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I have shut down sexually and need some help.

(13 Posts)
Saltpig Thu 07-Mar-13 09:00:30

Have nc'd. I posted in Menopause about this but a response I had makes me think this may be more a relationship issue.

I had my last period 2 years ago, two weeks after discovery of ex's second affair. I'm 53 btw so it's menopause.

However, since then I have had absolutely NO libido. I've had a relationship with a guy who I fancied like mad but sex was a problem for me. I felt I didn't want him seeing my body, i couldn't relax, couldn't get turned on.

Each time we had sex I kept remembering what my ex said to me before I discovered for sure he was with OW - that he just didn't want to fuck me and this was the reason why I was, at the time, so distressed with him. That was the cruellest and most humiliating thing anyone has ever said to me. I felt ugly and ashamed of wanting him, imagined that he must have felt disgusted by me .

I ended the relationship with new partner a month ago for a number of reasons and this was one of them. I felt like I was deceiving him as he said he loved me, adored my body but I hated him seeing me naked and couldn't relax.

I don't want to be like this, I used to enjoy sex but I literally feel dead from the waist down sad.

Anyone got any thoughts about this? I don't want this to be the rest of my life - I'm still young!

glasscompletelybroken Thu 07-Mar-13 09:10:28

You don't have menopause issues - you have self esteem issues and it's not surprising after being with an unfaithful partner who blamed his unfidelity on you.

Men are not unfaithful because they "don't want to fuck" their partners anymore. They are unfaithful because they are not committed to and investing in the relationship, because they are selfish entitled twats and because they can be. It is not your fault.

You have to learn to let yourself be loved and it's hard when you have been betrayed. If this guy loves you then he will understand what you have been through and have the patience to give you the time to feel safe in the relationship.

You are still young and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling relationship.

TheSilveryPussycat Thu 07-Mar-13 09:18:27

Hi saltpig I thought my libido had gone after menopause, although it occasionally picked up rather weakly. This coincided with loss of respect for my then H, I also had ongoing depression. When we did have sex, my body felt old and flabby, so I wasn't turned on by my own self iyswim.

This was 10 years ago (I am 60) before MN. Since MN I have realised he was a cocklodger and divorced him, the depression went, but my detachment from my body went on. I truly thought I would be happily celibate for the rest of my life.

Recently I had an offer from a long term friend, which I turned down as I thought I didn't fancy him, thought that had gone. However, after a couple of weeks I found I was thawing a little and thinking about him. We had a talk in which I said I would love to wake up next to him, but didn't think anything else was on the cards.

He was very patient and slow in wooing me physically, somehow his hands roving over my body reawaked the feeling that I was in my body, not detached. And eventually - dot dot dot like the diary in Mama Mia.

Can you try again with new man, taking it very very slowly, being honest and talking to each other about this (not so easy I know!) I really thought I was past it, am stunned and happy that this is not the case.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:21:06

When someone has treated you that badly it's fully understandable that you find it difficult to feel relaxed with the next sexual partner. It's also understandable, if your ex was a fairly long-standing partner, that being with someone new is rather awkward and unfamiliar. However, you say you ended the last relationship 'for a number of reasons'.... so it could be that something was more fundamentally wrong and sex with that person wasn't what you wanted. Speaking personally, I usually enjoy sex but have had occasions when I've ended up in bed with someone I thought I fancied only to discover it was like kissing my granny!!

So don't panic just yet. Rebuild your confidence, give your self-esteem a massage or two and then maybe what your ex said will recede into the past and you'll feel more comfortable about it.

badinage Thu 07-Mar-13 13:05:27

Have you had any counselling about the end of your marriage and the effect it's had on you?

It would be monstrously unfair if your horrible ex still had the power to rob you of a sex life so I think you need help seeing his affair and his comments for what they were.

It's not uncommon for people having an affair to go off sex with their partner, but it's got nothing to do with that person's sexual attractiveness or their body. Those things didn't change. What changed was your ex formed an attachment elsewhere and if he felt any guilt about his affair, probably needed to reduce you in order to cope. What he said was probably truthful in the literal sense, but the reasons for that were unconnected to you personally.

Logically you know this to be true because the new man very much appreciated your charms. That was a good thing for you because it showed that you are a desirable woman who is sexually attractive. It doesn't matter if that relationship didn't work out. It served a useful purpose.

The key to this I think is revisiting the affair and your ex's behaviour. You need to see this for what it was and realise that this was nothing about you personally.

Saltpig Thu 07-Mar-13 13:25:32

Thank you all.

