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It’s been one year….

20130318-121902-AM.jpgIt’s been a year since the shit hit the fan…. so it seems only fitting that I write a post.

I feel I owe it to myself to revisit this blog -to face my demons- but also to anyone still out there wondering ‘what ever happened to Beth?’ so…here I am…and this is what happened

In July we had our first wedding anniversary…I had been anxious about it but we celebrated by burning some bad memories – those in the form of diary entries, letters which held dark confessions and even photos or ‘happy book’ pages which made me feel sick looking back on. Not because the times themselves were bad…but once you find out that most of your relationship has been a lie things kind of take a sour turn.

We took our burn-iversary as a fresh start; a chance to put as many of those bad feelings as we could behind us and instead focus on moving forward…on how to make things better and how to make new…REAL…memories. At the time I was still feeling uneasy, emotions were up and down constantly; some days all I could think about was what he had done whereas others it didn’t even cross my mind.

It was during one of these ‘up’ streaks that we had news from his work that we would have to leave for America….in September! As you can imagine my heart was in my stomach. I had given our marriage one year from THAT day to figure out whether I stayed or we went our separate ways…now I had a matter of weeks to make up my mind!?

One thing that kept nagging me was this gut-wrenching feeling whenever I considered NOT going with him. By this time I was past any “what would people think?” “what would I tell my mother?” crap and had learnt to focus on what I wanted and not what society would find alarming. I wanted to be with him, I wanted to try…but there was so much to do, so much upheaval… this was an international move…I would need a visa…I had loose ends to tie up…I would have to quit the job I loved….

Shit Happens - By ComfortablyNumb

Shit Happens – By ComfortablyNumb

I chewed it over and over -AND OVER…I spoke to my best friend – the only person (offline) who knows EVERYTHING about our situation- and she reminded me that I could always come home if shit went wrong again. Eventually I told my dad and my step-dad about my doubts, hinting that things weren’t peachy between us; I spoke to a good friend from the blogging world…they all said the same… “you can always come home” and “you would regret NOT giving it a go”

So…I went.

Through a series of events with work, visa applications and an unrelated court case the moving date was postponed for a month here and another month there -It was stressful to say the least but we got here in the end and so far I am NOT regretting it.

HOWEVER…(did you see that one coming?) with everything going on with the move the therapy, counseling and everything that goes with it has been put on the back burner. It’s not that we are ignoring the fact that we need to carry on working on things – believe me he made sure I knew that he WILL keep seeing someone and I made sure HE knew that if he didn’t I would have his balls in a vice-it’s just that with any move its stressful and expensive so we have to wait until it’s more feasible to go (and keep going) to sessions in order to make them count.

That being said… I’m bloody dreading it. Its been so nice NOT having to think about shit for a few months. The move has pushed us together and grounded my feelings for him; the stresses of everything have taught us to work together and communicate more than we ever did – I mean yeah there’s still that mars/Venus divide but as far as US as a couple we are much stronger – at least as far as I’m concerned. I suppose I’m finding the idea of going from pretend-ignorant-bliss back to shock-horror-here’s-another-bombshell rather unsettling…but who wouldn’t? As for ‘deeper’ progress there have been a few small victories for us…though reading this back they’re actually rather big.

yeah right lol

yeah right lol

Before we left England he had started feeling more physically (in the bedroom) but it was still rare. Now, however it’s probably 90% of the time. The sensation doesn’t last long but the fact that the frequency has increased massively means we must be doing something right (yay us!) This is a massive confidence boost for me, I don’t feel as rushed to ‘get it over with before he starts yawning’ and I can sometimes tell when it’s happening for him. We did have a type of code but that always reminded us of the ‘issue’ so now we just roll with it and see what happens.

