Hi there! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I hope I can help you with your question.
I think it's great that, for starters, you have opened the door to discussion and both realize it's a problem. I think it's also great that you are on the same page as far as your desires to get it back.
This may seem overly simplistic, but sometimes the best way to get over our discomfort is to "step into it." In other words, you have to actually DO something outside of your comfort zone, repeatedly, and then it becomes more comfortable. I know this is very difficult for most of us, because we want to "feel" something first and then act, or we want it to come "naturally." But this is not always possible. In fact, often times, a feeling is created as a RESULT of "doing."
So, I have a few questions for you that may help me answer you better. How long have you been married? How long did you date before you married, and how long were you together before your child was born? How old is the child now?
We have been married for almost 14 years. We dated for a year before we were married, engaged in 6 months then pregnant 5 months later
We have 3 kids
13, 8, 6
He tells me that now, it kind of feels like "talking to his mom" when we try to talk about it. I will send him a racy text and often I get an LOL (ie nervous chuckle)
So, it sounds like this has been an issue for about 13 years then. Is that correct?
I guess so...
So, this recent discussion where the door was opened to the topic...is that the first time you have had an open discussion about sex in the past 13 years or so, or is talking about your sex life routine for the two of you?
There was an affair 4 yrs ago... we went to counseling but didn't follow through but it did help us in the short term, but we need more help. I've reached a point, personally that I am ready to open up and get down and dirty with all this stuff. He recognizes it as well..
I have been very reserved and uncomfortable about alot of things about me over the years, and I thought that I was feeling more and more comfortable with him in the bedroom as well...
Okay. That's good for me to know, about the affair. It sounds like there may be some more healing to be done around the affair. And it's great that you are ready to get down and dirty with it. It will likely be difficult for the two of you to do, but finding a good counselor who will help you "go in to the pain" is really necessary for the long-term healing to take place.
It is the first open discussion that we have had....since our first child....I don't know if it changed his view of me to him and we didn't continue, with added stresses of new family, job, school, etc etc...that we never allowed time to talk like that.
I think it's noteworthy that you mention you have been uncomfortable with yourself over the years. We generally tend to think that sex is about connecting with our partner. This is true, BUT, what is even more true is that sex is about connecting to our "self." Our ability to connect with another person through sex really is a window into how we are feeling about our self.
Ahhh, yes. The birth of that first child can also impact a lot of how we view our selves, our roles, and our relationship to each other. So it makes sense that it occurred around that time. So, this is a long time coming.
There may be more healing needed I have gotten through alot of it
One thing I wonder about the healing of the affair....
yes, yes it is..
In my view, affairs are only a symptom of another problem in the marriage. In other words, the affair is not "the problem" per se, but the manifestation of an underlying issue in the marriage that has likely not been addressed. Was your counselor able to help the two of you identify what that was?
We may have touched on it, but I don't think that we had gotten to a point that we could do anything about it. Here's a little more history - this is deep
on me - I was sexually abused at 7 years old. Didn't hit me until I was older and a little more "active" My parents were married - apparently happy... I had boyfriends, had sex at 16. Was a little risky for a small town girl in my first couple years of college, but not horrible. Most of my relationships were over 9 months long...
He tells me that he was not as promiscuous in college
Okay. That's all helpful to know. How much of your own work have you done around the sexual abuse and healing from that trauma?
I don't know if I've blocked it out or what, but He tells me that we tried something early on, and I had a breakdown and that's when I told him about this abuse and he says it has hindered things since. There were times that we went once per month and had sex, now - more like at least weekly for the last couple years..
I have accepted it for what it was, have done much reading...
Hmmmm...that's very interesting - that incident that your husband remembers, but you don't. It's also significant that he is pointing to this incident as the one that changed things. The frequency of sex is not necessarily an indicator of having healed. Does that make sense?
So, as for your healing, you have done some reading. But you haven't done any sort of therapy? Is that right?
Let me give you a little insight into what I know about survivors of sexual abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter. When we are violated in such a profound way (in essence, our soul is "punctured"), there has got to be a way for us to heal from that wound. And it is much more than an intellectual endeavor. Reading is helpful, in that it may help normalize some of the things you feel and the behaviors you do. However, until we can go into the pain and feel the full range of emotions around what was done to us, we cannot be truly WHOLE.
I'm sure it is difficult to hear this, because I'm opening up a door that I'm challenging you to walk through.
And that door is the one to your own wholeness and healing. Once that is accomplished, I think you will be in a much better position to rekindle your sex life with your husband.
I understand that. I have grieved that fact.
