I feel like he wants a different person

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2008
I feel like he wants a different person
14
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.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2007
Sat, 11-19-2011 - 2:13pm

I don't think his statement about faithfulness and sexual availability was meant to compare supply to supply and demand to demand; I think he was telling you that problems occur when supply doesn't match demand, whether it's his oversupply to your low demand or your undersupply to his high demand.

Was the affair a symptom of the ML or was it attributable to something else? If it was a symptom of ML, I can see how that plus his comments make you feel inadequate. And even without an affair and his critical comments, I think you would probably still feel inadequate. I believe that is typical of LL people in ML relationships, just as feeling rejected and unwanted is typical of HL people in ML relationships. Your feelings probably mirror his and vice versa.

Is there any middle ground where neither of you feels inadequate or rejected? Can you find that middle ground? If not, maybe he does want a different person and maybe you want a different person--one whose high libido doesn't make you feel sexually inadequate and broken. He's not that person. If you accept him for who he is, his higher libido is part of that, just as his acceptance of you requires acceptance of your lower libido.

What I believe is most troublesome in a ML relationship is when one of the two partners believes their feelings and needs trump all--whether that's you expressing your needs and getting them met or him expressing his needs and getting them met. It's easy for a person whose spouse has had an affair to believe that their own feelings tend to be virtuous and "normal" and therefore superior to the perverted, illicit

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2009
Sat, 11-19-2011 - 7:39pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2005
Sun, 11-20-2011 - 11:46am

Thank you for such an articulate piece of input. It is so important when "LL's" share - HL's, by their nature, are always willing to write, talk, think and act in matters sexual, wheareas

---------------------------------------------------

FREE TIBET! *

* - with the purchase of one Tibet of equal or greater value

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2009
Sun, 11-20-2011 - 9:50pm

I think there are three kinds of people. There are those who never cheat no matter what. There are those who cheat at any opportunity. Then there are the people who cheat because they feel justified. I'm excluding people in open or non-exclusive relationships, of course.

Now, you are married to an admitted cheater. If he cheated because he felt justified (not saying that's right), you might be able to heal the damage together through lots of hard work from both of you (therapy, patience and sheer determination). If he's the other kind of cheater, he'll cheat again no matter what you do unless you chain him to your bed and don't allow visitors or bathroom breaks.

You've been living with the knowledge of his cheating for four years. You haven't left. You haven't kicked him out. (At least that wasn't part of your post.) Clearly you have your reasons for keeping your marriage going but if he's angry and you feel emotionally unsafe, you have work to do.

I'm wondering. It's not in your original post. What was your sex life before your four-month opening up? What has it been like since? What was it like before you got married? What will it look like if you and your husband can resolve your issues?

I just wanted to touch on one more thing you mentioned. You said you and your husband should accept each other's limitations. To me that means he has to accept whatever you are offering sexually and you have to accept his cheating. I don't think that's such a great deal for either of you.

My only advice is to be clear on what you want and be clear on what is not within your control. You've been married for more than 25 years. You're not an inexperienced, virgin bride. You're a powerful woman. Good luck with all that's in front of you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Mon, 11-21-2011 - 8:48am
>>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.<<

Oh goodness, I know how you feel here. I was a wildly different person sexually when DH and I started out. Now nothing short of exactly what we had at the beginning is acceptable to him. I struggle with this all the time. I'm a different person now, and it's a GOOD thing, I'm more healthy mentally and physically. Why can't he just accept that some changes are going to happen? Why can't he own his own part in that and be happy with my efforts? Where's the appreciation for how hard I try and what I've been through?

>>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 what you mean here, too. How can you feel sexy when you know you aren't "good enough" for him in the bedroom? I don't what the solution is to this either.

You have some issues that we've not had, with the cheating and all. Have you guys had any counseling? It's very difficult to get past the dishonesty and lies and distrust that they bring without a some kind of outside help. I'm so grateful that we've not had dishonesty and mistrust to get beyond, I don't think I could deal with that on top of our sexual issues.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
Mon, 11-21-2011 - 11:24am
<>

You can't make HER behaviour YOUR quest. But you know that, don't you?

F.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2005
Tue, 11-22-2011 - 10:44am
Of course I know that...one does not read hundreds of your posts without learning SOMETHING...and besides, if that wasn't the case it wouldn't be a "never ending" quest, would it? ;)

---------------------------------------------------

FREE TIBET! *

* - with the purchase of one Tibet of equal or greater value

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2011
Tue, 11-22-2011 - 12:36pm

I'm sorry for your situation.

I'm in a ML marriage, I'm HL my wife is LL.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 12:37pm

Hi

chaika

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Tue, 11-29-2011 - 10:36am
>>Do not worry about his criticism as much as hearing the positive.<<

I'd like to know the mental gymnastics involved in doing this, when you already feel inadequate.

Pages