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#60539 - 03/08/06 07:56 PM My Marriage was a Lie
whoami Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 11
Loc: South Carolina
I hate that I'm here. I have been married for just over 13 years. My husband and I are currently separated and have been for a month. He had a rather sordid childhood even without the sexual abuse (which I did not know about until very recently and which I will come back to). His father was murdered when he was 9 years old by his mother's boyfriend. After that, he had a couple of stepfathers who physically abused his gravely alcoholic mother. This stuff I did know about.

I don't know whether the abuse came before or after his father's death or both. I don't guess it's important. But, he was sexually abused by an uncle.

He is 40 and is coming clean for the first time ever because 6 months ago he was about to fall apart...severe depression, anxiety, etc. He went to see a therapist. The first session was with us together and I'm thinking we're going for marriage counseling, but in the session, he said that it wasn't about "us" that he needed to see the therapist on his own. Fine.

Every 6 months or so for the past couple of years, he would come home one day or wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me that he just wasn't happy. In August, he did this again for the 4th or 5th time and I told him if he did it again that he had better mean it because I could not live like that any longer and we would separate.

So, the end of January, he tells me again that he is unhappy and in addition, that he was sexually abused by a man as a child and that he was questioning his sexual identity. We immediately separated, not because of the sexual identity thing but because I can't live with him telling me one more time how unhappy he is with me! We have an idyllic life or so I thought. We do not fight. We have never had financial problems because we both work hard. I can't say enough how fortunate we are and until now I couldn't imagine what he had to be unhappy about.

We had a wonderful sex life until probably 5 years ago. I don't know what happened but something did. He always said it was me but now I wonder.

He spent a lot of time convincing me that if I did this or that it would make him happy. I always tried to make it better but nothing seemed to work.

I'm angry with him. I feel guilty because I have left him at a time when he probably needs me most. But, I feel like I have to protect myself and he says he doesn't want to "bring me down" with him. I feel like if I try to help him through this that "we" may not be okay on the other side anyway and that I will be more destroyed than I am now.

I feel like our entire marriage has been a lie. I've spent 13 years trying to make up to him what others have taken from him. I'm all used up.

There was a time when nothing could beat us but now that isn't so. I don't feel loved by him. I need for someone to tell me that I don't have to feel guilty about not wanting to deal with this with him.


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#60540 - 03/08/06 08:44 PM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Whoami,

The heart of your post comes at the end I think:

Quote:
I need for someone to tell me that I don't have to feel guilty about not wanting to deal with this with him.
Okay, short answer: "You don't have to feel guilty about not wanting to deal with this with him." But I'm willing to bet that this doesn't help you, and I say that because I don't think this is the question you need to have answered.

This is your first post, so I don't have a lot to go on. By that I mean I am guessing a lot and just winging it really. But never mind. Please bear with me through the following lines.

My guess is that you are in a situation where no matter WHAT you say or think, no matter HOW important a priority or need you have or express, it is constantly trumped by the fact that he is a survivor of sexual abuse as a boy. You are in a lose/lose situation. No wonder you want out.

But on the other hand you refer to so many other aspects of the relationship that have really been fulfilling, even - can I put it this way? - wonderful. So what's up?

It may of course be that you have reached the end of your tether, in which case, absolutely, you DO have the right to put an end to the relationship. But I suspect that what you are doing is expressing a lot of anger and frustration at the totally unequal field that you find yourself on so far as your relationship is concerned. And with good reason.

Have you considered the possibility of actually saying what YOU need and demand in order for the relationship to continue? Many survivors, including myself until maybe a year ago, are simply spinning their wheels in their abuse issues so deeply that they just don't SEE what all this is doing to their partners. Guys like me NEED to hear these messages:

1. I love you and support you. I believe what you have told me and I understand it's very difficult for you.

2. I am a victim too. You need to consider my needs and feelings as well as your own. You are not the only one who needs to heal.

3. I know that you will be gutted lots of times and won't find it easy to keep up your half of the relationship. But I need to see that you are TRYING and that you recognize that this is a problem.

4. I need for you to understand that there is no longer a relationship when the problems of one partner totally hijack the needs of the other.

5. I know it isn't easy to recover from childhood abuse. YOU need to know that it isn't easy to be the partner of a survivor. Both of us need to see that the other one is trying.

