Tag Archives: sex

1 Other Woman Became 4…

5 Oct

That’s about all I’m emotionally able to say right now.  I’m still processing…

I am glad that I have a therapy appointment today at 11.  I really need it.

When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match: From the Perspective of a Woman Who Wants More Sex

18 Sep

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...It seems the topic of sex – and mismatched libidos – is swirling around in the blogosphere today.  I feel that I have something unique to add to the discussion (or really not so unique, if you keep reading).  I have touched on the topic of sex more than a few times here since it has been an issue in our relationship and our recovery.  Even if you aren’t married to a sex addict, though, sex is a topic that you should be talking about.

I won’t waste too much time on the great importance of sex and intimacy in a relationship. There are thousands upon thousands of articles about that. I will, however, point out that sex and intimacy create a bond, a connection, between two people that can make them feel closer and carry them through difficult situations.  Intimacy and sex are incredibly important to a marriage.  It’s one of the aspects of a relationship that takes it to the next level – to the realm of romantic love versus platonic friend or family love.

So how is it that around 20%* of married couples in the United States live in what is what is defined as a “sexless marriage?”  What is a “sexless marriage,” you may ask…  It is a marriage where sexual intercourse occurs 10 times or less each year.   In marriages where sex has dried up to that extent it’s a vicious cycle, and often no one can remember what exactly came first: “lack of sexual desire, lack of trust, anxiety, financial issues, misunderstandings, pressure from children,” or a myriad of other factors.**

Even when things haven’t gotten that bad, couples can find themselves frustrated or feeling rejected from their partner when there is a difference in how much sex each person thinks is “normal.”  In the first 6 months of a sexual relationship both parties are tearing each other’s clothes off with the same intense passion and vigor. Once things settle into a comfortable place and those “lusty” brain chemicals die down, our natural preferences will start to emerge.  It’s actually common for spouses to have different amounts of sexual desire.  Sexuality is a complicated, delicate thing.  Each of us have our own ideas of how much is “enough,” and those ideas do not always mesh.  However, not addressing those differences or talking about sex with your partner can be devastating to your relationship.

Now that the groundwork is laid (haha), I’m going to jump right into the heart of my topic.  Whenever a marriage is struggling with sexual intimacy the finger is automatically pointed at the wife.  If the sex isn’t frequent enough or someone is sexually dissatisfied, it must be HER fault!  Society in general loves to joke about how once a woman gets married she stops wanting sex.  Women are overly sexualized in magazines, movies, posters, entertainment, etc., yet conversely we are told that we really aren’t very sexual beings.  When a woman is open about her sexuality, she is treated like a freak or a whore.   If you want sex more than your male partner, there must be something wrong with you.  Make up your minds people!

Women do love sex.  And sometimes we want it more than the man in our life.  In fact, as one article put it, “It’s culturally unexpected, but surprisingly common” for a woman to want sex more than her partner.  That’s right, folks!  In many, many cases the wife is the sexually dissatisfied one in the relationship.

Our culture doesn’t want to talk about it and certainly doesn’t want to accept it, but there are a lot of us out here.  In fact, that very same article says that in about 1/3 of the cases where a couple sees a sex therapist it is the woman who wants sex more frequently.  In those cases, fighting against cultural stereotypes in addition to an imbalance in sex drives is incredibly difficult.  Here’s an excerpt that I just have to share:

“Any chronic desire difference can drive people crazy. But in our culture, when the woman wants sex more, the couple descends into a special circle of hell, the place reserved for those caught in culturally unexpected circumstances. It’s bad enough to have a chronic desire difference, but when the situation contradicts the highly prevalent assumption that women—all women!—are erotically coy, while men—all men!—are insatiable horn dogs who can never get enough, desire differences feel even more distressing.”***

The stereotypes and public perception that men should or do want sex more than their female counterpart make it more difficult for women like me to find an outlet to talk about this type of thing.  I have connected with more women than you could imagine who also have higher sex drives than their husbands.  It is very isolating because you think there must be something wrong with you…  Men are SUPPOSED to want sex more.

It’s just not true, though.  Think about it.  If the woman in 1/3 of couples wants sex more than her spouse, then the number of women like me who are left disappointed and sexually frustrated when our husbands are “too tired” at night has to be in the millions.  There are millions of us!!!  Are we still in the minority?  Maybe.  But if this wasn’t such a taboo issue, maybe more and more of us would speak up and that 1/3 number would inch up closer to 50%.  I have no empirical proof of that, but the logical, reasonable side of me is screaming that if sex and sexuality is so varied then why couldn’t that be true?

