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Need help from the menz-esp those of a "certain" age, tmi?

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Lionne posted 2/3/2014 15:26 PM

This is a hard post to write, but I really need a male perspective. Especially FBHs who have managed to or who are working on successfully reconciling. It involves body image and the physical intimacy of a longterm marriage.

My SAFWH made it very clear, in words and deeds, during his acting out years, that he was NOT interested in me sexually. I was "disgusting," "not a real woman," making love to me was like "necrophila" and any time he DID say anything nice it was just "positive reinforcement" in an attempt to make me "try harder." Any efforts on my part to initiate, "spice up" or discuss our problems were met with disdain, dismissal or I was ignored, told I was blocking the tv if I tried to seduce him, etc. You get the picture. I was persistent for years, sort of like that puppy that you kick and yet continues to come back for affection. He'd apologize profusely each time he was nasty, thus reeling me back in until the next time. He also COULDN'T perform with me on the rare occasion we did get together. And I often felt as though HE thought he was doing me a favor.

Now, of course, he says that this was all part of the diseases he was fighting, SA, BPD, resentment of me, FOO, etc. That I am special, wonderful and the best thing in his life. To his credit, he is working diligently in IC, recovery work, and is a different person. Unfortunately, so am I.

I'm gun shy. The last time we attempted intimacy, he was abusive. More recently, he attacked me verbally for something that he should have just talked to me about and given me a chance to fix. Instead he chose to get drunk and call me names and make accusations about my character. He is loud and raging when he gets in these moods.

During all those years of (my) abstinence, I attributed it to his chronic depression and his medications. I didn't know about 20 something strippers, PAs with tall exotic different race women 14 years my junior who had never given birth to to large babies, PAs with tall, large breasted red headed women who wore revealing tank tops to work (he has always had a thing for red heads). I am the polar opposite of these women. At the time I was 40ish, 5' 105 lbs. fit, but curvy. I was looking pretty good but gravity works. And I was never going to get that pre-baby body back. I'm proud I was able to nurse my kids, but my boobs show the wear and tear. And yet, at the time, at my fittest, he found my body "disgusting."

Fast forward. He stopped all acting out activity in 2009. No more porn since 2010. Solid recovery work.

Here's where I have a problem. He says he finds me sexy. I say impossible. If your sex partner of choice back then, when I was cute, was so very different from me, how can you POSSIBLY think I'm sexy now? I'm NOT fit, I'm ten pounds heavier, wrinkly, saggy in places I didn't even know I had. In addition, I'm sad, reserved, and much more sarcastic and not as funny and fun as I used to be before D-days 1, 7, 19 etc. I simply cannot believe, after seeing the kind of women he lusted over, that he can have sexual feelings for me now, when he didn't then. I maintain that NOW, he's sober, and I am the only game in town. He says I have a narrow definition of sexy, I say he's the one that wrote that definition.

Help me out, guys. Anyone understand what he's saying? Could I be wrong?

Morhurt posted 2/3/2014 15:38 PM

From a BS~ I think the acting out etc was to fill a hole in him, what's truly sexy is emotional connection. Also, he was looking at porn and that scrambles the brain. I struggle with this stuff too, but in a way I get it. For my H, he was looking for something to make him feel better and I was scary (emotions, yikes!). The actual "looks" of the women are insignificant IMO. I mean, looks fade but your heart is there forever.

Morhurt posted 2/3/2014 15:40 PM

p.s. I don't like that he got drunk and yelled at you. Unacceptable. You said now he's sober, you mean in terms of SA, not alcohol?

steadfast1973 posted 2/3/2014 15:40 PM

He lusted after a pornographic ideal, NO WOMAN could live up to that. That's why he was sampling ethnicities, instead of leaving you for one 20 something hotty and being fine. He couldn't because no real woman can live up to that impossible standard... Now that that is no longer there for comparison, he see you for real.

LifeisCrazy posted 2/3/2014 15:42 PM

Kat: You could be, and you are, in fact, wrong.

First, I'm sorry that you went through all those years of hell.

All betrayed spouses, in some ways or another, feel inadequate. As a guy I know I went through the "is he taller, thinner, smarter, "bigger".... etc." We all have that comparison somewhere in our heads. I, for one, have come to understand that I will never know - did the guy give my wife 15 orgasms a night? Who the hell knows - and, really, I just don't care anymore.

As you know, sex and love are a lot more than just big boobs and a firm ass. It's more than if I am taller or have a bigger d#ck. My wife knows that I love her - for real, not some in the dark, hotel room only love. Your husband knows that you stuck by him. Your not someone he hired to pretend he was sexy. You really do love him.

And THAT is sexy! That is hot! Having a woman who is into you - for the right reasons - is a huge turn on.

