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Manly?

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Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 08:12 AM

What things have you done to make your husband feel more manly? We all know that infidelity can strip away that manly feeling, and make the Male partner, especially the bs Male, feel like he's lost a piece of his manliness. Perhaps you're a Male ws, and have been stripped off your own manliness feeling. What are some of the things you, or your partner have done, too help you regain that manly confidence? How have you restored that feeling, confidence level, and manly self worth?

Stinger posted 5/27/2020 08:27 AM

It would have taken a lobotomy for me , that or my XW enrolling at MIT or Cal Poly to start working on a time machine. What I mean is once you know something i.e. that your spouse finds you less desirable than her AP , you cannot unknow it. It's there, the plain, cold, hard truth: your wife thinks more of the other guy, prefers him and the only reason she is with you is because of consequences and family and societal pressure.
I think it would be a constant struggle employing mental gymnastics of the highest order for a lot of guys to feel confident that their cheater chose them post discovery for the right reasons,and that they are first choice.

fooled13years posted 5/27/2020 09:13 AM

Up until the day I was informed that my ExWW had cheated I had never experienced a problem in the bedroom.

Every time that I tried after finding out I experienced ED a could not perform.

After my divorce and now that I am married I have not experienced that type of problem.

I do not assume to speak for every man but I don't know of anything my ExWW could have done to help me get over that problem had we stayed together.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 09:28 AM

Fooled,
I'm not talking about ED or truly sexual manliness, but the general feeling of manliness. After you and your xww separated, (since you're separated) what did you do to restore that part of yourself? What steps did you take to restore your manly confidence? (Seeing as how you're now remarried) What has your new wife done to help instill that confidence, manly, feeling in you? What could your xww have done, that she didn't do, that you think would have helped you?

hikingout posted 5/27/2020 10:20 AM

Itís early for you guys. I think there are so many concepts that are actually separate here.

First and foremost, concentrate on why you did this and what you need to change. Our thoughts need checked during this time. In order to do different we have to be different and that in the long run is going to have the best chance of having impact on your spouse.

Second, itís our responsibility to try and repair damage though taking accountability and doing some of the heavy lifting in the relationship. We refer to that around here as providing an environment in which our spouse can heal themselves. Read how to help your spouse heal.

Itís too early for this but eventually your husband will have to come to the conclusion (On his own) that you do not define him or his manliness. You do not hold the keys if his worth. This takes quite a lot of time and is part of his work on healing. We canít do all the healing them even though we inflicted the wound. We can best help them by supporting them, protecting them, showing our love from our heart, and owning our true accountability for our actions to the extent we are willing to acknowledge all those pieces and truly work to fix them. Itís a process for sure. You must be vigilant, present, patient, resilient, empathetic.

I wish we had pinned a post I once saw by holding together, a male bs here who has reconciled. I will not be able to do it justice. But the gist of it was by making yourself his healer, that puts you in a different level he may resent. Instead you have to get down in the floor with him and realize you are both healing and broken together. Some of that cake off a quote from brave sire robin as well. I never forgot that because it really is some of the struggle of this - being able to get in each otherís level rather than always trying to fix. Just listen to him and be there for him and when you work on yourself it may provide him some hope and insight things can be different.

hikingout posted 5/27/2020 10:25 AM

duplicate post

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:26 AM, May 27th (Wednesday)]

Westway posted 5/27/2020 11:02 AM

I wish I could be more helpful. My STBXWW never got a chance to show me anything, but even if she had tried it would not have meant anything. If she had tried, I would have known she was faking it. I agree with hikingout to a point in that it is a man's responsibility to make himself feel his worth.

Problem is, every woman has a definition of what "manly" or "masculine" is. In my STBXWW's case, that is the definition of black men. As a white man there is no way I could fit into her definition of "manly". So I do it for myself by keeping fit, practicing martial arts and boxing, so that I know I can take care of myself in the world. There is a certain amount of confidence that such practices instill.