Just check out this message board on Women’s Health with 38 pages of responses to one woman who was concerned that her sex drive was too high.  Or read this response from an advice columnist to a woman whose high sex drive was causing friction in her marriage.  In the beginning of her answer she says, “You are far from being the only woman who finds that her partner’s sex-drive is way lower than her own.  I get more questions from women on this subject than from men.”  Maybe that’s because we are the ones who write to advice columnists.  Maybe it’s because we are seeking to find out whether society is right and there is something wrong with us.  Or maybe it’s because there are a lot of us out here.

I don’t deny that there are a lot of studies that point to the fact that men think about sex more than women.  That’s probably true.  I’m not sure how much any male thinks about sex because I am certainly not in their brain.  I am also not some sex-crazed woman who is lost in sexual fantasy all day.  I just love sex, and I want it frequently.  I don’t stop and think about it obsessively – I just make a move on my husband, send him a flirty text, go in for a long kiss with a little tongue, or any number of other actions.  I’m a woman of action, though.

So what about the evolutionary theory?  Men are programmed to spread their seed and all that, right?  Well, there might be more to it than just that.  In Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha talk extensively about early human sexuality.  I haven’t read the book and I don’t know if I would agree with every single conclusion they draw, but I have read several articles that touch on their findings.  Surprisingly (to some), the psychological and anthropological evidence they gathered shows that without the constraints of society women were just as sexual as men (or more so).

So what changed?  In an interview with Dr Snyder’s PsychologyToday’s blog “SexualityToday,” lead author Christopher Ryan said, “Even as we speak, clitorectomies are taking place in North Africa, women in Iran are being stoned to death, and American girls are committing suicide because their classmates call them ‘sluts’ online.  The world is hardly a safe place for women to express sexual curiosity, and hasn’t been for a very long time.”  So very true.  I really think a lot of this boils down to our society.

Today I was referred to this article about how men and women’s sex drives differ.  They conclude that “men score higher in libido, while women’s sex drive is more ‘fluid.'”  I found it very, very educational and interesting.  There were a lot of valid points made, some of which I have addressed above and some of which I am not going into.  One thing in the article really jumped out at me, though.  The #4 difference between men and women’s sex drive is that “Women’s sex drives are more influenced by social and cultural factors.”  All of the bullet points under there were spot-on, and I would highly recommend that you take a look.

This is my interpretation.  Women’s sexuality is more influenced by their peers, church, education, age, and other outside influences.  If you create a role for women like, “The wife never wants to have sex as much as the husband,” some women will go ahead and fill that role.  They will suppress their sexuality and let their husband take the driver’s seat because that’s how things are supposed to be.  If, by chance, they step out of line, another woman is more than happy to call them a “whore” to put them back in their place.  Men and women alike are there joking and whispering in their ear that men are more sexual, and they just need to accept that fact.

That bullet point also explains a bit why I might be more open sexually than a lot of people – male or female.  I am well-educated, not religious, and don’t care what everyone else is doing or what anyone else thinks is “normal.”  That makes me able to fulfill my entire sexual potential (or at least a lot of it).

When it all boils down to it, I think the baseline sex drive for men and women is more equal than people think. While men may think about sex more often and may be more direct or less complicated sexually, I think both genders equally want sex.  We both crave good sex in it’s fantastic, intimate form.  It may be a higher priority for some men than for women, especially when children enter the picture.  Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that, either.  In a vacuum, though, I think men and women’s sex drives would be very, very close (and pretty darn high).  Unfortunately, we don’t live in a vacuum.  We live here, in this society, and every single one of us has a completely different sexual experience and background.

Today I just wanted to be a voice for women like me.  There is nothing wrong with you.  You are not alone.  Remember, men peak sexually at around the age of 17 while women peak in their late thirties.  It just is what it is.

As for what to do about it?  My answer, no matter which way the imbalance of sex drives goes, is to open up about sex with your partner.  We both need to be communicating about sex.  We both need to be initiating.  We both need to be finding ways to connect sexually.  We both need to realize how important it is.  We both need to make time and make sex a priority.  So go home, give your man or woman a deep, romantic, passionate kiss, and get busy!  Talking that is…  If that leads to more, then more power to you!

Footnotes:

* According to the National Health and Social Life Survey and Newsweek magazine
** From MSNBC.com, “The Big No: The truth about sexless marriage” (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/32735936/ns/today-relationships)
***When She Wants Sex More than He Does: It’s culturally unexpected, but surprisingly common. Published on December 4, 2011 by Michael Castleman, M.A. in All About Sex

Being Open About Sex

29 Aug

I wanted to reblog this topic today because it is still something we are dealing with, and a friend of mine is going through something similar.  Sex addicts trying to recover deal with a lot of fear around sex.  Spouses also deal with the uncertainty of not feeling wanted by the addict.  It can be a tricky time, and communication is key!

