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Intimacy
January 3, 2013
2:39 pm

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Saw this on another thread and wanted to get thoughts on it.

"giveandtake" wrote: However, infidelity would be the one thing that I probably could not handle. I strongly believe that I would divorce her if she cheated on me.

To extrapolate on what Plan 9 is saying, my interpretation is that all contract verbiage aside, the only thing that really makes a marriage a relationship is the intimacy factor. That's why cheating is the most horrific thing to a BS in a marriage. Because two people can be roommates and simply coexist on a non-intimacy level and even raise a child that way if they want to, but it's the vow of monogamy to that one person that makes a marriage sacred to people. So that's why intimacy is help up on a pedestal over everything else in terms of "vows" being broken. Because intimacy is true bonding of the soul, so when you bond with someone other than your spouse it can be soul-crushing to them.

I thought this was brilliantly communicated and I personally 100% agree.

I think it was the protracted time of no intimacy in my marriage that causes me to call it "dead". It is the reason I think I should have divorced prior to having an affair. The lack of intimacy is also the reason I think my affair being discovered was not as emotional of an event as in many marriages – because we lacked that "bonding of the soul".

I do think if that bond exists and it is violated it would be one of the most devastating, heart wrenching, experiences one could have. To truly love someone and have that trust violated would be devastating. It in many ways is similar to how I felt when intimacy died in my marriage and I could not independently restore it.

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy." -Robert Anthony “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." - HG Wells
January 3, 2013
4:24 pm
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I see this from every angle…..
When I was in love and bonded in every way with my H and he cheated, yes the most devasting, gut wrenching heartbreak. Quite honestly no words can describe the hurt.

Much later my M was sexless for 5 years. I was the one who withdrew but for medical reasons the majority of the time sex was not possible but some level of intimacy was. What I can tell you is that the S typically is not withdrawing with intent. The withdrawal happened gradually and was a symptom of the underlying emotional disconnect and resentment. To simply attempt intimacy without correcting the problem would have felt quite empty and unfufilling. It did feel that way mechanical so thats when you withdraw more.

But I'm sure there are people who are satisfied with a life without intimacy. I think it simply is not that important to them or physiologically it's not a need. They are and can be happy without intimacy. I think there are many woman that face a hormonal change later in life where there is no desire for intimacy but they value their relationship and love their H. The problem is these people are usually married to people that desire and need intimacy.

Then there is the situation of a medical problem. This is not illness but an actual physical condition that develops during the M that prevents sex. We have discussed here before that if intercourse is not possible intimacy still is. However, what I've learned recently from someone in this situation is that when intercourse is not possible there is an accompanying frustration and self esteem issue that reduces any desire for intimacy and therefore complete withdrawal. However, love and all the other give and take of M exist. Phew….. But then the S is supposed to live a celibate life. A dilemma indeed.
C.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
January 3, 2013
4:42 pm

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Jsut to clarify, I don't define intimacy as "Sex". What you describe as emotional connection to me is a form of intimacy. I would not expect sex absent of that connection. When I say my marriage lacked intimacy – I mean we lost our emotional connection in addition to sex. We withdrew within ourselves and no longer had meaningful conversations, touched, displayed affection, expressed empathy, showed the level of care and concern I think spouses should display for one another.

I sought sex in my affair – I found intimacy – a connection. It was intoxicating to say the least. It was not a primal need being met, it was a human need in my opinion. I view my marriage as dead when intimacy – in this broader definition – was absent. I should have left then.

We did not "love and cherish" each other, I did not "forsake all others", etc.. The whole marriage had become a convenience charade, a facade – a brick fascia on a marital home built from twigs that could weather no storm.