We are a little more spontaneous with it, definitely more passionate/romantic and generally more relaxed…more loving. It’s like we are both actually present…we make eye contact…more kissing…I don’t feel like a hooker! Of course some days it all hits me again that this isn’t a ‘normal’ sex life and that for most couples it’s a lot ‘easier’ for them…but then I remind myself that it’s OURS, it’s working for us…and at least I don’t have a problem with a partner who is done in a few minutes ha ha (sorry but I have to laugh)

Out of the bedroom he is more caring too; he now has a phone and actually texts me during the daytime which has made such a big difference. He leaves notes for me sometimes when he heads off to work and he picks up a little something now and again if he stops off to get petrol or whatever on his way home. He told me a few months ago during a heart to heart that he now genuinely likes cuddles and missed the ones I used to give him; he had started feeling ‘less loved’ by me than before and cared enough -or felt enough- to actually say something about it (I had started blocking myself without realising.) He was honest enough to tell me things that he knew I wouldn’t like hearing -rather than lying to keep me happy) and said openly that he still needed to work some things out with a professional..

I still have issues with porn…like I said…who wouldn’t after everything? I have some filters set up on his phone and on the computer (with his permission – nothing sneaky) but we both agree that neither of us are ready for them to be removed – again not something I LIKED hearing but at least he was honest about it. I don’t like the fact that I haven’t deleted this blog, I don’t like that I WILL be posting on here more frequently once the therapy starts…but its the truth and I have to face it. I still have days where I remember that we do have a lot of work to do (and he agrees) and it hurts like hell but at least we realize this and aren’t just sweeping it under the carpet for good.

Yes there is a LOT of work to be done but we both know that and WILL get back into the swing of it once we are settled with everything else. For now…I am happy that we are making progress on our own. The bottom line in all of this? I’m glad I came with him, I’m glad I gave it a shot and I’m certain I want to keep working on it.

I am so sorry for dropping off the face of the…blogging-world. I have missed you guys, but I can’t lie I’m not looking forward to being back…I will be back though, just not yet.

xBx

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in The Present -How things are

 

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#13 As sick as your secrets

**Continuing on from my last post (here) ***

Number 9 Sign

Number 9 Sign (Photo credit: tedeytan)

In order for this to make as much sense as possible, its probably a good idea to read back (if you haven’t already) about our rating scale technique – posted here.

After telling me how he knows he can trust me and explaining that its hard to tell me the things he WANTS to tell me let alone the things he’s not ready to talk about yet…he then said something which made my heart stop.

“I’m really tempted to tell you my 10…but I don’t feel like it’s right yet…

so are you ready for a 9?”

Of course I wont go into detail of it here but that 9 of his was shocking…and not in the way you would assume. what took me by surprise was how NORMAL his 9 was…this massive secret which he was too scared to say to anyone for his entire life…this 9 out of 10 on the scale of difficulty…was something so…common that had I not known it was a ‘9’ for him i probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if he told me.

I’ll give you what I think would be a (fictional of course) comparison of this ‘9’ of his…

  • ‘I wet the bed till I was 11’
  • ‘I still cry at Disney films’
  • ‘I’m afraid of the dark’

Of course the content was a relief…you would assume something as hard to disclose as that would automatically mean it’s something bad but -like she said before- it’s not always the content that is hard to tell…it’s just that its something of his. What has blown my mind repeatedly in all of this is how little he has ‘Googled’ about this stuff…because if he had then he may have worked out by now that he is not weird…or that other people go through this stuff too. Regardless, because I knew how hard it was to tell me- BEFORE he told me, I was able to react in an encouraging way. Instead of shrugging it off i thanked him for letting me in, instead of giggling or making an inappropriate joke i was able to take it seriously and actually listen to what he was telling me but most importantly i was able to reassure him that he is not a freak…that he shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed and that this thing is more common than he realises…I was able to put his mind at ease -so in that sense the rating scale saved the day as without it i probably wouldn’t have reacted – or appreciated it – the same way.

His therapist had explained to me how he should be telling himself ‘its ok…nothing bad happened’ at any times when he does something which he sees as a ‘fuck up’ – for example spilling a drink like I explained in the post about the oxygen mask…OR when he tells me something of his. So again I was able to remind him of that once he told me his 9- literally by telling him ‘see…nothing bad has happened…its ok’ and then physically by keeping my body language the same, by kissing him etc -My health and social care teacher would be proud lol…those A levels are really paying off now ha ha.

