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Is it a boundary or control issue? Really need clarity...

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Silentthoughts posted 8/18/2013 13:24 PM

I took the stop sign off but i don't know if thats ok?

BH and I well into R (2.5 years) but I have not sufficiently fixed my shit. Our story is in my profile. I have 3 main issues: lack of identity, blocked feelings, and conflict avoidance. My question involves the last issue. Here is the situation: my BH isn't a full blown alcohol but definitely has a drinking problem mostly in the form of weekend binge drinking and not having an "off" switch. (He is aware). I was never a big drinker due to foo issues - mom and grandfather alcoholics) and I have an excellent "off" switch...ironic I know because of my faulty wiring during the cybersex... Have had some violence from BH during a few of the drunkenness. Lots of name calling and a 2 "shoves" one resulted in a possible broken pinkie toe and another time bruises on my thigh from being shoved on some furniture. Both of those happened prior to A. Since A, had a few more and were more serious - a bloody nose (not a punch more like a soft slap that happened to hit the side of my nose) and a serious one on New Year's Eve 1 year into R where he got triggered, really angry and pushed me to ground and basically had me in a choke hold. After that I hid a few times. He has not physically acted out lately since he has a better control on his anger, and obviously knows his behavior was unacceptable, but his drinking is still a problem for me. Mostly his anger comes out now and before the A too because I won't have sex with him when he is drunk. He knows this before he starts drinking but gets angry anyway. We have sex all the time. He has always had a high sex drive and I don't usually say no unless I am ill. I sometimes feel like his sleeping pill because he has a hard time sleeping without it and if he wakes up during the night we do it again. I am not really complaining about it but occasionally I had resentments in our m due to this. I have physical problems from too much sex, and i have to take an antibiotic daily because of frequent bladder infections. But none of this is the major problem. And really I like that he is so attracted to me. I only bring up our sex history to give a clearer picture of my problem.

After really trying to look into my conflict avoidance problems I decided that it is ok to have physical boundaries on my person. Because of his drinking history with me I really get "triggered" when I see a beer in his hand even if he plans to only have a few on a weeknight, so I told him his drinking makes me devalue him, makes me not like him very much and I really don't want to have sex with him when I don't like him. I told him feel free to drink but I would not have sex with him that night if he had any drinks at all not just when he is drunk, and that i would have that boundary in place for myself. He thinks we should have sex as long as he doesn't drink too much. He had already been trying to cut back on drinking with some success (although at the expense of our social life - but that's another topic). he thinks I am trying to control his drinking, and I probably am to some extent. His drinking has caused me 20+ years of problems and that is the one thing I actually hate about my H. I need to say my BH is amazing in so many ways and I am not afraid he will hurt me.

Sorry for the long post, but we are arguing about it and I gave in the last 2 nights because he had some triggers in past few days so he was a little depressed and I don't want to argue about it. Also I always enjoy the sex (except when he is drunk).

Is it a legit boundary or am I trying to control the situation?

BaxtersBFF posted 8/18/2013 13:38 PM

I think it is an okay boundary to have, but the bigger issue is that he drinks, and you've basically decided that you don't like it anymore (very nutshell I know, but that's the gist right?).

Why does he drink? He's aware, but does he do anything about it? Does he realize your FOO issues regarding drinking?

I know you say you aren't scared of him physically, but please be realistic and look into domestic violence and abuse patterns. The precedent has already been set. If he gets drunk, and you say no to sex, he will get violent. There is no such thing as a little slap. I've never touched my wife that way. I've never bruised my wife out of anger. Any excuse you give for him is a problem that you have to figure out for yourself. You are minimizing it.

WS's are allowed to have boundaries. Especially when it comes to sex. An A does not erase the need to work on other issues in the M.

Silentthoughts posted 8/18/2013 14:02 PM

Im sorry i should be clearer. The violence wasn't a direct result of me saying no to sex when he is drunk. It just contributes to the anger and he was trying to get by me during the shoves pre A. And because hes so drunk he pushed me harder than he meant to. It was Accidental. However post A it was intentional and scary. I do not excuse it but we have been married along time and I know who he is deep down and he is in a better place now with his anger than in 1st year. He also was mortified by his behavior afterward. That's why I said I'm not afraid of him now. He has pretty much accepted no sex when drunk, with only occational drunken grumbling. My issue now is the 2 or 3 drink day.

Silentthoughts posted 8/18/2013 14:21 PM

Also he does know about my foo issues. I think he thinks I am more sensitive to the drinking issue because of it and I have lack of clarity. His main problem is social drinking in excess. He knows he has a problem and for now we are avoiding doing any situation where there is a potential for out of control drinking. We both have minimized his drinking over the years. We have become comfortable in our roles in our marriage and one of the reasons I have been having a hard time with my own stuff is because I know it will be hard for us to adjust to me being more assertive instead of passive aggressive and when we do argue I dissolve into a 2 year old. So I still try to avoid the argument.

