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Advice for relationship probs with a recovering alcoholic and substance abuser

Old 10-25-2010, 06:53 PM
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Advice for relationship probs with a recovering alcoholic and substance abuser

I have been dating a recovering alcoholic/substance abuser for a little over 1 year- he is 8 years sober.

Our relationship has been a very positive one thus far. He is open about his past- he attends meetings 4 times/week, even as we date and is very active in working his steps and being involved in the AA community. We are good at talking about our disagreements and hope to have a future together- as we have even discussed marriage and moving in together.

Recently, I noticed a change in our sex life. We went from having sex multiple times per week to now going weeks without sex. When I try to initiate it, he says he is tired or he just ignores my advances.

Last week we spoke about frequency of sex in order to be satisfied. We agreed that we both would like sex at least a few times per week. Two weeks later, nothing changed.

Yesterday, I brought up the subject again. I communicated that I need more physical intimacy in order to be satisfied and asked if anything was wrong and if he was attracted to me.

His answer had to do with addiction: He said that this isn't the first time this has been an issue in a relationship. He said that he doesn't know if it is because of his years of substance abuse and porn addiction. He said that he objectifies women, and that when they become "real" he loses interest. He mentioned perhaps seeing a therapist to deal with this- but tried to assure me that it wasn't me.

I have never been in a situation like this before. We are in a highly committed relationship and I have no doubt in my mind that we are monogamous. However, I am curious as to if anyone else has dealt with issues such as this as someone who has had this problem stemming from addiction or in a relationship with someone who feels this way.

I love him and can see us spending our lives together. However, no matter how connected we are and no matter how much we enjoy each others' company- physical intimacy is necessary to be fulfilled in all aspects of the relationship.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:36 PM
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Welcome to SR!

Please make yourself at home on the forum by reading and posting as needed. I do not have any experience to share on this topic.

I am a recovering alcoholic, and
I am a recovering partner of a 14 year marriage to an alcoholic, and
I am a recovering codependent.

I have learned in my recovery that sharing my concern and feelings one time is my way of communicating with another. If I find myself repeating the information, I am trying to control or manipulate the other person.

In your situation, you have shared your concern with your partner. Your partner has pointed out a possible cause and considered therapy. Your partner has chosen not to follow through with therapy, at this time.
His choice.

The only part that you can control is your part. Have you taken any steps to learn to accept this as part of the relationship? How can we help?

Someone with more specific experience to share may come along later. In the meantime, there is also an area of the forum concerning relationships. Here is the link:

Relationships & Parenting In Sobriety - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

Check out the sticky posts here and in that area to see if there are saved posts that pertain to your questions.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:10 PM
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Dear BEE2010, you wrote " I communicated that I need more physical intimacy in order to be satisfied and asked if anything was wrong and if he was attracted to me. His answer had to do with addiction: He said that this isn't the first time this has been an issue in a relationship. He said that he doesn't know if it is because of his years of substance abuse and porn addiction. He said that he objectifies women, and that when they become "real" he loses interest. He mentioned perhaps seeing a therapist to deal with this- but tried to assure me that it wasn't me."

I believe your boyfriend's response was very truthful and honest with you. When your relationship was fresh and in the early stages having sex with you was produced by adrenaline produced by the new experience. However, now that your relationship has progressed into the next stage he has started suffering from alcohol impotence. Sex between you and your boyfriend has settled into more intimacy and comfort than the "exciting experience".

Long-term alcohol abuse affects the nervous system and impairs the impulses between the brain's pituitary gland and the genitals. The nervous system is responsible for triggering the signals that dilate and relax the blood vessels in the penis resulting in an erection. Clinical studies have shown that prolonged alcohol abuse causes irreversible damage to the nerves in the penis, which results in alcohol impotence. Alcoholism disrupts hormone levels, in particular, testosterone and estrogen. Low levels of testosterone diminish sexual drive and function.

Case studies have shown that long-term alcohol abuse causes alcohol impotence in men even when they are sober. Apart from the damage caused to the nervous system by alcoholism, it's believed that the associated decline in physical and psychological health can contribute to this.

A number of treatment options are available to help overcome alcohol impotence. Usually the first course of action is impotence drug therapy. Impotence pills such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have proven to be very successful in treating male impotence. If there has been vascular damage caused by excessive alcohol, impotence injections provide a reliable, safe and effective treatment for alcohol impotence.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:42 PM
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My ex was the same, said he found it difficult to have sex with women he cared about because it was for dirty women. It's a little of the "madonna wh*re" complex I feel and not something that can be easily worked out.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:26 PM
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thanks for the 'Aha' moment!

I have learned in my recovery that sharing my concern and feelings one time is my way of communicating with another. If I find myself repeating the information, I am trying to control or manipulate the other person.

I know that wasn't the main idea of your post, but I can't tell you how enlightening that is for me in my particular case. I won't change the subject of this thread, but wanted to say "Thank you, thank you, thank you" for that bit of wisdom.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:51 PM
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hi, Michelle!

welcome!

You might want to start a new thread and introduce yourself, we are a friendly bunch
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:55 PM
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porn and objectification also go hand in hand.

Sex therapists do teach that this alone can create problems in real life intimacy

so two problems there

Long term with no or little sex doesn't work.

My XH thought he had prostrate cancer (he didn't) and I was speaking to my dad (who is in his 70's) and he said that it caused impotence and I said that didn't matter...and he informed me Yes it does...and he was right.

I came to resent it very much

and I was so upset and hurt when I found out he was using my laptop while I was at work to satisy his porn craving..I actually broke my own laptop.
It hurt really badly....and I don't know how one gets over that.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:20 AM
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ah, live. (live)

totally understand as one who broke my own cell phone when OW called on it...just ripped it up in my hands like it was a twig...

not a good state of mind...

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