If you are not attracted to your husband physically, then no amount of praise or cajoling is going to work to make him feel manly. He will know you are not being authentic. If you are lucky, you will get a man who is pragmatic and can accept that you are not attracted to him sexually and he can learn to cope and move forwards in other ways. Or, you can let him go and let him find a woman or women who will be attracted to him and want to be with him. It is all about being real and honest.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 11:11 AM

Hikingout,
We're several years post dday. I've had a few years of ic, and have been doing the work. (While I do admit that I don't frequent This site as often as I probably should, I have been watching many videos on affair recovery, and utilizing other sources.) Through therapy I discovered a whole world of past (childhood) damages that I wasn't even fully aware of. No no that's not excuse or reasoning for my actions, absolutely not. I worked through those, and have made it more or less to the other side. I have worked diligently to be safe, accountable, supportive, and loving through His healing, and through our healing.

The question was more geared toward helping him regain his sense of manhood. It is something I absolutely stripped him of many many years ago, and again at dday. I have been trying to help him restore that within himself, but feel as though I've gotten to a point where he has to heal it within himself. He pointed out the other day that it is something I took from him, and that I need to figure out how to return it. I'm feeling stuck, because I am not sure how to do that.

In general we are doing well. We have many more good days than bad. Antiversaries are still quite difficult, but less so that earlier years. The highs aren't as high, and lowes aren't as low. Much of our relationship is evening out.

This seems to be a place where he is stuck, and I am stuck on how to help him.

Stinger posted 5/27/2020 11:23 AM

Essentially, I did what others referred to, divorced my wife. Then, I focused on my kids and friends, jobs and athletic pursuits.
I was a good college athlete, pro golfer, and in good shape, had a good job. As such, I got hit on a fair amount. But, I never regained aall my confidence back and never trusted a woman again.
So, I have wound up alone, except for my kids and friends. I travel, play golf, see my kids and grandkids, socialize.
The reality is that as a CSA survivor, I was able to trust just one person intimately, my XW. And, once that was gone, trust for anyone was not coming back, try as I might.
So, for me, the answer to restoring some of my manliness was to divorce, go my own way, and learn go be content by performing my responsibilities to my kids and community. And, just living a moral life with integrity.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 11:39 AM

Westway,
I absolutely find him attractive. He is gorgeous in my eyes, and that attraction grows daily. I personally see him as very manly. He is incredibly smart, very handy around the house. He can fix almost anything ( computers, electronics, wiring, plumbing, building projects, mechanical etc.) He's a fantastic gardener, strong, caring, and resourceful. He does a fantastic job handling our finances, and business, all while continuing to work a full time job, while the business grows and stabilizes. He genuinely cares about my health and wellbeing, and protects me from myself (and others) as needed. Ie he makes sure I eat well, rest, and allow my body to heal, and that no one injures me further, or exposes me to any infections. (I have a physical injury that flairs up when I over work, and immune compromised health issues.) I'm incredibly grateful for his diligence. I do the same for him, making sure he has a warm meal to come home to (essential worker), making sure he has clean clothes to wear, and that the kids (teens and young adults) are taken care of, as well as being accountable, and being a safe partner to him.
Due to stress, and health issues, sexual drive has been down for a few months. (Not to the point of ed, just due to being overwhelmed, exhaustion, physical soreness, and depression.) However when we Do engage it is really good, and satisfying.
In MY eyes he IS very manly, but he doesn't seem to Feel that way about himself.

[This message edited by Investednhealing at 11:43 AM, May 27th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 5/27/2020 12:49 PM

I am sorry - I misread your join date.

I think that itís probably true he can only regain that for himself. If you are pursuing him and have done the work, you can only continue being consistent. If your join date is close to your dday we are on a similar timeline. They say 2-5 years in general so we are really at the beginning of that timeline.

