Unraveling porn addiction in the family

We provide help to overcome and heal from the trauma & betrayal.

This experience was the hardest thing I ever had to go through in life so far but this also ended up being the most valuable lesson in life. Through help, love and determination we managed to rice above and heal. We would never be the creative, open minded and hardworking people we are to day if we had not gone through the addiction, recovery and healing. I hope that more partners to porn and sex addicts finds the strength to give them an ultimatum so that healing can take place instead. The addicts often need to be put into place and they will kick and scream but they will hopefully eventually realize what’s at stake and understand that they also deserve a life without addiction and compulsive behavior. Please know that the addict is not in a happy place at all and that there is nothing wrong with you. Remember that you are not the cause for addiction and you can turn your situation around and become a part of the solution and be able to thrive as a couple and family.

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I want to share my experience of discovering my partner was addicted to porn and what that was really like. And also what it was like to go through recovery as a couple. I’m doing this because I know how overwhelming this experience is, how unfair it seems and how little information there is about porn addiction. There has always been two sides to our story however were the love we feel for each other always has been very strong and passionate but the porn addiction has unfortunately overshadowed our love by the constant broken promises. When I first Googled phrases like: My boyfriend watches a lot of porn etc I mostly got search results from comments of people who think that men should be free to watch porn as much as they like and that there is somehow a biological explanation to why men watch porn. This made me take a step back even though I strongly felt how much Christoffers behavior injured our relationship, our intimacy and my self esteem. I often asked myself why is this happen to me, me of all people, I who deserve a happy and loving relationship and who also does everything to strive towards that. The truth I later learned was that porn addiction has absolutely nothing to do with you as a partner or the quality of the love, support or sex you offer to the relationship. You will question everything in your life and about yourself when you discover that your boyfriend or husband engage in this compulsive activities of watching porn nonetheless. I believe a lot of partners are suffering in silence and need to hear from someone who has been through the process of discovering porn addiction and the way out of porn addiction through recovery. I want to give you a glimpse of our relationship before it all went down. 

When I first met Christoffer I immediately fell for the way he looked at me and how he spoke of his family and the way he saw the world. When ever I spent time with him I knew that I would be able to be just me around him and that would be enough. He nicknamed me Maria den fria which means Maria the free in swedish. He loved how free spirited I was and he wanted to emphasize that in our relationship. After a few months we moved in together and we were on top of the world, we traveled and got to know each other in different ways and in different situations. I had the feeling that we were as one and he would never do anything to hurt me. We trusted and respected each other at an early start. 

We eventually got pregnant, I already had two small children from before and we wanted to give them a sibling and Christoffer had no children before me. It was such a joy to be expecting a child together. But during this time I more and more got the feeling that something was not quite right. It was very hard to distinguish what it was at first but I then got the feeling that Christoffer was isolating himself from us as often as he could with online gaming, alone time in the bathroom, different tasks he had to attend on his own and coming home late after work or going to work early. When I spoke of the activities I wanted to do with the kids and as a family he did not seem as excited about them as I was. I got offended by this behavior and I started to exclude him from the family, like he was excluding himself. I felt as if why would he be entitled to decide which activities he would engage in with his family and which he didn’t. He hurt me with his avoiding behavior and I felt alone and I wanted him to suffer too. I then started to become very suspicious at the long baths he would be taking, he could lay there for 1-1,5 hours with a locked door. Christoffer is not a person who can lay still for that long with nothing going on. We also needed to use the bathroom and this became an element of irritation for me. I could not believe how selfish he acted. I more and more started to see patterns recurring, it was almost like he was doing some kind of ritual before he acted out and he would always engage in this when he had a bad mood or felt bad about something and he would be isolating himself. 

