Dear Dr. NerdLove:
When I was 14 or 15, one of my girlfriends at the time told me that her boyfriend had been energetic in their physical relationship lately. At the time, I didn’t quite understand what she was saying, but I could say she was upset, so I tried to comfort her as best I could and we continued this conversation. They separated a year later and I started to make friends with this ex. In 12th grade, when there was a whisper from what she said before, I feel ashamed to say that I didn’t speak. I stayed “neutral”, a very harmful attitude, and I know that I hurt her immensely. The other people she had told didn’t speak, either, and I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for them. At that point he was with someone else. Their relationship ended after school, but I never really asked what happened down there.
College started and I got a lot closer to him. We built a situation with friends with advantages that slowly turned into a real relationship. He was good to me. Always respectful, always a good person. I am not saying this to negate what he did to others, but only to indicate how big the difference was between who he was with me and with them. I know that this is also typical for many perpetrators.
His second ex turned to me earlier this year. She told me that he had been emotionally manipulative and verbally abusive in their relationship. The things she told me were so terrible that I didn’t know what to say or do. We had just started dating. She told me that she told me because she didn’t want him to do the same to me. I thanked her for telling me, and after thinking about it for a long time, I decided to gradually distance myself from him. I also spoke to my friend and apologized for my silence regarding her abuse at the time.
In the past, his actions have been brought to light on a public platform in the past. He is obviously facing a huge backlash from people in school for these actions, and many people have decided to cut him out of their lives. Due to the occasional interactions I have had with him since his ex reached me, I know that he goes to therapy more regularly. He also apologized to both of them and apparently they did not accept his apology and are not obliged to do so. He never tried to deny, justify, or argue against what he did. He unconditionally accepted that he caused a lot of trauma to these people, and he told me and other people that he was fully prepared to face the consequences of his actions.
I feel like I made the right decision by distancing myself for now, but I’m still confused about what I need to do in the future. I think this is an experience that he has to go through alone. If he has no people around to prove that he is a changed person and he changes nonetheless, I really believe that this will not be a superficial change as it takes a lot of courage to continue living and working on yourself, when nobody else thinks you deserve something. His friends have no responsibility to make sure that he has changed, nor do they have to hold his hand through the process.
As someone who knows him better than anyone else, I believe that, firstly, he really wants to change and, secondly, takes steps to do so. None of this can ever change the pain and trauma it caused, nothing can at this point, but the step towards accountability and responsibility is not one that many people take at all. That alone, along with the fact that this step is accompanied by concrete therapy actions, the possibility of inclusion in abuse programs and unconditional excuses, make me think that the process will be lengthy and difficult for him, but it will result better.
If he does, is it okay for me to be his friend? To say that I saw the change in you and I believe that you are worth my friendship, maybe my love? Does it make me a bad person and is it used to reject the victims’ trauma? Am I a bad friend for believing that he will change but is not there for him?
Very confused and guilty
These types of questions are always difficult, VCaG.
On the one hand, I am generally convinced that people can change and improve. I think people can mess it up, own their shit and try to do things better, and I believe there has to be room for people to actually do it better.
On the other hand, people love a story of salvation and perpetrators know that. I can’t count the number of times perpetrators and monsters produce “Oh look, I’ve changed!” – especially to get back into the public eye. Writer and professor Hugo Schwyzer was an almost archetypal example of thisand used his supposed salvation to find future victims and as a shield against new accusers. So there is every reason to make statements: “But I’m different now!” with deep distrust and a lot of salt.
On the other other Hand (yes, I have three hands) apparently this happened in secondary school. And although this doesn’t rule out someone being an abuser or a monster, all you have to do is do something Check out Stubenville to prove it – but high school graduates Likewise tend to be hormone-soaked bundles of frenzy that often freak out in several directions at once. It is quite possible that people act badly without realizing that what they are doing is harmful or abusive. Sometimes people are so involved in their teenage fear bullshit that they don’t realize the harm they are doing to the people around them.
But the fact that they don’t knows They cause damage or do not intend to. This does not change the fact that You still hurt people. As has been said many times in many places: Intent is not magic.