Have you asked him if there is something specific he is looking for? I realize sometimes itís just they want to feel better and donít know the answer.

tushnurse posted 5/27/2020 13:02 PM

Invested - I think you are confusing Manly(ness) w/ self-esteem.

It doesn't matter if you are male of female, most of us who have been betrayed lose a lot of self-esteem it is only natural for us to question why wasn't I enough, or if I only was this that or the other, it wouldn't have happened.

This is a dangerous trap that you can get caught in on your healing journey as a BS. One has to always remember that we are just a victim of our spouses choices and their choices ultimately had ZERO to do w/ who we are. Then we must work to heal ourselves, find that we are pretty awesome people that have survived more than most, and offered an amazing gift. Then from there regain our self confidence in who we are in any number of ways.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 14:43 PM

Hikingout,

It took me a while after dday to join si, like a long while. So I think we're actually a little further out than you are, but not by much.
He said he isn't sure, and will think on it more. He just knows that that is a spot he is struggling with. (Feeling manly, and having self worth.)

Tushnurse,
I think for him the two are tied together. Manliness and self worth both.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 14:48 PM

Stinger,
Divorce is not on the table, and hasn't been for a long time. Your other suggestions of focusing on himself is good advice. While he isn't into athletics really, hiking and weight training have been things he has enjoyed, but currently isn't motivated to make time for.


Any other suggestions? Dig deep.

Buck posted 5/27/2020 18:45 PM

Invested, if I were you I would re-read stinger's first post a few times. What he posted is the crux of the issue. It's up to you to figure out how to make your husband feel desired as a man again. I mean show him you want him in every way. Let him know how stupid the A seems in hindsight. How foolish you feel about it now. Fix your issues that led you to make the choice to betray him. Guarantee him that those issues are fixed and that you will never even consider taking that route again. Make damn sure he knows you chose him for the right reasons. Give him the cold, hard truth and answer any questions honestly so he can make an authentic choice. Initiate sex often.

Then you need to reassure him over and over until he believes it.

Also, have him get his testosterone levels checked. Have him see a doc to discuss whether or not he's clinically depressed. Encourage him to exercise and eat right. Have him consider taking a martial art like jiu jitsu or boxing. Buy a pistol and join a league like IDPA (this is fun as hell IMO). Play men's softball. Buy a motorcycle. Hell, there's tons of guy stuff, just support him in whatever he picks.

waitedwaytoolong posted 5/27/2020 19:05 PM

You are 5 years out. You have said that your marriage is doing well, divorce is off the table, and your sex life though not frequent is satisfying

Yet something is off. Is it just words from him, or does it manifest other ways. Is it possible that things may not be as good as you think? This is not meant to scare you, but my guess is my wife could have written something like this during the time that I was thinking of pulling the plug. She was looking for things to be good. I am hoping for you that this is not the case.

Many WW wives believe that the "manly" thing is something that is if they show more enthusiasm for sex, the feeling will go away. It doesn't. It is a huge thing. It is also something that can carry a lot more weight than most WW think.

I would push him into the weight lifting and getting fit. Go somewhere and have him get a few great things for a wardrobe. I got in great shape after her affair. I bought new fitted clothes. I even bought the classic mid life crisis car. (better than her mid life crisis choice of our electrician) It did wonders for me to have both men and women comment on how good I looked. If you can get him to feel better about himself totally, the manly aspect will hopefully get carried along.

Stinger posted 5/27/2020 19:36 PM

I guess time is said to help for some. I think the actual ability to recover and to what extent depends a lot on the amount of past trauma the betrayed has experienced in childhood, in particular.

There is a good book by Susan Anderson entitled " The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" ( I think I got that right. Read it a long time ago).
She has a background in Neuropsychology, I believe. She explains how the amount and types of chemicals released in the brain from betrayal trauma is markedly different between individuals with little or no childhood trauma/abandonment and those who have a history of this in childhood.

