silverhopes Since we're talking about opinions being ignored, I wanted to make sure yours were not, so I just wanted to acknowledge the things you posted that really resonated with me.
I've heard people say that it's a great time to be a women, but it doesn't feel that way. Along with #metoo came the backlash, the accusations that women are liars or are making mountains out of molehills, or making it so that men can't even talk to them anymore - so much blame, on top of blame we already carry. It exposed the deeper problems of seeing women as being less credible, or being the ones who "ruin everything" by complaining.
^^ I too have felt this quite a lot. My XH and I got married just a few months before the 2016 election, and I can see how things started spiraling even then. Without getting into the actual politics of it, seeing his response to a lot of the feminist issues that came out after the Access Hollywood tapes were released made me seriously question our relationship. I assumed that the single father of two daughters would be more enlightened in that respect, but damn was I wrong on many fronts. He actually said things like "misogyny doesn't exist unless you talk about it. continuing to talk about it just breathes life into it.." WTF???
I found myself questioning whether we should be married, but I told myself that I committed to this man, and that I should do everything I can to make it work, even if that means getting into deep discussions over issues like this and trying to find common ground. Funny, for someone who claimed to be turned on by arguing with me, his fragile ego couldn't handle it and had an affair instead. He even went so far as to once tell me that he was pushing my buttons on purpose to get a rise out of me. And not just being sarcastic and joking with each other, that kind of banter I appreciate. He literally admitted to doing things that he knew he shouldn't, because he knew it would bother me, and he was testing to see my reaction. That should have been my biggest red flag.
Sometimes I feel like that is what a lot of men think our emotions are - just a game. They want to see how far they can push it. I'm sorry, but if you feel like you can't talk to women anymore because the things you are saying might be misconstrued, then you are probably right. You shouldn't be talking to anyone in a manner that could be construed as any form of harassment. And if the only way you know how to communicate with a woman is in those terms, then you need to learn new forms of communication.
As a woman, I'm finding myself deeply affected by the misogyny as of late, to the point where I'm wondering, just what is good about being a woman anyway? We can't want sex without being shamed or dismissed as not having as great or relevant libidos as men do (this stereotype alone angers me so badly that it's the main reason why I keep taking breaks from SI, because unfortunately that one particular thing keeps coming up on certain threads, and it triggers me so badly), then if we goodness forbid happen to be survivors of sexual assault then we must have either asked for it (which makes no sense - aren't we constantly assumed to lack a sex drive, up until the moment we're assaulted, then suddenly we're presumed to have one?!) or not done enough to prevent it, or else we're "making a big deal about nothing". If we want to work in various fields then we're somehow "feminizing" or changing things. If we talk about things that upset us, then we're "bitching and complaining". And we're never "good enough" as wives or mothers. I hear so much criticism that I forget: what does society respect and admire about women again? Are we valued or even liked at all?
I feel utterly overwhelmed by the generalizations and criticisms we face as women. ￼ That's all. I don't have a clear point, really, just venting I suppose.
^^ Yup. All of this. Overwhelmed is an apt description.
My XH and I were trying to get pregnant in the months leading up to me finding out about the affair. I was understandably upset each time I got my period. I am a deeply emotional person, and would often cry. It doesn't help that the hormones produced during that time make you more prone to crying then anyway. The one person I should have been able to express these frustrations to decided to shut me down instead. I was "too emotional." He actually told me "if you're so stressed out all of the time, you shouldn't be having kids." This coming from the man who has massive anxiety attacks where he can't stop rocking back and forth for hours on end, but refuses to go on anxiety medication and instead self medicates with marijuana, but has sole physical and legal custody of his two daughters. I cannot even count how many times I sat and helped him through his panic attacks, even if that meant sitting silently in the other room and just checking on him every 30 minutes to make sure he was ok.
I fired back at him and said if anxiety automatically disqualifies you from being a parent, then you most definitely shouldn't be one. Not my finest moment, and of course I don't actually believe that anxiety is a reason not to be a parent, but damn if he didn't take that extremely personally. But MY emotions on the subject weren't valid, only his were.
And yes, my XH shamed me for the amount of sexual partners I had prior to him. Tried to say that he had only had sex with 5 or 6 women in his whole life, which I find incredibly hard to believe given his sexual compulsions. But when I claim sex with upwards of 15 men, he tries to make that into a bad thing, that he had no idea I was so "promiscuous," but then also simultaneously use it against me when I wasn't in the mood. For someone who had been with so many men, I certainly wasn't acting like it. Didn't I know that dressing up in lingerie for him "awoke" his high sex drive, he had never felt any of these feelings before me? And shouldn't I be flattered that he is masturbating with my underwear because that shows how attracted he is to me? And isn't waking me up out of a dead sleep at 3am by trying to have sex with me really a compliment? The fact that he still "comes after" me (yes, those were his words, "come after") shows how much he cares about me. Um, contrary to popular belief, I am the only one who gets to decide when and with whom I have sex. I can have a high sex drive, and also not want to have sex with you at any given moment - shocking, I know! It actually completely tanked my sex drive over time.
And not being a good enough wife or mother, that shit really irks me. I feel like for many men good wife = has sex all the time. Like no joke, in a working dad, SAHM situation, if the kids weren't taken care of, house was a mess, cupboards empty, appointments all missed, but they had sex every night, it wouldn't matter. How on earth is that a good partnership?? But based on many of the threads I've seen here, I can't help but wonder if that is what they're after. In my case, I handled all of those things AND worked a 50+ hour work week. Sorry if sex wasn't higher on my priority list than let's say, I dunno, SLEEP. Something I actually biologically need in order to function.