One wintersday we had celebrated an early Christmas with Christoffers mother and the kids and when we headed home my daughter needed help to stay awake during our drive. Christoffer offered his mobile phone so she could watch Youtube-clips. She had watched it for a while when she then got irritated and I took the phone and saw a kind of advertisement page that only appear when you visit pornsites online. I felt how my heart started beating very hard and my head beating as well. I handed over the mobile to Christoffer in an irritated gesture and did not say a word to him for the rest of the day. I remember feeling some sort of relief because now I had seen proof of what I suspected him of doing for so long during his baths, at work, from work and home and on his errands. But I also felt an enormous sorrow, disappointment and anxiety. The next day I texted Christoffer saying that I had something I wanted to talk to him about later in the day. This day he got home later than he use to and I knew that he knew what I wanted to talk to him about. I felt so insecure and almost pissed off that I had to have this conversation with him. I almost did not get the words out. I don’t want you to watch porn anymore. So hard to say, maybe because I was insecure and thought that he might prefer porn over me. Was he with me just because he did not want to be alone? Maybe I did not want to hear the answers to my questions? I was not prepared for this at all. Many questions in my head, trying to understand and to make sence of this situation, without knowing or understanding he was an addict. I was pregnant at the time and I got these negative thoughts about me not looking attractive enough for him and I started to defend his behavior with that mindset or trying to rationalizing it in some way. But I also felt that this behavior really made me feel extremely bad about myself and that it also did harm to our relationship. I did not have any idea at the time that he might be addicted to porn and I did not even know that you could be addicted to porn. 

I knew that a lot of people watch porn and that it is part of some people’s lives in varying extent. But I did not know that you could be unable to stop watching. I thought that you always had a choice and he chose porn over me, everytime. I could NOT live with that. And every time he acted out it hurt like hell because to me that was an indication of the fact that I was not good enough for him. That’s why he was failing to stop, in my mind… When I finally got the words out of my mouth he assured me that this was not a problem, he would quit watching porn immediately and he told me that he understood my feelings towards it.

I did not feel as if I had someone to talk to about this problem that really understood what I went through. I had my sister and Christoffers mother to talk to and try to explain what I felt but I just could not get past the fact that I was not the issue here. So nothing anyone said to me made it better. Almost a year went by before we finally searched for help. During this time he had made hundreds of promises to me about quitting and I gave him chance after chance and with every new chance I gave him I felt as if I lost a part of me. Because I knew that I would find some new proof of him acting out again and again. Everytime I found out that he was still acting out with porn he reassured me that this was the last time and he had some new trick he wanted to try to make him quite. Watching porn does a lot to a person’s brain, whenever we were among people Christoffer would be busy looking at other girls. Not just giving them a glance but really look at them. This also made me extremely uncomfortable and irritated because the only way I could understand this was that I yet again was not good enough. I later learned that when you watch porn a lot you start to objectify people on a regular basis, the brain is wired to see people as objects. 

At this time we had our newborn daughter Maxine and we were so happy to finally have our little girl with us. But I was struggling with my wellbeing and I did not sleep much and I went into a depression. The stress of having a partner with porn addiction and not being able to care for myself properly with a little baby and two little children during a long period of time really took the best of me and I eventually couldn’t take it anymore. I did not want to live like this anymore and I dreamt of a better life for me and my children. 

One summer’s day after we had had a summer vacation together and Christoffer was now back at work I decided to look in his mobile phone for traces of pornuse. I knew he could never withstand the privacy offered at work so I knew I would find something. I surely was a detective at this time and a good one and it was consuming me completely. I could not function in my daily life, I couldn’t stop thinking about Christoffer and his acting out. I waited for him to fall asleep this night and I then took his phone and started searching. I found that he had looked at porn content and I was so angry and fed up with our situation. I woke him up and we started arguing and he ended up on the coach on his own initiative and I just felt that he did not care anymore. Before he would be so regretful and be begging me for another chance. But this time he laid himself on the coach and I could feel how he almost gave up. I was so angry and I just could not believe this reaction. I then gave him an ultimatum in the middle of the night. Seek help or I’m leaving you, and I really meant it. I was Done! This porn addiction had taken everything from me, I was not a good mother to my kids because I was so worried about his acting out that I did not have the energy to focus on what mattered the most. I became aggressive and irritated due to the constant stress I was experiencing. I did not care about me anymore, I felt worthless, useless and powerless. I did not know if I truly had a partner or if this life I had was only a front for something sick and twisted. I did not feel as if we had a future as a couple or as a family and I did not have the feeling that I would ever be happy ever again after this experience. I have always known that he’s the man I want to live my life with if only the lies and betrayal could stop. 

