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#369141 - 08/30/11 08:30 PM Lust or Love? Please Help!!!
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8
I have been reading the posts here and I was hoping maybe someone can offer me an opinion.

I have been seeing a man for almost two years now. I had known him from high school and reconnected at a reunion. We are living in different states but I go to see him regularly. I have a child away at school and he has two from a previous marriage. He told me about his childhood sexual abuse early on in our relationship but had only went to therapy for a short time years ago. I am aware of some of his issues and we try to keep the communication open so most of the time we at least try to understand where the other is coming from.

We get together at least once a month for two or three days at a time. It seems to have worked so far because he works a lot and he is more comfortable living alone. I know that he has a hard time identifying emotions. He is very affectionate and tells me often that he loves me. But I feel that we should be more advanced in our relationship...although we are only seeing each other, he has a problem with commitments. We get really close and then he distances for awhile. Lately he has really been sexually charged... I don't know how else to explain it. For the past couple of months whenever he calls me it is to talk about sex. He gets compulsive with wanting pictures of me. Nothing nasty... any pictures, it could be planting flowers... anything. Normally, I think that would be sweet but it is compulsive.. and although he doesn't actually say it, I am sure he'd prefer pictures from when I am at the beach or laying at my pool. I am starting to feel as if he is pulling emotionally away from me. He is keeping his life separate from me. He isn't being rude really. For instance I asked him, what is up with the pictures... why are you asking me everyday for a picture and he told me that he is addicted to them. That he's never had tolerance for drug addicts but now he feels that when he sees me or talks to me, he feels like an addict offered a crack pipe. He is serious. It's not joking around. When I point out that I feel like I am being used, he is pulling away and I am missing my friend. He isn't including me in his life, I found out that his son has something really important going on and he didn't even mention it to me.

I guess my question is, is he somehow putting me in a sex box... disconnecting emotionally from me? I have talked to him about it, I have told him over and over again, I don't feel like were friends anymore... the sex is great, when were intimate in that way... he tells me how much loves me... he wants to marry me... and then after I leave.. unless it's sex or pictures (which I won't give him more) he hasn't anything to say. I asked him if he is loosing feeling for me and he said, no he didn't think so. So then I asked him if he thought he felt lust instead of love. This has got him stuck. He doesn't know. He asked me what I thought the difference is... he's been reading about it on the computer and has told me that he hadn't seen that he was excluding me from his life and he didn't know if it was just lust. Now he said he's lost and all over the place... he doesn't know.

Could I be an acting out tool for him now? After two years? I have offered to go to therapy with him... I asked if he was willing to go himself and he said, NO. He won't go alone or together. What could this be? Anyone have any ideas? This really sucks... all of it. After all this time he isn't sure if he loves me... and I listen to him... I try to understand as much as I can, he says he is confused with emotions and what he's feeling and what it all means.... he can't explain it to himself, it's difficult to explain it to me but I love him and it sucks because now, he's not sure if he loves me or if I am only the equivalent to a girly magazine... this sucks. Help Please!!!

Thanks.
Rowan


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#369154 - 08/31/11 03:19 AM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Rowan]
Pie Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 61
Hi Rowan

It is very difficult been in a relasionship with a survivor, let alone been in one with a survivor who has not yet come to terms with the need for therapy and help.

I have not been through your particular experiance but I can state that most of the behaviours and acting out just never make sense. I have learnt that one of their biggest fears is complete commitment, and this is where I think your man is now. The other thing I have encountered in my life is that they do have a tendancy to become obsesive about someone they trust,and don't give anything in return. What is important in a healthy relationship is lacking in a wounded one. You will find you do all the giving and he does all the taking.

The most advice I can give you is to keep your own identity and remain strong. Give back the same amount given to you, it is so easy to want to save him, love him and heal him that after a while you find yourself with no identity, confidence and no emotional return.

With love and healing, may your journey be one to self worth.
Pie


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#369163 - 08/31/11 07:15 AM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Pie]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
I am going to PM you. :-)


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#369183 - 08/31/11 05:13 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: hopeandtry]
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8
Thank you so much for your responses Pie and Hope.

