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Addicts Need Relationships
By shootingstar
10/28/2013 2:04:38 AM
This might get me "flamed" by a lot of wives, but I've gotta get this one off my chest.

Here's what frustrates me. It's this segment of people who spread the horrible idea that you should instantly run away from a guy who discloses a porn problem - past or present. The fact is that anyone who does this is actually in a very good place, even if they are still having "slips" - being transparent is a MAJOR thing. Transparency means they are attempting to develop intimacy.

True intimacy = transparency - transparency about our deepest desires and flaws. Truly knowing your partner.

When a girl leaves a guy after disclosure, it can really just pour oil all over the fire he's trying to control. I've never met a single male recovering addict who got worse while in a relationship. I've only met guys who got better, and guys who "blew a tire" when the girl dumped them after disclosure.

Why on earth would you recommend a girl ditch the guy for being honest? Especially when these guys are actually working on freeing themselves? This is an intimacy disorder. How do you expect these people to learn intimacy if you just want society to banish them wholesale from the world of dating and relationships?

I think women who recommend "running" or "hell no", etc... are really just coming from a bad place. I understand they are almost 99-100% of the time women who married a guy who LIED about the problem.

Please. Stop telling these other women to run, that he'll always be a disappointment, etc.....

Yes your story is valid, but you are not in the same position. You were LIED too by men who were not addressing the problem. These women are encountering totally different men who have accepted they have a problem, are working to resolve it, and are being TRANSPARENT. Remember. Transparency is the core of intimacy. You married a guy who didn't have that developed very well or at all. These women are dealing with men who are actively developing that.

Why tell her to roll the dice on a guy who might be lying when you could get a guy who clearly isn't?

I understand porn is baggage that can destroy a marriage, but so too is a bad attitude.

The married addicts who struggled the most when I was in my first support group were.... the guys with wives who just had bad attitudes. They just had ZERO support from their spouses, nothing but negative abuse - women in the "hell no" advice giving category. I understand how the women feel, but the negative reaction really is just oil on the fire, which in turn makes things worse for yourself.

End of rant.

Comments:

Be honest up front    
"Always be honest, no matter the results.

If an addict wants a relationship, he needs to do the things that build a trusting relationship. It's doable."
posted at 14:56:40 on October 28, 2013 by beclean
Don't worry too much    
"I hear a lot of whining and complaining from married guys at group. That's sort of the point of group. It's a place to get things off your chest. I try to just brush their negative energy off and forget about it once I leave. An important thing to remember is that we are only hearing half the story from the addict husbands. I'm sure the wives can do plenty of complaining as well. This is one of the main reasons we usually separate husbands and wives during group share.

I see your point about women who are too judgmental. I wouldn't date a judgmental woman to begin with, but that's just me. In fact, the women I've been in committed relationships with have all been pretty tolerant about the whole porn thing. Not every woman expects a man to be perfect (though some definitely do!)."
posted at 23:02:51 on October 28, 2013 by ETTE
Addiction Generations    
"It's been a while since I was in a group, but I did see a gap, personally, at a generational level when it comes to how this whole dynamic works between addicts and their partner. In my experience, years ago (early 2000's), the guys with the really angry wives were older men (well into their 40s and beyond). Men who got hooked when this was still very taboo, no real help to find, etc... All of these guys lied and covered up, only to be found out.

I suspect a lot of the "run like the wind" advice is coming from wives in that generation. They got burned. I don't blame them for being angry.

As for my generation (I'm late 20s), the practice of disclosure prior to marriage or even serious dating seems to be far more common. I don't doubt some are still lying, but it seems like this generation has less of that going on. I attribute that to simple increased awareness, resources being available, etc..

In my group, the guys who did the best tended to be the younger ones like myself with really supportive serious girlfriends who they disclosed too.

I really wish I had a supportive girlfriend at the moment. It really does make a world of difference in this fight."
posted at 00:50:21 on October 29, 2013 by shootingstar
Whenever I've had a steady relationship with someone I really found really attractive    
"I have had no problems with my addiction. It's as if it was just gone. For months or weeks or however long the relationship lasted. That person filled all my needs and I didn't need to act out or even have the disposition to do evil. Tells you something about me. Tells you something about all of us.

As those who know me know, my life sucked, had a toxic family growing up, was molested when I was 5 (when I started masturbating or self stimulating), and have had strained relationships with authorities because they consistently and insistently lied to me with catastrophic consequences in my life. Results: major PTSD, major depression, panic attacks, destroyed career opportunities, poverty, moral outrage, etc.

The right girl -- someone I really respect -- fills all my needs (o.k., I need some animal friends too, but the girls I really like seem to be animal lovers too). Just being near her on a regular basis makes all the pain go away and it fills all the voids. And my addiction has vanished. The demons are gone and it's so easy to keep the commandments. Virtue flows into me "without compulsory means."

Were most if not all of us addicts able to have our emotional needs fulfilled, we would not be addicts. Period. That's my belief. And I fully subscribe to ShootingStar's sentiment in his last two sentences above, "I really wish I had a supportive girlfriend at the moment. It really does make a world of difference in this fight."

