Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Forgive. Forget

Wow! Yes!

Roger painted me as unforgiving.

The reality was, he wouldn’t do what I needed, to make me feel safe.

I asked him to please change his phone number. He argued it was best to keep it, as then he could “manage” Leanne’s apparent crazy.

This left me in a constant panic. That they were still playing me.

And yeah, well, after all his assurances that he was done, he went and fucked her again, two years after “he was done.”

He never tried to work out why he did it. Who he is and why. He never bought a single book, read a single article, or booked a single counselling appointment.

Oh, not true. He booked a psychologist. For ME!

Because I was the problem. My reaction to his actions. That was a problem for him.

Secrets are his stock in trade.

When I finally discovered Trinket, I started digging again.

Marriage fucking policing AGAIN!

And I got as far as online dating profiles on three different platforms (technophobe, riiiiight) going back at least two years. I gave up digging after that. No doubt it went on much further back. I honestly had no clue about this behaviour. Why would I, when he kept telling me he wanted only me, kept touching me, holding me, “loving” me, and “only” me. I was the only woman who got him, the only woman FOR him. He’d never have with anyone else what he had with me….

Sigh.

Played.

By a fucking maestro.

But, my gut knew. I knew not to let my guard down. I knew deep down what he was capable of. I wasn’t fully conscious of my own intuition, but I struggled with forgetting. I could and did, forgive … enough. Not complete “forgiveness.” Deliberately breaking the person who adores you’s heart is actually quite literally the definition of unforgivable.

Deceit. That was always him. While stroking you softly, he would plunge the knife in.

So, I was made to feel not good enough.

Not a good enough forgiver.

Despite staying (and he knew my stance on cheating) and busting my arse to heal us, from what he did. Despite all the time taken and paid for, in therapy. Despite four years of cramming in two degrees (to help me understand human behaviour, and to try to rebuild some absolutely shattered self esteem) whilst working, raising kids and running the accounts for our farm.

He did it again.

Sadly, proving all my intuition to be spot on.

He didn’t change.

He just got even better at hiding his duplicity. Better at the soul rape. Better at fooling me that he was only having sex with me. Better at getting non-consensual sex, because I never consented to share my body with others, to expose myself to the diseases I now carry in my body, because he shared his with others.

But, I still feel “not good enough.” Even with all of this knowledge.

That’s the terrible scar left by a cheater, on a loyal, loving partner. It never fades. You just learn to dress to hide it better.


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Connection

I’m watching Sex, Love and Goop.

It’s actually better than I expected.

And really hard.

Because Roger and I were very good at sex and connection.

And BG isn’t.

I need to address this with him, as we have built some trust and intimacy. He’s never allowed himself to be truly sexually vulnerable.

Gwyneth is in it, but not much.

But I cried when she told the story of her parents being interviewed about their long marriage. Her father said, “we just never both wanted to get divorced at the same time.”

That was us. I wanted to split, Roger pulled me in. So tightly.

BIG, BIG TIME.

Then, unbeknownst to me (I communicated, he didn’t at all) Roger all of a sudden wanted to leave me. To split.

And got what he wanted.

Not allowing me to pull him back in.

Power, control. All about what he wanted.

Fucker.


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Sexual health

I’m still a bit of a kid when it comes to dealing with sex. I had only ever made love with one man, into my 50s.

My “life” (hahahaha) partner, Rog.

He gave me two STIs. One turned nasty on me years later, and I have had to deal with a serious cervical cancer diagnosis, surgery and radiotherapy.

After earlier procedures that cauterised my cervix, scraping abnormal cells off it.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have done well since.

And today, I got notice that I will be called up for a Covid vaccine in late July.

Woohoo!

I get to jump the queue a bit, because I am still considered immuno-compromised.

Anyway, it brought up so much of my “stuff” getting that text.

Stuff about my attitude to sexual health.

It was started, and sealed, in my teens. Growing up in the AIDS era (shit, sex could KILL you!) My Dad was shoved out of the closet, and I feared for my mother’s life. I was sure I was NEVER going to put myself at risk. No sex until I was in love, and deeply committed. Sure it was with a person who would never put me at risk.

I discussed this ad nauseum with Roger. I always had condoms in the house, “just in case there is ever a fuck up, don’t EVER put me at risk, kay?”

Anyway, so that didn’t happen.

As Chump Lady explains, we all need to have the Awkward STD Conversation (ASTDC)

“An aside — if you’re dating and sleeping with people, you NEED to endure the ASTDC. Do it for several reasons — a) to inform your partner about your state of health and b) assess their character. Are they doing the same for you? Are they cavalier about your health? Their own health? Are they considerate? Careful? Will they assume that all responsibility for birth control belongs to you? (Jerk) Or do they carry condoms and aren’t afraid to use them?”

