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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am kinda new here, and I don't really know any of you and that makes me kinda nervous. But after reading things in this forum, it appears that you can talk about just about anything. So here goes.

My H and I have had a very boring sex life for a very long time. Let me give you a little back ground. We have been married for 20 years. Neither of us had much experience before each other. I used to think that was the problem, but over time I think there is more issues then just that.

My H has been emotionally and verbally abusive for 10 - 15 years. It pretty much comes down to spousal abuse. Battered wife syndrome, (mentality), since there is no physical battery.

My H and I have been going to marriage counseling. He has since greatly lessened his abusive ways. But I am having a hard time connecting to someone who I know has the potential to be so cruel. He has stopped his abusive ways, but I see a constant reminder of what he can do and fear for what he will be capable of doing again. I tell him that sometimes. He wants to know shy I don't react to him sexually. He gets angry when I tell him why
i am not comfortable having sex. He gets angry that I am not more forgiving. He gets angry that I am holding a grudge. (Really, How do you forgive that)

That is problem number one. The other part of the issue is that I was raped by a guy before I met my H, and I have a history of CSA.

I neglected to tell my hubby what happened to me in the past, and my H had no idea the things he was asking for and the was he was asking were so closely related to my rape. So for many many years that ate away at our sex life. I didn't tell him because I was afraid of his reaction. I thought when I did tell him that he would be more understanding to why I do what I do. But it turns out he is angry that I hold against him what someone else did to me. So I am wrong to not want to do the things he wants me to do. I am not holding these things against him and making him pay for the mistakes of of someone else. I just happen to have huge issues with sex. (Does that make any since, I can further explain if need be, not sure how far the limits of sexual language can be pushed here at this site)

For the most part I dissociate during sex, and cry when I do stay present. We are in marriage T but it doesn't seem to be helping so much with the sexual issues. I am hoping that with time these issues will go away.

The T has been very helpful in dealing with the Rape and the CSA. I think I am pretty much over the rape affecting my sex life.

The main issues though is having sex with my husband after he has been the abuser. From experience, is it possible to overcome spousal abuse and go on to have a normal sex life. Any suggestions as far as books, or anything that might help would be greatly appreciated. I don't know if it is even possible. I wish I could just forget about sex, and never have it again. Take away the sex issue and our married life is pretty good.

Thank you for listening.
 

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Are you in IC? Your MC is not usually the right person to also provide IC because there is a natural conflict between the two processes.

A book I like is called "Haunted Marriage". My wife is a CSA survivor, and the book helped me understand the issues. There is a support forum at Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivor Message Board, Support Forums & Chat Room for CSA and rape survivors. A better resource than aftersilence would be a real life support group in your community, if one exists.

It sounds to me as if he really is somewhat abusive towards you. CSA survivors can falsely associate their husband with their abuser, and though I am not at all familiar with rape issues I can understand how he unknowingly could have triggered issues for you if he was asking for things which related to your rape.

So having said all that, I think there may be a combination or additive situation going on, where his abusive actions plus the triggering of your past traumas has caused some deep wounds for you. Part of the damage is to your ability to have fond feelings towards him. He doesn't feel safe to you, so there is no way to be relaxed and trusting.

You didn't write that your MC has said anything such as you are over reacting to him, nor that you are imagining abuse which isn't really happening. So I conclude for now that he is still in some ways abusive towards you.

Total all that up, and I think the answer is that this man is not someone who brings good things to your life. He does not sound like someone who is genuinely and kindly working with you to deal with your issues. Even if the entire situation was related to your past traumas (and I don't think it is only your past traumas), he is not being kind, loving, and supportive of your recovery.

So that is a long winded way of saying I think you would be much better off without him.

Has your MC stated anything to you about your husband's behavior or about his progress?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The counselor I have does mostly trauma therapy. We located her as a marriage T from a former T. The former T had no idea about the other issues that played into our marriage issues.

We did MC for a year, then as a trust became more apparent, I told the T about the rape and she helped me talk to my H about that. At that point we did separate T sessions. So she could help me deal with the rape, and him deal with m rape as well.

We worked on that for about 6 months. We went back to doing MC. But due to anxiety and inability to speak what was on my heart with my H present we have done a lot of work apart. The T for long time was very watchful because even though my H was doing better then he was, it was still a borderline case. It was a huge concern as to weather or not it was safe (mentally) for my children and my self to be in. Over time things have improved enough that the T is no longer concerned with the depth of the abuse. It is still borderline but not to the degree that it was.

Haunted Marriage, I will have to look for that. I am a member of aftersilence and it is a huge help. My T recommended it.

