I don’t generally venture to this part of the forum, but as the lone bloke at the moment, I feel I need to say a few things. Sex for a man does not necessarily equal love. Many men are able to detach one from the other, especially in younger years. That is, sex is not necessarily an expression of love, it’s an expression of availability. Once the switch has flipped in an FA, an AP’s instinct is to get closer, as you say, and make themselves more sexually available.
Please don’t judge yourself too harshly. From reading, I understand the devastation. While you’re here and giving this a good crack there is hope of change. You don’t have to act that way again.
Do you think he acted shameless , but now the shame has become yours ? So that you now carry the shame This can sometimes happen.
Maybe you don’t know, that it is not yours ?
Thank you. I'm having trouble sorting out what is mine and what was his view of me that I'm internalizing.
I feel like, as a woman, I'm sort of groomed to carry the shame of sexuality, as in I should be ashamed I was too available for sex, but the man should not be ashamed that he took it, because of course he did.
Reading all this, I'm remembering that there was a thread of misogyny woven throughout his behavior, despite him being a man who claims to love women, who has mostly female friends and a great relationship with his mother and his teenaged daughter.
In his mind, he was just doing what men did when he went to the strip club, or hired a sex worker, or toggled between two women who both wanted him for a relationship. When I talked to him about how damaging sex work could be for the workers, and how could he? He actually argued once with me that the MEN in the strip club were the ones being taken advantage of! He was so proud of himself that he was comfortable talking to beautiful strippers, didn't understand why, since I'm attracted to women, I had no desire to go engage with women as commodities for purchase.
He was willfully unaware of the power imbalance between genders. We argued over this.
We had many talks about the male gaze, and how one of the things I loved about my lesbian exes was how they gave no f***s for looking the way society tells them they should look (to please men) and how I found that totally hot. He, on the other hand, loved it when women dressed in a way clearly intended to get men's attention ("slutty.")
All this is confusing because of course, it turned me on to be desired by him, and where is the line between that and being objectified?
Alexandra is correct in saying sex was more about his gratification than mine. I'd brought up the orgasm gap many times, but the argument was I just couldn't get there as quickly as him, so (shrug.) Another reason he should have a second woman, he said, so I could take a break.
Mrob, I do understand sex doesn't always equal love, I guess I thought though that if he really didn't want to be in the r'ship with me, he'd shut it down to make it easier to extract himself.
What's tough to bear is that he'll do just fine in the "scoring women" dept. Where I live, straight single men are greatly outnumbered by single women, and any guy who is halfway decent-looking and employed is going to be sought after. For me, a middle-aged woman, it's sadly a different ball game.
Thank you all for helping me sort through this confusion. I want so badly to move on from this and hate feeling stuck on someone who, when I talk it through, I realize wasn't good for me.
"I'm not conventionally attractive or feminine, kind of a tomboy. This he USED to say was what he found so erotic about me. But then he also used this as an excuse for him seeking r'ships with other women. He wanted me AND a barbie doll. He wanted stripper bodies once in a while, because I'm petite. Him saying these things made me feel unattractive, whether he meant it that way or not. I found myself dressing more girly around him, and I still am, kind of like it."
I'm sorry you were made to feel too much and not enough at the same time. It really is an awful feeling. People with narcissistic traits really are experts at appearing to compliment you while they are actually tearing you down and that sort of gaslighting can do a number. One of the telling signs is the confusion you are left with after. Your posts highlight his selfishness and entitlement. I can't remember if it's come up before in this thread but you may want to read Why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft.
I'd suggested this before, but can you meet a therapist online? It opens up so many more options than limiting yourself to what's available locally; then you can really tailor someone's expertise to what you need. IFS work is super helpful. It has been for me.
Then you can explore things like the part of you who feels she is standing outside the circle, doesn't have a seat at the table, doesn't belong.
Any addiction is a disconnection from self. Being alone isn't just about being strong/independent/not needing anyone, but having a connection and relationship to yourself. When we can turn inward - first - and feel what we're feeling and let it be okay, then having to cling to others becomes less of a thing. That's been my work here. Just trying to know myself, hang with myself, get to know my different "parts" and their motivations and wounds so I can be present to them before projecting all that "out there" for someone else to manage or fix or solve or heal.
usernametaken, thank you I will look at that book, I feel like I've seen it around/heard of it but I'm pretty sure I haven't read it.
seeking, I agree the IFS stuff is helpful, works great for me because I have a strong imagination. I looked at online therapy, too expensive unless I do one of those cheap online therapy sites I probably shouldn't say by name. I've tried those before and let's just say you get what you pay for.
I am feeling so much better, thank goodness. Whatever had me in it's talons last week seems to have let up significantly. Possibly that parking lot encounter with the ex where I acted totally pathetic actually helped me see there's nothing there worth hurting over.
And flying home to visit my oldest friend was the smartest thing I could have done. She's known me since we were 13, and loved me that long, and I could see myself reflected in her eyes and get back to the core of who I am. I got so much love from her, and her kids, and her pets I left with much more of a sense that I DO have a family when/if I need one.
She was actually one of the 3 beings in my internal family as my nurturers, despite the fact that I hadn't seen her in person since 2004. The other two are deceased. Re-upping my friendship with her was smart, and I was able to help her sort through some of her life-stuff too, so we both seem to have benefited.