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Regarding Sex

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leavingorbit posted 7/13/2020 16:52 PM

Iíve been having a lot of breakthroughs in IC with my CSA processing lately. A big one is how disconnected I lived in general and especially sexually. Iím wondering, how many people here experienced a disconnect like that? BSes or WSes? My ďwild and crazyĒ sex life ended with me sleeping with my rapist. I see BSes experiencing a lot of fears about sex in affairs being amazing or transcendent. My husband struggled with thoughts like this and still does during his rare triggers. I empathize with it, too: When I found out my husband had a habit of getting pictures from girls on Snapchat, I thought a lot of those things. My own history kept things in perspective: sex wasnít romantic or pretty. My choices werenít about him, which didnít make them any better, at all. I had zero self worth and had no idea how to love myself. Sex was running rails up my arm or slamming a bottle. My IC refers to my process as one of objectifying myself, while my Hís is one of objectifying others. A match made in heaven, right? I had a lot of ďfull menu sexĒ and Iíd just feel empty, even with my husband. Especially with my husband, because I wanted to be fixed, be loved, look, I can do this and itís totally fine! Big disconnect, and so confusing and painful for my H.

This is a lot of meandering to: Sex wasnít about connection for me. It was destructive. Does anyone else have that experience? Was it absent for you? What was your relationship to sex? Or your spouseís? If you had maladaptive views regarding sexuality, howíd you tackle the healing process? My husband and I have wonderful, varied, and connected physical intimacy now, but I had to claw my way through 28 years of shame to make it happen. It was and is a major goal of mine to get to the root. If I hadnít, I wouldíve just been bombing him with the same dysfunctional crap.

Anyone else? Bueller?

hikingout posted 7/13/2020 17:20 PM

My relationship to sex is different than yours in some ways, but in the disconnect maybe very similar.

I also was sexually abused but never by an adult, always by older minors. I am not sure the distinction is important when the first time I was 5 and he was 12. What I learned is boys like you for sex. You could get positive attention for sex.

I have had two long term relationships in which I feel I have been pretty sexually authentic at least during some periods of time. One I was formerly married to and the other I am currently married to. Most all others I put on a show, a lot of people pleasing, being the cool girl, etc. my husband and I started out that way - itís how I have any history in swinging. I am not saying that I am not sexually adventurous or that I had no curiosity or fantasies I wanted to fulfill, but generally speaking it was not authentic with my heart. I felt like I just wasnít enough.

So my lack of self worth and my understanding of what ingratiating yourself to the male gender did keep me from
Letting down my guard. It was another area I was more of a people pleaser. I am not really saying I had never been vulnerable with my current husband but itís not something I exercised enough. If he hadnít been the type of lover who really only enjoys it if he is certain you are enjoying it, then I probably would have struck out, become unsatisfied and moved on like I did with my first marriage.

My affair was about attention rather than sex. If the extreme of what you are saying is you used sex as a way of numbing...I would just be your opposite in I used romantic notions and playing a role from who I was when younger for that. It still creates a disconnect of not really being fully emotionally or physically present.

I am not sure if that relates to what you are asking.

leavingorbit posted 7/13/2020 18:35 PM

Hikingout, thank you! Sexually inauthentic, I agree. Yes, your answer was really helpful. I think my original questions are kind of convoluted. I think it comes from the weird crossroads Iím in: I ďcool girledĒ my way through life. The CSA I experienced was similar to yours: I was 3 and my cousin was 13. Inappropriate contact from some adults.

Numbing? Yes, definitely. A lot of hypersexual behavior. But once in my first sexual relationship, I had a big cartoon question mark above my head and a ton of discomfort. I think it was more a combination of my age (15) and my prior experiences. That first time was with who would become my husband, and he was very sweet. But I was seriously messed up, a lot of fear and abandonment wounds/FOO.

I had a year or two after that where it was a lot of cool girl and then I was date raped, and then I met my rapist... when I was 16 and he was 25. I wanted to feel loved, right? There was a stretch of a few years where I did anything he wanted, and it was all pretty awful. Did I want to? No. But I did it. My therapist says that cemented this other layer of disconnect from intimacy, a transactional view of not just ďlove meĒ but ďI get paid for this.Ē There was some trafficking in that ďrelationshipĒ with my rapist that contributed to that.

