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#58455 - 03/27/04 10:06 PM Re: the inevitable...
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
Wow. What an intense thread! SAR, I am glad you started this topic... these responses really have me thinking.

First, when I wander in the Family and Friends I can get a little sad. My divorce will be final in a few days. I'm not really torn up about losing the marraige; during the past few months I have really seen how we were never going to get better... and that is what makes me sad here. I know you and PAS and the others here feel frustrated and afraid and lonely and so on, but you TALK TALK TALK about it!! You talk to each other, your partners, other survivors here... you TALK until you understand.

My wife locked her thoughts away and washed everything out with "if we can get George fixed, I know I will have a happy marraige". I bought this shit for a long time, and now that I can see it for what it is, I can also see how different you guys are from her. So this is your BIG kudos... I know it sucks, but you should really pat yourself on the back becuase you are doing really hard things that some people just refuse to even try.

At the risk of oversimplification, the commonality in this thread is communication, and I think three channels. Each channel can get blocked by fear, shame, pride, confusion... they are

1. Me-Me Can I make some sort of conscious (silent) declaration about how I feel? Or do I just feel intense? It is still pretty frequent that I have trouble communicating my emotions to myself in some intelligible, coherent way.
2. You-You See above.
3. Me-You / You-Me Supposing I feel fear, and I can think to myself "I feel fear", can I say to you "I feel fear". AND supposing I say "I feel fear", will you actually hear "He feels fear".

In my own marraige basically all three of these were completely jammed. Having been working on the only one of these I can, I know how friggin hard it is. But looking at it like this helps me see where to stop working. There is nothing I can do for the you-you channel. I can help if you ask, but I cannot take the lead.

And the me-you channel... well that one is just fraught with peril as you guys were discussing.

Lastly, on the theme of the original quesiton, I really do believe that sex got twisted in my mind and when feelings of arousal come (whether mine or hers) the threat level goes up fast. Even on the best days I was always "aware" of the potential for danger and fear doesn't do much for making love (though it doesn't hurt acting out too much and this is another bum deal).

So having sex so loaded and so (seemingly) neccessary puts me in a dangerous situation where I might trade sex for security. But my wife (not being abuser) is aware of the lack of love and loses her own drive. Bang. No sex. The situation is one that will feed on itself and as Dave said, it needs attention, the earlier the better. What to do about it I have no idea!

I cannot even begin to say how discouraging all this is for me. I mean, I am divorced and trying to think about getting "out there". But I am *scared to death*. I have no idea how to begin a relationship... and it must be begin, as there are absolutely no prospects in the group of people I know now. Sigh.

George

_________________________
"Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself." -Mary Schmich

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#58456 - 03/28/04 02:03 PM Re: the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Something I've been thinking about concerning this thread/ expectations/ innocence...

I am the last one to venture into the man think/woman think debate (especially because I usually end up on the "man think" side of the divide and if there's one thing I'm not, it's a man ;\) ), but I DO think that a lot of men buy into (at least partially) this myth of female partners as having two sides... I'm not explaining this very well but you guys probably know what I mean... the woman who is sweet and innocent and nuturing on the one hand and then suddenly becomes an entirely different "sexual" woman-- or the related myth that there are two "kinds" of women, the sexy women and the sweet women.... and for a LOT of people, this sweet/sexy translates into good/bad.

Clearly, all people have different moods, emotional states, etc., and are capable of behaving differently in different situations, and the sweet woman IS the sexy woman, just in a different context-- but women don't deal with "splitting" their male partners like this, it's okay for the caring friend/ father to our kids/ guy who takes out the trash /sexual partner to be all part of the same picture.

So, for a man who doesn't want sex, or who associates it with bad things, maybe it's easier to set up expectations for a caring partnership that don't include sex... or maybe, he will become more vigilant and defensive about bringing sex into the picture at all because in some way, it really does result in a "transformation" of his partner?

