Insecurities

01/09/2006

Monday

Cleopatra and I still exchange emails on a regular basis, although not everyday, twice a day. She reads the blog, same as you all, and is really in my corner as far as making things work. She is always full of insight and we challenge each other.

One thing I’ve given her some grief about is her insecurities about her body. She’s never told me exactly what she considers her greatest flaw and I have not pressed the issue too hard But sometimes in my emails, I make her insecurities seem more of an issue than they really are. She really is a smart, well-read and stable person. But reading a recent entry by Always Aroused Girl about some of her insecurities made me think a bit deeper on this. And another comment by the mysterious Emily pointed me in an introspective direction.

Insecurity is as much of a factor in making sexual demands as control. In fact, the HL will frequently sacrifice an inordinate amount of control in exchange for sexual security, me being a primary example of that. As Emily and others have opined, we don’t necessarily just want sex, we want to be desired. We want our partners to yearn for us the same way we yearn for them. When this does not happen, we become rife with insecurities.

Am I too ugly and unattractive? What is it about me that is so repulsive? Am I too small? Am I too big? Am I too fat? Do I come too soon? Do I drag it out too long? Am I being punished for something? Is she thinking about leaving me or having an affair? What have I done to earn a sentence of lonliness?

Ah, lonliness. If there is one thing I’ve gleaned from me and my fellow HL brothers and sisters in clashing libido relationships it is the utter feeling of lonliness and abandonment that results from being rejected. If a LL is horrified to see their HL partner partaking in porn, how much more horrified is the HL at being rejected in favor of laundry, shopping, cleaning the cat littler and yes, even sleep? Before marriage, we frequently sacrificed sleep for sex. Morning noon and night. Now? We are left alone in favor of chores, work and other activities.

While our LL partners share in the responsibility, the feelings of insecurity and abandonment rest entirely within ourselves. The suffering caused by these feelings is used to justify the porn, the masturbation, the affairs, the kinks and all the resentment and anger we care to nurture.

And we do nurture it, don’t we? Our suffering becomes part of our religion and a part of who we are. What would I write about without all that baggage I have? This entire blog is devoted to my struggle to regain intimacy with my wife. Arwyn admits that she struggles with finding intimacy with me and I can see she is working on it. But is it enough? Or, like Pretty Peanut has expressed, is it too little too late?

For my part, I have had to struggle with my own greediness. When I get sex approaching regularity, I want more. The more I get, the more I want. And it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around someone who finds something enjoyable that they don’t want to do again and again…unless they don’t enjoy it. Which feeds more insecurity. Why can’t I just enjoy what I’m getting, instead of constantly asking for more?

Because I have no idea if and when the next famine is coming. And since I’m in a position of either begging or just waiting, I feel the need to make every single enounter count, which causes a great deal of anxiety. If I screw it up, chances are I’m going to have to wait even longer.

A frequent complaint by LLs is that they feel like they become objectified and only used for sex, simply providing a service to a greedy, shallow and selfish partner who is fixated only on sex. The HL counterpart to this is being only appreciated for chores, money or other resources provided. A HL person may rely on sex to express intimacy, and to have this need diminished or trivialized becomes akin to rejection and a different sort of objectification.

I was feeling a bit nauseous over the weekend, but was feeling better by Sunday night. Without much physical touch, my insecurities started kicking in and I wondered if Arwyn was mad at me for being semi-bedridden. This feeling persisted until after the boys were on the bus and we spent some time just hugging. This is just the thing; if I want 2 minutes of hugging and she finds something to do after 2 minutes, one second, that insecurity is still going to crop up. Why? Because she’s not doing it because she loves me, she’s doing it to get me off her back and to satisfy the minimum requirement. There is one source, at least for me, of Broccolieater’s x+1. If we agree to having sex once a week, and she does it every week like clockwork, this is still going to look like Emily’s Mercy Fuck. I’m feeling less than fully loved because I’m getting the obligatory bare minimum. She doesn’t want me, because she doesn’t love me.