So I think there was two aspects Iíve had to unravel: people will like me if I sleep with them, and the ways they ďlikeĒ me are dysfunctional. Iím coming to realize that sex was a very dissociative experience for me very often. There was some authenticity in all the muck for me, too, though, particularly with my husband. It has been a deep point of my work to untangle all of that stuff.

I guess that was my question: how did you go about untangling the sexual authenticity to get to a healthier place? Itís come after a lot of self worth building after a lifetime of being a void. For me, itís taken a long time: 1.5 years, but Iím so grateful to start to see the light. A lot of damage in my wake.

JBWD posted 7/13/2020 19:39 PM

A different perspective if I can offer my experiences, which are less traumatic but have only been recognized as patterns in my very recent journey:

I am a Gen Y with older parents: Dad was late to get married and start a family. Parents are both MDs, they traded off because Dad hated medicine. Consequently he quit and became a SAHF as soon as Mom could line up a refresher residency. Prior to that I remember her having a HUGE temper: I would get slapped for things that I canít even think of being a big deal with my two. SO. That decision happened, but I donít necessarily remember being TOLD it was happening.

Dad was distant and fairly intellectual. Donít know why, but HIS porn use was fairly easy to discern and so I saw a lack of affection while he clearly valued sexual availability.

I imagine these connections cemented fairly early for me, because as soon as I was able I latched onto porn and masturbation. In the REAL world, I was painfully afraid of rejection, viciously ďindividualĒ punk rocker, but built profoundly unrealistic sexual crushes.

Come college and I entered into a pattern of long term relationships where sex became an expression of my value. If a partner wasnít in the mood, it was the end of the world. Any interest in outside friendships was likely a veiled search for new partners. I didnít pursue casual dating because I felt intense attractions and plunged into LTRs. My BW is only my fourth partner, and her current mentality is that I should explore what I didnít in adolescence.

This pattern continued into my M, though as I matured (physically) I got attention from women that didnít used to happen. I was a young officer in the Marines as well and was easily cowed into adopting an entirely avoidable ďalphaĒ mentality. Bottom line is I became increasingly comfortable viewing a casual approach to sex as par for the course and a good excuse for increasingly wayward behavior- Grounded in the belief that more sex meant I was more desirable. Which ultimately brought me to my A.

So what Iíve learned- I viewed sex as a surrogate for intimacy, NOT an expression of intimacy. There were so many other avenues for us to sustain that intimacy but I latched onto one. Unhitching those two is taking time. SLAA is helping though I view my addiction more as a neurosis than a physiological/chemical problem. I am pondering a new IC more eager to explore FOO, I have more that Iíd like to understand about how I was as a child and where my memories diverge. Iím open to spears on this because given the IC I describe, a lot of this has been ďself-derived.Ē
ETA: My way of untangling this has been through CBT. Figuring out WHERE that profound fear of sexual rejection came from came pretty quickly through asking a couple follow-on questions to myself.

[This message edited by JBWD at 7:41 PM, July 13th (Monday)]

MIgander posted 7/14/2020 09:42 AM

I have issues with using sex as a way to "guarantee" the other person wouldn't leave me. I was assaulted early on when I was 14 and the takeaway I had was, "men only want 1 thing, no matter how nice they talk to you or treat you." My father also had charming views on women- his direct quote, "Growing up there were always the women you married and the women you slept with." Coupling that with his inattention and emotional distance in general, once I was damaged goods, I must have told myself that I was the kind of girl you just slept with. Fun.

Fast forward to our marriage, and I thought each time my husband initiated physical contact, I had to satisfy him sexually (regardless of how I felt that day- whether I just needed affection, to be held or frankly, wasn't in the mood and just wanted to sleep). I never expressed this really, that sometimes I just wanted to be held or whatever, or that I feared he would lose interest in me if I didn't keep providing sexual comfort each time he asked or initiated. I stopped really initiating or even really participating actively because it became all about him. I never really orgasmed too often- didn't care to understand what made me work and enjoy that since sex became all about me satisfying him so he wouldn't look at other women or leave me.