(And that’s before we deal with topics like the high school rumor mill. People who adopt the language of social justice as a means of abusing others and all species of cloudy crap)
So my position in general is “… maybe. With many restrictions. “
I would have a lot of very specific questions that I would need very convincing answers before I would be willing to come to one side or the other. The first is very simple: he understands What he has? Does he accept – without conditions or qualifications – that his behavior hurts people? And as a result: he understands Why his actions hurt people?
One of the first steps to change and grow is to understand how they have wronged others and why other people have been hurt by what they have done. Understanding the pain of others is the first step to empathy.
Next: Does he take responsibility for his actions – again without conditions or qualifications? He does have his behavior without explaining why he is not to blame or why he shouldn’t be completely culpable? Does he understand? Why he did what he did?
This is another important step. It is crucial to take responsibility for your own behavior. They both speak for their mindset: are they sincere or are they trying to get out of trouble? However, it may also be difficult. “I did X because I was drunk and didn’t recognize Y” and “I did X because I was drunk” sound similar, but they are incredibly different. In the first case, they show an understanding of how a mistake (drunkenness) leads to their behavior (… and so I did X). In the latter case it comes much closer to “You can’t blame me for being drunk and it wasn’t me.” Really am ”.
Next: If you understand what you did wrong and why you did it, what steps do you take to avoid doing these things again? How do you propose to be held accountable in the future?
And finally, what did they do to try to do things right? This can include a direct apology to the people who have harmed them. sometimes try to make up for it actually does more damage to the person who has already been harmed by their actions. And – what’s important – when he’s trying to do things right, is he doing it humbly or in a way that requires recognition? Does he make a production of how sorry he is for pressuring his victims to forgive him? Is he performatively remorseful in a way that glorifies himself to others?
Even if the answers to these questions are satisfactory, I would proceed with caution. As I said, many people can show remorse, especially if it brings them back from the wild. Take it slowly and pay more attention to its actions, not its words. These will tell you much more about who he really is and whether he has actually changed for the better.
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
First of all, let me thank you for being out there for people like me looking for insight or answers to a current situation. I found your website one of the many nights I spent looking for answers or suggestions for similar situations.
Here I am:
My husband and I met about 4 years ago and we moved in (married) about 8 months ago. We are 12 years apart and he is older. I have a 24 year old son who lives with his wife and my husband has no children.
Our sex wasn’t often, but it was great until we moved in together. Then all the different work schedules, routines and learning to live with each other came up so that sex / intimacy started to suffer. I’m sure it’s normal for some, but I think it’s more than that for us.
For once, I want to have sex after a drink on more than one Friday night. How about if I’m horny on a Tuesday or Sunday morning? I feel that our sex is only on its schedule and it doesn’t matter what I want or what I have to say about it. We used to have sex only once a week (his request) and now there is nothing. I have a higher sex drive than he or I think.
I have noticed that he is less interested in touching or initiating me, and he prefers to spend his time in front of his computer. We have had conversations about our sex life. How I feel is missing in our relationship and he seems to understand, but after a few days things go back to nothing.
My concern now is that he’s been on a YouTube channel interviewing porn stars lately, and then he’s continuing to look for certain women, for example L.Ann, K.Rx, etc. I also know he’s on “Live Cam” sites is going to see younger ladies masturbate. Does he pay for it? Who knows and I hope not because I asked him and he said he didn’t like it. For sure! (Note: Our computer is open to both of us and not in a separate room.)
Another problem is his lack of respect for me when it comes to staring at other women (very obvious) when we go out (every Friday) to the point that I had to tell him to stop. He’s gotten better, but it still happens and I feel so inferior. How can you not respect the woman you take out? Then why don’t you go out alone? I am a very good looking woman who likes to dress up when we go out and I love to have fun with others. I look younger than I am, but he can take it all away by staring at another lady’s ass.
In addition, I had an emergency hysterectomy for cancer cells in December (I see a therapist who will help me cope with this big change). We both agreed because we weren’t interested in children (1 is enough lol). I know that penetration has not been on the table for some time, but intimacy is more than just intercourse, and I long for that close relationship with him. Why not play with each other until we both reach orgasm (oh! Wait, maybe because it feels like he doesn’t want to take the time for me, but I have to get him done). The last time we had an “intimacy” hand job because he didn’t even want me to give him a blowjob, really !? I’ve been free to have sex again for weeks, and he knows, but he seems like he could go on without sex. How sad!!!