Being a Beautiful Mess

I have to warn you now, this topic is personal.  I have grappled a bit with if I should post it, but I decided to take my own advice from my last post and be honest.  I know this will probably make my husband uncomfortable, so I apologize in advance to Mr. Mess.  I just feel like I need to get this out there and talk about it so maybe someone else in a similar situation won’t feel like they are all alone.

I have heard from lots of people about their hysterical bonding after DDay.  That never happened for us.  We maybe had a slight upswing in our sex life a few months in, but nothing drastic or immediate.  Now things are back down to pre-DDay levels which is around 1-2 times per week if I’m super lucky.

I’m a very sexual woman.  I have always heard that men are…

View original post 1,349 more words

Being a Sexual Woman

22 Aug

After finding that hilarious picture and posting it yesterday I realized that I don’t share a lot of that side of myself.  Sure, I talk about sex a lot in the context of my husband’s sex addiction, but I think I have allowed that cloud to affect my self-perception too much.  Just because my husband has a problem identifying healthy sexual behavior and controlling his urges to act out in inappropriate ways doesn’t mean I do.  Talking about sex as part of a fun, healthy relationship is not a bad thing, and neither is really enjoying loving, intimate sexual acts with my husband – even if they can get a little kinky sometimes.  😉

I’m not really sure how Mr. Mess would feel about me sharing things about our sex life, so I won’t really go into specifics about him.  I do, however, feel the need to talk about myself as a very sexual woman.  I probably am not “experienced” in the traditional sense of that word – at least when it comes to my quantity of sex partners.  In fact, I’ve only had 2.  Pick your jaw up off of the floor…  It is possible to be a 20-something in today’s society who hasn’t slept around a lot.

It’s not for lack of opportunities, but more from the fact that I want my sexual relationships to be with people I have a deep, meaningful connection with.  I’m not really a one night stand kinda girl.  I am also not interested in a relationship with everyone who is interested in me. I’ve had my share of men who were infatuated with me.  I even gave some of them a shot and dated a few times, thinking maybe once I got to know them better they would grow on me and maybe then I would feel sexually attracted.  That’s not really how things work, though.

Another reason I have had so few sexual partners is because I “paired off” very young – at only 15.  That relationship continued into my 20s.  7 years to be precise.  It was also with a woman.  I think I’ve posted that somewhere in here before, but it’s possible I haven’t.  I know that I have mentioned that my family is staunch, right wing Christian. We almost literally lived in church.  We went to Monday choir practice, Wednesday night service, Thursday music rehearsal (my Mom played the piano for the praise & worship), and BOTH services on Sunday because my Dad was an usher in addition to my Mom’s piano-playing, choir-directing duties.  Even as teenagers when we could drive we were required to attend all services “as a family.”

Given all of that, it should be pretty apparent that they were not open to the idea of their daughter being bisexual (or a lesbian, since at that time I wasn’t entirely sure myself).  They found out when I was 16.  I lived in Hell for the next 2 years.  I graduated right after my 17th birthday, but wasn’t allowed to move out.  That year was the worst of my entire life.  I moved out at 18 (the very day), and did my own thing for almost a year without speaking to them.  Eventually, they came around.  Don’t get me wrong, they always said I was “going to Hell.”  But they grew to accept and even like her.  She went on family trips with us, came to Christmas, they bought her birthday gifts, and the whole 9 yards.

Even though that relationship didn’t last, for reasons that are neither here nor there, I did explore my sexuality a lot during that time.  I enjoyed all sorts of sex, and we discovered things together.  We bought toys, used blindfolds, even tied each other up or used handcuffs sometimes.  We had passionate sex for a long time.  Then things started fading in the bedroom – what many in the community refer to as “lesbian bed death.”  I have always had a very high libido, but her – not so much.  Once things fizzled and eventually died, I had really come into my own sexually.  I was ready to explore.

As a young girl (because face it, that’s what I was at 15) I was somewhat frightened by the idea of a penis.  I had, of course, never been faced with one before and at that time couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be around “one of those.”  Experimenting, using toys, and yes, watching a little porn and Queer As Folk (which is basically gay porn wrapped up in a storyline, albeit a really great one IMO), I became much more comfortable with the idea.  Curious and eager even.  I realized more and more that I am truly bisexual – it is more about the entire package, who a person is on the inside, than what their outside “package” might be.