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy." -Robert Anthony “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." - HG Wells
January 3, 2013
4:53 pm
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CA,
My post was about intimacy as well not sex. When I said in my situation to attempt intimacy I meant ANY intimacy felt mechanical. Holding hands felt mechanical. I tried on several occasions to "fix" the problem. I thought if I hugged him more, if I planned dates and held his hand, if I tried to sit close to him watching tv. Perhaps…. We could begin to reconnect perhaps the emotional bond would spark and the talking and sharing begin. For the life of me I couldn't "fix" it. I did not know how to restore intimacy at any level emotional or physical.
C.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
January 3, 2013
5:04 pm

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Changed – :(

I am sorry, I know exactly what you mean and how that feels. I was once very active on a board that covers this topic – restoring lost intimacy has a terribly low success rate. Rejection is tough and continuing to try and experience it is more than most can endure.

"Mechanical" really resonated with me. Yuck….so awful.

Oddly when my ex-wife discovered my affair, she suddenly felt we could fix it all – I think she saw the convenience of me and my income departing and felt motivated. Once I walked her through the finances of the divorce she lost motivation – which was fine by me – but was just a final shot to my already bruised ego. I didn't want or have any interest in her, but I selfishly want me leaving to at least sting some – I don't think it did in any meaningful way other than the dear of change and loss of convenience.

I attribute a lot to her, but I am accountable for much of it. I have to be, I have to learn, I have to assure it doesn't happen again.

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy." -Robert Anthony “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." - HG Wells
January 3, 2013
5:16 pm
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"ConflictedAffair" wrote: Changed – :(

I am sorry, I know exactly what you mean and how that feels. I was once very active on a board that covers this topic – restoring lost intimacy has a terribly low success rate. Rejection is tough and continuing to try and experience it is more than most can endure.

"Mechanical" really resonated with me. Yuck….so awful.

Oddly when my ex-wife discovered my affair, she suddenly felt we could fix it all – I think she saw the convenience of me and my income departing and felt motivated. Once I walked her through the finances of the divorce she lost motivation – which was fine by me – but was just a final shot to my already bruised ego. I didn't want or have any interest in her, but I selfishly want me leaving to at least sting some – I don't think it did in any meaningful way other than the dear of change and loss of convenience.

I attribute a lot to her, but I am accountable for much of it. I have to be, I have to learn, I have to assure it doesn't happen again.

Conflicted:

Your response intrigues me. Particularly about wanting it to sting her when you left. That suggests to me that there was a spark. yes, no, maybe?

See, I don't want to sting my spouse, if I leave. In fact, I wish he would leave me, most times.

I care about him like I care about my brother, and the last thing I want is to hurt him.

I don't feel intimately connected, but I don't want to hurt him.

My therapists said that all marriages lose that intimate connection periodically and we need to work on it.

Problem is I don't want to work on it.

Maybe your wife was motivated to fix things, but when she saw you weren't she lost motivation again.

I am curious if you may be in touch with how you would feel if your new main squeeze were to cheat on you.

I know I would be devastated, if my spouse cheater or if I met someone new and he cheated, or even if an affair partner cheated with another affair partner.

Affairs are intoxicating and that is why I got involved in two of them.

But maybe I am just a thrill of the chase junkie and no matter who I marry I will cheat again.

January 3, 2013
5:27 pm

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If my "main squeeze" (girlfriend) cheated on me I would be devastated.

I think all marriage/relationships have periods of time where intimacy is a challenge. In my case it was 5 years of no sex, and multiple years prior to that of "awkward" intimacy.

I did not want leaving my wife to devastate her, I am just saying my ego wanted her to care – instead she packed her bags and went on a girl's trip for a week and showed minimal concern. It made no material difference, just emphasized where we were & validated I was doing the right thing.

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy." -Robert Anthony “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." - HG Wells
January 3, 2013
5:54 pm
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"ConflictedAffair" wrote: If my "main squeeze" (girlfriend) cheated on me I would be devastated.

I think all marriage/relationships have periods of time where intimacy is a challenge. In my case it was 5 years of no sex, and multiple years prior to that of "awkward" intimacy.

I did not want leaving my wife to devastate her, I am just saying my ego wanted her to care – instead she packed her bags and went on a girl's trip for a week and showed minimal concern. It made no material difference, just emphasized where we were & validated I was doing the right thing.

