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#410141 - 09/14/12 08:33 PM Touch 101
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
Alright forum, you guys have been gently and not so gently nudging me back to center. I appreciate it so much. I'm slowly working my way through the proverbial woods here and I love that I can come here for guidance.

I am sorting out exactly what I need from my relationship with my Husband. He's doing what he needs, going to therapy, going to couples, engaging in positive activities for himself (woodcutting right now for the winter). But it's now Friday and I've spent the whole week hoping I'd be touched. Not sexual, just touch.

I finally got my copy of Allies in Healing. Broke down crying. A good afternoon cry while the kids took naps. While I was crying, I started wondering why this happens every Friday. Every Friday, I'm really really sad. When I read the section on "what I need" I realized that I am almost never touched by my husband and by Friday, I know a whole week has gone by since the last time I thought "maybe I'll be touched next week."

When I am touched, it's quick and routine. I touch him frequently but sometimes it's overwhelming for him. Most of the time it's not, but it is "energetically" one-sided. He wants unconditional love and touch but cannot give it and this is evident in the way we touch. It's always about reassuring him or meeting my basic sexual needs.

I don't want to push his physical limits, but I have been since I didn't know we were dealing with CSA for a long time. I don't want to ask more of him since I sense that he's maxed out for now.

I've talked to him about the importance and science of oxytocin, of needing to touch to bond, showed him articles, brought up the importance especially if we decide to have a baby. I told him about how important it is that babies be naked and held skin to skin and he got really uncomfortable. I didn't push it.

But I noticed that even when we touch there are usually clothing barriers, so at most, I am getting skin to skin contact about twice a month for less than 1/2 hr at a time. This doesn't count his kiss before work, kiss after work, kiss before bed, and intermittent hand holding.

I have two dogs and two kids. But the dogs aren't enough and I don't expect to receive from my kids on that level. How do spouses do this? I'm human, touch is a must.

I've started looking for a massage therapist. Does anyone else have any insight? Familiarity?

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#410157 - 09/14/12 10:01 PM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3392
Loc: somewhere in Africa
you sound like my wife. for the longest time i did not understand this. her need was my trigger. it was very frustrating for both of us. we have been working on it in our couple sessions with our T and it has been getting better.i was like a little kid - learning the difference between good touch and bad touch. trouble was - what is good in marriage felt bad to me because of the CSA. the T gave us some practice exercises to do. we took it slow. talked about it quite a lot. i now can not only tolerate good touch - but seek it out and initiate. in fact now we are to the point where i want more than she is ready for. So i suggest bringing it up in your joint session. now i have been on both sides of the issue, i can understand my wife's and your frustration so much more.

all the best,
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#410179 - 09/15/12 01:34 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 261
Loc: us
i think that is great advice. I think it will get better as he works on things. Have you tried asking? Thats what I had to start doing. Can we hold hands? Can we cuddle? Will you hold me? It's hard and for me made me feel dumb and vulnerable but I found that my H hardly ever said no. And maybe for now that's all you will get is a little cuddle or a min holding hands on the couch but at least it's something. I think that the massage T is a great idea. I hope that you can find a good one.
_________________________
Everything comes from within

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#410208 - 09/15/12 02:13 PM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
shortieg Offline


Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 58
Wow your story sounds really familiar... Oh yeah because it was mine. We would go months without any touch, usually Saturday was my trigger day of "oh wow we haven't touched for x amount of time" I would get sad, try to push him and we would end up in fights. It was a miserable cycle. Unfortunately there is no magic button to make your h do these things, but as pp said maybe just start asking to be touched, or our t had us set a day where everytime on that day we had to listen to soft music and just lay together. This was very hard for h buy he reluctantly went along with it. After we got better at that, we would add another day that we had to lay together with no shirts on. After we got better with that, we had to add another of laying completely naked doing non sexual touch (stroking hair, arms, legs etc). After we got passed that we could start actual sex and now we are slowly working into being intimate. It is a long process, but it requires a great deal of patience. Good luck and feel free to pm me.

