Dear Jo… January 26, 2015 – Posted in: Advice – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m 39 and a mum. I’ve been with my partner for 6 years but am finding it very hard and strange. He always has his phone locked. I can see I have no say over his phone – it’s his and that’s it – but I’ve seen a lot of women he used to chat up on chat rooms and WhatsApp on there and I’ve seen porn on his laptop and phone.

The first time, he just said that it’s up to him what he watches, and I left it. But this is really doing my head in now and I’m finding it hard to cope. I wonder whether I should leave him as I just feel useless and no good, and I can see my relationship is not normal. He doesn’t even kiss me, and when we have sex he always brings up the way porn is in the things he says.

The problem is, I don’t have the guts to tell him what he’s doing is wrong because when I’ve tried before he just argued with me. I’m getting nowhere. I’m desperate to get a life and I can’t keep going on like this.

What’s also getting to me is that I don’t understand why my partner masterbates when I’m not around. I find tissues in the bin. I feel no good. I’m really thinking about leaving, but at my age I feel like I will have to start again. Perhaps though that would cause me less stress. Life for me is unhappy.

Thank you.

Hi there,

Thanks for your message. I can really hear the pain and turmoil you’re in over this relationship and how it’s making you feel. From what I can gather, your partner’s sexual behaviour both inside and outside of your relationship is really troubling you. And, if it’s troubling you then you need to do something about it.

Your guy’s secrecy around his phone suggests that he’s in some way ashamed about his behaviour. This could either be because he’s having an affair or, more likely, because he’s become addicted to sex. From what you describe – porn on his computer, tissues in the bin, chat rooms, etc. – it certainly sounds like he is struggling with a sex addiction or is headed in that direction. He needs help. Sex addiction is a very real problem but one that people can recover from WHEN THEY ARE READY TO FACE IT. Understand that if he is caught up in addiction then he will be in denial about it – it’s the nature of the beast.

Some couples use porn as a part of their sex lives; it’s an agreed part of their coupling that both of them enjoy. Other people accept their partner’s use of porn as an outlet for something that isn’t or can’t be fulfilled within the relationship. In both cases the use of porn has been discussed and agreed, meaning that both parties are comfortable. This isn’t the case with you and your partner – the issue here isn’t porn, but your discomfort about it, his secrecy around it and the way his behaviour makes you feel.

You say you don’t have the guts to tell him that what he’s doing is wrong and I understand that, but you could tell him how his behaviour is making you feel. Or you could leave. You don’t mention in your letter whether you love this man or not. If you love him then you could choose to stay, confront him with his addictive behaviour and suggest he gets help. That would be the most loving thing you could do for him. However, if you’re staying with him because you simply don’t want to be on your own (you mentioned not wanting to ‘start again’ at the ripe old age of 39!) then PLEASE do some work on your self-esteem. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone you feel comfortable with. I would MUCH rather be 39 (or 29, 49, 59, 69, 79), single and happy than 39 and living with the stress you describe! Being with someone is not the only way to be happy – despite what our culture tells us – it really is possible to be contentedly solo for a time! Having said that, relationships (the right ones) are wonderful and people always deserve a chance to work on their wonky behaviours with support and love.

So, I think you need to decide whether you love this guy enough to confront him with his behaviour. If he denies it then you may have to leave, which would be the most loving thing you could do for yourself and your children. If he does want help then I would strongly suggest he contact Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous who are the experts at dealing with this addiction – it might help you to read some of their information too.

Good Luck.

Jo x

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