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am I being assertive or unreasonable(295 Posts)
After a tough couple of years have decided to make ago of my relationship (of 12 years) but realised for my sanity I needed to be more assertive with what I want from the relationship.
There have been positive changes with house work (he can do some without being asked!) And a few other things too.
The sticking point is now sex. The has been a bit of a drout whist things were settling down but the last few times we have started we always stop as I want him to spend some time caressing me and turning me on, without just grabbing my breasts or putting his hand between my legs... Not saying he can't do these or I don't like them, just don't want him to start there. I have spoken to him, explained this, but he doesn't seem to get it, the other night I tried moving his hand on to my stomach (which I have said I like been stroked), another time I asked him to kiss my neck.... These are met with a blunt end to proceedings... He says I'm been unreasonable, those things don't turn him on so he shouldn't have to do them. I should just be turned on or be happy with where/how he wants to touch me. If I say please can you do x, the reply will be "well what are you going to do to turn me on? " but he is obviously already more turned on then me...He says I can only ask for things that are mutually enjoyable (I pointed out sex with both of us turned on would be mutually enjoyable)
I think he is obviously turned on enough for PIV sex from much less then I am. Is it unreasonable for me to expect him to spend some time getting me turned on too?)
I don't think you are being unreasonable to talk to your partner about turning you on, and suggest things you would like in the bedroom.
It sounds very childish and actually quite arrogant and aggressive for your DH to respond like that . He is effectively saying to you "I want to have sex and I want to do it to you this way. I don't care if you are turned on, and if you say anything I'm going to strop off and not have sex".
Also - the "only do things that are mutually enjoyable is just tosh. How can it be mutually enjoyable if you're not enjoying it?!?!?
I mean, wow! Really? Do you really think you are the unreasonable one?
Having said that though, sex can be a sore subject between a couple and can be tricky to reach a compromise/ happy medium/ good place at times.
Perhaps your DH does have some things he would like to change/ talk to you about but hasn't yet been able to?
The way you have written your text suggests that he is the one instigating things - do you too? Maybe this is a problem. Have you asked whether there are things he would like/ would like to do?
Also - do you do things to turn him on??? You say he is obviously already more turned on than you, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want some attention and foreplay too, so perhaps he is feeling it's a little one sided.
Whatever you do, don't let him force you into things, or do it because you feel you should.
He should learn to grow up and not strop about and try to emotionally blackmail to get what he wants, or that you suggesting things you like isn't an attack on him. I think the only way you are going to solve this would be to talk to him, and continue to be forthright in bed - don't let him push you around!
You are not being unreasonable, he is.
The "what are you going to do for me in return" speech would have killed any passion for me right there, stone dead. He sounds entitled and inexperienced actually-incapable of going off his pre arranged course of "seduction".
Just to put it in perspective for you, my dp and I have been undergoing a drought for about 3 yrs for various reasons. On the rare occasions we have sex, I will if necessary steer him this way or that, and he never ever gets in a huff as I think he is so happy to having sex at all!
How are other parts of your relationship? Is he this demanding/ overbearing/ stroppy/ childish about other things too??
Do you want to work on the sex side of things with him?
I wouldn't blame you if you didn't!!
You're not being unreasonable. If no-one communicates what they want when it comes to sex, how is it ever going to get better? Then again, no-one wants to sleep with someone who is barking orders at them like a drill sergeant...
I don't think your 'tough couple of years' are over, I'm afraid. You can't make a go of a relationship single-handed and, if the sex is typical of the way your relationship plays out more generally, he's clearly got some real resentment going on.
YANBU, he is. It is such a turn off too, he sounds incredibly selfish.
I will instigate although not as much as him, recently he hasn't insisted as much either.
I feel I do spend time turning him on when we have sex and even outside the bedroom making sure there is affection, I'll sit and stroke his arm, leg, etc whilst we watch tv.
If it were up to him I would kiss and caress him whilst he lay back and enjoyed it for as long as suits him, then he would do what he wants to me, then we would have sex. But if I try to vary what he does to me by guiding his hand for example he will throw a strop.
I am aware 'barking orders' would kill the mood so have raised the conversation outside the bedroom and just tried gentle guidance in the bedroom. His reactions make me feel upset and I question if I am been controlling and selfish. But I deep down think I'm right and what I'm asking for is not as unusual as he would have me believe.... But I could be wrong.
After one of these strops he will apologise and be overly affectionate the next day. But also tell me how I have upset him and that he can't concentrate at work etc.
There are other areas in the relationship he tells me I'm unreasonable... is recently occurred to me that actually I'm not. He's having to get used to me standing up for myself, not apologising and ignoring him comments. I've stopped going along with things for an easy life. He doesn't like this and keeps telling me I've changed. I have.
I just want to be sure I've not gone to far and am actually now being a Bitch...
In the bedroom
I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.
However his responses are very manipulative.
I don't think you will have an enjoyable sex life till he feels able to (a) talk to you about it and (b) compromise and realise it's not all about him.
The whole thing strikes me as very controlling, and not very sensitive to you or your needs.
Are you sure you want to be with this man?
He sounds insensitive and arrogant and doesn't seem to realise that a good sex life is a two way street. He seems to want to be top dog and have sex only on his terms.
After 12 yrs can you really see things improving?
The best sex I ever had was with a guy who took great care to make sure I was happy and comfortable and took his time re. foreplay. He said he couldn't enjoy himself unless he knew I was too.
Agree with giantpurple that he is being manipulative. All this 'can't concentrate at work' poor me stuff is a pile of crap. Already his response to you being assertive is to have you doubting yourself and wondering if you're a bitch.... That's not something that happens without outside interference.
What you are dealing is his ego!
Cos when you say do this, what he hears you are doing it wrong..
Its like you are both fighting to gain 'power', do this, no do this, no do this if i do this.
YANBU at all maybe be a bit more tactful.
Eg."when you just want to PIV, i feel you are just doing it, i could be anyone and wont make a difference, I dont feel special.."
I think you are fighting a losing battle. There is no way this is just about sex. You say there's been an improvement in housework which is that he now does things without being asked - with an exclamation mark to imply that this is something surprising. Thing is - although it's clearly a big change for him, it's really nothing special or unusual for a man to do housework. Most decent, adult men do their fair share without ever being nagged or asked, because they know it is their responsibility too. Doing some (I'd hazard a guess nowhere near half) is really the barest minimum that you should expect.
Sure, you can stay and spend another 12 years trying to change him, eventually learning to live with the parts you can't change, but will you be happy? Wouldn't you rather live the life you want without this huge weight and burden dragging you down?
Yes arsnal, I think you are right, he does hear 'you are doing it wrong' but I have rid to be sensitive, it's like he doesn't want things to change and by stopping sex every time I try I will eventually give in. I have done a lot of things he wanted to try over the last couple of years but now realise that just pleasing him isn't enough and I need him to want me to be happy to, I want to make a stand so we can do things we both enjoy, but he thinks what I want is noting so he shouldn't have to do it. I just want compromise. He probably had control over our sex life forthe last couple of years and I can understand that he doesn't like it now I want a say and want to change it.
He has recently tried to control other areas, tellIing me I speak to friends to frequently, or that accepting a friend request on Facebook from another man is disrespecting to our relationship, or if he sends me a text during the day and I don't reply quick enough he will quiz me about what I was doing and why I was busy, he'll day things like "I bet you all had time to look on facebook". He had never been like this before so is like he feels he is losing control over our sex life so he wants to try and take it in a different area.
I don't want this to be a power struggle but I don't want to be a door mat either. I just want things to be equal.
I know I can't change him but I'm hoping he will choose to change.
Why on earth would he choose to change? You can't base a marriage on a vain hope like that. Controlling men, bullies, emotional abusers, manipulative types or whatever you want to call them behave that way because it gives them the life they want i.e. top dog in their little environment, making themselves feel good by making others feel small. They have zero incentive to change this behaviour.
So when you say you know you can't change him... stop there. Change yourself, be assertive, stop trying to be 'sensitive', stop hoping for him to suddenly become someone he isn't and if he still carries on with this petty jealousy and other rubbish then you have to call time.
There is far more to this than the sex life.
Telling you you speak to friends too frequently and berating you for not responding to texts quickly enough are BIG red flags.
just by reading your op i thought "i could not be with a man like that"
reading your other posts... i thought "i really really couldnt be with a man like that"
red flags all over imo
he sounds incredibly selfish and manipulative!
sex isnt all about him and his enjoyment... sex is about 2 people enjoying themselves
Hmmm, sounds to me like he has self confidence issues. I think sex is closely linked to 'manliness' for men, which leads to confidence. eg, if a woman shows sexual desire to a man, he feels like a real 'man'. He wants to be 'wanted'! If he feels he is not wanted sexually (or he's doing it wrong), the relationship can suffer, IMHO. Anyone else have thoughts about this?
Not saying that men should feel like this but I think they do (and probably won't admit it!). I would try to get the message across to him that you do desire him and even take initiative with sex. It's great for his ego and he might see things more positively!
" I want him to spend some time caressing me and turning me on, without just grabbing my breasts or putting his hand between my legs."
Self-confidence issues my arse.... He's just a lazy lover that thinks all has to do is 'Push Button B' to get the little woman in the mood.
Self-confidence issues? Pffffffft.
Lazy fucker issues.
i dont agree either, sorry!
Forget my post,.
He sounds like an abuser who is still trying to control you.
I don't see how kissing your neck or stroking your stomach are being unreasonable. Basically he can't be bothered to make sure you are enjoying things too. I don't understand why men think that just groping a woman is enough to get you in the mood
I'm sorry OP, but I don't think you will never have an equal relationship with this man. He just doesn't have any respect for you at all, does he?
So, he wants you to do what he wants to get him aroused, then to do what he wants to you to further get him aroused, and then intercourse?
Plus he does sound very controlling.
Work on your assertiveness and stand up for yourself. At some point you'll be able to tell him take it (rather, respect you) or leave it.
Or send him packing yourself.
Woah! WowowoWOW this sounds awful. You do realise how he is coming across in your threads? Can you not see the red flags?
He gets the hump if you want him to kiss your fucking NECK???? And then he's totally passive-aggressive the next day by apologising WHILST TELLING YOU HOW MUCH YOU UPSET HIM.
I'm really sorry - but there it is. For the love of all things PLEASE read back on the other threads on here. There is so much you need to think about. Is he really the best you are ever going to get? Ever???
My God. I'm going to do it.... LBT.
There is apparently a good book about assertiveness recommended on here - 'fraid I don't know what it is.
More helpfully, have you read Lundy Bancroft's book, subtitled "inside the minds of angry and controlling men"? If you have, take another look at the section which tells you if he's really changing or not. If you haven't, it's a very good book and might give you a clearer idea of the unreasonable things he does.
I've just agreed to give my marriage another go after a year in which I was preparing to leave, so I do empathise with your question 'When am I being assertive and when does it go too far?" I don't have any easy answers as yet!
I'd do some sex therapy with Relate tbh.
I'm not sure an assertive book would help, until you can both find a way forward that you are both happy with iyswim.
Having just read your most recent comment though, I think your issues are far deeper than just sex.
This marriage isn't fixable OP, and it's his fault. Basically, this man doesn't consider you as a human being - to him you are a 'woman', not a person. That means something that exists for his benefit, somewhere between a pet and a domestic appliance, so he really hates the idea of you asserting yourself and asking for things and wanting him to put himself out in any way at all for your benefit.
He may well claim that he loves you but, as someone else once posted on a similar thread, men like this see their wives as something like dogs. If you have a dog and you 'love' your dog, you see that it's fed, has a comfortable home, medical care when it's ill, etc, and you don't beat it or tie it up outside. But you don't discuss your decisions with it. You don't consult it about what's going to happen eg about moving house, going out on Friday night, needing to wait for its walk or its dinner because you're busy. It's just a dog.
Oh dear, I've just read your previous thread and see that the issues in the marriage were all to do with sex and his unfaithfulness. You poor, poor thing to have him once more convincing you that what you see with your own eyes is not really wrong at all.
I also see that you stopped posting on the thread once you'd told him it was over. I guess he "fought" to get you back (probably with "I'm so sad" manipulation"). My big mistake in "ending" my marriage was doing it while I was away from the support of MN! Sounds crazy, but true. I didn't see how manipulative it was for your P to be telling you how upset he is after those incidents in the bedroom (just thought he was a bit naive) - I needed to be told. We have a very skewed idea of normal.
Thank you all for the replys.
I find it hard to accept that he is controlling as I like to think I would have noticed sooner. Have certainly noticed a few instances more recently and have always picked him up on these (although of course it always comes back to it been my fault).