ResoluteH posted 8/18/2013 15:45 PM

I'm not going to tell you it's wrong -- and I certainly won't tell you to have sex with him when he's drunk or when you really don't want to -- but withholding sex as punishment or to influence a spouse's behavior is a risky thing for a relationship. It might be a legitimate boundary, but I think you should be cautious about it.

[This message edited by ResoluteH at 3:47 PM, August 18th (Sunday)]

RockyMtn posted 8/18/2013 15:56 PM

I don't think a person needs to have a reason to say no to sex. My body, my choice. Your body, your choice.

You've admitted that some of your motive is to influence his choice to drink or not. If he's an alcoholic, these kinds of influences are futile. I'd almost venture to say that he is an alcoholic by what you described, especially the fact that he has a problem with this boundary. If he wasn't an alcoholic, he'd just say, "OK, no problem - I won't drink." And anytime alcohol is invading your marriage with problems? Well, that is a classic definition of alcoholism. When you allow the substance to negatively impact the people and things that are most important to you.

But you've also said a good part of your reasons for the boundary are because you truly do not like him or sex with him when he is drunk. That has nothing to do with control and everything to do with taking care of yourself. If sex is going to make you feel "icky" or used or whatever, you shouldn't do it. I see no problem with it. Under no circumstances - even as a WS, even when he is triggering - should you feel guilty about this. I think you've met your goal of being assertive with conflict on this one.

Twentyplus posted 8/18/2013 16:38 PM

BS here. I am a long-term alcoholic and have been sober since shortly after DDay 2.5 yrs ago. Getting sober was the baseline change I HAD to make in order to survive and to begin healing myself from chronic betrayal. It has been the gateway to all other ongoing healing: emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual. My fWH supports me in mutual sobriety & that is a priceless gift.

I encourage your BS to thoughtfully consider what purpose alcohol is serving in his life & whether he could live a better life without it. His use of alcohol appears to be negatively affecting you and your marriage relationship, just as my chronic alcohol abuse was affecting mine. Al Anon is an easily available program of additional support for all your ongoing work on your own recovery.

Stay strong.

StrongerOne posted 8/18/2013 16:54 PM

Your H is physically abusing you, and I am shocked and disappointed that I am the first person responding to you who has said so. (FWIW, I'm a BS)

He is hitting you, choking you, and raping you. No means no, Silentthoughts. You tell him you don't want sex, but he pushes you to have sex. Sex is making you physically ill (painful sex, bladder infections). He forces sex on you while you are asleep. I am sorry if this sounds ugly and blunt -- but it IS ugly.

You need to get away from this abusive man. It does not matter if you are the WS. No one should treat you this way. It's wrong. And illegal.

Call a women's shelter ASAP and get yourself out of this situation.

Please take care of yourself, Silentthoughts. Whatever you have done, you are a human being and worthy of respect. Do not let him treat you like this any more.

Hugs to you. Please let us know how you are doing.

Silentthoughts posted 8/18/2013 17:32 PM

Strongerone, I really am not being abused and certainly not being raped. He wakes me up before we have sex. He does have a drinking problem which we both acknowledge and he's working on. The no sex when drunk rule has been in place for about 5 years or so. And mostly he just argues and pressures me but not in a violent way, except the times I mentioned and the intentional violence was definitely A related and obviously not okay. He knows he cannot act like that again. That level of violence was at 1 year dday and he triggered while extremely drunk, not excusing but he is not that person now. I only included info on the drinking because his history and my foo issues clouds the situation for me.

Our sex life has always been very active. You need to understand that I used to (maybe still do?) equate sex with love so I had no problem throughout our 27 years together to have sex whenever he wanted. Back in my 20s and 30s I thought he would never cheat on me if I gave him sex all the time. The irony doesn't escape me, he is a one woman man and I am the one to be unfaithful. In my 40s and now I finally realized he is loyal and loving and sex was more of a "gift" I gave him. Sometimes I resented it and physical issues I had but I liked that he thought I was sexy. Even through all that I never used sex as a weapon (well maybe a few times) and I always felt our marriage was closer due to the physical intimacy. Men release bonding hormones during O, so good for M was my view. Since the A we had major HB and it has been good for both of us.

So again sex isn't really the problem it's the drinking. i am reading and thinking about all the responses and really appreciate the input but really i am not being abused or am i afraid of him. It is hard to put a 25 year marriage in a couple of paragraphs And I am not trying to bash him.

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