So, years and years later, hubby wants to use a technique he used to do with his ex-gf before me, I allow it (so I could satisfy him sexually and keep him interested in me), it works, I feel degraded and humiliated (since it wasn't special to us- it was something he used with her and found SOOOO sexy). In my mind he wasn't thinking of me, but reliving his glory days with her. I felt dirty and disgusting and victimized all over again (way he "worked" on me was very much the same thing I was violated with at 14). Shortly after that, he begins talking about how great my friend is, how I should dress like her, have hair like her, how amazingly skinny she is after 4 kids (she has a thyroid problem...), how I should cook like her, raise our kids like her, treat him how she treats her husband, how wonderfully spiritually in tune she is, how beautiful she is able to make her home...

So, at that point in my mind, not only is he thinking of his ex-gf every time I'm able to orgasm from his "technique", now he's actively thinking of my friend in every other aspect of our lives.

I engage in my affair as an FU to him, all the while without confronting these things I have in my head about him. Now, in the aftermath, we're finally communicating and it turns out, he did have an EA with my friend, but he didn't know it was one at the time and was lonely and disappointed in me and our marriage.

I'm working hard to heal from all of this, to start communicating to BH about these things. Last night, he initiated after a rough few days of little connection and family stress (he told his parents, we had to socialize with them for the 1st time together over the weekend at 2 family events). I told him I wasn't feeling close, that I would like to be held and he was disappointed. Which made me panic since, in my head, if he's disappointed, he's going to look for and at other women and abandon me.

So yeah, sex wasn't about intimacy for me, it was about survival and staving off abandonment. Sure, there's pleasure in it, but when you're tied up in knots over being "good enough" and satisfying your partner so they don't leave or resent you having needs/desires that don't match theirs at the time. In the past few years, sex surely wasn't really about what I wanted and wasn't very often about me feeling so connected emotionally and spiritually to my husband, it was about surviving in the marriage.

Sigh.

Sex is fun, isn't it?

leavingorbit posted 7/14/2020 18:24 PM

JBWD, my husbandís story is very similar to yours. We found your comments on sex as a surrogate vs expression to be on point for both of us. Maybe for us it was a way to manufacture? ďIf I hit this button like this, Iíll get what I want.Ē Itís a conundrum because I think a lot of men are socialized with the idea that sex signifies value, although then I was also socialized with the idea that sex signifies value... just not for me. I was ďseparateĒ from it. So damned if I was rejected, damned if the deed happened. Iíve had to tap into what I wanted it to be: just me, nobody else, not even my husband. And ultimately I wanted it to be what Iíve seen hikingout refer to as ďthe glue,Ē an enhancement of what I already felt. Itís taken awhile to understand how I felt: I was very disconnected from myself for a long time.

And I think I see a lot of crossover with your fear of rejection and low self worth. It can be hard to reach that place if weíre constantly throwing rocks into our bag (bottomless hole?) of no self worth: she didnít answer so she hates me, he compares me to his ex so he doesnít love me and Iím garbage... internalizing otherís actions as indicative of some fault in us. I donít see how intimacy can flourish if Iím sowing the ground with salt, of which I had a pretty ample supply from my experiences. Itís been very freeing to put down all the crap that Iíve been carrying for others for so long. Iím so sorry about the abuse your mom inflicted on you.

Our MC specializes in CBT. Weíve been reading a lot about attachment theory, Imago therapy, reparenting, etc. Is your IC CBT focused? Whatís their take on FOO? Have you expressed interest in that direction?

Thank you for sharing some of your story.

leavingorbit posted 7/14/2020 18:27 PM

MIgander, I acted very similarly to you for a long time. I know itís hard to not internalize the actions of others. Are you able to reframe and separate what belongs to you, what belongs to your husband? Are you able to reframe and have compassion for him?

Iím probably projecting here but: My husband would have been really hurt if I had rejected him, too. All of those wounds are right at the surface. Do you cultivate that connection? I used to put a lot of that on my husband. I donít anymore, but it took time. Heís not the same as me and his needs/emotions are different. My H wouldíve been really blasted if I said ďIím not feeling close.Ē I try to feel closer to him all the time.