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#410249 - 09/16/12 12:32 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
thanks so much everyone. so good to just have a place to talk about this, much less, receive helpful feedback.

hilarious comment my H made today:

"would it be alright if i had the dogs groomed down to their skin? could you get your oxytocin that way?" it was a half joke, but i thought it was funny.

i have brought up this forum to him twice. once to tell him i had found it, to which he had no response. and once in couples, where i talked about how helpful and important it's become to me. our therapist thought it was a wonderful resource. H said "i'm glad she's found something that helps her."

but yesterday, we had a campfire and i brought up how difficult the lack of touch has been, but also that i wrote about it on the forum in the hopes that i find something that helps without adding more pressure to him.

and he said "i'm so glad you found people to talk to, maybe i'll feel up to looking at it [the forum] soon and it could help me too."

that night, last night, he snuggled me as we slept for the first time...since, i can't even remember.

i think the next therapy session, i'll bring up the idea of very specific touching goals that he could set. having concrete goals, concrete time limits, concrete routines appeal to him very much.

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#410256 - 09/16/12 01:49 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3392
Loc: somewhere in Africa
asknowyowl -

great to hear your H is thinking about coming here. i know i was pretty scared the first time i did. in case it helps, if he needs a buddy to help him feel more at ease, i am open to PMs and i definitely can relate to some of the same issues...

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#410257 - 09/16/12 01:49 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3392
Loc: somewhere in Africa
.


Edited by traveler (09/18/12 04:57 AM)
Edit Reason: duplicate
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#410412 - 09/17/12 04:59 PM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
hey aksnowyowl,

it's funny. I'm the abused one, but in my wife's and my relationship, the dynamic is the opposite. I'd cuddle all the time, have sex daily if she wanted. (Of course, for me, sex is a way to get emotional distance sometimes. Like I could fuck a rock and probably would given half a chance.) But I can't tell you how many times it's been a Sunday night and I've been so depressed, thinking about how it's been a whole week since we've been intimate or had sex, and I'd hope for the next week but be scared looking back that we'd only had sex once or twice in the past year! And then I'd think it was just my lot in life, that I was damned to live sexless.... It was so horrible and depressing, and it totally fed into my shame cycle and self-hatred.

I'm really afraid that my wife and I are headed back into the same dynamic lately. I cheated on her four years ago, which is when I started getting therapy. I've been true to her since, but... this is such a fucked up thing to admit to... she was giving me head one night a few months ago when we were having a fun time in bed... and she thought she could taste spermicide on my dick! She said my dick made her tongue numb! The worst part is that when I cheated on her, she worried about it, but I lied. And so she doubts me. But I have been true to her. I have no idea why her tongue was numb. But shit.... Things have been pretty shitty since then. I'm actually afraid she's going to leave me. I mean, sometimes I think I'm just being paranoid. I'm the kind of guy who always takes it to extremes. I'm afraid of being abandoned. And I think half the time that I'm unlovable, but I'm really scared this time. Her sister left her husband a year ago. She had married a nice guy who stole money from his employer and then did it again a number of years later. And three years after the second theft, she left him. I cheated on my wife four years ago, and I'm afraid that she's just sick of me, even though in this case she's mistaken. But I lack all credibility, I feel, with her.

On the other hand, I also feel like, hell. If she can't forgive me, then she can't. And if she can't trust me, that's her issue. I know I'm trustworthy. I am. I'm a different person than I was four years ago. If she leaves me, it'll be hard, but we'll manage. We'll share custody of the kids or something. We'll work something out.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm just going to scale it back a minute.

What's my point? My point is that we need touch in our lives. We need honesty and trust. And we need to be able to talk about things like this without worrying that we're going to step on landmines.

Good luck. My wife and I are planning to talk about this stuff tonight.

Thanks for being there everybody. It's a tough road to healing, but we've got to keep going.

