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For better or worse

Therapy in session through quilting

Therapy in session through quilting (Photo credit: fishin widow)

Apologies for being AWOL recently… to be honest I’m not in a great place :/ I have SO much going on in my head AND in reality (good AND bad) that its hard not to just shut down completely and hope that somehow everything will fit into place…well that hasn’t happened so I suppose its time to start writing them all down in some kind of order in an attempt to make it make sense or at least clear some head space.

A few weeks back I visited my husbands therapist (with him) for the first time. The first part is posted here. I said I would go into more detail for some parts so I could pour my heart out a little. Some of the information given that evening hurt to hear, it stung a bit and its probably a lot to do with how I’ve been feeling lately too, of it so…here it is.

When asked how my husbands actions affect me on a daily basis I struggled to find a place to begin.
Noting that we were limited on time I churned out the obvious – sex is an issue, the self esteem issues which comes from his lack of interest, the paranoia from the constant lies, the worry when it comes to leaving due to porn addiction… The gut wrench that comes from knowing my marriage up till now has been a sham… Shall I continue?

She stopped me and talked about the porn/sex/masturbation a bit more as this was the first time she had heard anything about it. She asked whether he watched porn because of the thrill of it, the release… And that annoyed me because it seemed like she was trying to put words in his mouth rather than asking open ended questions. I had gone here hoping that with the three of us more comfortable he would feel able to explain it – with her help NOT to be told the answers.

However to my surprise – and relief- he didn’t agree with her… Instead he shrugged. She asked if it was the fantasy side – no. Is it the release? -no. Is it X? Y?… Z?? – no. He said its nothing, it’s not important to him, it doesn’t do anything for him… He just does it.

*ouch*

I think I would have preferred it her way lol. To hear that cut deep for me, of all the times he’s sneaked off to watch it, lied about it… For all the issues it’s caused… The lack of trust… The lack of confidence… The lack of respect!!! And it means nothing to him?? He did all of the above for something that did nothing?? Despite my gut twisting I didn’t react, I just nodded and tried to let it sink in.

She asked whether the porn was encouraged and what my thoughts on it were … Yeah here we go again lol (if anyone DOESN’T know my thoughts then I suggest you read here lol also if you are lost by now it’s probably best to read up on the back story which starts here) I told her I had offered to watch it with him, been refused and then lied to, that for me porn is now the other woman- the one he wouldn’t or couldn’t stop seeing. I told her that masturbation – whilst understandable in his case… Well I don’t see the necessity when married especially with a wife whom is willing to experiment and who rarely isn’t up for it. I told her how he does masturbate – WITH me, that it hurts that I can’t satisfy him as it is and that the lies before now have made it an issue so the compromise is that he does himself and I’m there with him otherwise no progress will be made in the bedroom and no intimacy will be there for either of us.

Leave

Leave (Photo credit: inf3ktion)

She asked what would happen if he watched porn now…. I would leave. She looked shocked- as I assume many of you are reading that but its a fact. I have had enough of it, he has his boundaries and secrets and issues…I have learned to live with them, that is my one boundary. It doesn’t NEED to happen, its affected us too many times. its me or that basically, there’s only so much shit one person can take. That is my limit.

Then she asked about sex.
You don’t feel anything? -no
Nothing physical? -no
Nothing emotional? – no
You just do it for Beth? – yeah…

We talked more about WHY the frequency had changed since marriage and the answer gave me that twinge again… Basically whenever he would visit me pre marriage it was usually for one weekend every other week and unbeknownst to me he was acting 100% during those visits -or in his words ‘it was a massive effort to do it that often every time I saw her…but I knew that once that weekend was over I would have the next 2 weeks to be myself…by myself…but once you’re LIVING together…well that means forcing it 100% of the time, there’s no end to it and its exhausting having to pretend to that extent’ – Just writing that made me feel sick. I cant explain it really…I suppose aside from the obvious feelings i.e. stupid…naive…I also feel… used, fooled and like I was PRESSURING him!! (Which I wasn’t at all) It makes me angry to think about how much ‘effort’ it was just to sleep with me…it makes me angry that he put that much effort into something he didn’t want to do…it makes me angry that he still went ahead and married me!

