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#71527 - 10/04/02 06:25 AM feeling low
chill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 4
i'm feeling really down today. this morning the sh*t hit the fan -- i had a big fight with my boyfriend. i'm feeling that the problems in our relationship are my fault, that i'm messed up, that i don't know how to love or how to let someone love me.

we had spent a really nice, intimate weekend together. we've know each other for a couple of months but it was only the second time i had slept over at his place. the first time we literally just slept, but this last time we talked a lot, spent a lot of time in bed, had fun, were sexually playful, etc. technically i guess we did not have sex, although i would say we were sexual with each other (there was kissing, touching, nakedness). there was one time where i felt bad -- triggered i guess, and i told him so, and he asked me what to do, so i told him to just hold me, and he did while i cried a bit and let it out. i thought he reacted really well, he told me it was okay and afterwards i felt good -- close to him and happy that i felt comfortable enough to let him know what was going on with me and happy with the way he handled it. we left each other with plans to meet during the week, and i definitely felt that we were getting closer, i was trusting him, feeling comfortable, letting down the boundaries that seem to be constantly in place.

this morning i called him to plan getting together again. that's when he told me he has been going online to chat rooms where guys hook up for sex, and that he had gone on these sites in the days since we had been together. he told me that he hasn't actually gone ahead and met anyone from these chats, but he has exchanged messages and nude pictures with other guys. he claims that it's just for fun, that he doesn't plan on meeting these guys and that it's just about acknowledging a mutual attraction with guys he finds hot without needing to pursue it further. he also said that the reason he is doing this is that i am not having sex with him, so he has to find outlets for his sexual desires, and he considers the chatting he is doing as meaningless and harmless, that he loves me but since i am not fulfilling him sexually, he needs other outlets for that but wants to continue the relationship with me in all other respects.

well i was floored. i told him that i resented that he was putting the onus on me for his behavior rather than take responsibility for his actions. i said i wasn't making him chat and exchange naked pix, that he was choosing to deal with his sexual frustration in this way. he said i was deflecting the problem on to him, when really the problem was that i wasn't having sex with him, and that this was abnormal. i had explained to him before that it would take me time to feel comfortable around having sex, and he had said he hoped it would happen quickly because he really wanted to have sex with me but he seemed in the past to be okay with it taking the time it took. i asked him this morning if it was too much to ask for him to be patient with me, and he said sometimes it was too much to ask.

so now i feel inadequate. i feel betrayed, like he has been cheating on me although we didn't have any agreement around monogamy and in fact i told him that i wouldn't ask him not to have sex outside the relationship but that i just wanted to know if he was. i guess after the weekend we spent together i didn't expect him to turn to other guys because i thought things were really going well between us. i felt like we were getting closer emotionally and that i was getting to the point where i would feel comfortable around having sex. now i feel like i trust him less because he will just turn to other people if things are not going according to his view of how they should be. i feel it is my fault -- i am a loser, not able to have sex like most people. he told me that i am damaged and that i am the one with the problem and that i shouldn't try to make him out to be the bad guy in this situation, that he hasn't done anything wrong and that he hasn't gone against any agreement that we had and that he has been honest with me, which is what i asked for. while we were talking i had a complete shut down. i just didn't feel anything emotionally and i felt my whole body going cold. the conversation ended with him saying i should think about what we had talked about and that we should call each other when we felt like it.

overall i feel confused, sad and let down. even though he's right -- he has been honest, etc., why do i feel betrayed? why do i trust him less even though he is being honest? why do i resent that he says i am the one with the problem when i am feeling the same thing? why do i feel bad that he is flirting with other guys when i gave him permission to do so? am i being unreasonable in feeling jealous and insecure when he hasn't actually hooked up with other guys and considers the chatting to be meaningless? is it too much to ask for patience? should i be okay with his chatting as a sexual outlet if we arent having sex? i think i love this guy, and i am scared that i am going to ignore my own needs in order to try and make him happy and i will end up undermining my own healing.

i am confused and feeling down about this whole situation. any insights would be appreciated.

thanks.


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#71528 - 10/04/02 12:46 PM Re: feeling low
asher Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 19
Loc: St. Louis
I'm having a very "Dr. Phil" moment. One of his favorite sayings is "relationships are negotiated." You have to decide what you're comfortable with sexually right now, and your boyfriend has to decide if he can live with that. If he can't, then he simply has to go. Your own recovery has to be the No. 1 priority. Take care of yourself, and go as slowly as you need to.

If his going outside of the relationship to fulfill his sexual desires (not needs but desires; don't let his terminology fool you) makes you uncomfortable, then you have the right to tell him that you don't want that in a relationship. When I was first going through all of this, it was vital that I could trust my boyfriend, that I believed he wanted to be with me and only me, and that he would wait for me to be able to express my sexual love in a healthy way.