I can't figure out ho to do the quote thing on this site, but this is what you said "So having said all that, I think there may be a combination or additive situation going on, where his abusive actions plus the triggering of your past traumas has caused some deep wounds for you. Part of the damage is to your ability to have fond feelings towards him. He doesn't feel safe to you, so there is no way to be relaxed and trusting." "So having said all that, I think there may be a combination or additive situation going on, where his abusive actions plus the triggering of your past traumas has caused some deep wounds for you. Part of the damage is to your ability to have fond feelings towards him. He doesn't feel safe to you, so there is no way to be relaxed and trusting."

That is so correct. That may indeed be part of the issue. I do not try to associate him with bad things, it just happens, or I don't know what happens and it is all a blank. When he is done with me, I stop retreating into my self and I get up and walk away or cry which ever.

My T has not said I am over reacting or that abuse is not really happening. She has said he has made huge strides and efforts, great change has taken place, things are improving but there is still a lot of work to be done. My fears are very real and there is a possibility that he could go back to old habits. Just as anyone can make changes, old habits can creep back in as well. I completely understand if things ever get to the point that they were before T I need t leave for my safety and my children safety. I hope I have the stregnth to do so. My T has told me if she sees him back sliding and things getting to that point she will have the children removed. She knows how hard of a time I have had walking away from him.

It has been a year since I told him about the rape and the CSA and I kinda wish I would not have told him and would have cut my losses at the time. It has been a huge struggle from that point on. More of a struggle then the usual daily struggle. I don't know how long to expect it to take for things to settle down. I know I will never forget, (the rape and CSA) but I don't feel like it is a grudge I will hold forever either. I son't know how long to expect his emotions to be raw either. Maybe a year is to soon, maybe it takes longer. I know he feels betrayed and lied to because I didn't tell him and that has hurt him terribly. He doesn't understand that due to the spousal abuse I didn't feel comfortable and safe enough to tell him about all this stuff. With the help of this T I was able to tell him and I thought we could move on. I really had no idea it would take this long. But I guess 25 years of holding on to the silence, it can't be gotten over in a short time.
 

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You say "I wish I could never have sex again. Take away the sex issue and our married life is pretty good."

I'm going to disagree on this point. I'm going to suggest that you have become so accustomed to long term abuse that you are unable to judge what a good married life is like.

You have numerous issues to overcome. You cannot achieve an intimate sex life with your husband unless you can trust him with your innermost self. You cannot trust him due to his abuse. You have been abused multiple times, the rape, the CSA, the emotional abuse by your husband. Being able to open up and trust anyone is probably going to be the greatest struggle of your life. But with THIS man, who has been part of the problem, it would likely take a miracle.

It sounds like he is being compliant and yet you have the investment in this healing process. It sounds like perhaps he is part of your healing, but he is in need of his own healing.

Some people can have sex, no problem, no emotional baggage. For a lot of other people, though, sex is the barometer for the marriage and your barometer is telling you to not trust this man with your body and intimacy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You say "I wish I could never have sex again. Take away the sex issue and our married life is pretty good."

I'm going to disagree on this point. I'm going to suggest that you have become so accustomed to long term abuse that you are unable to judge what a good married life is like.

You have numerous issues to overcome. You cannot achieve an intimate sex life with your husband unless you can trust him with your innermost self. You cannot trust him due to his abuse. You have been abused multiple times, the rape, the CSA, the emotional abuse by your husband. Being able to open up and trust anyone is probably going to be the greatest struggle of your life. But with THIS man, who has been part of the problem, it would likely take a miracle.

It sounds like he is being compliant and yet you have the investment in this healing process. It sounds like perhaps he is part of your healing, but he is in need of his own healing.

Some people can have sex, no problem, no emotional baggage. For a lot of other people, though, sex is the barometer for the marriage and your barometer is telling you to not trust this man with your body and intimacy.

This sounds eerily correct. You are correct, I am unable to judge what good married life is like, I have become accustomed to abuse. The T has suggested I have become so accustomed to abuse that I am not always able to see when abuse is really abuse and when it is to much for children to be involved in seeing. I hope I am getting a better grasp on that reality now that the abuse has lessened. I hope I am able to see if the abuse does return and I am able to walk away.

Trusting anyone is a huge issue for me. It took me 20 years and a damn good T to be able to trust my H with information of a rape. I'm not sure if that was trust or desperation. I'm leaning toward desperation. I don't trust anyone. I don't confide in my parents, friends, relatives, or anyone. I trust my T now, but it took me a year to trust someone who is in a profession of trustworthiness and laws protect protecting confidentiality. I do not trust easily that is to say the least. It is hell not to be able too trust my own husband. As much as I want to, I simply can't. In the back of my head is a gnawing fear. I don't know if I can ever trust this man, or any other man for that matter.

