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Yep, that’s a phrase I overheard while giving someone a pedicure today.  It was spoken with sympathy and hopeless for the man the two women were discussing.  At first I laughed (only in my head, I didn’t want to seem like I was eavesdropping on their obviously private conversation) because it’s a funny word picture… but tonight it makes me cry because it pretty much describes me and embodies all my fears of being intimate in a future relationship.

My ex told our youngest daughter that I was “horrible” in bed.  It’s totally true, I will own that statement.  Our sex life was all about feeding his addiction and therefore not at all about meeting my sexual needs, not that I even knew I had sexual needs for the majority of our marriage…  Couple that with my childhood teaching that all sex outside of marriage was bad alongside no teaching whatsoever about what sex within marriage was supposed to consist of and my poor ex husband had 20+ years of me laying there like a log while he got his fix, sometimes multiple times a day.  A few times a year he would insist on bringing me to orgasm and a even fewer of those times it actually worked but it was a mechanical sort of thing on my end and a pride-soothing accomplishment on his.  So I own it, I am Bad In Bed.  But for him to tell our daughter makes him an outright Ass, something he refuses to own, although not what this post is about…

So one of the biggest reasons for staying single for the rest of my life is that I will never be made fun of or described to another person as being Bad In Bed.  I will never again feel that my sexual pleasure is more effort than it’s worth to another human being.  And honestly, my ex – being the one and only man I’ve ever slept with – he never really gave me any true sexual pleasure so if I went the rest of my life without it I wouldn’t really know what I’m missing and therefore be (mostly) ok with it.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

My friends at school looked at me with pity, love and concern when I told them I had 20 years of Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am.  One gal said “Oh honey, somebody’s going to rock your world!” and then they all tried to think of who they knew that I could date… <insert flat stare here>

But if my world is never rocked it will be easier to be alone.  I can stay a sack of potatoes in bed, breathing through my inspiration-for-alien-movies CPAP mask while tossing and turning all night long, so much so that my FitBit said I walked 50 steps last night…  All of this won’t bother anybody if there isn’t anybody to bother.

There isn’t even anybody to ask about having sex, especially again, after divorce.  Nobody in the church will talk about it, I can’t find a counselor who takes appointments in the evenings, when I’m out of school and I’m not comfortable talking to any of my friends about it.  So what do I do?  Watch porn as an instructional aid?  I mean I’ve seen it before, mostly in the earlier years of our marriage with the ex and it just never seemed like it was real, it’s so much of a show and a lot of yelling.  But seriously, I have no clue where to get this information – how am I going to know what guys like?  I’m not even sure what I like, how can I tell a guy what to do for me?  Are there rules about good sexual etiquette anywhere – should I be shaving or waxing or ???

I kind of feel like I need a class, or what would be really helpful is a sex therapist or maybe even a surrogate – someone to practice with that I have no emotional connection to so they could teach me what to do – and what not to do, help me get over my insecurities through practice and encouragement…  But that would probably be the most unacceptable thing of all, at least in the church anyway.  It would come down to paying for sex, soliciting a male prostitute… But I feel like it’s what I need.  Regardless though, I wouldn’t even know where to find one so that’s kind of a moot point.

In the end, I am that sack of potatoes.  I don’t know how to be anything else, I’m not sure I CAN be anything else without help and there’s no help out there.  So, if I ever manage to date someone… and it develops into a real relationship… and I trust him… and he loves me as much or more than my best friends do… then yes, I plan on sleeping with him.  Or should I be completely transparent – I plan on having sex with him.  Because the one thing I refuse to do ever again is to chain myself to another marriage bed occupied by a sex addict.  So if I have sex with this future, possibly non-existent guy AND he doesn’t run away screaming… and I don’t run away screaming… then, maybe, I’ll marry him.  Poor bastard.

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Dear Husband,

The day I was at the house helping our older daughter with her taxes I noticed that you changed the locks on the house.  I didn’t say anything because I was curious to see if you would offer me a key when we were at dinner before the show.  However, instead of offering me a house key you gave me a lame excuse for getting for my copy of the truck keys and I noticed while you were taking the truck keys off my key ring you also took a third key which I believe to be my key to the safe.  As I have no plans or desires to take anything from the house that does not belong to me I found this curious and wondered what your motivation was for removing my access to your stuff – but now I know.