Thank you conflicted. Now I understand your situation better.

Can I ask one more question. If you don't want to answer, just ignore it.

If she fought for your marriage, would it have made you want to stay and work on the marriage.

I wonder about this myself. Sometimes, I think my spouse would fight for me, but mostly I think he is very disinterested in me as a person.

Oh, I think he likes having me around, but he doesn't show it.

If he fought for me, I often wonder if that would make me feel more loved.

Oh well, I am rambling.

January 3, 2013
5:55 pm
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CA,
I agree. I can attribute much of it to my H. We as a couple contributed much of our deteriorating marriage and bad behaviors to his chronic and serious illness. The transition from wife to caregiver from husband to patient. But I hold myself and him accountable. I wonder if addressing my behavior and his earlier in our marriage would have produced a different outcome. In our situation which was dire I'm not sure but perhaps….

We all have different paths to a dead M but the indifferent, empty feeling toward someone that you still care for and once loved deeply is a terrible feeling. :(
C.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
January 3, 2013
7:16 pm
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"Changed" wrote: CA,
We all have different paths to a dead M but the indifferent, empty feeling toward someone that you still care for and once loved deeply is a terrible feeling. :(
C.

Uff, this hits home. :( . But these days even the 'still care for' is waning. :(

Don't cry over the past, it has gone. Don't stress about the future, it hasn't arrived. Live in the present and make it beautiful
January 3, 2013
9:33 pm
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I'm not married to him but my SO and I have kids and all the financial bonds you can name. We've gone through a few years with very little intimacy and even less sex. He has a medical condition that limits his physical activity and there isn't a cure and medicine lowers his sex drive even further. I do my best to sypathize with him and understand if he could change things, he would, but he can't. I'm left, a young woman with a relationship that feels dead and reeks havoc on my own self esteem.

To say that lack of intimacy is a killer is correct. How do you go through a life without your partner the least bit interested in you or your body? How do you leave someone who can't work or take care of themselves? How do you explain to your kids that you left their daddy because he was sick? It's a cycle of pain for both of us.

January 3, 2013
9:38 pm
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Indifference, mechanical, routine… that all strikes a chord within me. My last R was marked by a years-long period of that mindset. He was very happy with how things were but I was miserable. I held out for the promises he made but never delivered on, whilst he reaped the benefits of a GF flinging herself off cliffs just to make him feel adored.

With MM, it's effortless to be intimate. Though it has built over time to the degree it is at and likely will ebb and flow with the months passing by, we both have a staked interest in maintaining a happy medium. I feel in typical relationships one no longer worries to a certain extent; they figure once they got them, they are staying. I know this is where my exBF was at – he figured I wasn't going anywhere. He didn't want to work on being closer, nor progressing further.

Ex-BF and I had never bonded appropriately. Sex was off the table til M for him, and he wasn't affectionate to begin with. One wonders why I stayed so long – I loved him in other ways. But when your 'language of love' is touch, cuddling, making love… and you get nothing, even with discussion and therapy? It really shatters the walls surrounding everything else that is good. You resent loving them. You resent wanting to be with them despite not getting what you need to feel loved met.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - A fine film, yet long.
January 4, 2013
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"ConflictedAffair" wrote: Jsut to clarify, I don't define intimacy as "Sex". What you describe as emotional connection to me is a form of intimacy. I would not expect sex absent of that connection. When I say my marriage lacked intimacy – I mean we lost our emotional connection in addition to sex. We withdrew within ourselves and no longer had meaningful conversations, touched, displayed affection, expressed empathy, showed the level of care and concern I think spouses should display for one another.

I sought sex in my affair – I found intimacy – a connection. It was intoxicating to say the least. It was not a primal need being met, it was a human need in my opinion. I view my marriage as dead when intimacy – in this broader definition – was absent. I should have left then.

We did not "love and cherish" each other, I did not "forsake all others", etc.. The whole marriage had become a convenience charade, a facade – a brick fascia on a marital home built from twigs that could weather no storm.

