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How to repair the damage done?
March 5, 2014
8:12 am
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lillyput
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Hi everyone this is my first post to the forum and i guess im here for a little advice.

My husband and i have been married for 4 months (together for 2 and a half years) i've always been exstremely happy with our relationship but a little while ago i notice the intimacy level in our sex life had declined. We both have stressful jobs and busy lives so it was understandable that our energy levels and inclination towards bedroom gymnastics would decline. I was not at all worried that there was anything wrong with our relationship. 

To help get back some intimacy and make an effort to go off routine i knew my husband watches porn (which i am perfectly fine with) so i went looking for inspiration. Now im no porn star and probably wouldnt have the confidence to do half the things they do but i thought a few new tricks might renew both our interests in our sex life. 

One afternoon while my husband was out i decided i would look on his computer and steal a few tips. While looking through a few clips he'd downloaded mingled in with a variety of risque pictures i notices a familiar face in some of the pics. My husband had very graphic pictures of his ex. Now i have no problem with my husband having regular pictures of ex's i know he has a past and i get guys like to keep memories. 

I confronted him about it and he said he didnt know why he kept them and he was sorry he hurt me, that he never intended to cause me hurt, he was sorry and would get rid of them which he did.

My problem is that now im finding it difficult to get past it. I know very little about the years he spent with her (even though i have asked the odd question which he replied with 'he doesnt feel the need to discuss it' ) and when we first started dating he would slip little anecdotes about her into conversations we were having. I know deep down that he wasnt over their relationship when we met (there was 5 months between the two relationships) but him not wanting to talk about it when asked and then finding those im so confused (FYI she broke up with him for some reason he is very vague about it when asked)

 

I know my husband loves me and im not posting this to 'man bash him' he is a good man and is very attentive and i love him a great deal, i also want to repair our relationship and am not in the slightest bit interested in leaving. I just dont know how to get past this issue and i feel like im turning into jealous, neurotic bag of frogs.

 

Thank you for any constructive advice in advance

lilly

x

March 5, 2014
12:13 pm
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dop
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There seems to be communication issues between you and your hushband. I would tell him your concerns and what you are feeling. I also find it odd that he has kept graphic pictures of his ex. Not sure why he sees it necessary to watch porn when he has you. This could be contributing to your relationship further declining. So before you turn into a jealous neurotic bag of frogs just talk to him.

March 6, 2014
7:45 am
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lillyput
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Thank you for your reply dop,

We do indeed have communication issues where the subject of his ex is concerned. I have spoken to him about this turning me into a person I do not want to be and how this whole situation is making me feel. He says he will do what's necessary for us to get past it.

I know I need to talk about this I just don't know what I should say, I don't feel I have a right to demand he talk to me about their relationship or her that's his business, also I have never had a problem with him talking about her except when he showed me where they lived together, to which I calmly told him I didn't mind him talking about the years he spent with her I just didn't want to see them.

I do genuinely believe he doesn't know himself why he kept the pictures so if he's unable to explain it to himself then surely he has no clue where to start explaining it to me.

As for the porn thing I don't see it as an issue it isn't affecting how much he wants to be with me. I understand sometimes when I'm not around its easier just to 'wack one off' to use a term one of my male friends uses, to get rid of tensions and stresses. He doesn't do it when I'm around.

I was wondering if anyone has experienced a situation like this before and how did they go about getting past it.
X

March 6, 2014
9:51 am
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dop
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Hey Lillyput

Have you asked yourself what do you need him say to you that would put your mind at ease. If you can answer that question it may help you focus on what to say to him. Are you wondering if he still has a emotional attachment to his ex? By the way I like your neurotic bag of frogs quote. Still trying to picture what that must look like.

March 7, 2014
2:25 pm
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lillyput
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Haha I'm not quite sure what it would look like and I'm not interested in finding out

March 7, 2014
2:32 pm
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lillyput
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Sorry for some reason the rest of my post didn't post, odd?

I guess I do wonder if he still has an emotional attachment to her and perhaps even that sometime he might wish things had gone differently with their relationship. I just want honesty and for it to not seem like he's trying to hide this big part of his life that he keeps giving me glimpses of but then shutting down when I ask about it. I've told him it's ok to talk about the time he spent with her (minus certain details) but he just tells me he doesn't want to.