Over the years, we have renegotiated our relationship to be somewhat more open sexually. But at the time, 100% monogamy (no chat rooms) was an important aspect of trust. Both trust and faith guided me through the process. You have to have both in your partner.

It's not selfish to ask him to wait for you, but remember that he has the right to say "no." If you can't negotiate what you want and need out of the relationship, then you are better off without it.

asher


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#71529 - 10/05/02 02:52 AM Re: feeling low
Happy Birthday Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Chill, I'm as confused as you are. Why do you feel betrayed when there has been no "breach of contract" so to speak? He is being open and honest with you about his behavior, as you asked him to, and since you have no agreement to be monogamous, what's the problem? The only thing I can see that this guy has done wrong is to say that he is forced into online chatting because you are not meeting his needs. Oh brother! Believe me, he would be chatting regardless of who was or was not meeting whatever manly needs he claims to have. It is unfair of him to place the "blame" on you. What I don't understand is why he told you he was chatting with guys online anyway? Did you ask if him if he was doing that? Did he volunteer the information? Either way, he was still acting in accordance with your agreement. Which brings me to the next problem, your agreement. In my opinion, two months is way too early to have any expectation of monogamy, which is a serious commitment that comes after more time. Having an agreement to have the relationship open to some extent works for some people, but why do you want to hear about it? It will only drive you crazy, and you will want all the sordid details which will only make you crazier. If the relationship is open, make sure you are practicing safer sex.

Be cautious about applying heterosexual standards to your gay relationships. Some of the dynamics are different in our relationships are different, which does not make them better or worse. It would be unreasonable to expect that they will be identical to straight relationships, though. We are often criticized for being sexually promiscuous, like that's a gay thing, when in reality it has more to do with being male. When you put men together without the restraining influences of women, what do you expect? If straight men could get women to behave like them, there would be just as much sex on that side of the fence.

I think its great that you are taking the risk of entering a relationship and being honest with him about your struggles. It also sounds great that he held you the other night while you were in distress and did not run away. It appears from what you have described that there is pretty good communication between the two of you. You have just hit a bump in the road, so keep going down the road with this guy. Remember, nobody is perfect and we all get to make mistakes. Your reluctance to have sex with him may have to do with subconsciously testing him to see if he will be respectful of your boundaries and wishes. Once you are comfortable that that is the case, you might be able to relax into sex more easily. Also, your resentment may stem from your wishing that you could be as free about sex as he and others appear to be. I think the feelings you brought up were already there inside of you somewhere, he just happened to be the catalyst. Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water! Just keep talking and experiencing your feelings. I think you are doing just fine. Let us know how it works out.

Roy


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#71530 - 10/05/02 01:50 PM Re: feeling low
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
There is the possibility that what he is doing has nothing to do with you. One of the "pluses" to online porn/chat rooms is that a person can be anonymous and there is not really an emotional connection like there is to a person in real time. Yes you may see them and chat with them, but when you are done, both can go their own separate ways. IN a face to face encounter, there is a much stronger connection and that involves the persons energy and emotions among other things.

Maybe this guy is scared to death of an actual relationship where he feels emotionally connected to someone. What I heard you saying was that you two emotionally connected when he held you and you cried. While he was supportive of you, it is possible that it scared him and out of the fear, he maybe doesn't know how to deal with it.

Of course I don't know if this is correct or not as I am only making assumptions. But try not to look for the blame or the bad points right now. Definately try not to put the blame on yourself. Instead I think you did something awesome and I hope you will focus on it. You allowed yourself to be vulnerable by asking for what you needed (you needed to be held) and the vulnerability came when you allowed yourself to cry. That sounds pretty awesome to me!

When I first met Jeff, since we were both survivors and we knew this about each other already, we had to build up a lot of trust between us. We did this by early on saying to each other that if something triggered us and we needed to stop, all we had to do was to say stop. In addition to that, when we have had to stop things, we do try to share with each other what is going on. At times it has been hard on the other person because it is like "what did I do wrong to them" and most of the time it is nothing we did. They just hit a bump in the road. And by us being open to this, we have grown so much closer together. We feel very safe with one another.

I hope that you will be able to celebrate what you did accomplish and let the rest of what happened diminish in importance. At the same time, from reading your post, I think you have learned so much (and you may not even realize it right now).