I know that he sought that outside your marriage. But that was because he was broken - and needed to address his issues. But it looks like that's happened....

and you should enjoy the ride (no pun intended ).

Lionne posted 2/3/2014 15:45 PM

He discussed the yelling with his group, his IC, and me, and yes, it's part of the continued disconnect. He keeps pulling the scab off. He swears it won't happen again.

I know sex is emotional for me, but apparently not for him. He had sex casually.

He does see me for real. How can he think I'm sexy? In not! Not any more...

industriousbee posted 2/3/2014 15:48 PM

Short is sexy! A woman who nursed her babies is even sexier.

This guy has a lot of issues, you must be very strong to have dealt with him this long.

atsenaotie posted 2/3/2014 15:56 PM

1st, he needs to get a handle on his verbal abuse. That is never ok, and corrodes what emotional intimacy may develop between the two of you.

As for sexual attraction, it ( for me ) is the person inside, nit the outside I am in love with. Except for a couple of years after dday FWW was always my ideal, the body I fantasize about. This has been true when she was much heavier, much lighter, and much younger than she is now.

If I were abusive to FWW, especially when she was willing to have sex with me, I suspect that would cause sexual performance issues for me from guilt, and for her from my lack of affirmation and love.

ETA, FWW is short, even with her heels on, and older than me (and you). Still most attractive woman I know.

[This message edited by atsenaotie at 3:58 PM, February 3rd (Monday)]

Remone posted 2/3/2014 16:06 PM

What Mohurt said exactly! What is truly sexy is connection, loving feelings and authenticity. When we WS's have our eyes opened to all we were missing, the true beauty of our spouses is unbelievable!

steadfast1973 posted 2/3/2014 16:06 PM

No, not compared to much younger woman who have much less emotional and physical baggage than you... If a fish compared himself to a duck all day, he'd hate himself for not being able to fly.

This was my downfall. I am forty. I no longer look like a 24 year old. And i never will again. No matter how much plastic surgery, lipo, cardio, and pilates i put myself through, I will still be 40, with stretch-marks and an appendicitis scar. I am short. I have big ears, and crows feet and gray hair. But... I am smart, kind hearted, and pretty fucking awesome in the sack (true story).

My wh? Is chunky, bald, has thick glasses and has hair on his back... No matter what he does, the only way to be with a 24 year old, is to pay her. If i compare him to Ryan Gosling or Zac Efron, he'll come up short, every time. So i don't. I don't compare him to anyone, but who he was yesterday.

Being sexy is more than perky tits and a tight ass. It's an attitude. And frankly, those 20 somethings don't have the attitude... All they are is easy.

You... You survived. And that, my friend, is sexy as hell.

[This message edited by steadfast1973 at 4:09 PM, February 3rd (Monday)]

outtanowhere posted 2/3/2014 16:09 PM

SK, I have many of those same feelings. For me, the worst part is not even knowing what the other women look like. I don't know what body type or hair color he "preferred". I know that there were many of them and they were all much, much younger. I struggle with the fact that I simply can't compete with the young, hard bodied whores who stroked his ego along with other parts of his body.

I'm just me and it was never meant to be a competition but, never the less......

My mantra has always been that it is what it is. I've been trying to turn my thinking back to knowing that I am a far better prize for so many reasons. I may not compare to the others physically but, I have many attributes they will never possess. Things like dignity and honor and those are things that make me the desirable one whether or not he ever gets it.

wifehad5 posted 2/3/2014 16:11 PM

He says he finds me sexy. I say impossible.

What has he done to back up his words?

JanaGreen posted 2/3/2014 16:22 PM

FWIW I am tall and I envy petite women because I think they are so feminine & pretty.

Also huge ((hugs))

steadfast1973 posted 2/3/2014 16:25 PM

I used to envy tall women...

too trusting BW posted 2/3/2014 16:28 PM

I almost feel presumptuous adding my two cents as I see you as the SA "mentor" for all of us spouses.

I only have a few minutes so forgive me if I am not articulate.

I think the idea over the years of you being disgusting, unattractive and all the other bullshit, can be simplified and translated down to his deep seated "you scare the shit out of me because you represent INTIMACY and mirror back to me how shitty I feel."
You know, the core of a sex addict's beliefs.

I think the other big part of this may not be his deal. Yours.
Its easier to say all of this is solely due to the years of his rejection. Of course a huge portion is definitely a contributor, but I suspect it may largely be your own insecurities that were already there.

I never thought I had an issue with intimacy until my SAH had to restart his 90 day abstinence the 3rd time he couldn't make it 2 weeks.
I realized all the years I was rejected I felt ugly and undesirable.
WHen he started acting interested again, I realized I still felt ugly and undesirable. I realized though, that I felt undesirable to anyone, not just him.
That's my stuff, not his, obviously.

