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I relapsed last weekend. It was partly intentional, partly an accident. During a time I could PM without O quite easily but this is no longer the case. Even though I don't want to O the last two times I have relapsed the O just came like an eruption with a sensitivity I hadn't experienced before. The first one was on 27th October (my 17th day) and the last one was on the 21st day. It seems that the third week is a critical period for me. I relapsed out of sheer anxiety. The brainworms wouldn't go away and a major clarity and stability weren't coming either. As I have said before my goal is reconnecting again with myself and my feelings and my therapist's diagnostic was exaclty the same. Now I feel lost and weak and miserable at times but above all lost, like I haven't got a purpose or a direction. My feelings, if there at all, are rather weak or at least this is how I perceive them.

When there's no one around (a girl I like) everything is easier for me. Since I've got that special friend my anxiety has gone wild. When she finally told me that she was having an affair (nothing serious, she is not in love and she knows that she will never be in love with a man like him, she is just sort of testing herself) I tried not to pay much attention to it but it got inside me anyway. But I really don't know if I'd feel any better if I knew she didn't have an affair. The thing is that there is something inside me which seems to tell me that I will never be able to truely love and feel love. Whenever I come close, out of the blue it's like I get burned and then I spiral down into anxiety, fear and blocked feelings, till the opportunity passes away and I see myself as someone inadequate, someone deeply crippled inside. But the thing is that I know that, without the block, I'm a totally nice and lovable person, in fact there are many people who ,I know, really appreciate me and love me so it's like I have the responsibility of not letting it all go to waste but it goes anyway. Of course, the anxiety gets bigger as my feelings for the girl are bigger and this time I just can't imagine myself being with any other girl but, yet, I can't feel much apart from weakness and fear...

The thing is that there must be more than just the PMO addiction here, important as it is. Or perhaps the PMO addiction has been going on for so long that I confuse things... Right now I'm on day 3 again. I'm not as afraid as in my previous relapse but this is because I have come to accept that I'm really ill, worse than I thought I was. On my previous attempt I just wanted to recover quickly for fear of losing that girl. Now I know that perhaps I'll need 6 full months totally PMO free to clearly see the results. Whenver I want to run I just fall down. Hard as it is I have come to accept that perhaps I will lose that girl, not to the man she occasionally sees now but I can't ask her to wait for my recovery, we are not in a relationship and she must live her life. I must put my feelings in order and reconnect with them but without anxiety. I must really let myself go and accept whatever happens even though I may fear it or make me very sad. I start again but without expectations, just acceptance, I feel too weak to expect anything as big as love right now. I'll continue with the new therapy (it makes much more sense to me than the previous one) and I'll meditate every day. I've got the feeling that I have to work on a lot of things and this will take me time. I just hope I don't lose the friendship with that girl but I don't think something like this will happen, I just should stop worrying about having a relationship with her, it may never happen and worrying certainly won't make it happen. I'll keep you informed about my battle against my PMO addiction and my phobia against relationships and I'll just let things flow by themselves.


I would never have been able to quit

without cuddling and Karezza. The cuddling really soothes the soul and removes the need or want to use porn, in my experience, pretty well. Better than anything else. And avoidance of ejaculations and orgasms for a guy creates amazing drive and sense of mastery. But it would be very difficult for me to forgo orgasm and masturbation if I wasn't with a woman I can snuggle with and have great sex with (non orgasmic most of the time) very frequently.

It's a fantastic way to live. And it has created great clarity, direction and what I'll call a relaxed sense of purpose that I think you are seeking also.

I am exactly seeking that

I want that warm feeling I used to have when I felt in love before PMO and my phobia. I was so sure about what I was feeling and so sure that I could be a good lover... Even when I was a pre-teen and I started fantasizing with women I've got a clear memory of one of the first times I had a fantasy and, without knowing it at the time, it was all about karezza, just kissing, hugging and feeling her warm body close to mine for a long, long time. This is what I want and with what I would feel most comfortable. The problem is when my phobia raised 12 years ago due to a really hard experience (I dated a girl with whom I was in love but she was so blocked that she wouldn't even talk to me or look me in the eye. The situation went on for two months where we would see each other almost daily... without speaking or even touching each other much) and probably due to all the family issues I had (schizophrenic father, anxious and depressive mother...). When I get past the first two weeks my brain looks for the things which I really want... only to find a block of fear, I can't feel. This block of fear keeps me from getting close to a girl and, thus, practicing the much awaited for karezza. Now things have got worse with the girl I like. We are friends, we don't see each other that much though we keep contact, she has issues of her own and it seems that she is rediscovering her sexuality... but she knows nothing of karezza and I sense that she is still afraid of being in love with someone. So, I've got no one to cuddle with and even if I had someone I would be terrorized... And I'm Spanish, sexuality here is not like in the States, our catholic tradition is still pretty much around in the collective subconscious... It's hard having the dopamine rollercoaster on one side (and I don't want to go back to it) and terror and nothingness on the other... I'm turning to meditation, acceptance and I'll just wait so that a good amount of PMO free time is over, and wait for my feelings to come back again, though right now it seems to me that they never will... I hope I look at all of it in a different light some months from now being PMO free.

I think it might be that

I just don't know if we're going on vacation together, we haven't spoken about it yet. Tomorrow she will have her final exam and she will be free.