Its not easy in gay relationships because things are just so different. But I do know it is possible as I have been together with Jeff for almost three years now and the time has flown by quickly.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#71531 - 10/06/02 05:35 AM Re: feeling low
chill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 4
hi everybody.

thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. it was good to read all of your feedback, whether for support or to give me a different perspective on what i am facing.

a couple of things. firstly i don't think i expected monogamy from my boyfriend out of a need to imitate heterosexual relationships. i think i wasn't specifically looking for monogamy per se but rather i was seeking a feeling of security with him, which i felt i was achieving after the weekend we spent together. his chatting made me feel insecure, even though he wasn't specifically going against something we had agreed on. this was confusing to me, since on the one hand i could appreciate that he was being honest and that he hadn't violated any agreement we had, yet i was still feeling betrayed and less trusting. these feelings were confusing precisely because they were unexpected and not necessarily logical, but they were my feelings nonetheless. so i had to ask myself what these feelings were about, and maybe i wanted to negotiate a different type of agreement with him in order to feel comfortable and to let that trust grow. maybe that would mean an expression of a need for monogamy or something else on my part, at least temporarily. maybe this is unrealistic to expect, but as asher pointed out (while channelling dr. phil), relationships are negotiated, so whether something is realistic or not is not the point. as long as the people involved agree on the parameters, that is what counts, however realistic or unrealistic they may seem to the outside world. and since i am a gay man and i tend to focus on the person i am with and tend not to look to outside partners, at least for now, i can say that not all gay men are looking to have sex with whoever presents himself as available, since i don't. i guess i can hope that i am also not the only one. i may be rare in my desire, but that doesn't mean i am alone.

so back to the story at hand. here is the latest. bf and i spoke today. he called me with 2 specific requests. he said he didn't want to present me with an ultimatum, but if i wasn't ready to meet his 2 requests, he would pretty much not be able to continue a relationship with me in good faith. sounds like an ultimatum to me, but anyway. so these were his 2 requests. the first was that i had to admit that i had a problem. and the second was that i had to seek therapy in order to correct this problem. i asked him to clarify specifically what he thought the problem was that i had. he told me that i was damaged, and more specifically sexually dysfunctional. he said the fact that i had expressed fears and hesitations around sexual intimacy were signs of dysfunction that had to be addressed by a qualified professional (therapist). he said he was drained by our previous conversation where i had expressed how i felt about his chatting. he reiterated that he hadn't done anything wrong, that he had been honest, and the fact that i had reacted by feeling a diminished trust was a problem since i wasn't having full on sex with him, so what did i expect him to do. he did qualify that he didn't consider me completely damaged in every way, but he did think i was fundamentally damaged and dysfunctional around sex in particular, and although he thought i was amazing in so many other ways, this was something important to him that i had to deal with by getting therapy. he also expressed an impatience with my getting triggered in sexual situations. he said he felt like my past was in bed with us when i got triggered (touched in a certain way for example), and that was really uncomfortable and draining for him, and that he thought things could be improved, but only if i admitted to my sexual dysfunction and sought therapy to correct it.

at that point i realized that he just couldN't go through this process with me. i told him that i would only seek therapy out of a personal desire to do so, if i truly felt from myself that that would help me to address what i was facing and not because someone (he) was coercing me into it in order to stay with me. so i told him we might as well end the boyfriend relationship right there, since i wasn't willing to meet his 2 requirements. as for admitting i had a problem, i said i claimed my history, and i took responsibliltiy for my behavior as a result of what i experienced, but really the problem as far as i was concerned was that we were on 2 different timetables. i told him it was taking me longer to feel the level of trust i required in order to let myself go sexually than what he was expecting, and that this was neither normal or abnormal, it was just the time it took me, and that if he didn't have the patience to wait, the problem was more about our having differing timetables rather than my having an inherent insurmountable problem. but he had decided he wasn't willing to wait for me unless i commited to therapy, so i decided to say no. that if i undertook therapy, it would be for me, from my personal desire to improve my situation through that framework rather than a capitulation to his impression of what i needed. so we decided that the boyfriend relationship had to end there. i still care for him, and i still love him, but i realize i can't be with him under these conditions.

one strange thing that happened was that he said that he hoped when i talked about him to people to explain our breakup that i wouldn't make him out to be some kind of "f**kmonster" (his expression) who just needed sex and who dumped me because he wasn't getting it. he also said that he didn't want me to think that he had just taken me for a spin and got bored and decided to move on to someone else. it was strange because it all of a sudden felt like he was trying to control what i would say about our interaction so that he wouldn't look bad (to our mutual friends or to other people, i guess). this was eerily reminiscent of being told by my abuser what i should say or shouldn't say about our interaction. i know it's not the same situation, but the attempted control of what i should say struck a nerve. anyway, at the time i said (honestly) that i had no intention of painting him as a monster, so he didn't have to worry. but since then i am thinking that i have the right to tell my story the way i expperienced it without worrying about how he will look to other people. just as he has the right to say waht he needs to say about our relationship and breakup from his point of view (that i am sexually dysufunctional and needing therapy or whatever). there is no such thing as an objective telling of a story. i can only talk from my own perspective and describe what i experienced and what feelings i faced. i don't need to worry about protecting him when i am talking about my experience. maybe i will communicate this to him at some point.