When I met my now husband and realized that spark was there, it was game on.  I, unfortunately, didn’t wait as long as I would have liked conceptually before jumping into bed.  We were sexual after our second date (the third time I had been out with him since I’m not counting the night we met as a date).  We had hours and hours of phone conversation by then, but still…  I have that slightly conservative core that comes out now and then, making me feel ashamed for giving away the goods so fast.  Oh well…  Although he is a sex addict, that didn’t seem to spill over into our dating life in a negative way at first (until 9 months to a year later with the porn and affair and all of that mess).  While dating, Mr. Mess was a gentleman.  In fact, in the inebriated, horny state I was in the night I met him I was ready to go at it right there in my car, parked in the middle of a city block.  He politely declined, talked some sense into me, and we parted company that night with the promise of a real date.  I guess I was special to him in the beginning…

The deep throating comment from yesterday’s post is not untrue.  I have realized that I really love giving oral sex.   It’s just a fact.  Giving another person pleasure, feeling that power and excitement, turns me on beyond belief.  I can actually orgasm just from making someone orgasm.  I get all tingly just thinking about it.  I’ve probably said far too much for my husband’s comfort level.  He is a very private person, and fairly easily embarrassed being open about this type of stuff, oddly enough.

Back to me.  I am a very sexual woman.  I would gladly have sex every day for the rest of my life.  In fact, that sounds marvelous.  As long as I can throw in a few marathon days here and there.  One orgasm is great, but multiple orgasms are ecstasy.  I love variety, and I’m certain I could ensure things never get boring.  For now, though, I am pacing myself.  I am giving my husband time to rediscover healthy sexuality and learn to control his addiction cycles.  I am being patient and biding my time for when my husband’s brain is reset and ready for all the sexy fun I have to offer.

Minding Your P’s and Q’s

13 Jul

Photo Credit

Mr. Mess and I had a marriage counseling session on Wednesday.  It was very emotional, so I’m warning you now that this will be very long.  We touched on quite a few things.  It was the first time we had sat down in the same room and talked about the lying incident and its aftermath.  The entire session is a bit of a blur.  Unlike the way I can usually recall conversations in very specific details from beginning to end, my memories of that hour are jumbled.  They pop up in my brain in small segments.  I recall things in the order of impact they had on me instead of their chronological order.  That is a new experience for me, and has made it very difficult to write about.  I have started and stopped, erased sentences and entire paragraphs, re-arranged my thoughts over and over, and given up more than once.

Today I decided that it is important to do my best to catalog my emotions and the topics covered.  One big reason is that we are going away for the weekend.  More about that later.  I think I need to put a period on this in my mind so that I can move on and fully engage.

Just about the only thing I didn’t go back and forth with about this post is its title.  Since I’m not sure where to start, I will start there.  Wednesday night as I was lying in bed sifting through my emotions and thoughts, I began trying to form a general outline of this blog post.  It’s something I find myself doing unconsciously now.  It’s a way to organize my thoughts and process them.  If I can start forming them into a logical order that would make sense to a reader, then they also start to make more sense to me.

Photo Credit – Writer’s Block

The very first thing that popped into my head during that process was “Minding Your P’s and Q’s.”  I like titles that play off of socially recognized phrases or ideas, but mean something different.  That title was a natural choice because of the direction our therapy session went.  Our counselor asked a lot of questions, and so did Mr. Mess and I – hence the “Qs.”  Other topics that we discussed started with the letter P.  In fact, at one point our counselor said something to the effect of, “I have two words for you, and they both start with the letter P.  They represent two ways you can look at this situation.  I want to tell you the difference.”

Now that I have explained my title and gotten the first few words on the page, I can feel my brain loosening up.  Thank you for bearing with me up to this point.  Here we go.

There are a few different posts about how my husband lied to me regarding his work schedule two Sundays ago and how I discovered those lies (Setting Boundaries).  I have shared how the fact of a lie wasn’t as bad as the fact that he continued to lie, tried to cover his lies with half-truths, and kept lying once I found evidence that countered his story (Lies, Lies, Go Away… Come again NEVER!).  I talked about detaching and the things I have done for myself since (Farting on the Massage Table and A Holiday, a Tattoo and a Piercing).  Hopefully you now know enough of the story from my perspective.

What I discovered in counseling was Mr. Mess’s perspective.  After giving a brief description of events (Mr. Mess lied, then kept lying, then gaslighted, and now we are sleeping in separate rooms), our therapist jumped right in with the questions.  His first one was whether Mr. Mess lied intentionally or unconsciously.  My husband then plainly stated that he made the conscious choice to lie.  It wasn’t a gut reaction.  It wasn’t a slip.  He lied because he had intended to lie to me all along.  That was a punch in the gut!  But at least I knew the truth.  It wasn’t a mistake.  It wasn’t an instinct.  I am not crazy.  He wanted to lie to me, so he did.

