I’m a man in my early forties with a wife and kids.
Six months ago
• My marriage was almost sexless.
• I engaged in frequent PMO and MO on the side.
• I was overweight and out of shape.
• I felt unattractive and definitely not youthful.
• Felt like I was tired and stressed all the time.
• I dreaded going to work with difficult coworkers.
• I avoided conflict even if it meant losing face and making more work for myself.
• I routinely questioned my self-worth and accomplishments.
• It seemed like my best years were behind me.
A lot has changed.
I’ve gone 182 days – that’s 26 weeks – without P or M. Sex with my wife was allowed, but there were long stretches of hard mode too. Happy to report that those sex-free intervals are getting shorter.
NoFap was just the beginning. It was a catalyst for reading, reflection and self-improvement.
• I started working out every single day, no excuses. Cardio, planks, sit-ups, pushups, weights.
• I read about Nice Guy Syndrome, recognized myself as a classic case, and resolved to break these patterns. In case you’re not familiar, Nice Guy Syndrome is something specific. It’s worth looking it up. It includes a constant need for approval. Getting over this doesn’t mean becoming a jerk. I still aim to be a kind guy with integrity. Just not a needy nice guy.
• I learned more about attraction, sex and relationships. I saw how my old attitudes, including the ‘nice’ ones, actually killed desire.
• I figured out that only by working on myself first and respecting myself could I improve my relationship with my wife and kids.
Like many men my age, I grew up with porn magazines. I discovered my dad’s hidden stash when I was about 12. Maybe there were signs then that I might have a problem someday, but I didn’t see them. I think I was O.K. all the way through college. But around my mid-twenties high speed internet porn became more accessible. A non-stop faucet of content that never ever dried up. I was living alone for the first time. It was a recipe for disaster. I could not seem to consume in moderation. Those were some lonely years of binging overnight, losing sleep and showing up to real life with a foggy brain. Dating and relationships ground to a halt. In retrospect, I was probably depressed.
Things got better when I met my wife. She was great and I was so happy to be with her. Porn never totally stopped though. I still indulged on the side. As we got busy with kids and all, over time this supplanted our sex life. If there were issues in the relationship, we wouldn’t work it out and get back in the bedroom. I started giving up and resorting to PMO and MO by default. Eventually the spark seemed mostly gone between us. We were like roommates.
I started to have terrible flashes of reality about our marriage. I allowed myself to consider the unthinkable – that it was hanging on by a thread that could possibly break. That we had mostly stopped interacting the way that loving couples do. That our dysfunction was probably being noticed by our children. That we weren’t enjoying each other that much anymore.
One day I had a bunch of important work to get done at home in the morning. Instead I spent the whole morning on PMO. I didn’t get any work done. I was disgusted with myself. It snapped me into action. I heard about NoFap on YouTube and decided to check this site out. I had made pitiful attempts at cutting back on P and M before but it never lasted long. When I joined NoFap, I started accepting the truth. For me it was going to be necessary to eliminate P and M completely and work on fixing my head. There was no half-assed solution for a guy like me.
I wanted better for my wife, my kids, and myself.
NoFap was really difficult, especially in the early months. I came close to breaking my streak more than once, but somehow, I managed to hold on. The same stubborn disposition that kept me in denial for so long probably helped.
NoFap was also rewarding. I hadn’t ever pushed myself into such discomfort before. It linked up with the other improvements I was making in my life and reinforced them.
I’ll share some tips based on my experience.
1. You have to be 100% committed. Willing to make some big changes. Willing to suffer, literally. Don’t give yourself a way out. Your brain will mess with you in every way and try to convince you to return to old habits. It’s a fighting mentality that you need.
2. Be analytical. When and where do you act out? What are your triggers? Sexual and nonsexual. Things like stress or loneliness too.
3. Figure out a solution that works for you with devices, social media, YouTube, or any other digital temptation. Maybe this is a little different for everybody. Become more of an offline person.
4. Cold showers can help bring an urge under control and get you in a mindset of facing adversity.
5. Remember that every urge will pass eventually. Live with it for a while. Try focusing on breathing.
6. This is obvious but worth saying out loud. Keep your hands off it unless absolutely necessary!
7. Get out of your living space if you are consumed by an urge. You could go for a walk.
8. Exercise every day. It will get some of that sexual energy out. You will start to feel and look better. This will boost your spirits and make you excited about the changes that are happening.