***********This may trigger someone so I am throwing that in now before anyone reads any further!*****************

The last time I was with him and we were intimate in a sexual way, he was very connected with me... more so than what is normal for us. A lot of eye contact and loving words. I remember on my way home thinking how happy and loved he made me feel and that I was going to pay big time for it I knew that he was going to distance from me. He emailed... EMAILED me to make sure I got home alright. He emailed every day for a week and called me twice.... and then he (for the most part)avoided me and called small talked but mostly wanted pictures or to talk about sex. The next month, he said he wanted to see me but it is hard not to feel used because he had ignored me for that past couple of weeks.

Pie, you are probably right on target with the commitment....I talked to him about it. He said that when I leave that he is sad that I am gone. When I am with him he is very happy but that once I leave and he is in his alone time he feels that he should be giving me a commitment but he is afraid. He says that he goes silent because he doesn't want to hurt me. Meanwhile, he is silent and keeping me out of his personal life except when he is asking for pictures by email and calling only when he wants to talk about sex. I am sure that my own insecurities is playing a part in this but how am I suppose to react when he can't tell me if this is love or lust? And I have listened to him I know his idea of love gets twisted but when he does feel love.. or his idea of it... he is very sure he loves me. Now I asked him this question and I think he is rethinking our relationship but at the same time wants to see me.

It's difficult. It's difficult because when we are together he is fun and loving. He seems so sure of his feelings for me. I know he has said in the past he feels that he's forced feelings for people... maybe he is doing that with me when we are together sexually but then again a woman knows when someone is passionate about her and I will tell you it is intense, toe curling the whole deal is happening in thoes moments... I am in my 30's and not new to sex... but yet again... I have never been with someone who has had to appear to be normal (whatever that is) and has had to act for most of his life.

Thanks again for responding. I have had no one to talk to about this and even if I tried, they wouldn't understand. I know he is lost when it comes to emotions and feelings, he isn't able to help me with this. I also know he needs to get help if this is to work and I can't push him. I can't fix it. I can't tell him what he feels even when he looks to me for the answer. I would if I could, in a heartbeat but I can't and I know that.

Love,
Rowan


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#369190 - 08/31/11 06:03 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Rowan]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 417
Trigger warning

I'm going look in my books so I can tell you exactly which one it is but I remember reading that SAMs tend to be attentive, thoughtful, and therefore (very) enjoyable sexual partners. Pleasing is important to them. It's their language (if you will). It is not (necessarily) the intimacy you and I think it is. For many of them, even with people they purport to love, it's just sex. An act. I'm not saying that is the case with you, but it's something to keep in mind. Im not sure you'd be able to tell if sex is all you are going by. The non sexual stuff is probably a better gauge of true intimacy.

_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#369192 - 08/31/11 06:33 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: GoodHope]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5945
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Welcome to MaleSurvivor Rowan,

I am glad you found the supporters you need to exchange information with, Pie, hope and eldee are among the best we have here in MS.

The survivor in this relationship seems to be confused about the vocabulary. Love or lust may just not be in his definition. Instead, hyper sexual awareness, rejection and destruction, abandonment and codependent issues abound in our dictionaries. It is important to encourage him to express himself, counseling certainly, group and local support especially. He seems to be living in the past where the only sex and intimacy he knew was abuse oriented, so this may be where he stopped maturing, thus the acting out that is present in the current relationship.

It seems like you are on the threshold of connecting with this man long term, or considering your exit strategy, Rowan. Self Identity, Pie hit that square on the head. Putting more emotionally into a relationship can cause hurt feelings that may do more damage than the sexualized abuse controls he seems to be overwhelmed in currently. What are you able to support in this relationship? What realistically is he willing to do in order to stop reenacting the abuse control that demands so much from your image and gratification, and yet does not fulfill your needs?

It takes two is more than a catchy line in a popular song, committing to supporting a survivor is satisfying, difficult, laborious and strenuous. If you are ready, then he has to commit as well. If he is not ready, he will do what you ask momentarily, give you and him hope possibly, then cycle through self destruction and continue to fail him, and you in his rationalization.

It, IMHO, is not love of lust, but abuse. Abuse that was criminally perpetrated to an innocent boy, that was never expressed in therapy, never recovered, and is being acted out through this long distance relationship and imbalance of lack of commitment. He is hurt, and surviving as best he can, most of love and sex is fear and rejection, I read that in your post, Rowan. He does not know another way, and he cannot be asked to move from his safe position on relationships until he has a secure place to go... recovery.

