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Went away for a rebuilding weekend, now not speaking...(93 Posts)
Partner and I have had some major issues in relationship recently, some revelations around his use of porn which he had concealed from me since the start of our relationship but which he (of his own volition) has now stopped. We agreed to pause the physical side of our relationship for a while (at first when in shock I wasn't sure if I wanted our relationship to continue at all, but I then felt I did) whilst he got his head together etc.
So to this weekend. I thought it would be a chance for us to spend sometime together and start to reconnect physically (not rampant shagging, but kissing / touching etc). So this is brought up and he doesn't feel ready, he's still pretty ashamed of the secret porn use. Ok, that's fair enough.
For context, over recent months (predating all this stuff) I've put on weight, going from being a bit overweight to quite a lot overweight. Obviously this recent situation with the porn hasn't helped - I am a classic comfort eater so have been eating more as my means of coping/ making myself feel better.
So, onto last night, we were going out for dinner. I had left my fake tan at home, and my tights, meaning I couldn't wear the only 'dressy'outfit I'd brought, and had to wear something else I didn't feel confident in and made me look fat (or rather fatter).
So I wasn't feeling great about myself, it helped by him coming in to hurry me along, and making no comment about how I looked. Not even a cursory you look nice.
So I finished, went out to him and said I was ready but that I thought I looked awful. His response was to say I didn't look awful (but no more). Which upset me.
He asked why I was upset, I explained I needed some validation. He said I wouldn't have believed him, he'd be in the wrong no matter what he said.
We didn't go out in the end, he said that my attitude that evening was awful and he wouldn't go anywhere with me like that.
I was so angry over this - telling me I have a bad attitude, like I'm a child? I went to bed, because I couldn't bear to be around him, and if I spoke to him I wouldn't have been able to keep my temper.
So now it's the next morning. I'm up, he's still asleep. I'm not sure how to clear the air - don't feel I have anything to apologise for, and tbh I'm still more than a bit angry about what he said.
Well IMO he is right, he couldn't have won in that situation.
Personally I am not sure why there needs to be so much angst over porn. Its not my cup of tea but its not worth feeling shame (him) and comfort eating (you).
It sounds like there is poor communication from both sides and either the porn is a real issue that needs serious adressing, you you both need to get over it and move on.
It sounds like you're both a little out of touch with each other.
TBF, he's right, if he had said you looked lovely, you wouldn't have believed him. I've been where you are right now and no matter what people will tell you, you'll feel bad about yourself. That is your issue, not his and of course he's feeling that he can't get things right.
When he gets up, don't fly at him all guns blazing. Make a cuppa and sit down and talk, honestly. Tell him you're feeling fragile and not feeling good about yourself right now. You feeling like that won't be helped by the lack of affection so that needs to be reintroduced. I know you said that's what the weekend was about but try it at home rather than forcing it. Just little touches, a brush on the arm, a quick hug or a little kiss as you pass each other in the house. It's amazing what difference that makes to a relationship. He'll be feeling that you don't want to be near him if you reacted badly to the porn use, so is probably avoiding intimacy as he'll be worried you'll reject him.
You both have to work at it, it's no good it being one sided.
You need to accept that this recent upset was caused by your unrealistic expectations. Look, I do understand why you feel like this, I've had similar events over the years myself, but playing a blame game over not hearing what you wanted to hear is totally self defeating.
A sense of humour helps I find as does taking ownership of issues like weight gain, wrong outfit and stuff that you know is in your power to control and change if you want to.
I'm thinking that you appear to have tendencies to self-sabotage - no tights, no fake tan, wrong outfit - and I'd look closely into the reasons why you do that, it will give you clarity and eventually help you to take ownership of stuff in your life that you don't like.
Think you're being way too harsh there op. You were setting him up to fail whatever he said. He couldn't win there.
Thank you. We've just had a further (somewhat heated) exchange - before I'd read these replies sorry! - which he kicked off by asking if I'd calmed down. Which was like a red rag to a bull. He wants me to accept how I felt last night and the resulting disagreement was all my fault. Which I don't believe it was, and I don't feel I should agree just to keep the peace?
Reconnecting at home is difficult because there are teens around and we don't get much time to ourselves, hence how much store I'd put on this weekend.