And yes, coco, the sexual gatekeeping thing has come up on multiple occasions. There was even an entire thread with that title recently. It makes me incredibly sad to think that some men view their wives that way. Somehow the "biology" behind libidos is always brought up, the "need to perpetuate the species" and yet nobody acknowledges that women ALSO have a biological need to procreate. So if they for some reason are not wanting to have sex with you, then it is of course possible that there is some biological thing going on with pain, menopause etc., but there could very well be some psychological reason she does not want to have sex. We also have a biological drive to have sex, so if for some reason we don't want to, then there is definitely an explanation for that. Now if she refuses to explore the reasons why and just shuts it down, then of course, that is grounds for some serious, potentially relationship-ending discussion. But treating sex like something that has to even have a gate keeper at all is screwed up on so many levels. The word "choreplay" is thrown around a ton, insinuating that doing things around the house - things they should be doing anyway as a good partner - are just done to "earn" sex. Fuck. That. Shit.
Then there was a t/j in another thread re: how when dealing with infertility, the men feel like they are just being used as a sperm donor. This is something I am particularly sensitive to, as my XH said it to me on a couple of occasions. First off, let's not ignore the fact that many of the men are literally saying that their need to have sex a lot is a biological one, something they just can't avoid, because BIOLOGY! But then when women are choosing to have sex for that very reason all of a sudden that is a turn off. Hmmmm, do they even realize they are now admitting that sex in our modern times has more to do with emotional connection than with biology? The mind literally boggles.
Secondly, can they not possibly understand that this isn't just biology, that this person has chosen you out of the millions of other men on the planet, and she wants her offspring to be half yours, and that should be taken as a giant compliment? Is that not the most romantic thing somebody could say to you? I waited for years for my XH to get a vasectomy reversal because he was the person I wanted to have children with. But apparently having sex when I was ovulating - because I so badly wanted a child with him, that I was willing to go through the hassle of temping, checking cervical mucus, charting, peeing on sticks etc. just to make it happen - was just too much for him to handle. Obviously I'm projecting a lot of my own issues on this particular topic, but damn if that wasn't triggery as hell.
The comment about outsourcing really bugged the crap out of me too. It was specifically talking about how even things like emotional support, talking things through, getting advice etc. could be "outsourced" to other people like friends and family, but sex was the only thing that couldn't. I'm sorry, but when XH and I were together, I valued his opinion more than anyone else's, on everything. Anything good or bad happened in my life, he was the first person I called, every time. Call me crazy, but is that not the point of partnering up with someone for life? That particular thread drove me up a wall. I miss my partner a hell of a lot more than I miss the sex, because the level of connection we had meant that even just our conversations meant more to me than conversations with other people. When something happens, I still have to fight the impulse to call him. It's gotten better with time, but with certain big issues it's definitely still there. When I found out my dad had to have another surgery, the fact that I couldn't call him to talk about it nearly broke me.
I totally get that it's fucked up that their WWs were not having sex with them, then went out and had crazy sex with their APs. But a lot of the language around it seems to treat sex as a "right" that they have, and sorry I'm not sorry, you do not have the "right" to anyone's body but your own. They also constantly bring up physical touch as a love language, without acknowledging that there is a hell of a lot more to that love language than just sex. If you don't value hugs, back rubs, a pat on the back, holding hands etc. just as much, then physical touch is not your damn love language. Trying to pass off sex as a love language is so messed up for those of us whose LL is actually PT.
Obviously there are BHs here who I don't think view things that way - Bigger, Stevesn, sisoon etc. - who do try to be a mediating force. But their opinions are often drowned out by the alpha ones.
As a BW, after reading a lot of these threads I feel like I was just a glorified sex worker, and I was fired because I wasn't doing a good enough job. Intellectually I know that's not true, but it certainly feels that way when I am in my darker moments. I'm sure it's also harder for those of us who were in relationships with sex addicts, as the sexual compulsions/obsessions were much more obviously at the forefront. If I had just shut up, had sex all the time, and never voiced any of my concerns about anything else, then everything would have been fine. But that's no way to live.
Anyway, back to more BW specific issues - have you found that your sex drive has gone up after the separation and/or R? I have personally been having a ton of sex dreams (unfortunately about my ex, as I haven't been with anyone else to wipe the slate clean). I really don't get it, but it's driving me up a wall, because I don't feel ready to date AT ALL, and I feel like anyone I attempted to date right now would just be collateral damage, but damn if I'm not horny as hell for no apparent reason. Just another confusing thing to throw into this healing process. I'm sure I would be just as confused if my sex drive went back up while I was trying to R. It's incredibly unsettling that the person who hurt me so badly is the person I'm dreaming about. It feels masochistic to be honest.
Yes, I could go out and seek sex with someone right now, and that might numb the pain and get rid of the loneliness for a couple of hours at best. But it would creep right back in as soon as the dopamine hit wore off. I know if I wanted to, I could get dressed up and go to just about any bar and find someone to have sex with. But that's not really what I want right now. More than anything a big hug would be damn nice.
Sorry again for always long posting. I blame my English background, I'm always writing a dissertation. If anything, this is like journaling for me. I know those who don't want to read can just pass it up and move on, but I end up apologizing every time anyway. Oh well.