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Previous Relationship: was this as bad as it feels?

(37 Posts)
Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 11:21:01

Namechanged for obvious reasons. Split with XH a couple of years ago, he was not a nice man by the end. Very EA and physically threatening if not actually hitting me.

I've just started therapy to deal with how uncomfortable I feel around him during handovers. My skin literally crawls and I feel like I regress into myself.

I want to give a brief history of our entire sexlife to try and gauge whether it was normal or not.

I'm now in a happy relationship that bears no resemblance other than my wish to please (which is something I'm working on and something my current partner would never exploit).

Sorry if this gets TMI, there may be potential triggers too.

So in the early days, honeymoon period, we were both very young, lots of sex. He had lots of issues with PE and I was very understanding even though often unfulfilled. He enjoyed giving oral so that became a routine of oral for me, sex for him. All fine. But the odd bit about this was that if I said stop at any point, because it was uncomfortable, or he was in the wrong place, or he hurt me, he wouldn't stop. I would have to physically push him away and he would push back. I put it down to over enthusiasm. This always stayed. Even when I explained something hurt he would still do it the next time.

I don't know if it's relevant but on our very first date (we had mutual friends), he didn't turn up. When I called him he said there was no point as he couldn't stay over. I was very taken aback because as far as I was concerned we were only ever having dinner together. 6 months later I found out that at the beginning he was still sleeping with someone else, She dumped him shortly after we got together. But we were young (late teens) and my self esteem was zero, so I carried on.

Anyway, it all carried on in that routine until I lost a baby at 15 weeks and got very down. He retreated from me and after a year I left him. I got together on the rebound with someone else a month or so later, we were together for 3 months before I left him (very much a rebound and nothing more), a month or so later I got back together with XH. He considered my sleeping with someone else whilst not together cheating on him, and used to go on and on about how I had betrayed him.

This was when the night came that I said no and he did it anyway. We were having lots of sex, I would now say there was quite a bit of hysterical bonding involved. One night I didn't want to. I was tired. Work had been hard. I actually said the words "no I don't want to". He told me I was teasing and joking, climbed on top of me and did it anyway. I didn't say anything or protest again. I didn't want to make a big deal. I didn't want it to be an issue.

A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant again. I used this as an excuse not to have sex with him. We got married even though he often threatened to leave me because I'd "cheated" on him. When we did have sex I never orgasmed with him. I didn't trust him to stop if I asked him to. Our sex life dwindled to a handful of times a year.

I have a high sex drive but I didn't trust him. When we did do it he would still do the thing where I would have to struggle to push his hand away if he hurt me.

The year before we finally split, whilst trying to give our dead-in-the-water marriage one last push, we discussed how to improve our sex life. We said we'd do it more, he said I could trust him to stop. This led to a humiliating night which was out last ever time together (9 months before I left him) where he decided to introduce spanking. I'd had a few glasses of wine and went along with it. I froze when he started. Couldn't move or say anything. Very odd. Was terrified if I told him to stop he wouldn't and that would be the end of our marriage. He hit me for more than 20 minutes. The blood vessels at the tops of my legs burst and I was visibly bruised. I cried throughout which he says he didn't notice.

He described it afterwards as the best sex ever.

A lot of this I think can be argued as me not being assertive enough, so how could he know I didn't want it? I didn't say no to the last thing, but it left me feeling assaulted.

I can now say that when I said no and he did it anyway that was rape. Not scary violent rape, but quiet trust-destroying rape. Made worse by the fact that I ever let him touch me again.

I feel like I let myself down. I let my body down.

I think I've reclaimed myself now. But I hate how I feel like a victim when he walks in the room.

I have got a therapist now, but I'm not sure how much I can say. I don't know how to improve things.

Was this normal? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

Lweji Thu 05-Dec-13 12:02:49

No, it's not a big deal out of nothing at all.

He was very abusive towards you.

No wonder you feel very uncomfortable at handovers.

Could you ask your current partner to handle handovers, and book them so that he's in? You should not have to be in the presence of that man ever again.

NeoFaust Thu 05-Dec-13 12:07:18

You've been messed over by a genuine bastard. He has sexual assaulted you repeatedly in an appalling manner.

With spanking or any sort of pain play it is crucial for both parties to establish a way of communicating when it has gone too for. As the instigator this was his responsibility. He failed and again abused you. This is not your fault in any respect.

unidentifiedflyingobject Thu 05-Dec-13 12:12:45

You are not making a big deal out of nothing - he was sexually abusive to you. You managed it in the best ways you could think of at the time - please please don't blame yourself for not being assertive - you actually were - and no matter how assertive you were it sounds like he was pretty determined to do what the hell he wanted regardless of your responses or your feelings. You could never have fixed that. It's only now that you are away from him and piecing it together that you are coming to some pretty stark conclusions. The handovers are bound to be horribly stressful while you are thinking through it all. What strategies are you working on for managing the handovers? Do you feel you need to be there or would you feel okay about not being there?

I'm so glad you're in a happy relationship now.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 12:13:23

Lweji, neo, I've no idea how you trawled through that mammoth post. My GP tells me I minimise things. I spoke to her about some of it earlier in the year.

