What if my partner is a porn addict?

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estranged couple in bedAs the partner of a recovering addict, your first responsibility is to nurture yourself. Stay connected to friends and family. Consider exercise, yoga, meditation, time in nature and creative activities you enjoy. All can help keep you in balance while your partner gets sorted out. Support groups for both partners and addicts can be found on this page.

Understand that your partner's addiction isn't about you. You cannot "act like a porn star" to keep your partner satisfied. Addictions can never be "satisfied." Even if immediate demands are met, hotter stimulation just speeds the progression of the addiction.

You can, however, help your partner. When couples learn how to use bonding behaviors to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain that overreacts to perceived threats, it can tremendously reduce the fear attached to healing from the betrayal, withdrawal, and trauma of addiction. This can set the stage for real healing to be possible.

The key is to engage in daily affection of the type described in this article: The Lazy Way to Stay in Love or karezza sex: Karezza is for addicts (too). Also see Boyfriend Quitting Porn? 5 Tips.

The spouse of a recovering porn addict writes:

Partners are not “in recovery;” we are “trauma survivors”. I’m actually not too keen on the term “survivor”. As this tends to get lumped in with “cancer survivor” and I don’t even want to go into how I feel about that!

Anyway, what would be the most helpful I feel, is even though your site is not a recovery site, people wanting to learn Karezza usually having a lot of healing to do.

So if you wanted to have a section heading, something like, Attachment Trauma Resources….that would just include any type of trauma that people need to heal from, including partners of an SA.

Currently, www.RebootNation.org’s section is something like, Partners of Addicts. This would allow partners to find out information that would cut out or down on so many years of torture, because they don’t know how to support themselves and/or their spouse during this time and eventually will give up on doing Karezza, and possibly divorce.

It also would start to bring things into balance, since the primary focus has been on the addict.

Also, this study on the spouses of porn users is attachment-based, it was done with “conservative Christian” people, which they report in their study. However, I found it all right on the money for me and I’m not religious, just deeply spiritual. I find that this is for the most part the important piece that the therapist don’t have regarding partners of addicts. With Karezza info combined it would be complete.

Study abstract

Wives’ Experience of Husbands’ Pornography Use and Concomitant Deception as an Attachment Threat in the Adult Pair-Bond Relationship
by SPENCER T. ZITZMAN and MARK H. BUTLER

Evidence is growing that pornography use can negatively impact attachment trust in the adult pair-bond relationship. We employed a qualitative methodology to understand attachment implications of a partner’s pornography use and concomitant deception. A qualitative analytic team analyzed interviews of 14 women in attachment-idealizing pair-bond relationships in couple therapy for their partner’s pornography use. Analyses uncovered three attachment-related impacts from husbands’ pornography use and  deception: (1) the development of an attachment fault line in the relationship, stemming from perceived attachment infidelity; (2) followed by a widening attachment rift arising fromwives’ sense of distance and disconnection from their husbands; (3) culminating in  attachment estrangement from a sense of being emotionally and psychologically unsafe in the relationship. Overall, wives reported global mistrust indicative of attachment breakdown. Building on this data, we build an attachment-informed model of effects of  pornography use and concomitant deception in the pair-bond relationship.

Finally, it is recommended that partners of addicts learn the science of porn addiction. If you know nothing about it, start with this short TEDx talk: The Great Porn Experiment.

More research is coming out about how porn use affects sex and relationships:Studies linking porn use or porn/sex addiction to sexual dysfunctions, lower brain activation to sexual stimuli, and lower sexual satisfaction.

It's also useful to learn how grim withdrawal can be for the addict: What does withdrawal from porn addiction look like? In fact, some addicts suffer recurring withdrawal symptoms for a couple of years, off and on.: Does post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) occur with porn addiction?