Thank you for chiming in. Itís definitely a long walk to healing but very worth it.

hikingout posted 7/14/2020 18:39 PM

To answer your question- I think that I had been authentic enough with my husband I had a sense for what that was. I try and be more upfront about certain preferences, I stay open to myself, and I give genuine feedback. Itís like every thing else we work on - monitor motivations, be self aware of our feelings, being present and in the moment. I donít cool girl him so much any more but I will decide that I have energy to wow him that doesnít have to be inauthentic if itís out of truly just wanting to make him feel happy and loved. But I donít put pressure on myself and I am a lot better at receiving.

Incidentally, that first one was also a cousin, and I too lost my virginity at 15 to someone I later married. I have not been raped or violently attacked but had multiple abusers. My IC said be the person who protects that little girl. The person you wish you had back then.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:40 PM, July 14th (Tuesday)]

JBWD posted 7/14/2020 21:54 PM

Yep, my IC got me right into CBT almost immediately. He had a lot of really great insights and knew good references to get me thinking in more productive ways. He was a great acute care kind of provider, and I was in crisis mode, so it lined up well. He agrees with my own FOO conclusions but doesn't drive in that direction much. I honestly wonder if he and other civilian providers get pressure to cut military patients before too long(!) I've been looking up other providers who might be more in tune with a "deeper dive" where I feel I need to go.

Your response is the first time I've ever paired the words abuse and Mom, and I'm honestly crying right now- Not necessarily out of a sense of pain but more the frustration that I had to talk myself out of discounting it. Neither my BW nor I have ever raised a hand to our children and they are, IMO, the better for it. As I said, my folks were older and so I'm spring-loaded to say it's what they knew- But I'm learning to unload all kinds of other springs as well. I still feel that more significant than any violence was the connection I made between that level of anger that I saw in my formative years that suddenly went away when she didn't have to be around me(!)

And that self-worth is what drove the panic for me. I was thinking more about this post during my meeting last night: And it's that linkage that we make, wherever it is- That sexual availability is a reflection of something inherent in US, as opposed to genuine connection. I certainly felt a connection for a good chunk of my M- Though I bet that if asked my BW would have a very different percentage. But the connection doesn't work both ways, and I think your assessment of it as "manufactured" is a great description. When I acted out before the PA "proper," I would try and smooth things over and it would turn into, you guessed it, make-up sex. Which my BW recently told me was horribly degrading for her.

OK I'm rambling as today is rapidly melting down around me for some reason- But I'm loving this thread.

MIgander posted 7/15/2020 07:57 AM

Are you able to reframe and separate what belongs to you, what belongs to your husband? Are you able to reframe and have compassion for him?

I'm working on that right now. We've had a few discussions about my associating the specific actions with him thinking of his ex-gf. He honestly didn't see it that way- he was trying to get me to be comfortable with it, to show me it was normal to enjoy. That mis-association on my part shows me where my shame and self-disgust really comes in that I would infer that because his ex-gf enjoyed it, I was somehow inferior or being compared to her negatively by him. Funny where our brains automatically go from something our spouses are trying to say as a comfort to us to us redirecting that in a negative manner towards our selves.

We're having some trouble in this whole physical intimacy department lately- it's been a year since DDay and I know the whole affair is playing heavily on his mind. He's depressed from not seeing the progress he'd like to see in me this far out. I'm only now exploring what I really want in terms of sex and our relationship (instead of using sex as a tool to "manufacture" intimacy as leavingorbit put it). I feel for my BH right now- he's really struggling with his own worth problems and wants to feel closer to me via physical intimacy, while I'm trying to figure out my own relationship to sex so I can be more radically honest with him about who I really am.

I really don't want sex for us to be this false front of me putting on a show just to make him feel better for himself or me feel better about him liking me enough to stay with me (because he gets unlimited access to sex?). I really do enjoy physical intimacy and all the pleasure that comes with it, but I'm trying to fix this association in my head with only being worthy of being around by a partner because I'm "giving them what they want" in terms of that without regard to where I'm at emotionally.

As HO said, being the protector of myself that I wasn't raised to be.