And I think this is a fundamental hang-up of most HLs. If our partner’s loved us, they would want to make love to us and understand that our desire is a natural extension of our love for them. The LL take is that if we loved them we would be more understanding and less demanding. When we begin treating our partners like they are being selfish and unloving and they begin to act like that, we feel justified. So do they. “Aha! See? When I stop putting out, he treats me like crap! I’m nothing more than his cheap whore! The only reason he is nice to me at all is when he wants to get into my pants!”

Could Arwyn diminish my insecurities by acting differently? She could probably help by not feeding them so much rejection. But it would also be necessary for her to initiate some physical interractions of her own, beyond anything I explicitly ask for/demanded. She could still have some autonomy and control over her own body while respecting my needs.

But most of this falls on me. I need to turn my own mind around. First off, as many readers have noticed, I sincerely and mightily struggle with gratitude. Last time we couldn’t have full-on sex so I got a handjob instead. I was more disappointed in not being inside of her than I was grateful that she spent time touching me at all. I also have a very poor understanding of unconditional love. Yes, it’s what everyone says they want and expect, but most of us do a piss poor job at loving others that way. Children are sort of an exception, but they do not represent a true, adult reciprocal relationship.

I do have a rudimentary understanding of how behavior effects feelings. I will never feel better about Arwyn by treating her badly. In fact, my treatment towards her probably has more effect on my feelings toward her than whatever she decides to do. The worse I treat her, the more space I create for contempt. “Do unto others…” has at least as much benefit for the person doing the doing as the person it is being done to.

D.

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8 Responses to Insecurities

  1. Denise Regan says:

    You really think Arwyn doesn’t love you? Why? Just because of the sex? Why do you think she married you if she didn’t love you? Just curious.

    I don’t think I could stand to be in a relationship with someone who didn’t want me physically. I’m not a sex every day person, but I like to be handsy with someone I’m attracted to and also receive that. That way, you’re still being nourished by touch, whether it’s you doing the touching or the one receiving it.

    I think you’ve got a lot of ground to cover before you can both feel you’re getting what you need from each other. I’m sure I’m not telling you what you don’t know. I think you’re human for feeling insecure when your wife, whom you’d rather watch in the shower than watch porn, doesn’t want to touch you or be touched by you. You deserve better…..we all do.

  2. I’m not sure about the unconditional love thing, Digger.

    Someone once told me that unconditional love is what you have for God, pets, infants and the elderly…everyone else needs to earn it.

    Sure, you can love someone for a brief time without expecting something in return. But from able adults, it is right to expect reciprocity.

    You are so right, though…being the HL partner leaves you insecure to the bone.

  3. Emily says:

    Not so mysterious, D, just wanting to protect the privacy and dignity of my partner by not providing too much potentially identifying info about myself.

    I know what you mean about insecurities. And they seem to have peaked now that I have just had a baby. As a friend of mine said recently, if you are looking for any part of my body, just start in their original position, and then head south… you may be gone for some time… 🙂

    One disadvantage of being a woman with an LL male partner is that there are not so many of us, and you can really feel like a freak. Its difficult not to believe that you must be the most unattractive woman on earth to be so undesired.

    I agree with you about unconditional love. In fact, I think those of us who are in our situation and stick with it are witnesses to the truth that love is more than just a quid pro quo, you meet my needs and I’ll meet yours, arrangement. When we truly commit to loving someone despite our dissatisfactions, we are reaching for something higher than our everyday lives and affirming that our loved ones are more important than our immediate needs or even our deepest yearnings. We don’t just treat them or our relationships as a means to an end (our sexual and other satisfactions), but as an end in themselves. This witness is so important in a world that mostly just values ego, money, and instant gratification and treats so many people like garbage that can be thrown away. Sometimes when I feel sad and alone about my situation, I think about that.

    Emily

  4. Rob says:

    As I’ve commented here and elsewhere in the past, it basicly comes down to communication – frank, honest, MUTUAL communication between 2 people, be it you and Arwyn, or between me and my wife. Insecurity occurs when we try to mindread, to 2nd guess, our partner’s thoughts and motives and feelings towards ourselves. Let’s face it, we all haven’t truly grown up. To a certain extent, we still all act like little children whose world revolves around themselves. Only by constantly – repeat, constantly – making the effort to have effective communication with our partner, expressing ourselves in full to each other, respectfully and with love, will we have any chance of conquering our insecurities. In my opinion anyway.

