I come here from NoFap.com, a site my husband discovered after more than 20 years of porn addiction. We've been married 11 years, he finally told me after 5 lonely and confused years of marriage (he had given up porn a couple years before he met me but relapsed after we got married) and we've struggled through nearly 7 years of marriage with little to no connection and communication after he finally told me about porn. (We now believe porn still had a hold on him, although he stopped looking at it with minor relapses, almost 7 years ago, because he was still masturbating and fantasizing and objectifying women.)
The reboot has really helped both of us so much. Mostly, I have now come to believe, because we decided to go hard mode, or no orgasms for either of us. We spent a few weeks reconnecting with nonsexual touch and then attempted karezza based on reading a few short entries on yourbrainonporn.com and the comments of a few other NoFap members. After a month of what I now realize was mating driven sex, straining to avoid Os, we felt so much in love and our marriage was almost miraculously healed! His brain fog was much improved, I was so much happier and more forgiving and we craved each other's touch. Then we fell off and had Os. A lot of them. And even though we talked about resuming karezza, we just couldn't quite do it. If you'd like to read my journal at NoFap, it's here. https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/fupornwifes-journal.66641/
Where I'm at now is reading "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow " and becoming more and more convinced I want to continue with "real" karezza. My husband is not convinced but is willing to try. In the about 3 weeks since we first Oed with each other, we have been fighting more, I've been crying more, crabbier, less forgiving, unsure of his love, dredging up past pains due to his porn addiction (some of that may be a normal part of healing, due to the fact that I've buried much of it and it's now coming back up due to the reboot, but I'm not sure anymore) and his brain fog and feeling tired all the time is back with a vengeance.
I decided to take a break from NoFap because I felt it was becoming unhealthy for me. I was spending too much time commenting on the posts of women significant others (SOs) and male addicts, attempting to save other SOs the pain I felt, knowing something was wrong but not knowing what. I finally realized it was a twisted attempt to actually save newlywed me. Here's the post I wrote about that. https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/fupornwifes-journal.66641/...
The reason I'm here is because I'm struggling with getting back into, or actually starting, a real karezza groove. I have better tools this time around. The book and reading more here. Plus my own "research" which tells me that avoiding O may be very well worth it. I also Oed last one week ago today, so my rollercoaster of emotions and my husband's reluctance to participate in nonsexual touch the way I'd hope may be caused or complicated by that.
Mostly I just wanted to tell a story. Here it is.
Years ago, I remember watching my husband playing with our cats. Petting them, giving them attention, playfully ruffling their fur. I made the comment that I wished I could get as much hands on attention as they were getting. This was before I learned of his porn addiction and long before I knew anything about bonding behaviors or karezza, so I wasn't sure how to express what I was trying to say. I now know the problem really was that, although we did have sex and he kissed me (quick caste peck unless it was sex) and told me he loved me, I wasn't getting the nonsexual touch I craved. My husband looked at me, puzzled, and after a short pause, gave me a 30 second hair ruffling "pet" on the head. I remember feeling two things. One, it felt kind of good and I wanted more. (although more gently and tenderly) and, two, I felt ashamed that it felt good. Ashamed because I knew something about it was off. Why would a wife want her husband to ruffle her hair and pet her like a cat? But I also recognized that I wasn't getting enough touch from him and that the "pet" was akin to something I craved.
I also felt a little crazy. What kind of insane complaint is it that a wife would say, you don't pet me like you do our cats and I want you to! Nothing is crazier, and more painful, than the truth, huh?
Fast forward to this past weekend. My husband and I have been making an effort to cuddle more since the reboot. It's been nice, but I've also felt it's lacking something. Mostly it's just his arm around me and/or hand holding. I've expressed several times now, that I wish we could add other bonding behaviors. I've listed them off, I've suggested specific ones, I've tried a few on him. Unfortunately the relaxed nonsexual backrub I gave him was not only not returned to me, but turned into sex immediately afterward. I enjoyed the sex. I participated in it willingly. But, in the back of my mind, I think I was a little sad that my intent was misunderstood and that the massage, or some other nonsexual touch, wasn't returned to me.
This weekend, when we cuddled, there was a moment when our cat crawled up and around our heads on the recliner we were laying on. I felt annoyed and even jealous as he let go of me to reach up and pet her. Again, I attempted to talk to him about it, but couldn't come up with the words that didn't make me feel like a crazy person. Please put as much focus and attention on me as you put into petting our cat, seems a bit wacko.
I also talked to him about touching faces, something I really enjoy doing and having done to me. But when I demonstrated I could tell from his reaction that he wasn't enjoying it. He froze and nearly, but not actually, moved away from my hand. I asked him and he said it made him feel claustrophobic. I was about to say something along the lines of, well, perhaps that's simply a touch you don't enjoy, I don't have to do it. But then I remembered. When we have sex, I sometimes touch his face and he never reacts poorly. So I asked him about that and he said, "That's different."
My conclusion is, no, it really isn't different. If you are OK with me touching your face when we have sex, you should be OK with me touching your face when we are cuddling. I have some theories:
1. Something holds him back from cuddling, such as:
- Events from his childhood, being raised, in his early years, by a single, young mother, who was raised, in her early years, by her grandmother (he actually comes from a line of three single young moms: great-grandmother, grandmother and mother)
- His male ego or societal pressures
- His porn addiction
2. Our recent Os are clouding his mind, making cuddling less pleasurable for him right now.
To quote Forrest Gump, "I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time."
And then I asked him to touch my face. Mirroring our experience from years ago and the foreshowing from the moment when he was more interested in petting our cat than me, he first ruffled up my hair in a joking manner before touching my face. At first, I laughed. And then, I cried. I was soaking in his touch on my face, a touch he was only giving reluctantly after repeated requests, enjoying it and hurting because I knew it wasn't given freely. And I recounted the story, from before I knew about his porn addiction, about him paying better attention to our cats than me.
Then the spiral of guilt started. He told me he was trying to be playful and make a joke. And that he's trying to get back to the him he was before porn addiction, when he was a person that joked around a lot. I listened and held back from saying, "What, a teenage boy? You want to steal my shoes and put a snake in my locker to show you that you like me?" And then I felt guilty for making him feel bad about making a joke. Still, I tried to explain that his joke was MOCKING my need for his touch. He disagreed and we just sort of left it there, at a stalemate.
This is a pattern of the past for us. Me getting upset when he isn't able to read my mood and react in a more loving manner than a teenage boy and him feeling hurt that I "never let him joke around anymore." a claim that is sure to make me feel like a big fat jerk. I sometimes do wonder if porn froze his emotional development. But, to be fair, reading "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" is also opening my eyes to the fact that I've likely been unnecessarily harsh with him as well.
Do I just need to tough out the next week and keep trying? Will it be easier when we're off the rollercoaster of the past Os? I'm about 2/3s of the way through the book and it's a kiddle edition so it's a pain to flip ahead to the end. Therefore I haven't read any of the list (I can't think of the word for it right now) of bonding behaviors leading up to karezza.
Or, do I have legitimate reasons for my pain right now? The whole, please pet me but not like a cat thing, is really upsetting. I feel like I have some language that I could use to explain that to him, finally. But if I bring it up am I having a necessary healing conversation or am I belaboring something because I'm all doped up on the O chemicals?