I was pretty impressed with BG. He showed me a clean, recent STI screen, very early in the piece. He never asked for mine! Eeeek. He took me at my word that I had only been with one man, ever. I did disclose the HPV strain I had. And that he was not faithful. So I was an at risk partner, but had been screened and got six monthly smears.

This is what I imagined being a grown up was. Being sensible about sex and potential risks, both to and from peoole you might have sex with.

But Roger never used condoms with Leanne. I can’t imagine he did with Trinket either. He wouldn’t say. Which means “no, I am not using condoms, while I sleep with (at least) two women simultaneously.

With my research coming into focus again lately, I revisited my acknowledgements. My dedication to Rog aside, I re-read the opening paragraph of both my thesis itself (earlier post) but also, my acknowledgements.

And my heart cracked a bit further. I can’t read further on, about my love standing by me as I undertook this massive project. Ugh. Bastard.

But these words. I had no idea he waa still cheating. Shopping for an easy out. Instead, I felt this was my healing document. Fucker…

“Embarking on academic research is always a giant personal challenge. I
will be forever grateful I took it up. Delving into a topic that has left deeply
personal tracks on my own identity was always going to add to, and uncover
layers of emotional wounds, but also point to the human capacity for healing
and the formation of beautiful scars. More importantly, it presented an
opportunity that would help give voice to those who have survived, and
flourished since, the rupture to their relationships and homes.”

I thought I was starting to unfurl from the pain. I visualised an incredible blooming of us. I’d beaten the infidelity demon.

Hahahaha!!!


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Some of the intricacies of trauma

One of the things that really played with my mind was the unknown sexual behaviour that Roger was having, and how that intersected with my fears surrounding consent, and my violent rape.

Rog was the only man I had ever trusted enough to be sexual with.

But, I started working out that he had defiled my body and mind far worse than my rapist ever did.

Not disclosing is sexual abuse. It causes deep trauma.

And, as I processed it, after the hysterical bonding wore off, I started to go numb.

I mean, really numb. I couldn’t feel anything.

This progressed to some startle reactions if he touched me.

When Rog touched my skin, it always ended up being sexual. We had enormous sexual chemistry.

So, once the trauma hit me full on, I jumped if he touched me. It was scary.

And distressing.

I WANTED to be sexual. But my body was recoiling in fear.

I actually thought for a while that I was ruined. That he’d stolen my sexuality. That I might never feel sensual or sexual ever again.

Thankfully, I came right. The problem now is that I am insatiable! Not ideal when you live alone!

And poor BG. He probably fears my arrival, lol.


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Supporting Those Who’ve Experienced a Trauma

https://wp.me/pbiNOL-um

Thanking the very thoughtful and helpful Don’t Lose Hope, once again for an informed and empathetic post about trauma and its long term effects.

A friend over at the beach died yesterday. A late cancer diagnosis, and a few weeks later, she is gone. So I am feeling a tad fragile.

These things hit me harder than before (I knew) Norm cheated on me. I’m far more sensitive, and reactive. I know most of that is trauma.

I’ve just fed my cattle, and looking up at the barn loft window (I have a gorgeous suite up there) a shiver of mixed fear and pleasure ran through me. That was where BG and I first had sex together. I took a bottle of red and a couple of glasses up there, so we could talk. There was zero intention of sex!

We has just reconnected after I ghosted him. He drove over and we just clicked. By the time he started disrobing, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I’d only ever been with one man in my 50+ years on the planet.

Except for a brutal, violent, tearing, bloody rape, by a friend of a friend, of course.

Helpful. Hmmm.

The thought of being naked, being touched intimately by someone-who-wasn’t-my-snooky-bear was UTTERLY TERRIFYING!

But somehow, as he exposed his body, and his arousal, to me, I was able to remove my clothing, too. He sensed not to rush me, not to assist in undressing me, to let me come to him, not to touch me without me touching him first.

He was very sensitive, and asked if I was sure, if I was okay, that we didn’t need to do anything. That I could stop any time.

He didn’t know I’d been raped. Or knocked unconscious, traumatized by Roger. He did however know that there had only ever been Rog. That this was completely new territory for me.

For a man who has been with a lot of women, I was surprised at his care.

That probably sounds stupid. Of course he was careful and cautious about consent! With casual sex having been a thing, I guess you make extra certain you have explicit consent, or you could get yourself in a LOT of trouble.

I also had fears about “performance.” I knew one man. What that one man seemed to like, etc. I felt I was lacking at one skill in particular. Apparently not. Six times that night! I think Roger possibly just didn’t really love that act? I dunno, it always made me feel like I was not enough. With BG, he loves it, and tells me I am really good at it, and changing things up (not having a clue I had doubts.)

I’ve wandered. But the point is, trauma made sex something very, very terrifying for me. Firstly, the trauma of the horrifically painful and terrifying, tearing rape. Then the trauma of Roger telling me I was safe with him, but putting his dick in strange whenever he got the opportunity to. The trauma of the STIs. Then the cervical cancer from the HPV. His pulling my legs out from under me, and my landing on the back of my head, losing consciousness, waking to a shredded dressing gown, in my own home that kept being defiled by him fucking other women in. My sense of what is safe in the world is heightened. I live with constant high anxiety, waiting for the next blow to hit.

