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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes it was wrong. But I really didn't see it that way at the time. It sounds so ignorant looking back now.

I won't dwell on the fact that this is my first post, but will mention it just as a heads up - if you're looking for all of the abbreviations etc., I haven't really memorized them yet.

Having said that though, I have been coming here for the past few months - ever since I opened up and confessed to my wife about my indiscretion(s).

Having read through some other posts, I know there will be several mixed views on this, and thats fine. I'm not looking for anyone to say "its ok" or that "its not that bad", or reassure me that everything will work out in the future. No...I'm writing this for a few reasons. Maybe to show my wife. Maybe just to provide a heads up to others out there. Maybe in the hopes that someone can provide some advice on what else I can do. Or maybe just as a means of catharsis.

So here is the background: I'm in my mid-30s. Dated a few different girls in the past, and married the love of my life last year. It truly is amazing when you meet the person you want to be with - I describe it as "you know that feeling where you always say you want a certain life (i.e. I see myself married, big house, fancy cars, with kids, boat, cabin, etc.)....well, she was the first and only girl that I actually SAW as a part of that life. When I met her, I actually saw the face of that person". Never in a million years did I think I would do anything to hurt her.

A bit more background: I was cheated on PA (Physical Affair?) in 3 of my previous relationships. Well - I'll say 2, because its really a stretch to call 1 of them a relationship. I'm not looking for sympathy or anything, and really, I don't think it factors into the discussion, but in the interests of full disclosure, I thought I'd mention it. Also - at the time we were married, I was a virgin (as was my wife). I'll make note of the fact that this was by choice - religion, beliefs, values, morals, whatever you want to call it - we'd just shared that. Maybe weird, but again, I'm not looking to get the discussion side-tracked with that, or have people comment that the reason people cheated was blah blah blah, or whatever the case might be. Lets just stay focused :)

Anyway, I realize now that while I was single, I developed some really inappropriate habits. Namely, what I would call a porn addiction. Not addiction in the sense that "oh I need porn", but just in the sense of a habit almost - and I justified it to myself on the basis that it was my outlet or release, since I was saving myself for that one special person. The strange part is that if you knew me - you'd find that totally out of character. I'm your typical nice guy (with a bit of an edge of course :)). I don't drink, never done drugs, am completely opposed to strip clubs and the like, etc. I've even missed out on friends bachelor parties because strippers were involved. I've just always found it inappropiate, and disrespectful to the person I've been with. I'd never even consider talking to another female for any extended period of time (don't take that literally I suppose) - I just mean that I'm always very aware of potential "threats" to my relationship, and conducting myself in ways that would make a SO (Significant Other?) question my commitment or feel uneasy etc. Its weird - I truly did just view the internet porn thing as "not real". Somehow I justified that, and even messaging random women in chat rooms (note: not engaging in "cyber sex" or flirting, but just talking about different fetishes etc.) as the same. I even went to great lengths to ensure that if I was exchanging messages with a woman, it was an older woman (i.e. late 40s), I'd assume a fake name etc., and provide no details about my "real" life. It was just a fantasy world, so to speak. And I see now, just how messed up that is. (And again, each to their own, as I suspect some may have no problem with that).

Yes, I know, quit rambling about how great I am, and get on with the point of this story.

So thats the background. We get married, we start our sex life together. Its not as often as a person might like (maybe once a month for a variety of reasons, but we are workign on that), but that we can save for another post. Fast forward to a few months and, when sitting at home alone one day, I dial up the porn. Basically just out of boredom. I end up exchanging a few messages with an older woman (not from my area) on one of the fetish blogs, about things that she has experienced in living that lifestyle. I'll note that while the particular lifestyle intrigues me, its not something I would EVER consider actually following through on in reality. Again, there's that word: reality.

Anyway, fast forward a few more weeks, and we're having a discussion with friends of ours, where the wife states how upset she would be if she found out the husband was still looking at porn. This leads to a discussion on the drive home, during which my wife mentions to me that she, too, would probably be upset if I was still looking at porn (again, lets not say thats legit or not. It is legit, regardless of what anyone else thinks, because its an issue for her). Of note - we had the discussion before we were married about porn, sex toys, etc. She knew that I would, from time to time, access porn, and I knew that she would, from time to time, use an aid to assist herself. Anyway, we had a bit of a discussion about it, and about how being married changed her view on a few things, or how she just assumed that certain things wouldn't happen anymore once we were married. Long story short, I knew immediately that I had betrayed her trust and confidence, and done something that she wouldn't approve of. And, the fact that I had exchanged messages with another woman, made it all the worse (we talked about whether or not a "phone sex" line would be inappropriate, and she explained how seeking release or stimulation or whatever outside of the marriage was just plain inappropriate).