I agree with him, I think. I can understand your response to the porn situation but there's no point going on a romantic evening to reconnect if you feel fat and unhappy. He did tell you that you didn't look awful, but you didnt believe him. More fished-for compliments would have felt just as empty.
Is this something you feel able to do, at the moment? If you don't feel attractive or have any self esteem, and he feels deep shame over his porn usage, it's going to be a really hard road and I'm not sure it sounds like you're mentally in the right place for that
He is right. Had he have said 'you look lovely' you would have felt he was only saying because he felt he should.
It wouldn't have made you feel any better. I know because I used to be the same. Dh could see it made me uncomfortable and stopped complimenting me. Then I got upset because he never did. Dh couldn't win. So I explained I was feeling better about myself and wouldn't react the same and we started from there.
You said yourself you didn't like how you looked.
Personally I think 'reconnecting weekends' and the like can put far too much pressure on already fragile relationship.
Take the pressure off. Just try to take the 'reconnecting' slow. A hug here and there holding hands etc.
You need to work on your self esteem. Fishing for compliments is unattractive. I would have cancelled dinner if I'd been your partner.
Not commenting on the porn either.
Although I wouldn't have bought the line that he's too ashamed of it to touch you.
Maybe you didn't buy it either and that's why you need validation?
You should ask yourself why you were fishing for compliments about your looks. Did you tell him he looked nice?
Maybe get counselling for yourself.
You don't need validation from any man or anyone about how you look.
And relationships and love are way more about looks.
As it was, you did create a big issue on the night and of the type I'd want to walk away from, if it was constant. Sorry.
I can see where you are coming from but I also think you are where I was about 12 years ago. I may be wrong and apologise sincerely if so, hopefully be my words will still resonate with others, even if I've misread the situation with you.
You see him as responsible for your happiness and therefore blame him for at least some of your eating issues and increased weight. You look to him for validation and to pull you out of your pit of despair. You blame him when you continue to lack control of your reactions to your emotions (that's not to say you are wrong to feel as you do, just that you lack a healthy coping mechanism). He can't ever win or be good enough because you lack coping strategies, and this isn't possible as its you that needs to work on your feelings about yourself and gain those skill, that's not his responsibility. It is unrealistic to go through life without challenges so you ideally need to look into how to change your reactions to negativity, rather than trying to cut it out of your life.
Tbh, until you start taking ownership and responsibility of your reactions to your own thoughts and feelings surrounding self, things will only continue to worsen. This isn't his burden to carry and he is already resenting you for it. This is where his comment about your attitude comes in and has hit a nerve. He's right though.
Just to try to put this into perspective, I say this as someone with Binge Eating Disorder who has had help and still battles daily with my destructive thoughts. Things have improved since I've concentrated on self and my reactions to negative feelings. Because of that, those who love me aren't affected as badly.
I was where you are 12 years ago, it is something only you have the power to change but it will take you way out of your comfort zone to do so.
Yes, sorry, I do think it's mostly your fault. You're feeling very down about yourself and overreacting. It's understandable but you need to get some perspective back.
I hope it all works out OP
Sounds to me like you had built up a huge picture in your head of how the weekend was going to go.
Fake tans, tights, a specific dress. He would react in a certain way, compliment you, you'd have a nice dinner, talk, reconnect, kiss and cuddle etc etc.
Thing is, in your mind you can control every facet. In real life, you can't. Seems like when your fantasy version started to fail, you went to pieces. That all had a knock on, he didn't react how you wanted, but he wasn't to know what he was supposed to do. The dinner didn't happen, another fantasy piece failed, iyswim.
Seems to me that you need to come back to reality and try not to build up things in your head too much, don't have how you think it will go, it rarely will.
Of course, I could be totally wrong.
I have been where your DH has been in the past with an ex. To be honest it is exhausting having to be constantly critisicised about not paying enough compliments (when you are doing so daily already) only to be told that you lack sincerity or 'you are just saying that' each time you try and make the reassurances that someone with low self esteem seek.
He used to compliment me regularly. Since all this happened, compliments have dried up, I've had to fish for them - asking do I look ok? And so on.
The weight is my issue. My self esteem is very much bound up in my looks, which as I feel unattractive is now very low.