Have you felt anger towards your abuser?
Okay. So it sounds like you've already begun your healing journey. Good for you.
Perhaps the incident that your husband was referring to so many years ago was very upsetting for him. Perhaps he does not know how to deal with your status as a survivor of abuse. Is it possible he was also victimized? If so, your revelation may have hit his own "stuff." (But I don't get the sense that's the case).
And it sounds like he did not feel he could ever talk to you about it again after it happened.
And, yes.... so he went to have that need fulfilled..
I don't know if he was victimized...
So, perhaps one place to start this conversation about your sex life is to get back to that incident, the thing he feels triggered the change in your sex life, and rebuild from there.
So, could you ask him, point blank, if he was?
He clearly needs to share how he feels about what happened to you.
You can then share with him what you have done to heal so far.
sorry for the delay
No problem. I'm going to have to sign off in a minute, but that doesn't mean we can't continue this via the regular Q&A format, if needed.
Before I go, though, I have a book recommendation for the two of you.
I will ask him point blank. and we have briefly talked about that incident...
I have shared how I feel about myself now as opposed to longer ago..
I feel much more secure with mysefl and how he makes me feel as a woman and safe.
That is great. It really sounds like you have grown a lot and have done a lot of your own healing. That is an important ingredient in the two of you being able to move forward.
So, sometimes, reading a book together is a GREAT way to get the ideas and conversation flowing. It provides a springboard for all sorts of relevant conversations. The book I'd like you get is called Passionate Marriage, written by David Schnarch. It is incredibly deep and powerful. But I think it would be an excellent place for the two of you to begin.
Our openess in communication has been lacking over the years for sure...
Okay. Well, then re-learning how to communicate again is also going to be key. Communication is never "THE" problem, but it is an essential tool that is necessary in order to be able to get to the problems.
He says that he loves me and that he feels that he has more to give, but doesn't know how to get through over the hurdle of what we've been discussing
Do you think that this book will be helpful?
Dr. Schnarch takes a very different approach than most counselors who try to help couples. But, in my opinion, and in my experience over the years of working with couples, he hits the nail on the head. In addition to helping your relationship be better, his approach is ALL about each individual becoming more whole themselves. I think it's a wonderful book and that it will help. This is not a "fluff" book; like I said, it's deep and it may take you a year to get through it. But the timing doesn't matter. As long as you are progressing forward, it doesn't matter how long it takes. These kinds of changes occur in baby steps anyways. And sometimes it's two steps forward, one step back, so don't be discouraged.
Set aside some times for yourselves, even if it's only 15-30 minutes per day, and read this book and talk about it together.
Your other option is to find a good counselor - one who is specifically licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy.
But the book is a bit more economical. :-)
So, I've got to run for now, but if you need to talk more, or have any further questions, please let me know. I will check back throughout the day. I do hope this has been helpful thus far!
I'm not worried about cost, but it sounds like a good start..
He has a bad taste in his mouth about the last counselor. Would it be wise to let him choose this one?
This has been very helpful. And its good to know that we're pointed somewhat in the right direction.
Do you think that having him read a book together would be shoving this in his face?
THE MOST important thing when choosing a counselor is that you BOTH feel comfortable with him/her. Without that, the counseling will go nowhere. So make this a JOINT decision. Don't just let him choose, you both go. Think of your first session as the two of you "interviewing" and getting to know the counselor as much as the counselor is getting to know you.
As for the book, I was assuming that since both of you are on the same page about the problem and your desires, he would be open to it.
I think he would
maybe its just my fear of response that I need to get over.
I would simply just tell him that you've "chatted" with me, and this was a suggestion for the two of you. Again, don't buy it and then say - "here let's read it." Tell him about our conversation today and see what he thinks about you buying it. Then, again, it's more of a joint decision.
Yes, it may be fear....hard to get over when you have not been open for so long.
Thank you so much for your guidance, It was most helpful... Is there a way to contact you should I have further questions regarding this matter?
Thanks!! We'll see how it goes... :-/
Yes we have talked and of course, have much more to do. He was going to evaluate it while he was gone on business and we would likely have another talk sometime later this week (wed on sometime....) He did mention that he didn't want me to be pushy or he would be sure to pull away.. So, I wait. It seems like an eternity. Very hard to me not to reach out to him, as I know he is trying to sort through things too...We finally had a talk about the affair!! We identified the "why" I think...and I think that I have figured out some things about myself that provided an additive effect to other issues. I guess some of my old habits die hard, and I'm ready to put them to bed, for good!! Would love to talk more to you if I could. Thanks again!