Please keep posting, keep reaching out, and we will be here to support you, share our experiences, to feel your hurt with you, and to celebrate you and what progress comes from these questions.

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#369193 - 08/31/11 07:02 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: SamV]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 417
Sam, that is really insightful...

The book is SAM Sexual Abuse of Males The SAM model of theory and practice. It's a textbook and its by Josef Spiegel.

I actually saw a couple of things that may apply.

p. 87 under relational effects among adult males

...Among adult men sexually abused as boys there is a tendency to sexualize relationships and to experience difficult in initiating and maintaining relationships based on mutual support and trust (Dimock 1988). Many use sex as a strategy to avoid emotionally intimate relationships (Gill & Tutty, 1999)
...A predominating relational pattern emerges; it typically begins with intense involvement, transistions to conflict and abrupt withdrawal, and ends with isolation from others onlly to begin again.

Only one sentence in teh book addresses my original point: Adult Males and sexuality Effects, p. 89

In many instances, the primary goal of sex is the partner's pleasure and orgasm with little or no regard for their own (Gill & Tutty, 1999).

_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#369196 - 08/31/11 08:12 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: SamV]
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8
Hi Eldee,

I would love to know where you read about sexually abused males and sex.... is that what the SAM stands for? I am trying to learn the lingo. I did go to school with him years ago... when we were kids I knew he liked me and I liked him but I was sheltered and had protective parents. He would come over and watch tv and we'd talk on the phone, very innocent and sweet. Reconnecting with him was easy and smooth. First year we were best friends who became lovers. We seem to go through cycles of emotional closeness to not so close. The sex has always been loving and fun. It's just this last time was even more so. But I can't be sure how he feels especially when he doesn't know either.


********Trigger warning********


Hi Sam,

I am always telling him that as long as we tell eachother the truth anything is workable even if it means we only end up as friends. So, he attempts to tell me what he is thinking or feeling and sometimes I have to catch myself before I react negatively or freak out (like when he told me that even though he's not sexually attracted to his exwife he still would want to have sex with her). I realize I bring my "stuff" into the realtionship too and although I have never suffered the horror he did in childhood, I am far from perfect!

In my alone time I try to see the whole picture. He has told me about 2 specific times the abuse occured. Both times he confided in me were in a phone call late at night. Both times I felt the boy was telling me, not the man. I don't know how else to explain it. I think that underneath this man, this grownup , down deep he is still a hurting, afraid, alone little boy. He was taught sex by a pedophile. So when we have sex, he has it the way he knows how. There is the luring or seducing, the act and then the abandoment. It must have been what it felt like for him as a child. He was hurt by someone who claimed to love him. A family member. An adult who knew what he was doing and knew that it was wrong... my "J" was suduced, abused and abondoned until the next time they were alone with their "secret".

So, now he is showing me all he knows about love and sex. We are close at times (when he allows me to be). He is always affectionate and gentle.... and then we have sex and at times it feels to me as if after that closeness he puts on his pants and leaves me....avoids me... distances.... abandones me. And lately, with keeping me away from his everyday life I feel as if I am a secret. Evenutally he comes back but to ask for pictures. But, agian it hasn't always felt this way until recently.

When I see him trying so hard to talk to me. And sometimes I know he's afraid because he isn't sure if it's the "right" answer. He feels inadequate and stupid that he can't figure this out and I am sure he must be embarrassed. In my quiet time, when I can put all my insecurities aside, I think to myself, this man trusts hardly anyone. He is forever worried of being "seen"....the mere fact he is leaving himself vulnerable to me by even attempting to talk to me... it must be proof of feeling something... because I am sure he wouldn't do that for just anyone.

I know until he gets help he can't possibly know if he loves me. That is the scary part, Sam. I do love him. I know this. I have left myself vulnerable to him, it's a done deal on my end. Maybe I am comfortable too when it comes down to it. Maybe I am afraid to be living with him because I know somehow it would be worse, I don't think he could take the 24/7 of a relationship and I'm not ready to give up on us yet.

Thank you Eldee and Sam,
Love,
Rowan.


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#369197 - 08/31/11 08:13 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Rowan]
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8
Just saw your reply...
Thanks Eldee!!!

Rowan.


