I've always valued tough women. Women who are perfectly feminine, yet can work hard, do things not usually expected of women, aren't ruled by emotions, and are really tall. I am aware that's an odd list. I think it started when I was a little girl and my dad complimented my accomplishments with, "wow! You're an Amazon woman". I didn't have a clue what that meant, but I got the idea that tough was good. When he taught me to drive, and said I drove like a man, I was extremely proud. It took me until I was an adult to arrive at a state where I felt I was not ruled by emotions, that logic was my frame of reference. A few years ago, I asked him for some advice, and dad said, "I know that you will always make the practical choice." This was a compliment of the highest proportions. I'm comfortable in sandals, flowy flowery skirts, or steel toed boots, blue jeans and paint speckled tshirts. I love to make pretty girly things, plant and harvest my garden, demolish walls, hang drywall, and use power tools. Unfortunately, I never hit my goal of 6ft tall, but I've come to terms with that.
I'm not sure what's happened to me, except it must be all in my head. After some issues arose that involved my son being bullied at church, and having his privates grabbed by an older boy, I discovered I couldn't always control my emotions anymore. Oh, how I hate that. I've tried to pretend I'm still tough, still logical, still the person I'd struggled so long to become. I'm afraid that being tough may have become a facade, built from remnants of the past. That the reality just might be that I'm a basket case.
Especially now that porn has made an ugly appearance in my marriage.
My DHs trip into porn hasn't altered my behavior much, I still parade around the bedroom as naked as before... And yet it's such a slap in the face, I feel like vomiting when I think of it.
I've got some insecurities dredged from deep within myself that I'd kept pretty buried over the years, but a trip to grocery store confirms to me that I'm pretty normal (I'm talking about who's walking around in the aisles, not those detestible magazines by the register). It's the porn that isn't normal. I don't think I truly have any more insecurities now than I did before, they've just been forced into the light of day.
In reality, I'm pretty pragmatic about DHs porn use. I've read about the psychology of men enough that I accept the reality that it wasn't my fault, it wasn't about me, etc. As long as I don't let my mind go into the specifics of what porn he looked at, I'm ok. If I do go there, I'm an emotional wreck, so I haven't let myself go there in months.
So then, why have I been up all night last night feeling devastated?
To me, porn isn't the real issue. Yes. It's degrading, disgusting, and totally sinful. I cannot, will not, coexist in the same house as porn. It's just not going to happen. But it still isn't the real issue.
The real issue in our case is the state of mind my DH was in that would open up porn as an option to him. The emotional scarring in his brain that he needed "medicated". That's the real issue.
What's the solution to the real problem? Well, I think it's communication. Yep. Simple communication could have prevented this whole mess. If he'd dealt with his traumas, instead of silently stuffing them inside. If he'd discussed with me when he felt I was rejecting him (and I wasn't). If he'd found a friend to open up to, if he'd talked to me, if he'd allowed his hurts to be conquered, instead of fester and grow into a painful, overwhelming sore.... He likely wouldn't be where he is today.
After I caught him, he tried very hard to open up to me, to communicate with me. He helped me rearrange the family schedule so that we'd have some quality private time together to, ahem, talk, without kids. It was great. In many ways, the best time we'd had in years.
But something's happened. He's slipping back into his silence. He's sitting and reading his dealnews emails and checking out trucks for sale on his phone, instead of helping me get the kids moving towards bed. And I've been having several physical challenges where I need extra help temporarily!
I don't think he's been viewing porn again. He says he hasn't, and hasn't had any screen time that I'm aware of where he'd even have the opportunity. I've seen the screen of his phone frequently in passing.... It really was deals and trucks.
So last night, when I said, "I really miss having the time together, our schedule has really been slipping. Do you have any suggestions what we can do about speeding up getting the kids to bed so we can be together more?" - And was hit with nothing.... Total silence - I was shocked. The reality is, our private time together is a lot of conversation on pleasant topics, nudity, and sex... Ok, so even the topic of conversation was often sex.... So its not like I was suggesting anything he wouldn't enjoy. My attempts at follow up... More silence. After waiting a very long time, especially for a short attention span like mine (over half a hour), I tried to explain how important communicating is... Yeah, pretty sure I messed that up, because I got more silence. After two more hours of waiting, I asked if I should be waiting any longer.... More silence, then snoring.
Now I'm wondering what I have to do to get his attention. I love that man fiercely. I cannot fathom life without him. But..... I can't take the silence forever. Yes, we chatter on and on endlessly about the kids, work, the garden, the house, the church, whatever. Until I ask something that's on my heart. Then it's silence.
Please talk to a man about your porn use. Silence.
Would you like me to do more of
or more of
Please just TALK to me. Silence.
It dawned on me a week or so after I found the porn that our biggest challenge in our marriage is communication. I told him this... He really tried for awhile, it was wonderful.
Now it's worse than ever. I feel him slipping away into that vast silence in his own head.
I don't know how much more of this I can take. The porn.... I can deal with that, traumatizing as it is. The silence....
I love him so... And yet I contemplate where I will go when I break. And let him come home to silence.
My eyes are swollen shut. I was supposed to go somewhere today. I think I'd better just accept "basket case" as my new reality.