I want to stay married to him, but I an not sure that our marriage can handle my being guarded during sex. Mos t of the time when we have sex, I just want to cry. I don't want him to touch me. I don't want it to involve any emotions, because emotions are real and they are scary or they are tender and needy. And sometimes vulnerable and tender scare me more then abuse.

Now doesn't that sound crazy. Some times your own words have the ability to speak volumes to you. That just happened. "I don't want to involve any emotions, because emotions are real and they are scary and they or they can be tender and needy. And sometimes vulnerable and tender scare me more then abuse"
Yikes. So very true.
 

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You know, as I was saying, I think some people are capable of great sex maybe without having to touch that vulnerable and tender part of themselves. But then some of us aren't that lucky (or perhaps the other people are the unlucky ones) and we have a great deal to give and to share but in the absence of true trust we can only give 10% and come to believe that 10% is all there is to sex.

Once that trusting part of yourself has been broken it's very difficult to put it together again - even with someone who IS trustworthy. I think it is possible, but I don't know how much with someone who has been part of the damage.
 

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Your story is really very complicated. You fear your husband in spite he did huge improvements, but yes on the other hand he could get abusive each day. I really recommend for both of you learning mindfulness meditation, for you because it is always good and for your husband to manage his anger. And it is better to go somewhere together that he does not feel like the bad boy with anger issues. Buddhist centers are cheap and usually do a bit talking too, there is a lot to be learned about anger from them (not that I'm a Buddhist). There are the talks of Ajahn Brahm on youtube, I really like them very much, watch them together. There was one talk about survivors of rape that you must somehow learn to see all the other good things about you and not only that you are a victim (I can't put that in words very well).
If you shut off sex completely he will feel rejected and your marriage will suffer a lot, otherwise you suffer very much that is very difficult.
The fact that he has anger issues could be due to childhood issues he has which he didn't tell you either, maybe he just swept them under the carpet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Blue - No my H is not doing any kind of anger management. I am afraid to request he go to anger management classes. I have heard there are folks with a lot of resentment and there is a lot of discussion about how to avoid involving the law in domestic disputes, there seems to be a lot of other habits that arise due to anger management such as passive aggressiveness and stonewalling. He doesn't need any other new habits.

Generally he really does come off as a very calm person to the average eye. I know that I am super sensitive, I have PTSD. He is so much calmer and even toned then he used to be, I am just having a hard time getting past what he used to be, and will he be that person again.

Appletree - I do know what you are saying. It is hard to find the good in rape and abuse. But I choose to look at it as a gift of some sorts, It has allowed me to be able to relate to others who have been in the same position as me. Otherwise I would have no way to relate to that individuals issues. It gives me an opportunity to talk to other young girls about how careful they need to be, and things they should avoid. And most importantly how important it is to fight for you, say no and fight till you can't fight anymore for the safety and fair treatment of YOU. If I have to look for positives that is it. I understand what you are saying, this is by no means a positive, but what is good that one can find in this.

It just affects my sex life and I can't make it go away.
 

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This is certainly a complicated situation. For full disclosure, my wife is a CSA survivor who did not tell me until we'd been married 29 years.

I can thus understand your husband's feelings towards not being told for so long. You are not in a position to have an objective view of how your CSA and rape have affected every aspect of your life, but I think you do understand that the long term effects are significant. For me, I felt that had my wife told me at any one of several points in time it would have made a huge difference in our lives. Instead she let me struggle cluelessly through the years trying to reach her and trying to improve the marriage.

There are some unresolvable differences between CSA survivors and Secondary survivors, and this is a big one. This is one area where both sides have to understand that from the other person's perspective they have valid reasons to feel the way they do, yet from their own perspective they have valid reasons to have the opposite position.


know I made mistakes, too, so I am not blaming her alone for our problems. Likewise I am not blaming you alone for your marriage problems. He has his issues and you have yours.

But I do think that your husband is having some common reactions to finding out about what happened to you. For that I don't blame him. But those feelings are in a separate bin from all the other issues such as you recovering, you both working to heal the marriage, and his abusive behaviors.

I just don't see how things can move forward if you are having such difficulties with sex with him, and given his behaviors are still marginally abusive.

First the sex. What does your T say about how unpleasant it is for you to have sex with him? It just seems to me to be harmful for you to do this. If you are basically ok with sex then it seems possibly beneficial for you both to be using emotionally safe sex as part of the healing. But if it is still causing you to dissociate or feel threatened then it seems to me it is harmful to you and harmful to your marriage. Does your T think it is good for you to be having sex, or does a moratorium from sex make sense for a while?

Secondly, if he is still close to the line being abusive, how can this be helpful to your healing? What you need is a partner who is caring and supportive. Yes it is tough to be a Secondary, and yes there will be disagreements and frustrations during the recovery process. It just doesn't sound to me like he is being helpful at all. And if he is making you feel scared because he is close to being abusive, it sounds to me as if he may be harming your recovery.

