I feel like he wants a different person
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|Sat, 11-19-2011 - 11:09am|
My H and I have always had ML. I'm fairly conservative and don't need a lot of stimulation, and he's the opposite. There's a lot to our story, but I'll try to stick with what I'm dealing with right now.
About 4 years ago, a sort of "perfect storm" occurred, and I really opened up and we had crazy and frequent sex for about four months. The main trigger for this was that I found out he had flirted around with a younger woman and then he told me he ultimately turned her down because our relationship was too important to mess up. So between the instinctual need to reaffirm our relationship and the thrill of thinking I was that important to him I let down a lot of barriers that I didn't even realize were up. Things changed a few months later when I found out that he HAD cheated on me multiple times throughout our 21 years of marriage. It also didn't help that I went back to work full-time (I was not working during those four months).
One of our problems now is that I am not able to open up like that, and my H is very angry about that. I WISH I could open up more, but I am typically a very guarded, conservative person with a more than average need to feel safe, so after finding out about the cheating, I find it very difficult to let him back in. I've tried to explain how difficult it was finding out the first time, and that I feel if I open up like that again and he cheats that I would literally have a nervous breakdown. I know it sounds melodramatic, but I'm not a melodramatic person and I'm dead serious about this. I am willing to work on it and try to make things better and let my guard down a little at a time, but he wants me to have an epiphany and for it to go back to how it was right now.
I feel that I am constantly being held against the standard of what it was like then, and that I always fall short of the expectations. This makes it very hard for me to make any progress or attempts towards making things better because when I take a risk I usually do not get positive feedback, and sometimes get negative feedback. My H has a lot of experience with pornography and with other women, so I feel my attempts are feeble and rarely, if ever, live up to his expectations. Sometimes I think he'd be happier with someone else who is more experienced and a HL, but he insists he loves me, wants to stay with me, and only wants to be with me. Add to that 2 kids and 25+ years of marriage, shared friends, etc., and we both want to make things work.
I guess one of my big issues with all this is that it's very difficult to feel sexy when you feel you are constantly underachieving in the bedroom. I felt really sexy during that short time when things were great. I felt that he had turned down other women for me (he told me about another one he had supposedly turned down - he hadn't) and that I was enough for him. Now I feel that I am never enough for him and never have been (except for that short period of time).
I know he is frustrated, and I can't blame him for that. He says I'm holding back and that for that short period I was everything he wanted. He wants 100% again, and again I can't blame him. But I try to explain to him, why things are different now and that I can try to work towards that, but honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be that same person again.
I don't think that each person has to be 100% for a marriage to work - I mean who is? I don't expect him to be 100% available emotionally and socially. I try to make this analogy. I have excepted his limitations here and don't hold him up to a standard of perfection. But he refuses to accept this analogy. To him, if I expect him to be 100% faithful, he should be able to expect me to be 100% open sexually. To me the analogy is this: I am 100% faithful and I can expect that of him. We should both except each other's limitations when it comes to opening up emotionally and sexually, and work on it together in a positive way and enjoy the journey.