That hurt to hear.

The stupid thing is I knew it really, I figured that out for myself when all of this first came out but I suppose until you actually hear HIM say it there’s always that glimmer of hope that you’re being silly, worrying over nothing…reading too far into it…that you are wrong! Once you hear HIM say THAT…well its real. and its really fucking painful.

She asked me if we ever argue…if there’s ever ANYTHING there which suggests emotions…I mean yeah we have had a few arguments but never really shouting matches (not before all of this anyway and even since there’s been maybe 2…with me doing the shouting) She said THAT must be frustrating because its natural for us to want an argument sometimes but with him I won’t get one…which led her to ask me if I ever let it all out…how do I get it out? What do I do to make myself feel better…DO I cry? Do I allow myself to get angry?

Erm…fuck yes! ‘I usually wait until he’s at work to have a good sob if I feel like it…or when he’s asleep some nights I will lay next to him and let them flow…or I’ll watch some sad shit on TV just so I can sit in tears and feel like I have a valid reason for it’ (By this time I was crying) ‘ I mean I think he KNOWS that I cry about it sometimes but its easier to do it when he’s not around as for starters I don’t want to say shit in the heat of the moment that will undo all of this but also because I have learned that crying to him is pointless… yeah he comforts me physically, he makes all the right noises but I know its bullshit…I know its an act because he doesn’t FEEL anything. He doesn’t empathise…he just does what he knows works…like a puzzle that he’s mastered and knowing that when you need comfort the most is an oxymoron in a way.

She looked to him and asked what it was like to hear me saying those things…he shrugged and shook his head (nothing) He said he didn’t know I was still crying most days and that he wished I would talk to him about it rather than waiting BUT he understood why I didn’t do that and ultimately…hearing that from me… he didn’t FEEL anything. He said he obviously doesn’t LIKE that I feel that way, he doesn’t want me to keep feeling that way, he wants to make it better but as far as emotions go there’s nothing.

lonely traveller

lonely traveller (Photo credit: rprathap)

Double ouch

It made it all real again, the blunt answers, the matter-of-fact way he responded…THAT is why I don’t go to him…because I know all of that too. I KNOW he doesn’t feel anything, I suppose at least he’s being honest about it lol but still… its so…lonely :/

I came out of that session feeling better for understanding more…for knowing more but at the same time I ended up hurting more because I had to hear it all over again… I had my fears and worries confirmed…by him. To be honest (when aren’t I?) we left there feeling closer to each other if anything…more open with each other…which is funny when you think about the content of what we had just been discussing in there. It was…bittersweet would be the word for it I think…but in the weeks since it’s hit me all over again and knocked me a few steps back again – I suppose at least this time I understand it more so hopefully the path back uphill won’t be as tough this time

xBx
(A LOT more to come…)

 
 

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Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: The Cave

The next Instalment from our mystery blogger:

cave troll

cave troll (Photo credit: matthewb)

This is the fourth post in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning.

In our first three posts we examined what if physically feels like to lose your emotions, how that alters your daily life, and how damaging it is to your relationships.

So what does a person with PTSD do next? For a man, we go to our caves.

As I mentioned in one of the other posts, men do not like to talk about our problems. We like to go to a nice quiet place and think and come up with solutions. We want to fix what is broken.

Personally, I could see my world was crumbling down around me. My relationship with my ex was obviously destroyed, and I could no longer relate to friends and family around me. Due to the abuse, I was too humiliated and embarrassed to speak about it with anyone. For the two or three people that I did reveal what was happening, I started to avoid them as I could see the pity in their eyes. I quickly grew tired of the, “How are you?” questions. I just wanted to be normal again and since I couldn’t figure out how to be normal, I became more and more secluded.

Even in a group I would isolate myself. I would stand off to the side and not get involved with the conversations that were going on around me. I didn’t want to reveal too much about what was happening behind closed doors. I didn’t want to explain how I missed Monday Night Football because I was being punched in the face by a woman.

