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I'm so messed up...

Posted by no_name (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 11, 08 at 23:41

I'm sooo messed up and I don't even know where to begin. Sorry this is so long.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional and it was a physically and emotionally abusive family. Then my mom found god and my siblings and me had fundamental Christian beliefs forced down our throats. No offense to anyone who belongs to that type of church, but it was a nightmare for me.

I know a lot of my messed up comes from my childhood. I have been to counseling numerous times and from afar you would think I had the perfect life. People are shocked to know my parents are divorced. If they even knew a 1/10 th of it. We have a lovely home, great jobs, upper middle class,well educated, etc.

So, DH and I met in our late teens, I was 18, he was 19. We went to the same college and were from the same town. We dated for three years and got married. Why so early? I don't know. It was my idea mostly.

We have now been married for 11 years, no kids. The first year was the worst. Year 7-8 were pretty good. First I want to say there is no physical abuse in the realtionship. I know that comes up a lot and I don't want to anyone to worry that I might be in danger. I do think we are verbally and/or emotionally abusive to each other though.

DH's parents were married 20 years. His dad had a secret life and his mom found out when he was 14ish. His mom kinda went nutso when they got divorced and his Dad was pretty distant and he and his dad are not close.

So, from the beginning there was lots of arguing and screaming. I know that I never learned how to handle conflict appropriately and his family just ignores it and pretends as if there are no problems. My family screams and yells and some hit (my grandma and dad for example...my dad beat my mom all the time until they got divorced when I was 13).

We really don't agree on most issues (politics, religon -is there a god, what to eat for dinner, to pay for housecleaning, what car to drive, you name it and we have probably fought about it).

We work for the same large company, which for the most part is fine, because we do not work together on the same projects.

We both make about the same amount of money and make a good income now and though DH was/is very irresponsible with money we have found a system that works pretty well. It just means he gets an allowance and I make sure all the bills get paid. Occassionally, its an issue but for the most part its good. We did have to declare bankruptcy due to some very poor decisions and bad luck. But, since then, our financial situation has improved so there are few fights over money. Sometimes, he will want to buy something like a new car that is not in budget. And I have to be the voice of reason which is not a fun role.

Other than my poor conflict resolution methods, I am so messed up about sex, I think. Not sure if its because of my upbringing or what. When we first met, our relationship was very sexual and now we are just roommates, due to my lack of interest in sex.

First, I have a physical condtion, called vulvodynia which makes intercourse very painful, like as if you took sandpaper to your genitals. I have received medical treatment which helped a bit, but its still very painful. There is no known cure, at this time.

But, I have no interest in sex at all. I could go years without it. Not interested in hugging, hand holding kissing etc. Something is wrong with me and the doctors just say I am depressed. Well I have been taking antidepressents for 7 years, celexa now, and they help a ton with the depressive symtoms. They do not increase or decrease my desire though. I am only 32, so its not like I should be sexually dead.

DH would like to have sex daily, but honestly just once a week he would be thrilled with. Before, there was lack of sex he was addicted to porn which made me very angry. I am talking about hours upon hours and money - not the free kind. Of course now, there is no sex, so I can't be angry about it. I have just accepted that he has to do it. I admit I used to be very angry about it.

I have tried counseling and they were not helpful with the sex issue. I went to one, DH went to one and we saw mine together. I saw mine for 2 years, weekly. She did help me with other issues, such as work and communication.

I don't want to get a divorce and neither of us are happy. I am open to going to counseling again, but I need to find one that can help with the sex issue and not just the normal stuff.

Advice? Is it hopeless. I feel like we both still want to make it work, but if something doesn't change soon, its going to be over.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I'm so messed up...

Can you tell us more? Why do you not want a divorce? Rather, what keeps you there in the marriage?

Anger is a great deterrent for sex - it can also lead to the vulvodynia (I believe, don't quote me there) - the body is an indicator of the mind. You know that already.

You say you're not angry about the porn any more. What tells you you aren't angry any more? What is different now?

Have you ever been to a specialized sex therapist?

Are you still fighting a lot, or are you avoiding conflict at this point? If so, then you are still experiencing conflict, just internally -

I'm positive that when women are angry or upset, and they don't express it in a healthy way, they turn it inward and man oh man if that doesn't create havoc in the sex department. It is one area in your life where you have total control, and to open up physically would be giving him what he apparently wants most. And more than likely your attraction to him has been affected by your anger as well - not fun to hug on a guy you're mad at.

If you're open to counseling again, remember that you have to shop around for a good one, just like you would a good new car. Ask questions, and don't feel like you're committed after one or two sessions -if you're not confident it is a match, then keep looking. I've met some crappy therapists in my life - also have known some pretty powerfully good ones.

Consider a Marriage and Family Therapist - this problem is systemic.


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RE: I'm so messed up...

Sure, I will try to answer what I know...

Can you tell us more?

