurting her like this.
 

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wow, you're experience seems so similar to the path my husband and i are headed towards. it's actually kind of scary how much are situations are alike.

my husband too has constantly struggled with porn. i, unlike you wife and anti-porn. i feel as though i am not good enough for him when he looks at porn and he is disrespecting me tremendously. i have also caught my husband lying about his whereabouts, and his excuse was the same as yours, "he just didn't feel like dealing with it".

obviously, i do not know your wife but from what you have written your relationship seems like it needs a miracle to be saved. as a woman, i would say, DO NOT GIVE UP!! until she sits you down with the divorce papers and makes you sign, you still have a chance. you are still living together!! take advantage of that while you can!! cook a romantic dinner, do laundry, take out the trash, leave her love notes under her pillow, but her some bubble bath and candles and create a relaxing night for her! don't take the "sexual" route unless she initiates, but just show her that YOU CARE!! nice gestures go a long way..i know you two have your problems but don't give up now!! even if it seems to go unnoticed, its not. she is filled with resentment and anger right now, but you have got to push through! i'm serious, keep trying!! spend time together, whether its watching a movie or cooking dinner. just whatever you do DONT GIVE UP!! you owe it to yourself to know that you tried everything you could to keep your marriage together. if you go get divorced, you dont want to look back and wonder what else you could have done! so do it now, while you have the chance!!
 

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I agree, you need to keep trying.
So hang up the sympathy hat, and get to tryin.
Don't know if you can do what she wants? Then you will fail.
Think you are not worthy of her? Then you won't be.
Your self esteem is your responsibility. What can she do to help you succeed?
She has set some boundaries. Live by them, or at least make an effort. Actions for your responsibilities. It's not easy to do, but it would be the right thing to do. Ask for help, take the help, and believe in yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you to Deejov and Stuck.88 for your responses. I do like hearing your thoughts.

One thing I wanted to add - As far as the doing things, such as cooking dinner, doing laundry, trash and more romantic things - I've done those and didn't really stop during any of our troubles.

I will admit that I may not have always been the best person to be around at times, but I did more than my share of housework. In fact, I did most of the cooking and at least half of the cleaning.

One thing I've noticed - A little over a week ago I finally let my mind settle in to the notion that we are done. I felt it might be a good idea to really think about what would happen. One of the effects is that my interest in sneaking off to watch porn has vanished. I am aware that using porn to comfort is a power thing and that sometimes I was using it to get back at her or do something just for myself. If she's not with me, then maybe I don't need to get back at her?

Also, anyone got thoughts on people just growing apart? We're both in our mid 30s so we've known each other forever. I don't know if we share the same interests anymore.
 

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Is there any possibility that you would prefer to not choose between the porn and your wife? Wouldn't it be wonderful to just be able to freely do what you want? You would not have to give it up? By saying you don't know if you can do what she wants, do you mean you don't WANT to give up the porn? If that's the case, then that's just how it is. I'm not judging anyone. I have no comment on the subject, but being honest about it would be only human.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another good point - Deejov.

Sure, I would love to not have to choose. I'm thinking now that even if I was able to have a "small" amount of time with porn, it still might cause a lot of problems.

The thing is now I'm not even watching it and we're still just having issues. It's just very tense. I'm being nice and doing things around the house, etc and it continues to be bad.

We will get into a conversation and it ends in a fight. I've been trying to read and go slow this time to make sure things sink in. But it's like every night she wants to know if I've learned anything or have anything to say. I've got lots of work to do lately and haven't been able to devote the time to it. I wish I did.

I guess I made peace with her leaving and I'm not sure what to do. I'm at the point of trying to make this as easy as possible and she still wants to press me for more information.
 

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Yes, it does sound like you do want to do what you want, and that includes porn. You might try telling her the truth.

You truly do not want to be the husband she wants, you want to be free, single, and not answer to anyone for your actions. She can sense this. She's asking if you are willing to "grow up".
You are not. She still gets to decide if she wants to accept you as you are. But you should be fair to her and tell her this.

"I do what she asks me to do". Women know this is a child reaction to a mother scolding.
I have experience with this. Recently, instead of "scolding" about drinking and acting irresponsibly, I simply said "you are free". Calmly explained... let's sell the house. You take your share, and you can go buy a camper van or small motorhome, and travel around to bars. Quit your job, and live off the money. Be free. Find someone who wants to party every night, and maybe you will be happy.
Why do things halfway? If that's what you want to do, go do it!

As a man, I'm not sure how your ego would survive if you did this.
If you are looking for confirmation that it's okay to admit that you dont' want responsibility or don't want to compromise porn because your wife asked you to, no one can give you that. It's your life. But it's not really NORMAL for a man to give up his wife because he wants freedom like you do.

What are you so afraid of???
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I understand your point again.

And, I've been in enough therapy to see the "mothering" type relationship I created in my head. I know a lot of husbands do this.

You're right, I should be a "grown up". But if part of that is not being able to speak my mind or voice my opinion, how is that fair to either one of us?

Over the past two weeks I've really been trying to be honest and say what I do or don't like to do. This is something she's always asked for. However, now when I say what I feel - she gets upset. This is part of the reason I never felt comfortable saying things around her in the first place. I felt I'd be questioned on every little thing and sometimes I just wanted to say how I felt or make a statement.

As for the porn, I know I can get it to a place we are both happy with in terms of watching or not watching. But, it seems we will never move past it. It's always there and will be brought up with anything I might do wrong in the future.

I'm not in this situation because I want "freedom". Trust me, I know that I will be a sad lonely person by myself, at least for a while. But, I also don't want more of this constant tension and I know she doesn't either. I've hurt her a lot and I've admitted that. So, at this point I know I can't promise to make drastic changes and have her believe me.

For the record, I know that this is only my side here and that she would offer up a lot of things I've done wrong.
I guess the message I've always heard is "Show me what you can do to fix this" and never really heard that she wanted to be with me.
 

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I can understand that. you want to hear that she wants to be with you.
And you are now speaking your mind, which is great! She's upset about it, it's only been two weeks. No one likes "upset", but at least it's being communicated. I would not stop talking.
A dynamic change. It will take some time. You may have to prove to each other that your actions will mirror what you say.

Know what I would do? I would flat out forgive her. Take the lead. Offer to wipe the slate clean. Hopefully she will do the same.
She could offer insight into things you have done wrong? That's in the past.

Focus on being nice to each other. Compliment each other. Think of something to say everyday. Stop criticizing each other, and bringing up faults. Save that for planned relationship discussions, put it ON the table, talk about it, and try to take it OFF the table when you are done. Write her a letter, tell her all the reasons why you love her. Ask her to do the same thing.

There is nothing wrong with her wanting confirmation that you are following up with what she wants. That shows she is committed. She's trying to keep you engaged in the process. And guarding her emotions, because you seem to give really BIG signals that you aren't going to stick around.

So either split, or sit down and talk. Decide to be friends and stop judging each other. Enjoy today. Stop thinking so much about the future.
 
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