He allowed me to ask questions so I started slow and eventually (a handful of questions later) we got to a point where he didn’t want to talk about it anymore so I let it go and we carried on as normal (see…nothing happened!) I thought it only fair to share one of my higher numbers with him to even the score but again, seeing as I’m probably a bit too open all i could find was a 5/6…that being a poem I had written on the Community Storyboard about cuddling him in bed (here) The reason that was a 5/6 was because its my true feelings about us and its MY blog but I shared that with him (whilst hiding behind a pillow) and he liked it so I think we both felt a little lighter after that- and closer to each other too.

For me to find a 5/6 is pretty rare…there’s not a lot that i wouldn’t tell him or share with him…or not much that i would find difficult anyway… but there was ONE other 5 that I let him into and that was meeting BeetleyPete a few weeks ago. For me meeting Pete (and Mrs Pete) was important to ME. It involved going somewhere I usually go by myself…one of my happy places I suppose (which I don’t have many of now I live here) and introducing my husband to THE blogging legend himself. It was something I was looking forward to and I was almost a little bit protective of…something I didn’t want to be tainted by anything or anyone…something for me…which I allowed him into…something I shared with him. THAT was hard for me to do…but I did it…and nothing bad happened 🙂

Another thing his therapist had explained during that session was what he would feel like after divulging something of his; and so with this information and knowing how big this secret was for him I was prepared for what happened next. I knew how shit he would be feeling…and it was obvious that he was; He said he felt physically sick and that night he asked me NOT to cuddle him in bed (and apologised for asking lol) But i understood why he was being that way so did whatever I could to make him see that no matter what I was still here for him and that this secret had not and would not change anything. For the next few days he was a little bit ‘off’ but I was able to let him ride the wave without giving him too much shit for being in a mood and keep reassuring him without actually making a big deal out of it.

Its been a while since his 9…and he’s back to normal as far as the aftermath of it goes but he’s still not ready for his 10…and I am not pushing for it. Its good to know he felt safe enough to open up to me – and that I knew how to handle it once he did; I think – for us- this was a major breakthrough, I feel closer to him – almost smug actually lol- and I hope he feels closer to me too…but most importantly I hope I have shown him that it IS ok to let me in…because nothing bad happens when he does 🙂

xBx

 

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

Deep Breath

Deep Breath (Photo credit: kagey_b)

So having had a few weeks of “should I stay or go?” I was no closer to a decision. I had felt bad for even thinking about leaving… Not just bad for him but bad for us… For how we could be and for considering throwing in the towel when really – like my counsellor had pointed out- we WERE still moving forward. I think it was panic mode resurfacing, can I do this? Am I strong enough? Will things ever get better… CAN WE EVER BE NORMAL??

I felt even more guilty for thinking all of that without telling him any of it. Usually I would say SOMETHING but every time I was close he would surprise me with a new insight or a positive move so I kept it to myself for weeks. BUT the revelation of keeping his eyes open and banishing demons (posted here) gave us the positive boost we needed- it gave me more hope… A massive point to add to the list of pros and cons building in my mind. I felt good… WE felt good.

However, I had noticed that he has stopped doing things, he doesn’t speak to anyone apart from me really, he doesn’t socialise much. I realise that this seems like a random tangent but trust me…it will make sense shortly…anyway- Last week he came home and told me about a game of paintball with some workmates but he immediately said he didn’t want to go, I questioned it, telling him it sounded fun, he should have some time off doing something fun… That I didn’t mind and would enjoy some me time etc but still he said no. I asked if he had noticed that he had stopped going out and he said he hadn’t until I pointed it out and agreed that maybe he should do something. I went shopping over the weekend and suggested he and a friend did something… He was up for that but on the day didn’t see any plans through. He never used to be like this and I’ve recognised the signs from experience- depression, lack of interest, almost hibernating because its easier.

