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Uncomfortably Numb

Question:

I was a divorced mother of 3 struggling to keep my head afloat when I met my husband. He is 14 years older, an executive with the means to allow me to be home with my children, and a sexual compulsive. While we dated (which wasn’t long- 8 months) his obsession with threesomes, masturbation, etc. were interpreted by me as him trying to be “hip” or “open” to anything I wanted. The dust has settled and its growing worse. His pressure has led me to do things I regret and sex is awful, much of it involving me making up “tales” to tell him to satisfy him. He uses masturbation to de-stress while on trips, begging me to have phone sex. He is consumed with finding another woman to join us, and yes, there have been a few. I find there is no hope of intimacy between us because he is using me, my body, to attract other women. His fantasies come first and, when I don’t participate, life is hell. My children are now rooted in their new life. He is a good provider and stepfather, but I find my emotional state declining. I don’t enjoy sex with him and am instantly turned off when he mentions someone else while making love. It’s as if he can’t control it. He says that I am not normal, frigid in fact. I have enjoyed other healthy sexual relationships where I was mostly the aggressor. The repercussions of leaving him and/or confronting him would be detrimental. I have backed myself into a corner. I have been depressed and have begun “self medicating” with marijuana and alcohol if I feel I have to “perform” that night. When he is away on business, I feel no need for getting numb and never do. He is never physically abusive, only mildly abusive by way of impatience and lecturing about trivial things when he hasn’t had his fix. He has the means to buy pornography, then throw it away the next day, only to buy more. The expense doesn’t affect us. He would go ballistic if I mentioned sexual compulsion or addiction. With all I’ve read on the Internet tonight, I think it could be possible. What do you think and where should I turn?

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Answer:

When I read this I see a woman who is struggling to maintain a sense of self in an environment hostile to a sense of self. Your husband’s sexual obsessions and denial of any problem are not healthy for him or for you. What is most destructive here is not the pornography or the threesomes but the lack of intimacy and respect between you; his need to force these things on you despite your nausea and distaste, and your giving in to his control out of fear. His need to put you down, and make you into a sexual object for his pleasure is the very opposite of love and intimacy. Your own reaction – to numb yourself with addictive drugs – seems to suggest you believe you are better off as this wealthy man’s concubine sex-toy than as a poorer but dignified woman. You say that the repercussions of leaving him or confronting him on this issue would be detrimental. But, also face the fact that your failure to confront him on this issue is already very detrimental for you. Your situation will not get better if you continue to be fearful of this man. Rather, I believe you will find yourself completely depressed, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Please go for some counseling regarding this issue – marriage counseling if possible, but if your husband won’t go with you at least get some support for yourself in the form of individual psychotherapy. I hope this is helpful, – Anne

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