How's everybody holding up?
I've been having some triggers lately with respect to XH's sex addiction... mostly surrounding the language some people use to describe sex in relationships, and how those types of attitudes seem to correlate with what I experienced as the spouse of a sex addict.
Any implication of ownership, duty, owing, "wifely duties," "choreplay," sex being transactional, prior sex life being "false advertisement," and just the general ignorance that sex drives can in fact wax and wane according to circumstance etc. They come up a lot in threads here, and while I know we can't discuss threads outside of their original location, I just felt it important to bring them up as the source of the trigger so people know where I'm coming from.
My question is, how do we go about weeding out people who think like this? I can't stand the thought of being in a relationship with someone and finding out they think this way again.
I felt very duped by my XH. Verbally, he was adamantly opposed to hiring sex workers and forms of sexual exploitation. He had seen it a lot in his world travels, and on several occasions talked about how wrong it is and how bad he felt for these women. Cut to a month after DDay, weeding through our phone bills and finding multiple calls to escort services going back as far as 6 months (I didn't bother to look further, that was enough, but due to some context clues and a few puzzle pieces falling into place, I can safely assume it was happening throughout our relationship).
He was also very body positive. Constantly told me how sexy I was to him, how beautiful my body was. But also talked a lot about how he considers himself "sapiosexual," and how he finds my soul and my mind even more beautiful than my body (I know, barf). Then in between my 2 DDays, before I knew that the AP wasn't just his long lost daughter, he said he wanted a divorce, and said things like, "I thought you were going to be more active," and "You stopped dressing up for me." Very shallow opinions that I didn't believe he held until his mask slipped.
Oh, and he made a point early on to tell me how his Dad had taught him that rape is the worst thing you can do to a woman, and he would never, ever do anything like that! He was kind and loving. Very attentive in bed, very much focused on my comfort. I felt cared for and considered, not used. But then years into the relationship I find out he felt that I owed him sex, that because we were having less sex, we were "getting to be like brother and sister" (um, EXCUSE ME, I do NOT kiss my brothers like I kiss you, you asshole). And towards the end, consistently would not keep his hands off of me, even rubbing all over me when I was sleeping, to the point where I would hiss at him through clenched teeth to keep his hands to himself, like a cornered animal.
In the beginning he would talk all the time about how hard I worked and how much he admired that. How he had never met anyone who worked as hard as him until he met me, and how great that was. Then towards the end I started getting a lot of "You're never home," "You're always tired," and "I work so hard and you don't even appreciate it!" Like him having a job and paying his half of the bills is some feat of accomplishment that deserved blowjobs on demand. Meanwhile I was also working my ass off, working more hours than him by a considerable margin, and still managing to do a ton for him and the girls, and paying my half of everything. So I was understandably tired and maybe not really in the mood when I would come home after my 12 hour shift to find that he had done a whole lot of nothing and was basically like a dog begging for his bone the second I walked through the door, only this dog wasn't cuddly and cute, he had a cock ring on and a raging erection.
My point is, he said all of the right things, and for years successfully hid that he actually believed the entirely opposite things. Even in the throes of his masturbation/porn habit at its worst, I could see it for what it was, a really terrible habit of self-harm, and I truly did not view him as malicious. His real attitudes about sex/bodily autonomy in relationships did not become clear until much later, and by then I was stuck for various reasons.
So in a way I feel responsible for not knowing. Because, unintentionally, I fueled his entitlement to sex. Yes, in the beginning he was doing a ton of nice things for me, having great conversation etc. And it just so happened that every time I slept over there, we had sex. But then that was only 2-3 times a week, and of course the other days we weren't having sex because I wasn't there. And on those days I felt great. I just went about my day, still talked to him, still felt seen and heard in our relationship, no complaints from me about not having sex those days at all. But he felt, well, I don't know what he felt! So horny he couldn't stand it? Going off of what I know now, probably masturbated multiple times each day just to get himself through until the next time we saw each other? While I saw those days in between as just normal life, he viewed them as some form of deprivation. Very much like a heroin addict jonesing for their next fix. So in some weird roundabout way I almost feel like I got him addicted to me (well, sex with me). He learned "Every time she sleeps over we have sex!" like the rat in the cage pressing the lever for another hit. In bed together = sex, boom! So when we moved in together, and therefore were sleeping in the same bed every night, he thought "We'll have sex every night!" and was then sorely disappointed that this was not the case. He couldn't figure out why the lever wasn't working anymore!
I am out now, thank the universe, but I'm so afraid that I'm going to be sucked in by one of these people again. I do NOT want to end up yet again with someone who thinks that if they put enough "nice" coins in my slot they are entitled to "insert sex act here" from my sexual vending machine. Problem is, in the beginning of relationships, you usually are having a lot of sex because of NRE and all of the excitement that comes with that. But as time goes on and you're no longer down to have multiple nights in a row of no sleep because you realize that is unsustainable, then what? Am I just doomed to repeat this cycle because I've basically trained the rat this way?
And these "nice guys" don't tend to rear their ugly little heads until after they've been rejected. So what, do I just refuse to sleep with someone for several months at first and see how they respond to the rejection? I guess the struggle is with determining what version of nice is genuine, and what is just "trying to get into your pants." To be honest I'm concerned that some men would just view me as a challenge, and then they would turn on that niceness and charm even more. I spoke to my therapist about this at length a few sessions ago, that I truly believe that my XH viewed me as a challenge, as someone he could wear down over time.
I have always been very opinionated on the topic of sex, consent, gender equality etc., and have never been afraid to speak on those views, even when others might believe the opposite. I don't need to be argumentative and bring it up all the time, but if the topic is broached, and I feel someone is saying something that is wrong, I don't back down. In other words, I do not suffer fools. Something he repeated ad nauseam was something that he loved about me. Then he was SHOCKED when I didn't just bend over and take it when he started spewing nonsense - he LOVED that I am an opinionated badass, until my opinion contradicted his world view that he can have whatever he wants whenever he wants it as long as he screams and stomps his feet long enough.
Anyway, I know we usually discuss dating over in new beginnings, but I felt like the struggle with this particular issue is so specific when it comes to being the spouse of an SA. It's just such a mind fuck to think that on days when I was feeling satisfied, safe and fulfilled by just existing in our relationship, he was feeling deprived. Especially when he was saying the exact opposite. How can I ever take anyone at their word again?
[This message edited by HeHadADoubleLife at 6:03 AM, July 11th (Saturday)]