Let me tell you, in that moment I felt all hope slip away.  I was thinking so many things simultaneously – “How could he?  After everything we have been through and all of the progress we have made, he just decided to throw it out the window?  I married a monster!  He is pathological!  What could he possibly get out of lying that my feelings mean absolutely NOTHING to him?”  The overriding thought was “I don’t think I can deal with this.”  I didn’t say any of that.  I just sat there staring at the floor.  I don’t know if I could have gotten up and left if the thought had entered my mind – which for some reason it didn’t.

The next question from the therapist was something to the effect of “what was the goal of lying” or “what did you get out of it” or “why did you make the choice to lie.”  I obviously can’t remember the exact wording.  Either way the answer was that he wanted control.  He wanted to feel like he had control over something completely – that there was something that was just “his.”  He didn’t want to share with me.  He didn’t want me to know about it.  He wanted me to just leave him alone and not bother with caring what his work schedule was or when he would be leaving the house.

He continued by saying that he doesn’t feel like he has had any control since this “whole thing” started.  I was baffled.  Completely.  I think I actually snorted.  “Are you serious?” I threw out, exasperated.  “Come on!  You are driving this crazy bus and dragging me along behind you!  I didn’t pick this, you did!”  Our therapist gently stepped in and said that we probably don’t have the same perspective (there’s a P-word), but it is still important to hear where Mr. Mess is coming from.  He asked for a clarification, more information about the how he feels he lacks control.

Again, Mr. Mess said that from the beginning of this “whole thing,” he didn’t feel like he had any say in how things happened.  I had to cut in to ask what he thinks of as the “beginning” – the start of our relationship, the affair discovery, his childhood, this lie, what?  He said May 2011.  I asked, do you mean March 31, 2011 (side note – he doesn’t even remember the date?  What the hell?!?!?)?  He said, sure, whatever – from this last discovery forward.  I said okay, then sat back to hear what he could possibly have to say.

I may not do justice to this part because I don’t remember what he said word for word.  By this point I also had so many different swirling emotions, thoughts, and crazy feelings that my head was literally buzzing.  The general gist is that when I discovered the last time he was viewing and hiding porn on his phone I told him he was a sex addict and made him go to therapy.  Yeah…  that’s what he said.  I (not so kindly or graciously) cut in to say that, yes, when I found teen porn on his phone it was the last straw and I said go to therapy or leave.  Period.

He took my outburst in stride and continued with his version of events where I diagnosed him with sex addiction, something his current therapist said that he “might have.”  Again, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing and had to jump in.  I said something like “Seriously?  I didn’t diagnose you, and that’s not what he said to me when I met with him.”  What I should have added (but didn’t) is, “You ended up going to him after you described your own issues to several therapists who said it was over their head and you need to go see him because he specializes in problems like that – a.k.a. porn addictions.”

He (rather sarcastically) asked what Dr. C told me then.  I said something like, “We both sat down in his office and he said point-blank that you have a sex addiction problem, but he was going to help you through it.  He said that you need to use a 3 pronged approach – medication, therapy (including a sex addiction workbook) and SA meetings.”  Our MC asked if he remembers that.  Mr. Mess said yes, but…  This is the point where my brain gets fuzzy because I just couldn’t accept one more excuse, justification, denial, or re-writing of history.  I think he said something to the effect of – I just went along to get along because she told me I had to.

I know I nearly yelled that I did not MAKE him do anything.  I just said that this time I wasn’t going to just sweep it under the rug.  I told him what I needed in order to continue this relationship.  If he didn’t want to do it, he was free to walk out of the door.  I told him that then and reiterated it more than once.  I think at that point he may have agreed with me, but said that he didn’t have any control over what he had to do in order to stay with me.  He said that he “loved” me, then quickly corrected himself and said that he still does.  He didn’t want to lose me, so he did things that he didn’t really want to do in order to keep our marriage going.

I can’t remember if there was any resolution to that or how we got on a different topic, but I do know that we started talking about my response to his lie this time.  He said that I shut him out completely.  He felt I was saying that I was done and the relationship was over, and that I was going to show him by doing things just to “spite” him.