Bob

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#410489 - 09/18/12 04:24 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
good to hear from you bob. i tell you, this forum is keeping me together. it's the one place where things are REALLY talked about. and it means a lot to me to hear from survivors, to have the back and forth, and get so many perspectives, and yet see all the similarities.

you are totally right. right there with you. but it's the worry that kills me. letting the worry out as soon as it sets in, so that it doesn't just eat me up. but honestly, this generates a lot of conversation and these kind of emotional conversation wear my husband out. his threshold for hashing things out and mine are very different.

but yet here i am. i just got done talking with another friend about this very situation since she is in a similar one but with her girlfriend and the dynamics are a little different.

i keep telling myself that it's okay to have the "is this enough" conversation with myself. not that any one person can meet all of my needs, but which needs take precedence, which set of problems do i want in my life? is it ok if lack of sex is one of those problems?

i used to repress that conversation. try to put it out of my head. that didn't go so well.

since my H is just beginning his recovery...really just beginning. yesterday he read the checklist of damage in courage to heal...scored himself at 80% for the "usually"s. then said he was probably just born eccentric and weird.

anyways, since it's the beginning, i know that there are all of these doors, all kinds of uncertainty. i've been reading the stories on here, i've got my head on straight, i know we're on edge of a blackhole, not knowing where we'll end up on the other side. i keep telling myself that being married isn't about closing doors to create certainty, it's about having someone to go through doors with. as long as it's uncertain (life in general, much less life with a survivor), i might as well do it with someone i genuinely enjoy. i love him, but really, i very much enjoy him.

so thus far, i've been able to put our sex life on hold. i think now it's an indefinite hold...i'll find out for sure in couples tomorrow.

but i do worry that someday i won't be able to just "let it go", that someone will come into my life who i want to have sex with, who i can't ignore. it worries me. i don't want to be that person, that person who betrays. and sometimes i feel like its inevitable...the situation, not actual cheating. and sometimes i feel like i don't know what i'll do. i know what i'd like to think i'd do. i know the kind of person i'd like to be. but i also know i fail, i fuck up, and i know i can be really selfish after long periods of selflessness.

i worry about what that would do to my husband. he's got enough trauma.

so today, i did my best to get my intimacy quota. didn't quite make it. and it hurts. i have to be real careful because it does feed my insecurities.

but it's also pushing me to expand (grow, not get fat:). like i have got to STOP watching the fucking romantic movies. everyone touches all the time and i just cry. they don't even have to have sex. embraces set me off now. so i've decided to hack away at harvard's top 100 fiction list. i'm getting the dog therapy certified, so we can visit the mental health wing. i'm investing a lot in my friendships, in my family. all good things.

and it sounds corny...and i cringe a little to write it, but this is what i thought today...i really just don't have many opportunities to love someone else. a full, intense, heart bursting, grow the fuck up, kind of love, love that leaves me changed, hopefully wiser and kinder. i just don't have that many chances. because of circumstance, age, my own oblivion. because good opportunities just don't show up that often.

but here's this man, someone who gets my head, who for the most part, gets my heart, who works to be my partner and makes me laugh hysterically. and for today, i can be lonely and i can also let myself be engulfed with the opportunity to just love someone as they are.

i'm not religious, but there's this prayer somewhere and part of it goes: seek not to be understood, but to understand.

not a bad goal.


Edited by aksnowyowl (09/18/12 04:26 AM)

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#410514 - 09/18/12 11:22 AM Re: Touch 101 [Re: aksnowyowl]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
ak... you sound good. Not corny, but good. For the record, I DO NOT THINK IT'S TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR ENOUGH. It wouldn't kill your husband to hug you. You could set specific times to cuddle and to just be together. It's important to communicate. And that can include demands, like give me a damn hug before I go postal!

My wife and I had a wonderful night last night. I told her about this post. It turned out to be a way for me to put my feelings into words. And we had a WONDERFUL night. You can, too. It's not too much to ask.

Good luck. Man, I feel for you. It sucks to be pushed away, turned away, made to feel unattractive.... It's way better to be hugged and cuddled and intimate. It just is.

Bob

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