From a PMO Wife: You, a warrior

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I'm not here to judge you, or to say what is right and wrong. Morality is often grey, and moralizing behavior is usually a poor motivation for change long term. I do not think you are a bad person.

I am a wife. My husband has been a PMO since we met 10 years ago, and if I had to do it over again, knowing what I do now, I wouldn't have stayed.

I'm not here to bash him or bring you all guilt. He has many wonderful characteristics, and has enriched my life in myriad ways. But years of his lying, covering up, and isolationist form of sexuality have taken their toll to the extent that pain has evolved first to contempt, and now finally to indifference. When your wife or partner stops caring, it means he or she is on the brink of leaving without it being an emotionally difficult decision any longer.

Our relationship was a long distance one. 3 weeks before I was to move to be with him across the country, I found hell. I was 23, he was 27. I found a conversation between him and a woman whom he'd pined after for years. He was clearly still pining. Porn, oodles of it. Evidence of phone sex with other women. Erotic text conversations and role playing.

I let it go. I thought maybe he needed to work that shit out of his system before committing to me. But it didn't stop. In some form or another, things came back over the years, whether it was porn, the role playing. Lies, always. Sometimes excuses that would blame me.

The key is, he never owned up to his issues. He's never been willing to see that hiding things from me, and choosing an isolationist sexuality is a choice he consistently and knowingly makes. It's less about owning up to me, and more about his inability to confront himself over this.

A year ago, I found more porn. His excuse? At 37, his libido had 'waned' and he was embarrassed to tell me this. He was using the porn to try and see if something was wrong. He was unwilling to allow that the porn itself was the cause (combined with his unwillingness to lose weight and exercise for better circulation & testosterone).

Throughout our entire relationship, I'd always initiated sex. I've always been ready, willing, available. I've tried sexy lingerie, erotic talking, the whole bit. And none of it has ever ever worked. I used to think it was me. Finally I pulled myself together enough to recognize I cannot compete with thousands of women (images) for his affections. It will never work.

After I found more porn again last year, I tried compassion. Tried to engage him in conversations about our sexuality over the next 6 months, noticing he would still check out women in their lingerie on Facebook, until he finally said "if this (the conversations) keep up, I'm at the point of being ready to say "fuck it."

He blamed me, indirectly. Said it was 'sad' how things came down to biology, that I valued him only for what his penis could do. That nothing else he did seemed to matter. I called him on it, reminded him how much I show him appreciation for all the other things he does and contributes to my life. It was his way of avoiding, yet again, the real reason behind our issues.

Funny how someone who can't stop segregating his sexuality from our relationship turns the blame around to me, insinuating I'm the one who values sex too much.

That conversation was it for me. That was about 5 months ago. After that conversation, I shut down. He was ready to say "fuck it" after me trying to work through this for 5 months. Why hadn't I said fuck it after 10 years of his choices?

I've lost any attraction I might have once had for him. While I love him, and see the goodness in him, his choices make him unattractive. He tries, with words, to tell me he cares. Tells me I'm beautiful. That being with me is the best choice he's ever made. And while I appreciate the effort, without any bold moves sexually and intimately (e.g. owning up to his stuff, talking with me about it, reflecting on it) on his part, it's too late.

So why do I tell this story? It may seem, again, I'm here to judge or shame you. I'm not. In fact, I think hanging onto shame is one of the worst ways for you to grow beyond this issue. Shame holds you back.

I tell my story for two types of people here: those of you who are single, and those in a long-term relationship. If you are single, and you want a healthy long-term relationship in the future, you gotta fight this battle now, before you bring it into a marriage or partnership. It will absolutely suck the soul of your relationship. And anything else you do, regardless of how kind, or funny, or attractive you are, will be marred by the distance your choices put between you and your significant other.

If you're married or in a long-term partnership, and your partner knows about your issues, words are hollow, especially if words only come after your partner confronts (and confronts, and confronts) you. You need to handle this proactively for your partner to trust your long-term intentions. Be honest and up front with your partner/wife/whomever. But do it within the context of your relationship. She might not be ready to hear that you struggle with porn being hotter than relationship sex. Her self worth may not be ready to take it. But if you're going to have issues with sex with her for a while, tell her that. Tell her it's not her, but you need some time and space. That in order to be a better partner for the rest of your lives together, you need the time now to rework your brain and get your shit together.

FIND YOUR REASONS, AND BECOME A WARRIOR

The fear of losing your partner isn't reason enough for change. It won't sustain you in the long haul. You need reasons of your own, motivations that go beyond "I need to stop or else she will leave." You need to find your WHY. It's better if your WHY is a 'positive' and is for you (e.g. "I want to be able to have better intimacy and sex.")

You can look at this problem as an addiction and hang your hat on religion to help you (and I'm not knocking religion here) but in doing so, you avoid stepping up into taking responsibility for this yourself. It allows you the easy out of "I am damaged, and therefore need God's help" or "I am an addict, and therefore am not in control of myself."

You are in control of yourself. And this issue is not reflective of your self-worth. I urge you to see it, instead, as an enemy. And you are at war with it.

When you fall, when you slip, stop seeing it as a personal failure. Instead, analyze it like a warrior. Where are the weaknesses in the line? Shore them up. Where does the enemy have more strength than you? Be aware of that (e.g. if it's clear Facebook triggers you, get the hell off it, period.) and regroup. You are the general and the warrior. You are the soldier and the strategist. See PMO as an enemy to your life, to your marriage (current or future) and wage war on it accordingly. Allow yourself to look at the entire thing objectively, rather than 'own' each failure as reflective of you. It's not. You are NOT this. You are stronger than this. You can conquer it. But you need to get your head on for battle, and fight it accordingly.

There will be times when almost all hope is lost. In those times, put on your favorite battle-type movie or TV show (anything from Babylon 5 seasons 3 and 4 to Terminator. Whatever floats your boat). See the porn and fapping as your enemy. Pull back, analyze your weaponry, your defenses. Breathe. Rework your strategy.

Find your reason for victory. And understand that just like our real world, victory is never forever. A strong country, warrior, cause, must always be aware of enemies that will formulate against it. Over time, your strength will carry you, and batting off triggers will be like when Neo can really "see" everything in the Matrix: effortless.

Have heart. Stay strong. And do it sooner than later.

Time waits for no man.

Comments

This just blew my mind! Very inspirational indeed. I'm single and one of my goals for engaging on the reboot is similar to what was posted here: to conquer this addiction in order to have a lovely relationship. Not like relationships aren't with their ups and downs but a partner with pmo addiction would certainly drain the life from the relationship especially if he doesn't come clean with his partner about it. I'm on day 17 of my reboot, I can't count the amount of times I've relapsed but I keep coming back. I sulk a bit after relapsing but I suck it up almost immediately and get on the bandwagon. But after every relapse I identify my triggers and set up some strategies/contingencies to avoid it from happening again; apparently I've got so many triggers giving by the amount of times I've relapsed.

But reading this article has caused me to further evaluate my triggers. Social networking sites seriously don't help. I've stopped tweeting. I still have my account but I've stopped tweeting for months now. Facebook, I'm not too sure of that being a trigger for me but I feel its timewasting anytime I log on. I tried going offline for a bit and I realized it was harder than I thought; internet addiction is real.