There was also a certain level of envy that would creep in. I didn’t want to see all the other couples that were in love. I didn’t want to see all the laughter and happiness. I didn’t want to pretend to laugh, force myself to smile, or feign joy.

Along the way, I discovered that my PTSD had triggers. “Triggers” were certain situations that would cause me to become more “blank” or they would cause The Void to increase within me.

For example, I made the mistake of going to a romantic comedy at one point. As I watched the characters on screen fall in love, I could feel my insides become more and more vacant. Watching them kiss made The Void take over to such an extreme that it physically hurt. To explain what it felt like, I can only liken it to extreme grief. My soul was empty and in pain. I realized I could not watch another love story until I was stronger. The trigger was just too painful.

Stressful situations were also a trigger for me. Beth’s husband may have other triggers, but I would assume a stressful situation would be common among all PTSD sufferers.

Beth may already know that blank stare when her husband shuts down completely. Hopefully she can take notice of what caused it and help him to avoid those triggers.

Because I didn’t want to feel worse, I withdrew into my cave more and more. Because my options of entertainment were limited, I was drawn more and more to gaming and porn.

Xbox 360 buttons

Xbox 360 buttons (Photo credit: Alfred Hermida)

The ex complained to the therapist about my gaming. The therapist simply explained that I was playing so I didn’t have to think or feel. That made complete sense to me. When I played, I could get lost in my fake world and I didn’t have to think so much. I just acted on what was happening on the screen.

I started to play more and more. I played before work, during work, and after work. I was pleased when I could out-think the other players and I could beat them. It was also a great way to get get out some of my frustrations. My online cave was comfortable to me. I was a good player and others respected me.

There was one other thing in my cave. Masturbation, because it was a physiological level, felt good, so I kept it in my cave.

Let’s face it, men masturbate. It’s what we do. I’ve read that 91% of men masturbate, and the other 9% are pathological liars. We think nothing of it. Depending on our sex drive, we’ll rub our penises wherever and whenever we are inclined. Great sex doesn’t prevent masturbation, it just makes us masturbate more as we think about the great sex we are having!

Masturbation became part of my daily routine. I did it so that for those 15-30 seconds, I could feel GOOD. It was the only time I felt something good. It was the only time I felt ANYTHING. It was the only time I felt pleasure. Of course, it wasn’t emotional, but at the time I didn’t care. I only felt something that was pleasurable and enjoyable and that was a good thing.

The porn watching was just a means to an end. Quite often the porn was boring or gross or was so ridiculous that I hardly found it stimulating. I was just looking for something that would help me achieve the pleasurable part. It was like a needle for a heroin addict. I didn’t care about the needle (porn), I only wanted the high (orgasm).

I read Beth’s posts on her husbands porn watching and masturbation. On the one hand, I have to commend him for being honest with her. For years, I lied and hid all of my porn and masturbation. I denied it up and down when I was questioned about it. I learned to work “the system” and I knew when I could and couldn’t masturbate. I became increasingly adept at hiding the porn. In the end, no one ever found out about it. Ever.

On the other hand, I feel bad for her husband. She is trying to make him stop the one thing that feels good to him. She puts up blocks and barriers and chastises him as a mother would do to her child. She asks him who and what he thinks about when he masturbates! I cannot imagine how emasculating and embarrassing that would be.

Beth, let the man have his time alone in his cave. Let him have his thoughts. Let him have his fifteen seconds. I swear to you that there is no emotional connection to it. He just wants to feel SOMETHING.

I’m sorry that he is broken and he craves those those fifteen seconds of bliss out of the other 86,385 seconds of the day. I’m sorry some of your friends have great breasts or a nice butt, because it is just a means to an end and it means nothing to him. I’m sorry that he looks at porn because it really does nothing to his soul. It is only something for his eyes to focus on so he doesn’t have to think. I’m sorry that it hurts your feelings to know that he wants to do those things alone, and in private.