I must admit it does help to talk to someone who is impartial to the situation. Thank you dop

March 8, 2014
10:01 am
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A person has to end a relationship emotionally before they begin another one and that takes way more than 5 months. Some people emotionally never stop being attached to people from their past. Most people have the ability to love more than one person at a time. You can't force a person to feel or not feel anything towards another person. When we meet people they come into a relationship with their stuff and you come into a realtionship with yours. Along the way people aquire stuff that they share this includes emotinal stuff and physical stuff. 

No point in looking at the past because you can't go in that direction. 

What is going on with the situation between you and your husband now?

March 8, 2014
11:25 am
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lillyput
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Hi game over, my husband and I don't have the same kind of connection we had before this incident but I'm hoping will be able to work to get it back and perhaps improve on it.

I completely understand that people come with baggage from previous relationships and I had no problem with her or their relationship before photogate. Having emotional and physical stuff from relationships he's had in the past has never been an issue, like I said before if the photos had been regular shots of her or the both of them there would never have been an issue. However pornographic photos are most certainly not ok.

As I said I didn't think he was over their relationship when we met but it was much further into our relationship that I realised this and I was not prepared to walk away from the love of my life.

I understand he may still have feelings for her and I know I cannot tell him how to feel about another person I would not be ok with him still being 'in love' with her. I am trying to figure out the best way to talk to him about these feelings I'm having without potentially getting the 'what I want to hear ' response.

March 8, 2014
12:37 pm
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It's perfectly normal to want to be the only one in a persons life. No one wants to compete with anyone else for another persons affections. Especially you. According to what you have shared the person you are with has had feelings for someone before you came into their life and continues to do so.

There is nothing you can do or say that will change the feelings he has about his ex.

The only persons feelings you can change are your own. You can choose to keep loving someone who does not love you as much as you love them who is still in love with someone else. Or, you can choose to get professional counseling so that you can talk about your feelings and learn how to get what you want, what you need and what you deserve from a relationship. It's always best to be in a relationship with someone who is as into you as you are into them. 

Don't listen to what this man says watch what he does. Actions speak louder than words. Why do you want to ask him a question about his ex that you already know the answer to?

March 8, 2014
9:32 pm
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Buddha's doctrine: man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are impermanent.

March 9, 2014
12:54 am
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lillyput
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I think there has been a bit of a misunderstanding. This is all just speculation on my part at the moment I do not know what his current feelings are about her. I am not trying to change anyone's feelings but I do have right to 1. Know if I am not the only one who is in his heart and 2. If he is willing to work on repairing our marriage and making it stronger.

The thoughts and feelings I have are mine not his, he has not done or said anything since to make me think he doesn't want to be with me. Like I said I know my husband loves me and I have always told him the only thing I want is for him to be happy even if that means it isn't with me.

I don't know why their relationship ended or the behavior on either part that caused it but past hurt can be a very personal thing and I want my husband and to trust me enought to share those things.

I do think counseling is a probable option for us but befor it gets to that point I am trying to figure out what the situation actually is and not go into a counseling session with accusations that my husband loves another woman more than me because the first thing they will ask is what makes me think that is the case. To which I can only reply because he kept pictures and my brain said so.

March 9, 2014
1:59 am
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      Does your husband think you have the right to know how he feels about his ex?

       If your brain tells you what is going on then, why don't you trust your brain? 

       You and your husband could go through the school of hard knocks trying to figure out what is going on with his feelings about you and your marriage, but that could take 20 years. Or, you could go to a marriage counselor who could answer your questions, and solve your problems within 3 months. 

March 9, 2014
3:29 am
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lillyput
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I don't know if my husband thinks I have a right to know or not I have not asked him about his current feelings for her. But he has helped cause this issue and therefore he has a responsibility to help fix it, should he choose to.

I am not trying to stop him from leaving our relationship if that were his wish to do so. I am however trying to make logical sense of the feelings I am having. It probably is the best option for us in the long run, but it is sometimes helpful to get out of your own thoughts and put your feelings down on paper so to speak after all that is what a forum is for.

And yes it could take 20 years for us to figure it out I completely understand all the variables. But it could also be as simple as me asking those questions and him being able to completely remove those irrational thoughts and feelings.

This is a very confusing time at the moment and I want to gain a little perspective before jumping in feet first.

But I thank you for your opinions, I take them onboard and appreciate the time taken to reply.

March 9, 2014
8:51 am
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I think you already answered your own questions and doubts. 

