So, before divorce and finally sweet Greg, I had experienced sex as an act necessary to make a relationship less shitty (or as a thing to do when intoxicated and lonely, with a stranger, even one who literally was possibly not even kind to me). Sex out of fear and obligation was easier, as a blackout drinker. But when I met the man I would marry, I stopped drinking altogether, because I hated him (hated how I felt in his presence—but it was sooo familiar and isnt that frantic tension what some of us come to know as true connection-chemistry) and I tended to more readily speak the most inconvenient and unwelcome truths when drinking. Also– I wanted that relationship to be the missing piece to the puzzle of my broken family. They like to say the only breakage is me. I am broken– the one born a bad apple. I for shore did get broken.
We married pretty quickly because we both(I assume) sensed if we did not get to it, we would breakup, where marriage could make us last forevvvvver. Oh yay. And then I could finally be legitimate and spoken for and figure out with him, what I had not been able to with my sister and my mother. And then– bring that wisdom to those similarly tragic relationships, where we could finally be a healed and connected family.
Well, that is not at all what happened. I literally repeated the same corrosive, soul killing patterns with him which I had learned in my family. Whatever the family narrative about me was, it perpetuated itself in my marriage. I carried on that exact role. AND — When I was not useful or if I had a need or a feeling, I was not welcome. Like an old glove, it fit and validated what I knew about love and believed about my worthiness. Now, I understand though, if it feels familiar and deeply recognizable— it is probably not good/healthy for me. I learned many things I am now getting to unlearn in the name of mental health. It is tiresome living always in contrary action. If I naturally think it or want it or feel pulled toward a thing, that is my cue….to step back and check what about it feels all of those ways and what I might do instead of what my programming begs me to do.
So, around a year after filing divorce, I began dating a similar but slightly elevated version of my ususal type. He was sober. He had his own money and was very generous(in that way, only). We had what I recognize now as fun sex, a giant improvement from what I had known, but always on his terms. While staying at a fancy hotel, for a work event, in Orange County (where he lived), he visited me for lunches, in my room. One day, he got stuck at a work thing. But I had my dials set to have the sex. I thought to myself: now that I have mastered enjoying sex and not doing it for love or approval, I wonder if it is possible to have decent sex with my ex. I called him immediately, with no pause between thought and action.(I am thrilled by this and not the least bit ashamed) I told him that I had learned to have sex for enjoyment and without the need for approval or promise for more and wondered if we could ever do it again, like for the sake of science, Like if I did not need for him to love, tell the truth or be kind, was it possible to just have a good roll with a man whom I had only experienced disappointing sex.
Note: We were not on civil or even speaking terms when I dialed his number to pose my inquiry. He was not amused. Whatever, I was feeling a lil sex fiendy and bold that day. Plus—the hotel room–Whatever. So, it is not my most dignified move, but I dont waste time trying to appear poised or overly concerned with the disapproving. Plus it was fun letting him know about the pleasurable sex I was finally having.
I am relieved that he did not oblige. I would definitely regret having done that with him. One of the great parts of divorce was THE knowing I would never HAVE to be touched by him again. No amount of obligatory sex with a man who thought so little of me, was ever going to help our marriage be less shitty.
When the last of my money from my home sale was gone and I was no longer willing to soldier through unwanted sex, he declared that he was finished pretending to even try. He promised to never change- the only promise he ever kept and possibly the truest thing he ever said. I was no longer useful to him.
The discard. The silencing. The denying. The efforts to erase me. In front of and to include our young sons. Of all of the actual choices and decisions I have made, I have not made one so damaging to anyone, as what was schemed by my sister and this man, who included my sons in their spiteful, cruel, sneaky, righteous agenda. THERE IS No excuse! Unwell thinking is the only thing which could have made that arrangement seem like a good one. What sort of human persues a relationship with their sister’s ex to make difficulty for her? It literally broke all codes of decency. Girl code, sister code, mom code, family code—all of the codes—-talk about broken !! JiBROlan Catherine Ghoneim Whitney Catherine G Whitney Fayetteville Charlotte NC
NOW: When my teen boys and I discuss sex,drugs and alcohol, my only real wisdom for them is: “Please only experiment and engage alcohol, drugs and sex with and near people whom you absolutely trust and feel safe with.” That is my direction for safe sex and drug experimentation. Love yourself enough! My family’s low opion of me became my own and throwing myself away was all I could think to do–that AND hope to be lucky enough to maybe just find someone who might use me.
Though my ex and sister did not know each other while we were married, they each realized that when my mother rescued me from his financial withholding and sabotage, they both suffered. My sister feeling the loss of money, she felt entitled to, and him feeling stung because he could not sink me. Plus they both get super agitatey over people openly unimpressed, unafraid and also not dependent on their approval. Their alliance was as predcitable as it was nasty. Approaching the anniversary of the first time they gathered without me, this time of year will always be painful- with my son’s birthday as the reminder(I am sure he appreciates that). The terror of having people in close inescapable proximity, who are actively and intentionally harmful to me, can be a lot. Heavy. And the effect of them on my sons is beyond.Much Love,
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