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Need help to understand if my radar is off (sex)

Thanks @Friday
So an interim step would be handing him the packet?
Just couldn't. But I get the idea. And this isn't something that's even entered my mind. That I could or even would. May be I could start by having a convo about having them to hand and me being the one to reach for it. I'm not sure I could do it in the moment (please don't judge i know i should be able to but this would be really hard) but I guess talking would be a good first step
Also, perhaps, buying a pregnancy test and keeping it right next to the condoms as a visual reminder? Most blokes are alarmingly visual in nature, whereas most women are more wordy (listening or reading).
I think he would love a child with me....
So buying a pregnancy test to keep on the side of the bed would serve 2 purposes; giving you more courage to reach for a foil square, as well as reminding him why they’re important to you.
I don't think he'd ever agree to this!! But the condoms being within reach to me i think i could try to work with
I understand. It feels overwhelming and far too different, and impossible and scary?

It's not the past. It's now. With someone who cares about you and someone you care about.
Are there counter messages you can tell yourself?
That movement is not going ng to cause trauma. That initiating is not going to cause trauma. Practice telling yourself that.
Sometimes we got to do something different for things to be different. And I wonder what is a 'small'* step you can do to take control here, do something different, to get your needs met?
As scary and as horrible as it is.
Because what if you do something different and you get your needs met as a result? That would be amazing and would stop all this worry and fear.
I totally get how this hasn't entered your head and you feel you don't have the skills to do this. I feel the same with certain things. And my T gets me to practice saying things like "I will do XYZ" and that I do have the skills, and I could do this in another situation etc. She tries to get me to see I have power and control.

*I say small but whatever you decide to do differently will be massive because it will be overcoming the fear of a terrible outcome.

Have you spoken to your T about this?
Thanks @Movingforward10 ... all your words resonate and are very thought provoking and helpful...

I've tried talking with T about it but I find it really difficult... it's very embarrassing... and I also feel a bit mad saying it all... on the one hand I trust him and feel deeply grateful to have found someone who treats me like he does... on the other hand I'm convinced he's just out for sex and doesn't have my best interests at heart, just using me to get his needs met... it's really hard to say out loud that for years I've allowed myself to have sex with him sometimes not being able to say no and feeling powerless to say anything or do anything to put my needs first ... it's not him... it's me... i lose my voice with him when we're having sex.... and all the difficult thoughts and feelings I have are completely internal ...I can't blame him because I don't tell him.. so he doesn't know about my internal world - I hide it... who's to blame for that? Me! Not him... I know T will say he won't judge... but it's kind of hard not to ...

But I will make an effort to...

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Exactly. "Yes" doesn't really count unless "No" is a real option.
this is a bit of a head f*ck for me... I've never really considered this... the reason why it's a head f*ck is because I'm not sure what the objective truth is around it.... I mean I think no is a real option with him. He is respectful. The one time I said stop, he did. But on the other hand every time we have sex atm, I don't feel no is an option. Its very real to me. But it's in me I think not because of him. But when I'm in the moment it feels like he's also a part of why I can't say no...
Part of the challenge is getting to where you really feel that as a true thing.
Yes I think you're right 🙏
Which brings me back to the question of whether or not he really gets your situation. I'd just about bet he doesn't.
I mean I've told him as much as I can. But I think you're right, he doesn't. And in a way, I like that. Because it means the toxicity which I hold as a result of my experiences doesn't get spread to him. Or come between us. And I feel that's a good thing.
It took me a long time to really appreciate this as a fact. People really do tend to assume that everyone experiences the universe just like they do. (And a lot of the time this isn't accurate.) My T once told me that this is one of the most difficult parts of training new therapists. It's hard to really appreciate the results of trauma unless you've been big T traumatized.
yes I agree with you 100% here... it's a good reminder for all situations in life involving others ... important to remind ourselves...
I'd just about bet that J THINKS he understands what you're dealing with but he really underestimates it. And that's partly because you've minimized it, as one does....
Yes. Again - correct! (Are you a therapist in disguise?!?! 🤣)
That's true. Here's another thing to consider. If there IS fallout maybe the relationship isn't such a good idea.
Yup. 😔... but shit that would break my world
This seems like it a part of what makes the situation difficult too. If you "can't get along without" someone, it's hard to cross them in anyway, isn't it? And speaking up seems like a big risk. I wonder how accurately you're assessing this situation? (Might be a good topic for a few therapy sessions.)
I think that's what I've lost sight of. I don't feel accurate in my judgement at all. Like I've lost my compass. I do need to bring it up with T when I get the courage.
There's a couple things that make a situation like you're talking about a problem. 1) You're effectively trapped in the situation be it good, bad, or otherwise, as long as you feel like you can't live without him. 2) Having someone depend on you that much is an exhausting responsibility for a lot of people.
Thank you for this insight. I also feel like it's my responsibility to ensure I don't leave him because his happiness is my responsibility.
Just speaking for myself, I came out of childhood with some pretty messed up ideas about my place in the world and what I was "supposed" to do to stay safe or have any value. It sounds like you did too. All of that relates to how you relate to others, for sure. It's kind of a big topic and it's probably a topic you'll work on for a long time and in a lot of ways. (But I'm totally sure you can do it!)
Thank you so much for your wisdom and insight.... they say it takes one to know one and you've certainly made me reflect and think about all this along with others' posts.... I appreciate you sharing from the knowledge you've gained from your own experience though I'm sorry you've had those experiences.

