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One Year Update Of Leaving A Sexless Marriage......that Which Does Not Kill Us....

....doesn't kill us....

Hi all

Coming up on my one year anniversary of leaving my sexless relationship, and oh, what a year it has been!

Rewind....Christmas Day....1 year ago

The BIG explosion and final breakup. Left my house for a month and a half and moved in with my sister and told him...take what you want...just LEAVE, I will come back when I am gone. And, he took a LOT of stuff. But, it was all well worth it to finally have him out and gone.

Fast Forward: Yesterday

Spent the day with him and my daughter and had a great time. He has a new girlfriend, he FINALLY is on medication, and we are friends. We are both relieved it is over, and we have moved past the bitter/sad phase which didn't really fully settle to around two months ago.

This past year I started a relationship with a neighbor who had been a previous friend. However, I appear to have a panache for picking men who are in one way or other unavailable to me. He is unsure if a serious relationship is what he wants long term (something that he has been pretty contradictory about with me). It hasn't been easy with him in the middle of an unresolved divorce, a very busy work schedule, and apparently, some deep seated intimacy issues! The relationship has felt so good and right in so many ways, it seemed that we really were going somewhere great. But, a big fight uncovered some underlying tensions, and here we are....

The GOOD news (and this is better in my mind then a happily ever after ending with any man) is that I completely broke my old patterns and handled the situation in a healthy way. YAY for me (really)! Despite this being a really wonderful relationship in a lot of ways (and it is...he is a good man, generous, compassionate, ethical, a great father to his daughter, kind and supportive of me on a lot of levels, very good sex), I told him that I will no longer continue to invest my energy and devotion to a man who does not CHOOSE me. He wants to keep seeing each other in his 'decision' period but I am so not interested in playing to that dynamic. I think what he really wants is the reassurance and safety of keeping me near without the need to make a real decision. If anyone can recognize someone trying to buy time to avoid a decision, it is a person who lived through a sexless marriage.

UH-UH!

I can't be in a relationship with someone who does not know if HE wants to be in a relationship. And, I am sure as hell not going to be put on parole while he decides whether he wants to pursue a future with me or not.

So, I told him that I don't want to see or talk to him at all until he makes his own decision. I did it with respect and compassion. I held my own. I called him out on his ****. I owned mine. I told him the reasons I believe the relationship was worth pursuing, but I also stressed I had ZERO interest in remaining in any relationship if it is not mutually advocated for and wanted.

He has a history of choosing either women who are emotionally or (literally) unavailable...or women who he would never pick for a long time companion. With me, he has no where left to run but out of the relationship.

I am not putting myself at constant risk of hurt and rejection so that HE can feel safe in his procrastination process.

Meanwhile, I am going to live my life and if he decides to come to the table that will be great. If not, I will be fine.

I know now that I will be fine either way. It took a lot for me to work up to doing this....a lot of self honesty and a lot of sitting through fear and sadness. But, now, that I actually did it, I don't feel bad.

I feel peaceful. I feel self-respect. I feel hopeful, even.

My god, as a co-dependent, I never thought I would live to see the day I would come to this place. The place of my own freedom.

I am so proud of myself today, I could just burst.

WOW!
rosedl rosedl 41-45, F 10 Responses Dec 2, 2012

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As you should be. Congratulations

Well, we talked and it seems as if he is coming to the table. We shall see....what we shall see. I saw his end of the dynamic and I see mine. He has been so self protective all his life, he is reacting to the old dynamics with his ex. Low conflict couple. I thought being in a high conflict couple was a challenge, but low conflict is no great shakes either. Avoidance, stagnation, and fear rule the day. I don't think I am high conflict, but I have little desire to ignore something that can turn into a beast. Yikes. This is tough!

TOUGH it certainly is - for you both. But by expecting him to do the necessary "hard yards" for himself, you are creating a situation where it CAN happen. And it looks as if it might . . .! Caution is wise and you are being cautious.

Have the twoof you talked at all about "unlearning"? It might help him put into perspective some of what he needs to do. {{{hugs}}}

He is so scared. He lost himself in his last relationship, and he doesn't know how to set boundaries around his own needs without disappearing completely. He has been in retreat, but has no real skills to bridge past his own hurt and control patterns. He knew he was awful to me the last time I saw him, and the fact that I completely broke the dynamic of his ex's punishment pattern (and his....man they must have tortured each other!) gave him this huge new perspective and respect for me. We are actually very much alike, and I just inverse my self protection with possessiveness, he does it withdrawal. But, I have had a LOT more practice having to sit through my patterns because my ex just took time and I had to learn to deal. I was very hurt, it took everything I had to go back to him in love but I knew that he had no idea how to disengage from his perpetual pattern. Yes, we have talked and talked and talked. I basically challenged him that if he leaves, he is avoiding himself and continuing his old pattern of disengagement and fear. I said this is an opportunity to learn how to maintain intimacy while holding himself, just like I have had to take our separation (and all my separations) as lessons in how to stand on my own. I told him that I respect his decision if that is the path he wants to pursue, but I am not going to witness it and not call it out for what it is.....I also owned a bunch of my brat dynamics and own selfishness. I am giving him a John Gottman book about relationship principles. He is really responsive to doing work when he knows what he needs to do. Plus, a bit arrogant in his power role although he wilted off his high horse when I acted out of love and self control in response. He knows he has no where left to hide from this dynamic, leaving me won't fix it. He said the past few days were the most intense of his life, and he is holding on despite getting right down to the core sensitive nerves.