Buck posted 7/15/2020 11:56 AM

Sex wasnít about connection for me. It was destructive. Does anyone else have that experience? Was it absent for you? What was your relationship to sex? Or your spouseís? If you had maladaptive views regarding sexuality, howíd you tackle the healing process?

Before I go into my situation, I just want to say I think you folks are brave to post with such honesty about a super sensitive and personal subject.

I also have issues with sex and connection. I had a sexual "relationship" with a 28 year old woman that started when I was 13 (4mo or so from turning 14) and she was separated from an abusive husband. I would mow her yard, rake her leaves, shovel her driveway, etc. She had a 4yo son that she would ask if he could hang out at our house while she got her hair cut or things like that. This happened is the mid 80s, things were different then, we never were indoors during daylight hours in the summer. My parents were divorced and I watched my younger sister.

I never really considered myself as a victim of any sort until somewhat recently and I still struggle with that notion. This went on for over 2 years. I had always envisioned myself during this as a semi muscular 16yo that had been playing HS football and baseball for a couple of years, but I looked at some pictures of myself during that summer and I was surprised at how young I looked. I looked like a typical skinny 13-14yo boy. When I look back at the beginning of this now, I can see how she escalated behavior to see if I would say something to my mom or someone else. Things like rubbing her butt on me as she would walk around me, letting me "accidentally" see her in her bra, and panties, dropping the towel when she came out of the shower. Let's just say it wasn't too damn difficult to seduce 13yo me. She bought the "Joy of Sex" book and we went through it together page by page. I would pause at the stuff that would cause most folks to raise an eyebrow, but mentally tell myself, it is in a book... This went on virtually every day until the Christmas after I had turned 16 when she moved to another town. She gave me the book, complete with inscription, when she left and I still have the damn thing to this day. She was my first everything, there was not a single sexual thing left undone.

The outcome for me was I have had a very difficult time with the emotional part of sex and connection. Casual sex is super easy for me but connected sex in a relationship is super hard. The fucked up thing is I want that connection more than anything and casual sex often leaves me feeling empty and used. I am somewhat untrusting and watchful for someone having some ulterior motive when it comes to sex. I know that's not the typical dude stance on that topic too. Luckily, my first girlfriend was awesome. We dated until the end of freshman year in college. I had pledged and joined a fraternity and that's about the dumbest thing you can do if you're in a relationship and we broke up after almost 4 years together. I had a bunch of casual sex in a couple of years but no relationships.

My now wife was really my second serious relationship. I was 22 and she was 20 when we met and started dating. She was very sexually inexperienced and she had this innocence about her. I think this is why I was able to connect with her. This was a super rare thing for me. A year later we were married with a baby.

Then she cheated (6mo A) 5 years into our marriage when we had 3 kids and had just bought our first house. I started an 18mo RA pretty quickly after d day. I had another 5 yr LTA later and there were women in between. R has been a disaster. We had a rough start to R, but she's been the one driving the bus and I have been a complete fucking asshole. I'm surprised she's still here.

My big worry is I won't be able to reconnect with her. I had been going to IC. I've done EMDR and CBT. Sex is an issue between us now. It was great before, awesome really, but now it's just different. So yeah, leavingorbit, I'm trying to claw through my shame, guilt, and regret too.

NeverTwice posted 7/15/2020 13:36 PM

Hi Buck,

The outcome for me was I have had a very difficult time with the emotional part of sex and connection. Casual sex is super easy for me but connected sex in a relationship is super hard. The fucked up thing is I want that connection more than anything and casual sex often leaves me feeling empty and used.

I SO relate to this. The after effects of my former girlfriend's infidelity definitely bled into my relationship with my late husband. But, thankfully, he got me to go see a certified sex therapist. I saw her for 2 years and it transformed our sex life and transformed ME!

And that might be something you should pursue. But that is not my place to say.

Strength and hugs. I wish both of you the very best.

leavingorbit posted 7/16/2020 12:07 PM

Responding in bits and pieces when I have a minute today... thank you all for your participation!

Hikingout, thank you so very much for your reply. It took me awhile to start following the path you outlined. It wasnít authentic. It was trying to dance a complicated routine when I hadnít even taken basic tap.