I know that got a bit rambly, and I apologize for that. I didn't want a super long post that people wouldn't read. In any event, during that discussion, it was like a light was turned on in my head, and I suddenly realized that what I had done, adn really, had done for years in the past, was just plain wrong. I thought a lot about vows, what a marriage really is about, etc....and I knew I'd really messed up. And, worst part of all, I knew it was going to hurt her. Whether one chooses to call it cheating, infidelity, disrespectful, or just plain stupid, doesn't really matter.

Despite that though, I knew I had to tell her. It caught her totally offguard, and really made her question the person that I was. Like I said - it was so against everything I stood for. We've talked through it a few times now. The crappy part is, I can't really sit here and say "oh this is exactly what I said, this is exactly how it went down, etc". I can tell her exactly what I've said here - that it wasn't "cybersex", that it wasn't me sitting and getting off in front of a computer, that it wasn't an "emotional affair", that these (I'm referring to people in the past before we were married too) people were just strangers, and that the whole thing was just a form of enhanced masturbation. A form of fantasy. But given the nature of it, I can't actually pull up a messaging history or anything like that. And that really sucks, since I'd like to prove that to her. I don't have any accounts or anything like that to give her a password too, and she has always had my email password (I just use our joint account).

I guess to wrap things up, my point is - I don't see the porn / internet messaging, etc. as just a fantasy world, or something that "isn't real" anymore. Or maybe I do see it that way, but realize that I was lying to myself. Its funny...until that conversation, I somehow managed to justify porn and messaging strange women as "ok", yet going to a strip club, or staring at the waitress as just plain wrong. I really do think that porn etc. messes with your head...I see that in a variety of ways (there is, of course, that website "this is your brain on porn"). My wife is amazing - beyond amazing. And it kills me that I've hurt her in the way that I have. Every day I am faced with the fact that she may not see me in that same light that I still her - and thats really, really tough to deal with, because she deserves the type of person that I see when I am with her. We don't talk much about this anymore....she doesn't want to think about it, and although I will ask her from time to time how she is doing, I don't want to have her reliving bad memories. I've made it clear to her that I'm willing to answer questions, etc. though, and am in the process of putting a little note together that explains things as best I can (much better than here, but I forgot that note at home), so she can always look back at it and see right then and there the answers to her questions.

Writing that all out, it may not sound that bad, but unless you've been in the situation, I suppose you can't really comment. I really do see things differently now, and I'm glad that we had this conversation at this point in our marriage, rather than the behaviour continuing for several years into the future. I know there will be comments re: expectations not being clear, etc....but really....they're pretty clear, if you're not lying to yourself and justifying things like I was. So hey - maybe this will cause someone to look at their own situation, and do a bit of a gut check. If not, thanks for listening - and oh - if anyone has any further advice on what things I could do to help the wife in this unique set of circumstances, I'd appreciate it! (And wow, do I ever hope this isn't as long as I think it is).
 

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You put parts of your life in different compartments. You were a virgin at marriage based on religion but then did other things that went against your religion. You respect your wife in real life but disrespected her in your online life.

Being invovled even for 'enhanced' masterbation with real women is a lot different than porn. For one thing it's called sexting. While not as bad as a physical affair in person, it's the cyber equivalency.

I think you need to look very close at your ability to self justify and compartimentalize.

Also, you have sex with your wife about once a month? Sex 10 times a year or less is considered a sexless marriage. Sex 2-4 times a week is more normal. Plus you two are newly weds... sex daily is not unusual for newly weds.