Yeah, me too."
posted at 10:46:34 on October 29, 2013 by dog
The right girl can never fill all your needs    
"I'm gonna give my opinion and disagree with you, Dog. If a girl seems to be filling your needs, that's because of something YOU are doing, not what she is doing. YOU must be focusing more on her and less on yourself, which is good for anyone, regardless of what it is that helps us to turn outward.

The attitude that the girl can solve your problems indicates that she might also be the source, which is not true at all.

Only God, the true husband, the bridegroom, can fill all the needs of the bride--and the bride is us, the members of his church. Only He can make us happy. The girl we choose (and the one that chooses us) has nothing to do with it, except that we derive some happiness by focusing all our energies on serving someone else and not worrying about ourselves.

Without getting into a lot of details, I will add that I used to think that my wonderful wife didn't love me enough. I recently realized that I'm the one that doesn't love me enough, and because of that, I can't see just how much she loves me.

You see, she has nothing to do with the problem. It's all inside me. And she can't solve the problem, either. I need to turn outward and develop a lasting, unshakable, loving relationship with Jesus, the lover of my soul.

That is the only relationship addicts really need, my friends."
posted at 11:09:02 on October 29, 2013 by beclean
Porn Replacement    
"How much a girlfriend can help is debatable. In an ideal world, you simply break free and do not need a woman by your side to do it.

However - for some addicts like myself, one of the big reasons for diving into porn in the first place was actually a big lack of success with women. A lack of relationships. etc... Like BECLEAN said above, you start to hate yourself and that really does become the core of it. This addiction runs deep and is complex.

We need to fill the void that porn leaves when it's gone. For me, and I suspect a lot of others, that really only happens when you start to foster some kind of relationship success because it in turn helps you see yourself in a better light. I have met other addicts whose "void" wasn't anything like that however. It can be a lot of things, but I know for myself, porn has always been a replacement for relationship success, and the lack of it really dented how I saw myself.

I'll have to start a new thread discussing this. You can't just go to addiction recovery programs and stop the porn, you gotta fill the void. I see this void filling aspect as the area where addicts can really struggle."
posted at 14:55:47 on October 29, 2013 by shootingstar
Filling the void    
"I have to agree with the statement that you have to fill the void. But I'll stand with BeClean on this one with all my heart. There is no woman, man, relationship, marriage, girlfriend/boyfriend who can fill the void. Only the Savior can do that.

I have seen, participated in and suffered the consequences of the codependent thinking that tells the lie that a wife/girlfriend can make things better. It makes both parties hurt so much worse. I cannot describe to you the trauma it has caused my marriage when both my husband and I believed that I could 'make things better' for him. All that did for my husband was put me in between my husband and Christ and made it harder for him to find truth and healing. All it did for me was make me feel like a failure.

It is by the grace of God that each of us finds healing. I am utterly alone in my walk with the Savior. No matter how much I love my husband, he is not Jesus Christ and he cannot fix my wounds and my husband ultimately cannot HELP nor HINDER me from finding my Savior's outstretched hand. It is the same for each of us. And it is the same for every relationship, including marriage.

It is my belief that relationships help if we choose for them to help us. But I also believe that God has given us the perfect situation for us to find Him. If that is with a spouse then that is our perfect circumstance. If it is as a single person, then that is what is best for us. We have to submit every part of ourselves to Him. Our present, our past and our future. Only be doing that can we fill the hole in our heart."
posted at 21:39:29 on October 29, 2013 by Maddy
Hate to pound it in again, but...    
"Tony Litster has taught me so much about filling that void. You are right on track with your questions and thoughts, Shootingstar. Anyone can see you have thought about this a lot, as many of us have. I gotta admit, I believe I may have thought about these things more than most people, but one guy who has clearly thought about it more than me is Tony. Give him a try, my friend. I would never push him so much if he cost money, but he just gives away his knowledge and group porn counseling for free, and I can't tell you how much that means to me."
posted at 22:31:09 on October 29, 2013 by beclean
Off track, but...    
"I think we're getting off track, but my original intent was a plea to cut down on the social oil women pour on the fire I'm fighting. The blog posts and comments I read from women saying I can never be marriage material really sting. It's not even in line with the religious teachings they claim to believe."
posted at 23:42:32 on October 29, 2013 by shootingstar
Tony Sounds Like Eban Pagan    
"Thanks for the recommend! I listened to everything he had today. He mentioned Eban Pagan, a guy who's taught me a lot. I suspect Tony's stuff might be a different presentation of the Wake Up Productive course Eban made, which I found to be a great course for productive balanced living. The trouble I have.... is sticking with it past a month or so."
posted at 23:45:41 on October 29, 2013 by shootingstar
I'm confused    
"how could you listen to everything Tony has? his introductory stuff takes 7 hours to listen to, and he barely scratches the surface. I've been listening for an hour almost every day for months and he's still saying new stuff.

and who's saying you aren't marriage material? I didn't read that anywhere on this site. perhaps you are telling yourself that and reading it into what everyone else is saying.

