Basic Information for New SO's

For partners of people struggling with pornography addiction. A place for Significant Others to support one another, vent their frustrations, and share their hopes. Recovering Addicts are strongly urged not to post on this forum.

Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby honeysuckle on Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:20 pm

laura wrote:I'm totally new to this and the sickening feeling in my stomach has urged me to find support. I always knew that my partner had a problem with porn.
Friends would joke but this is not a laughing matter; Besides my sense of worthlessness and un-attractivness his addiction has left me feeling lost, hopless and untrusting. I know I'm supposed to believe that this isn't about me and this isn't my problem but it hurts terribly. I find myself in tears when I discover he's been at it again and although he admits he has a problem where do we go from here? I told him he should seek help but he believes that 'talking' about it will heal this awful addicition. Just last night he cried when I discovered him using my computer to look up porn, telling me he hates it more than me and he wants to change. Please help me support him I dont know what to say or do, all I do is cry.

PS What's SO's?

hello Laura,

We are SO's significant others. I don't know fi you've posted in the forum, if not you might want to, because you'll
get more answers there.

I recognise the sickening feeling in the stomach very well. You're not worthless nor unattractive, it's just the P has affected your PA so much he needs to look at the images. You coudl be the most beautiful woman in the world and he would still look at P.

Take care
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby witness on Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:18 am

Just a reminder that there is excellent material and FREE courses at Recovery Nation, for Partners, those in Recovery, as well as for Couples looking for help.

Blessings to all!
Walking towards the LIGHT, one day at a time, with God's help.
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby Hephzibah on Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:16 am

I don't know if there is a generic definition for healing for an SO because all of our situations are so different. I do recognize and will share some milestones on this journey that have been epiphanies for "me" - and things I consider were helpful for me regaining my sense of self-worth:

1) Recognizing my husband porned because of his inadequacies not because of me. That I was okay and not defective because God doesn't make junk.

2) Recognizing that I had let his addiction sideswipe my life. Eventually, I chose to stop focusing on him and his visual adultery and start focusing on things that brought joy, peace and self-esteem into my life. He hated this because it meant I was outgrowing him and his dysfunction - that's when things really went downhill for us.

3) Recognizing that he could never fix the damage he had done to me... even if he'd ever recognize his poor choices had harmed me and the marriage. Recognizing he would probably never apologize or even care that his choices damaged me. It was a challenge not to get resentful because of that - he broke me, it seemed logical he should fix me. But that isn't practical. He broke - I (with lots of help from God) put me back together again - only together better then I was pre-pa.

4) Recognizing that porn was not about sex - porn/mb was my PA's way of numbing emotions and avoiding reality.... thus, when he avoided me (sexually, socially, spiritually, recreationally, conversationally, etc.) it wasn't because I was defective or deserved to be ignored - it was because of his defects of character.

5) Learning to make boundaries so I would feel emotionally safe no matter what choices he made. This skill has been very helpful now that I'm solo.

6) Learning I could like and respect myself. He couldn't validate me because of his issues; but I could learn to validate myself. To find my own validations helpful and encouraging - I had to learn to believe my own validation was worth something - which meant I had to learn to value myself... even though my childhood and his pa had taught me to devalue myself.

7) Learning to gently and tactfully state my truth - without expectations. This meant I had to learn to believe I deserved a voice and deserved to be heard. Only *I* could stop my voice; but he may chose not to hear me - but that was out of my hands. I couldn't make him hear me - but I could value myself enough to speak my truth anyway. "Without expectations" means I would ask a question or state my truth with the intent that he would see the light and change his ways --- I am not God, my words will not turn on my PAs light so he'll want to get sober and have a good life together. Every time I'd converse with my expectations on high - I would walk away from the conversation being angry, upset, sad and bitter... I was my own worst enemy. I can't change him. He could sense my wanting to change him and wanting him to take the "bait" underlying my words - and I think this pushed him away. A year before I left, I usually caught myself when I would try to enter a conversation with expectations of him seeing things my way - or even expectations of us reaching a compromise. This is a good life skill for me to have. It was painful to learn.