Why are the two of you in an almost sexless marriage? What's going on with this? Whose choice is it to have almost no sex?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just to clarify the enchanced masturbation comment - as I said, when I refer to "messaging" - "I truly did just view the internet porn thing as "not real". Somehow I justified that, and even messaging random women in chat rooms (note: not engaging in "cyber sex" or flirting, but just talking about different fetishes etc.) as the same." As I said - "it wasn't "cybersex", it wasn't me sitting and getting off in front of a computer, it wasn't an "emotional affair - the whole thing was just a form of enhanced masturbation. A form of fantasy." It might be splitting hairs, and really - I get that its just another form of self-justification, but I don't want the impression to be that there was any "sexting". It might sound weird, but "sexting" with a random stranger just seems messed up to me. I suppose it depends on your definition of "sexting", but as I said - the messaging I'm referring to was moreso a means of talking about festishes / fantasies. Not of performing them or whatever. (Again, I appreciate that the difference might not be huge or even relevant. Either way its wrong - I wouldn't appreciate my spouse discussing such things with people other than myself, so why was I doing it? Thats where the its not real self-justification comes in).

I have looked at the entire set of circumstances every which way (self-justification, compartmentalization, etc.). I might not have explained it very eloquently, but I really do see that I was a hypocrite in a lot of ways, even though I might not have recognized it. What really paints that picture for me, is how I could have such an aversion to strippers etc., and find that disrespectful, yet have no issue with porn (which yes, is different than the messaging). Its really opened my eyes, and like I said, I'm glad its happened. I truly believe I'm a better person for it.

As for whats going on with the once a month thing, thats an issue that we're working on together to try and figure out a solution to. Rather than pointing fingers and that sort of thing, I'd prefer not to say a whole lot more about that situation. The TAM boards have been helpful in that aspect too, so hopefully that situation will improve. (Weird, considering that I just poured all of this out there, but talking about the reasons for the once a month etc. also seems disrespectful).
 

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As for whats going on with the once a month thing, thats an issue that we're working on together to try and figure out a solution to. Rather than pointing fingers and that sort of thing, I'd prefer not to say a whole lot more about that situation. The TAM boards have been helpful in that aspect too, so hopefully that situation will improve. (Weird, considering that I just poured all of this out there, but talking about the reasons for the once a month etc. also seems disrespectful).
It's relevant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unless I'm missing something (which is quite possible) its relevant only insofar as it provides an explanation for the going back to old habits (if I can call it that). An explanation I guess, but certainly not an excuse. It was wrong, plain and simple, and I really don't want to be seen as trying to justify that.

Its certainly not my choice for the only once a month thing. I'm sure I play some role in it (obviously), but whether its the effects of the pill, pain, who knows....I don't know. I know I've tried a few different things to encourage it happening more often, even read a few books, etc. We're starting to make some progress there, but of course it creates feelings of insecurity etc. in me. And yes, I realize that creates some other issues etc. We've talked about all of that, and continue to.
 

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You have what is called "toxic shame".

Your wife is not physically attracted to you (not a choice on her part) and with your "defects" no woman would be on the long term.

You need IC (individual counseling), and at the very least read the book "No More Mr. Nice Guy".
 

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Unless I'm missing something (which is quite possible) its relevant only insofar as it provides an explanation for the going back to old habits (if I can call it that). An explanation I guess, but certainly not an excuse. It was wrong, plain and simple, and I really don't want to be seen as trying to justify that.

Its certainly not my choice for the only once a month thing. I'm sure I play some role in it (obviously), but whether its the effects of the pill, pain, who knows....I don't know. I know I've tried a few different things to encourage it happening more often, even read a few books, etc. We're starting to make some progress there, but of course it creates feelings of insecurity etc. in me. And yes, I realize that creates some other issues etc. We've talked about all of that, and continue to.
Its relevent because if one or both of you are not sexually satisfied, the unsatisfied pary(ies) will seek to find sexual satisfaction in other says.

Being sexually rejected by one's spouse is one of the most painful forms of emotional abuse.

It's not justification for your actions. I can explain some things.

Sexual rejection does justify the rejected party to seek divorce.

Maybe the two of you would benefit from a marriage counselor who is also a sex therapist?
 

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Unless I'm missing something (which is quite possible) its relevant only insofar as it provides an explanation for the going back to old habits (if I can call it that). An explanation I guess, but certainly not an excuse. It was wrong, plain and simple, and I really don't want to be seen as trying to justify that.

