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    • #134345
      Reindeer
      Participant

      Hello everyone, I’m so grateful to have found this forum and would appreciate some feedback on whether this is abusive? I have a therapist who isn’t naming it as such but is encouraging me to leave and so is our couple’s therapist- we started this together at my request.
      We’ve been together several years and on meeting, he was interested in whether I would be interested in swinging. I said I’d never done any and would try it and see, in my head, I thought it would be an occasional encounter. This developed into requests to participate in group sexual activities almost every weekend, I quickly became more and more unwilling. I was at my wit’s end and he would repeatedly ask and I would feel pressure to do this and all the time I was feeling more distant and numb.
      The lockdown gave us some respite but with the lifting of that we were back on and I kept saying I didn’t want to meet more people for casual sex. I’m now flatly refuse to meet any others.
      So, things have been difficult. I’ve moved out and he’s on casual dating sites. I keep wanting to go back, triggered to please and wanting to please him sexually when what I really want is love and respect. He, of course, wants me back though only on his terms and physical intimacy but right now I am far from being able to be physically intimate.
      Sometimes I think it’s a coercive relationship and others, I think I walked in with my eyes wide open and said I’d give it a try. Sometimes I find that I substantially changed my mind about my boundaries to be a bit unfair and at others, I think of course I can change my mind, I shouldn’t feel pressure.
      Thanking you all for your thoughts.

    • #134347
      Wants To Help
      Participant

      Hi Reindeer,

      I have mixed thoughts on whether this is an abusive relationship or one that is no longer a compatible relationship based on different/changed interests.

      You say that upon meeting he asked if you would be interested in swinging, so I am assuming this was something that he was in to prior to you getting together? You have been open minded enough to try it, which has pleased him, but as time has gone on you have realised that this type of open relationship is not for you. However, it appears that an exclusive, monogamous relationship is not enough for him.

      With regards to abuse, what sort of pressure did he put on you to continue to take part, or how did he behave towards you if you refused to take part? You say you were unwilling to continue, but what would have happened if you didn’t? Depending on the answers will depend on whether there has been coercive control.

      The fact that he is now on dating sites and likely to be continuing to have casual sex with other women shows that this man is not committed to an exclusive relationship with anyone. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a man like that and I can understand how this is making you feel disrespected. I don’t think he’s going to change, and much as you miss him and have feelings for him it may come down to the fact that you both want different things in a relationship and he is not going to become what you want.

      I’m getting the feeling you may consider compromising your boundaries and beliefs now in order to stay with him as having him on these terms is better than not having him at all. If you do that then you will just become more and more unhappy as his actions are likely to further destroy your self esteem and self worth. I think that’s why your therapist is advising you to end the relationship.

      To be honest, I can’t see your future with him being a happy one as his sexual requirements/needs are different to yours, so for your own health and happiness you may need to walk away from him and find someone who has the same values in a relationship as you do.

    • #134360
      KIP.
      Participant

      Huge red flags for me. Feeling pressured into sexually activity, this could be a criminal offence. Sex should always be given freely without fear of consequences. “Quickly became more and more unwilling”. “Repeatedly ask”. I’d say this was controlling behaviour. If my partner told me they were no longer interested in certain sexual activities I’d never ever try to force or persuade them, I’d want everything they did to be enjoyable and consensual. Using dating sites to make you feel jealous is a kind of triangulation and is being used pressure you into a sexual relationship on his terms. You can bet he’s let you know too. I’d be keeping that a secret from an ex partner. Can I ask if there’s a big age gap in the relationship? The final proof should you need it is that your gut made you search out this site x try talking to women’s aid. There’s a national domestic abuse helpline which is great x

    • #134400
      Reindeer
      Participant

      Thank you Want To Help and KIP.

      Reading your responses gives me food for thought. One question asked has been what would happen if I said no to us being with others. Having done this now, he is suggesting other sexual activities that he would like to engage in, that I also feel uncomfortable about. I’ve found myself saying no to more and more and now we’re in a situation where I somehow feel responsible for meeting his sexual needs and inadequate. My self-esteem is on the floor now, us on our own doesn’t seem to be enough…there’ a need for some or other game or activity. I keep saying no but he is sulking, making comments and generally sharper with me. I’ve moved out but was hopeful that we might find a way through. His response has been that he is starting to look for someone new, my things can stay in the house and I’m free to get come and go but when he finds someone else they will have to go, this is while we are still engaged in the therapy process.

      I’m fortunate in that I am able to leave but I’m struggling to stay away even though he hasn’t treated me with respect. It doesn’t seem that the way he treats me is loving, more like I’m an object to please him and I fear that I’m not safe, that he will continually push me to do things I don’t want to until my guard goes down and then he will take advantage of my lack of strength. It’s such hard work saying no all the time, it’s like when I say yes, he acts on it immediately but my no’s.. he just waits until I’m tired not on my guard. I don’t feel safe drinking with him (I’m never a heavy drinker) because just a little bit of my guard down and I find he’s pushing for things I’m less comfortable with.

