Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boundaries and Abuse

After the wonderful feeling of Gentleman Jack accepting me and allowing me to shine in my previous post, I, unknowingly and completely unintentionally, upset him that same evening.

Grrr... Facebook

I unwittingly gave too much information, i.e. was too flirtatious, in a status update. In my head, I thought it was funny. I thought he would find it funny too. Nope. He got a lump in his stomach that men would begin picturing what I was describing....

*sigh*

Aaaaannnnd there I go again. Again, putting my sexuality out where it doesn't belong for the entire world to see.

Thankfully, my man can talk to me. He tells me if something feels uncomfortable, not in an accusatory way, but in a way that says, "This didn't feel good to me. I'm letting you know. I will figure out how to deal with it."

So, we talked about it for 2 1/2 hours. We got a lot of good stuff out there and I felt bad that I'd hurt him again.

We keep getting back to the same thing: He cares. And he doesn't want to share.

Meanwhile, I've spent the past 25 years putting it out there and selecting men who said they didn't care if I put it all out there. I've been with men who wanted to flaunt me like some sexy doll. I've flirted and sexied my way to garnishing all the attention a woman can. I've relished in it. Its also lead to my attracting trouble and/or the wrong men.

When I awoke the next morning after our conversation and felt awful, I asked for spiritual guidance again. What do I need? How do I do this?

The answer? Love Coach Rinatta

I can't explain it but something told me that she would have the answer. I've never even spoken with her before but something told me I needed to. So, I sent her a message on Twitter.

She contacted me right away and we had a wonderful conversation.

Rinatta has been reading my blog for nearly 2 years. She knows the persona of "T". She's seen the struggles and growth. She believes much of the same spiritual principles as me. She was the perfect person to talk to.

"First question," she began after hearing my story, "Do you think he is worth changing this part of yourself?"

I know that I feel healthier in this relationship than any other that came before. But I don't really want to think I'm "changing" myself for someone else. I want to make changes for me.

Rinatta said that in every relationship, we naturally change or alter old habits or bend to be with someone else. Your partner should do the same. We can't be the same people we are when we're single.

"I've been wanting to ask you this for some time," she paused, "Were you ever sexually abused?"

No. I wasn't. But I did grow up the oldest child to a young mom who lived her teenage years vicariously through me and with me. Mom was outgoing and fun. She was sexy and beautiful (still is!). She flirted relentlessly with my male friends.

"That could be considered abusive. Not in the sense that you were physically abused but you were not taught sexual boundaries. That could be considered 'abuse'."

Wow. My head has difficulty wrapping around the word "abuse" but I do know that I wasn't taught boundaries. My mother was in full rebellion from an overly dominate Catholic mother. I had fun right along side her. I learned my flirtatious ways from her. I began flirting as a teenager and it was completely second nature to me. It just came out of me without even trying.

Oy. I guess we unintentionally abuse those we love the most sometimes, don't we?

Rinatta went on to tell me that this is why my relationship with Gentleman Jack is so perfectly fitting for me. And my daughters. I am re-parenting myself to learn these appropriate sexual boundaries and I will therefore raise my daughters the same way.

"Think of it this way," Rinatta said, "How would you parent yourself or your daughters differently if you knew that you were preparing yourself or them for a wonderful relationship like the one you're in now?"

GJ's concern is that he does not want to "stifle" what he considers a big part of me. He knows that I'm sensual. He knows that life turns me on. He's very attracted to that part of me. He loves my sexuality. He wants it behind closed doors but he doesn't want me putting it all out there for everyone else to fantasize about me. I know that I have toned down, a lot, since he's come into my life. This happened without even trying.

My concern is the same as his though. Is this overt sexuality a healthy part of me? Is it simply attention seeking? If I stifle it, will it come roaring back at some future date?



Is it stifling or creating a new, healthier habit?



Rinatta continued: "You've been heavier and lost weight. How did you do that? Do you still binge today?"

