Newcomer, wishing I had the allure of a cat

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I come here from, 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 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.

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.

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?



I wish I had the allure of a TV set!

Mostly just want to to tell you, I know how you feel.

In previous times, my wife has spent much time petting the dog or the cat, when I wished she would snuggle up with me. More recently, she watches TV into the early hours of the morning.

Some people have a strong need for physical touch. Just look at small kids. They practically leap into their parents arms when the parents come home, because they like being held so much. As we become adults, we don't necessarily "grow out" of that. And that's fine, I'm not at all ashamed to have that need. I think it's quite normal.

Other people, such as your husband and my wife, don't seem to feel a need for cuddling and other sorts of touch (although I admit, it's hard to understand why they might still enjoy petting the cat).

Perhaps you can check out or buy one one of the 5 Love Languages books, read it, then ask (ask, don't demand!) your husband to read it. It makes the point that different people have different love languages; we are not all the same. Your primary love language may be Physical Touch. His might be something else.

You could also tell him that you have a need for physical touch, and enjoy it as much as the cat! It may take a lot of repetition for him to hear it and believe you.

You can also check out my post "Not enough sex" I could have added "and cuddling" to the title. These days I'm getting an adequate amount of cuddling, although it would still be nice to get more. Some of it I get when she snuggles up behind me. Some of it I get when I get behind her during karezza. I seem to need both: me cuddling her, and her cuddling me. I wonder if you and others feel the same way (needing both kinds of cuddling).

And yes, I think things will get better for both of you if you can practice karezza and avoid orgasms consistently for a while. It should reduce the feelings of irritation you may have for each other, and make more open communication possible.

Ah, the infernal TV

Thanks for your comment.

I hear you on the TV. Another one of my love languages (thank you for the suggestion, good stuff! We have both done the tests and we are, of course, perfectly opposite.) is communication. Once, in some of our worst marital times, I asked my husband to wait with turning on the TV while I told something. He paused, arm still extended, remote still pointed, finger waiting to push the button, head turned away from me and toward the TV, while I spoke. Or, to be accurate, spoke a few sentences and then had a total head spinning meltdown. That came up in marriage counseling for sure!

The good news is, things are much, much improved and he makes a much better effort to listen AND communicate with me now! Thank you FANOS!

We're have done some cuddling tonight, and while it's still the arm around me inactive cuddling, it's still nice. I wish he was more active about touching me, if that makes sense, but, to be fair that has also improved.

More on FANOS Do you schedule a time for FANOS?

My partner likes the mindedness of TV (streaming media these days) to fall asleep. It drives me a bit nuts as I evolved from that in childhood.

We consume content as a together activity, though to me it's a bit of a delusion. I'd rather read something I find interesting and then chat about ideas. Some media can lead to that, but mostly not. Perhaps one has to enjoy fiction more.

Also, the light of her device doesn't bother me while the light of mine bothers her. I can't on occasion, read when I can't sleep. I've yet to test a front-lit e-ink device as a possible solution. What did people used to do with books and reading lamps? That's much brighter than a device.


That's a good link for FANOS. I haven't found that many, in my searches, especially one that credits the original source. Which is why I created my own.

We aim to do FANOS daily. If his work schedule gets in the way we sometimes text it to each other. When he's working 13 hour or even longer shifts, we just take a rest day. Like last night, we started FANOS and he clearly was too tired, so we stopped, with no hurt feelings.

I agree that TV watching together is a less than satisfactory experience for me. I feel like it's better now that I'm getting more than just TV watching now though. And I even noticed, on one occasion, that when we couldn't connect conversationally (after a long workday for him) turning the TV on and cuddling while watching was the key to reconnecting enough so we could talk. Maybe the cuddling alone would have been better, but he felt the need to veg for a while and I am OK with that.

This takes time

and it's easy to get discouraged. But try not to.

Read this article and try just encouraging him whenever he gets it right: (Accept that he's going to get it wrong a lot at first. Pardon ) As I always say, my husband uses this technique on me quite successfully.

Also, have a look at this list and take turns picking from it every night: playful activities for couples. Or roll the dice by refreshing this page for ideas:  A bit of structure seems to help at first. There are also Exchanges in the back of Cupid.

Finally, have you two spent any time on this page? Karezza is for addicts (too) It's pretty inspiring.

Your husband is actually doing well, considering. I think your patience and "training" will pay off. Feel free to come here and "emote" whenever you need to.