I asked what he was talking about.  He brought up my tattoo and piercing, saying how I did those things to hurt him.  Huh?  I said, “No, I did those things for myself.  It had nothing to do with you.”  He said that the timing and the fact that I didn’t talk to him about it first makes him think I was trying to make him angry – that he had no idea I wanted to do that.  What??  I asked, “Don’t you remember us bicycling to the tattoo parlor in the 100 degree weather to see about a piercing and tattoo before our fight?  That should tell you that I was serious about getting something done.”  He countered that I was talking about a different piercing (the face one that I found out is permanent) and a tattoo in a different place.  He didn’t know what I wanted specifically.  So??  Was he looking for me to ask permission (another P-word)?  Would it really have changed anything if I asked him before I went instead of telling him when I was there?  He said yes, it would have.  There was more back and forth which was petty and not important to this summary.

Thankfully at this point our wonderful MC got involved again to referee this issue and get us back on track.  He said that in a healthy marriage I probably would have talked to him about what I wanted to get done more specifically before I just did it.  However, I didn’t feel safe enough to do that.  This relationship wasn’t in a healthy place.

Again, the movie in my head skips here.  I know that we started talking about Mr. Mess’s past and how he relates to people in his life.  Yesterday I talked briefly about his lack of empathy for others – or at least how it takes him a lot of effort to consider how his actions could make another person feel and actually care about those feelings.  He admitted that he has negatively affected the lives of every single friend, family member, or person who has loved him.  Every. Single. One.  Wow!  That must have taken a lot to admit.  He talked about regrets he has, especially that he can’t apologize to his parents, who are both passed away.

He also said that he has always done whatever he wanted, right or wrong, consequences be damned.  He has never had another person be so affected by the things he chooses to do.  He has never “answered” to anyone for his actions, or had to worry about having another person tied to the outcome of his decisions.  He is afraid that he can’t be the kind of person who thinks or cares about how he will affect someone else.

Our MC then asked the next logical question – “Then why did you decide to get married?”  He said that he is not trying to be flippant or sarcastic, but getting married is the ultimate act of tying your life to another person’s.  It requires selflessness, sacrifice, compromise – the exact opposite of what he just finished describing.  Mr. Mess said something like “Yeah, that’s true.  I didn’t think about it that way, though.  I proposed because I didn’t want to lose her.”

MC then asked if he had thought about it then, does he think he would have done it?  Mr. Mess said no.  He wouldn’t have proposed to me.  He wouldn’t have gotten married.  If he had thought things through back then, if he knew what he knows now, then he would never have married me.  I didn’t (and still don’t) know what to do with that.  I don’t know where that leaves us now.  I don’t even know why our MC asked that.  What’s the point?  We can’t change the past.  So why torture me with the fact that my husband wouldn’t even be my husband if he had put any kind of thought into things?  Maybe to point out that he loved(s?) me enough to try to change his own nature?  Maybe to tell me to run?  Maybe because he likes to see people squirm?  Okay, those last two probably weren’t entirely fair, but still…  That was pretty messed up!

I have another mind jump here…  I think that last thing just put me in stunned mode for a little bit.  The next thing I remember we were back to the aftermath of this last lie.  I know at some point during the visit Mr. Mess asked if I am done.  I asked him a question right back – can you tell me you won’t lie to me.  He said no.  And I said, then I guess maybe we are.  Neither one of us was giving.  He was still stubbornly tied to the idea that I abandoned him, was acting out to “spite” him, and had already decided I was out of the door.  I couldn’t get past the hurt of his intentional lie.  It was a stalemate.

Then our therapist gave his “two P-words” speech.  Those two P-words were protection and punishment.  He said that my withdrawal after his lie felt to Mr. Mess like a punishment.  Mr. Mess indicated his firm agreement in that.  He then said that what it actually was is a way to protect myself.  He asked me if he was correct.  I said absolutely.  I just know that I absolutely cannot handle another lie.  That I don’t know what it would do to me emotionally or physically.  That I felt like my head might actually implode.  That meant I couldn’t open myself up to him because it would be disastrous if he hurt me again.  It might cause irreparable damage.  So I had to do the only thing I could do – focus on me.  Do things that made me feel good, that made me happy.  Be my own rescuer for once.

Mr. Mess still didn’t get it.  He said something like, “yeah, but all of that was about me – she was doing it to spite me or in spite of me.  I feel like she was throwing it in my face.”  I said, no – I wasn’t thinking about him at all.  I was only thinking about me for once.  Our MC interjected to say that it is a boundary.  That in order to protect my emotions and keep myself from any additional pain I had to set a firm boundary and take care of myself.  He also said that there is a difference between a boundary and an ultimatum – just like when I said I need him to be in therapy working on his issues in order to continue with the marriage.