      I have been isolated from my friends and I have fewer hobbies and activities. When I wanted to go out with them I would hear, it’s not together time. I felt guilty going out to see friends- that I was letting him down. His view was that a relationship is doing things together. I felt I had to justify seeing friends or doing activities.

      KIP- thank you for reminding me that feeling pressured sexually is a huge red flag. I feel such a farce sometimes like his needs are my responsibility.

    • #134430
      KIP.
      Participant

      Ring the rape crisis helpline and the national domestic abuse helpline. Talk it through with professionals. The FOG of abuse,Fear Obligation and Guilt is going on here. Yes I’d definitely say he’s abusive. Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is a good book.

    • #134455
      Reindeer
      Participant

      Thank you KIP, I’ve ordered the book.

      The FOG acronym very helpful- these definitely drivers for me.
      Fear
      Obligation
      Guilt

    • #134456
      KIP.
      Participant

      The psychology behind abuse is mind blowing. Abusers make us feel they are our whole world. That we are responsible for them and their happiness which we put first often for our own safety or mental health. Abuse and control creep up on us like the frog in the warm water then the temperature goes up so we don’t notice the abuse getting worse until it’s too late. Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft is another good book. Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas too. Knowledge Is Power kip x

    • #134544
      Reindeer
      Participant

      Today I’ve moved to some empowerment. Instead of trying to please because I was fearful (FOG) of rejection and being told I’m overly sensitive to his indiscretions, I’ve opted for another approach- careful planning leaving.

      Now, the next step is staying away despite all the button-pushing. Another real help was to talk to someone on the helpline about leaving who reflected that maybe I’m not yet ready to.

    • #134547
      Grey Rock
      Participant

      Hiya. I’d echo the suggestion of the Living With a Dominator book. There is a chapter which I suspect would be very useful to you, all about the sexual controller. I’m on the freedom program and we just went through this section on Monday so I know that a lot of things you’ve described are in there. Please do read it, if only that one chapter. It may give you the identification that will make staying away easier.

      Take care Chica.

      GR

    • #134836
      Reindeer
      Participant

      Hi Again
      I’ve read the Living with the Dominator book. Thank you, I don’t feel like I’ve been going mad anymore.

      He’s got his rules of the game and yes he does see them as normal. Among those that I must provide sex when and how he wants. There is more though, there’s also the jailor. I have become isolated from my friends and he has got me to stop one job, the other I’ve been holding onto dear life to.

      I’m seeing that this is a pervasive and undermining pattern with his pressuring me. I’m thankfully still out. Today we told the children and I’m going to make lists of all that has happened, every instance of pressure to strengthen my resolve to stay out. I’m also looking to do the online classes.
      Thanks again.

    • #134841
      nbumblebee
      Participant

      Firstly i wanted to say a huge well done for getting out.
      When i read your post i thought about my own situation with regards to sex. My husband seems to want sex all the time i say no and he can often get nasty calls me names says im having an affair he asks me to dress up says i no longer make an effort he likes to get me drunk so im less on guard and open to try things i guess. When i need something lets say new shoes he tells me i can if i have sex or do something for him. He has even left money on the side of the bed afterwards he sees it as a game.
      Ive never seen it as abuse in any way its just how he does things. Its so hard to see things that we are used to as abuse or anything ither than normal isnt it? You have done amazingly well to have seen it and left a huge well done i hope that now you can learn to heal and move on and lose that crave for him you may have.
      Reading posts like yours makes me think and look at my own situation a little more so thank you for being so brave and sharing with us.
      Sending hugs xxxxx

    • #134861
      StartingOverAgain
      Participant

      It’s a difficult one.

      The only thing I can add to what has been written already is it may be helpful to consider that some of us stay in relationships Whbecause deep down we don’t think we are worth anything better.

      This may be a really hard thing to face. But perhaps going forward to work on what you would like in a relationship. i.e. hugs, (just as an example) not feeling as if every time you are close you feel pressured into having sex…being able to express your preferences…loyalty…monogamy even…

      All of these things are things that you have a right to have. When we’ve been in abusive relationships afterwards it sometimes feels as if we don’t have a right to any of these things.

      Hence the document called ‘Bill of Rights’ which some domestic abuse recovery groups use..

      • #135045
        Reindeer
        Participant

        Thank you, Bumblebee, for sharing some of what is going on for you too. I’m afraid of being alone, and there are financial worries though relieved to know that his sexual drive is his responsibility and I don’t have to do anything to look after that. The freedom feels like fresh air.

        Starting over again- really hear you on whether I feel worthy/worthwhile/valuable enough—a lifelong journey self-valuing.

        Very interested in the idea of a bill of rights.

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