Yesterday followed the same pattern, nice day, apologies for behavior, row. he compares what I have asked for with him along for a blow job every time before sex... obviously I have to a agree it would be unreasonable for him to ask for that every time, so by default what I'm asking him to do is to. He days he shouldn't have to go through steps to have sex. Surely this isn't unusual though, and shouldn't he enjoy turning me on? I don't have enough experience to put up a decent side of my argument.
(Guess my previous post is connected to this and explains why I am trying to change the relationship, I left but then agreed to give things another go, on the agreement that things were different, one of the changes he wanted was I was more open about what I wanted from our sex life, looks like he doesn't like the answers he got)
I left but then agreed to give things another go, on the agreement that things were different, one of the changes he wanted was I was more open about what I wanted from our sex life, looks like he doesn't like the answers he got
It looks like you have your answer from him.
His way or...
OP this man is a mysogynist and an emotional abuser who belives "women dont or shouldnt really like sex anyway"
"He believes that he shouldnt have to take "steps" to have sex.
What hes telling you is that he doesnt believe in foreplay.
And hes cheated on you in the past. This man has no respect for you or for women in general.
He sees them as a receptacle to have sex ON rather than WITH.
Your post made me feel so sad and so angry. To me sex is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I have had many partners who love to give pleasure and they get so much pleasure from it themselves. I have also attended many Tantra workshops and in the tantric tradition, the woman always receives pleasure first as her sexual arousal is much slower than men. I did have a partner once who said, when I want to fuck, I don't want to fuck around..! I could never bring myself to have sex with him after that.
You have every right to ask for what you want in bed but unfortunately I don't think it's really about that, it's just a symptom of the power imbalance in your relationship and it doesn't sound like it's going to change...
"I don't have enough experience to put up a decent side of my argument. "
In a loving relationship, good sex is achieved through unspoken and spoken 'nudges' in the right direction, everyone listening, learning, experimenting and motivated by achieving mutual pleasure.
Your sex life seems to be a point-scoring and rather acrimonious negotiation. In what universe is (and I paraphrase) 'I'm only going to stroke your neck if you suck my cock' even remotely acceptable? He's not interested in your happiness and I think that is the bottom-line problem with your relationship.
Good grief, bin him forthwith .
Think he is feeling entitled with regard to sex. This weekend he changed his background picture on his phone to a picture of me in a bikini, I asked him to change it as I didn't want people he worked with or our friends to see it. Is the second time this had happened so he knew my views on it. He eventually changed it but was not happy. Also as I was going to bed last night he said he was going to post pictures of me on an Internet forum (you can imagine what type of pics) I told him not to. These probably are not isolated examples.
So how do I get him to see things from my point of view. He just thinks I'm being boring and can't see it from my side.
Why is he still there? Are you mad? He needs binning.
You'll never get him to see things from your point of view because he doesn't care about your point of view. You're not a human being with feelings and opinions, you're just a screen saver to pimp round his mates.. Can't you see that?
Cogito, if I could see that I would be gone....
I don't want to start defending him but I don't think he's doing anything on purpose to upset me, it's just a difference of opinion and taste I guess. Things were not like this for 10 years so there is a much longer period where things were good, I just wish things were back to that.If I try and talk to him I just get that I'm boring, I'm acting old, I'm uptight, I'm always looking out for myself and don't care what he wants etc etc
I can start a discussion with good intentions and believe I can hold my own in an argument but I always get taped in a corner where I have to admit he had a point therefore invalidating my own point.
If he thinks you're boring tell him to get himself a blow up doll and find yourself a normal decent man who enjoys having sex with you.
He's punishing you. It's not that he doesn't understand your point of view about pictures of you in a bikini, he knows you don't want them on the Internet, but he's actively trying to hurt your feelings, because you have been disobedient. You really need to get rid of him.
Take the screen-saver. You had to ask him to change it twice before he did it and, even then, he did it reluctantly. You're not old, uptight or boring, you're just a decent human being expecting a little respect and privacy.
You say he hasn't been like this for the last 10 years so what's changed? My feeling is that he probably hasn't changed but that you've grown up and you want better.
He doesn't 'have a point'
You're not boring or uptight. Just because he says it doesn't make it true.
Fact is he's shit in bed. He's using you as a masturbation aid. If he cared about you he should want to please you in bed. Out of interest has he ever gone down on you or is that purely a one way blowjob thing?
Yes he is doing these things on purpose to upset you. Most women would have binned him a long time ago. What happened in your life to make you think these irrational thoughts about him being a good bloke really? What damaged your radar so badly?
What point do you think he has by the way?
So why can't you see that he does not actually give a toss about you?.
Or do you not want to because you've already invested years in this power and control imbalance of a relationship already and to walk away now would to you be a massive fail in your eyes?.
If you have children what are the two of you teaching them about relationships here?. Two words here suffice; damaging lessons.
You are not the massive fail, he is. Its always been about him and such types actually hate women. They objectify them and never see them as real people in their own right.
What did you learn about relationships when growing up?.
Sorry. What everyone else says. the sex thing is just the tip of a very nasty iceberg.
I can't believe that you even have to ask whether or not you are being 'unreasonable' or a 'bitch' because you want your partner to kiss and stroke you before putting his penis in your vagina.
He has successfully messed with your understanding of what is loving and healthy in a relationship.
He sounds selfish. That's a turn off in itself!
Growing up, that's an interesting angle. Learnt that men are in charge and should be obeyed. Also used to wish my parents would split up as they weren't suited to each other, lots of rows and bad mouthing and put downs. Don't really have a relationship with either now.
Anon - Yes but not that great so...
yy very very nasty. insensitive, selfish, manipulative, doesn't give a shit.
i think the writing is on the wall. you left, you agreed mutual changes, changes aren't happening. time to move on.
Sorry you are having to deal with this nasty, disrespectful behaviour. I agree with everyone else who says this is just the tip of a nasty iceberg. The 'sticking point' is not sex really is it? The sticking point is that he doesn't care if you are enjoying sex with him or not, he is being totally inconsiderate of your feelings and he is showing you he doesn't give a shit. And he doesn't seem to give a shit about the fact that you know he doesn't give a shit. In short, he is being absolutely blatant.
And being nasty to you about sex is a really easy way to knock your confidence and to make you feel uncertain about yourself, hence the 'Am I being unreasonable etc.?' He is deliberately trying to make you doubt yourself. It is hateful and he is being vicious and cruel attacking you in this way. The business with his phone wallpaper is just plain nasty. Nasty - and he is happy to let you know it into the bargain. What kind of person does this? You know the answer. The awful thing is that the person who is doing this to you is also the person who is supposed to love you most of all. A real kicker isn't it?
My first post on these august boards concerned my STBXH complaining that I was demanding in bed and unreasonable and that I was putting him off. He got shirty because I was actually standing up for myself on the issue and saying that I wasn't being unreasonable just because I wanted some pleasure too. He was doing the same kind of thing as your partner - no foreplay, no caressing and then expecting to enter me when it really would not have been comfortable. I realised he was making me feel awful and it wasn't right. I came on here with a similar post to your OP, and everyone piled in in a similar fashion, saying if this is what he's like in the bedroom, what's the rest of your relationship like? And I realised that he was being nasty, controlling, vicious all the time - and it was only when I stood up for myself - rather than treading on those eggshells - that I really understood how awful he was... he found all sorts of ways to get nastier....and using sex is a really easy weapon for a nasty abuser. They can make you feel unattractive, confused and hurt all at once.
Be brave and face up to it. He sounds like a really mean and nasty man who does not love or respect you. Nobody who loves you would be able to treat you like this.
What are you getting from the relationship? He doesn't sound very nice, and I wouldn't want to have sex with someone like him.
What's in it for me: we have the same aspirations for life, same sense of humour, same interests & hobbies. We spend plenty of time together but also have own interests and time with friends. We'll both do little things for the other, picking up gifts when out, tidying house, running a bath, etc. He'll pick me up from random places (and play taxi to friends) after a night out our weekend away. Tells me he loves me, sends texts saying is thinking of me, hopes I have nice day etc. I get companionship, security, friendship, love. It's not all bad. Just that some things make me feel uncomfortable. He can be moody but I can be to. We both have strong opinions and views, which is fine when we think the same but a problem if we disagree.
Well, if other areas are good, do you think it would be worth exploring some sort of couples therapy?
'If I try to talk to him I am told I am boring etc'
I think you need to read your posts back again - are you sure you share the same aspirations? Is this really what you hoped for and aspired to as an adult?
If so, fair enough, carry on. But you have asked for opinions and mine is I wouldn't give a flowery fuck if someone ran me a bath but dismissed me as 'boring' and uptight when I tried to talk to them about why I was unhappy.
Not looking for more answers, I don't disagree with the points made but I need to give things time to see how they work out. Going to use this to document behaviour to see if things are as good as I imagine they are.
Last night he was spoiling for an argument. I got in from work to "is everything okay", "are you alright", "you're acting off with me / strange" (he couldn't quantify how when challenged later). Said I was fine and was in a good mood, had had a good day etc. I'm going away for a girls weekend so said I would go to the supermarket for him as a favour to stock up on food before I left (he had something on, I was not busy so just wanted to help out) when I was on route to supermarket he asked me to pick up a large crate of beer for him. I said I may not have enough cash as had left back card at home but would see. He went mad, lots of complaining, saying what was the point in me even going to the shop for him if I couldn't get beer etc.
Anyway I didn't bite and just ignored him. (I did get the beer).
Later that evening he starts with I've been off with him all evening... Then accusing me of chatting to people on facebook, asking when I last spoke to certain people (men) what I had said etc. I couldn't give him any specific answers as I don't really talk to people on facebook so any messages are few and far between (usually with members for a group im in for a hobby, and messages concern the hobby!). As I couldn't give specific details he says I'm lying and hiding things, as to show him when I last spoke to people... I told him he was welcome to look (he knows my password anyway) but that he was being out of order and was coming across controlling. I said I hadn't done anything to warrent this line of questioning and was not going to discuss the matter any further.
An hour late he gives me a gift he had bought that day. Why not give me the gift earlier? Why had he tried to pick a fight 3 times and then give it to me. All three arguments were to highlight my unreasonable behaviour (that wasn't there) and then he gets to be the good guy cos he bought me a present? Grrr.
"Why had he tried to pick a fight 3 times and then give it to me."
Because you're still there.... so whatever he's gaining from this behaviour, it's working. You even bought his beer... Anyone else would have said 'stuff your beer and you can get your own groceries'. But no, you 'didn't bite, ignored him' and then meekly complied
And you think he's the good guy?
How much more time do you need? This is awful behaviour. This isn't the behaviour of a man who loves and respects you. It will only escalate as you are putting up with it and buying beer.
Any man who attempted to control my use of social media and the accused me of lying about it would immediately be told to leave. That's completely unacceptable behaviour.
He's spoiling for a fight because you have plans that don't involve him. Can you really not see that he is being unreasonable and controlling with the harassing questions about who you have spoken to and about what?
I feel sorry for you.
I can see that he was unreasonable and controlling last night. Either this is relatively new behavior or I've only recently been able to spot it.
I'll continue to call him on it and see if it changes.
I've only recently become aware that maybe he is unreasonable and not me. I think last year I would have apologised and changed my behaviour so being able to spot controlling behaviour and not give into it is something new for me.
Given your op and recent post, my take is that you have not been able to spot this up to now. I still question whether you are able to recognise unreasonable behaviour.
Why do you think such a damaging relationship is worth hanging on to?
I am so sorry. Buti think you are wasting your time.
This shouldn't be about how adept you are at recognising controlling behaviour. He should not be acting in this way. Not ever.
My mum told me last year about a friend of hers. Her husband controls all the money. She is desparate. But after 30 years she is so conditioned and fearful she won't leave. What a waste of a life.
Don't waste any of yours. Why is this worth it?
Look, this man's behaviour is geared to demanding your attention, all the time. You are not supposed to think about anything other than what sort of mood he is in and how you can please him. So no matter what you do, he will make unreasonable demands, whine, accuse you of things, get his cock out, shout and stomp or be suddenly massively nice and give you gifts and complements. It's designed to confuse you, so you are thinking about nothing but him.
Honestly, make your plans and dump this loser.
Either this is relatively new behavior or I've only recently been able to spot it.
Or you're not biting his baits... So, he's stepping it up.
Don't waste any more time on him.
He sounds fucking appalling. Don't accept it.
Suppose this is normal for me so it doesn't feel as bad as it looks from the outside from your points of view.