Maybe you can’t. Maybe there is a reason for your hatred of porn. Maybe your feelings about it are completely justified, I don’t know. All I can tell you is that if you continue to make this a big issue, he will continue to do it, but he will start to hide. Porn is everywhere. If he wants it bad enough, there are a million and one places to find it between your home and the office.

He is a good man. He is just broken. He is in his cave.

But my message is one of hope. I’m here to tell you that he won’t be in his cave forever. I was able to crack the glass case and escape. I will discuss that in my next post and hopefully you can take what I’ve learned and help your husband escape as well.

*****A note from Beth: I know many of you are going to ask about the porn and my opinions of it, I know most will more than likely agree that I should cut him some slack with regards to masturbation and porn and while I would agree- in a situation which wasn’t so messed up as mine- I do not agree in this case but I do apreciate the opinions and I do understand it. Let me first direct you to this post about our porn in our past (here), this one about progress after the revelations (here) and finally my outright opinion of porn in general (here). Now I will share what I replied to our mystery blogger when he emailed me and gave me the heads up that I probably wouldn’t like what I was about to read:

‘I’ve read it and I don’t mind – it’s another opinion And therefore I
welcome it – and thank you again for doing this. It will be posted as
is.
What I will say though is… No lol I’m sorry but I am not
going to encourage him to take the easy way out. I would enjoy sex alot
more with someone whom actually enjoyed it with me, I would prefer a
relationship which wasn’t so one sided but I don’t opt for those, I
stick it out and sacrifice a lot of my own happiness for him – for US
and this is the one thing that not only pushes us further away sexually
but also encourages lying and secrecy. I put up with that for the past
year and I am not going to do it again.

I encourage him to pleasure himself WITH me – the way a loving, committed marriage should be in my eyes and so far that seems to be itching that scratch. He gets to do it himself, I get to be part of that, he gets his release and I get another
day of not worrying about the lies. Does that make any sense? Again, I
get it, I understand it more from his (your) point of view but from our
history it’s crossed the line into borderline addiction and it’s
destroying us… I’m just not prepared to let that happen.’

xBx

 
7 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Guest Post

 

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Grab the bull by the P(h)ORN

Watching Porn

Watching Porn (Photo credit: WarzauWynn)

I have a confession….I watched porn the other week

*shock horror!*

For anyone who doesn’t know why this is world breaking news or worthy of a post… Well sod off now lol joking come back come back. It’s a long story… Which starts here for those who don’t already know it nut basically I hate porn, I always have and even more so since discovering my husbands “fondness” (dependence) of it.

My counsellor and I discussed this in a session recently and he asked the question which I have been asked many times before… Why? (he agreed there’s some nasty stuff out there etc and that given my current marital situation it’s understandable but…) why do I hate it? What is it that gets me so angry? Even before these issues in my marriage… Even before I met my husband what it is about porn that I don’t like?

It’s the one question guaranteed to upset me, it’s one that for years has made me leave the room when discussions are bought up, the question that always makes me feel like a prude… Like there’s something wrong with me seeing as the majority of people I know are fine with it… Have no problem with it or even watch it. Well I’m not a prude, I DO stuff in the bedroom, I’m open to trying new things… But maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s that in my mind your partner should be enough for you; that I should be enough for my partner… I’ve offered to watch it with my husband before.. With exs… Just to be turned down and then find them sneaking off to watch it alone (makes me sound great doesn’t it(!) ) in my mind I don’t think that porn should be necessary in a loving… Committed relationship.

***All you porn lovers about to jump in… Please remember these are MY views, MY opinions… MY blog. You can defend it all you like but – while appreciating other views etc I get it… I can understand it but that doesn’t mean I will EVER like it or agree with its existence.***

Back to my counsellor- he asked if I had watched any… Not since I was younger but it’s not hard to find really is it? He asked whether I would ever watch any again… Like I said I’ve tried but after being turned down porn now feels like “the other woman” somewhere I just don’t want to go. He asked what my mother thought about porn (trying to figure out the root) … I’ve never discussed porn with my mother.