A few days later came back from his next solo therapy session and I casually asked how it went. He was vague and didn’t really say much other than that they spoke about some “stuff” we had all talked about. I let it slide figuring he would tell me more when he was ready and when had got his head around it -like usual- but later he showed no signs of opening up. So I asked if they had spoken about the masturbating/porn. I knew they had because it was the first she had heard about any of it when I went so it was bound to have been a main topic.

stress

stress (Photo credit: bottled_void)

He eyed me suspiciously and asked how I knew so I told him the above. He then said that they had talked about it but I wouldn’t like it so…. This got my back up. I don’t like it when people assume I can’t handle something and more importantly it winds me up that something crucial for us has been discussed without giving me any insight. Obviously I know it’s his session etc but if SHE had an insight which could have helped me understand it better… then I don’t understand why she didn’t bring it up there and then -when I told her in our session. Plus this is exactly what HE does… Tell me bits which make it sound terrible and then I worry and eventually I find out that it wasn’t that bad… It drags it out, it stresses me out, it prolongs the agony.

I didn’t push him for it because … Well it’s not right to do that but I got angry (inside) and that massive pro quickly dissolved (and then some) tipping the scales back the other way and making me wonder what the fucking point was. Later still he asked if I really wanted to know (erm duh) and so he told me…

“Ok… She told me to masturbate – without you- and I said no. She asked why and I said that I didn’t need or want to because what we do works, that you wouldn’t be ok with that… and i wouldn’t either. She pushed me and tried to persuade me but I still said no and told her we would have to think of something else… She said I should because its something for me… For myself and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for me”

*Deep breath…Adopt calm voice and…*

“Firstly thank you for telling me and thank you for saying no. she’s right – you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself but you but it’s more about the lying about it, hiding it and affecting others in such a negative way that is not ok. Also for her to suggest that makes me doubt that the extent of you doing it was discussed between you truthfully as I don’t think she would suggest that if she knew… So what happens now? Is this you telling me that someone else has suggested it so now you’re considering it or…?

He said no, he wasn’t going to do it and he had told her about the paintball etc he hugged me tight and asked what I thought about it all. Reluctant to say anything damaging I mulled it over and considered her point. Yes it’s good for him to do things for himself but ultimately it’s  his actions before now that have added to the issue surrounding it. Now she’s suggested it its added the paranoia that had faded drastically back into the mix, it actually makes me feel sick thinking about going against everything I feel is right and crushing myself further for the sake of a quick release… If I were to consider her point about the oxygen mask (posted here) then saying that any of this was ok would be the opposite of what she had suggested. Is this what he needs? Am I wrong to be so against it? Am I preventing him from getting better? Am I fuck!

And so I told him

“Again, it’s good that you said no but do you agree with it? Do you think it would help? (No) Honestly i don’t know if i can do this… do you know I’ve been thinking about leaving? (no…for how long?) for a few weeks now but every time I’ve been on the edge something good has happened and we have moved forward. The other night I turned you down because I couldn’t take it anymore, because all this shit about sex and wanking makes me feel sick and I don’t have the mental energy to pretend I’m ok with it every time but then we had a breakthrough and it felt great but now it’s back to square one.

What she has suggested puts the paranoia back because you’ve been given the go ahead by one person so surely that plants that fucking seed again? We had been making progress in the bedroom and it was working for us but now I’m going to be worried about saying no again in case you do it yourself out of spite (I wouldn’t do that… Is that what you think?) yes! And now even more so. I mean am I supposed to sit downstairs and be ok with it? (No because its not going to happen) you already get to do that for you the difference is that I’m with you… you’re still the one doing it! that’s a compromise we have established and i thought that was good for both if us (it is… i like that you’re with me) It’s already enough that we have to do that together – me being there is the only way I can get intimacy from it and I’m sorry but there are others things to do for you… You could go out, you can do what you want (i know and that’s what i told her) I don’t turn you down and then go and have a wank to suit myself.