It's only recently that is stated to feel... I don't know, more uncomfortable? Sometimes he'll day something and I'll think WTF, how ridiculous.
Have I really been falling for this shit for years? How much am I still falling for it now? Surely this is normal to some degree with anyone? Maybe my perspective is screwed.
It's not normal, skating! Not at all!
It's not ok.
Keep posting and check out some of the support threads for those dealing with emotional abuse (ea), too.
I wouldn't give him five minutes of my company.
It's not you, men like him treat everyone they get in a relationship with like shit.
Yes, the 'you are being off with me, you are in funny form' is an old trick.
It puts you on the back foot by having to deny it and reassure that you are fine.
Beryl - I get that ALL the time to the point where I'm always watching myself to make sure I'm not being.
I told him last night not to say that any more but to be specific if he had a problem, more like: "you have done x and is made me feel Y"
Good grief, don't give him more ammo....
"Have I really been falling for this shit for years? How much am I still falling for it now? Surely this is normal to some degree with anyone? Maybe my perspective is screwed."
Your perspective is skewed rather than screwed. He wouldn't have started out being this obnoxious, verbally and sexually abusing you... he has gradually ramped it up over many years taking your tolerance level up with it so that it feels quite normal to you... but looks appalling to everyone else. You're still 'falling for it' by tolerating three completely fabricated examples of fight-picking over nothing without kicking his sorry backside out of the front door. And you're still 'falling for it' by thinking you can reason with someone like this (you have done x and made me feel y etc)
Bullies cannot be reasoned with because they only care about their victim in terms of 'what can I get them to do for me?' rather than thinking about them as a person with feelings or opinions worthy of consideration. That's why he won't kiss your neck...
None of this is normal and we've already established that you were conditioned in your own family to accept terrible behaviour from men and regard it as 'normal'.
So yes, it's likely this has been going on since Day One and that he specifically targeted you once he realised that you were the sort of woman who would put up with what few other women would.
It's you who's changing - not him.
But you've got a lot more work to do accepting that this is an abnormal man in an abnormal relationship.
He won't change. Sorry, but he won't. He sees the world in terms of what he can get, what others will do for him, not what he can do for anyone else.
I really think you are wasting your time with him. Sorry, I know from personal experience it is very difficult to accept this but the alternative - staying for another 12 years - is worse.
It is not normal to any degree with most people, reasonable people. It is quite standard for abusive/paranoid/very selfish people, so if all of your friendships and relationships are like this that night be why. I would guess that all of them aren't, though. Perhaps you have a friend who you can just be yourself around and don't have to worry about whether you night be coming aecross as "in a mood" or offending them somehow by accident? That is what a relationship should be like, except you get all the good stuff too like love and support and good, mutually enjoyable sex with someone who wants to please you more than themselves.
No I wouldn't expect friends to behave the same, and of course they don't. But when you are in a relationship with someone you have to take the good with the bad. You can't expect someone to be in a good mood 24/7 and if your with someone a lot you are going to see them at their worst as well as their best.
As for things being 'ramped up': there were a couple of things last year that were really bad. To the point of thinking someone who loved me should never have put me in this situation. But I was slow to react then, and now it's in the past so I'm thinking well as long as things are never that bad again...
Relationships are not about taking the good with the bad to this extent. Yes you see the worst side of your partner, but when someone really cares about you, even in their lowest moments they do not aim that worst side at you. (In fact most people don't aim their "worst side" at anybody, and most people's "worst side" is not aggressive)
When balanced people in healthy relationships are in a bad mood, they talk about it, or they go out for a walk or they listen to music or ask for some alone time or however they usually deal with bad moods without taking it out on their partner, because they don't want to hurt them. How do you deal with your own bad moods? I expect you don't use your moods to justify hurting him so why is it ok if he does it to you?
Be careful with the incidents in the past. It is easy to think that something in the past doesn't matter, and is not relevant now, but something made him feel that it was acceptable at the time, something inside him said that that was fine and ok, and you don't know what that underlying thought process (or lack of it -lack of thinking about how his actions might make you feel for example) - you don't know what it was that made him feel justified in acting that way and it is extremely likely that that same thought process, belief or lack of thought/empathy/conscience is still there unchanged, which means that there could and probably will be incidents in the future which make you feel the same. Why wait for it to happen again when you already know he has some kind of reasonyto act that way and hence has reason to act like it again? You can't fix him.You just ccan't.
Yoni. Thank you, that's a really post and is certainly a concern. If last time was worse than before what will next time be. I almost feel like I'm waiting for something. I don't know why I'm here waiting.
I just seem unable to take that final step.
" I almost feel like I'm waiting for something."
Quite a lot of people 'wait' for something really terrible to happen before taking a final step. Something drastic that they can point to as beyond the pale and therefore a valid reason for ending the relationship. Until that happens they think they are obliged to take the good with the bad, 'try harder', 'make a go of it'...
Your problem now, I think, is that this gradual escalation of bad behaviour & ill treatment went past drastic quite some time ago but you're so conditioned to it and so determined to be a good wife that takes the good with the bad, you will never see what happens as serious enough to take action.
What would make you tell him to go? An affair? A punch? Drunk driving with the kids in the back seat? Where's the line he has to cross?
Don't know where my line is any more. They places I thought it was have already been crossed.
He's been really nice and helpful last night and this morning. To the point where now I feel like a bitch for doubting things. Maybe I'm just being sensitive and over reacting. But then why do a group of strangers agree that I'm not, and in fact think things are worst then I can see. Maybe I'm explaining things one sided.
I recognise that him being nice and me feeling blame / guilt is part of a cycle.... I recognise that in theory, but I just can't accept is happening to me.
You cannot accept it - or do not want to?.
What did you learn about relationships when growing up, this may have also contributed to your continued skewed perceptive now.
Such damaged men like this man is do not change. He has acted abusively throughout your marriage. Do not put yourself through another 12 years of the same.
10 days ago he was threatening to post naked pictures of you on the internet without your consent, having already displayed one of you in a bikini for everyone to see when he used his phone.
"Don't know where my line is any more. "
That's the crux of the matter. Repeated exposure to this nice/nasty bullying routine means your self-respect and judgement have been eroded. Therefore you think, incorrectly, that this is partly your fault, that you need to be more assertive, that you're sensitive or overreacting. It's very common for victims of emotional abuse/psychological bullying/controlling behaviour to think they must be to blame and think they have to change attitude rather than the bully. That's what the bully wants you to think after all. See how it keeps you down?
One of the advantages of laying it out for strangers - painful though it might be I grant you - is that we can reset your skewed perspective. What you're experiencing from the sexual abusive behaviour to having your evening out spoiled by fabricated arguments about fetching beer... is really not normal or acceptable within the context of a loving relationship
Badinage - Threatened to post 'more' would be more accurate.
He had consent for the others but it was in a moment of hysterical bonding during his emotion affair (see previous thread). I would like them to be removed but when I have tried to raise it it didn't go to well. I will try again when I get home next week.
He's had an affair as well? For goodness' sake, don't waste any more of your time on this man. Life isn't a rehearsal.... spend it with people that actually like you.
Well only on my opinion. Obviously he thinks he'd did nothing wrong as he didn't sleep with her.
This all looks much worse written down.
Skating, where are you now? Are you away from home?
I will have a look at your other thread, but you know, he sounds dreadful - abusive in every way.
You know you don't need a 'valid reason' to end things, don't you?
I'm away with friends until middle of next week. (Will have little Internet access after today)
I can't see that is abusive. Surely I would have noticed. Surely he doesn't know what he's doing or how it comes across? All I know is in the last 12 months some things haven't felt right, and they are making me look differently at the relationship.
I'm sure someone will post a link to some of the excellent sites that talk about what is abuse, and red flags. It sounds abusive to me.
My DH wouldn't dream of posting nude pictures on the internet of me, consent or not. He respects and values me as a person, not just a collection of erotic bits for other people to ogle.
My libido isn't great, but he hugs and cuddles me, and is patient. Your DH is brow beating you into not accepting any normal intimacy, and instead puts his needs, and only his needs, first.
Your DH had an emotional affair. And tbh, he doesn't even sound remorseful about his actions.
And don't even get me started about the manufactured rows, putting you on the defensive about whether you are in a mood.
The excessive jealousy - expecting you to reply to texts instantly, or questioning why not. His controlling behaviour about Facebook and other men.
The way he is disrespectful towards you 'I'm boring, I'm acting old, I'm uptight, I'm always looking out for myself and don't care what he wants'. (last part of that sentence is him projecting btw!).
All of it says to me that he doesn't see you as a proper person. You are an object with no feelings or needs, that he owns and can do with what he likes..
I don't want to come over as bossy. And I don't want to make you feel shit about your relationship for no reason, but I think the way your H is behaving towards you is glaringly obvious to lots of us on here, and I think you are beginning to have your doubts too.
He does know what he's doing. I know that's hard to believe but people like your partner start from the place that they are right, what they want is far more important than other people and they are prepared to trample on feelings, create arguments and do whatever it takes to make sure they always get their own way. It might not always be malicious but it is certainly deliberate.
The reason I and others can confidently state it's emotionally abusive/bullying/controlling behaviour is because he's treading a very well-worn path that we've seen time and time and time again. Being awkward, difficult to please, argumentative, offensive and occasionally aggressive (sexually and verbally)... alternating with relatively nice behaviour & promises to change when things get really bad.... and gradually chipping away at the victim's self-confidence, tolerance and judgement over time.
You don't notice (few do) because you live with it. It's only when it gets particularly bad that you 'look differently' at it and wonder what's going on. But I can guarantee that, if you separated from him for six months and got some therapeutic help such as the Freedom Programme, you'd have repeated flashbacks of his behaviour where you'd be thinking 'OMG... I can't believe he did that and I thought it was OK'
Good grief this gets worse.
Having re-read your thread about your sex life, this bloke's a porn loser as well as an abuser, an unfaithful twat and a criminal, isn't he?
Did you realise that it's a criminal offence to post sexual images on the internet without the subject's consent?
The law recognises this form of abuse even if the victim doesn't
I've read your other thread about his affairs (plural)
I was on it. It was one of the worst examples of abusive gaslighting I've ever seen. It takes quite a lot to shock me, but I was horrified that a woman was experiencing that level of headfuckery and didn't appear to realise it.
Your mental health is seriously at risk with this man.
Please, please get away from him.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Have you read the thread Whatcha?
badinage - you are right, I hadn't when I posted. I had read the first page when I posted the reply above - I have now read the entire thread and was about to ask for my post to be removed as it has no bearing on the direction the thread took - apologies OP - I posted before I had read the whole story.
Skating have you considered keeping a diary of his behaviour and how it made you feel? You might be surprised at how often it is a 'bad day' and he's tried/succeeded in being abusive or manipulative?
It can be something simple like noting it was a good day, or an opportunity to write down how you feel after he has said/done something. That way you won't doubt yourself as and when he starts re-writing the past and gaslighting you.
Your assertiveness is great and to be encouraged, but 12 years is a good long time to bugger someone's head up and by the sounds of your posts he's been doing a good job of that.
I don't want to sound like a doommonger, but if he can't get a reaction from you with words, is his next step to be physical?
I think you'll reach a point where you'll see his niceness for what it is, as fake and as too little.
In a relationship we always have ups and downs, but the downs should be bearable.
If the downs make you miserable, and are frequent, it's just not worth it.
Thank you for all the replys, and those further up the thread where people have shared their own experiences.
Yes I have thought of keeping a diary. Really think I need to as already I would have forgotten or minimised the things on this thread had I not written them down.
I've thought about it before as I can never bring up something that happened in the past unless I can demonstrate exactly what happened, word for word, expressions, tones, dates, times. No one can remember that detail can they, so I thought of writing things down to prove I had a point. Now I see that's not the reason I should record. I need to keep a record for me so I stop minimising.
A big part of me still thinks I've got this wrong and a diary will show that.
A part of me thinks bollocks this looks bad.
Maybe if I just do things his way out will be easier and okay. I tied that last year and it wasn't pay and I certainly wasn't happy. Just need to remember that.
Skating, he has probably spent years conditioning you making you doubt your judgement. You may need to take baby steps to come to the realisation of what's going on, and whether you are prepared to put up with it for another 12, 24, 36 years.