I have a very strong marriage. it started years after my porn addiction, and my wife has known about it all along. however, I would not expect my marriage to last one day, if I weren't 100% honest and 100% trying to improve. the proof is in a dozen years of solid improvement. this doesn't go away in a day, but God does fix it, over time."
posted at 09:11:43 on October 30, 2013 by beclean
I meant the free course.    
"I listened to his free course while working all day. His business model is exactly a copy of Eban Pagan's business model, and much of what he was saying sounded just like the Eban Pagan program that's meant for entrepreneurs trying to manage their lives and businesses better. This doesn't mean I won't consider it, I actually am!

I've been too more than just this blog. If you search around, you will find some pretty harsh "can't be husband material" floating around the web about men who fight this fight. I won't link to any of it, we don't need that stuff here. I don't believe it, but I do know others might fall into that trap."
posted at 14:35:22 on October 30, 2013 by shootingstar
Marry an addict    
"I believe that in the times we live in the chances of our daughters (or sons in some cases) will marry someone one with this addiction. The question is, are they in recovery and did they disclose their addiction?

I support a couple of young women who knew before marriage. The husband's were both honest, and last word is that there is still some heavy struggles going on. Often Bishops give the poor advice that when you get married things will get better. I don't know what the LDS church recovery programs teaches, but SA teaches that marriage will not cure addiction. Of course the young man still has the idea that it might help. It does no,t and that is now what these ladies are experiencing. One of the young wives is doing really well because she is in a recovery program and learning a lot. The other young bride is suffering much more, isolates, and is separated. She has not yet gone to S-ANON. Hopefully she will begin going sooner than later because it will help so much.

I cannot express how important it is for spouses to be in an active recovery group like S-ANON, and how important it is for them to be working their plan daily. LDS young ladies that are advised to " run like hell" are ill advised and often end up marrying a closet addict. The problem we have in the church today is that we speak of this addiction as if it is " those people" and from my point of view, we or our husbands are "those people". Addiction thrives in secrecy and darkness, and let me tell you... Sadly, it is alive and flourishing well in our church today :(. We really need to start talking about this because it is everywhere.

I also believe that we start the shaming and guilting at such a young age and everyone needs to understand that they are of value no matter what they are doing in their sins and mistakes. Some of us parents close doors by expecting perfection. We sometimes get help from church too do this too. Double whammy. As evident on this site we have heard of more than one young man who feels so awful for this that they are willing to lie to save face. This is crazy.

My son was exposed young and has not advanced in the priesthood since 16 either. He is nearing his mid 20s. I hate that he feels any shame over this. ou remind me of him with your post.I felt moved to tell him that he needs to understand that he does not have to go through life like this. He is a wonderful human being with much to give. He still has the ability to inspire and move in amazing ways in the lives of others. We teach that you cannot feel God or the spirit, or inspire when you are sinning. I was not raised LDS and I am here to tell you that is a LIE. I remember feeling a His great spirit with me as I loved and served others. In fact, if you will look to the Lord and ask him daily how you can let your life so shine for him, or how you can be the answer to someone's prayers each day, he will grant that to you. you will feel him, even if you messed up that same day. And I believe that if you will continue to do that and look to the Lord and thank him for the very addiction you suffer with each day, he will bless you with experiences and inspire you to trust him enough to "surrender" . Baby steps.

Each addict is just as valuable to the Father as the loved ones in their lives. I would hope that our daughters find a person who is in recovery. That person knows all about getting it al out. They understand the atonement better than just about anyone else. These are amazing people.

Be kind to yourself . Do not look down upon yourself. That is the plan of the Devil and he is really doing his best number on the Saints in this and other Christian churches.

I have no problem with your post at all and I hope you find a young lady that is pure enough in heart to walk beside you as you move closer to your Savior and that you can have an awesome life together.

I use to think that my husband's addiction made him awful before the Lord. I am ashamed that I placed judgment and shame on him and made him feel less than who God knows he is on so many occasions. I do not do that anymore. My Savior has changed my heart and as long as my husband will keep looking heavenward, I will walk by his side, even if that walking sometimes is through his slips and slides. It has taken me a long time to get too this place. I pray that I will stay here. I can't take any credit for it. It is all gifted to me from a loving Father in Heaven who is helping me heal my life because of my husband's and children's addictions . I would have never known that I needed to change were it not for them.

Today is my wedding anniversary and we are apart for a time, but I feel more love for my imperfect hubby than I can express. Does he struggle, yup he does. It is hard on him, yup. But he is honest and keeps getting back up. One day he will completely understand why this has been his weakness. He will overcome completely. But I know that I want to be the person that inspires him to want something better, not the person that makes him feel less than. For he is no more "less than", than I am, and I know that one day this will all come into clear view. Until then I pray that I can show him and my children my Saviors love through my words and deeds.

Keep looking up to the Heavens. Keep trusting your Savior, and you cannot go wrong."
posted at 02:53:00 on October 31, 2013 by angelmom


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