Sunday evening I get a call from my best friend from high school saying you and our older daughter had dropped off her books and stayed for a little visit and she also said that she enjoyed seeing the two of you.  I had known that you were planning a trip to see your parents and my brothers but you clearly don’t find me trustworthy enough to be in town alone for a whole week with access to all the things you have repeatedly told me you still consider “ours”.

Your actions are speaking far, far louder than your words.  You.  Don’t.  Trust.  Me.  Not even a little bit anymore.  And I don’t trust you as much as I did before you left either.

Add to that the fact that you said you have never abused me.  If your thinking abuse is limited to hitting then you’re absolutely right, you have never hit me.  But abuse is so much more than hitting. I feel like I’ve said this before but for the record, I honestly don’t like hurting your feelings and so here’s my proof – below are some things that you need to know about yourself and the monster that you were for about the first 17 – 18 years of our marriage, in random order, that I never told you about once you started to become nicer IN ORDER TO SPARE YOUR FEELINGS.  But you keep saying that you want the whole truth and you don’t seem to believe me when try to be nice about the truth so here you are:

You would ask me where I wanted to eat or what I wanted to do – and then we would do whatever it was that you wanted to do.  I stopped having a preference and then you were upset with me for never making a choice.  In most areas of our life I felt like I could never do anything right, like no matter what I chose I could never please you.  Causing someone else to constantly feel inferior by denying them your approval is abuse.

I had to tell you where I was going and when I would be home.  If I was late you laid the guilt on nice and thick – and for at least the first 5 years of our marriage the guilt trip included “How do I know you’re not going to run away?” in reference to the ONE time I considered running away – but didn’t – and foolishly told you about it.  Even now I feel like you try to guilt me into taking responsibility for your behavior when you say things like “I don’t have a partner” and “Half my team quit”.  Controlling someone else’s behavior through guilt is abuse.

A “normal” outing for me with my girlfriends usually included being called by you multiple times and frequently I was told to come home before my scheduled deadline – almost always to have sex with you so that you could go to bed early.  You even made me come home early from a worship/healing conference that I went to specifically wanting to go up front after the service and get prayed for healing for my joints – you denied me the opportunity to get prayed for just so that you would get sex before you went to bed.  I always obeyed you, both in coming home whever you wanted me to and in having sex with you whenever you asked for it, which was once, sometimes twice a day for most of our marriage.  I didn’t know I was allowed to say no.  Requiring sex when the other person doesn’t want to or doesn’t know or doesn’t feel like they can refuse is sexual abuse. 

During the first 10 years I would, occasionally, try to bring up an issue in our marriage to discuss and hopefully work through.  With great consistency I felt like those issues were turned against me and it was my fault there was an issue and that just by bringing issues up at all I was somehow betraying you and stabbing you in the back.  Frequently you would stop talking to me unless absolutely necessary, usually for a day or two but sometimes for up to a week.  So I stopped bringing up issues.  Controlling someone’s behavior through emotional outbursts or by withholding any and all communication is abuse.

Heard enough?  Those are the main issues I struggled with for the majority of our marriage.  Yes, you were a monster and that person that you aren’t so much anymore created the person that is me today because for at least 18 years I centered my entire life around trying not to set you off while never knowing quite what I should be avoiding.  Why didn’t I leave you earlier?  I didn’t know I could.  Yes, you’ve changed quite a bit from what I’ve just described but not enough.  I still feel like you have to know everything, have to control everything and have to keep me guilt-ridden to feel good about yourself.  This is why I left you and why I need professional help from people who work with women who have left abusive situations in order to get healthy.

When I say that I don’t hate you, I’m not mad at you and I’m not trying to make anyone think badly of you I mean it.  You interpreted that as me INFORMING people that you are mean and abusive – but that you don’t intend to be and it’s never on purpose.  What it actually means is that other people, mostly my women friends but even a few guys, have already seen that you are controlling, hard to live with and emotionally abusive and when I tell them I’ve left you they are not surprised.  When I say that you aren’t intentionally mean I’m sticking up for you.  When I say you aren’t abusive on purpose I’M DEFENDING YOU to other people.

We obviously have some serious talking to do but you wanted to know when I’ve decided I’m done so here it is, I don’t want to live with you anymore and I’m ready to be done with marriage. 

If Tuesday the 10th doesn’t work for you to get together and discuss this please let me know when a good time will be for you.

Sincerely,
Me