Mr. Mess said that sure sounds like an ultimatum to him.  MC said, no, it isn’t.  She is asking for what she needs to feel safe.  You have the option to do it or not.  I said that I think the big difference between an ultimatum and a boundary is that it has nothing to do with the other person.  I don’t set a boundary to manipulate him, make him “do what I want” or get a certain result (like an ultimatum).  I set a boundary because it is something I have to have.  It’s not tied to him or anyone else – it’s all about my limits and what I can accept in my life.

He then said that he might have to move out.  He said that he knows himself, and if he keeps sleeping on the couch and seeing me doing my own thing he will grow to resent me.  He said that the more time I am detached the more it will make him bitter.  Because he knows himself he also knows that he will probably end up doing something stupid and cruel to purposefully hurt me.  I told him that he doesn’t have to sleep on the couch.  We have 3 rooms, and one could easily be a spare room if he just set up his bed again.  He said he isn’t going to sleep in a boiling hot room.  I said he could always buy a window A/C… they aren’t that expensive.  He said he would think about it.

Then I made sure he knows that whatever he decides I am fine with it.  I have set my boundary, now he needs to choose what to do in response to that.  The MC concurred.  He said that Mr. Mess needs to do what is best for him as well.  If that means leaving so that he can work on himself outside of the home, then he should do that.  It is up to each of us to decide how we respond to the things and people around us.

Our MC explained it like this – he said that when couples come in to see him he often asks them to do an exercise where they list their needs and wants in two separate columns.  He tells him that the only things that should go under the needs column are the non-negotiables.  Most things in a marriage are negotiable – are up for debate, can be compromised and worked around.  Some things can’t be.  They are the necessities.  Those are the things that boundaries are there to protect.

I said exactly!  And at the very tippy top of my list is honesty.  If he thinks that he can’t give that to me then it will be a deal-breaker because it is something I can’t compromise.  I don’t know for sure, but I think that might have been the point that Mr. Mess understood, at least a little bit.  He said that if he promised me he will never lie to me again that would be a lie.  But, what he can tell me is that he is going to work on his lying problem.  He is going to try his best not to lie.  He is going to keep going to Dr. C because he admits he has an addiction problem and an issue with lying that he needs IC to address.  He also said that he would keep coming to MC with me for as long as I was willing.  He even said he would keep going to SA.  I told him that is something I can accept.  I also said that I will have to stay detached for a bit until I see real progress.  That my boundaries are now firmly in place, and I have to keep protecting myself.

So that’s where we are.  We returned from MC and actually continued talking – at least much more than what we had done in the week and a half between.  I told him that I am stepping back and it is now up to him to decide whether to step up.  I told him that I can’t be the one bringing up everything, initiating our discussions, coming to him to figure out his feelings, etc., etc.  We had some heated words in the middle, but I think we left things in a pretty good place.

Since then he has gone to work at 3am and gone to his night class.  I went out with a woman from work to see our co-worker’s band perform.  We played pool.  I listened to heavy metal, which is so not my style but was still somehow enjoyable.  I caught up with some old school friends (high school and college) who happened to be at the bar.  I had fun.  Who knows what is to come down the road, but I have decided that I’m going to enjoy the journey no matter where it takes me.

“… But I Still Loved You”

21 Jun

Today I came across the most wonderfully well-written post from a wayward about what love is – and isn’t.  He addressed a line that I heard from my husband after his acting out and affair.  It’s the infamous “… but I still loved you.”  You can put anything you want in front of that “but” like: “I did the wrong thing,” “I screwed up,” “I know that I betrayed you, ” or even “I never thought about how this could hurt you.”  It’s something that I could never understand then – how can love go hand in hand with lies and broken trust?

The short answer is that it doesn’t!  Love is selfless.  It is giving.  It is putting another person before yourself.  That’s not what an affair is.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  Even though sex addiction played a part with my husband’s behavior, it doesn’t take away the selfishness of what he did.  It doesn’t take away the fact that he wasn’t considering my feelings or the ramifications that his actions would have on me.  That is why it is hard to reconcile the idea of him still “loving” me in the midst of his hurtful acts.  While I know that his addiction wasn’t about me, wasn’t aimed at me, and most of the time no thought of me entered his mind – I can’t help but think that if he really loved me during that time he would have considered me!

That’s why today when I read floridaredman’s post on Surviving Infidelity something just clicked.   I got his permission to post his comments here on my blog, so here is what he had to say:

How many of us WS’s have said this. “Even though I had the affair I still loved you, even in the midst of it”

To a BS they are wondering how could this be possible.  How could you say you loved me and still betray me?

The answer is the WS’s misconception of what love truly means.  Love does not seek to be selfish… on the contrary… it is quite selfless.  Loving who you are and being content with being you is a key factor to loving someone else.
If you do not love who you are and have no respect for yourself… then how can you truly give love to someone else?