I had an extreme reaction that has lasted. As mentioned, I was sexually abused at 11 . I, also, grew up with a very abusive, alcoholic parent.

So, I think my background had a lot to do with my inability to get my confidence back and inability to ever trust again.

One thing you might want to look at is whether your husband has had a traumatic childhood in some way. He might consider therapy, and it might give you some idea as to his ability to recover and to what extent.

Realistically, as I unearthed a lot of repressed trauma through therapy and read the book, I realized that I was done and there was not a thing I or anyone else could do to get my confidence back.
It was not a question of being able to forgive. I have forgiven my abuser, my parent and my XW ( despite their never having acknowledged or apologized. )

So, maybe start there, his childhood to see if there is hope.

As far as practical suggestions, I think others have given some good ideas. But, realize that what works for another may be completely ineffective with your husband.

Try to think, really be honest, do you think that if he had done this to you, is there really anything that could be done that would make you believe you were your husband's s first choice now? Wouldn't you always question whether the renewed allegiance was a response to consequences or buyer's remorse vs genuine desire and value of you for yourself?

I think that many people who cheat fail to realize that they have crossed the Rubicon if their spouse has certain vulnerabilities from past trauma.

In many ways, the pay for reconciliation services businesses do the prospective cheater a disservice in promoting the idea that only a small % of marriages fail to survive and that in a lot of cases, the marriage is improved post cheating.

Anecdotally, based on lots of interactions with betrayed spouses, I do not think that is true. I think many marriages are damaged beyond repair, as is the betrayed spouse.

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 19:55 PM

Buck,
I've spent a lot of time binge watching Affair Recovery videos lately. (When hubby is at work.) I've heard both sides of the coin on sex. You suggest I initiate it, and do so often. Others say to let the bs do more of the initiating, as they are comfortable. So I am getting conflicting responses on that subject and will discuss this deeper with my bh and see what His response is.


WWTL,
Yes I am sure divorce is off the table. We have discussed this many times over the years, and we decided that we were worth fighting for. Everything isn't all candy and roses allllllll the time, no truly healthy relationship is.
While I can't speak for him directly, I can say that this is something that He brought up, as something he felt he was still missing. He sometimes speaks of the person I was before, and the person I am now as two completely different and separate people. (Because I've worked very hard, and changed on so many levels. ) He made the remark, looking at old old pictures of me, and said I want to be able to look at you, the way I use to look at her. (Talking about my younger self. ) I still find you so incredibly beautiful, and that hurts. (His words)
Then he went on to say that he feels like I took his manhood away from him, and he wants it back. He doesn't seem to know how to get that feeling back.
The "working out" is a great suggestion. It's something he's expressed that he wants to do, but he is often so exhausted that he doesn't have the motivation to do it. He's tried to start working out a few different times, but loses interest after a bit, and loses motivation to press forward with it.
He isn't very sports oriented, he never has been. So the whole beer and a ballgame thing does not really appeal to him, weeell other than the beer part. Lol

Thank you all for your suggestions, please keep them coming.

waitedwaytoolong posted 5/27/2020 20:27 PM

Can you set some time to do the workouts with him? I have had great experiences with the workout videos on you tube. I am in better shape now than when I was going to the gym 4 days a week. Even without weights, they do so many different things than I was doing (and I mixed out various workouts in the gym) that I am hitting every body part. Instead of standard push ups, Iím doing them from what feels to be contorted positions, but it works

The yoga programs are great to. Both workout and yoga have beginners videos so you donít have to be in great shape starting out

Investednhealing posted 5/27/2020 20:51 PM

WWTL,
I messaged him about that earlier. (He's at work.) If he is open to it, I would like to do exactly that. We Do have workout equipment, we also have young adult sons that workout regularly. There is also a very nice trail very close to the house. If he is open to it, I think it'd do both of us good to be more physically active. Maybe I can get our sons to help encourage him as well. Thank you for your suggestions.

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