It is only because I had so much practice that I can do this....I didn't realize the skills I built in my last relationship until I needed to apply them here.

I'm tired. I am glad to give him some time now. I came to the table in a powerful way, articulated my points, and showed him a new way to bridge conflict. If he doesn't want to do it, I am okay with it because I have no desire to repeat my patterns. I love him a lot, he has been super good to me, I figured if I could fight for an abuser for over a decade, I could give him a shot when he is at his very most vulnerable.

One of the early "aha" moments occurred for us when we had conflict - and my behaviour was very different from Baz's previous experiences. It took us both time to acknowledge and recognise that though - so I honour you for having the patience to give this the time it may need.

Since we made up and decided to keep moving forward it is going really well. He clearly wants to be with me. We had a lovely day today, and I think we are moving forward in a good way. I am crazy about him.

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Hey, Rose: I've watched your journey and I'm proud of you, too!! Thank you for posting this. Stories from "the other side" are very important!!

(big hugs)

xo

-MR

Thank you so much!

It shouldn't - but reading this makes me jealous! Go rosedl, nice to hear from you.

It is there for everybody, hon.

I was forced into doing a lot of work because the alternatives were unbearable. I am no different then anyone else. I just realize I have no choice but to sit through the pain, fear, and loss and not reject it as terrible. Life is all of it, and being open to experiencing and not rejecting every experience that goes outside our preconceived notions goes a long way in moving forward.

I did a year of Dialectical Behavior Therapy which really helped, and I adopt a lot of the principles of Buddhism. I have lived through a lot of loss and broken relationships, and while I certainly would like a long term stable partnership (down the road, right now I am tired, seeking out another relationship has never felt so unappealing as at this moment), it has taught me that it all washes out in the end. It is a challenge every single day, but I will tell you this much....it I can do it, really anyone can. I have lived my life in a ton of fear and anxiety and much of it was fake it til you make it.

Good to hear from you, Rose. And GOOD for you.
!!!

Congratulations, Rosedl

"I am not putting myself at constant risk of hurt and rejection so that HE can feel safe in his procrastination process."

What a great line! I am so proud of you, and hope that I can be the same type of person!

Rated Up!! Your post should be mandatroy reading! Being authentic, applying the lessons learned, taking responsibility and knowing yourself and above all else, living life with passion!!

To me, this is the crux of the whole theme of being your authentic self.

Other persons may, or may not fit in with that. Another person is not integral to you being your authentic self. You are fine as an individual, on your own path.

At times (could be a looong time) some-one else may well be walking a parallel path, and if it is "right", you may well continue down that path together. Independent, but together.
Sometimes, this other person may only accompany you on a short stage of the path.

Thing is, it is YOUR path. YOURS.

What you might attract into your orbit as you travel your path will either enhance your life or detract from it. Informed choice.

Tread your own path.

Yep. Even reading your comment reminds me of how challenging this has been for me. I think I don't LIKE that reality, I want to establish a strong partnership and I know all I can do is be open and honest and hold reasonable boundaries. The illusion is SO powerful, one can spend an entire life in denial. It is far simpler then we make it, but our fear is so great, it takes everything to go against it. I will say this....sitting with fear and feeling instead of reacting does reap benefits. It takes time and continual practice. I am a novice.

Awww shucks.....

I do love this man very much. But, the sadness has been really tempered by the realization that I don't stand or fall on the success or failure of a romantic relationship. It is SO huge for me to be able to draw my own boundaries, and live by them.

This is moving past the most fearful part of myself.

Ironic, I believe moving past his most fearful self would be moving towards the relationship. Differentiation is not just the ability to tolerate separation and live one's life not based solely around their partner, but also the ability to hold onto one's self during times when the relationship or your partner is rocky and not move away. I am not holding out a lot of hope that he is going to choose me from what I have observed over the past three weeks since the big fight.

Plus, the situation with his ex goes WAY outside the normal divorce process.....serious physical illness, mental health issues, and a huge shared land trust that was their life's work complicate that picture. Maybe we are just too much for him to balance in the midst of a crazy situation.....

I am not taking it personal which helps a ton in moving through separating from him.

He's in his fifties, he's tired, he has had enormous responsibility with a crazy wife for three decades. Maybe rest and peace would be best for him.

But, I am no man's security blanket.

WOW indeed!!

Rose, as always your story is a TRIUMPH of spirit! Your spirit. This is so sad for you, because I know how deeply you care for this man - but you are being wise, and brave, and humane and ALL things great!!!!!

Be comforted by the thought that, if he comes through, you have achieved what you want - a man who CHOOSES to be with you. If he fails to do so, then you know you have dodged a bullet . . . .

It is great to read of your new relationship with your Ex. Hard as it is for newbies to believe this, there CAN come a time when you are not married to each other but happy to see each other. This is good for you and your daughter - as well as for him.

I am immensely proud of you - you are an inspiration to others. You deserve Baz's highest accolade - you are living as your authentic self!! {{{Hugs}}}