Why do you not want a divorce? I know this sounds crazy, but we both love each other. Not the gushy, mushy kind of love. But, even though we fight a lot, I think he is a great person and vice versa. When I talk to other women and hear about their spouses I think god that I am married to him and not someone else. We have our issues for sure, but its not because we are "bad" people.

Rather, what keeps you there in the marriage? He is incredibly smart and kind. Very patient and genuinely cares about me. If we could resolve the sex issue I think we would be pretty happy.

Anger is a great deterrent for sex - it can also lead to the vulvodynia (I believe, don't quote me there) - the body is an indicator of the mind. You know that already. I did ask the dr about that and they said no, and said abuse is also not a cause. At this time they do not know the cause but do know that it is a physical change to the tissue and/or nerves.

You say you're not angry about the porn any more. What tells you you aren't angry any more? What is different now? A lot has changed. I have matured to the fact that most men look at porn and it doesn't mean that they don't love their wife/gf/so. I used to get so upset and now I know it happens and I have accepted it. I do ask him to keep it in his office at home and not leave it around ( I don't want to see it personally) and I have asked him to not spend money on it. He does spend some of his allowance on it, but that is his "free" money, so I don't care.

Have you ever been to a specialized sex therapist? No, how does one find one? Sounds like what I need.

Are you still fighting a lot, or are you avoiding conflict at this point?
If so, then you are still experiencing conflict, just internally -
I think some of both is happening.
Well we did get in a fight last night and it was about my family. We had been to to visit and he did not have fun at all. Part is because my sisters house is very dirty (the adults sleep on the couch because their bed is covered in junk) and they let the 5 and 4 yo do whatever (no bed time on the weekends, sugar and soda and whatever is fine), and dinner is always an argument over price or location. Then I left for a few hours with my sister and he was home with the two kids and BIL he doesn't like. It spiraled out of control from there...how I am dysfunctional and make things worse and why can't I just pay for their dinner instead of making an issue out of things, etc. Why did I leave with my sister. It ended with me saying I felt like my relationship with him was like my relationship with my family, in that if something got done it was bacause I did it. Examples - dinner, vacation, paying bills, cleaning, etc. In my family I am the one who plans the holidays, family vacations etc. If I didn't it wouldn't happen. I know, I need to stop doing it.

I'm positive that when women are angry or upset, and they don't express it in a healthy way, they turn it inward and man oh man if that doesn't create havoc in the sex department. It is one area in your life where you have total control, and to open up physically would be giving him what he apparently wants most. And more than likely your attraction to him has been affected by your anger as well - not fun to hug on a guy you're mad at.

I do think that is a big part of it, but I think there is more, as I do not have any sexual desire for anyone, not just him. I just feel dead in that area.

If you're open to counseling again, remember that you have to shop around for a good one, just like you would a good new car. Ask questions, and don't feel like you're committed after one or two sessions -if you're not confident it is a match, then keep looking. I've met some crappy therapists in my life - also have known some pretty powerfully good ones.

Consider a Marriage and Family Therapist - this problem is systemic. How do I find a good one?


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RE: I'm so messed up...

First off - sorry about the misinfo on the vulvodynia - i was mistaking it for something else entirely.

So finding a good therapist - there are many ways to go about this. You can find people who have a relationship you admire, and ask them if they've ever had therapy. Perhaps they can refer you to someone. If privacy is a concern, then the internet can give you some places to start.

If you're looking for a marriage and family therapist (they also work with individuals, just in the context of the family and marriage) then you could go to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, and there are therapists who advertise there. You may be referred to the association in your state as well.

Psychology Today has a website that is popular among therapists - when I was looking for a therapist a few years ago, that is where I went. They have photos and profiles of counselors, indicating their expertise. That would be another good place to go.

You can always ask for a free consultation - therapists sometimes offer a half hour to determine if it's a "fit". Don't assume that you are stuck with anyone -

That said, it sounds as if you are really struggling. First off, sexuality is such a major piece of who we are, and you are no exception. Stop at nothing to resolve this issue - I can reassure you that you are not an exception to the rule that all humans are sexual beings. This has a solution - YOU are a sexual being. You deserve to have your questions and problems resolved here.

Be careful about the self punishing you do as a result of your sexual condition - sometimes permission given to the partner to find sexual satisfaction is done more out of guilt and shame than out of genuine desire for the others' satisfaction - and of course you already know that. And don't get confused - not all men look at porn. Most men have seen it, but not all are actively engaged in it. Granted, it is more common due to internet, but that doesn't make it a satisfactory agreement within committed marriage partners.

When was the last time you talked about your sexual relationship with your husband? Are there ways that you can express your love and commitment to him that aren't painful or that don't betray your sense of self? What are the things that are important to him in this relationship that maybe aren't happening? Are there other sexual behaviors you could engage in other than straight intercourse, which is painful? Understanding that you aren't there emotionally, I'm just wondering if down the road if other things are even an option. I know that some people are against anything out of the ordinary, but there are other options.

YOu mention conflict issues- what is it like for you when he criticizes you? How well do you both accept criticism? When he was upset that you left him at your family's house, what was that like to listen to him? Can you see his point of view?