However, just because you directly confront him, if he not ready to confess he may still lie out right, deny the truth, and even become angry with you for asking. Lying goes with the territory. If he's not lying, you have an open marriage. The more deception and the longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to rebuild trust and honesty. In fact when confronted by their wives, the same men will also lie about their affairs. In his study, Neuman found that a whopping 93% of married men who cheated will not admit to having an affair when confronted by their wives.

Some men thrive on the game. For them, part of the passion and excitement of an affair is the lying and getting away with something forbidden. Often, since childhood, they’ve had a whole history of sneaking around. In the marriage, one partner may be fairly parental and judgmental while the other avoids conflict by not being open about things. The affair is an extension of a preexisting pattern. There are some men who have characterological problems, and the affair may be a symptom of that. Such men lie on their taxes and about their accomplishments; they are fraudulent in business. When it’s characterological, I don’t know any way to rebuild trust; no one can ever be on sure footing with that.

This is a warning what the future will hold, and it's not good. I can tell you this man has a serious problem, and you will not be able to change him. You have to decide to accept him as he is, or make plans to move on. This will cause serious illness if you continue to live with lies and deception

March 9, 2014
9:14 am
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lillyput
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Thatnk you.for your input game over but I think you are misunderstanding the situation and at no point did I say my husband had lied or had an affair. I am only here to gain perspective on MY feelings NOT my husband's as I am unable to comment on those and neither are you as you don't know him.

I am not a hormonal teenage girl that's is here because she thinks her boyfriend doesn't love her anymore. I am however a grown woman so please don't give me warnings about how you think my relationship will turn out if I don't head those warning. This is patronising and most certainly not constructive.

Thank you

March 9, 2014
10:31 am
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lilyput you said "I do think counseling is a probable option for us but befor it gets to that point I am trying to figure out what the situation actually is and not go into a counseling session with accusations that my husband loves another woman more than me because the first thing they will ask is what makes me think that is the case. To which I can only reply because he kept pictures and my brain said so."

You have no control over what I choose to do or say or what your husband does or what  anyone else does. The only person you have control over is yourself. You can choose to get help with your control issues and marital problems  by seeking out professional counseling. 

March 9, 2014
12:06 pm
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lillyput
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Yes I did say that and yes it is a though I have been having and isn't necessarily what is actually going on as I said.

I am in no way trying to control anything you have said simply correcting the idea you have devoloped about my husband. I am in no way trying to control what my husband does, says and feels he is free to make his own choices.

I don't understand why you felt the need to imply that my marriage would be over should I not choose to seek professional help (isn't this my decision to make after all) I am not asking you to tell me what to do. Simply asking for another point of view on my thougts.

March 9, 2014
12:56 pm
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I think game over has given you another point of view.  Smile It may not be what you want to hear, but it IS another point of view, and I think the idea of a mediator, e.g. counselor, is a good one.  That person might give you both questions that could help remove irrational thoughts, patterns and behaviours in your relationship.  I think it is admirable for you to want to work it out.  I myself would think of walking away with the issues you have described, on board, particularly the porn.

March 9, 2014
7:36 pm
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This situation reminds me of these lyrics by REID, MICHAEL / SHAMBLIN, ALLEN

I'll close my eyes, 'cause then I won't see
The love you don't feel when you're holdin me
Mornin will come and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight.

Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something that it won't

And here in the dark, and in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I will feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
Cause I can't make you love me when you don't
When you don't

Read more: Adele - I Can't Make You Love Me Lyrics | MetroLyrics

March 9, 2014
7:52 pm
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Bitchslap, Like you I would let my feet do the talking and walk away. Porn pictures of someones ex IMHO is a deal breaker. The number one reason why men leave is when they are not satisfied sexually and when women disrespect them by invading their privacy i.e. checking their computer, cell phones, etc. It stresses them out so they turn to a female who will build them up and make them feel good sexually. When people start trying to force me to say what they want to hear, then start minimizing my feelings & insulting me I just  turn around and run as fast and as far as I can from them in the opposite direction. More often than not, control freaks (the type of person that tries to control what other people think and say) have low self esteem. They do not have enough inner trust to handle outcomes other than ones they plan.

March 9, 2014
8:04 pm
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lillyput, your problems are beyond the scope of a lay person. Please get professional help. 

The 5 Stages that someone goes through before they get professional help

1. Unaware

2. Denial

3. Resistance

4. Flakiness

5. Acceptance 

You can choose to read this list and decide for yourself what stage you are in. 

Good Luck on your road towards recoverySmile

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