8) Learning to trust God (or my intuition) instead of trusting my lying PAs words. It was hard to accept that the man I loved most in the world - would lie to me - repeatedly; and when caught in the lie would lie more. Not only about his PA but about other things, too. It was hard to accept that he was a chicken who would rather lie then tell the truth if he thought I might not agree or respect his choices. I felt defective because I hadn't recognized his propensity to lie during our courtship - but he hid it well and I had on rose-colored glasses.

9) I learned to disengage with this slogan: "not my addiction, not my problem".... which did not mean I dropped my boundaries to stay safe with his poor choices. Boundaries up - but his actions (or lack of actions) was not my problem. Me trying to get him to do proper actions was wearing me out and destroying me. He was doing quite well destroying himself and the marriage by his visual and audio adultery.

10) Realizing that even if I would have a "perfect" recovery - there was no guarantee my PA would ever choose recovery or sobriety. That was hard to accept. I kept wishing that if I'd get "recovered" that he'd want recovery, too. But it didn't work that way.

11) Realizing that even if I had been a "perfect" wife, that it wouldn't have stopped him from his addiction - if he wanted to embrace that addiction instead of health. My perfection or imperfections were not why he porned. He may have used them for an excuse to porn; but he needed his addiction because of his own messed up life - not because of me.

12) I learned to accept and enjoy my own celibate sexuality and enjoy my femininity - even though I didn't get to express my sexuality in that marriage (every January and every other June was his maximum desire for sex). Even though I'm celibate (no sex or mb), I still enjoy "dressing for bed" in feminine, silky lingerie - or sometimes flannel. My nightwear doesn't really match the mood of my Warner Brothers' cartoon character sheets on my twin bed, eh? Learning my sexuality isn't because of my looks (relating sex to looks is pornified) but learning that I'm a normal, healthy, made-by-God human female and being sexual and sensual are healthy -- even if I don't have a husband to enjoy my sexuality with. Until Mr. Right comes along in a few years (after I've healed from the pa and abuse), When that happens, I plan to enjoy my sex life fully.... the man had better look out; because I've already got 8 years of "hornies" built up.

13) I learned to not be a drama queen; but to calm myself before communicating. He could hear me much better without the emotions attached. I like myself much better without the drama-mama routine. I feel much more competent to discuss things with others when I know I can keep my emotions in check.

14) Recognizing that even joking about potential physical abuse is a sign to leave and not look back. I didn't heed the warnings and got hurt 6 months later.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken" - Oscar Wilde

"First, there is the fall, and then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God!" – Lady Julian of Norwich

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My Recovery Plan (back when I was with ex): viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8174#p160542
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby tootrue on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:04 pm

Dr. Victor Cline mentions a model of pornography addiction with 4 assumed progressive steps:

Addiction - A person compulsively views pornography.
Escalation - As time progresses, the addict requires more extreme, more deviant material to get the same effect and satisfy the compulsions.
Desensitization - The addict loses their perception of what is socially acceptable. Illegal material or those considered taboo, immoral, or repulsive seems "normal."
Acting out sexually - " increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography, including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex,voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex.

Dr. Victor Cline's website:
**Although Dr. Cline is a Latter Day Saint, and that is not my own religios viewpoint, his writings would be helpful to anyone of any religious or non religious background in my opinion.
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby tootrue on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:08 pm ... en-Etc.pdf

US Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation
Hearing on The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction and the Effects of Addiction on Families and Communities
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.~Frances de Sales
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby CiCo on Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:43 pm

Thanks so much to all of you who posted this information for new SOs. Although this is my first post, I'm a not-so-new SO in a couple of ways. My husband and I have been married for 31 years. Everyone thinks we have a great relationship and, stupidly, so did I, until about nine years ago, when I found him watching porn on TV. I was shocked and threatened to divorce him. He begged me not to, promised to quit. A month later I found him looking at porn on the Internet. Same drill. I was devastated: crying jags, insomnia, feeling ugly and inadequate. He promised. I fell for it. Earlier this year I noticed that every time I walked into his study, he changed the screen on his computer. I asked him if he was looking at porn again and he said no. Last month I discovered he is. I asked him to move out and he did. I'm seeing a therapist; he's seeing a therapist. He wants to see a marriage counselor together. I don't know whether I want to put myself through this again. I've seen posts on this forum that recommend giving PAs an ultimatum: porn or me. I think I did that nine years ago. He says he just started again this year, but I don't know if I can believe that or if it is even relevant. I feel like he chose porn. Am I crazy to even consider trying to make this work?
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby neverending on Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:11 am

I didn't want your post to get lost in here... and you have no one respond.

