T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 41657
posted 04-24-2012 02:15 PM
Ok, so I've been with my boyfriend for over 2 years now, this is my first relationship, both romantic and sexual, and I love him very much, but I'm worried that he's not being honest with me.
The issues are: 1. Consent issues have arisen in our relationship which I've written about on here before, there have been times when we had sex (other kinds than intercourse) and then afterwards he told me he was experiencing discomfort, when he hadn't said anything at the time and I honestly couldn't tell, there were some times when I was unintentionally pushy and I worry that it has made him feel that he cannot say no, which is not to say that he never does, but I don't want him to feel unsafe. This ties into... 2. While he clearly enjoys sex (not just saying that because of gender assumptions), he finds it hard to talk about sex using explicit language, and this A) makes me wonder if he actually does have some issues with sex (though that may just be armchair psychoanalysis) and B) (more importantly), I feel is creating an unhealthy dynamic in our relationship where I have to guess what sexual thing he is referring to and worry that if I get it wrong he will feel pressured to do something he doesn't want to do because I brought it up. 3. I worry that he may be staying in this relationship because A) he doesn't want to hurt me by breaking up with me, he knows I have a history of suicidal thoughts, and I've told him that I don't want to emotionally manipulate him into staying with me, making clear that he wouldn't be to blame if I committed suicide, but I think maybe he might be worried that I would kill myself if we broke up (I do not think that I would, and if I did kill myself if we broke up then that would not be his fault) B) He doesn't want to be alone, as he's talked about how much he wanted a relationship before we got together and it was his first relationship as well (I think, I can't remember if he briefly had another girlfriend at one point without asking him to check). C) (related to B) he wants the option of sex when he desires it, though he seems to have a pretty low libido, but it's hard not to have all these gender stereotypes nagging away telling me that he must be having sex with someone else behind my back, I don't have any evidence of this, but he's told me he doesn't like to masturbate because it makes him feel lonely afterwards, so it's hard not to wonder if he's having sex with someone else not so much because he's a guy but because if he isn't masturbating between the times we see each other then he's got a very low libido setting aside assumptions about men being different from women in this regard, however he has told me he masturbates occasionally, so that makes more sense of it (for the record I am saying this as someone agender and "female bodied" who masturbates a lot and gets the impression that most people of whatever gender would probably feel some level of dissatisfaction with doing sexual stimulation as infrequently as he would be if he only did so when we met up and had neither solo nor partnered sex inbetween.) 4. We mostly talk on the phone, and it really sounds like he's whispering things under his breath, I think once I heard him say "I don't love you" and "I hate you"... but here's the thing: he's told me he has intrusive thoughts, and he's definitely on the OCD spectrum (and he has aspergers syndrome) and knowing what I do about my own experience of intrusive thoughts, it seems a genuine possibility that he is talking about something different, at one point I would shout out things in public and I know my internal dialogue and talking to myself to deal with the thoughts can have a lot of sadness and anger in it, so I'm not convinced that he's actually saying it about me, but the worry is there. When we're together he seems to genuinely be happy about it and we have had mutually consensual, enjoyable sexual experiences, so it's not like I get a sense of simmering resentment or lack of love. He doesn't tell me he loves me that often, but he lives with his parents and has explained that he feels embarrassed saying it in front of them (we've agreed that I'll say "I love you" to him and then he'll say "same to you" or something to that effect during phone conversations and he does do this), he does sometimes say it in private when we see each other in person, though we don't see each other that often. Also, with the whispering on the phone, he says that nothing is wrong when I ask him, but it seems that there is something worrying him, whether it's to do with me or not. I don't expect him to tell me everything, but I would at least like him to tell me if something is wrong and if so whether it's to do with me or not. Related to all this is that I can get upset quite easily, and I actually just got asked to take a pause from my ADHD support group because of it, they said I was leaving them without enough time to support the other people in the group. It's making me worry that I'm not as... I don't know... "together" as I thought I was. People tell me I'm making progress but it doesn't seem that way to me. Also, I remember being single and feeling constantly that it meant that there was something wrong with me, I truly love my boyfriend but wish I hadn't felt so broken, like a relationship would validate that I was "normal/not a loser/not a bad person" before I started one because no-one should have to feel that way and it's not the best outlook to go into a relationship with, though that's not why I started the relationship. I wish I'd had a stronger foundation of self-esteem when I started this relationship. And I sometimes wonder whether maybe I would be better off being single for a while and possibly having some casual sex and more generally figuring myself out. I think it's like this: if he loves me, and he wants to stay in this relationship, and if there is a problem that he's got then he's making progress working on it by himself and that's the way he wants to deal with his intrusive thoughts and stuff, and he's being honest with me that he isn't having sex with other people than himself and me, then I'm happy to stay with him, I really enjoy being with him and I love him dearly. I do think it would be good if we could see more of each other, we talk on the phone a lot but not infrequently when we see each other there isn't really enough time for satisfying sex if we do want it and more generally it would be good to have more time, but that's the only other issue I can think of. He's a lovely guy and he's very supportive and while it would be nice to have the greater freedom that being single affords, I want to be with him enough that if the conditions I mentioned are fulfilled, then I don't want to end the relationship. I actually would like to spend the rest of my life with him if we can make it work. Finally, I don't want to ignore the possibility that I need to work on my own ability to trust people, as it may well be that even if there weren't these issues I would still be worrying that he wasn't being honest with me because of my own issues, I think I might need some more help unpacking some of these gender stereotypes that while I know logically are not true, are hard not to internalise on some level.
Member # 79774
posted 04-26-2012 09:46 AM
Hey Jill, I'm not sure I'm the best person to talk through gender-stereotype unpacking with you, but I might be able to speak to some of the other things you're talking about. Just checking in if you'd like to talk about any of the other stuff or if you'd rather prioritise the gender-stereotype unpacking, as you specifically mention it.
Member # 41657
posted 04-26-2012 11:23 AM
I'm happy to talk about the other stuff.
I did talk to him the night I posted this, and he said he doesn't want to end the relationship and he'd be honest about it if he did, and he admitted that he's whispering to himself on the phone and we talked about how his intrusive thoughts are amplified by stress and about how he felt that everything had happened very fast with his career, that he'd had problems with stress since he was in college. I said that he'd reminded me that I have good reasons for taking things slowly and having quit some courses, sometimes I feel like I'm just... "stalling" on what I'm "supposed to be" doing with my life (though I have no idea what that is), but I couldn't possibly have coped with being as busy as he is with work (although I get the impression that he doesn't do much in the way of domestic chores at his house, whereas I do).
Member # 41657
posted 05-04-2012 04:42 AM
I still want to talk about this?