I know what you mean about waiting for something. The problem is that when something awful does happen, we don't tend to be able to process it straight away, especially when it is at odds with something that we really want to believe. So your belief (my relationship is great and nor abusive) is challenged by this thing that happens (say, he shoves you) - your brain will go into panic mode and your immediate reaction is "nope, no, I don't want this to be happening, please don't let it be real, if it is real then it means X Y Z (the things that are so frightening to you that you keep believing that the relationship is great even though it isn't) . Then you start minimising, oh, it doesn't really count as violence,excusing, maybe he was actually trying to move me out of the way, doubting your own memory of the incident and then he is there acting all normal and you really start to get into the territory of just pretending it never happened because it threatens your reality of "my relationship is great and not abusive". This is called cognitive dissonance if you want to look up more about it although most sites I've found seem difficult to wade through.
But anyway this kind of thing makes it difficult to react at the time and then as time passes you feel you can't leave over that X incident 3 months ago because he will ask you why you've been acting like everything is fine up until now and you don't know. And then also you feel as though you've been lying for those 3 months, like because you didn't leave straight away you have no right to leave now, and it feels unfair to him because you have let similar incidents go in the past and maybe he just didn't know, and you wonder if he did it by accident or if it was a one off and he's never done that exact thing before and you should give him a chance.
Just... stop. You think you're waiting for an "incident" to make things simpler but actually the simplest thing is to just decide, actually, I am not happy in this relationship. That is all you need to say and all that you need to feel, it is okay to leave because you are unhappy. It really is and it is really that simple. You do not need his permission or his agreement to end the relationship, you decide it is over, and it is. He can't have a relationship with you on his own!
Yoni that's exactly how things feel. Described perfectly.
A friend this weekend said it was abusive and I should get out. They said although they wouldn't wish it on me, it would almost be better if he hit me as I would be able to see it for what it is and I wouldn't stand for it. It feels strange how people on here and some one IRL have said the same even though I have probably given different examples of behaviour to each.
Today I feel guilty for taking about things.
Guilty for talking about things? Do you mean you feel disloyal? Or do you mean you think you've opened a can of worms now and it would have been better keeping quiet and not finding out how bad it really is?
Yeah dis-loyal. Is not nice to talk about things behind people's backs is it.
It's not nice to subject someone to a pattern of behaviour so manipulative and deceitful that they have to consult friends and random strangers on the internet to work out whether it's normal or not....
You only get one life. Don't waste it standing on ceremony and being 'nice' for the sake of someone who doesn't deserve it.
You are both anonymous. I haven't got a clue who either of you are. Way on earth should you feel guilty for talking about this?
I fear he has corrupted your sense of what is right, healthy and normal.
Even if he did hit you you would go through the same pattern, because physical abuse doesn't really happen like it does in the soaps/movies (not at first) and hence it isn't as clear a marker as you would think. The one time XP was physically abusive to me, he squeezed my foot so hard I screamed as I thought he would break my bones. I didn't realise that was physical abuse until far after the relationship ended, because it didn't look like a punch in the face. Don't wait around for an incident so serious that you end up in hospital or with after effects which last for the rest of your life.
So apparently I wasn't happy enough to be home (followed to bed for the pleasure of this discussion - which he knows i hate him doing)
First reaction is I feel really bad, feel sorry for him having to constantly put up with me not being good enough. Wonder how I can try harder.
I'm trying not to think those things.
I was happy to be home.
It's a lot easier not to think those things when you've not got someone breathing down your neck, chip-chip-chipping away at your self esteem with accusations of not being happy to be home or whatever.
As for being 'good enough'... you're as good as you're going to get and as good as you want tobe. If that's not OK for him then surely it's his problem, not yours?
But you want people you care about to be happy. And if I've done something that's made him unhappy it's natural to try to improve to avoid the situation next time.
I just read that back, Is that conditioning? It doesn't sound right written down even though it's what I believe in my head.
Of course it's conditioning.
Where are your feelings in all this?
Why is he not concerned about helping you feel good?
Because he isn't concerned that's why.
Everything is about him.
"But you want people you care about to be happy. "
Only if it's reciprocated. Otherwise it's just some one-sided exercise in futility, totally demeaning and a fast-track to misery.
It feels very selfish to think about my own feelings when I'm been told I'm doing things that are hurting someone else's.
But at the same time I don't know what I've done wrong.
So from a practical moving forwards point of view, what can I do to build my self esteem?
I think what you are failing to understand yet is that the goalposts are constantly changing. Once you step up in one area, something else will be a problem.
That's why he is never happy with you, despite you spending all your time thinking about how to keep him happy.
I think there comes a point where you have to decide that you need to be selfish in order to survive. That's tied in with self-esteem. It doesn't mean you've stopped caring about others, it just means that - when it comes to the crunch - you regard yourself as more important. You have to believe you deserve better.
It's very very difficult to do that when you have someone in your face telling you that you're getting it all wrong, you're hurting people and all the other negative PR bullshit that you are being fed. When you're living with a one-man spirit-crushing machine even the strongest, most confident, most self-assured person would start to think 'maybe he has a point'. I
So I honestly think you have to go solo or you are destined to stay in this miserable place where you have no confidence and think wanting a good life is 'selfish'
But I can imagine it being any different, I can see how someone else wouldn't behave in the same way, this just seems so normal. I still feel so unreasonable to question it.
What if I leave this and get myself into something much worse.
And what if you leave this and take time to just be yourself? Don't get into anything with someone new but embrace independence. Create a life where you feel what you want to feel, do what you want to do and don't have to second-guess anything or run anything past the 'what will he think?' test? Be your own woman.
There doesn't have to be a 'someone else'.
I know that and I'm fine witg my own company, with my job I get a lot of time on my own with travel etc. I suppose because of that level of independence I find it hard to see that I'm controlled.
Long term I would want a relationship though and I can't see how it would be any different.
You're always going to have a difference of opinion with people.
Are you being controlled....
another time I asked him to kiss my neck.... These are met with a blunt end to proceedings... He says I'm been unreasonable, those things don't turn him on so he shouldn't have to do them. I should just be turned on or be happy with where/how he wants to touch me.
This from your original post. You asked the man who is supposed to love you above all others to do something as simple as kiss your neck and the very cruel, insensitive & selfish response you got from him had you posting to strangers on the internet and asking 'am I unreasonable?'. Blaming yourself. The principal way that kind of Alice in the Looking Glass situation arises is when someone has been told black is white so long and so often, they're actually believing it.
It's not nice to think you're being manipulated or that your caring nature is being exploited or that you've made a big fat mistake in your choice of partner but there is it...
"Long term I would want a relationship though and I can't see how it would be any different. You're always going to have a difference of opinion with people."
Differences of opinion are normal. Browbeating someone into believing that, if they don't agree with you all the time and demean themselves to keep you sweet, they are being unreasonable.... is abusive.
And as for others not being any different, that's just wrong. When you get away from this person I'd strongly recommend you undergo some counselling to unpick the ties that bound you and understand how selfish people operate & your motivations for tolerating the behaviour. Once you can examine the patterns it's possible to change your approach, put yourself first and - very important - spot when someone else is displaying the same abusive behaviour.
But what if I'm causing this? I'm obviously looking at the relationship differently, I'm posting on here for one and as a result am probably behaving differently towards him.
What if it's the change in me making him be insecure? Is it not abusive of me to suddenly change how I behave towards him? Who am I to make demands of his behaviour? I can just expect him to be happy with it and not notice if I start behaving differently.
You're looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope. Abuse is wrong. Repeat. Abuse is wrong. If the change in your behaviour is making someone unhappy they are entitled to say so but they are not entitled to insult or berate you. If you ask that someone treats you with respect they are entitled to refuse but they are not entitled to accuse you of being unreasonable and bully you into changing your mind.
Ultimately, if you are being less of a doormat & more assertive and he doesn't like it, it's his problem and not yours.
It would be abusive of you to change your behaviour suddenly if you were doing it with the intention of making him feel insecure. Tbh, if that was your intention, you wouldn't be here worrying about what you were doing!
Your behaviour doesn't cause anything. He is an adult and should take responsibility for his reactions. Do you feel sometimes like you can never be good enough? It sounds like it, with his following you to the bedroom to reinforce some complaint about your feelings not being good enough. Honestly, a normal partner would be concerned if you seemed unhappy to be home, not outraged or angered.
Have you started a diary like you thought about doing? (I realise you've been away so might not have done yet, but thought I'd remind you of your intention in any case.)
No I haven't started it. I mean to but then I decide is all in my head again and there is no actual problem. That's the point of starring it isn't it.
As soon as he is nice, I want that so much, I let everything else drop. Today he is being nice.
Wait a minute, OP. Just stop. You're hurtling along a path which is all about him, him, him.
Stop for a moment and just "be". You're spending too much brain effort and giving too much head space to what "he wants".
Right. Now. Do you think that you can go for the rest of your life, the next 40 years or so, thinking that you are in the wrong for asking your partner to kiss your neck? Seriously?
another time I asked him to kiss my neck.... These are met with a blunt end to proceedings... He says I'm been unreasonable, those things don't turn him on so he shouldn't have to do them. I should just be turned on or be happy with where/how he wants to touch me.
That smacks of total selfishness on his part.
You are not causing this. Like you say, you're now looking at the relationship differently, but that doesn't mean that you're causing his insecurity.
(Sorry if the thread has moved on somewhat, but I left this post onscreen then went off for lunch).
Peppered through this thread are comments from you like and if I've done something that's made him unhappy it's natural to try to improve to avoid the situation next time and first reaction is I feel really bad, feel sorry for him having to constantly put up with me not being good enough. Wonder how I can try harder.
It seems you constantly try to please him, to do what he wants, to act as he pleases. He told you that you weren't happy enough at being home from your trip - did he tell you exactly what reaction/words he expected from you. Did you try to remember to do that next time. Or was he just trying to bring you back to heel after your few days of freedom, and chose to do it through unkind words and creating a bad atmosphere? Putting you on edge, making you anxious.
You will never and can never be good enough for him, because what he wants doesn't exist.
I just hadn't behaved "like a normal partner would do after being away"....
Define 'normal'. And this period of 'being away' .. is he referring to the time when you split up? It all sounds like he expects you to be pathetically grateful that you're allowed to be back in his presence. I don't know how you can keep listening to this bullshit without stoving his head in with a steam iron quite honestly.
No, I've been at for 5 days with friends.
So by 'normal' are we really talking 'sex'?
So he is the arbitrator of "normal"ness then? (God help us all! Couldn't resist.)
Write the diary. No easier way to see clearly IF something is going wrong or if really, on reflection and a little distance from each event, there is nothing wrong.
Just don't think I was happy enough to see him? I should have been more happy, more enthusiastic about being back. I had a great time away, was in a good, but chilled out mood, I was happy to be home, but it was late and I was tired so maybe it didn't come across? . We ate together, discussed what I had been up to and what he had done over the weekend. I said I had missed him and it was nice to be back, I stayed up later then I normally would so we could have some time together, I sat next to him on the sofa, was stroking his arm and laid against him whilst he was on laptop so want ignoring or anything.
When I said I was going to bed, I asked if he was coming, he said he was, I gave him a kiss and said I would see him in a minute. Would have instigated sex if he had come up and not stated on, "what's wrong with you" "you don't seem happy to be home" etc
Sounds a lovely evening to me. Don't know what his problem is.
OP he's totally got you dancing to his tune hasn't he! You're worrying now that you weren't 'normal' enough!
From what he's putting you through I'd say your reaction was totally normal. He's telling you how to think fgs.
Stop worrying about upsetting him, he's more than happy to upset you.
So he deliberately turned what was and what could have been a nice relaxing evening into an argument? Do you see why that's manipulative? Instead of everything remaining calm and happy, by him creating this nasty atmosphere you are instantly on the back foot, worried, alert, wondering what you did or said wrong.... and snap goes the trap and there you are ready to change something about yourself in order to restore the equilibrium.
Please tell me you see that's a deliberate engineering of a situation to make him feel good & you feel bad.... 'predatory self-esteem'.
Surely he would have felt good by continuing the nice evening? What did he have gain from saying what he did?
Just think that I must have behaved in a way that made him feel bad enough to have to say something.
Yeah I'm on the back foot today. Regular text and phone calls to show I'm okay and happy to be back. - just answered my own question didn't I? That's what he got out of it. ????
He always says I'm selfish and only ever think about what I want and how things feel to me so, apparently I never consider how my behaviour effects him. This line is repeated in many circumstances. But what if I am like that?
Yes you answered your own question. He feels good by making you feel bad. All bullies do this. It's how they stay in control.
What do you mean 'what if I am like that'? Like what? How did your behaviour affect him exactly? What specifically in that scene you describe of having dinner together, chatting, staying up late etc would affect someone so negatively as to have them challenging you about being happy at home? Answer.... bugger all.