  5. Satan says:

    “We want our partners to yearn for us the same way we yearn for them.”

    That has to be the most unfair part of the CL issue.

    You want her to desire you in the same way that you desire her – well that is the biggest amount of disrespect EVER. There is nothing wrong with her desires at all – how would you feel if she felt there was something *wrong* with you because you don’t have the exact same sexual response *as her*. (Actually *do* you feel that way?)

    As soon as I gave up expecting a certain response from my partner and instead appreciated what he felt and could give me, we started getting along soo much better. And he did the same for me. We stopped ‘judging’ each other in bed and were just happy to come together in any way we could.

    Our sexlife isn’t what I originally wanted or expected. But it’s so much better than sitting there blaming him for not responding in the ‘right’ way.

    I think the biggest obstacle HLs have in the CL conflict is thinking that the ‘happy ending’ ends up with wild monkey sex every night just like they had always dreamed. That’s not how it works. There is no amount of true compromise in that ‘happy ending’.

  6. Square1 says:

    Once again Satan nails it right on the money. You can’t expect someone to desire you the way you desire them. They are a different person.

    Once again it goes back to changing your own attitudes, not your desire for her, but your attitude about her desire or seeming lack thereof towards you. You can’t make her desire you the way you want her to no matter how much you want it. But you can cultivate good will in hopes to increase her variety of desire for you.

  7. I wish I had some old blogposts bookmarked, Digger, so I could point you in the direction of some very, very illuminating conversations about women and body image insecurity.

    I really think most men have no idea how common, how widespread, and how debilitating body image issues are for many women, even for non-LL women. There was a lot of discussion of this on some womens blogs around the time of that Dove campaign that featured “real women” — and provoked a storm of comedian, op-ed, and radio jock commentary about their ‘fat thighs’.

    Having a baby, as Emily points out, often only adds to these issues, or changes them and twists them in new, sad ways. In this society, it’s all about the perky (preferably fake) tits, the smooth stomach, the tight pussy, the glossy hair — and the media is full of commentary on how pregnancy and birth will fuck that up and make you undesireable. Sitcoms, advertisements — they’re all there to make you feel not good enough.

    Yeah, we should all ignore that and just love our bodies, but its a difficult and upstream row.

  8. Digger Jones says:

    Denise, I think Arwyn does love me, just “not like that” if you catch my drift.

    A.Arousedgirl, unconditional love is what we WANT to GET. You’re right, it’s surely not what we give! Listen to the cheezy E-Harmony ads “I’m so glad to have found someone who loves and cares about me for just being ME!” Give ’em a couple years, it’ll pass. I agree, we should look at the reality while striving for the ideal. Being reciprocal is what being in an adult relationship is about.

    Emily, there are more of you (women with LL partners) than you know. Studies estimate about 20% of male partners struggle with low sexual desire. That’s MUCH higher than pop culture would have you believe. According to Berman & Berman, at least 60% of women struggle with it at some time. You wouldn’t have to struggle so much if the LL women and men would just go after their own kind!LOL! While in the minority, you are definitely not a freak. 20% of anything is significant.

    Rob, you are stuck on just the one thing. Communication is necessary but it is insufficient to turn things around, no matter how good it is. Arwyn and I communicate plenty. Talking is not the only way to communicate. Receiving is part of communication. So is interpretation. So is feedback and response. And there is noise and interference every single step of the way. This idea of “perfect communication” is a pipe dream. But the bit about being like spoiled, immature, little children is true.

    Again, Satan, I’m stating what we WANT. Fair or unfair, it’s the truth. Yes, your point about them feeling the same about us is well taken. Read Dewdrop and you’ll see the LL counterpart to this. Agree with your take on how we are mistaken in our beliefs, which result in suffering. That was sort of the idea of the whole post. I’m glad to see you and Square1 both agreeing with me, for once!LOL!

    Broccolieater, Cleo is in the process of educating me on precisely that bodily insecurity issue. I’m trying to understand it, and Heaven knows I’d like to know how to either make it better or at least not make it worse! But can we all agree that, while being fairly widespread, that this is NOT healthy?!?

    D.

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