He has not stopped making future plans for us, such as trips, dinners, theater shows, etc. I know that he loves me, but maybe, as some say, he is no longer “in love” with me or only cares enough me to keep it i’m just looking (you know an older man alone again). We are only married for 8 months !!
Impressive! Sorry for the long note, but despite my looks, who love him so much and desire him as a man, I sometimes feel lonely as if I were alone in this marriage. I do all external things either alone or with my friends. I have no problems being independent, but my time with him seems to shorten. What now?
Has he become addicted to porn or already? I asked him if porn was a problem in our relationship and he said “NO” directly to me. Isn’t he physically attracted to me to satisfy me sexually? Is it ED? and he’s afraid to talk to me about it? It is clear that talking is not like that. How many times can you tell a partner that we should have more intimacy and sex. I know so many questions!
I wish he could understand how much he hurts me if he chooses to masturbate to porn instead of having it with me (I don’t mean all the time). I understand that we both need our “sole” time for this. I love him deeply and miss the warmth of his body that is closed to me when we combine intimacy and sex.
Sometimes I get letters from people who can see what the jump is about. In other cases I get one where the problem only shows up when a certain detail makes things clear.
And then I get letters like your LW, in which every few paragraphs further deteriorate the circumstances and the obvious underlying cause Likewise changes … until the end, when it becomes clear that it doesn’t matter What The problem is that the solution is painfully obvious.
It seems pretty clear that the contraction was the trigger. In itself, this is not particularly surprising or unusual. There are a number of pairs in which The biggest cause of quarrels in their lives is the fact that they live together. Take cohabitation out of the mix and you would be a hot couple, but cohabitation deprives your relationship of vitality.
But the trigger isn’t the problem, it’s just the triggering incident. Whether this brought to the surface problems that were always there or accelerated things until they could no longer be ignored is academic at this point. The problem is that your husband doesn’t want to have sex with him she. It’s pretty clear that he still has a sex drive and is almost certainly still jerking off. People don’t watch cam shows for the exciting story or the amazing cinematography. But the fact that he is not interested in orgasms she – to the point that the only sexual intimacy that he will accept is handmade – is as clear as an indicator of where his head is.
One question that needs to be answered is “why”? Is it a case that he is bored and boredom has become disinterested? Is it that the family life of your relationship deprived you of the thrill he was going to? Did the stress of getting used to living together throw him off his groove? Or – I suspect – is he simply no longer attracting you?
Now I want to say very clearly: the fact that he doesn’t seem to be attracted to you does NOT mean that you did something wrong or that this is your fault in any way. He can be someone who needs novelty and new stimulation to maintain interest. It could be that this is his pattern in relationships and this is happening everyone Time. Or it could be that his attraction simply waned by itself, without you or him doing anything about it.
And although the lack of sex doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship – there are many people in marriages who are concerned with things other than sex – it is pretty clear that your relationship has ended. First of all, you are clearly hurt by the lack of intimacy in your relationship. That is completely understandable. It is not inappropriate to want sex with your husband or to yearn for intimacy with him.
The bigger problem, however, is the apparent contempt that your husband shows. It is certainly possible that he still loves you and takes care of you, but he is sure damned does not seem respect She. Open surfing on porn sites while Also neglecting them sexually, watching women in front of them, maintaining sexual contact with masturbation with no interest in reciprocating … none of which is good. None of this is a sign that they care about your feelings, regardless of your desires. This kind of behavior is the kind of thing that confuses even the strongest relationships.
To be honest … well, I don’t know if there is much to be saved here. I think if you want to make a hail mary pass to fix things, you have to sit down and have it on very Awkward conversation with him over all of this. You have to lay out everything: The way you feel neglected, how you feel through his behavior, the fact that sex was not just routine, but almost robot. His incredible clear about all of this so that there is no room for misunderstanding. After you’re done, let him share his side of things.
Then I would suggest finding a sexually positive marriage counselor who will try to sort things out.
But to be honest: I don’t know if that will help. It sounds like he’s already checked out. He may not be interested in divorce, but he does not appear to be interested in participating in an essential part of the relationship. If that’s the case … well, the best thing you can do for yourself is to love yourself enough to know that you deserve better. You deserve someone who actually respects you and cares about your feelings and satisfaction. And if that’s not your husband … well, he shouldn’t be your husband anymore.
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