Aside from that she’s now made me think I’m wrong, its made me question whether or not i am actually helping or adding to all of this and its made me doubt my own morals. I’m sorry but I can’t go along with something that will make me feel even worse than I already do… So if YOU want to do it then do it… I will understand and i don’t want to be the one hindering your progress…But I will not be here anymore. THAT by the way was a 10 on the scale of difficulty”

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

WELCOME TO MY WORLD (Photo credit: FUNKYAH)

He kissed me and thanked me for my 10. He reassured me that I am NOT hindering anything, that he wasn’t going to do anything and that “if it wasn’t for you god knows where I would be right now… You’re the reason I’m trying to get better so I can be a better person for me and a better husband for you… Because I do not want to lose you” he told me I should talk to him when I feel like leaving and asked how to make it better. I told him I understood how hard it is for him and that I’m never going to force him to tell me anything – its not like j could if i wanted to!- but I just need to be let in and feel PART of his world … Just like I let him into mine…

And that’s when it happened…

To be continued

xBx

 
 

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#12 Here’s looking at YOU

Cut Eye

Cut Eye (Photo credit: lindes)

One of the big highs over the last month I suppose was when we made some progress in the bedroom. I’m not sure how many of you would consider what I am about to tell you a ‘high point’. What we do is by no means ‘normal’ but its what works for us in our situation and has progressed and evolved to suit us over time. Of course its still not ideal but you work with what you’ve got don’t you?

Usually we would have intercourse and then I would straddle him and ‘give him a hand’ to him help him finish. It worked but the lack of eye contact made me feel shit. Over time we had removed barriers and things got better but every now and then the insecurities and embarrassment crept back in. – I posted about that here

Well for a while its been difficult, both going through stages of awkwardness, emotions making it either amazing or non existent… Triggers preventing me from wanting to do what we usually do so for a while we had “normal” sex and after he would “do himself” while I lay with him kissing him (and him kissing back) for us that worked. (Again I posted here about it) We both had fun and we both got the release which usually comes from sex. For us – with our history considered it was a mini breakthrough… Knowing he would still climax with me kissing him and touching him… Being there with him in a loving way and not just another hand helping him out.

Well at some point I was laying next to him and just kept thinking how wrong all of this was, THIS was not what I pictured my sex life to be like… my marriage to be like…I felt so irrelevant… So unnecessary… So useless. I could feel my stomach turning and my eyes watering and realised this wasn’t the first time I had felt like this…THIS was turning into a trigger for me. It was at that point that I thought…NO! This needs to stop now. I am NOT going to let myself feel like this, I am NOT going to do this more often than I want to just to stop myself worrying about him sneaking off for a wank if I say no! I will NOT lay here and feel like shit to -in essence- cock block my own husband – I shouldn’t fucking have to! At the end of the day if he WANTS to sneak off for some DIY then he will regardless of whether we went through this 2 days before or 2 hours before…there is nothing I can do about it and really what good is it doing? its not, its giving him a release and every time its making ME feel worse…its letting him have it his way while my confidence slams lower and lower every time he squeezes his eyes shut to block ME out! that is not taking care of myself. I either need to take control of this and protect myself or get the hell out before I get dragged down any further, I can not live this way forever.

I said nothing about it to him and instead vowed to say no more often, to say no unless i was actually in the mood for it, unless i felt confident enough for it…WANTED enough. no kind of game playing involved here by the way, this wasn’t some kind of ‘turn him down to make him want me’ game…this was me growing a pair and putting my foot down. So for the next few nights I said no. I told him I would rather ‘cuddle’ tonight (lol) and in truth it WAS nice just cuddling and talking, it took away that anxiety.