CA – Your statement above pretty much describes my marriage to a "T."

January 4, 2013
3:27 am
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"Changed" wrote: I see this from every angle…..
When I was in love and bonded in every way with my H and he cheated, yes the most devasting, gut wrenching heartbreak. Quite honestly no words can describe the hurt.

Much later my M was sexless for 5 years. I was the one who withdrew but for medical reasons the majority of the time sex was not possible but some level of intimacy was. What I can tell you is that the S typically is not withdrawing with intent. The withdrawal happened gradually and was a symptom of the underlying emotional disconnect and resentment. To simply attempt intimacy without correcting the problem would have felt quite empty and unfufilling. It did feel that way mechanical so thats when you withdraw more.

But I'm sure there are people who are satisfied with a life without intimacy. I think it simply is not that important to them or physiologically it's not a need. They are and can be happy without intimacy. I think there are many woman that face a hormonal change later in life where there is no desire for intimacy but they value their relationship and love their H. The problem is these people are usually married to people that desire and need intimacy.

Then there is the situation of a medical problem. This is not illness but an actual physical condition that develops during the M that prevents sex. We have discussed here before that if intercourse is not possible intimacy still is. However, what I've learned recently from someone in this situation is that when intercourse is not possible there is an accompanying frustration and self esteem issue that reduces any desire for intimacy and therefore complete withdrawal. However, love and all the other give and take of M exist. Phew….. But then the S is supposed to live a celibate life. A dilemma indeed.
C.

Changed this is an excellent post. I believe it accurately summarizes the intimacy issues that can arise in a marriage. I could not have said it better and I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

January 4, 2013
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Thanks His Baby,
I will admit life would be so much simpler if I didn't have these experiences where I see it from all sides now. If I could go back to that 20 something girl who thought that love is all you need. But then I wouldn't be the woman I am today, far more complex but also more open, compassionate and forgiving. Sigh….. Life takes us places we never expected to go.
C.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
January 4, 2013
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I don't believe that sex has to be present for there to be a true emotional connection. My therapist recently mentioned that true intimacy is not about sex, but about the ability to listen to each others hearts. For me, it's all the little things that count. The chatting for hours, laughing together, hugging, holding each other, kissing, and just enjoying each other's company in general. I could easily live my life without sex, but those things I could not. My H had a few short-term flings years before we got married. I was capable of forgiving him because they were sex based only. If he had an EA there's no way I could have forgiven him. My issue was that he was screwing other women without condoms, putting my health at risk, and lying about everything when I confronted him. When I cheated, I never really allowed an emotional component to exist because I knew that's what would've hurt me the most. I also used condoms and got tested regularly. In the end, affairs left me feeling empty and unfulfilled.

January 4, 2013
6:03 am
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"Changed" wrote: Thanks His Baby,
I will admit life would be so much simpler if I didn't have these experiences where I see it from all sides now. If I could go back to that 20 something girl who thought that love is all you need. But then I wouldn't be the woman I am today, far more complex but also more open, compassionate and forgiving. Sigh….. Life takes us places we never expected to go.
C.

Very interesting…I've never been the girl who believed that "all you need is love" or that "love conquers all". I always wished I had experienced less to have the ablity to see things that way. However, I wouldn't be the woman I am today if I hadn't seen so much dysfunction throughout my life.

January 4, 2013
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"ConflictedAffair" wrote:

I did not want leaving my wife to devastate her, I am just saying my ego wanted her to care – instead she packed her bags and went on a girl's trip for a week and showed minimal concern.

Interesting. That's how I expected my H to behave. But he shocked me by acting just the opposite. He still, after 5 months, acts like a huge victim in our marriage and divorce. It doesn't give me no comfort, no ego-boost. Because I know it's not love speaking from him, but only his hurt ego, lost of commodity and social image as a succesful family man. He's become a bitter and mean person and it's no fun having to communicate with him. :|

January 4, 2013
12:29 pm

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"wanderingwife" wrote: I don't believe that sex has to be present for there to be a true emotional connection. My therapist recently mentioned that true intimacy is not about sex, but about the ability to listen to each others hearts. For me, it's all the little things that count. The chatting for hours, laughing together, hugging, holding each other, kissing, and just enjoying each other's company in general.