Its certainly not my choice for the only once a month thing. I'm sure I play some role in it (obviously), but whether its the effects of the pill, pain, who knows....I don't know. I know I've tried a few different things to encourage it happening more often, even read a few books, etc. We're starting to make some progress there, but of course it creates feelings of insecurity etc. in me. And yes, I realize that creates some other issues etc. We've talked about all of that, and continue to.
I have no idea why the 'once a month' thing is going on for the two of you and have no wish to pry so I'll give you my take and then shut up.

The pair of you should be at it like rabbits, newly weds, exploring, having fun. Good grief man, it's free entertainment, burns calories, is intimate and fun. As inexperienced as you both are, however 'bad' (clumsy, timing outa whack, whatever) there's nothing like practise.

Your porn habit is one you have to break but heck, nobody died and guilt about it is only going to make it all worse. Most of the time I can live without chocolate cake but over Christmas, I've gained 4lbs so now I am dribbling about chocolate cake, even though I wouldn't normally bother.

I am willing to bet a lot of money I don't have that if you two get stuff sorted in the bedroom, or at least have some fun trying, you will find that sense of intimacy so intoxicating that you won't bother with the porn.

Give yourself a break from the guilt trip and go tell your wife how much you love her.
 

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I can see you feel guilty and ashamed of your behavior...I would expect your wife to feel as guilty and ashamed of sex once a month!

both of you get over the guilt, shame and what ever it is that is keeping the 2 of you from having a normal sex life.

Close the door, get naked and have fun!
 

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I'm not convinced that the once a month sex thing has anything to do with the porn thing, so I am going to keep them separate. Sex/porn addiction does not follow 'the rules', whatever they are, and the fact they're only having sex once a month when he wants it more often isn't something that happened since she found out about the porn (Kyotee, correct me if I am wrong there).

Anyway, what can you do to help your wife? Well, as a wife whose hubby did something similar, but went farther, I think it's important for you to treat her as a betrayed spouse. Have you and she decided whether you did cheat on her? (BTW, that is up to you and her, not anyone else.) If you haven't had that discussion, maybe it's time.

I don't know if you've read any of my other posts on the subject of porn, but I see internet porn as being different from magazines and DVD's. Because of what he did, my husband can never use internet porn ever again, and his internet activities have to be curtailed from what a 'normal' persons would be - ie no lingerie models or other sexy women pictures, no adult content on his stumbleupon, basically what you'd want your 10 year old looking at. No facebook. Nothing remotely tempting. This is for two reasons - one is to help me feel better/ok about him even being on the internet, and the other is for him - he set himself that boundary, and knows it's one he cannot cross, for his own sake.

Porn in the form of magazines and DVD's is something else - he has a history of using it, from when he was about 13, but has never seen it as something 'dangerous'. And it's never interfered with our sex life - in fact it's enhanced it a bit over the years. Right now he isn't using it, along or with me, for reasons I can get into if you want me to. But I do not view magazines and DVD's in the same 'zone' as stuff on the internet at all. Just a point I like to make.

Anyway. Here's my suggestions - some you may already be doing
- stop all your online activity that is in any way remotely sexual
- Put your computer in a part of the house where your wife can see what you're up to from almost anywhere
- Delete yourself from facebook and any other social networking sites
- offer to install a keylogger that will email reports to her or something (we didn't do this, but just the fact he offered meant something)
- Read Patrick Carnes In the Shadows of the Net, and ask your wife if she would be interested in reading up on information for partners of sex/cybersex addicts. If so I can recommend a couple of books
- If you feel the need, join a 12 step group, although I am not convinced you need one, unless you're still not telling us anything. Counseling for yourself might help too.
- Answer all her questions, whenever she asks them, over and over and over a thousand times if that's what she needs. And NEVER get mad at her for asking them
- Apologize to her. Sincerely and repeatedly. Write her an apology letter she can keep with her and read if she feels the need
- Identify what need in yourself your activities were fulfilling, and then come up with other ways to cope. My husband turned to sex chatting/phone sex/cheating when he felt 'isolated and alone'. Discuss this with your wife
- Open windows between you and your wife. Do some marriage building books/exercises. Gottman is a great one for this. Take her for dates and romantic weekends. Woo her. And don't ever stop.
- Become a totally and completely open book to her. Give her - write it down - all your passwords for everything so she can look at all your emails, banking, credit cards, gaming accounts, etc.
 
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