Eventually, I felt stronger again and we did our thing and instantly I felt better for holding off on it, it felt less wrong and more right. Obviously the set up was the same but I was doing it because I wanted to which took away a massive amount of doubt and insecurity. This time the kissing was more passionate too – rather than going through the motions…it was more intense…more enjoyable. Afterwards we lay together and out of nowhere he said

 ‘you did that’

-Not understanding what he meant he explained that he had been thinking about me/us the majority of the time rather than focusing on those intrusive thoughts (that he wont tell me as he’s ashamed of them) Surprised and confused – as before he could only really ‘get off’ if he let those thoughts take over and any ‘normal’ (according to him) thoughts were pushed aside- he explained that the more we have been doing it like this…kissing etc he’s been thinking more and more about us rather than the other stuff.

THAT was amazing to hear, he had offered up that fact without me asking for it, he told me because HE felt good about it…proud i suppose as until this point for him those thought have been all he’s ever had so for him to be able to push past that was a breakthrough for him…and sharing it with me was a breakthrough for US too. It reminded me that while I cant always see – or don’t always realise- the baby steps we are making…HE is making his own and when he is ready he will tell me.

Eyes Wide Open (Gotye song)

Eyes Wide Open (Gotye song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a while after that we were feeling positive, our confidence grew and I even ventured back to our original ways without feeling sick about it. One of the things that had kept putting me off was the lack of eye contact so I had almost trained myself to not make eye contact with him during ‘his turn’ – to avoid seeing him squeeze his eyes shut so tightly I suppose :/ But like I’ve said before we all close our eyes when we are in the moment, we all have random/irrelevant thoughts coming in and out of our heads sometimes…the difference being that we don’t always SHARE them and most of us don’t have thoughts that overrule everything else.

Well…recently he’s been keeping his eyes open 🙂 and he can still manage to climax lol. Again, he made a point of telling me (in case I hadn’t noticed) because HE felt good about it and because HE was making progress with his own demons. Of course its not nice to have felt like this before and making eye contact with your wife…or just being able to LOOK at your wife whilst being intimate shouldn’t be a big deal…but for us it is and ultimately its not about the way I look, it’s not ME putting him off. This is a big step for him towards letting go of the things that hold him back, towards letting ME in to his world…

xBx

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Honestly...

 

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Weekly Writing Challenge: 21st Century Love is…Dangerous

Relationship Status Update

Relationship Status Update (Photo credit: joelaz)

I have had an ‘isn’t it ironic’ post floating around my head about how we first got together, how we talked about everything and anything…how we got to know each other inside out…how we talked about our pasts, honesty, trust! Anyone whom knows my situation will see the irony in that alone SO…apologies for the negativity (and rambling) but this weeks writing challenge seemed like the perfect place to do it.

21st Century love is instant. It’s fast, its varied, it’s easy… But it’s also dangerous. It feels safer pouring your heart out from a distance, being braver than you would in real life but it also feels that way for whomever you’re talking to; while hiding behind a screen can protect you physically, it doesn’t stop you getting hurt emotionally.

If I had written this 6 months ago I probably would have swooned about the night we met and how it definitely wasn’t love at first sight.

I’d have cringed at the memory of getting his name wrong within minutes of him telling me what it was and how we parted ways thinking nothing more pf each other. I would have smiled thinking about how we got talking a day or so later; about how we fell in love with each others personalities before anything else – because we had spent an entire month talking for hours every day (and every night and every chance we could in between) before eventually meeting face to face again.

I would have reminisced about how we really got to know each other inside out during those talks and how great it felt to have someone who liked me for me… Rather than what they could get from me physically. How we would stay up till silly hours just talking on the phone about anything until our ears were hot. How my heart skipped a beat each time my phone vibrated with a new message from him and how I would look my best from the waist up for our video calls but would often get busted when the camera tipped to reveal my pyjama bottoms and fluffy slippers…but it didn’t matter to him.

I would have marvelled at the fact that I felt like I knew everything there was to know about him because all outside factors were removed, no date nights, no low cut tops… Just me and him talking about our lives- past and present, our wants for the future, our fears and secrets.

I would have raved about the power of the Internet -in particular Facebook chat which then progressed to Skype– and how it managed to connect 2 people (whom were a mere 77miles apart) in more ways than just the literal sense. It allowed us to be together, to talk, to hear…to see each other despite the physical distance. It provided comfort, excitement…But overall it produced love.

