I found an article that other day written by a woman who was raped by her husband. She said three years out she realized she hadn’t actually healed. She’d approached it clinically. She researched it to death. She found out anything about it that she could, but it never touched her emotions.
I realized that is what I’m doing! It is almost obsessive. I google every night. I read anything I can. I’m bringing in so much information that I’m convinced my brain is just going to overload, explode, and run out of my ears.
I can’t let my emotions in it yet. I have to be able to get mad and I can’t do that until I’m free. I need to stay reasonable and amicable. Fluffy needs to be contained until my Emancipation Papers are signed. Once I’m free I can release Fluffy and the damange he does won’t be as bad as it would be if I released him now. So, I wait. I keep Fluffy in his cage. I try to keep him asleep although he has been prowling recently. I’m an expert on stuffing (my emotions) so I just need to continue stuffing for now.
I remember how I’d get the kids to bed every evening then spend hours pouring over google. I’d search for anything I could about rape, marital rape, intimate partner sexual abuse, and any other term I could think to google that might just give me new information.
I also checked out books from the library and even kept newspapers in my car and put book covers on the books as soon as I got out to the car with them so the children wouldn’t see what I was reading. I’d hide the books way under my bed. I did not want them knowing what I was reading about.
I started slowly allowing my emotions into it. For me, I think one of the hardest aspects of this was acknowledging that I took part in my own rapes. One of Bubba’s chief complaints was that I didn’t initiate sex very much. Oh, the yelling he used to do over that one. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I want to have sex with my husband? He felt soooooooo unloved because I never approached him. It went on and on. I got the message, loud and clear, that I was defective on so many levels because “normal” wives wanted their husbands and enjoyed sex. This was yet another way I was horribly flawed as a wife. This was another of my failures.
I started initiating sex 7 or 8 times a month. He would come home and I’d be wondering if he’d want sex that night. Instead of waiting for him to approach me, I’d ask if he wanted sex. I figured that if I asked him, we’d get it over with and he’d leave me alone for a few days.
After I realized he’d been raping me all those years, I really struggled with the fact that I initiated. How could it be rape if I asked him for sex? Simply, because I felt I had no choice – it was either initiate or suffer more punishment. I had been choosing the lesser of two evils – picking something that I thought would hurt me less. It took many months to work through that one.
In the last few years of our marriage, foreplay had been reduced to him grabbing my butt or boobs in the kitchen while the kids played around us. I was always deeply embarrassed and shamed that I’d been reduced to a glorified blow-up doll. Then, after the kids were in bed, he’d look at me and say, “Do you wanna have sex?” The only correct answer was, “yes.” I knew the price for saying, “no.” In turn, I began to simply ask Bubba, “Do you wanna have sex?” That was as much initiation as I could stomach. I hated, absolutely hated, kissing him if it was related to sex. I didn’t want real foreplay. I just wanted our time in the bedroom over and done with.
Initiating also gave me a small measure of control. I could say when we had sex. I could pick the times that I felt more physically able to deal with it. Like so much else in my life, it was just an illusion.
It wasn’t just submission on my part either. There were times that I actively said, “No, please don’t do that,” or “No, I don’t like that. Don’t do that,” and it never mattered. I hated when he gave me oral sex. I would hide my head under my pillow after I’d said no and he’d started anyway. It never seemed to bother him that not only did I say no but then I hid my face from him. The first few times I tried to squirm away but he held me firmly in place. After that I just laid there and let him do it because I knew I just had to get through it and he’d eventually be done. Even thinking about it now is enough to make me want to vomit. I also know that if anyone asked him about it, he would say that there were no problems in this area. He simply didn’t see me – either as a person who was allowed to say “No,” or as someone who’d actually said “No.” He saw what he wanted to see because that is the only version of reality that exists for him.
The sex in our marriage was not sex, it was rape. It was about power and control and Bubba had all the power and control while I had none. Bubba wanted me to initiate sex so I did, the punishments for not doing so were worse than the initiating.