Dave, you said, "Is it because I fear the sexual contact that might follow on from an innocent hug?" And it got me thinking, what makes a hug innocent? Because I know that for my boyfriend, the only way that he could qualify that hug as innocent is if there were NO WAY that sexual contact could follow from it, ever. To him, "innocence" means "no sex." If sexual contact, even intimate and loving contact, resulted from the innocent hug, then the innocence of it is negated and ruined, and this causes the "sick and dirty" thoughts to come in... HE ruined my innocent hug, I meant it to be friendly and sweet and his disgusting sexuality contaminated it... either that, or, I'm manipulative and only want sex, and I was trying to trick him into it the whole time. And I do have to wonder if some of this "innocent affection=no sex" equation comes from a myth fed to men about how their wives should be one way in the kitchen and another way in the bedroom.

You know, I never know if this stuff comes from myths about gender roles or from other beliefs about what's acceptable/moral in a sexual relationship... because I was brought up to think so differently from my boyfriend and from most of the other people I know about sex and love. I guess I was just taught that all sex was the same, and that it was all terrible and scary, but once you were doing it, well then you were just as bad, whether you were married or not, with a man or a woman, etc. etc.

Obviously there are things that I don't think are okay, but in general it was easier for me to turn "sex is bad" into "sex is not bad" than to turn it into "sex is good under these circumstances and bad under all others" which seems to be how most people are raised. It's easy for me to think that all of our sex problems ARE problems with me because I really am the oddball when it comes to this stuff \:\( Maybe there is something about this sort of, I don't know, "conventional" morality that feeds the intimacy problems of survivors? PAS:
Quote:
we are complete utter disrespectful sinners if we even THINK of being in the same room or heaven forbid the same bed.. I mean who do we think we're kidding we're only 35 years old, just bought a house together and have a wedding date set for September
My boyfriend and I weren't allowed to sleep in the same bed in his parents house when I was PREGNANT. They wanted us, and the baby, to LIVE WITH THEM, but him to go downstairs and sleep on the couch every night and me to stay in the room with the baby. Then when we didn't want to live there, he was ungrateful and abandoning them and setting himself up to fail... oh but that is all another story... this kind of thing is just difficult for me because I really do have no idea about what is "normal" and what is just BS within these conventions. I don't want to disrespect anyone's actual beliefs about sexuality (least of all my boyfriend's) but so much of it just seems silly to me, so most of the time I just keep my mouth shut.

SAR


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#58457 - 03/28/04 03:00 PM Re: the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
George,
Quote:
So this is your BIG kudos... I know it sucks, but you should really pat yourself on the back becuase you are doing really hard things that some people just refuse to even try.
I feel the same way when I see guys like you and Leosha, also dealing with your own sadness, fear, frustration, etc., trying to learn and explore and help others even with problems that may not have a lot to do with what you're going through right now. I also take a look at some of the relationships I see on these boards and sometimes just get overwhelmed with how difficult it is for any of us to communicate, to understand. But I think we are moving in the right direction by talking about it... so thanks for jumping in.

So much of what you say sounds familiar to me-- I think the inner turmoil you describe is a lot like what my boyfriend goes through, right up to the "not having sex is like saying I don't love you..." I wonder if he sometimes gets it backwards, starts doubting the love because he thinks if he loved me enough, the sex would just happen... of course I don't think this... but I wonder if he thinks that I do... I don't doubt his love, but I doubt sometimes that he really wants to want to have sex.

this is going to get (more) complicated... I don't like lying, even if it's well-intentioned, and to me, doing things that you don't want to do to please someone else is an example of this kind of lie. So, if I think that he doesn't want to want sex, but he's telling me that he is because he knows it's what's expected, then I'm going to get mad about that... if he's telling me what I want to hear, because he means it, but I think he's saying it because it's what he thinks I want to hear, then I don't want to hear it. And, how could he want to want sex, I think, if sex is really so hostile and fragile? This goes back to what you were saying about communication which is SO right and important:
Quote:
Supposing I feel fear, and I can think to myself "I feel fear", can I say to you "I feel fear". AND supposing I say "I feel fear", will you actually hear "He feels fear".
This is true for all kinds of communication--often, our words to others don't "come out right" even to ourselves, and we KNEW what we meant... and whether the words come out right or not, we have no idea what those words will mean to someone else.