That is the critical question... I am crazy to try to make this work...

No one can really answer this for you... and while I'm sure this is not what you wanted to hear, it is the way it is. When you are done, you are done. You'll know when this happens.

You must decide for yourself... all I can do is let you know what the possible future might hold.

The first question you need the answer to, you may never really get for sure. Is he getting help and doing all of these things because he realizes that he has a problem, or is he only seeking help for you? If he is seeking help because he realizes that he has a real problem, then I must say that you've got a real chance in making this work, but much like living with a recovering alcoholic, this problem doesn't go away all together. There will always be temptation and the possibility of a relapse. In some aspects this problem is worse than alcoholism because it is such a quiet closed door addiction and sex is everywhere in today's society. It's not like an alcoholic can get drunk off a commercial with beer in it, but a SA can get a fix off a commercial with something suggestive in it.

Now, if he is doing this merely to try to appease you, then there is still a possibility that he will realize that he has a problem, but there is also a chance that he may remain in denial and continue to hide and pretend like he doesn't have a problem, but on an entirely different level of secrecy. The other thing is, if he is in denial, it will probably get much worse before it gets better. It could take years for him to get a real handle on this... but I have heard of stories where someone has stopped and never looked again.... it is much more rare, but it does happen.

Set some boundaries for yourself, decide what you can and cannot live with... set a time limit for how long you will deal with this... above all, separate yourself from his addiction, it is not your problem, do not make it so... do not be his accountability partner... if you want to know what's going on, that's one thing, but he'll need someone else who can listen and not get mad at him.

My best to you, Please post a new thread in the partners forum dear... I think you'll get more responses there.

Am I a part of the cure, or am I part of the disease?--Cold Play-Clocks

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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby mshammy on Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:11 pm

Thank you for this, it has given me the strength to not *give in* again for the sake of his peace.

daisy wrote:To our new sister on the board. I am sorry you are another casualty in the bomb called prn addiction (or sesxual addiction) there is much shared wisdom here on this board. First and foremost:

This is not about you, not even a little bit. You could be a supermodel, available 24/7 for sx and he would still use prn.... This is not about your attractiveness, your love, your abilities, etc.. This is about HIM and HIS inability to be truly intimate, his 'need' for a fix, his 'need' to run from his problems rather than deal with them.

HIs addiction and recovery are his to deal with- you can't do it for him.

Set up boundaries for your own spiritual, emotional and physical safety with consequences that you WILL follow through with, or they won't work.

If he is willing to work recovery and sobriety, there is lots of Hope. If he is still in denial that prn is a problem, you have a long, uphill struggle ahead. Either way, recovery takes a lot of work for you both. Whether or not he decides to recover, the best thing you can do is heal from the pain that this addiciton has dropped into your heart.

To help you get started, I would like to recommend the following

Books and Resources on recovery
Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes
Don't call it love by Patrick Carnews
Pure Desire by Ted Roberts (christian resource)
The Recovery Devotional Bible (NIV- Zondervan)
Healing wounds of Sexual aaddiction by Laaser
Addiction and Grace by Gerald May
Seven Levels of intimacy by Matthew Kelly
Trauma and Addiciton by Tan

Computer help
For free tracking/blocking software:

to recover files from your computer (PLEASE be careful, you will see what he looked at)

The support here is wonderful, there is also a women's only board at

Finally, board guidelines- although I am neither moderator nor authority....
For your own health and sanity, I suggest staying out of the Recovering Addicts section for a while. If you want 'perspective' from the addicts, post in the general forum. If you want to vent your anger, do it here or in the journals. Anger from us in the Recovering Addicts forum helps NO ONE heal.

the trigger button on the top right side of your posting box is to place any information that might 'trigger' thoughts or actions by recovering addicts (RA's) or SO's on the board. If you are going to describe specific prn or things you have done/done to you sexually, please use a trigger button.