I find it hard to believe it was that bad, even when it is in such contrast with what I now have.

Why am I still trying to blame myself? Why do I try to excuse him?

Neofaust, I know I never said no in that circumstance, and so feel most disgusted with myself. Although comparing that with current dp who I feel I could say no to at any point for any reason and I know he would stop instantly, is quite a difference.

Dp has promised to never leave me alone with him and his always with me. He knows it all and is incredibly supportive.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 05-Dec-13 12:13:29

"A lot of this I think can be argued as me not being assertive enough"

I could only be argued that by a person (and there are lots of them) who thinks that rape is basically OK unless a stranger attacks you in a dark alley.

You shouldn't need to be particularly "assertive" to stop a man having sex with you.

"so how could he know I didn't want it?"

It's not your job to make sure a man knows you don't want it, it's his job to make sure you DO want it.

If there's any doubt and he goes ahead, he's the one in the wrong.

Look, you're far from alone. There are a lot of us to were raped and didn't call it rape for a long time after it happened.

Girls grow up in a rape culture too, where their bodies are there for the taking unless they act to prevent men from raping them.

Of course you feel bad seeing this man who abused you for so long.

He wasn't a nice man at the beginning of your relationship either.

He obviously gets off on frightening you and forcing you sexually.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 12:15:26

Sorry UFO, xpost.

But how was it so bad when I was the one who essentially stopped our sex life? If it had been that bad wouldn't he have demanded more?

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 12:16:53

Join xpost again. You're right about him never being a nice man. Would you believe that I honestly thought he was basically lovely? For years and years?

Hindsight eh?

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 05-Dec-13 12:19:24

"But how was it so bad when I was the one who essentially stopped our sex life?"

Like a lot of men who rape women, I'm sure your Ex thinks he's a stand up guy who is appalled by rape and hates rapists.

So he would allow himself to rape you or sexually abuse you when there was any kind of boundary he could push and take advantage of the supposed "grey area".

But he couldn't let himself attack you when you were clearly not up for sex with him in any way.

Look what he did at the end - he got you to agree to sex, promised he would not rape you again (although he didn't call it rape to himself, just a bit of hand-slap naughtiness) and then assaulted for a prolonged period while you cried.

And that, to him, was THE BEST SEX EVER.

Sex with an unwilling woman he was beating against her wishes.

Lweji Thu 05-Dec-13 12:19:44

I have to admit I didn't read it all properly, and thought he was horrible anyway. angry

I really think you should not see him at all. And least of all enter your room.
I'd still feel violated.

Why don't you do handovers only outside your house?

unidentifiedflyingobject Thu 05-Dec-13 12:19:54

That spanking - you can only do things like that with someone you trust absolutely and completely (ime blush) - it's clear that there was no way in hell you could ever have trusted him not to hurt you and you clammed up and so it carried on - what an absolute nightmare for you.... And to think you were made to feel like you needed to put yourself in that situation to 'save' your marriage? Shame on him, fucking bastard! Sorry I'm gettin gmore and more defensive of you the more I think about this. This is not you being unassertive and not saying no - I'd say given the patterns you describe and how young you were when you got together it was almost inevitable for you to say no, and he wouldn't have listened anyway - he just didn't give a shit. None of this is your fault.

Your new dp sounds great.

Lweji Thu 05-Dec-13 12:21:18

In S&M, it's the submissive person who's in control. They have the power to say no.

You never had that, and he knew it (have no doubt about it), because he never stopped and used the excuse that you were teasing.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 05-Dec-13 12:21:49

"he wouldn't have listened anyway - he just didn't give a shit."

It's not just that he didn't give a shit.

He actually got off on you being frightened and forcing you to do things he knew you didn't like.

unidentifiedflyingobject Thu 05-Dec-13 12:25:01

Agree joinyourplayfellows - you're right. It is more than that.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 12:31:10

I do agree (again only with distance and hindsight) that all the things he enjoyed sexually were about controlling me.

There are currently some issues with the dcs welfare with him (neglect rather than abuse) so I'm letting him take me to court for anything more than supervised access. He says I'm doing it to punish him for the abuse that "I perceive" he has inflicted upon me.

So other than long bullying emails I occasionally receive (but less and less since I don't engage with his goading), I don't have much contact now and since making his access supervised he doesn't want to talk to me so handovers are silent which suits me.

Here's another weird thing. When I finally left I thought we might remain friends. I would still chat to him on the phone. It was only after a year or so that I began to see that I always came away bruised somehow and that rather than wanting to be friends, I loath and fear him.

Which is pathetic because he's such a tiny loser of a man. How can I be scared of him?! Everyone always said I was out of his league. I'm confident and socially adept! How could I be scared?! It makes me so angry with myself

unidentifiedflyingobject Thu 05-Dec-13 12:39:20

I just think you are taking some time working through it all and even though cognitively you know he's scum and you are quite the opposite, emotionally your response to him is still conditioned by what you experienced. And additionally you're seeing him and his actions differently so it's throwing up new stuff. You're going to be ok. It isn't surprising that he's also not ok to have unsupervised contact with them. Re court and his conflation of the contact issues and abuse - that is a very low blow.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 12:42:38

In an email exchange where he was insisting upon mediation and I replied that it wouldn't be suitable due to the abuse (meaning EA), he replied that he was glad I was finally admitting I'd made it all up to punish him.