I've just woken up feeling dead, no feelings. It's like everything has fallen apart. I feel like I'd be better off if I don't see or have contact with her for some time, like I will never be able to love anyone. I try hard but it all seems useless and without a motor behind (feelings) I feel like I'm nowhere... It's not fair if she is feeling again and her heart is active and I feel totally empty and with no drive whatsoever. I don't even feel like listening to music. My movements are slow and there is a deep lack of motivation on my daily work as well. Not sad, or angry, just numb, gone. Is there a feeling heart beneath all of this? I can't feel it and I sense that a really good opportunity is going to pass me by... If I could only feel again, but I just don't know how to get out of all this and I don't want her to be some kind of nurse to me. That is the only relationship I saw at home between my mother and my father, she was her nurse and he was numb on the couch except from his schizophrenic attacks... Let's hope it all goes away but I've kind of lost my grip and my feelings for her... Philophobia is tough.

Give connection a try

It seems like your condition might also be labeled, "self-sabotage." Sometimes if you go through the motions, your motor kick-starts.

For example, researchers have found that if you smile, it actually improves your brain chemistry and mood. Biggrin

Same thing with touch. Touch (and all other bonding behaviors, such as eye contact, careful listening, nurturing, etc.) actually changes your neurochemistry and mood for the better. It's one of the oldest, most fundamental aspects of being a mammal. Read this: The Lazy Way to Stay in Love (Again, if you've already read it.)

So the idea that you should wait until you "feel" something is backward. Exchange the signals you need to exchange to feel better. The good feelings might not kick in right away, but with daily contact you're almost certain to feel better.

Hint...don't ejaculate right before you travel with her. This, too, can be a form of self-sabotage.

You can do this! Call and make plans, no matter how you feel.

You're right Musician

and the thing about "self-sabotage" makes a lot of sense too. I've been reading stories about the brave guys around here and I see some connections with HOCD. I don't have it, I'm totally sure I'm straight, I have always been. My obsession is with the inability to love someone. You read stories about people who fear being gay and sometimes they are convinced they are... but then they slowly bounce back to what they really want. I see the connection with big levels of anxiety in both HOCD and my condition. Right now I'm almost sure I have stopped loving that girl and I can't love anyone... yet, a strange and uncomfortable feeling is there around her and a weak voice telling me that I shouldn't break the contact because she is special alongside another feeling of fear and block. And the fear has grown stronger with the information about her affair but I've been through this before, it all looks like self-sabotage. Also, I have read the hopeful stories of those who have remained PMO free for long periods of time (50 days or more) and all of them are positive. I know I said this before but I'm not coming back to orgasm. The reasons are that now I know I'm oversensitive, I just can't play around it like before, it's being tougher because now I don't view any image, I'm going totally cold turkey and I think I can't get any worse than how I feel now so I'll just keep going through hell (it's simply insane what an addiction can do to you). Thanks everyone for the interest and the advice and for all the stories being written here that give us so very good insights.

Marnia, I'll keep the contact with her though I'm worried about the quality of my outcomes (they're not going to be as good as they were a month before and she is going to notice, she is very sensitive to the feelings of those around her)... Do you think I should tell her about my addiction? Remember that right now we're just good friends. The thing is I feel a bit like cheating on her hiding this information and she is going to know that something is happening with me.

She certainly sounds like

someone you could tell. The honesty can help keep your compass needle on N.

Look, you don't have to be perfect. You just have to try. Whatever happens, I'm guessing it's the next right thing to tackle. You may surprise yourself.

I agree with Marnia

She already knows about your "emotional blockage" problem, right? And she had the same problem, right? So she should be quite understanding.

It sounds like the only thing left to tell her is about how you feel about her, your interest in having a romantic relationship with her. I don't think telling her those things would drive her away and make her not want to be friends. So what is there to lose?

Maybe tell her that you would like to be in a relationship with her, but you want to take it _real slow_. Start out by being cuddle buddies. Stay away from sex until you feel really comfortable and at ease with each other. And if you do have sex, try karezza (stay away from orgasm). There's less risk of neurochemical tidal waves and emotional rollercoastering.

Also, make it clear to her that your emotional blockage is _your_ problem, it's got nothing to do with her.

Well, I don't know what's

gonna happen but it could be a good thing if I told her. Nobody who knows me knows about it except from my kinesiologist because I'm so very, very, very ashamed. Right now I don't feel like being in a relationship and yes, I must stay right away from orgasm during a lot of time if I want to get out of this. But karezza would be great. Not only she knows about my emotional blockage and she has undergone somthing similar, she has taken me to her kinesiologist who now we both share, we both have had (she still has) close family with schizophrenia and her brother is addicted to drugs... she knows about all this, if I would tell anyone it would her, no doubt.

Marnia, I think you have struck a chord there, I don't have to be perfect. I expect my emotions to be powerful and pure and take action according to them, since they are not as "powerful and pure" as I imagine they "should" be I fall down into a deadly mixture of ridiculosuly high levels of anxiety and low self steem. Part of the block could be due to how much I demand from my feelings... Self acceptance is the key.

Well said

There's an old exercise that can actually help with this. You look into a mirror several times a day and say something like, "I love and approve of myself."

Amazingly, your subconscious believes what you tell it. So tell it what you want to believe about yourself.