I suspect with your comments about age and motherhood, etc that you feel unsexy even with other men who may find you are their "type."

If you say you have no desire, that your SAH is responsible for killing it, you have no responsibility to get to the bottom of it.

I hope in my attempt to be brief I wasn't too blunt or way off the mark.

I just totally relate to how you feel. Its taken me 5 years to begin to see myself in pictures (fully clothed) and not say "ugh I look awful."

ETA: Even the red-headed woman template sounds familiar!

[This message edited by too trusting BW at 4:31 PM, February 3rd (Monday)]

eachdayisvictory posted 2/3/2014 16:59 PM

If there's any way you can watch a documentary called "Miss representation", it was an absolute eye-opener for me. It's all about the portrayal of women in media and how it has completely screwed up women in the western world.

We measure ourselves against a truly impossible ideal.
Sexy is not just about outer appearance, it's about the way I act.

I used to hear people say that and think, "yeah, easy to say when you're skinny and beautiful." Well, it's not actually. Most women that I know struggle with self-image, even women I would NEVER have guessed could feel bad about themselves.

Now I am trying to change not only myself, but other people too. When I hear my colleagues self-deprecate, I stop it. I tell them all the things that I see that are beautiful, and I mean it.

I also do little mental practices to break the terrible habits this culture has placed on me. When I look around a room, I find that I want to compare myself to other women; if they're pretty, I can feel sad about myself, if they're 'not pretty', I can lift myself up in comparison.

No more. I specifically look around and find something beautiful about every woman in the room. It changes the way I interact with women and the world, and I like it.

Forget your H. Build your idea of sexy. It's the only way you'll feel change.

Razor posted 2/3/2014 17:13 PM

The truth is that we all look pretty much the same when the lights are out.

IMO good sex is all about how that person we are with makes us feel.

Of course pretty much all BS go down the rabbit hole and wonder what we are missing. How are we deficit to what the OP had to offer. But I think you need to think about the fact that how good the sex with OP was was all in your WH head. It had nothing to do with how she actually looked. Instead it could be that maybe she was a conquest.

In cases of ONS affairs. I think the OP could have been anyone. And looked good or bad or whatever. They were available and they made our WS feel good at that moment.

All that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your WH.

JustWow posted 2/3/2014 18:13 PM

You probably already know, when an SA is wallowing in their addiction, it is in their handbook to be almost anorexic sexually toward their spouse. So all the bullshit he said to you was just that, bullshit, that let him say there was a problem with you, not him. Its like a drunk who spews insults at you when they're drunk. They sober up and don't even remember it, you, on the other hand were sober and felt the sting of the words.

Even if you are smart enough to know all that, you are human, and knowing all the degradation he laid on you was part of his disease, knowing that does not stop you from being hurt by the shitty things he said. Knowing it was the disease doesn't make you eager to be vulnerable to that same garbage again.

Carnes has a pretty good book on building healthy intimacy, during and after SA recovery. I will dig out the title if you are interested.

BTDT, can't say I've completely overcome some of the same battle scars.....


Lionne posted 2/3/2014 18:15 PM

"you scare the shit out of me because you represent INTIMACY and mirror back to me how shitty I feel."


And of course, I realized it, and so, used it as a way to excuse him for his abuse. I was also successful in my career, he suffered setbacks so I minimized my victories, even turning down awards and accolades.

My FOO taught me I was worthless. Our early marriage/relationship said I was a beautiful, sexy, beloved woman. A short interlude in the late '90s confirmed that. I kept hoping and trying to regain that feeling. Then, when the ED hit, I taught myself to shut down sexually, because, well, I had to. Then, with the disclosure of SA, I put on my "let's fix this" hat once again and was shut down by his continued dysfunction. Those of us who are with SAs know that sobriety isn't recovery and neither is linear.

He's walking on his hands to try to fix this. Doing anything he can think of, talking to IC sponsor, group. Reassuring me. Continued transparency, affection, dealing with his issues, "progress not perfection." I'm in turn reading everything I can, reaching out here, (thanks for listening all) talking to myself, praying in my feeble way, trying hard to let the wall crack just a bit.

IMO good sex is all about how that person we are with makes us feel.

And THIS. I felt this. Unfortunately, the times I felt this were brief and fleeting. And disappeared all too soon. I'm afraid I will never feel that way ever again.

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 6:20 PM, February 3rd (Monday)]

sisoon posted 2/3/2014 19:02 PM

I guess there are at least a couple of types of 'sexy'. One type is a young Sophia Loren. Another is the sexiness that comes from a long deep relationship.

In other words, I think the right person could find you very sexy.

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