Probably like every other example you can think of, it was a completely contrived argument whistled out of thin air designed to get the grovelling texts and phone-calls coming. Ker-ching...
What did he get out of it? Total control of you that's what and an underlining of that fact that he's the boss.
Skating, this is exactly the same as him telling you you are being in bad form when you are not. Can you see that?
It puts you on the back foot, having to defend yourself and insist that yes, you really are please to see him and you missed him.
He is punishing you for being away by being like a sulky child.
Good grief, he sounds like very hard work.
Sometimes I can see it, other times I think he must be right, I am hard work, unfair, unreasonable, whatever...
I don't know who's right, suppose that's why I'm checking here.
He'll do some thing and I'll think he is out of order, but then he'll do something nice and I feel bad thinking there was a problem as things can't be that bad after all.
This is a cycle. This cycle seems to be really frequent at the moment, it feels constant this year. I'm exhausted.
If you're exhausted chances are you're finding your environment very stressful. If you were hard work, unreasonable, unfair etc you would probably be anything but stressed because you'd be in the driving seat and therefore quite happy. It is far more stressful to be the victim and this 'cycle' you describe is such a commonly used stress-inducing, power-grabbing tactic for emotional bullies that it's almost a cliché.
I call it 'good cop, bad cop'... the bad cop stamps and shouts, intimidating the suspect and then the good cop turns up all smiles with a nice cup of tea and says 'sign the confession and I'll keep bad cop away'. Whether the behaviour is horrible or nice, it's all designed to control.
I'm not surprised you're exhausted. Treading on eggshells, hoping the 'nice' periods last, or come soon. Dancing to his tune (although never quite enough for him).
Out of curiousity, when you got back from your trip away, was he jumping through hoops out of sheer joy at seeing you? I don't think it would have mattered what mood or frame of mind you were in at that point, how ecstatic you were to see him. He just wanted to slap you down and get you back under control again.
Cog posted this on another thread. I thought it was very insightful and made me think of you.
are you dating an abuser
New to this thread but the main reason he engineered the argument at the end of your first evening home was because he didn't want to have sex with you. But instead of being open and transparent about that, he created an argument out of nowhere based on an entirely fictitious grievance.
This is without any doubt an abusive relationship.
I'm also new to your thread but reading the post about how your husband reacted on your return gave me the shivers.
Have you ever heard the expression slowly, slowly catch the monkey? This thread reminds me of that. It seems to me that he is slowly but surely eroding your confidence, not just in yourself but in your own judgement. He's also conditioning you into not having a social life of your own, e.g. by starting an argument before you left and making out you're not happy to be back when you get home. By doing this over time you'll likely find that you go out less as it's easier to stay at home than face the arguments beforehand and the walking on eggshells when you get back.
Don't be surprised if things escalate the next time you do something he disapproves of.
Thanks all. Have taken every thing on board and will have a good think. It's a lot to face up to of what you are saying is right. The link (Thanks Beryl) did have some matches but not others (I know someone wouldn't match everything).
I would still like to believe there is another explanation and I am just expecting to much but the more everyone else says not, the less likely that is looking.
I'm calm now yesterday was a good day. But I know it won't be forever, but I can help but hope this time it will be. This sounds deluded even to me, there is this voice in the back of my head going, you are acting like an idiot... I'm losing patients with myself, I know it's frustrating for people watching someone who can't accept what is obvious to everyone else.... But there is another voice in my head going what if I'm wrong, what if this is normal and I trade it in over nothing. I really would miss him, and all the good times we have, this is all I've known my whole adult life.
OP why was Wednesday a good day? Because he didn't have a go at you? Stop letting him dictate if it's a good day or a bad day.
Do you really want this for the rest of your life?
" But there is another voice in my head going what if I'm wrong, what if this is normal and I trade it in over nothing."
That's really just insecurity. Living with an emotional bully is very stressful and corrosive. They create an atmosphere of insecurity as a way to keep you close. The pretend arguments, the nit-picking, the demands that you 'act like you're pleased to see me', 'no-one else would want you', 'you'd be nothing without me', 'I'm the only one that loves you', 'I'm only so jealous because I love you so much' (I'm guessing the last few but they are standard bullshit) etc... that's all designed to unsettle so that you cling to them, grateful, hoping they'll cheer up, get back to the good times and be the lovely person you know he can be.
Your insecurity is saying you might be wrong... but you're not. Your insecurity is trying to say this is normal... so that you're wrong again... but it's not. And as for 'trading it in over nothing'... if you didn't have this man you'd have yourself plus a lifetime of opportunities that you are currently missing out on. If you don't like yourself, if you don't trust yourself to choose a non-abusive partner next time around, if you think someone exhibiting this behaviour is the best you can do, if you are sticking with him because you're getting on a bit and you think he's your best shot at having kids ... that's insecurity.
In that case I have insecurity down to a T!!
Would an option be too stand up to the controlling. If it has no effect surely he'll stop.
I don't think it will escalate, is only ever being worse when I was not as strong and didn't stand up for myself as much as I should have.
Always stand up to the controlling. Goes without saying. However, be very conscious this is not an even match. You may be stronger than you were in the past (and well done for that) but you're still tolerating the fake arguments and the bad atmosphere. Put it this way. He doesn't sit nights fretting about whether he should modify his behaviour, whether it makes life worse being assertive, worrying whether it's normal, questioning his judgement and posting on message boards does he? Unlike you, he's quite complacent and probably rather satisfied with the outcome.
If it has no effect he won't stop, he'll just persist. He's done it for 12 years and it's his default setting.
I forget. Do you have children?
Not married, no children. MMC last summer and now isn't the right time to try again.
So sorry about the MMC but please don't under any circumstances have children with this man. If he's bad now, once you've produced a child and your options are more limited, he'll crucify you...
OP, you come accross as eminently reasonable, maybe almost too much so, always willing to see the other side of the story.
Do you have any idea how badly your DP comes across? From your posts, and I have nothing to go on but your posts as obviously I do not know you or your DP, it appears your DP is a selfish, manipulating dick.
So if this is as good as it is going to get, is that fine with you?
Hmm. I have read your other thread.
I truly think this relationship is not fixable. He is the problem, not you.
He treats you dreadfully.
You can stand up to the controlling behaviour.
It may even improve and not escalate. Although I suspect it will become more insidious and less difficult for you to stand up to.
What do you think will happen if you get pregnant and have a child?
He will use your child to control you, in all likelihood.
He'll be likely to leave you holding the baby, because that's what mums do.
You'll be more worried about leaving him because of the child.
Think about it.
Sorry, more difficult for you to stand up to. Doh!
I have just read your other thread too. At the end of it you split up I think. What made you go back to him?
Why did we try again, the main contributing factor for the split was the number of text being send to another woman. After break up he accepted some responsibly, did the whole I love you, we are good together, no one else like us, etc, plus no one else would have me (sure they would, I'm lovely!). Guess a big part of me believes that we are good together and wants it to work.
I have faults to. I was distant towards the end of last year, couple of things had happened that i wasn't happy with and hadn't been happy with him over (not going to discuss on public forum) and instead of taking to him I probably withdrew a bit, this contributed to the excessive texts to OW.
He's reduced the number of text messages. I promised to be more open when things bother me and not keep it to myself - hence calling him on things I don't like about his behaviour this year. Well trying to anyway.
Okay scrap that, on reflection this is more accurate: why did I go back... I left because I felt unloved and not respected. I wanted him to fight for me, he did, I when back. Then it all starts again.
I previously asked you what you learnt about relationships when growing up.
This is what you replied:-
"Growing up, that's an interesting angle. Learnt that men are in charge and should be obeyed. Also used to wish my parents would split up as they weren't suited to each other, lots of rows and bad mouthing and put downs. Don't really have a relationship with either now".
See the continuation of same now in your own adult dysfunctional relationship?.
Did your mother also believe that they were good together and wanted it to work?. This mindset of wanting it to work is so damaging to you.
Your parents certainly taught you some very damaging lessons and I am not at all surprised this man has been in your life for the last 12 years. My guess too is that you met this person not long after you moved out, you were in a bad place and after life at home this person seemed like manna from heaven. Unfortunately he has turned out to be the man from hell. He does not value you one bit, he uses all the tactics that abusive men use (those include getting you to feel that you are at fault) to keep you where you are in the hole that he dug for you.
This person you are now with is really Your Dad/Mum Mark 2, it would not surprise me if this man was a carbon copy of your Dad and you are replicating what you saw growing up. He is just as damaging to you as they were.
I think you've always felt unloved and disrespected tbh. That rot started at home.
Don't know what my mother believed. Neither of them were blame less. She resented me for having a good relationship with my dad. She couldn't match me with intelligence so would try and manage me emotionally. Still would so I very rarely see her now. Actually rarely see any family, once a year maybe. Not healthy to see them more often.
I don't see obvious similarities.... theirs was a very different relationship dynamic to mine.
Met partner whist I lived at home.
Previous b/f would put himself in hospital if I didn't give him enough attention and kept threatening to kill himself when I left. (I knew that wasn't healthy and left)
Didn't have great early childhood experiences with men either...
Theres a pattern isn't there.
Or am I looking for a pattern and this is actually okay, and I'm making it into something is not.
I'm not this indecisive in the rest of my life!
I really, really hope it doesn't take much longer for you to see your relationship is not normal at all. Your partner is horrible to you and frankly sounds like a horrible person. If he treated everyone in his life the way he treats you he'd have no family, friends, job, nothing. He reserves it all for you.
He's got you examining every facet of your being and finding yourself wanting. Trying to improve yourself and change to please him when he can never be satisfied, because he will move the goalposts and find something else to nag and sulk and bully you about.
You are a decent intelligent caring human and do NOT DESERVE to have this millstone of a man round your neck.
He wooed you back by saying he loved you, you were great together ... and no one else would have you????
Why, why WHY are you still with this man? 95% of what you have said about him makes me feel sick.
And it will escalate. It always does. If he feels he is losing control of you, it will escalate. My abusive ex started with verbal abuse, when I stood up to that, he pushed me over and put a pillow over my face. I finally managed to end the relationship.
I really really hope that this thread is the start of an awakening for you. You don't sound remotely unreasonable. In fact you sound far too ready to bend to his every whim.
he treats you horribly. No one deserves this.
Yes there is a pattern and no this is not okay at all. Your current man hit paydirt when he met you because he has and is playing you for a fool. I think you were targeted by him because he saw your vulnerable state, abusive men like your current man can spot vulnerable and previously abused women a mile off.
All the men in your life to date including this man you've shackled yourself to now have failed you. The rot did start at home because your parents taught you damaging lessons on relationships. These were carried forward into your adult life unsurprisingly because you did not know any different.
Once you are free of this man and I sincerely hope that happens sooner rather than later, you need to enrol on Womens Aid Freedom Programme as this could well help you further. Such men can take years to recover from.
But I don't feel like a victim of an abusive relationship, or feel that hard done by compared with others.
It's just some things aren't that fair and stress me out.
No things aren't always okay, but I don't want things to get blown out of perspective. They aren't dire by a long shot.
Many victims of abuse do try and rationalise or minimise it all. Its certainly not just a question of some things not being fair and stressing you out.
Things are certainly dire and he has you precisely where he wants you; in the hole you have also partly dug for yourself.
I really think you need to read your opening post back to yourself again.
You say now No things aren't always okay, but I don't want things to get blown out of perspective. They aren't dire by a long shot
But you said when you started After a tough couple of years have decided to make ago of my relationship (of 12 years) but realised for my sanity I needed to be more assertive with what I want from the relationship.
So is your 'sanity' at stake or not?
Sounds like you are attempting to back pedal once you realise the unanimous advice is that this is an abusive relationship. I know it is very scarey to think about leaving, but surely staying is worse.
And this I find quite frightening
It's just some things aren't that fair and stress me out.
You are not describing things that are not fair - you are describing things which are clearly abusive - refusing to kiss you, telling you no one else would have you, picking fights and making you tread on egg shells all the time, etc, etc, etc.
When/if you get out, go and look at the Freedom Program.
You deserve more than this.
Its not clearly abusive to me or I would have left!
I need to take on board what people have said and form my own opinion.
I do appreciate everyone's input and the time you have taken to respond. I realise it's frustrating that I can't see things how you do, but I cant just hear a new perspective on my life and suddenly decide is right. I need to thing things over and work it out for myself.
Of course you are going to need some time to adjust to the reality of your situation. You have lived with this for a long time. This is your normal.
Freedom programme might be a good idea though.