No, I don't binge. I joined Weight Watchers and learned a new, healthier way to eat. Now, its such a habit that I don't even think about it.

"Then its the same thing. You're creating a new habit. It won't come roaring back. Eventually it will become second nature. Just as you built boundaries around food, you can do the same thing with sex. Both can be addictions."

Rinatta asked if I was sexually abused and I haven't been. However, many of my girlfriends were. Those same girlfriends have felt stifled in their own marriages because they can't explore their sexuality.

I've done it. I've been involved in all kinds of sexual situations and quite frankly, they're fun and exciting but unfulfilling for me. For some people, this type of lifestyle works for them. I love those people. I link to blogs of people like that. It's intriguing to me but... it just didn't fit me. It didn't work for me. Maybe I'm not built for it emotionally.

I want real intimacy. I think I've been using this wanton sexuality to avoid true intimacy. It allowed me to put on a show to, ironically, avoid exposing all of me. Gentleman Jack is the first person with whom I want to share my true vulnerability. When I share this side of me, he feels closer to me. It also allows him to build trust in me and expose his own vulnerability. Then we get closer and closer.

Vulnerability builds intimacy.

I want real trust. I want the real me. I will continue to be the sexual vixen that my Gentleman loves but I believe I need to curtail the fearless sexual attention seeking outside of our relationship.

I don't know how to do this but I'm working on it. I may be exploring my sexual history here - just as I did with my affair - to look at my motives and process it.

I am naturally a sexual person and will always be. However, I have to learn some respect... for me, for GJ, for sex, for the people around me. I know that many are uncomfortable with my in-yer-face sexual nature. Its not my responsibility for how people react to me but I don't like putting people off. I am learning. Constantly.

I am thankful for Rinatta for her wisdom. I am thankful for Gentleman Jack for his patience.

Now I have to be compassionate and loving to bring out the healthiest me I've ever been.



**Rinatta's words were paraphrased for the context of this post. She is also going to offer a wonderful program to my readers in the next few weeks. I can't recommend her enough. If you want a fulfilling happy relationship and are willing to do the introspective work it takes to get one, you will love her.**

15 comments:

  1. I adore you T. I keep wanting to comment but have so many ideas and thoughts about what you are writing about - I will write you a private email soon. Always reading and loving you.xo, k

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  2. Fantastic insight! Thank you for sharing this...it is timely, as always.
    ;)t

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  3. Thanks for talking about what a love coach can do, I never considered that!

    Secretia

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  4. Wow. So, if I'm willing to bend, the right man should bend some for me, too. I'm really thinking things through this time. (Tree analogy took hold...thanks for that...)

    Big hugs!

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  5. Very interesting post. I can definitely see how Rascal would be uncomfortable with overt postings on FB. Eye opening revelations about your mom. I remember once when I went with her to bring lunch back for one of your moving days, and she had the sort of energy you're talking about. I let my mind wander, thinking about dropping the lunch off and going to my place!

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  6. Wow, Rinatta asked you some great questions! And I love your answers. Great that you are awake and aware.

    As or Twitter and facebook updates - I think of it like an intercom system at the high school. What are you willing to say over the loud speaker for the entire campus, and neighboring communities, to hear? And what does the student body want to hear. That's how I think of Facebook and Twitter, anyways.

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  7. Thank you all for the supportive comments.

    K - I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts. You and I have had such similar journeys.

    Terri - Thank you! Hope it's helping someone other than me!

    Secretia - Right? Who knew?

    Nicki - and why wouldn't the right man bend? He will do what it takes to be with you. And you will be kind and gentle enough with him and yourself to remind him that you love him just the way he is. Acceptance, on both accounts, is helpful. Dramatic change is temporary. It has to be a slow giving up of past habits.

    B - SHAME ON YOU! Fantasizing about my Mom! Heh. She is a hottie, right? That's what I'm sayin!!