We went out of our comfort zone and began searching for help and we found a clinic were both Christoffer and I could get help. It was a group therapy program. I was told that this recovery could be finished in 1-1,5 years. I could not believe my ears and I knew that we did not have that type of time or money because we were on the tipping point both financially and emotionally. We decided to give it a chance because there was no other help out there and we were desperate. We stayed there for about three months with one session each every week. Christoffer was given tasks and he made them every week and he was very productive and determined to do this recovery and accomplish it. The treatment however was based on a 12 step program where you are supposed to accept that you are an addict with a disease and so on but we never felt that we were victims of anything, we felt that we just needed the tools and new perspectives  in our life so that addiction could not find its way back into our lives. I then started to panic because this recovery was taking too long and Christoffer was doing everything they told him to do but there was no accountability or new ways of thinking only the surrendering to addiction as a powerful force. I started to look for other clinics but there was no help to be found. One day I Googled and found a coach who also helped clients with porn or sexual addiction. The treatment was 3 months with one-on-one sessions over Skype once a week. No group, no remorse, no surrendering just new ways of thinking and acting in life. Christoffer would somethimes tell me he felt alone with his struggle through the recovery because he did not have a coach who had been an addict themselves. But this was the turning point for us, Christoffer was finally given proper help and we could start to heal as a couple. It was not an easy task because I was so damaged by the lies and betrayal. With determination and courage we managed to heal and become more and more intimate with each other, and by that I mean the full spectrum of intimacy, to trust the other person, communicate and respect one another. I noticed that I also needed to heal as a partner and I was not prepared for that because I thought that as long as he overcame his addiction everything will be better. I had a lot of anger and sadness bottled up inside, I was the one who for a long period of time had to take on the parent role alone and fix everything that had to be done with three little children in the family. And at the same time deal with all of the emotions I was going through because of Christoffers addiction. Even Though we had finally find help there was a long way to go. We often had arguments and fights were we disagree and I was always so angry at Christoffer, because of the feelings his behavior had made me feel. I would still be triggered if he said he wanted to go out somewhere and fix something. I always wanted to be with him to make sure that he wouldn’t act out again. I did this because I was so afraid that he would relapse. It was as if I was experiencing posttraumatic stress and I needed alot of patience from Christoffer and  time to adapt to our new life and our new relationship. Christoffer was very caring and understanding after his recovery and he could coach me when ever I had a hard time with my thoughts and feelings. He got himself informed about what its like to be a partner to a porn addict and he was able to understand me when I did not have the words to explain to him how I felt. It took me about one years after he had recovered to completely feel that the addiction was over and we were a functioning couple again.

When we got in recovery we did not only get rid of an addiction we also learned a different way of thinking and that resulted in many new ways of living. We taught ourselves to not let fear rule our lives. We wanted to build our life differently, eat differently, determine which goals to accomplish differently and care for each other and our family differently. 

I´m proud to say that we are now married and expecting our second child. We have our own porn and sex addiction recovery program we offer to men and women struggling with porn and sex addition and we also offer extended help and support to their partners.  We believe that anyone can become free from addiction if they get access to the proper set of tools and the appropriate perspectives and conditions by someone who has been an addict themselves.

WE OFFER HELP TO INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES THAT ARE STRUGGLING WITH PORN ADDICTION

Get your confidential consultation for free.

Maria Ruriksdotter Nettelbladt – Wife and life partner to Christoffer Nettelbladt – Founder of Undisputed PRN Recovery

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