Skating, of course you need time to work it out.
It would be more obviously abusive if he hit you. But emotional abuse (which is what this is, your H has some seriously fucked up wiring) is just as insidious.
I can hear it in your posts - you have no confidence to be sure of your convictions - one minute you are saying to yourself 'this isn't right', the next you are questioning yourself 'perhaps it is me, I can be difficult'. Do you see what I mean? He has your confidence and your sense of you so eroded that you are like a blade of glass in the wind.
I am not 'frustrated' with you. I feel very sad for you. You are able to describe very clearly an abusive situation but you can't recognise it. Is isn't a criticism - you are attached to him, the thought of being without him scares you.
Most of us in abusive relationships stayed way longer than any outside observer would think sensible or safe. But this is why abusive relationships area dangerous - you do get attached to your abuser, you do find you lose confidence in your ability to be objective.
It took me a year of all my friends saying leave him, he is awful before I could hear. And it was only after he tried to wreck my 30th birthday party that I finally woke up. I had only been with him for 18 months.
So I don't underestimate the powerful ties that 12 years with someone can bring. But just because you are attached to someone doesn't make it healthy or right.
Of course it is your life and your decision. I hope you can take some time and reflect on all that is written here, but most importantly what you wrote.
Mentions of other threads made me search for them.
Why are you minimising what were evidently sexual affairs with at least two other women?
Why are you minimising the misogyny that so many posters picked up on?
This seems to be one of those situations where everyone else can see the truth but you cannot. I'm wondering what's happened in your life to have created this much denial about things that are so very obvious?
You are in a lousy relationship right now, I promise you it will only get much worse if you got pregnant and had a child.
Eventually you would see how damaging his behaviour would be for your child, even if you yourself thought you could cope with it. Far better to work out how to leave this rubbish relationship now, heal yourself and then think about finding a kind supportive partner to have children with.
What is the point of wasting even more time with him?
Firstly to clarify I have no intention of trying for Children at this point in my life.
I don't think the EA's were sexual. But the way I was treated during the first one was unacceptable. However we agreed to put this behind us and try again so I need to let that go. It was two years ago.
The second EA was just to much contact, this has now reduced.
I don't know if this is abusive. I just don't know. If it is he doesn't mean it to be. That doesn't make it right. If I had a way to be sure I could easily deal with it. Its the uncertainly that eats me up. Looking back now I can see things that probably were at least mildly abusive. But is it always abuse? Might it not be some one reacting in the wrongway? No one reacts the right way all the time. We all make mistakes.
This last few days he has been nice, the photos were removed from Internet without argument or sulking. What I had said about 'bedroom activity' has been taken on board. I have wondered if he has found this thread.... He won't keep it to himself for long if he has. If he hasn't then things are improving...
The only thing now is very regular "are you okay" , "is everything okay" which is frequent enough to be odd.
I think those relationships were sexual and I don't agree that you need to put them behind you, especially as one of those affairs is still going on and he is in 'reduced' text contact with that person.
But affairs like that are all part of a pattern of abusive behaviour. I think you need to read some Lundy Bancroft.
I think that the vast majority of abusers are not doing so consciously, they are just following relationship patterns they have seen played out growing up, or think that their way is the right way/their only choice to deal with the situation which they feel others are putting them in. They don't tend to recognise any other way even if it is spelled out to them.
You are right in saying it still doesn't make it right.
Read Lundy Bancroft. That'll answer whether it's abusive or not.
we agreed to put this behind us and try again so I need to let that go. It was two years ago - you've tried to put it behind you. For lots of reasons, it clearly hasn't been possible to put it behind you. No shame in that.
Make sure he has no pictures of you, then ltb. First time I've said that - he sounds like a prize twat.
You sucking his cock is NOT the same as him showing some tenderness and affection during foreplay, and if he can't see that, it is a lost cause I'm afraid.
Just caught up on thread - I will admit that sometimes mn is too quick to jump on the "he's abusive - ltb" bandwagon, but this is not one of those threads I'm afraid.
It is a classic trick to pick fights before/after someone goes away or does something without them. My ex used to do it to me, so eventually I stopped going out to make life easier. You had a lovely time with friends, yet he had to spoil this for you? And make you feel as though it was all you fault? Can you not see that this is not nice?
Fwiw my exes behaviour did escalate to physical abuse, but what was far more damaging was the damage it did to my sense of self worth. I remember feeling as you do, if only I could work out how to keep him happy/try harder things would be ok.
Please get out now op. And get some counselling. It is only now after having some counselling and talk about it that I have come to forgive myself and realise it is not my fault and I am not flawed in some way.
Just for documentation purposes:
I'm a "selfish bitch" everything is always about me and Inever put the relationship first or make him a priority.
So we had a talk about things and that was the outcome. Row started cos I didn't reply to a facebook message (feel like I'm 12 writing that). It was "disrespectful of me"
Went on to other things and I pointed out all the things he picks me up on and explained how that makes me feel. Said I couldn't keep tapering my mood or behaviour to suit him... Just Need To Be myself, but that should be okay... shouldn't It? That's the being a bitch and being selfish.
I'm putting my need above the relationship... I said of I couldn't be myself there was no relationship.
I also "never listen to him, don't understand him, I have formed all these opinions and am sticking to them regardless of the effect it has on him" (well Yes...) which is me being a bitch...
Also picked up on my behaviour in other areas... again I just do what I want with no regard for the relationship - this was as I have been to see a friend he doesn't like me seeing and messaged other people (messages he is welcome to read). He's never told me not to see our talk to these people.... Just makes it hard work when I do
It does feel very selfish, but it also feels right. Am I putting myself above the relationship, do I need to back off a little and compromise more.
He says I've changed, and that's true to an extent. I feel guiltily about that as I'm not giving him much choice in the matter. He says I don't give a shit about him or what he thinks. I do. Guess he won last night as the row ended with me telling him what I liked about him etc etc Street he had spend two hours Slating me. But if I'm the one being different is only fair I reassure him....
Can't get hold of a copy of that book.
You are not selfish. He is trying to isolate you from all other friends. Classic behaviour.
I would never be in a relationship or friends with a man who called me a 'bitch'. It indicates very deep seated misogyny. It's a term my ex used frequently.
To be fair he has a point with some of it... I do tend to get an opinion and stick to it (in my defence is normal well though out and researched first...) and I will tell things how they are so can come across as a bit of a bitch sometimes... I do try to be diplomatic where I can be
He doesn't have any kind of a point.
Are you seriously saying that having an opinion and stating it makes you a bitch?
Unless you shout and swear at him and refuse to listen you are perfectly entitled to have your views and state them. The fact he can't cope with this is yet another big tick in the box marked 'misogynistic insecure cunt'
Also doesn't try an isolate me from all friends, just male ones he doesn't like!
I've been told I'm a bitch so often I just suppose is true. I must be. Don't particularly view it as a negative
So that's ok then. Just trying to isolate you from male friends. And calls you a bitch so often it must be true.
What a prince.
Thanks Spero. Easy to lose perspective.
Well just on the sex thing, is he 13? At that age boys might think sex is just about penetration i.e. analogous to wanking. By 16 most will have read something about foreplay.
So, if you can't have sex that you don't both enjoy and you don't enjoy penetration without foreplay, you can't have sex at all, can you.
You're not actually concerned with sex you both enjoy, because he doesn't give a stuff about your enjoyment and you are going along with this and, for some reason, not saying 'no, I don't enjoy this, do it in a way that's nice for me or stop'.
From reading the rest of he thread you are applying exactly the same approach to the rest of your life. When you don't like his behaviour you pander to it, when he doesn't like yours he does his best to make your life difficult.
Btw on your 'blow job every time' point, the answer is yes, oral sex before penetration every time would be lovely thanks! If he'd like that too, as foreplay, so be able to move on to penetrative sex immediately afterwards, well, ok.
Do you honestly think that any adult male is thick and inexperienced enough not to know that male and female turn ons are different and that women usually need more foreplay to get them in the mood? Tell him to read a copy of Cosmo ffs, so he can be almost as well informed as a 16yo girl.
Also substitute 'him' for 'the relationship' in all your posts and his behaviour suddenly makes more sense.
Skating, I'm not going to focus on the abuser angle now because the label is obviously causing you some problems and I don't think it's helpful so I'm going to put it aside for this post.
The other issue here is that you are clearly not happy. Look at why.
You go and do something nice for him in getting the groceries while you're away. You weren't sure you had enough money on you to get him beer and all of a sudden you're all wrong (didn't he say 'what is the point of you?).
You want to have a pleasurable sex life. What you consider pleasurable is irrelevant as 'you should be happy with what turns him on' regardless of how you feel about it.
He had what you consider to be an EA (I use those words not to minimise the impact of the EA because other posters have hinted that it was probably sexual but you consider it not to be. Either way it's an affair of some sort). This EA hasn't ended, it's just 'reduced'. Why? Is that not a blurring of boundaries? How much contact would you need to consider it restarted?
When you split up one of the reasons you had him back was because he said nobody else would ever want you.
If you have an opinion you are a 'selfish bitch' who puts yourself before the relationship. The only way you can amend this is by deferring to him at all times.
If you don't answer a Facebook message within the requisite time scale you are also being a 'selfish bitch' .
You walk on eggshells to avoid being a 'selfish bitch' but get picked up on if you don't look happy enough.
These are the things I have picked out from reading the last few pages of this thread. I'd bet my house, car and baby there's plenty more of the same ilk.
Whether you consider this to be abuse or not it is obvious that this relationship is not bringing you any joy. And you deserve joy, and happiness and contentment. You don't deserve a slimeball knobhead like this who makes you feel so conflicted and insecure that you doubt yourself at every turn.
A good relationship makes you feel secure, relaxed, happy and confident.
Fuck me, I missed the naked pics on the internet bit.
Run, run like the wind.
Skating, I vehemently despise your H, and I don't even know him.
He is doing a complete number on you, and I think (hope) you are beginning to see it. It is all about him, isn't it? You didn't reply quick enough to a Facebook message? FFS - that is sceaming out that his ego needed stroked, there and then, and you weren't damn quick enough to do it!
It's all about how he feels, what he wants.
And it is a classic trick to make it hard work for you to stay in contact with friends, male or female. Or if you do see them, there will always be a manufactured row before or after, or both.
I would be grateful for the fact that you aren't married and don't have DC together (sorry, don't mean it to be insensitive). Have you a joint mortgage? He isn't all powerful, and there is nothing to prevent you putting a stop to his horrible treatment of you and walking away.
You're obviously not happy. Why do you stay with someone who doesn't give you happiness in your life?
Can you order the Lundy Bancroft book from the library? Or from Amazon and get it sent to your work address?
Can anyone recommend some good websites in the absence of the book?
I thought I was happy...
My post is opened at work before it reaches me.
Who opens your post? He does? If that's true it's totally 100% unacceptable.
I'd be quite tempted to agree with him, that I was a bitch, and that I'd do him a favour and break up with him.
He does sound dreadful and imature. His responses sound so selfish and uncaring. He is basically saying he doesn't care enough to consider your feelings. Sorry but that would be it for me I'm afraid.
Oh no, just read the rest.....hideous. Please leave him. You will be so much happier on your own or with someone else. Don't waste any more of your life with this idiot.
Who opens your post at work?!
Admin staff open and distribute post at work. I'm not in the office every day, They need to to check for client things that need dealing with and things from Amazon could be gifts so would need recording. Everyone's post gets opened at work not just mine.
At home he doesn't open my post (or his own!) I deal with all Paper work but he gets home first and would ask what I had received from Amazon.... Don't think it's reasonable to not answer that... That's just normal conversation and I would ask the same the other way round.
To answer earlier questions, yes joint mortgage, totally joint finances. I earn more so not reliant on him.
A good relationship makes you feel secure, relaxed, happy and confident.
^ This along with the rest of Jengnr's last post^
Someone I can take what you have said and agree 100%.
Other times I doubt myself so much, wonder if I am the cause of the problems. Or I will think actually I should be happy with what I have, we do (did?) have good times together, this is what relationships are like and I should be grateful for the support (?) I get and realise things can't be great all the time.
I honestly can't imagine a relationship where the things I have mentioned are not an issue.
There may be similar issues, OP, but not to this really quite horrifying extreme. And in 'normal' relationships they can generally be resolved in a mature and mutually loving/respectful way.
Forgive me, I'm a lurker and late to this (very rarely post in Relationships), but I've read your whole thread and it's very sad. You are so bedevilled by this awful man and his mind games that you just aren't thinking straight.
