What Made Me Pick Him? What Do I Want Now?

18 Nov

I had a therapy appointment yesterday, and my counselor asked me a great question.  He asked me to rewind 5 years and tell him what attracted me to my husband in the first place.  I thought about it a little, and the initial attraction was that he could handle my dry, sarcastic, insult-ladened sense of humor and give it right back to me.  That’s still an attractive quality in a mate.  Not everyone gets me, and even fewer people can handle me. I’m complicated and intimidating and different from a lot of people.   At least that’s what I’ve been told.

Beyond that initial spark, though, he seemed family-focused and caring.  That made me think he was worth getting to know.  He came from a big family, I come from a big family, and he said the things I wanted to hear.  I discovered several lies he told me back then (not even counting the crazy sexual stuff), including the fact that he hardly visited with his family even though they all live close by.  He also told me that he was a construction foreman.  I discovered not too long later that he was not even close to that – he had just started with the company and wasn’t even hired on full-time yet because he was employed through a temp agency.  Yet somehow I made excuses for him or accepted his – it was hard to keep in touch now that his parents had passed because they were the glue, he was trying to make a good first impression, etc., etc.

I also overlooked a lot of things because I had empathy for his situation.  He was about a year out of a tough relationship and had just gotten a new job after a period of depression that left him homeless and without a vehicle or most of his belongings.  I, too, was recently out of a long-term relationship that ended badly.  Although I still had my house and vehicles and a good job and was getting excellent grades in school on top of all that, I could understand how easy it could be to lose it.  I could imagine saying fuck it, and spiraling down emotionally so much that the rest fell apart.

Empathy is a good trait of mine, but I now see that my other traits led me to want to rescue.  I thought I could help.  I liked him and related to his situation.  And there were other positive qualities he had that I thought out-weighed something as shallow as monetary concerns.  I still don’t necessarily care how much my partner earns, but they need to have passion and drive and ambition.  I have to admit that the prospect of not having all the pressure on me is very appealing, though.  Five years ago my need to be needed was fulfilled by his situation, and I got a rush from knowing how much he was attracted to me and admired me.  It made me feel worthwhile.  Back then what I was looking for in a relationship was validation.

My therapist then asked me what I was looking for in a relationship today.  The very top of my list is honesty and stability, two things my husband doesn’t have at all right now. I think a big thing that changed is I now know I am worthwhile. My validation comes from inside. Without that intense need to be needed I can focus on what I need.

At the very tippy top of my needs is truthfulness. Honesty is vital to a relationship.  It literally cannot function if honesty isn’t present – like gas is necessary for you car.  I guess in theory you could push your car around in neutral with no gasoline, but it would be a lot of hard work that would get you nowhere fast.  That’s what I feel like my marriage has been lately. He’s been sitting in the car with his feet up while I’ve been trying to push and steer at the same time. I’m so over that.

What I need in a relationship is openness, vulnerability, and the complete truth, even if it’s hard to take.  Honesty is the only way to make an informed decision, and I’m only interested in someone with integrity.  Stability is important to me now because I have lived with the ground constantly shifting under my feet for years.  I want a man who knows himself, and is comfortable and confident with who he is.  I don’t need someone with a lot of money, but I do need someone with direction and follow-through and goals.  I need someone who brings as much to the table as I do, including emotional awareness and maturity.

I don’t want to make sacrifices on the important stuff anymore. I realize that no one is perfect, and I know enough now to run the other way if someone claims to be. However, I can’t be the only one working, digging, and trying to be the best me. I want someone who can push me, not someone who lags behind. I want someone who pursues me, not someone I have to beg for the minimum effort. I want someone who wants only me, who will be faithful, not someone who is actively looking for the next sexual high or who would stop putting forth effort in his relationship. I also want someone whose entire existence doesn’t depend on me. I want someone with interests and intelligence and something special to offer me. I deserve it because I’m worthwhile.
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22 Responses to “What Made Me Pick Him? What Do I Want Now?”

  1. WriterlyOne November 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Wow. I can really relate to your exploration into why you got married. I undervalued stability, too. It’s hard to name if you haven’t been in an unstable position, but I have. Thank you for sharing!

    • beautifulmess7 November 22, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      So very true! I always thought because I was stable and responsible and the whole 9 yards that would be enough. That I could help and support my partner the way I would want to be supported if I needed it. I didn’t realize that a grown man who isn’t able to help and support himself on a consistent basis definitely won’t be able to do that for me.

  2. Castimonia November 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Unhealthy people attract other unhealthy people at a subconcious level. This is why both addict and spouse need to be in recovery. If one is and the other is not, then one will grow toward healthiness and the other will remain in the unhealthy state and they will no longer be attracted to one another as they were before.

    At least with a recovering sex addict (in true recovery) the spouse knows that he/she is working on rigorous honesty unlike “normal” marriages where the husband is still keeping “little secrets” here and there.

  3. The "ME" Project November 20, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    went back, last night, to the very first comment you left on my guest blog “when he cheats” and read your reply. Then I thought about that post that totally hooked me, “gaslighting”, and how I identified with it in such a way that it made me a little sick- I could literally have changed places with you and I doubt either of us would have noticed the difference- different chicks, same crazy, ruthless, cruel lies from the ones who “love” us. But I have basically been along for the ride with you the whole way, and I have got to say- WOW! You have come SO FAR. I couldn’t be prouder of you if you lived next door and we were best friends. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are “only” online pals- I know so much about your inner and outer lives…anyway, I am so proud of you. I hope you are doing as well as you sound. Oh yeah! I forgot! I broke up with mine, too. Of course, he’s still here, for the moment, but he’s looking for a place. Honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Enough is enough, man. Have a great day!

