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Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this serious and frustrating situation.
Could you please clarify if your husband still continue to use pornography?
No he does not.
Could you tell me how has your situation around him looking at other women evolve to the present?
It's been an issue since the porn was an issue, and he more recently has recognized that it was an issue. Since then, maybe a month ago, he has been making a big effort to stop doing it, and communicate with me how he is changing it.
I see. What you are experiencing around your lack of libido when willing to have sex with your husband is obviously a consequnce of the serious sexual addictive disorders-issues he has had for the time you have been together
As anybody in your shoes, your sexual libido, sense of trust, how comfortable , understood, loved, respected and supported you feel when with your husband.
Sexual life and behaviors is very vulnerable to your mood, mental health, emotions, and the quality of every aspect of your marital life, from trust to communication, the level of honesty and intimacy you have developed as a couple. His disorders have deeply undermined these areas, and this is why you could be having this tough time about having sex with your husband.
I'm sure that is why I'm having these problems. I don't know how to fix them. I can't keep avoiding sex, as that will cause further problems.
Absolutely, but this avoidance is not based on an unreasonable or neglectful reluctance to take good care of your sex life, but direct consequence of the traumatic experiences you have undergone for so many years due to your husband's addictions and mental health problems.
then in order for you to be able to work on healing yourself from the serious impact these problems have had on you, he needs to take full responsibility for his choices and actions, and consistently and carefully work on gaining back your respect, trust and passion
It would be unrealistic to expect you could feel fine and comfortable with him without him making necessary changes promoting this closeness, trust, intimacy and romance between you, not through nice words, but mostly through consistent positive and assertive actions.
You have not mentioned any individual psychotherapy nor support group for him to actually work on his rehabilitation process from this sex addictive disorders-behaviors, right?
No, he hasn't done any individual therapy for any issues. He has confided in friends and family about the issues, but apart from couples counseling it has been a process on his own.
You mentioned marriage counseling, which is excellent, but since this marital problem is consequence of his personal mental health disorders, marriage counseling could never help him or replace his own treatment for rehabilitating from these problems.
I see, then I am very concerned about how he could be able to truly rehabilitate from these chronic conditions without necessary treatment, once it has been and ongoing problem for many years.
And as I said, your sex problem is a direct consequence of his unresolved disorders undermining your marital life.
You're right. Although, I would say the problem with porn is resolved, as he hasn't looked at it for 2 years. Do you think it isn't, since he never had individual therapy?
I think so, since most times what happens is that people with these disorders do change from one form of their addiction to another, or develop additional addictive behaviors while becoming more skillful around secrecy and hiding their addictions.
And that has been a huge problem with re-building trust, I became a paranoid person in thinking that he's just gotten better at hiding it from me.
Absolutely, and I can tell you that your fears are not irrational, but that it would be naive and self-sabotaging for you to trust him without him having truly committed to his rehabilitation process, even more when you can see him acting out in front of you. I believe your husband has what is known as sex & love addiction, which include pornography addiction.
You need to understand that people presenting addictions do have very serious problems with dishonesty, manipulation, avoidance, denial, lack of accountability, codependency, secrecy and other serious problems deeply undermining their functioning and relationships, and that'w why rehabilitation process require professional treatment and active support otherwise they would not rehabilitate.
I can see the value in that. How does that effect the problem of our sex life? I feel like if we don't have sex that will just send him back into a relapse, but I also want to have emotionally open sex and not just do it to do it. Or should I?
It's a real dilemma and tough challenge, since while you still suffer from his dysfunctional sexual behaviors and are not sure about how much he has truly stopped or not his addictions, you would not feel comfortable, respected not loved, and your sexual intimacy would reflect that as well as your sex life.
The risk you would take if just having sex without feeling fine about it, is that it could trigger and reinforce his addictions instead of helping him and your marriage. I think each of you need to try your best, XXXXX XXXXX have been doing a lot, but I do not see him doing enough.
You could try to gently push yourself but please do not disregard the hard work you need to do as a couple, and specially all the rehabilitation work he needs to commit to with adequate psychological treatment and active participation in a support group.
And maybe him going to a support group would go a long way toward actively doing something to re-build trust.
He needs to take this seriously if he really wants to rehabilitate and heal your marriage, otherwise it would not work.
Yeah, you're right.
Please reflect on it, work on yourself with support from individual psychotherapy and talk with your husband about it for him to start taking responsible and proactive actions around his rehabilitation process and for your marriage to heal.
Feel free to contact me if you get any further questions since I am here to support you.
Thank you. I appreciate your insight.
You're very welcome.
Thank you for your trust.
Bye for now.