9. Your family and friends will notice the positive changes in you, but they might not know why. It might help to discuss some of this with your partner. Depends on your relationship. For me this was easier after I already made some progress and was feeling optimistic. I had some good talks with my wife starting about four weeks into this. I think working on yourself first is the most important thing, but I get that not everyone thinks so.
10. Use the day counter. It boosts your confidence to see that number increase. Some people think day counting is pointless since this should be a change for the rest of your life. For me it worked because it appealed to my competitive side. I can’t stand thinking about my stats going back to zero.
11. I recommend finding one or more Accountability Partners. They will provide support and a good kind of peer pressure. I overcame some urges because I did not want to report a broken streak to my A.P. You will also feel good about helping someone else.
12. It will get easier. You can’t ever completely let down your guard. That could be your downfall. But the difficulty of the early days does not last forever. A calmer and happier state is in store.
13. Last thing. If you have a few years under your belt, remember – there is only now and the future. The past can be a source of learning for you. Maybe you have amends to make. But regret can destroy you. Don’t let it chip away at your well-being and your ability to move forward. Even if you had made all the right decisions in life, you could still think ‘what if?’. Enjoy the present and put down the foundation for the life you want!
Why do I feel ready to post a success story?
• I have gone 182 days without P or M. Would have seemed impossible 6 months ago. I have exceeded my wildest expectations, one day at a time.
• I have more energy and initiative.
• I have lost a whole lot of weight. I have well-defined muscles in my arms and I’m close to a flat stomach now. It’s the most muscular I’ve been in my life and the lowest weight I’ve had in at least 15 years.
• I look in the mirror and think I look pretty good. There would be nothing wrong with looking my age, but now I probably look 5-10 years younger than I did.
• I got better haircut and some better fitting clothes. Sure, that’s the most superficial thing on the list. Feeling good matters though. Confidence matters.
• I make eye contact easily with both men and women and I have noticed their different reaction to me.
• I say no more often. I state my opinions more directly and without apology. Getting better at that is a long process, but I know a little discomfort never killed anyone.
• I’m in a way better frame of mind at work.
• In the past few months I got called back for a couple of job interviews in a competitive field. First time I got an interview in years. Coincidence? Probably not. I made it through those interviews with more composure than ever. Maybe even more important is this – when those interviews didn’t result in an offer, I was able to be sad without thinking less of myself.
• Things are so much better with my wife. It’s a long process and there were some rocky parts. It’s still an adjustment for both of us. We’ve had some epic conversations though. Honest talk. No posturing or lies. We said what we felt and not just what the other person wanted to hear. And I was able to take it. See it’s that approval thing again. I can handle the truth even if it hurts. We’re getting stuff out in the open and dealing with it.
• We have more small talk now. We flirt and I make her laugh more like I did in the early days. We enjoy spending time together. We also allow each other some time to ourselves.
• Looks like my wife is attracted to me again. It took months, but the spark is coming back. I am not a needy domestic partner. I am becoming a kind, independent, strong man. I am confident. I am available emotionally but I do not saddle her with all my small problems. She does not have to be my constant emotional support mechanism, but I know be she’ll be there for me on the big stuff. I help out around the house, but it’s because I want a functional environment for us all, not because I’m hoping for appreciation or favors. Surprise, surprise, she’s into to me again.
• There should be a new word for sex on NoFap, without the libido diluted by PMO. I think it’s still an area we’re working on, but it’s so much better already.
• Porn has mostly left my head. There have been days recently when I only thought of porn because the word appears on this site.
• I am confident and growing more confident with each step I take. I can be proud without needing to hide my imperfections. People don’t want perfection. They want you to be real. I am a constantly improving version of myself, and that is enough.
• I am imagining new possibilities in all areas of life. Now I think Why not?
• I don’t think my best years are behind me. They lie ahead, and I can’t wait.
There have been a few guys here who were always there for me. You know who you are. I have been supported and inspired by you. Many of you supported me with comments and likes too. It helped a lot. Thanks.
Some of the threads I read here really changed my thinking. The people who wrote them might not even know they helped me. Here’s a shout out to everyone who shares their stories and wisdom here. You never know who is reading.
The healthy next step for me is to move away from this site some more. Bittersweet, right? I don’t think I’ll go away completely, but don’t worry if you don’t see me as much. It’s a good thing.
It’s never too late, guys. It doesn’t happen all at once. Every bit of action, every little battle, will open up new possibilities for you.
You can do it. Start now.
by Marshall 5