I think you know this in your heart of hearts but I realise that action is harder to initiate.
I do think you need to escape this situation, though. Agree 100% with so many of the very wise comments on this thread.
This was precisely the trap into which I fell. I thought - but aren't relationships supposed to be hard work? It can't always be rainbows and sunshine can it?
True, it can't. There will be times in any relationship when you are annoyed or bored with each other or snap at each other.
But in a good relationship, worth having, you will say sorry to each other and resolve to make it up to your partner.
You won't insult them, degrade them, denigrate them, refuse to kiss them, tell them 'no one else will have you', try to isolate them from their friends,
etc. etc. etc.
As everyone has said - you are not happy. If you can't cope with the label 'abusive relationship' just yet, ask yourself. Am I happy? When I die and look back on my life will I be glad that I chose to spend it in this way with this man? Is being single really so awful and frightening that this life is better?
I can assure that no healthy relationship would have any of the issues you've mentioned in this thread, let alone all of them.
It's profoundly sad that you think that every relationship is characterised by a bad sex life, denied multiple infidelities, criminal abuse of your image for others to masturbate to, control over friendships and constant surveillance of your demeanour and every action.
Can you afford some therapy? Have you considered talking to Women's Aid or your GP about this hell that you think is normal?
I often advise women in your position to get off the internet and into a room with a real-life person, so that you can see their facial reactions when you describe your life. I think you need to see how we have probably all recoiled with horror at some of the things you've described. If you could have seen our faces, maybe then you'd see how bad this is.
Your partner is revolting. You need to leave this relationship.
Have spoken to someone IRL. Reaction and comments were very similar to on here... somethings almost word for word. They were given some different examples to I gave on here but still reached same conclusion.
Why can't I see it all the time. Sometimes I can. I'm just so worried I'm making a mistake.
Seeing the relationship as unhealthy sometimes and thinking that's an overreaction at other times is totally normal. You realise that what seems clearly abusive to others seems normal to you because you're used to it. Unfortunately, there's a limit to how much clearer it'll get while you're still in it.
Have you lurked on the EA support thread or read through the links at the top? You may well find some things familiar and some things making you feel "well he doesn't do that", so I'm hesitant to point you there. If you lurk on the thread, you will find that most of us can see it sometimes and wonder if we're making a big mistake at others.
That's great that you've spoken to somebody irl and got support from them. Would you be able to get the Lundy book sent to their address?
This thing he says about putting your own needs above the relationship - it says something about his (unhealthy) approach to boundaries, I think, but I can't quite get my head round what. Maybe someone else has something more helpful to say about that.
These kinds of abusive men will continually try to put you in your place and not to investigate what YOU want or need. Because the moment you do that you will see the relationship for the abusive one sided mess it is.
Anyone worth being in a relationship with will want you to be the best person you can be, they will celebrate that and be happy for you.
It seems he doesn't see you as your own person. You're just the other half of him.
Do you re-read this thread? That could help a bit with clarity. But go easy on yourself - as you've said yourself upthread, adjusting to a new perspective takes time.
What about taking all the horrible stuff he does that you have documented on this thread and writing it down in a list. Maybe add some of the stuff that you haven't mentioned on here. Have a look at the list and ask yourself if staying with him is worth putting up with everything that you have written down.
He seems to think that your needs and his needs are mutually exclusive.
In a normal relationship, your partner would be happy to support you in whatever aspirations and dreams you have. Instead he appears sulky and selfish, trying to dampen any self worth you have.
Ask yourself this: do you think for one moment he is sitting agonising over whether he's being assertive or unreasonable or selfish towards you?
If it helps I (and other mumsnetters I am sure) can tell you about the reality of a relationship where these things are not an issue. I know how it feels to not be able to believe that the "perfect" relationship exists - and no, it doesn't, no relationship is hollywood blissful happiness constantly all the time, but a healthy, normal relationship does exist and one of those really feels like perfection after being with someone who pulls your heart and your emotions every which way like this.
Yes Yoni, it's true, no relationship is perfect. But I think abusers hide behind this when they are called out on their behaviour.
I wonder whether it isn't that you are afraid of making a mistake, but that you fear being alone?
I did notice about your posts that you do something I did fir years. You say and make a great claim to being assertive and holding your own, and that is your undoing. Because you are NOT assertive. Eg you refused to get the beer, he fussed, you got the beer.
Don't you see that you are able to start being verbally assertive ie step 1, then he uses manipulative tactics to get you to back down. So you do.
That's why he does it. Because he wins every time. Because he cares a lot about that. Because he sees himself as in charge. Because he doesn't want an equal relationship.
In reality you put up with it but complain.
Start to notice that and buy yourself a book on boundaries, as you have them but you don't manage them.
In the sprit of going round in circles the sex theme comes up again.
TMI but i'll have forgotten about this in a few days otherwise.
Its my fault if i'm not wet enough for penetration as i'm obviously letting my mood get in the way. So repeat of the earlier conversations on this thread, he needs to spend some time turning me on etc etc. Grrr. Its my fault if i'm not in the mood for sex, my fault if i'm not 'ready' when he is, my fault if I don't orgasm.
BUT with regard to sex I do now feel like he is acting like he is entitled, he will try and enter me even if i'm not ready, regardless of whether this causes me discomfort. Again, something I have let go on for too long. So as I think this I am acting differently, so hes right. But hes also being unreasonable. He cant see why I just cant go back to how things were, I cant explain why ive changed. Again, its me expecting him to change now. Me wanting my own way again.
Skating, stop taking the blame for this. It is not you wanting your own way. It is perfectly reasonable to want a loving fulfilling relationship with mutual love and respect.
I'm sorry to be crude, but this sounds like he is treating you like a warm hole to stick his cock.
It's great that you are posting on here - it helps to document it. But when are you going to do something about this in RL and get rid of him?
Also what if i'm the controlling one?
I am a bit of a control freak but i am aware of it. I also always like to get my point of view across, but then again that's normally cos hes accusing me of something that's not true.
Think i need to back off from debates with him. If i'm right, i'm still right regardless of whether I've told him or not. that's way i can take time to consider if there is anything valid in what he says.
Or am i not just stopping arguing with him as he has told me i never let him have a point, always think im right, never listen to his point of view etc etc, so is this him just making me shut up?
I cant tell when i'm doing the right thing and when i'm doing something for an easy life. Least ive noticed there is a difference
Beryl - that the big question isn't it.
When i'm sure it isn't me.
Right now its like, well if i wasn't thinking all this negative stuff about the relationship i would be more in the mood for sex, and he wouldn't have to do as much to turn me on, so actually this is my fault (partly).
This is not a normal way to live.
I've forgotten - have you spoken to anyone in RL about this? What have they said?
And you are having to think about all this negative stuff because... of his crappy attitude. That's what needs to change.
X post skating - I think you need to stop and have a look at what you have just posted. Do you really think this is your fault?
Read back through all of your posts.
Yeah, They said he was emotionally abusing me, the things he did and how he treated me made them angry, said i could see it too but couldn't accept it, lots of other things you guys have said too...
Just me that cant see it
Read them all. Doesn't look good does it.
So why am i convinced i must be to blame!
So your friends and some random people on the internet aren't going to convince you. Can you get some personal counselling? Does your work have an OHW facility? Could you pay for some counselling?
I can see clearly that you are not to blame here. However, ultimately, it doesn't matter who is to blame. It's not some court proceedings where the other person can sue. It's your life. He's a complete knob towards you. Does it matter who is at fault?
I honestly believe that if you got away from him, your self belief would increase, and you would see what we see.
Because for 12 years you have been in a dysfunctional and abusive relationship. It is your 'normal'. You are beginning to struggle to the light, but it is hard.
But please, read this all again in a few months if you need to - no loving, decent man would ever blame his partner for not being sufficiently moist to 'enjoy' his loveless foreplayless shagging. He is using you as something to wank into.
I can see where he isn't behaving in the best way.
I can also see where i have my faults. Just want to be sure its not me causing him to behave how he does.
Work have something, will look. Not keen to go down the counselling route, no logical reasoning behind that, just not really for that step. Will think about it.
Spero - totally agree, i can see that's wrong. But he'll always have a reason why i'm to blame and theres always enough of a point there for me to doubt myself.
And what do i say, "we're not having sex unless you spend time on foreplay with me first" That's demanding in itself isn't it? And how do i explain why i have allowed this to go on for years unchecked? Why i am changing the rules now?
And we were out at the weekend with another friend who commented on how well we get on and how loving / affectionate we are towards each other.
They were surprised as i had mentioned a couple of little things that had pissed me off lately.
So things look good from the outside.
Just feels like one big game where no-one told me it started or even explained the rules. I just want to stop playing.
I just want to stop playing - you can do. You don't have to participate in it if you don't want to.
It feels very selfish to walk away. I'm not there yet.
Still waiting for the clarity on what i can do to fix things, without compromising myself. (Or the realisation that its not fix-able)
Still trying to get my head around not doing things to please others when its not what i want (and that this is okay despite what i'm told)
Skating, forgive me for referring to your other thread, but in that you said:
'I'm feeling stronger then i have in years and would be off like a shot if i had evidence of something. Starting to consider that i dont need evidence and that just being unhappy is good enough.'
Then you ended it with him. What are the circumstances of you getting back together?
I think if you are honest with yourself, it is because the counselling may force you to acknowledge the blindingly obvious - he is emotionally abusive and unfaithful.
I feel very very guilty for changing and moving the boundaries of the relationship.
Well he doesn't sound very guilty for having at least 2 sexually explicit affairs, and in all probability getting one of the women pregnant.
Skating on ice, this is clearly emotional and sexual abuse . Bet there is loads more you've not revealed. You are not causing his behaviour!
you think you are being unreasonable because he has messed with your head over a long period of time.
So he can put on a show in front of family friends, that's part of it all.
If you can, tell more stuff to the people who were concerned about you in RL, try counselling. Don't have sex with him at all!
You don't have to play games, but he won't change (he clearly likes things this way, and abusers rarely do). the best way is out!
You need to move your boundaries a loooooong way further, skating, like "never darken my door again"!
You're being irrational, caught up in horrible confusing exhaustion, created by him.
In my very limited experience normal men when they realise you are not wet enough for comfortable penetration actually can't get hard enough to penetrate. They aren't interested unless both are at the party. Women who are wet all the time are only around in porn films (again, v limited experience, but it's to do with not seeing woman as a person but as a blow up doll with housework capability).
If you are wrong, if it is all you, then if you leave then he will be free to get a relationship with a compatible person and you will have space and time to heal yourself and then find yourself in a position to have a healthy relationship. If you are right it makes sense to leave, if you are wrong it makes sense from my seat to leave. Easier said than done.
Look, when he says 'what is good for the relationship' he means 'what suits him'. When he objects to your having an opinion or sticking to one, he means 'you should just agree with me / do what I say and shut up.' 'It is not valid for you to have any opinions or preferences about anything because you are not really a person, you are my accessory'. Can't you see that?
You're right that you don't need to debate with him. You don't need to walk away silently either. You can, briefly and calmly, state your position and leave it there. 'This is my position, you aren't going to dissuade me from it. When you have something to say that is compatible with this, then we can talk about it.'
You probably think that sounds massively selfish and unreasonable. It's what he's been doing forever though, except that his position is usually not reasonable and does not encompass respecting you as a person. Yours will encompass respect and be far more reasonable, so no worries on that count.
Honestly, do you want to be a human person, or do you want to live the rest of your life as someone else's blow-up doll? Those are the boundaries you're changing.
Lisa - That's what i would like to think is normal, but I seem to have trouble identifying normal.
Yes there is more, and it was worse, that's what prompted this "wake up" if you like. It was like, Fuck, am i really going to let myself be put in that situation again.
I don't believe the EAs were sexual so we'll have to leave that one be (wish i had found MN then!)
Skating, it would be a useful exercise to go through this entire thread, and try to find one single poster, other than you, who defends his behaviour or treatment of you.
yes, have done... but you only hear my side, what if i'm emotionally abusive to him, don't know it, and am putting this across in such a way that makes him look bad? (I think to much )
Apart from the sex stuff, where he has no argument really. But i have let it go on for to long so cant blame him for being confussed and acting out at the change.
He's not confused about the changes, he's angry, and by the sound of it escalating abuse (the sex stuff, sulks etc).
You will always be in bad situations with him, things may have improved in relative terms, but you're not safe while you're still with him.
Does he have a porn habit by any chance?
We don't need to hear his side to know he's abusive, and his side wouldn't make us stop thinking and saying it!
it's a common tactic of abusive people to accuse others of being EA!