BUT

This isn’t 6 months ago… And now I know what those fond memories of mine really are… I know the truth behind the story of how “we” came to be. I know that all of those heart to hearts, all of those deep and meaningfuls… all of that “connecting”  was just an act. It was pretend, a virtual reality… perfect on screen but not much good in practice.

It was done for my benefit as well as his own with no intention to be malicious…but it still hurt in the long run and it was executed brilliantly. I mean acting and lying over a text is so much easier than face to face isn’t it? Which is the ironic thing in this…because I would store those texts, those emails, that chat thread. I would cherish them, I would re-read them if ever we couldn’t get time to talk to each other. I would use them to comfort me when I had a bad day, to encourage me when doubtful of the path ahead… To make me smile when I had nothing else to smile about. They were my modern day love letters – sent and received within seconds AND saving paper 😉 The written text felt so much stronger than just hearing it, more solid… So real!

But they weren’t, none of them were. They were just words formed in a way that he thought would have the greatest impact. Copied from past conversations, heard from TV shows, mimicked for years. Just words from someone who was hiding behind a screen. Like a firewall or an antivirus protecting himself; Testing it’s perimeter and managing to block out any threats… Until one slips through and the whole system fails. Well fuck the system, I’ve slipped through and I’m not going anywhere. I’ve thought about how easy it would be to just hit ‘delete’ on all of those cherished ‘love notes’, the ohotos of us… but I can’t. I don’t want to, it would take seconds to delete them all but I’m sure I would regret it just as quickly. I don’t want to delete parts of our past…even if they weren’t real for him…they were and are real for me.

21st century love is being able to store virtual  memories on an external hard drive, deleting the rubbish and rebooting the system so that when the day comes for you to look back at them- they are safe, protected and unharmed. A perfectly edited version of you…of your past…just the way you want to remember them.

xBx

 

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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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Isn’t it Ironic? Wish you were here

“Wish You Were Here”

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

The second time I met my husband was a month after our first meeting, we had spent the time in between talking constantly, texting, messaging, skyping, calling…getting to know each other inside out. we fell in love during those conversations – without actually saying it- we missed each other terribly and couldn’t wait to see each other again…so understandably the next time we met we were both anxious about whether our feelings would grow on a physical level too. They did, we spent the night with friends, meeting people, having fun; we were finally able to touch each other, to hold each other…. That night was amazing but of course before we knew it it was time to part ways again for another few weeks.

A friend of ours was strumming away on his guitar and began to play ‘wish you were here’. he played (and sang) it beautifully. high on emotions the song highlighted that even more and from that point onwards it became our song.

We had it at our wedding ceremony to play us out, I made table decorations from the sheet music, I would listen to it whenever I missed him, he learned to play it on the guitar…I had ‘wish you were here’ engraved on his wedding ring, written on my wedding shoes…the song and that line meant so much to us … but now…when I read/hear the lyrics they take a different meaning.

Wish YOU were here… I do! I wish HE was here, that person I fell in love with, the person I thought I was marrying…but he’s not and the chances are HE will never be here again…and god that hurts! The lyrics seem to taunt me… so you think you can tell? Can you? Can you tell its all bullshit?? Can you tell the difference between the real me and the mask i wear? can you? really?? …NO! I couldn’t!

‘We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.’

Two lost souls…I think I may change my tagline to that because it sums us up perfectly right now, its what we are – lost. Going round and round, trying to figure this out, trying to find ourselves…trying to find each other

HOPEFULLY it wont be long till we find HIM…the real him and no he won’t be the same, WE wont be the same but I can get to know him, I can fall in love with him all over again; I cant wait for that to happen, I cant wait to be with him again and I am positive about the future… but some days this dull, nagging ache in my heart just wont leave and I realise its because I just miss us too much…I miss HIM too much; I wish HE was here :/

xBx

 
33 Comments

Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Isn't it ironic?

 

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