To have let BG through my defences is a small miracle. That night, in the barn bedroom, candles lit, soft music, beautiful wine, and a sweet, sexy, caring man…


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Consent. And a panic attack

Sitting, freezing in a stranger’s house.

Airbnbing.

I’ve been awake for nearly three hours, fighting a major panic attack. The worst of it is over enough now to type a little.

I know very few understand the trauma I still feel, still battle, since I was replaced in my bear’s arms (and life) after three decades of intense love and (stupid) self sacrifice for the man I loved and the family we created.

And I read Walking the Journey’s excellent – yes, emotional – post about how affairs turn the consensual sex we have with our supposedly dedicated, beloved, monogamous partner, into non-consensual sex.

We never gave permission for our bodies to be used and abused. To be shared with another. In my case, others…to risk/get diseases we believed we were protected from.

To have unprotected sex for a year and a half with a man I believed was faithful and loved me, and only me, while he was having unprotected sex with a woman with a known history of promiscuity.

I had only ever had sex with him.

Not a single other person. Ever.

I trusted him to take care of my health, if nothing else!

To be compared. I always railed against the idea that I was in a competition I didn’t know I was even in, with Leanne. And I was so mindfucked by the time Trinket started fucking my partner and prising him away from me. The version of me that WTJ described in his post. That awful woman she has been told by him that I am. A terrible partner, mother, lover, person.

I lay sweating and frozen, by the barman for the last couple of hours, freaking the fuck out. The paralysis catching in my throat, barely able to breathe. He woke, and asked if I was okay.

He doesn’t know I have these…

I sit here, shaking uncontrollably.

When will it end?


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Consent

I often wonder why my rape has caused such a lot of trauma decades later.

I mean, we all kind of understand that rape is a terrible thing that can mess you up, psychologically. But it didn’t really mess me up a whole lot at the time.

Or so I thought.

But maybe that was why I was vulnerable to Roger’s love bombing just five months later?

I dunno. I do know that I am now, over 30 years later, realising how women are affected. How we live our lives in fear.

This recent analogy, written by a man, to try to explain the cultural embeddedness of gendered lived geographies around sex, sexuality and rape, really illustrates for me how I have lived my life. Especially since my friend’s flatmate brutally raped me in my own home. The tearing he caused my body still totally terrifies me today. I see my genitalia as paper thin, ready to be torn apart at the slightest pressure. At least until I learn to trust a sexual partner…

We teach girls that they have to protect themselves against these almost uncontrollable urges of men. So disgusting to have this theme.

It was underscored yesterday for me when I watched my first film in this year’s NZ International Film Festival. Ask Dr Ruth.

It was a very good movie, better than I expected. What an incredible woman she is. Her strength and spirit to overcome huge trauma aside, her staunch answers to those who ‘assume’ male sexual aggression, and ‘needs,’ versus supposed female passivity and lack of desire, but also her challenge to such rape culture thinking, is outstanding.

I wasn’t raped because I had two drinks, wore a short skirt and invited the guy who walked me home from a party (ironically to keep me safe in the dark, ugh) into my flat. He was not some beast with uncontrollable urges. He chose to violently rape me even as I fought and screamed. I tried to choose to heal from his selfish and criminal choices. I thought I had a handle on it all.

Until the only man I ever trusted, Roger, let me down so badly. His cheating, long term, with our “friend,” in our homes, around our children, while I cooked and child minded for his affair partner, making me feel like nothing was going on as he openly texted her in front of me and talked with me about what she was up to, and doing so without wearing condoms completely mind fucked me. The health consequences I have suffered since, both physically and mentally, I never saw coming.

Yesterday, one of my very first betrayed wife friends I met after Roger cheated, who is now divorced, messaged me to say a married man from her church grabbed her and passionately kissed her at the church. She was completely mortified, and the shock was very real. She rebuked him saying, stop that crap you’re a married man! Her friend told her it was sexual assault. She is just starting to understand the non-consensual nature of what he did, and how revolted she feels.

Consent. We talk about it surrounding sex, a lot.

But what about affairs? Affairs are a sexual act your supposedly monogamous partner never consented to. I have heard it called soul rape.

As a violent rape survivor, I could not agree more. I am struggling, fighting so hard, to regain who I am. To not let the selfish cheating cunts win. To not let them destroy me, my empathy, my faith in humanity. To stay kind and loving.

Roger and Leanne. Roger and Trinket. These things were emotional rape for me. I did not consent. I did not have any way of protecting myself from the emotional pain and suffering, or from the diseases I have had to deal with because the only man I ever trusted stuck his dick in disease, then stuck it in me.