Starting a journal is very therapeutic for many. If you do not want people to post in it, just say so in your first post. My journal viewtopic.php?f=5&t=117 is there if you'd like to see it. It also has my recovery plan, my story, etc..

and a quick abreviation guide:
SO (Signifcant other) PA(porn addict) SA (Sex Addict) MB (Masterbation) Prn or P (pornography) s^x (sex) ExH (ex husbad) BF (Boyfriend) GF (girlfriend) LOL (Laugh out loud) RAOFLMA (Rollng around on the floor laughing my ass off) mods (moderators) CP (Child Porn)

Read around, there is much wisdom to be found
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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby Lily on Tue May 24, 2011 3:54 am

The forum rules are shown in a pink box above each forum. All members must abide by the rules when posting or replying to posts. I suggest you take a look now.

We do NOT discuss CHILD PORNOGRAPHY of any sort, child also includes teens (pseudo or otherwise).
The rules state CHILD PORNOGRAPHY is the visual record of child sexual abuse. It is illegal worldwide. If you (or someone you know) is involved with child pornography, your needs exceed the scope of this board. Please seek professional help immediately. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse, including users of child pornography, will be reported immediately to law enforcement at

Also please make sure that any links you post do not lead to sites which show sexually explicit language or images. This is to prevent triggering for both SO's and PA's.

The rules state SEXUALLY EXPLICIT language or images are not permitted. While this site discusses pornography, including its impact on healthy sexuality, excessive detail or graphic content is not permitted and will be removed by board moderators. Sometimes what may seem excessive to one is not to another. If there is a question in the author's mind regarding the appropriateness of the post, the 'trigger' button should be used to mask the specific content and warn readers of potential 'triggering' material.

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Re: Basic Information for New SO's

Postby completelydone on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:44 pm

I decided to post this here too. It was my response to a congrats on mine and my husbands porn free anniversary (he is 7 years clean as of may 2011. I'm 14 Years porn free as of 2011.) I'm posting it here though because it sums up what I learned through all of this and shows that victory is possible:

Thank you, Mike. I think you know, from reading my journal, that I was very skeptical myself that things could work out! It wasn't because I was afraid he couldn't overcome and change. I knew he could because I had. It was because I couldn't trust him after his betrayal and deception. I couldn't see into his heart and know whetether he was sincerely sorry and wanted change or not?! I couldn't know if he was being genuine or still deceiving me, because he had already proven he was capable of living a lie and making me live it with him. It took a lot of time for me to be convinced he was being sincere and genuine; that he was sorry for real. He did whatever it took to prove his love and change of heart to me. He became an open book in every aspect. It was hard for him to make himself so vulnerable, but he gathered courage, dropped pridefulness, and did it.

As a result of all our hard work together, I can honestly say, I love him more now than ever. I believe he would say the same about me. It was a VERY difficult and long journy to healing (5 years to heal), but in the end it was worth keeping our family together. A huge bonus is my husband worked through and healed from an abusive childhood home. Things I learned about his childhood experiences were so hard to even hear, but his willingness to face it and stop running from it made me so proud of his strength and courage. He grew at least two feet in my eyes just for that.

I learned it sucks to be an addict and a significant other. The addict is running from pain. The SO, unfortunately, has that pain inflicted upon them; as an unintended consequence of it.

I learned it doesn't really matter whether it's an addiction, bad behavior, a compulsion, or a coping skill. Porn destroys- period. The consequences upon those using and those who love the users is destruction. I learned that anything can be overcome by love.

God bless and take care!
"Recoveryism destroys more lives than addiction itself."
"Porn addicts do what they do because it doesn't cost them enough. Make it cost them."
But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God's promise at that—you can't break it. Romans 4:15

Addiction is deception and only truth cures it.

In order for you to never slip again you need to do basically two things:
1. Make a final decision about it.
2. Get to the root cause of the problem.
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