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#369202 - 08/31/11 09:20 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Rowan]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
It is pretty common for the survivors to withdraw after sex OR any serious "move." That could include a serious conversation, sharing feelings, disclosure of abuse, intimacy of various other sorts, making a "plan" (e.g. declaring an intention to marry or have kids or make a life together). This has happened to me a lot. Try not to take it personally, BUT don't put up with more than you can handle either. There are a lot of actions I did not tolerate but I also learned to not take them so personally.


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#369304 - 09/02/11 06:26 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: hopeandtry]
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8

Dear Sam,

I wanted to thank you again for your response. I read it again this morning and I heard you. The other day I thought I understood and now I realize that I didn't. I can be rather slow in times of stress and I don't want to discourage anyone from attempting to help me in the future. I am coming to terms with the reality of my situation and I think that for myself and my boyfriend (because therapy isn't what he wants) dear friends may be an option we should seriously consider.

Lately, my relationship with my boyfriend is on the verge of jumping in or getting out. It is changing for what I would call the worse and I see that it isn't either one of our faults. Although between the two of us I may be the less broken, it doesn't mean I came into this relationship without my own issues. I am realizing that truth in interacting with him.... my own insecurities, fears of abandoment, need for control, looking to him for my own self worth. His re-emergence into my life has brought a mirror to my face and I am gaining insight albiet, slowly.

I gave him this website address and he's told me that he has checked it out. I am rethinking my decision to use my real name and not an alias (dimwit) but, this is new and I am learning as I go. He still doesn't want to go to therapy but maybe if he gets comfortable coming here (in time) he'll feel differently.

Sam, I can only hope my Sweetheart finds the hope and healing that you have. With how gracious and helpful you and everyone who has responded to my post and pm'd me, I have no doubt that when or if he shows up here, he will be among friends and people who want to help.

Love,
Rowan


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#369335 - 09/03/11 11:21 AM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: Rowan]
sugarbaby Offline


Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 362
Quote:
The non sexual stuff is probably a better gauge of true intimacy.


I think that is true in any relationship csa or not.


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#369417 - 09/04/11 12:45 PM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: sugarbaby]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5945
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Rowan,

You will not discourage anyone here, you are a supporter, you are special.

Triggers beget triggers, in that when one is triggered and withdraws, unresolved triggers in another can flair up and confuse a situation, thus creating a cycle that overwhelms the true feelings of love and intimacy between two people in love.

You are attempting to resolve the most dynamic part of abuse recovery issues, Rowan. This Is going to be difficult. Consider stabilizing the situation by solidifying your expectations and involvement in this relationship, and not going any further. Begin to calm yourself with self affirmative mantras, relaxation and breathing techniques. You will notice that you are more stable and that he cannot take control of your rudder, so to speak, and you may become more available for him and his issues.

Certainly Rowan and "J", you are among friends, confidants, supporters and fellow survivors,

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#369558 - 09/06/11 01:12 AM Re: Lust or Love? Please Help!!! [Re: SamV]
Rowan Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 8

Eldee and Sugarbaby agreed that the non-sexual stuff is probably a better gauge of true intimacy and I would agree.

If we were dealing with men who knew the difference between true intimacy and sex, I wouldn't had to post this topic. Sex and compulsive picture asking isn't what I consider true intimacy either. That is why I was getting so offended by the gradual change in our relationship. It is why I confronted him and what has him spinning now. Because of the abuse, to him (perhaps) this the only way he knows to connect with me in a do-able way. Love and all the strong emotions that come with it, is just too much for him to give even on a good day. After reading Sam's response, that is kind of what I got from it.

He was confused to why I was upset with him. After explaining why I was upset and pointing out specific instances he said he could see it now but didn't until I pointed it out. He didn't deny that he meant it or didn't mean it. He Is questioning if it has been love or lust because he said he doesn't know himself well enough to know. Maybe the "other stuff".... at least for him..... doesn't necessairly mean the same to us.

Maybe the truth is.... A man who has been sexually abused as a child doesn't ever allow himself to open his heart enough to truly love anyone. He doesn't know how until he gets help. Maybe when they say they love us what they mean (at least by our standards) is they have fond feelings towards us. In retrospect, he has always thrown walls between us... over working, avoiding, hiding, and keeping me out of his personal life as of late.... he has never let go long enough to let me over that wall (or trust me) long enough to even get to know who I truly am.... or allow me to know who he truly is... he doesn't even know who he is. The ironic part is that I've already seen the scars and they didn't scare me away. He can't love me until he loves himself.


Love,
Rowan


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