So when he says hostile and defensive stuff to me, even if I am patient and intuitive enough to hear the underlying "I want to want sex with you, but wanting to have sex with you is hard for me," sometimes that becomes "I don't like or want sex, but I feel that I need to reassure you that I sort of like and want sex" in my mind. And THAT gets me annoyed... I do think that if both parties can step back and realize that there are many places that communication can go wrong, that it makes a huge difference. Each of us just taking the responsibility to say "I might not be hearing this person correctly" already signifies a willingess to work on what's going wrong. It sounds ridiculous but my boyfriend and I have literally fought for days, about two different things--he's so convinced that the problem is what happened Wednesday night, and he thinks that's a stupid thing for me to be mad about, so when I try to talk to him about Thursday night, he gets all annoyed and says things that I think are about him "changing the subject"... but then he doesn't understand why I say he's not willing to talk about what's wrong because he thinks he is...it's like "who's on first"... we're getting better about this, mostly because we can laugh at a little because it's SO ridiculous.

Veering a little sideways... PAS, you said:
Quote:
in the discussion he started trying to analyze my feelings, trying to logic his way out of it.. somehow insinuating that I need to go see a shrink to work on my "feelings of loneliness" rather than just acknowledging the fact that we barely see each other these days... I got SO MAD!!!
Maybe, some of the problem here is about what each of you "hear" from the other's actions... I told my boyfriend the other day, that if he wanted to go out with his buddies and play video games 23 hours a day, but the one hour a day he spent with me, I felt like that was all he wanted to be doing for that hour, that it was important and special to him like nothing else, then I wouldn't care so much about the other 23. But the fact is, I do have my own scars too and they probably would keep me from hearing "you are important and special to me like nothing else, all I want to do is spend time with you" even if he spent the 23 hours with me and the one hour out with the guys.

My boyfriend and I have almost directly opposite work schedules and it's hard for us to get time in for our relationship, both of us rationally "know" that we need down time away from each other but both of us have a hard time giving the other one permission to go sometimes... honestly, if he said, "I hate not seeing you so much, I think it sucks, I miss you all the time, I have so much stress right now and I'm going out, bye," I would wish him a good time with the boys and find something else to do... it's just that he never says the first part... and for him, the fact that I need him to say it means that I'm not sure how he feels about not seeing me very much, and he thinks that I should already "know" that he doesn't like it, and if I ask him, he hears me saying that I am doubting him.

All right.
Peace everyone

SAR


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#58458 - 03/29/04 11:52 AM Re: the inevitable...
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
>>>Veering a little sideways... PAS, you said:
Quote:
in the discussion he started trying to analyze my feelings, trying to logic his way out of it.. somehow insinuating that I need to go see a shrink to work on my "feelings of loneliness" rather than just acknowledging the fact that we barely see each other these days... I got SO MAD!!!
>>>Maybe, some of the problem here is about what each of you "hear" from the other's actions... I told my boyfriend the other day, that if he wanted to go out with his buddies and play video games 23 hours a day, but the one hour a day he spent with me, I felt like that was all he wanted to be doing for that hour, that it was important and special to him like nothing else, then I wouldn't care so much about the other 23. But the fact is, I do have my own scars too and they probably would keep me from hearing "you are important and special to me like nothing else, all I want to do is spend time with you" even if he spent the 23 hours with me and the one hour out with the guys.


I think whats tough for me is to HEAR those words and SEE that he would prefer to spend a lot of time AWAY from me.. its just so damn confusing when someone's words say one thing and their behaviour seems to say another. I start to put more belief in what someone DOES than what they say.. its easy to lie verbally.. but hard to lie with the other means of communications. Besides, most communication in this world is non verbal anyway...

But yeah you are right when you said that you would look at what his actions are saying to me.. to me, his actions are saying that he wants to avoid me. ANd I am sure that my own scars are filtering out the good and emphasizing the bad.

P


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