*a big cyber hug*

Thanks for the links and cyber hug

I really appreciate your response. It's a little surreal to read your comment to me, considering I was just reading your book earlier today.

I have scanned the links and will come back to them later. I'm big into reading and researching so I do appreciate it! For some reason the exchange of the day link didn't work for me. But I was able to find it. Putting it here in case anybody else reads this and wants to look at it.

As for feeling discouraged, I'm actually feeling a bit better tonight. My husband worked 17 hours on Monday and 13 today. So we have had little time for connection or conversation. He was (understandably) too tired to talk much tonight but he did do a better job of being more active about putting his arm around me and holding my hand. That's a HUGE improvement from where we were at just two months ago, before the reboot.

Will do

I hope so! Our first experience with him quitting porn was not so good. (because nothing changed about our relationship and porn still had a hold on him, despite him not watching it) But this time appears to be so much different. I have hope for the first time in years!!

Maybe Porn Isn’t His Problem

Some comments for fupornwife. My girlfriend and I were discussing your original posting. Her theory is that porn is not your husband’s main problem; it is a symptom of his overall issue. What is that issue; he doesn’t know how to be a “man”. Before you dismiss this statement outright let me explain what she said. You mentioned that your husband was raised by the third generation of young single mothers. That is a lot of estrogen for a guy to handle in his formative years. We have good examples of this in poor, especially African American communities, where boys are raised with an absent father. Often several generations of young unwed mothers on welfare raise a boy with no male role model or even worse revolving males in the mother’s life. The result is the local gang becomes the boy’s surrogate father. Addiction is prevalent in those situations, typically drugs and alcohol. That same child raised in an intact household is much less likely to join a gang even if the family is poor. What does this tell us, fathers matter.

You also said he is more affectionate with your cats than with you. Pets are easy they show you affection if you feed them. It is also an immature relationship. You don’t need much in the way of adult social or relationship skills with a pet. I am definitely not saying pets are in anyway bad, I think they are great. I am a dog person; my parents still have one of the labs that we had when I was growing up. My girlfriend says I love that dog more than I love her—well for one thing the dog doesn’t bitch at me for stuff! But my relationship with the dog is definitely not on the same mature, learned level I have with my girlfriend. The point is he doesn’t know how to have the sort of loving relationship that you want because he never learned it, hence he is relating to the cats.

When I was about 6 we went to pick out a dog from someone who raised Labrador Retrievers for hunting dogs. The only thing that dog retrieved in its entire life was tennis balls and Frisbees but he still had all the instincts of generations of hunters. What he didn’t have is what the breeder called “Dog Manners”. Although my brother and I wanted to bring the puppy home right then, he was weaned, he stayed for another 4 weeks to learn how to interact correctly with other dogs. When we finally took our dog home, the puppies were all modeling the actions of their parents. The breeder told us if we did want to train our dog for hunting that we just had to bring him back and they would take him out with a trained hunting dog. The younger dog picked up how to retrieve and what not do very quickly from the older dog. Even dogs need to learn from a role model.

My girlfriend’s suggestion is that your husband sees a male therapist, someone dealing with men’s issues. Perhaps even group therapy where he can discuss with other men what being a man means to them. Men who can help him fill in some of the blank spaces on what being a man is all about. It is hard for your husband to be the kind of partner you want when he doesn’t even understand fully how to be the sort man he should be. While your husband didn’t join a gang or become a druggie, he still is an addict. Just seems his drug of choice is porn.

In full disclosure my girlfriend just finished her Master’s degree in psychology and her mother is a therapist so she is very pro therapy. But I agree that another man can tell your husband stuff that he missed out on and you could never understand about being a guy. So it is not totally self serving of a therapist garnering more work for the industry.

Nope, sorry

I'm not going to go through this point by point, but I will say this. It's definitely porn. Also, my husband has been to two therapists, one a male that he saw once a month for 2 years.

My Girlfriend’s Thoughts on Your Response

It’s hard to tell about a person from a couple of postings, but you do write profusely. Hard also as this is your perception not directly from your husband. I am glad to read that he saw a therapist and hope that it helped him. It doesn’t seem to have helped you with the relationship. Not all therapists see things the same so if therapy wasn’t helpful don’t give up try another therapist. Treating the manifestation of an issue is different than treating the cause. Couples therapy could be a good choice. Everyone deserves to feel loved and appreciated; sometimes the other person just doesn’t know when we don’t feel that we are.—JJ