I have found that when the female is meeting the needs (forget the sexual, i'm talking other stuff now) of her partner, that the partner will go to the ends of the earth for her. He will sleep on the floor, whatever - but the problem is that often the men don't know how to effectively express what it is they need, so it all comes out in the form of "i want sex."

So you have to find out what it is he's needing in the relationship outside of sex. And then you have to take control of your own sexuality issues -

Read everything you can get your hands on with regards to the V thing and find out what your alternatives are to the painful type of touch. You might find that when you discover options in your life, that you aren't pushed into this corner of, "I can't do this so I have to settle for my husband doing this, and I've gone numb as a way to cope."

Good luck :)


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RE: I'm so messed up...

Thank you for the Psychology Today suggestion. I was able to find a sex therapist in my area that is also on my health plan, who is certified and she has 20 years of experience. I am going to call her in the morning before work. It doesn't say that she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist but does say she treats couples with relationship issues, so I might be able to see her for both issues.

On the V issue, I am currently looking for a new doctor. It took me over 10 doctors and 7 years to get a diagnosis. But, my current doctor, who did make the diagnosis, has tried all that she can think of and wants to do surgery. My research shows there are other things still to try, such as estrogen cream, even though I am young. She won't prescribe it due to my age, even though very little is absorbed into the system. I may have to go out of state (it would be worth the travel costs).

You had asked how I handle critism. Well, that is my achilles heal for sure. I can handle it pretty well when it comes from a supervisor, but when it comes from my husband or close family member it feels as if I have been stabbed.

Of course, it matters how its delivered. If its a "Hey, I was doing xyz until I tried this and it was sooo much easier" I take it different than "why are you doing it that way" "Does it make sense to you to do it like that". or if they suck at it and are giving me advice (like my sister offering to help me clean and organize my house, or telling me something is wrong with my house (like a crack in the drywall) or DH offering bill paying advice when he overdraws his account every other month)

And sometimes I think to myself, does it really matter? So what, I am doing something different than you would do. Whatever it is...as long as it isn't endangering someone or something does it really matter? Such as loading the dishwasher or something trivial.

I do feel like he puts me down for my family. I know they are crazy and dysfunctional. But, I feel like he thinks he is better than everyone and everything sometimes. For example, even though he would deny it, he projects that he is superior because he doesn't believe in a god. Well most of the world does, and it annoys me that he projects that in front of family (mine and his) and will make comments to me that its all silly. Of course he doesn't come right out and say to them " I'm an athiest". But, he gets that smirk on his face whenever they talk about anything religous or having to do with god.

It comes accross to me, that he thinks because his family has clean houses and they do not yell and scream that they have no issues. Really, they have issues, they just pretend they do not exist. For example, his older sister will not go to his aunts for XMAS dinner, and yet no one even mentions it when she is not there. (Its because she is a lesbian and brings her partner and they don't like her - according to my husband). Yet, if I miss a holiday or event with them, DH acts as if its the end of the world. I'm rambling a bit, I know. Or the fact that his mom lost it once and insisted he take a drug test. It was freaky. There are other things too...but that isn't really the point.

And he thinks that if I see my mom he should go. ANd if he is eating lunch with his mom I should go. Sometimes I just want to do my own thing with my mom or sister. That we should never really visit family without the other spouse. I really don't get that. His family is tolerable and some are even very nice, but they are not my family, and my family drives him crazy, so why do we need to always feel as if the other person needs to attend family functions? Just because we are married? Is that what most people do? Most of the relatives are within an hour and live in the same town. Usually, we both go to each others relatives, but I have tried to do the , Ill go to yours for an hour or so and then over to mine for the rest of the day. But that makes him so mad.

I invited him to go to my sisters to see my nephews who adore him. They love him and ask about him atleast weekly. Its far enough away that we have to fly. He had a work trip so he arrived there the day after me and left the day before me. He was there for less than 48 hours. To be honest, I was pretty annoyed that he was annoyed that I left him alone for 3 or so hours on Sat, with the boys and BIL. Me sitting next to him would not have made my sister's house clean or the kids better behaved or BIL less annoying. In fact, it would have probably ensured we got on each others nerves. I think he thinks when he is there we purposely do nothing and just sit around. Well, that is my sisters life. Work, make dinner, bathe the kids, go to bed, do it all over again. They are pretty young kids so taking them out is a chore at this point.

So, I told him yesterday he does not ever have to go again, but that we would need to give some explanation. Me saying he has to work, isn't going to cut it forever. The 5 yo thinks my husband is coming to his b-day party in March. He will be so sad to know he is not coming. Of course, I plan to lie and say he is working. What do I say to my sister? "My DH doesn't like your DH, your messy house or how you are never happy with your food, and he hates you don't have a spare room and can't deal for 48 hours." I don't think that will make anything better.


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RE: I'm so messed up...

There are some anti-depressants that can decrease sexual desire, so that is something to check out also.

Take care and good luck to you.


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