I agree with this completely, but will say that if all of these conditions exist (short of some physical ailment) sex will naturally follow. Even when I say my marriage was sexless, there was a time my wife would comply physically – it was sort of like "ok – enough already with the advances, slap on some lube, I'll roll on my side, and lets get this over with…". Honestly, this – THIS was worse than no sex. It is akin to masturbating but using someone's body instead of your hand.

I'm old though :). My "sexual oats" are largely sewn in terms of just getting my rocks off. I man whore enough in my youth to sort of fulfill all my naughty little fantasies about 3-ways, and different ethnic groups, big/small, tall/short, whatever. It's all good and I remain a naughty old man, but at my age I want the full meal deal. I want the delux package, platinum benefits, conceirge service, whatever analogy you like – I want both an emotional connection, an attractive woman, someone that is sexually expressive, etc. and damn it I have it. I'm not willing to settle for less. It doesn't mean I run away if it all isn't present at any point in time, but I want someone that aspires to the same – and I'll work side by side with my GF to understand her, her emotional/physical needs, and give her what she desires – but I want the same in return. What I am not doing is trading household chores for affection, or putting pussy on some coveted pedestal where she parades around with the keys to the kindom and I walk around never satisfied because her needs are less, they are met, and my job is to figure out a way to be content with mere scraps of emotional and physical intimacy.

Oh, and I while I have my soap box out… :) – what I also will NOT do…EVER AGAIN….is resort to an affair, where I am the "bad guy", feel guilty, have to lie and sneak around to get what I consider VERY reasonable, basic, needs for intimacy met. This may be my last bit of baggage to discard but it PISSES me off. Yes I had an affair, yes I am evil and bad, all of that – I accept my fate – but damn I sure didn't feel like a cake eater, some flamboyant stud bouncing around in 5 star hotels having porn star sex with some vixen in a short skirt. I felt a hell of a lot more like an average guy with a lonely heart looking for a woman to connect with and satisfy to most basic human, hell primal, need to love and be loved – to give and receive emotional and physical intimacy – DAMN.

I think alot of what I post, perceived as affair bashing, and the resulting debate on what does or doesn't make sense if really about this…I get it. I know why they/affairs exist. My general point is that what you seek in your affair – YOU DESERVE. What you don't deserve (and I am the WS advocate) is to be lowered to a cheater to get those needs met, they are basic, you damn sure should have them – especially if you're married – we owe them to our spouses as well. If you can fix your marriage DO IT, if you can't LEAVE.

I know some cheaters have the world on a string, a great spouse, a loving relationship and they are jsut greedy as hell. I think that is a very small minority. Most of us are decent people, taking a path of least resistance (affair) to get those needs met and trying to do it in a way that is least disruptive to themselves and those around them. All I am saying is that it rarely – in the end – works. And you do deserve better, you do deserve what you seek. I'm just left after my 5 years of infidelity, multiple ow, with the opinion that you will never get there through an affair…..not if your aim is to get much more than just another person willing to get naked and have physical sex. You can get the rest, but it comes at such a huge cost, emotional ups/downs, that in the end it is a net loss and you are no better off.

Just my experience &, observation.

Thanks for tolerating the rant, this is sort of therapeutic for me. It's the value of this forum to me over time. It's odd, now single w/ GF, I'm feeling "whole" again. I do feel all this is essentially over & behind me. I think my value from the board, the value I bring to the board, it's all coming to a close – like a patient ready to leave the hospital. It feels good…. :)

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy." -Robert Anthony “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." - HG Wells
January 4, 2013
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CA – It's refreshing to have you write from your gut rather than your head.

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