A Rigid Hag?

This is a difficult post for me to write. It's vulnerable. It's raw. It's real. And it's honest. But sometimes I don't like to be those things about this particular topic, because I feel like there are so many opinions out there that just want to 'fix' me. And I'm just not sure I want to be, am ready to be, or even need to be said 'fixed.'

This is another intimacy post about my marriage, so if that is of no interest to you, no hard feelings.

The thing is, although my husband is now doing really well, there were a great many years that he sexually and emotionally acted out in his addiction on me. And although we have both begun a beautiful journey of healing from that trauma, there are still things I don't feel safe with.

I don't feel safe when he touches me, especially when he touches me with his hands.
I do feel safe when he hugs me, but only from the front, not from behind.
I don't feel safe when we lay in bed and his leg, hand, arm, or anything else, bumps against me.
I don't feel safe when his hand is laying on the blanket next to me, but I can feel the resultant push from the blanket into me.

It is really difficult for me to feel physically safe around him.

That is not to say that we don't have sexual intimacy. As explained in my previous blog post , we aren't perfect in that category, but we are progressing. 

The problem comes when sexual intimacy ends, I just want it to end. I don't want to get lovey dovey or touchy feely. I just want to go on with life until the next time we connect on that level.

How horrible does that sound? Really, I feel horrible for saying it, but it's my reality.
And I feel the weight of obligation, like there is something defective about it and it's my responsibility to somehow fix myself.

I have been conditioned to know what physical touch leads to sexual touch. So, I avoid physical touch to avoid the foreboding sexual tough that I perceive will follow.
I really don't know if it WILL follow.
He often promises me it won't.
Believing him is hard.
But what if it's not just that. 
What if I just don't want to be touched?
Is that not OK? Is that not my right?

What if I don't want to be fixed?
What if I don't want to be touched in that way, ever?
What if I want to keep the two full sized beds we bought when we separated, instead of buying one king?
I don't mind then smashed together to make one giant bed, so long as he understands they are still separate beds and I need him to respect my space.

And now I feel the weight of disappointment.
Disappointing him, because I know what he wants.
And I think what he wants is righteous and good.

He wants to be physical.
Hold my hand

He wants it all..... but I want none of it.
And I don't know if I'll ever want it.
So what does that make me? 

A rigid hag?


  1. It doesn't make you a rigid hag. One realisation I recently came to, is that it's okay to say no. My husband is good at respecting me when I do, but I think subconsciously there have been times I've not said no because I feel guilty about not giving him other things he would like, so I haven't said it. But it is okay to say no if you don't feel comfortable with something. It's okay to say it and not feel guilty. It's also okay to say yes, IF the reason is love/a desire to be close/because it's good and right. But if you're not comfortable, it's okay to say no! (Did I say that enough times?)
    Also, we have realised that spouses can often be behind in recovery; the one with the addiction begins their recovery, and in the process of disclosure it gets dumped on the spouse (metaphorically), who then has to process it and work through the resulting trauma. Not that spouses have to stay behind in recovery, but we shouldn't feel bad if we need more time than they seem to.
    Take things at your own pace. Talk to your husband and explain what you're feeling/why you feel like that as best as you can. Let him know what boundaries you need, and if you don't yet know what those are, tell him that too. Communication is key in fighting addiction. He needs to know where you're at as much as you need to know where he's at. It might also help to have him research/learn about betrayal trauma, so he can understand that your feelings aren't necessarily based on who he is/what he does now, but that current events can trigger you based on experiences of the past, and that you need to be allowed to feel those emotions and work through them at your own pace.

  2. This reminded me of Chelom Leavitts class again! She talks about some kind of process of GRADUALLY being ok with physical touch and NOT going straight to sexual touch. Can't remember the name of the process but definitely something I'm looking into.

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