How he made that connection I will never know

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 05-Dec-13 12:43:45

"How can I be scared of him?! Everyone always said I was out of his league. I'm confident and socially adept! How could I be scared?! It makes me so angry with myself"

It was precisely because you were confident and out of his league that he needed to control you and make you scared of him.

How else could he have held on to you for so long?

Don't be angry with yourself, be angry with him.

Your fear isn't irrational. You fear him still because he really hurt you - he raped and sexually abused you for years.

If another woman told you she was afraid of her rapist, would you think she was silly to be frightened?

Yes, he is a tiny loser of a man. But even a tiny loser of a man can bring his strength and malice to bear on a woman who loves him and is trying to see the best in him.

TBH your fear of him doesn't make you sound weak, or silly, or beaten. You sound strong and in control and like you are finally seeing him for what he was.

NeoFaust Thu 05-Dec-13 12:49:24

Purpuilar

As Lweji says, in proper S&M the submissive has all the control and the dominant all of the responsibility (it's a burden at times).

He should have established a safe exit strategy for you before you even began. If it was more spontaneous then it should have been essential for him to monitor your wellbeing and under no circumstances continue if you were distressed.

To be honest, it seems that this pseudo-S&M pattern was consistent throughout all the listed sexual experiences. He was getting off on his power over you and reinforcing his control every time. This is prolonged sexual and mental abuse and in no respect your fault or a result of an error on your part. Worst of all, it appears that he deliberately exploited the emotional turmoil of your miscarriage and rebound to maintain that control. It would be extremely difficult for anyone in such a vulnerable state to avoid such manipulation.

You have all my sympathy. Please be as candid and precise as you can with your therapist, as this will give them the maximum capacity to provide you assistance.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 14:31:57

Thank you Neo, I will do my best.

Join, your point on the grey area is spot on I think. He couldn't violently attack me because that would mean he was bad, but he could "misunderstand" me and tell me I was game playing to do what he wanted at a time when in his head I wasn't supposed to say no.

That's what makes it hard to see. He would probably say now that it was a terrible misunderstanding and he feels terrible.

Lweji Thu 05-Dec-13 14:36:15

He would probably say now that it was a terrible misunderstanding and he feels terrible.
And he'd be lying.

You really shouldn't talk about it with him. No point, really.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 15:14:35

I don't intend to Lweji, he's vile and smarmy to talk to. I think the last time we had a real conversation was about a year ago. After offering lots of advice on his career (asked for), he managed to then slip in "well, purp, you know I simply don't like you", completely out of the blue. I replied with "I don't see how that's relevant anymore."

I think that was when I realised what a complete arse he is. I'd love him to have that epiphany, but I know he won't. He goes on about what a great dad he was, and how scared he was of me.

Sorry, this isn't relevant.

I'm glad I'm not mad for feeling that he took from me.

My therapist used transactional analysis, do you think this type of therapy will help?

CailinDana Thu 05-Dec-13 15:18:05

He sounds like a truly fucked up dickhead. I feel a sense of fear that he even exists si I can imagine the level of your fear. None of what he did should ever have happened to you. It was wrong and it wasn't your fault.
I can't believe he expects you to believe the bullshit about him "not knowing" you were crying when he was beating you. Is he blind, deaf and totally unable to read body language? He would have been totally aware you were not enjoying it, that's what he got off on. It's a good thing he only has supervised contact with the dcs - he is a dangerous person and shouldn't be around...well, anyone really but least of all children.

CailinDana Thu 05-Dec-13 15:25:36

What type of counselling will help totally depends on you and the counsellor. The main thing is you should feel listened to and validated. It's fine for the counsellor to ask questions in order to challenge your thinking or help you see things in a new way but he/she should never tell you how to feel or pressure you into accepting a theory that doesn't chime with you. You should feel able to say pretty much anything and you shouldn't feel you have to respond in a certain way to please him/her. If it doesn't feel right after about 3 sessions find someone else. It's really important that you and the counsellor click.

Purpuliar Thu 05-Dec-13 15:35:34

Thanks Cailin, that's really good advice, our 3rd session is next week. I do like her and the theory does make sense. She picked up on my people pleasing almost straight away, and I think it will help with who I am now and how I behave, but I'm not sure about dealing with who I was. We shall see.

I hate that he can be around the dcs at all. He's already been discussing his new relationship with ds1 inappropriately, and the other week he introduced her to them all (the younger dcs didn't even know she existed).

He never considers what is best for them, only him. But they love him and I've done my best to maintain safe contact. I just hope the courts agree. He's certain he'll regain full access, overnight visits and weeks abroad on holiday with them.

Others would say he's an excellent hands on dad... But they don't know the truth, and he's very convincing.

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