The attitude comment is the one that has annoyed me more than anything else, tbh.
Sorry, OP, but the disagreement about how you looked is down to you.
Hand on heart if he had said "You look lovely" would you have said "Thank you" or would you have snapped "No, I don't I look awful, I can't wear the outfit I wanted to, I'm fat, etc. etc.".
You said you were ready and felt you looked awful, he said you didn't but that wasn't good enough but nothing he said would have been good enough because you wouldn't have believed him and would have shot down anything he said in flames which is what you did because you had already convinced yourself you looked awful.
Don't rely on other people for validation the only person who can make you feel good about yourself is you.
You are leaning on other people far too much for validation, instead of finding it inside yourself. It sounds quite codependent, in a toxic sort of a way - your self-worth is tied up with him saying and doing the right things, and he isn't willing to say and do them. Trust me when I say that the most empowered thing you can do, not just for yourself but for your future in relationships, is to make huge efforts to stop this, and to start being more self-reliant.
I understand what you mean by comfort eating - I am prone to it myself so what I am about to say is not a criticism, but a personal reflection. I think that there is a temptation to blame it on other people, rather than to take responsibility for our own actions. No-one is making you overeat, and saying that someone is 'forcing' you to do so is a bit like saying someone 'forced' you to hit them. You (and I) are in control of our emotions and our reactions, and we alone are responsible.
That said, it is much more difficult to establish that control when you are feeling very low. It sounds almost as though you've reached a point where you believe you are unloveable, and you are almost self-sabotaging, perhaps to pre-empt what you feel is an inevitable rejection. Well, you are NOT unloveable. You do sound like you might be depressed and/or anxious, and in need of a self-esteem boost, though. I think if you spoke to a therapist, they might be able to help you to start to feel a bit better about yourself.
Have you tried Relate?
Honestly, I am not at all into porn and a real prude, however, I think that this is an awful lot of shame and upset over it.
It comes across as if you are blaming DH for your low self-esteem due to being over-weight due to comfort eating because you found out he watches/uses porn.
This kind of blaming/holding onto perceived hurts is a recipe for disaster in a relationship, and you urgently need to address your communication if you have a chance of a happy relationship in the future. Relate should be able to help with that.
You did have a bad attitude though, OP, you set him up to fail whatever he said, you are demanding he validate you knowing full well you won't believe him when he tries to.
What was this terrible porn? 99% of men look at some sort of porn, from playboy mags to full hardcore stuff, either openly or in secret or at work etc. The number of porn emails that get passed between my male colleagues always makes me smirk as most of them paint a whiter than white image to 'her indoors', it amazes me how secretive this is for some of them. Don't confuse him looking at fantasy material with how he feels about you, men are just wired differently.
OP - people are giving you advice, and siding with your DP. Your replies sound like you haven't taken in any of the replies whatsoever and are still pushing the blame back on him. I think you should relook at all of the PP
It wasn't the greatest phraseology, but he does have a point about your attitude. As PP have pointed out, you put him in a position where there is virtually nothing he could have said that wouldn't have led to his head getting bitten off.
He's been doing what he can to repair things, but if anything you seem to be pulling away from him. It would help things from your side if you could acknowledge what PP are saying in this thread.
You work for company that has a pretty lax IT policy Phale!!!! Every company I have been with for the last twenty years would have fired me on the spot for sending porn links via the work email.
Sorry, I don't agree with "not being able to reconnect at home" because of teenagers. I've 2 children myself but it doesn't prevent me from showing DH that I love him and fancy him. It's teaching the children what a normal, loving relationship looks like. I have very fond memories of seeing my parents cuddling, they still do it now. Nothing wrong with it. If the teenagers are bothered by it, that's their issue.
Your poor DH, he really doesn't know where he stands does he? He likely wasn't trying to antagonise you by asking if you'd calmed down, he just seems a little clumsy in his ways. He sounds like he's on edge and I don't blame him!
As I said, I've been where you are, emotionally. Staying angry and snapping at his every comment is not going to help. Do you want to stay with him? If so, you have to put in the effort. It is unfair to expect him to know what to say to you when you're going to snap every time he speaks. It will only push him further away.
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