6. Talk to me. If I am really your partner, try to trust me as your partner. I don't expect instant results, but I do expect an effort - a REAL effort.

7. The fact that you are a survivor of abuse doesn't make your need for recovery more important than my need for happiness.

I hope this gives you a perspective and something to think about, without suggesting that the survivor's needs overrule those of their partners.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60541 - 03/08/06 10:04 PM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
whoami Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 11
Loc: South Carolina
I'm not sure that the relationship is salvageable no matter what. He has made it clear repeatedly that he is not happy. I told him in August that he would only get one more opportunity to express that which he did. Now I feel that I have to follow through. My perception is that what we had is "as good as it gets" but because he doesn't feel the same way, the only way I know to protect myself is to move on. I'm not afraid of that because I am very independent, motivated and have a little self worth left.

Right now, I am trying to sort out the craziness in my head. This is the ultimate betrayal. I feel so badly that all of those ugly things happened to him. But, I have been the only "safe" thing he has ever known. You would think that he would have wanted to protect me. This may sound selfish but I think he's being selfish.


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#60542 - 03/09/06 03:31 AM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
whoami,

It is incredibly difficult to support someone in the beginning stages of acknowledging and healing from sexual abuse. You may have seen another recent thread on this forum where some people were talking about how the relationship seemed to take a turn for the worse right in the beginning. It sounds like that's where you are now.

The survivor needs to be able to hear, and believe, that the person who's sticking by him and supporting him can be with him no matter what. If you don't feel like you can/want to do that, maybe the kindest thing for both of you is to be honest about that and end the relationship now.

That being said, after 13 years, to end a marriage because your husband expressed how he was feeling, seems a bit drastic. Would you rather he be unhappy and not say anything about it? I'm not asking that judgmentally. I'm just wondering what you expect him to do in this situation. Would you want him to be unhappy and not tell you about it for the rest of his life? Is there a way he can express his feelings without upsetting you?

As you say yourself, there's no way you can fill the hole in him that was created by the abuse and trauma in his childhood. It's not because of you that he's unhappy-- it's unfair of him to have blamed you for it for so long. But if it was impossible for those things to make him happy and unfair of him to convince you to do them in the first place, then does it make sense that he would be happy now, because you did them?

Whatever you decide to do, this is a good place to get information and support for yourself as you deal with the way that your partner's abuse has affected your life.

SAR


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#60543 - 03/09/06 04:57 AM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
Derdlecar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1314
Loc: Ogden Utah, USA
whoami,

Help me understand. You don't want to reconcile with your husband. Yet on the other hand, you come here to a forum met for male survivors and their families/friends. I may be wrong, but I think I am getting mixed messages. The fact that you came here tells me that you are not quite ready to throw in the towel. What you say in your post tells me that you are very, very near to doing just that.

Only you can decide. Either way, be completely honest with yourself and with your husband. Either way, you have support here.

Love ya

Darrel

_________________________
If a man would get his life on track, he must first go back to the place where it was derailed.

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#60544 - 03/09/06 08:25 AM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
whoami,

In your two posts you refer repeatedly to how good you thought your marriage was, but that all this has been called into question because your husband has said several times that he is unhappy and blames this on you. You refer to these statements as the ultimate betrayal and feel that having warned him about saying he is unhappy one more time, you need to follow through and leave him.

Could I suggest that the situation really does seem to be more complex than that? Perhaps you hint at the real problem in your second post, where you refer to still having "a little self worth left". That is, this issue of his unhappiness has drastically affected your own self-esteem.

Have you two talked about his unhappiness in detail? Or does he just declare this and that's the end of the matter? You would of course have every right to say that while you regret what happened to him, there is no reason for him to blame his situation on you. Frankly, and I don't say this by way of blaming either side, if you two can't discuss major problems together then I would have to say things look rather bleak for you.

Have you considered joint counselling or therapy at all? This might be worth considering before giving up on a relationship of 13 years.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60545 - 03/09/06 08:28 AM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16263
whoami,

I too was struck by what appeared to me to be really mixed messages from you. This is not meant to be a critical statement, but rather a statement of what I am hearing. What I'm hearing may not be at all what you are saying.

One thing I would like to say from a sexual abuse survivors viewpoint is that your husband probably has NO REAL IDEA what he wants at this point. He's probably very much in a place where he is confused, depressed, angry, emotional, etc. I know, I've been there. Like me, he probably needs to see a mental health professional who specializes in male child sexual abuse issues. This is not going to be a process that will take a few visits over a month or two and he will be cured. It'll take a LOT of work on his part and a determined willingness to stay engauged in the process.

