Dear Dr Irene,
I discovered your website on Tuesday (11/23) - just after I had seen my
doctor regarding getting counseling. My partner and I had a
stupid, stupid row on Sunday which ended with him suggesting I needed counseling - and me feeling
like I never, ever wanted to think about sex again. Tangential? You bet!
I was torn on counseling since I thought it was about my hang-ups with my
body, my attractiveness, and my social skills that were getting in the way
of our relationship. I wasn't entirely sure all the problems were mine and
wanted a second opinion. On the other hand, I didn't want counseling
precisely because I would be allowing somebody else to tell me if my
thoughts and insecurities were "right." Also, a lot of the
stuff that was hurting me was about the unanswered questions a counselor
would probably tell me to "ask!".
I was too worried to ask. Asking
stresses him. He brings up things I have done to him, and this develops
into all-out attack (on both sides I may add). Usually he ends up spending the next few days sleeping on the sofa.
This leads to more
Would you believe that I have just spent the last 2 nights sleeping on the
sofa because: if I don't, he will. That means he may get to watch a whole 10
MINUTES of the Adult Channel. That means I lay in bed rigid every
night wanting to run downstairs and "catch him" - because he won't
answer me directly if I ask. (And we call ourselves adults? )
My last attempt at "Do you watch
pornography after I go to bed..." got an answer of "everybody
has seen the Adult Channel (So?)", followed by rage - when I won't
drop the subject. Then he attacks me over my unfaithfulness 2 years ago. I won't
I am now faced with why I keep asking the same questions. I know that I am
insecure about my appearance and uncomfortable with my partner watching
pornography - particularly when it is something like a web cam where he
can "talk" with the lady in question. The stumper is - is
he actually doing this?
I shot myself in the foot early on
in this relationship by reacting badly to a hint that he might be.
Usually, I asked first, got a vague answer and then went into a strop.
He accused me of wanting to censor every single thing he came into contact
with (Which I didn't - I couldn't!). I stooping to prying through his
email and his internet cache. I was told that he subscribed to web cams
because he was trying to find out how to make his cam work, and he'd
hidden his credit card bill because I'd go mad. I told him I'd have rather
just have been told that was what he was going to do. On another
occasion he told me he did look at them for stimulation sometimes -
because I'd already accused him of it he said he may as well do it.
And on another occasion, he could do anything he wanted because there was
a monitor in the way and at least he hadn't slept with anyone else.
No he hadn't. But I owned up within days to my infidelity (I had allowed
myself to be put in an uncomfortable situation by some one I didn't want
to sleep with, but did anyhow.) and have never defended my actions. OK it
was something I really didn't want to have happen, but it wasn't rape and
it still happened. Even now, I still tell him what happened when he
It's not so much what he might have done in the past that bothers me - I
don't think he still visits web cams, but I'm finding it hard to forgive
and forget because I'm not certain whether or not there IS anything to
forgive. I'd rather feel hurt than paranoid.
And so it goes...
I'm not writing for an answer - although if you have got any comments feel
free to post them and use this email on your site. This is more of a
"Thank you" letter. I feel prepared for counseling
sessions after reading pretty much everything on these pages. The site has
given me a firm but loving kick in the butt regarding what the real
problems actually are in our relationship.
It's not the infidelity or the web cams or his friends or my teenage bout
of anorexia, but it certainly is about blame and lack of communication and
lack of self control. We both had bad childhoods ( his violent and
abusive, mine tense and secretive) and we've both been treated for
depression. I'm still being treated. So, we are both victim and abuser, we
both are control freaks, and we're both stubborn. We've been together two
and a half years and this has been going on nearly as long.
I think there is hope for us in the that after the arguments, the
friendship starts to return. Even more so when I visualize him on web cams
and I don't feel badly; or visualize watching the Adult Channel together
and enjoying it.
Why doesn't anybody even hint at stuff like this at school? You leave
thinking you know how to marry, copulate and have a baby - but you haven't
got a clue!
Your site seems unique in that you are not sexist and you do not blame or
take sides. You are firm, honest and very human.
Thank you again, -Corinne
Thank your for your
thank you letter. I appreciate it!
Yep, you do get a
few comments. Stuff you probably already suspect, but maybe didn't want to
You need to deal
with your body-image insecurities. You don't have to be a sex kitten for a
man to love you. I'll never forget a former client who thought she had to
have a perfect body to get married - until I asked her about how married fat and skinny ladies got married!
Good for you for
not defending your past faux pas. It's over. You've apologized, and he's
chosen to stay with you. End of story.
Phooey to him for
withholding answers and behaving in a passive-aggressive manner. Even if he isn't doing
anything, his evasive behavior is
designed to keep you guessing and interested. Your young man needs to grow up. But
he has to want to do that.
You need to stop
taking his bait and engaging. There is no sane reason to allow yourself to
persist with a topic you are being provoking with. When you
continue to nag him about his half-replies, you give him a way out. He
gets to change the subject to your past crimes - and never has to face
your very valid questions abut his withholding! Both out of control, you
act out until the two of you are in another silly fight. The real issue
never gets discussed, let alone solved.
My advice is to ask him
whatever once. If he does not reply to your satisfaction, realize
he is playing his game and pull away. Don't engage. Don't persist. Drop
it. He is being passive-aggressive and is withholding. Furthermore, he is
refusing to talk about being withholding - by being withholding! He wants
you to "chase" him with questions so he can justify pinning the
blame on you. Is this what you want to put up with?
Good for you for
considering counseling. You are nearly ready to break your denial and
deal with reality.
Good luck to
you! -Dr. Irene