So… I figured in the name of science… I’d watch some.

I went to a site I know well having added it to every porn blocker in the world… And straight away my stomach turned. GIFs of old women… Girls getting “gang banged” categories (with thumbnails) of “fatties” “pre teen” “cum shots” and a nice advert down the side saying “your wife will never find out” – yes she will!!

I closed the page feeling sick, the deceit… The sneakiness… The lies that I associate with porn *urgh* no wonder guys feel compelled to hide it when its suggested right there that most other men hide it from their significant others too.

I composed myself- deep breath- try again.

French Windows

French Windows (Photo credit: antonella.beccaria)

I opted for “classic” porn, which I assumed to be typical man and woman… Come to fix your washing machine type porn. In this one a girl (yup she’s hot) is stood by some French windows (lovely house) in a slutty but innocent outfit (needs to stop shopping in the kids department) she looks into the camera whilst doing her thing (basically warming up) and yes I admit it it’s hot. I get it… She’s attractive, she’s got a great body and she’s confident… Then comes the guy who basically walks in and she gets to work and that’s when it gets weird (for me) again.

I’ve heard flatmates shagging before, I’ve even found myself trapped in a kitchen after some drunken flatmates decided to go at it in the hallway wrongly assuming the house was empty… I’ve heard my neighbours going at it to the point where I knew who had finished first… But I’ve never felt the need to sit and watch them! Or get off on it! Again, I get it to a point, you’re watching this person seducing YOU, they’re looking straight at the camera, straight at YOU but then someone else’s bits come into shot and your back to watching someone else…

All I kept thinking was how fake it all was, how loveless… How these girls (and guys) do this for money… They do this with different people all the time. I know there are precautions and regular check ups and stuff AND that there are a lot of promiscuous people out there – I’m no virgin- BUT still… It probably goes back to the loveless sex, the flatness of it… I wouldn’t want to think about my partner with anyone else…let alone multiples… I suppose I don’t like the thought of emotionless sex (ironically) and that thought turned me off instantly. Yeah she’s fit and all but you wouldn’t want to marry her would you? Would you want her to mother your kids? Would you want them finding out what she used to let men do to her for money? and as for mother and daughter porn or Granny bouncing around… Well… Eww. Where’s the self respect? There’s a massive lack of respect from anyone really where porn is concerned… Yeah they’re acting but still It just all seems a bit desperate to me.

I mean… By all means watch it for inspiration or to spice things up a bit but in my mind that’s as far as it should go… Where’s the romance? its so tacky…its so loveless…its so…fake. Fake boobs, fake hair… Fake orgasms! Yeah they look good but jeebus that’s high maintenance! I wouldn’t mind some fakeness… Here and there but the upkeep would be boring and expensive and overall it’s a standard that most of us “plain” girls can’t reach or shouldn’t have to! The fakeness gives people an ideal which is unachievable for most mere mortals, the fakeness of the sex…of the acts…the roughness…it makes sex a thing…it makes the people objects…there is no love making, there is no real passion….its all lust and a good hard… well you know. It takes the fun out of sex for people like me and turns it into a really boring competition, one that you are realistically never going to win because you’re fighting against something that is fantasy…it isn’t real!

A silhouette of Stripper on a Pole

A silhouette of Stripper on a Pole (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it’s slight jealousy on my part because I don’t have what they do, I don’t have the money or the time… But even if I did I’d much rather spend it on something I would enjoy… Not to stroke the ideals of anyone else. Perhaps I envy their bodies…I’m sure they work hard to maintain that and good for them but to be honest I enjoy a good meal, I’d rather spend time with the people I love than spend hours at the gym and I would rather enjoy life in general than worry too much about looking amazing. I’m actually quite happy with the way I look – and I’m pretty sure a lot more people would feel the same if this ideal wasn’t drummed into every porn-atics mind…but even then… like with strippers… these girls are always going to look great because they’re always going to be replaced with younger models -and that annoys me lol. We literally have no choice but to age and to let nature take its toll, meanwhile the porn industry gets fresh meat all the time and reminds the viewers (or my husband) what they are missing. It makes me angry because while of course its good to take care of yourself and to take pride in your appearance (and I do) but porn is setting the bar so bloody high!