An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse…” I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met” How do you think your spouse would respond?

A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.  They would most likely believe that if you loved them you would have been more forceful in proving your point.

To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone.
Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.

It is a proverbial slap in the face to a BS for a WS to say, “But ..I still loved/love you”

The response could be…”Where was that love when you met your AP?” “Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  “Where was that love when you were being intimate with them and giving me the cold shoulder?”

Even if you say… “I never wanted to leave you.” This becomes a selfish statement because what you are really saying is… I wanted to have both.
I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.

Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time. Love can hurt. Love can hurt when you want your spouse to be one way and they are not. However the true love for them will help you overlook those faults while still communicating about them. Love does not give up, but it is willing to give in to a certain degree. I say to a certain degree because if you truly love who you are… you will know when to throw in the towel if the love you are giving is not respected.

If I took a gun and said… “I don’t want to hurt you.” Yet I unloaded the clip on you after I said it… the outcome shows my full intention.

Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.

I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?

I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness. Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.
I didn’t truly love myself. I really had no confidence in me. I really was insecure about me. So how could I give love that I didn’t have for myself to give?

When I found out my “why’s” and when I began doing the work… I found reasons to love myself.  In loving myself… I was able to truly love my wife.  Before I do anything to hurt her… I check myself because I don’t want to put her through any kind of pain intentionally.

I know a lot of people may not agree to this, but it was this type of thinking that led to my own self-awareness.

The thought came when I asked myself…

If you love someone… how can you give yourself to another? It is not to say that the love cannot be there somewhere… just needs to be resurrected and matured.

It is one of the reasons I came up with when your BS looks at you with unbelief when you say

“But…I still loved you”

When I read that I felt validated.  My husband has acknowledged some of those things before.  He has said that he was being completely selfish.  He has said that he sees now he should have reached out for help with his sex addiction.  He just never said it quite like that.

Some of that is so powerful to me that I just have to post it again.

“An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.”  Again, this was incredibly true for us.  He would not let me meet his needs.  He wouldn’t even express them to me.  How can I give him something he refused to let me even know about?  I guess I never could have – since I’m a real woman who actually cared about him, not some flat picture or video on a screen or a random, nothing whore in a chat room.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse… ‘I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met’ How do you think your spouse would respond?  A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.”  Exactly!  True love involves being vulnerable and open, expressing yourself, and sharing with your partner.  It doesn’t involve hiding your feelings and going outside of your relationship for self-gratification.

“To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone. Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.”  Disrespect.  That is a great word.  That’s exactly what it was.  It certainly wasn’t love.  In our case my husband even openly admits that he had no respect for the OW in the least.

“Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  Ouch!  That hit close to home!  That is almost exactly what was happening.  He would text the OW 60+ times a day and barely have 2 minutes to chat with me or send me a text during the day.  Sure sounds like love, right?

“I wanted to have both.  I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.”  Very true…  He wanted to have his fantasy world and his real life girlfriend/wife to comfort him, support him, and take care of him.  Lucky me! 

“Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time.”  I want to comment on two things here.  First, this is a really deep concept that is hard for many to comprehend.  Secondly, to those who blame the BS for your affair because they weren’t doing everything possible to meet all of your needs, refer back to this statement.  Love isn’t about making you feel good all of the time.  It’s not even possible because real, true love entails real, messy emotions.  You have to love yourself.  You have to meet some of your own needs.  And if you need your spouse to do more, you should refer to the statement a few lines above because love entailing honest communication of those needs.  Remember, this is from the mouth of another WS – these are not my words even though I completely agree with them.

“Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.” Amen.

“I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?  I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness.  Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.”  This is something that my husband has realized in the last few months.  It’s one of the most profound thing in this entire post.  Read it a few more times.

I think the end part about having to truly love yourself before you can love someone else is borderline life-changing.  It is something that I need to work on as well.  I like myself.  I even like myself a whole lot most of the time.  Some days I love who I am.  I love how I feel.  There are days when I am harder on myself than I would be on anyone else that I love, though.  On those days it is hard to accept my husband’s love and love him fully in return.  On those days I am holding myself back.

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Our Boys About Sex — The Good Men Project

16 Jun

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Out Boys About Sex

 

This article is so very true.  I wish more boys were taught about their body and sex.  This is an interesting read that describes the process of dealing with sex from boyhood to manhood in great detail.  My husband said that this was his experience exactly.

screw infidelity

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Our Boys About Sex — The Good Men Project.

Interesting food for thought.  It’s old news that’s current and urgent.  Is it any wonder that porn thrives, sex addiction occurs and infidelity is so common?

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