I did have therapy which really helped me get through the divorce and all of the fall-out. But I didn't talk about the sexual stuff at all. The thing is, what he said didn't hurt because of the affair he was having. It hurt because it took a great deal for me to trust anyone sexually because of my history. Actually I felt dirty and ashamed and I still do sad. It was like being abused all over again and knowing that it wasn't my fault first time around isn't helping the adult me to put ex h's vile comment to bed.

The BF I was seeing would probably have completely understood but there were other issues which made us incompatible. I think if I don't get this sorted I will take it into any future relationship.

badinage Thu 07-Mar-13 13:32:41

I agree.

You could be really helped by talking to a therapist who specialises in sexual abuse. It's not surprising at all that this comment (that has probably been long forgotten by him) had such a devastating impact.

In someone who hadn't had your abuse history, it would have probably been possible to see this comment in the correct context i.e. nothing to do with you personally and all about him and what was happening with the other woman. But it's understandable why you've been unable to let it go because it resurrected something much more painful.

Saltpig Thu 07-Mar-13 18:11:15

badinage I read your posts on other threads and I have a lot of respect for your wisdom <grovelling emoticon>.

I am over the abuse I really am. I've had shit loads of therapy over the years and it really doesn't occupy my mind. But what my ex said does. It was a different kind of abuse, I suppose, which connected with the original abusive situation iyswim.

In all other contexts you would never believe that privately I still feel so humiliated, but I do. It's such a small thing - when I think of all the other posters here who have horrendous ex's I feel thankful. Until I think of sex, and exposing my body again.

I am seeing ex next week for the first time in a long time. Maybe I need to say it to him. He isn't awful to me any more, not now he is happy with OW. He's tried loads of times to meet me half way, so to speak, but I've been unable to have any contact bar the necessary for legal and DC reasons.

Springdiva Thu 07-Mar-13 18:23:54

Perhaps you should fix a time and place where you won't be interrupted or overheard to discuss this fully with ex. He'll prob not remember saying it so you need time to go back over this.

badinage Thu 07-Mar-13 22:35:20

Thankyou. The fact that despite your own pain you can pass on some kind words to a stranger says a lot about the sort of person you are.

You see I can believe that those words haunt you. And your sex life is not a small thing. It's a big deal. It would be a tremendous waste of a good woman's sexuality if those words were allowed to get in the way of it.

If you're meeting up with your ex again, please do talk to him. I'd hunch that he'll be horrified that he hurt you more than he realised at the time - and far beyond the affair. I'm sure he'll tell you that those words were said out of guilt, or possibly even loyalty to the OW who he might have promised fidelity to, but were in no way personal to you.

Most of all, anyone who's had an affair will tell you that they do not see their partner through the same lens as before. It's a necessary adjustment in order to have the affair in the first place. But it's not an objective view. It's been adulterated and tainted by the affair.

Although he might be happy with the OW now, I would bet my mortgage that your ex will see you and be able to see you more objectively now as an attractive and desirable woman. Because he no longer needs to reduce you to cope with the guilt of sneaking around.

Saltpig Fri 08-Mar-13 22:11:12

I have seen ex this evening when he gave DD a lift home. He came into my home for the first time to collect some papers - I've swallowed my pride and asked him for help with an employment issue because it's his specialism and if anyone knows how to help, he does. He said he's glad to help.

He's coming back on Tuesday evening to go through all the options with me. We will be alone as DD won't be around. The first thing she said was "please marry DF again". I said no, he doesn't want that. She said yes he does.

I know that's a wishful thought on her part. But I am going to try and talk to him about what he said. I think you're right badinage, he does see me differently now. Whether he'll want to go back to those dark days and talk about it, I don't know. But I need to have this resolved so that I can move on.

I may need to rehearse it here in the next few days. It's vital that I do this and maintain my dignity and self control.

badinage Sat 09-Mar-13 02:24:58

I'm sure me and plenty of others would be glad to help. Well done. I'd just love you to get some closure on this. Just a tiny bit of advice though that might be a bit presumptuous and if so please forgive me.....

You've got a lot of history together and you're going to be talking about something that was painful but also quite intimate. It wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility if a bit of 'old times sake' lust made an appearance. So be on your guard a bit. I think he might be so horrified at the effect his comments had that he'll go overboard on the compliments and reassurances that sex with you was great, you're an attractive woman etc. and that might be quite a heady experience.

So look after your heart a bit with this won't you?

Saltpig Sun 10-Mar-13 13:41:37

Ah, now that hadn't occurred to me so thanks for flagging it.

It's made me really think about where I'm at. The very thought of getting jiggy with ex does not fill me with desire, he killed that between us with the affair.

TBH I don't even know what I want him to say/do. And I don't know yet how I'm going to raise the issue. A part of me thinks that just allowing him into my own space after 2 years, on my terms, at my invitation may help ME to see HIM in a different light iyswim.

Well that's the hope. grin

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