And whatever the worse stuff was, bet he's not sorry for it and won't let you talk about it.
skating, someone would have pointed out that possibility (of you being the problem), really. Look at other threads on here. People can come up with the most surprising and absurd contrarian views sometimes, you'd think they were doing it for a hobby. If there was any room for such an interpretation of your posts, someone would have swung into action.
Does he have a porn habbit. He watches it when I'm not about. Not sure if that constitutes a habit.
One thing that I became more uncomfortable with last year was that I was becoming a part of this.... In terms of him posting pictures of me, he enjoys comments made by other men. Eventually made me feel like more of a sex aid then a person. He'll also watch videos of me and tells me this is better than him watching / looking at porn containing other people. But again, makes me feel like I'm just there for his pleasure. He has now taken these pictures down (I hope! ).
I don't mind him using porn, I would rather not be in it tho.
Dozer - your right, obviously he didn't do anything wrong and no not allowed to bring it up
Lottie - fair point
Why do you believe that a man's personal boundaries are only dictated by the woman he's with?
Do you not realise that no decent bloke would ever want to penetrate a dry woman? Regardless of whether she said she was willing? Or wouldn't want to put pictures of his partner on the internet for other men to comment and wank over, even if she gave him permission?
You're assuming way too much responsibility for this bloke's moral compass.
So it matters not if you 'change the boundaries'.
He would still be an unfaithful sexual abuser whoever he was with - or with any luck, not with.
Please leave the bastard skating.
Oh my dear skating. He's done a right number on you, hasn't he? I so wish you could see it.
And what do i say, "we're not having sex unless you spend time on foreplay with me first" That's demanding in itself isn't it?
I guess it could be described as demanding. It's not healthy. But is there another (better) way to ensure he treats you decently? You feel you have to resort to behaviour you feel uncomfortable with, in order to be treated anything approaching decently. That is why your behaviour to him is NOT abusive. This scenario you suggest wouldn't happen in a healthy relationship, because things would never have got so bad that it was considered: the man would listen and notice for himself and be interested in what worked for the woman.
Your P thinks you are selfish and demanding if you have any needs of your own which don't fall within the circle of his own needs and wants. And you seem to have absorbed this to an extent, which is why you ask if you're being selfish whenever you want to stand up for your right to be your own individual person.
As for this: And how do i explain why i have allowed this to go on for years unchecked? Why i am changing the rules now? I am being asked this repeatedly by my STBXH at the moment. To date, I haven't found an answer that he understands. It's partly in the insidious nature of EA, how it grows unnoticed. But people do change and relationships do adapt. You expected to grow and change as people when you started out in the relationship. It's not an unreasonable thing for you to do. There's only a problem if your OH doesn't like the change he sees and starts trying to manipulate you to change back, interfering in your ability to steer your own ship in life. Because no matter how important your relationship is to you, you must never lose sight of who you are as an individual and setting your own boundaries is an important part of that.
It's just very sad if your boundaries are constant vulnerable to attack by your nearest.
he seems very selfish. most men are pleased to do things that turn their wives on, and you're only asking for quite ordinary things, if you wanted something extremely kinky it would be different. to have no interest at all in turning you on seems very odd. if he thinks what you want is nothing, to be honest it seems like he doesn't really care about you very much.
I am wondering if you are from a different country to the UK, and think you are different to everyone giving you advice, and therefore cannot expect the same from a relationship?
I see you asking for advice and help and treating the answers as something beyond your understanding, and also feeling you cannot expect your partner to understand how to be in a mutually loving relationship.
There is something that is making you excuse such terrible behaviour. Especially when you know in your heart that he is a brute.
Everything you describe is so wrong at so many levels.
On his part, but also yours. Why do you think you have stayed through all this?
I do see what everyone is saying, and the things you are saying are right, but is hard to take things that havebeen a part of normal life for so long and accept they shouldn't have been happening.
It's also hard when all the above is going on in a relationship where I do feel loved and wanted. The person that makes me feel bad is also the person whos arms I fall asleep In at night. The person who I go to for a hug when I feel bad. The person I laugh and joke with.
No, the good times don't make the bad times okay but they do make them hard to accept, especially when I have been used to them for so long.
But the good cop bad cop routine is an abusers script. It is designed to do exactly what you are describing. It confuses you, and keeps you tied into the relationship.
What Beryl says is very true, and so few people seem to understand that. You say "abuser" and you can see them hearing "sadistic monster". And of course it's not as black and white as that. They are humans, but with some dodgy wiring that makes them believe they are worth more than their partners and they are entitled to control their partners. So if they are not experiencing anything in conflict with these beliefs, they can give all the appearance of being lovely people. And then it's hard to believe that Hyde will ever come back.
It is very very difficult. The person who hurts you is also the person who you go to to seek comfort. That's why it's so hard to separate out and to disconnect - because of course you don't want to disconnect from your support and safety! The problem is when the need for that support and safety is coming from him in the first place.
To address the earlier points (I wanted to before but was on my phone and kept reading late at night and falling asleep)
It is utterly and perfectly reasonable and normal to refuse to have sex without foreplay. Most women would not find sex pleasurable without foreplay. To most people it would be akin to eating your food without cooking it first. In a healthy sexual relationship it is perfectly fine to say "Stop, I'm not ready yet" or words to that effect and your partner would not take offence or blame you for the fact that you're not ready ( It's not exactly something you can control!) and they would probably try something else to help you to get into the mood. Also, even after some foreplay has been started if you were to say "Sorry, it's just not not working for me right now" and want to stop, that should be accepted without any argument or whining too. Foreplay isn't some kind of work he does in return for the "real" sex, it should be part of sex and mutually enjoyable for you both. Doesn't he enjoy seeing you getting more and more turned on as he does different things? This is really exciting for most men.
Which brings me to the other point in that, no, it is not your fault for "letting your moods get in the way". It's perfectly normal for emotions and external stresses to get in the way of sex and (women especially) need to be relaxed and feel safe in order to get turned on. Sex should not be something to work on, it should be relaxed, easy, enjoyable. Not an effort. Plus, why is his primary concern that you can't get in the mood for sex? It's perfectly fine to him that you should be in emotional turmoil most of the time as long as you can switch that part of your brain off and engage in sex with him regularly? What happened to a kind and caring partner who would rather not have sex with someone who isn't into it and on a separate note is concerned that you feel so down all of the time, not because of sex, but because he doesn't like to think of you being upset.
Skating, please leave him.
I just want to hug you, I can see how painful this gradual realisation is for you but keep going, you're doing so well.
I'm so sorry he's turned out to be a shit but 12 years is enough. You deserve a happy life. And there is one out there for you. You really don't need to live with all this self doubt. I promise you xxx
Grrrr still here, still going around....
Got a copy of that book. Have read but think I'll need a re-read at some stage.
His latest thing is to constantly pick up that I have changed, I've been different for months and "just expect him to put up with it" he has no say in this, it's all unfair etc etc main problem is the way he brings this up. Normally once I have gone to bed and in reference to an incident that normally occurred a few days previous (and I have forgotten about so can't form a argument against). The result of this is I don't argue back as nothing I say well be right anyway so he just gets to ball out with no consequence. Then the following day if I'm not on form (ie upset or quiet) I get grief for that.
This week's was he upset as he had walked into the bedroom naked after a shower, I was in the room sorting laundry... didn't jump on him for sex so this was Disrespectful, made him feel rejected, etc. He hadn't said anything just come in the room and was using his phone.... Why not day something then, why wait two days to bring it up? So frustrating.
My doubt comes from the fact that I have changed.... But I don't think I'm a way that's negative to him and the relationship.... going to have to have this out with him but don't have the energy this week.
Wow! Just Wow!
You have 12 pages here of great advice and insight.
You need to realise, these women know what they are talking about.
Your situation sounds just awful and you are continuing to put up with it.
I have no experience at all but after reading this I just want to shout:
GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT - NOW!!!!!!!!!!
None, I repeat NONE of this is your fault. Leave and do it quickly!
And I quote:
"Skating, please leave him."
It's so normal for me though. I can't tell what is reasonable and what isn't. Can't tell what I'm causing and what I'm responsible for.... and what is him being a dick.
Should be easy shouldn't it, are you happy? No. So leave.
I can't see any relationship being any different. And although I wouldn't be leaving to go into another relationship I would want one eventually, and then it will be the same.
Suppose the bottom line is I don't have the guts to go through with it. If I did I would have gone by now.
I have had lot of good advice here and that's been really helpful to keep my mind straight and stop me thinking everything is automatically my fault.
Just got to decide what to do. Can't stay the same. Can't go back to doing things his way and appeasing him, can't expect him to change. Not many choices are there.
Have you started making a plan and asking for advice?
Once you have all the bits in place, it seems easier.
Skating, there's only so much advice one can give without wanting to shake you by the shoulders.
Yes, we will be here for you. And yes, it can take people a while to pluck up the courage to change their lives.
But it just feels like there is little more that can be said that hasn't been said already.
He's a dick.
He's horrible to you.
He posts nude pictures of you on the internet for other people to wank over.
He's self absorbed.
He manufactures rows with you.
You walk around on eggshells so as not to upset him.
It doesn't work in any event.
You are not happy.
Do you want to be living like this in a year's time? What about 10 year's time? What about when you are 80? Do you still want him fucking with your mind then? Because he will.
What practical steps do you need to do to end the relationship? If I recall, you have a joint mortgage - what do you need to do to extricate yourself from that? Have you sought any practical advice?
Plans would be short and sweet, ask him to leave (he can't afford house on him own)
Put house on market.
I have places I could go and stay with no notice to put some distance in place.
Yeah have read it. The sex theme has been a continously one through the relationship, there had always been a problem and I have never been good enough in his eyes, never adventurous enough, never frequent enough. Now I can see that actually there is no problem with me, the problem is we are probably just not comparable but he has spent many years sulking and manipulating me so he can have his way. Now I've stopped trying to please him there is a massive problem and he doesn't like it.
Cross post Beryl.
I know, I know, I know!
What can I say. Less words and more action needed.
How long have you had the mortgage together? Is there equity on the house? Did you both contribute similar amounts to the capital? Could you afford to buy him out? Could he afford to buy you out? Is the mortgage and house the only practical thing that currently ties you to him?
Practicalities aside, how do you think he would respond to you ending things? Do you think he would bully and harass you?
This mortgage only a couple of years. Not much equity in house and neither could buy the other out. Would probably take a while to sell based on similar properties in the area.
I could keep up with repayments on my own if I need to.Keeping the house isn't something I would be bothered about so song would be fine. Costs could be paid with equity.
I put the deposit down for our first properly, wouldn't be interested in trying to get it back, this isn't about money.
Now have my own bank account so that's sorted.
Also have dogs. I travel with work so keeping them would be the biggest issue.
He would switch between angry and upset. He could turn nasty but at the end of the day What's the worst he can say. The only potential damage he could do is with the photos he has of me.... But doing anything with them would make him look bad wouldn't it. No there is probably no way I can get them. Even if I take where I think they are there will be back ups in not aware of .
The reason for going would need to be unrelated to him or anything that ever happened, it would have to be my fault, which is fine. There's a difference between being in the right and telling people you're right. I can take the fallout and he can have the mutual friends and sympathy vote.
It doesn't have to be about "fault", you can simply say you don't love him anymore, that you are not compatible, that you argue too much.
If you think he'd make it too difficult, you can set things up (rental, dogs) and then just go and let him know when it's done.
You don't really owe him anything.
Wow, so this was me. Have just read this and my other two threads under the same name back.
I've been out of this relationship for a year.
You were all right, looking back I cant believe what I put up with. I wish I had left sooner, but when I did end it I was in a strong enough place (partly thanks to people on here) to deal with all the shit that went along with the end. All the things I thought were barriers weren't anything to worry about in the end. Sure there were hard times but none as bad as the shit I put up with whilst in the relationship.
We've still got the house but its on the market, hes mainly living with his new GF - which is the best possible outcome for me as since he found her he hasn't been focusing on me.
Thank you for all those who gave advice, in the end I just had enough, there was no big event, I didn't need to wait for him to do something worthy of leaving over, I just realised I didn't care anymore and wasn't going to do this for a moment longer.
For anyone else looking for answers, someone once said something along the lines of, 'not being happy is a good enough reason to leave'. So true. Don't waste time trying to find a better reason.
Oh wow OP, brilliant update! So pleased for you
perfect: not being happy is a good enough reason to leave
What a great update. Thanks OP.
Glad you are out of that relationship.
Let his new GF deal with it all.
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