so that's where it's at. it's over. i am feeling sad and disappointed that it ended this way. i really thought i had a chance with this guy to go further and to explore an intimate sexual and emotional relationship more fully. but he wasn't able ultimately to have the patience i required to get to that place of trust with him. i don't blame him, and he is a person with many excellent qualities. if he wasn't, i wouldn't be feeling the loss of his presence so acutely. but i guess i had to listen to myself and to my heart, and my inner voice was telling me that i had to do things for me, not for him, so it just couldn't be if he insisted on things that he wanted on his timetable without being able to bring his desires to the table to try and work something out that was comfortable to both of us.

right now it hurts like hell. i feel like i have failed once again. my insecurities are coming to the fore. i am feeling inadequate, not good enough, i will never find someone who will have patience with me, who will accept and understand and love me, all of that crap. that when i start revealing myself and allowing myself to cry and feel vulnerable, it seems to ultimately end with the other person saying i am too much too handle, that they don't need the hassle, etc. maybe i do need therapy. maybe it is the answer. i don't know. it has been a rough week. i feel okay with my choices around this situation, since my choices were for me, and i think i did okay on that front. i can't help thinking, though, that here again is yet another indicator that as a result of an event in my past, i will live out my life alone, unlovable and unloved, unable to find the man who will understand and love me and accompany me on my path to fulfillment, completion and happiness.

thanks for taking the time to read this long rant, and please feel free to respond with advice or even with words of encouragement. i could use a bit of a boost if nothing else.

thanks.


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#71532 - 10/06/02 11:00 AM Re: feeling low
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I'm so sorry. I know this has to hurt a lot and I just want you to know, that you're not the failure here. Failing in my opinion would have been not to try, but you did try. This guy is looking for something else that in my opinion is asking way too much of you. Relationships are meeting people where they are and then growing together. I find myself thinking that at least he was able to tell you what he was looking for because than you were able to say, that's not what I am looking for.

When I met Jeff we were both working on healing and we both brought a lot of stuff to the relationship. Somehow (I never thought this would be possible with anyone - especially with me because I tend to get impatient). But with Jeff, we have just accepted each other and we don't require the other person to be at any certain point in their level. We are just there to support each other and accept each other. And like I was trying to say, I didn't think I would ever find this with anyone. Oh yeah, we've had some pretty rough moments, but we've worked through them. I can't imagine my life without Jeff. Now I can even begin looking back over the past three years and see where I've gained so much from Jeff and where he has gained from me. But it wasn't something we did with ultimatims like this guy was doing.

I know it is easy to feel like a failure in these things, but actually you tried this and you were able to determine what you needed from this relationship. A lot of people won't go that far. It does hurt through things like this but hopefully that will soon pass.

I think ya ought to go out and buy yourself an ice cream cone (double dipper that is) because you deserve it!

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#71533 - 10/07/02 05:32 AM Re: feeling low
rax Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/00
Posts: 75
Loc: Newark, CA
Hi Chill,

I hear you.

A few weeks ago I met someone.
He was a nice guy, and we talked till 5 am, before we physically did anything.

The next day, I felt happy, and yet numb. I had this premonition that this would end like the other relationships that I've had. I would build my wall and push him away.

He called, we met again, a few times, and it felt like things were different this time around.

And then one day, he stood me up for an outing, and that brought back memories from old relationships, and so I basically told him that this wouldnt work, and that I would push him away, as I always did.

A week later, I still couldnt get him out of my head.
We took a second swing at the relationship, but this time with his rules.
In some stupid moment of foolishness, I agreed to his terms.

One night I opened up to him and told him about my child abuse, and he laughed. Yes, that was the response. He thought I was joking. When I reaffirmed what I had said, he said that I was making a mountain out of a mole-hill. (Here I think your boyfriend did pretty well, by being an understanding shoulder to cry on)

Anyways, last weekend, I stopped answering his calls, when I picked up the phone on one occasion, I bluffed that my phone was out of batteries and I didnt get his calls.

He said that he was coming over. I panicked and rushed out of the house. Just drove around, because I did not want to meet him anymore.

When I got home later, he came back. He tried calling me, he knocked on my door, and I didnt respond.

Anyway, I think I've made it clear that I dont want to meet him anymore.

Why do I do this wall-building?
Why do I have this stupid ability to numb out feelings?
Why cant others understand the gravity of child abuse?
Why cant people have relationships without ultimatums and rules?
Will I ever find my mate?
Will I ever be able to trust completely?
Will I ever be able to love and be loved?

So many questions!
Someday I'll win over my monsters.

Till then,
in solitude,
rax.


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#71534 - 10/07/02 10:07 PM Re: feeling low
asher Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 19
Loc: St. Louis
I think you made a good decision. Now it's time to practice good self-care: take lots of naps, drink some herbal tea, call old friends and curl up with a good book.

asher \:\)


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