Exhausted

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. His porn addiction had just started getting to the point where it cause ED when we first started being intimate w/ each other. He told me about his addiction shortly after we became sexually active and I did some research on the subject then, but I didn’t realize the extent of his addiction until we moved in together 9 or so months later.
His addiction has driven him to lie, watch old videos of his ex girlfriend touching herself, and hide whole parts of his life from me. I’ve recently found out there has been another woman in his life for the entirety of our relationship whom he’s confided in. She knows everything about me, I just learned of her existence . Not only does he not need me for sexual gratification but for our whole relationship up until this point he’s had another woman for emotional support as well. This experience has been soul crushing to say the least. I’ve turned into a different version of myself I didn’t even realize existed. I’ve recently found a website that has put into words exactly how I feel:
* “I have been traumatized by the repeated discovery of his deception and betrayal of me with these activities.”
* “Now I feel unattractive, ugly, wondering what’s wrong with me. I can’t sleep or concentrate. I’m missing out on life’s happiness.”
* “It obliterated the trust in our relationship. I no longer believe a single thing he says.”
* “We don’t have sex often, and it irritates me that he puts more time into the porn than trying to be intimate with me.”
* “I became over-the-top with snooping, spying, trying to control the behavior, and thinking if I just did, then I could stop it. It caused complete erosion of my self-esteem, boundaries, and sense of self.”
* Emotional instability, including frequent mood shifts, over-the-top emotional reactions, tearfulness, rage, etc., sometimes followed by feelings of intense love and a desire to “make it work.”
* Hypervigilant behaviors (detective work), such as checking phone and credit card bills, wallets, computers, phone apps, texts, and the like for evidence of continued infidelity.
* Anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, and other mood-related symptoms.
* Being easily triggered into mistrust of the addict partner; common triggers included the addict coming home five minutes late, turning off the computer too quickly, looking “too long” at an attractive person, etc.
* Sleeplessness, inability to wake up, and/or nightmares.
* Overcompensating by trying to lose weight, dressing provocatively, etc.
* Obsessing about the betrayal and struggling to stay “in the moment.”
* Avoiding thinking about or discussing the betrayal.
* Emotionally escapist use of alcohol, drugs, food, spending, gambling, etc.

It certainly doesn’t help that I’ve always struggled with some form of self esteem issues and mild depression. But it’s never been this bad. Ever. It also doesn’t help that both of the relationships I’ve had prior to this ended due to my s/o cheating with another woman. Both of those relationships only lasted 6months. It would seem I’m never enough.

I resent him for making me feel this way. In a way I have always held ill feelings but my love for him has always been stronger. Lately things have taken a turn. We are now living apart. We still speak/see each other frequently, but I needed space to think. He’s so amazing in so many other ways. He’s too good for this addiction. I’ve gone into therapy myself and he’s finally taken action to find a sex therapist. Up until now he’s tried (or at least he told me he has) to stop watching/masturbating to porn without the support of a professional. I’ve done everything he’s asked of me sexually including dressing up, sending video/pictures of myself as a replacement, and performing sexual acts I’m uncomfortable with. I no longer do this. I now know better.
I have continuously made an active choice and commitment to go on with our relationship despite knowing what he struggles with.
But I feel at this point it may be too late for us. I fear major changes that he is making are coming too late. We’ve been together for 3 years and things have gotten worse over time, not better. I never knew I could feel this way. The thought of being without him is paralyzing. We still have a good time together and he’s still a good person to his core...but it’s hard for me to imagine us 5, 10, 15 years from now still struggling with this. His addiction is something we’ve been able to put under a rug at times and pretend as if it didn’t exist. That’s when we were at our “happiest”. It’s much easier to not talk about. But now lately more than ever it’s almost always the subject of conversation even when we don’t want it to be. I can’t even watch nudity on tv if I’m watching it with him. This can’t be normal. I don’t know if I am strong enough anymore. Or that I ever was. I don’t know if we can survive, together, like this any longer.
  • 9 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @Lonely93... Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing with us. Although I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through with your boyfriend, I'm glad you reached out.

    There are other women here who have dealt with or are dealing with a partner's porn addiction. I urge you to explore the various posts in this section and see what they've had to say. You might find something that resonates with you.

    The best advice I can give you is to take good care of YOURSELF. Self-care is essential when you're dealing with a loved one's addiction, no matter what that addiction is. Realize that YOUR life matters, too. And that you deserve to be happy. It sounds like you've done a lot to try to make your boyfriend happy. Have you done stuff to make YOU happy? Because YOU should always be at the very top of your priority list.

    I'm wondering if you've tried counseling. I think talking to a therapist would be a great thing for you. A good therapist would be able to help you sort out all the different feelings you're having.

    I think you know this already, but I'll say it anyway: You may just have to walk away from this relationship. If your boyfriend's issues are making your life miserable, then maybe moving on is the answer. Like I said earlier...You deserve to be happy.

    We're here for you. We will help and support you any way we can. You can come here for advice or just to vent. Anytime.

    I'm sending you lots of love and light. And big hugs filled with hope, too.
  • @DeanD Thank you so much for your response. It means a lot that I can find support here.
    As I mentioned very briefly in my post I am currently seeing a counselor. I believe both of us should have started getting professional help awhile ago, before things got this bad.
    The reason I’ve decided to live apart from him for awhile is definitely my first step towards taking care of myself. He openly supports this decision even though I know he’s a bit hurt. I find that I am trying to put myself first a lot more lately. I want to believe that all we need is more time, especially since we have recently made major changes to address both of our issues...but so much time has passed already.

    I do fear the alternative, although I think about it from time to time. Walking away from the relationship would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

    Thank you again for your words.
  • @Lonely93... I'm sorry I missed the part about you seeing a counselor in your original post. My brain is a bit frazzled from holiday preparation!

    Living apart from him for a while is a good thing for you to do. You should ALWAYS put YOURSELF first!

    Blessings to you and best wishes for a happy holiday!
  • @Lonely93 hello and welcome to the forum. i'm so sorry that you are going through this..... it can certainly be challenging to be with an addict.

    i think moving out was a good decision... gives you time and space to sort things out in your mind - and counseling will help. i hope he gets some therapy too. the thing about addiction is that treatment is available, but it takes some work for sure. and, it's not easy....

    your list is a class list of codependent characteristics.... i can relate, though i was not dealing with porn addict, but recovering addict...and i was very codependent and miserable in the relationship.. i had low self-worth, and was petrified to be alone... like being alone would be the end of me... it was the fear of abandonment that had me, and i worked through that in counseling and Codependents Anonymous.

    a support group may help you. Al Anon or Nar Anon or Codependents Anonymous... check out Melody Beattie's CODEPENDENT NO MORE book too. helped me a lot.

    i know you care for him... i also think this is a great opportunity for you to learn valuable lessons about yourself...self-care...self-love...self-worth... setting boundaries, etc.

    hope this helps... keep reading and learning about codependency... great videos on youtube too.. here if you need.
  • @dominica thank you for your insight. I will explore the resources you have brought to my attention.
  • @Lonely93 my pleasure! here to support and encourage you anytime!
  • @Lonely93... How are you doing today? Just want you to know that I'm thinking about you. And I hope you had a lovely holiday.
  • @DeanD I am alright. Trying to remain positive. Thanks for checking
  • You're welcome, @Lonely93. Sending you positive juju, my friend.
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