Hi Hawke! Nice to see you again. ( I share your concern about the gender conflicts elsewhere on the boards and demoralisation of feeling no point in engaging with it because one is just branded and dismissed as some label or other.)
I didn’t even know there was a Betrayed Women’s thread. Delighted to meet you all. 😊
Regarding the body self esteem or lack of. It does take a hit immediately after an A, especially as many of us are hitting menopause, or just had a baby or whatever.
What we have to remember is that it is generally about their, the WH, lack of body self esteem. Seeing themselves age in the bathroom mirror, seeing themselves age also in the mirror of their spouses. So they are looking for another mirror, one that will tell them that they are the fairest of them all. Certainly that’s what my WH was seeking, plus to feel dominant for once, powerful, plus she laughed disproportionately to all his jokes, so he says, so he felt witty, suddenly a raconteur. So, in his own midlife dislike of the aging process and the existential crisis that can often hit then, she mirrored everything he wanted to see about himself.
I also know very clearly, because I knew her, had even published her writing, that she wanted my life as well.
If you despise yourself post A for any body deficiency, then I suggest you are possibly looking at yourself through his eyes, or at least how you fear or imagine them to be, critical, judgemental and comparing you to another model. But you may be failing to see it was most likely himself he was judgmental and critical of on the whole. Yes, we wives, aging alongside them, are indeed reminders of the mortality they are trying to escape through an A. It is their existential angst or ennui and fear of aging they are trying to escape, their fear of just being a provider/ parent etc that they are trying to disprove, their fantasy of carefree and responsibility-free youth or singledom they are trying to enact.
Please try tostop looking at yourself with their eyes or with the generalised male eyes judging us from every billboard and every advert. We have been told since day 1 by the adverts that we fail, our bodies fail to live up to the perfect body images bombarded at us daily. As intelligent women we know that we are being made to not feel good enough so that we will buy products, but yet some of it is in fact internalised - we do look at ourselves with male eyes sometimes and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Because we want to be attractive to our male.
But now - now I’ve lost enough people in my life to be grateful to my body for still being here, still being able to do all the things I can do (a point being driven home now that a couple of chronic conditions have reduced that list) - now I realise that DH kinda likes me for the whole package, including the baby bearing belly, and kinda likes himself for his whole package, including all his knobbly bits.
It is so easy to feel discarded like an old worn out cardigan after an A. But let’s not discard or body shame ourselves - let’s, as Chaos says, regard ourselves, with proper care and respect and gratitude for what we have. Oh, and exercise and self care can just generally help us feel better as well as look better.
Ok, getting off my soapbox now.
[This message edited by Edie at 2:15 AM, April 10th (Wednesday)]