Itís coming just like you said, very natural steps in a sequence of genuine self. It seems silly to marvel at it now, I guess, but I can see that lifetime pattern of self deception and understand how I got there. I journaled a lot. I read a lot of self help and bible study. I asked people questions (not necessarily about this topic!). I smoked too many cigarettes and drank a lot of off-brand cans of soda, not helpful. Iím still doing all of those things but hopefully much less of the latter...

Maybe strangely: I can have compassion for my cousin now, and do. Really I extend it to everyone whose pain overflowed into my life. I know not everyone follows that path but itís been healing for me. I donít see people as evil. I just see pain and fear. In light of those views, Iím especially chewing over the last message of your post. Itís a beautiful and empowering step. I think the point Iím working through is figuring out who I needed, and a big part of that is accepting that it was abuse. Very similar to what JBWD and Buck are describing in their posts. Living with the idea that abuse and compassion can exist in the same place. Not enabling, no, but compassion.

I seem to be able to do it for everything except my experiences as a teen: I struggle with feeling responsible, a lot of culpability. I donít think I would hold my children to that standard, so what needs to be addressed in me for myself to put it down? My husband really struggles with this. I feel more responsible and accountable than heís comfortable with. He was witness to a lot of that trauma. I dragged him through it. Does that make sense? I donít want to occupy a victim space. And I wanted to work on my triggers during intimacy almost in defiance of that status. But he feels like I just basically had this lifelong breakdown that he had a front seat to. Itís not that he excuses my choices, itís just to him they make sense? He chose to be there, he says. Just immense compassion from him. To bring this back on topic, he wants me to choose healthier sexuality, and he doesnít want me going back to being some blow up sex doll. Heís hyper vigilant about that after all the hiding I did and I imagine he will be for a long time. Weíre works in progress. Iím grateful to be in that process with him. I suppose that I think the person I needed was a healer, openness, understanding. The things Iím building now.

I donít know. More navel gazing, I guess. Hikingout, Iím so sorry your cousin and others abused you. Very grateful for your generosity in sharing your story and advice. Iím going to keep thinking on what you mentioned, about who I needed then, and chase that down. Also LOLed at your ďcool girlĒ as a verb, so thank you for that, too.

leavingorbit posted 7/16/2020 12:07 PM

JBWD, oh yeah, Iíve heard about military providers before. I get what youíre saying. I think if that examination isnít something you would be able to pursue with him, then itíd be worthwhile to find someone else. Another step in your journey! Does he have a definite direction for you? Or does he wait to see what you bring him?

Oh wow, JBWD! The following is not meant to minimize or discount what youíve shared: I think that your response is so normal. Iíve recounted feeling that way in this very thread, MIgander, Buck, too. I think hikingout may have experience with that, too, although I donít want to speak for her. My husband certainly did too. What you experienced was to me clearly normalized by your parents and in turn you did the same. I think their background provides a framework. Explanations, not excuses. When you know better, you do better. All of those things. But I feel itís complex to unravel and IC is important. I hope you know that your momís choices were about HER, not you. And also, trauma is trauma. Less traumatic?? Itís your trauma, itís your pain and past, and itís important to you. I donít really get behind comparing pain.

Thank you for your comments about reflection vs connection. I did a lot of that. My husband too. I think thatís pretty transactional- let me put a bandaid on it!! I donít want the damn bandaids anymore.

leavingorbit posted 7/16/2020 12:08 PM

MIgander, itís so complicated! Thank you for digging in there. I do think it narrows down when you get out of an emotionally disconnected state and tap back in. This is my spouse, my teammate - I want to be on their team. Iíd say that if your spouse is sexually open with you, thatís a positive thing. I had a lot of baggage about that for a long time, personally. ďWhatís the catch?Ē Well, my husband doesnít have an agenda. Iím the one with the agenda. Whereís the agenda coming from? FOO, trauma, low self worth...