It meant all the world to me that my wife was also willing to stay enguaged in the process, to go to counseling with me at times, and reassure me that she indeed loved me.

Many of us survivors here have had the same issues as your husband including sexual identity issues. He's not alone.

So where do you stand in all of this? Only you can decide for sure. Only you know the story because you are the one living it. I would not presume to give you advise to break it off or to stay. I just wanted to try to share with you just a little of what a survivor is going through. Please know that you have support here regardless of what you do. I sure understand that it can be just plain too much to take.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#60546 - 03/09/06 03:10 PM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
whoami Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 11
Loc: South Carolina
I suppose that what I am trying to do is come to grips with the fact that I never really knew who my husband was. Because I care about him, I would like to understand what it is that he is going through and that is what brings me here.

When he would express his unhappiness with me/in our marriage, I must say that I did tend to sweep it under the rug thinking that he was just going through some mid-life something. So, we have not communicated well.

I think it is obvious that I am very confused. I truly believe that he wants out since he has said so over and over again and wants to deal with this on his own. What I want is not to feel guilt (which is self-imposed - he's not doing anything to make me feel this way) over not wanting to deal with this with him. I want to run as fast and as far away as I can.

I do appreciate everyone's candid replies. They are helpful and I think they are making me search a little deeper within myself for some answers.


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#60547 - 03/09/06 03:11 PM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
oh, i can only imagine what it was like. i have been telling my wife that we need to work on our sex life for years, and in the past few, that has changed to how unhappy i was. along the way, i made up my mind we werent right, and i had an affair. i have almost completely destroyed everything i loved, and i dont really understand why myself. i'm betting he doesnt fully understand it either. there is just like this big hole right in the middle of your soul, and nothing seems to fill it. in the confusion and despair that causes, you do stupid, desperate things. you do the therapy, and you try to figure it out, but it seems to get worse at first. as you work to accept yourself, and figure things out, it seems like the ones you love most suffer for it. i am sorry you suffered for it, and i am sorry my wife suffered for it.

fortunately, i think we're going to make it. i'm sure it wasnt fun hearing i was bi, and all the other garbage, but somehow we have held up. in january, my wife broke down crying during a night that wasnt going too good. i was having performance problems, and it was just another thing that told her she wasnt enough for me. God, that just tore my heart out. i knew i had made her feel that way. i knew she was a wonderful woman, and i had just about destroyed her. reading your story, i see so much of where we are this very minute, and i see what is coming if i dont do something.

i wanted to share, and i hope it helps some. i love my wife with all my heart. i want so badly to be happy, but i too have said many times that i wasnt. the thing was, i kept thinking it was sex, but it wasnt. i was trying to fill a hole in me and didnt know how. when your life has been sexualized, you tend to express everything in sexual terms. your pain and unhappiness feels sexual, but it isnt. i'll bet anything it isnt for your husband either. he just hasnt figured it out yet. the problem isnt you or the world, it is him. it is him stumbling in the dark, thinking this or that would make him happy. he will find that it doesnt. then he will look back, and realize everything he ever needed was right in front of him.

i am happy. i have moments i still struggle now, but i am finally happy as a whole. i know where your husband is at. i was there, and everything about life is just unhappy and depressed. unfortunetly for him, he used you up before her learned the truth, and learned how to finally escape. i am sad for you guys. i am sad because someone's love dying is a sad thing. i can only thank God, that i found the way out before it was too late, or i hope i have. i believe i have.

thanks for your post. it is another reminder of my wife's side of this stuff.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#60548 - 03/10/06 08:13 AM Re: My Marriage was a Lie
confused wife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 10
I just wanted to say that I feel for you. I am in a very similar situation right now. My first post is a little ways down and starts out with, "I've been with him a long time..." Anyway, I also noticed some of the people above stated something about mixed messages. The reason for this is because we have mixed thoughts and feelings don't we? On one hand we love them and want and long for the person we married. They were hurt so it is not all thier fault right? On the other hand, it hurts too much to be mistreated by them. The fact is they do need to be accountable for the way they treat us. I know exactly what you mean by not wanting to be dragged down too. I feel the same way. It is a torturous tug of war with your heart.


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