    DH - I like your loud speaker analogy. I will keep that in mind. Thank you my friend!

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  8. T, I felt touched that you reached out to me and that even thought we have never spoken before, you were willing to open up and be vulnerable.

    You have grown so much the past two years!

    I do want to make two points - the bending you are doing here is for Rascal, but is also for you and for your girls. Because as you said, the over sexual behavior always had an edge of uncomfortable for you. I would never suggest that a person bend in a relationship if there's no real benefit to them. The beauty of relationships is that very often when our partner wants us to change, the change would serve us well also.

    The second point is about coaching and for your readers - Yes, a coach can really help. I do really help. Most people out there relegate relationships to the realm of luck or faith. But relationships - and attracting the right mate - can be worked on with great success just like anything else, like money or health.

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  9. Another wonderful, thought-provoking post.

    I remain amazed at how well the communication between you and Rascal is working. Do you realize, if you keep this up, what a wonderful model you are creating for your children to learn from? Do you realize that every time you and Rascal are good for each other, you are also doing something good for your kids?

    There is a difference between working with your partner and settling for your partner. By being willing to bend for Rascal, and by Rascal being willing to bend for you, all while still staying true to your best selves... not only do you and Rascal win, but your babies win, and everyone around you wins, too. It gives me hope -- and ideas for how to make a better future for myself and my loved ones, as well.

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  10. Great post, T. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    This healthy relationship thing, and everything that goes along with it, is definitely a process. It takes time and effort, but definitely worth it in the end.

    *hugs*

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  11. T, that was good.

    I have a problem when I feel censured, when I feel my voice and my natural way of expressing myself is being taken from me due to what I see as someone else's controlling nature. I perhaps do give more info than I ought to, In the name of compromise, however, I am learning to try to see things from the other's point of view. That helps...sometimes! :)

    Thank you for your insights, as always. Be well.

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  12. This is very interesting. I always find it interesting that what often attracts one person to another is the very thing the person wants to change once the relationship develops into a long term relationship. You are considering some sage advice. Be careful as you make the changes you are considering. If the changes are too extreme you could inadvertently extinguish the very flame your open sensuality create.

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  13. Mark - I definitely agree with you!!! I have to find the parts of my sexuality that no longer serve me. And putting people off or attracting the wrong people is definitely no longer serving me. I am in no way going to be able to change myself that dramatically. I am just sexual - always have been.

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  14. Vulnerability builds intimacy - you said something very similar to me in a conversation we had about my fears with Plane Boy :)

    Since then I have started being vulnerable. I let him see me like noone has ever seen me and it brings us closer every day!!

    I have been battling with the whole "I dont want to change for someone" thing. But I am realising that sometimes you can do it without changing who you are!

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  15. As I read this post and as I came to the part where you said, "I am naturally a sexual person and will always be. However, I have learn some respect ... "FOR ME, for Rascal, for sex, for the people around me," I couldn't help really noticing the "FOR ME" part. I am still catching up the archives, so I don't know where you are today yet, I don't know yet if you and Rascal are still together or what you're up to. But what I do know is that you were completely right when you said you needed to learn respect for that whole list of things, for the people in your life ... but mostly, for you. Sex isn't just about giving to someone else, it should be about giving something to you. And I'm not sure you're giving yourself a very nice gift isf you are allowing your body to be used or misused by someone who doesn't completely cherish you for what and who you are. And that's not to say that you can only ever have wimpy sex ... but that there needs to be a heart, a real, loving heart, behind the passion of the moment. And that heart should be loving more than your body or your sexual talents. You owe it to yourself to hold your body away from people who don't cherish you. You also owe it to yourself to respect the fact that sex in a relationship is a two-way street. If his fooling around with someone else would hurt you, then you must assume that it would hurt him if you did it. I have learned a lot about myself reading this blog too ... and I am looking forward to learning more as I catch up.

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