I've tried talking with T about it but I find it really difficult... it's very embarrassing... and I also feel a bit mad saying it all..
I also find it incredibly embarrassing talking about these intimate details in therapy. It's so private it's very odd talking about it. But.....it does help. It helps to see a different perspective. It helps with cognitive distortions. It helps with practising. All in a very very safe space.
to say no and feeling powerless to say anything or do anything to put my needs first ... it's not him... it's me... i lose my voice with him when we're having sex
I completely understand. I lose my voice too. Sometimes I think I should just stop but I feel unable to so I carry on. And E has no idea this goes on in my head. So I totally understand.
I think this is where practising and talking to T really helps. T has asked me, "what would of happened if I had stopped?". And I can see it would have been absolutely fine. That E would have stopped and would have made sure my comfort is piority over anything else.
And I am sure it is the same for you. ..

You helped me speak to E about something I found very difficult. So I hope this thread and the responses from everyone helps you to see that you can get relief from this. Speaking to T could be the first step?
doesn't have my best interests at heart, just using me to get his needs met

It sounds like you've told him that it is in your best interest for him to wear a condom for the entire sex act, and he has ignored this - in favor of meeting his own needs instead. Pretty straightforward, IMO! And just so you know, it is a form of sexual assault to remove a condom during sex or have sex without a condom if the receiving partner has explicitly stated those were the prerequisite conditions to having sex in the first place.

Your situation is in a gray area because it sounds like you aren't always able to verbalize it in the moment, and each sexual act would require this explicit statement-and-then-response (you saying I'm only comfortable having sex if you wear a condom or something, and him either coercing you or ignoring it or tricking you/taking it off during etc) - but he is also fully aware of your preferences because you have voiced them many times in the past.

In my view, frankly, he isn't all that interested in proactively garnering your consent (for example, by asking you directly beforehand - because he is aware of your discomfort around this - if you would be comfortable if he put it on at a later time), which is the basis of enthusiastic consent (the idea that "absence of a no" should not be considered a "yes.")

There is a basic level of human selfishness that is acceptable, and then there is willfully disregarding someone else's comfort simply to make your dick feel a little better in the moment. I can only speak for myself, but for me, that is not an acceptable level of selfishness.
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I’m really confused why you are so concerned about him not looking like an asshole when any guy who’s like <slime ball voice> “hey babe, don’t worry, I have always pulled out and never got anyone pregnant, it’s totes cool!” is 100% an asshole, FULL STOP.

Do you know what they call people who use the pull out method? PARENTS. This guy doesn’t actually respect your body. He doesn’t care if you get pregnant. He doesn’t care if you need to get an abortion. What matters is “condoms don’t feel good!” ie what matters most is how MY pee pee feels and not if you get pregnant and have to endure a traumatic experience.

Plus, not wearing a condom when you insist that one be worn is indeed rape in many jurisdictions. (Just to put it into perspective how serious this matter is.)

Edit. Yes, I’ve read more than my fair share of relationship and AITA posts on Reddit and far too many women defend the bad behavior of their male partners. It’s extremely common for the post to say “but otherwise the relationship is PERFECT” (despite the very scumbag behavior they have just described). I’m convinced that women believe we have to put up with this kind of crap in relationships when really we don’t.