    • beautifulmess7 November 20, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Good for you!!! I feel very close to you, too. Its great seeing the changes in people.

  4. huperecho: to rise above November 20, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    Wow sitting here asking myself the same question. He was not the man I dreamed about marrying…been married before, had 4 kids, was balding ………….but I was attracted to something. All I can think of is he was charming, fun, and he made me laugh. I don’t like to make decisions, he’s a master decision maker. I sure didn’t expect him to rescue me maybe I thought I was rescuing him. I need honesty and security all of which he wasn’t capable of providing. He started lying to me about finances before I married him. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  5. Sarah November 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    We have similar stories. My top 2 needs are honesty and stability. I got involved with my addict because I was seeking validation and the need to be needed. I knew there were issues from the start, but kept overlooking them because I needed the relationship. After several years of more and more painful reveals of the truth, I had enough. I think one of the most painful, difficult reveals was that the reason he entered into a relationship with me was because he thought that I would be a strong co-dependent partner because I am overweight. He thought that I would feel unlovable and we could be co-dependent together. He certainly got that after years of dealing with his addiction.

    I am working on it though. I just found out last week that he lied to be about a social media account that he has that I didnt know about. Instead of reacting how I used to, I called someone from group, didn’t engage in his demanding me to explain why he would lie, but instead told him how it made me feel and held to some (not all :() of my boundaries.

    I am finding that I can provide stability and honesty in my life. And that I can’t fix him as much as I want to some days.

  6. peregrinerose November 19, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    The Mic Hunter questions that I’ve been slowly working on have been amazing in helping me figure out why I picked an addict. And also shedding some light on why I continue to pick the addict. Every morning that I choose to stay is a morning I am choosing him. Someday I may make a different decision than I did today. That is the challenge right now.

  7. Hope November 19, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    That’s the first question that my therapist asked me too. I’m glad you are doing well. There are many men who are honest outside of the sex addicts we know!

    • beautifulmess7 November 19, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      I still find that hard to believe but I’m trying.

      • Hope November 20, 2012 at 2:44 am #

        I can feel the difference in you (July versus now). You are stronger… and you will be well. I am focusing on living well every day and it is helping.

  8. Stacia November 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Sex/porn addiction is just a horrible thing. I will NEVER get involved with another man that has any history of this condition again. Traumatizing, life changing, and it robs a woman of so much. Fortunately, a great therapist that is trained in this area is a huge help and only then can you start working on YOURSELF.

    When we get ourselves “healthy” the right things will fall into place. xoxo

    • beautifulmess7 November 19, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      I worry that no matter what I will end up with someone with the same type of issues. I never thought I would be here, but that’s where I am.

      • Stacia November 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

        No way. I think you are on the right path. Love reading your “ah-ha” moments and you working it all out for YOU. You will choose right for your future!! I just RECENTLY started feeling better about myself, still not dating anyone, BUT…when I choose, it will be on my terms and I’ll be smarter 🙂 xoxo

  9. sixspring7 November 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    This is why we should go to therapy and try to recover ourselves, because there is a reason we allowed or accepted things that people with good boundaries do not. I don’t want to have another bad relationship whether its with my husband or someone else.

    • beautifulmess7 November 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      That’s where I am now, too. I can’t focus on his sex addiction and problems. I need to examine why I picked him and accepted less than I deserve for so long.

      • leanne356 November 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

        I am wondering about why you need to dig into the why, of why you fell in love with a sex addict. I’m thinking that you wouldn’t have known his sex addiction problems when you fell in love him, I’m thinking that you would have fell in love with him then found that out at a later date, which by then you have invested so much in him that you would find it very difficult to leave… I’m genuniely interested in the (need?) for digging into everything and I am coming from a place of knowing very little about the value of it. Some of it I do understand and get, but this I don’t.

        • beautifulmess7 November 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

          You are right to some extend. There are two schools of thought on this, and I fall somewhere between them. One is that spouses of sex addicts are traumatized similar to people with PTSD. That view is that spouses are complete victims.

          The other takes the perspective that spouses are co-addicts or codependents. In this view the spouse was drawn to the sex addict and/or stayed with them because of unhealthy beliefs about themselves like they weren’t worthwhile and loveable, sex was the most important way to express love, and other issues. It doesn’t blame the spouse for the sex addiction at all, but does point out that unhealthy patterns, behaviors and ideas led them to a place where life was unmanageable.

          I do feel I have been traumatized by many things my husband put me through. I also did not know the extent of his acting out until very recently. However, there were many other things that should have been red flags and would have been with most healthy people. I either ignored them or played them down or believed my husband too easily that they were solved. I need to figure out why.

          • leanne356 November 19, 2012 at 11:14 am #

            I understand now. I have been thinking of my own situation and I can see how this applies. It makes sense, particularly where you are now, figuring yourself out to ensure you are as healthy as can be in order to help avoid
            choosing the same
            type of relationships in the future. I think that is worthwhile.

  10. Broken Heart Recovery November 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    We all deserve it. Sex addiction sucks.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Top 10 Things I Am Looking For | Being a Beautiful Mess - March 30, 2013

    […] about my top needs and the things I want from a partner.  Outside of my one therapy session and this post a few months ago, I haven’t put the kind of thought into it that I should.  When people hear […]

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