That's a bit long winded, but I'm trying to say I am worried that your recovery is being undermined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
jellybean that is 100% true. Lack of trust, increased resentment, and the daily life's stress can be a real libido killer. Throw in some anti -depressants to kill the sex drive, good grief, who needs birth control.

It's just not fair to me and not fair to my husband either. I just wish I could change things and I can't. It seems my brain won't let me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thor, You make some very valid points. I am so glad to hear from another male who is in a somewhat similar position as my H.

My H feels much like you do. Had he known, he would not have done the things he has done or said the things he said. (But on the other hand that is not excuse for him to be abusive "Had I known what was going on I would not have done that" PLEASE give me a break. Abuse is OK if you are the first one to dish it out is what that sounds like to me) ANYWAY sorry my little rant ran wild there. Maybe had he known some of this could have been avoided, that I will agree.

As far as the sex goes and the discussions we have in T.... The T has said stop for 6 weeks, then go back into things slowly. I get to decide when we have sex and he may not badger me for it. If I feel like it then we can do it. I need to try to stay present. Which is certainly easier said then done. But I can manage for a matter of minutes to stay present and not dissociate.

The T says don't do it if you do not want to. It did help our relationship out more then anyone would imagine to be told I do not have to have sex with him whenever he wants it. Just to be told I don't have to and the T telling my H with me present "She doesn't have to, let her come to you" has been a huge help. This leaves my husband getting it once every two weeks. I know that sucks for him, I get that, but sex when I don't want to sucks for me and is very counterproductive.

At this point I NEVER want to have sex, just some days I know I do not want to and other days I don't not want to. Which at the present time is as close as I can get to wanting to.

He is no longer being borderline abusive. That is the point things had gotten to. They are no longer at that point. Lets say on a scale of 1 - 10 and 10 being abusive enough that the T has to make that call, he Was a 9. Now he is a 2. The best possible option would be to be a "0". Disputes and disagreements shouldn't even be on the scale of abuse. They are an unpleasant fact of life. It is simply difficult to live with someone else and get along all the time. Disagreements happen ugly words get said but with the intent to win and set emotional scars in place so that someone will not cross you again is not right. And that is what his goal feels like to me. Though I have been known to over react. I sometimes see life threw tainted lenses.
 

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Not getting as much sex as I want can be frustrating, but to be honest it is far worse to get sex when it is obvious she isn't into it at all.

I think you should stop worrying about your husband's feelings so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thor, that is what my T said. Quit worrying about my H so much, he is a big boy and can take care of himself. I need to take care of me and worry about me.
 

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Thor, that is what my T said. Quit worrying about my H so much, he is a big boy and can take care of himself. I need to take care of me and worry about me.
Big Mama I am so glad you are here. I am in a very similar situation. How long did it take for your husband to go from a 9 to a 2.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Blossom it took 3 years and 2 counselors, and a whole lot of therapy.It has made a HUGE difference, but the way things were still keep me distanced from him mentally.
 

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omg, three years... ok.. so next question... was that first year enough of a change to encourage you to keep going?

We have four counselors on this thing... two professionals and two through our church.

the psychological is wearing me out... we've been separated since 2/17
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We only had one T at time, well at least one was finishing up as another was beginning. We also had my sons T in the mix. It was very difficult to have so many professionals involved. We are down to one T and it is so much easier. It is hard to tell who to listen to, and if we receive contradictory information it makes it hard. We have one main T and anything we that we start new we run by her first. Or anything that doesn't sound completely right, or anything at all really, sometimes she asks so what yall working on now. It is so SO much easier now that we just have the one T.

Having a church counselor or two is something to be ware of. I go to church and my H is a deacon in the church and I'm not saying church counselors are bad, just make sure they are qualified. So many times church counselors are good for smaller issues, or as like talk therapy, but sometimes if that is not there field of profession and something they are trained to do and went to collage for it may not be the best option for bigger issues. By all means do what works for you though.

I did talk to my pastor about the things that have been going on and it was very helpful for him to be able to steer me in the right direction biblicaly, but there is no way I could tell my H I went to our pastor. He would be so angry, not only that the pastor knows but that someone who knows him knows what is going on with us.

We have one T who does marriage T with my H and I and who also specializes in trauma therapy. So we have done trauma work quite a lot to. At this point my H sees the T one day and I see her another day.

Your other question was after a year was it enough to keep our marriage moving forward? Barley. He was trying and making change, super tiny changes, but they were changes. I cannot reward effort and change by leaving, so I stayed. 2 years into T it was still a struggle, but a lot easier to cope with things. 3 years in, well it has been tough, he and I have both learned a lot. I will have to go back and see what I wrote here. I forget, I have a very short term memory. I'll have to get back to you with an update.
 
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