On top of that (no pun intended) there’s the rougher stuff, its actually upsetting to see; again I get rough stuff is fun every now and then (and with boundaries) but the things I’ve seen…. Its worrying. The thought of impressionable guys (or girls whatever) watching this stuff and assuming that the norm… its worrying. Its scary. Its fucking dangerous! The rough stuff AND the other stuff, people are seeing this without actually experiencing reality, they’re assuming real people act like this, look like this…LIKE this stuff… and its not true.

So after all of this what did I learn? What did I take away from it? I still hate it, I still don’t agree with it, it still makes me feel sick. Yeah maybe I could do with a bit more eye contact, confidence works… well in a normal situation which doesn’t involve MY husband it would anyway. I understand the appeal of it (if watched in moderation lol), I know the importance of knowing your own body and exploring yourself etc I get that sometimes you need to mix it up a bit and put the effort in, make sex fun…passionate…LOVING! I realise that men are more visual while women are able to use their imagination… but I still believe that -when in a relationship- all of that should be naturally done together, it should be an expression of your love for one another, your desire for one another…not an attempt to persuade your partner to choose you over porn.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

xBx

 
 

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#10 Responsibility

On the edge II

On the edge II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Yes…but its understandable’

As I headed out for work a few evenings ago I tried to stop my eyes from flickering towards the open laptop as I asked hubby what he had planned in his few hours of freedom. (thinking…do I WANT to know?…porn porn porn)

Closing the laptop and putting it away he said  ‘well when you get back i need to get online and research this stuff i wanna get for the garden…oh and check my bank balance and stuff but while you’re out ill probably play on the Xbox and get my lunch ready for work tomorrow…’

I asked why he was waiting for me to get home before going online and he said it was because he knew how it made me feel knowing he was browsing (alone), he didn’t like making me feel like that…plus there was no rush to look at it so it could wait.

I couldn’t help but smile at that reply but at the same time i hate it :/ I don’t LIKE feeling this way, I had been doing fine and as far as I’m aware he hasn’t been looking at porn… our sex lives have improved massively…more often…he initiates…more relaxed…more fun…happy endings and wotnot etc etc BUT like i said before everything seems to be going a little too well …to the point where i am now on edge waiting for my bubble to burst yet again – and I hate that.

I hate that I think that way, that I’ve now managed to go into reverse and into paranoia territory. I feel like I’m turning into (yes turning I’m not quite there yet) some over sensitive, over protective…demanding wife and I’m worried that I’m really going to push him away at the moment (ironic or what) but i wouldn’t blame him…I mean I don’t think he’s planning on leaving me anytime soon or anything BUT I don’t like the way I’m being so I don’t see why he would either. It’s just not me.

I mean, I’m not overbearing right now, not to him at least…I don’t say everything I think or voice all of my annoying anxieties so he’s only exposed to about one third of the crazy that I’m encountering. but still…he obviously picks up on some stuff as he now knows how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

I suppose its like waiting for an alcoholic to fall back off the wagon after the first few days of sobriety…surely for him -if he really did have a porn addiction – he would be having major withdrawals by now right? So in my mind he’s ready to crack any day now…or maybe he’s put things into perspective…maybe now the subject has been discussed between us AND with professionals he’s realised how destructive his actions were…that it wasn’t addiction…just lack of respect and understanding?…I don’t know… I think once he gets back into the routine of therapy I’ll feel better as we will be moving in a direction rather than sat in limbo again.

I asked – ‘doesn’t that make me like some crazy, paranoid laptop security guard?’
Him: ‘yes…but its understandable’
Me: ‘IS it understandable though? i don’t LIKE feeling this way…BEING this way’
Him: ‘Yes its understandable, I’ve made you feel this way and I’m going to do everything i can to earn your trust back’

…it never hurts to hear him accept responsibility.

xBx

 
23 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Honestly...

 

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