I just get the feeling from your posts that youíre still very disconnected and probably dealing with a lot of fear/shame. It sounds like you keep one foot out. I donít think sex can take place in that environment. It sounds like your husband has his feet planted in the marriage. Do you want that for yourself?

leavingorbit posted 7/16/2020 12:10 PM

Buck, thank you for sharing your story. Iím just so sorry for what you experienced. Iím surprised that you ever trusted anybody ever again after that abuse. Have you told your wife about your history?

I cheated on my husband back in high school. We were kids but he felt about me like you talk about your wife. He had a history of CSA, I didnít know until he started talking about it last year after we went through the traumatic birth of our son. But he never trusted anybody else after what I did back then.

Itís better for us now, but I think itís a long road ahead.

I think yall are so brave. Thank you for your contributions.

MIgander posted 7/16/2020 12:43 PM

Thanks LO for continuing to post on this thread.

As for one foot out- yeah, I am and have been a long while. I've had trouble having compassion for difficulties my husband has had through the years. Being so self-involved in my own pains and struggles I never really reached out to him to help him with his.

We've had a tough marriage. My mother's narcissism wended its way in our early days. I was so codependent on her and her approval that I would fight with my husband for not wanting her around. Finally made a clean break with her after my son was born and she dismissed our health concerns about son's asthma and her smoking and BH's allergies to cats and her 2 cats in her house. Sigh. She wanted to be the grandma on her terms, not on ours and couldn't respect our wishes as parents.

After that was my post partum depression for years and years. His not liking the 3month early surprise of our daughter (I got prego 3months earlier than "planned") meant that he was not close to me or doting on the pregnancies. I still cry when I hear country songs about how men love touching their babies in their wives bellies- BH rarely did that, and then only at my insistence with both our children. I missed that sense of closeness and sharing a cherishing of the new life we were growing together- literally. Felt alone during my pregnancies, rejected in them and rejected as a mother (I had no parenting skills and depression- not a good combination if you're trying to win mother of the year). His vasectomy he forced upon me at this vulnerable time further alienated our marriage.

We had about 2.5 good years until my son was born. The last 10 have been a straight up trial on both our ends. My insecurity, his lack of empathy and lack of cherishing, my mental health problems, difficult family background, my rages, his $$ lies and gaslighting. It's been a hot mess and I'm frankly exhausted. I was exhausted 2 years ago and after the affair, frankly he's exhausted too.

So no wonder we're neither of us in the mood for sex and yes, it's hard, I've had one foot out the door for a while but didn't have the good grace to let him know.

Carissima posted 7/16/2020 14:33 PM

Sorry for the T/J


His vasectomy he forced upon me

I was only reading this thread out of curiosity and basic info but this statement jumped out at me for the wrongness of it.
I'm curious were you intending to talk him out of his choice of not having any more children despite the fact you obviously resent the hell out of him?
His body, his choice mean anything to you. We women say it all the time.
Part of being married is respecting your spouse's options and choices. I wonder if he chose to do it this way because he knew you'd fight him on it.

T/J over

[This message edited by Carissima at 2:35 PM, July 16th (Thursday)]

Stinger posted 7/16/2020 16:15 PM

I think sex, for many if not most cheaters, is just another pleasurable bodily function, like taking a good dump or eating a good steak. They attach little significance to this act.

leavingorbit posted 7/20/2020 09:45 AM

MIgander, I feel if you truly feel that way about your husband then itís kindest to let him go to find someone who will love and accept him as he is. I know itís hard. Itís not his job to make you happy. Sounds like there are a lot of relational ruptures between the two of you (not that those are a reason for your choice to have an affair). You donít seem willing to see things from his POV. And your POV was weaponized, then further weaponized after you chose to cheat. Do you think he views you as safe?

I really hope youíre not viewing his actions as malicious. He chose what he chose. You chose to stay. I do understand that it would be painful to confront ending your marriage over a difference of opinion like having more kids, or financial betrayal. You had choices. You chose to stay even though the two of you had different outlooks on life and marriage from what you have related. Why? I donít think youíre going to find the answer looking at your husband. And no, I donít think youíre going to reach intimacy by viewing him as a villain in your story - heís not.

A bit of a T/J but also valid IMO in terms of a disconnect in empathy.

Stinger: I definitely had a large disconnect in terms of my own experiences and choices sexually. Thank you for sharing.

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