my husband and i had a break through conversation about sex and CSA the other night. i explained how i felt through an analogy:
it's like he's in jail and the jailer locked the door and split town. there are no guards. there is no one keeping him there. just that neither of us knows how to get him out.
and because i love him so much and i love his stories and insight and humor, i sit outside those bars to be with him. we can be close and i can tell him what's in my heart. more and more frequently, he can tell me what's in his. sometimes we can laugh at the situation. but no matter how close we want to be, physically or otherwise, there's always iron bars between us.
i'm a survivor of rape and i remember how shitty my jail cell was, how easily i can trick myself believing i'm in it again. but i am blessed (for lack of a better word) because a whole bunch of people came into my prison and helped me figure out how to unlock my door.
and now i know what it's like outside. i can tell him about it. sometimes he's cynical and sarcastic and defeated and doesn't want to get out. sometimes he tells me how ridiculous it is for me to sit outside the jail cell just to be with him. sometimes he's desperate to get out, panicky, anxious, suffocating.
and there we are. two people very much in love. in jail.
I just read this posted by SamV on someone else's thread:
"Post about everything here in Friends and Family. The mistake I have seen is that things start getting better so survivors and supporters alike stop posting. Then when the situation inevitably digresses because abuse controls are a negative cycle, the supporter or survivor are back in the same situation as before and can be discouraged. Having a journal of posts and replies can support the supporter with a process that allows them to use the same process to combat a negative cycle. It also creates a friendly supportive environment for the supporter. We get to know your situation and can help to guide you.
Being a supporter is difficult and rewarding, you are regarded highly here by survivors, thank you. This is a good first step."
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ. thank you so much SamV.
word for word, this is what has happened to my husband and me. things were rocky, then we began this good uphill climb, peaked for a few weeks, and then craassshhh.
and apparently that isn't uncommon. which is also good to know.
also, it's SO good to hear from survivors. on posts. in messages. it makes a big difference to me, since there is someone else on the inside slipping encouragement and suggestions and insight.
so i'm back. back on this site. since my husband is just a flat out wonderful man. when things are good between us, it's the most satisfying, fun, interesting relationship i've ever been in. it's mostly healthy and we mostly grow. and then...there are the other times.
we are in a better place now. i've started going back to 12 step meetings. he finally found another job after being laid off. some outside stressors released and we managed to scoot ourselves closer together. managed to be able to talk to each other, and actually join each other, instead maintaining the frigid parallel.
i decided to stop stuffing. since that's what i do. he'll touch my knee or kiss me, and all of a sudden, i'm overwhelmed, completely lost in the thought of how reassuring and fun it would be just to be spontaneously intimate. but at this point, whenever he senses that i want that, he is filled with dread.
so this time i told him i didn't blame him. that it wasn't his fault. but it hurts and what hurts especially is that i feel like i have to be an invincible person. the person who can be rejected sexually over and over again and it's not supposed to have bearing on our relationship.
and instead of spiraling into insecurity and codependence, we managed a conversation about sex. a long one. one that makes a difference. he doesn't talk about the EMDR, but this time, unlike other conversations, he was able to label his feelings more concisely, so that i could understand. when i kiss him for too long, he gets physically ill. and because he told me, i can tell myself he feels sick, it's not me.
what i didn't see coming a few months back was that when things were good, when we were being intimate, and enjoying sex, i didn't realize how fragile that was, that it could be fleeting. i didn't see it as a cycle. i saw it as fixed. now i know.
what i miss from my life is the feeling of letting go. it's what i don't have now and i'm not sure how to get it back. life with my husband is very much based on routine, sameness, predictability, and thus, stability. it took a lot of adjustment for me, but in the end, i've decided that it's good for me for the most part.
but with other partners in the past, spontaneity was a big deal. skinny dipping in the woods ( i live in a rural area:), last minute camping trips or road trips, spending a whole day watching movies in bed, staying out late for concerts, or taking turns deciding what to do next as long as it's different each time.
i don't have that anymore...and i realize that part of that is my fault and i realize that sameness, especially now while he does EMDR, is important for his sense of security.
but it feels completely shitty when even at home, with the predictability and sameness and routine to help him feel safe, there is no emotional "letting go", no time when we fall crazy in love with each other, no time when we act like kids even though we aren't anymore.
to me it feels like life half lived. i have found it with other people and have a rich social life. but i pulled back a little from it because i started to find that other people were getting to know me better than my husband and i hated the feeling.
i don't know what's best. more questions, fewer answers. but i'm thankful that i had another day with my husband, it was a good day.