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Thread: Need to recapture some self confidence

  1. #1
    minasmom is offline Neophyte
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    Feb 2014

    Need to recapture some self confidence

    So a little history. I am 17 years older than my husband. He is 29 and I am 46. We met online when he was in college, we knew each other for several years then he came to visit in his senior year. He moved out right after college and we were married a year later. We have 2 little girls, 5 and 2 and are for the most part very happy.

    When I met my husband, he had never had a girlfriend, never even kissed anyone so I was his first of pretty much everything. I think a small part of him feels like he missed out on something, but not enough to where he would cheat.

    He does however, feel that it is ok to be completely open and honest with me, maybe too much so, but he will tell me when he finds someone attractive, or when he thinks a girl has flirted with him, etc. I think his lack of prior relationships coupled with his less than empathetic personality has led to him thinking this is ok to share with me. This has always bothered me to some degree as ideally I would like a man who never told me he found any other women attractive. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

    I have always been more jealous than I let on, and I will ask him questions about it, because I would rather know that not know, if that makes sense. He tells me he loves me and I believe him, but it still really bothers me that he finds so many girls attractive! And I know he only tells me about a small percentage of them lol

    I think my age has really started to get to me after this last birthday. We decided to try for another baby, but it is just not happening-my age is working against us. That plus the new wrinkles! I went and got botox and some fillers the other day. My husband didn’t want me to, but afterwards he said he could see a “glimpse of me when I was younger”. I think that made me feel worse.

    The girls he has been attracted to lately look so young! They are in their early 20’s but they look 16 to me. Super skinny and flawless, something I can never be again. I tried to tell my husband that it kind of grosses me out because they look so young and he told me that I was hypocritical because I am with someone 17 years younger than me and they are just a few years younger than him-and he is right.

    We really do have a great relationship. I am just having a very hard time feeling his love and knowing that I am the only one he wants to be with. I think it boils down to a self-confidence issue. But how do I change that? I don't want my insecurities to interfere with our marriage.

  2. #2
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Dec 2008
    Some men find it necessary to diminish a woman's self-image to keep us under control. IMHO it shows insecurity on his part.
    If you guys met while he was in college and you were his first, I may not be that wrong, usually men in college have had several gfs and are not virgins. He may suffer from some old insecurity.

    Try and not use fillers, they are fluids and follow gravity, you may end up with results that you did not intend. I think Botox is OK, I have been using it for 10 years.

    I am lucky that my husband is not the type that discusses who he finds attractive, so I do not tell him who *I* find attractive. Because, lets be honest, we may be married but we are not blind. How does your husband react when you tell him that you find so and so attractive?
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  3. #3
    fiorinda's Avatar
    fiorinda is offline Senior Member
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    Nov 2013
    Yorkshire UK
    Firsty, let me say that I think honesty should go both ways! If you are made uncomfortable or upset by your husband talking about finding other women attractive then for pete's sake, tell him! If you don't say anything how is he supposed to know you don't like it?! Just ask him to stop telling you this stuff, because it upsets you. I'm sure he would hate to know that he is upsetting you.

    Secondly, if I were you I would stop identifying myself by my relationship to my children. I notice your username is 'minasmom. Who are YOU? Obviously I don't mean you ought to have your real name as your username, but I do find it odd when women identify themselves only as someone's mother or wife. It's very rare to see men with usernames like 'Joesdad' or 'Kateshusband'.

    My husband is 24 years younger than me (nearly 26 to my just 50). We got married 2 weeks ago. We won't be having any children because I'm in the menopause, though we would very much have loved to have at least one child together. I have 2 young grandsons. My husband is younger than my daughter. He will occasionally tell me that a girl of 20something in a coffee shop has flirted with him or something similar, and I'm not remotely threatened by that. That's not because I think I'm better-looking than her, or unaware of the beauty of youth, but because I know unshakeably how much he loves me and that he actually finds me more beautiful than anyone else.

    Talk to your husband, tell him you would like him to stop telling you when he finds other women attractive, tell him why you want him to stop, and tell him you're sorry you didn't mention this much, much earlier. Jealousy will leak out even if you try to hide it, so it's probably better not to have things to be jealous about.

    I hope you can sort this out and move on and stay happy! Good luck with trying for another baby!
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  4. #4
    Angel's Avatar
    Angel is offline Anger Thrives In A Fool
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    Jun 2006
    Platform 9¾
    I worried this would happen to me, too, because my husband was 18 and a virgin when we met, but it has not come to pass. (He's 27 now.) I think your husband's behaviors are less likely related to his lack of experience and more likely related to his personality. The fact that you mention how low his empathy threshold is is probably why he suffers a lot of foot-in-mouth honesty more than you'd like and, also, why he cannot relate to the amount of distress his comments are causing you.

    It's important that you both understand that he doesn't need to relate or even agree with how you're feeling. He only needs to respect that you feel this way and, additionally, respect the boundary you are going to start enforcing. Why? Because before you can work on your self-esteem issues, you must, first, feel safe to do so and you cannot do so when the women he points out are creating an emotionally hostile environment for you. No one would allow themselves to be vulnerable when they don't feel safe. It goes against our drive to survive and you can't heal if you don't feel you can be honest to the point of being vulnerable.

    Even if he sees your emotional health equal to his own, he is human, so expect him to violate this boundary and prepare how you will respond. Figure out a quick statement ("This causes me emotional harm and I will not participate.") that is non-threatening but firm and if he continues then you will need to either change the subject or physically remove yourself from the situation. No matter what, you must enforce this boundary at all times otherwise he will not appreciate how important it is to you. You are unable to be flexible about this, otherwise you would have bent by now so it is important you both treat it with equal importance otherwise you risk creating more issues for yourself and for the marriage.

    This is what I would do if I were in your shoes.
    there before the threshold, I saw a brighter world beyond myself

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  5. #5
    Stiletto's Avatar
    Stiletto is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2010
    West Coast British Columbia
    Honesty should flow both ways.

    I find all sorts of people attractive, men and women, and Chris knows this. He also knows it doesn't mean I want to run off with any of them, though they may inspire an art project. He, on the other hand, appears to have eyes only for me.. it's just his nature.

    You do need to tell your husband how this makes you feel. Even if it's "hypocritical", nevertheless, it's how you feel, and he needs to acknowledge the fact.
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    Age gap: 22 years, 6 days.

  6. #6
    degausser is offline Senior Member
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    Feb 2012
    You definitely need to be honest with him. Just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with mentioning that you find someone attractive or that someone flirted with you, if both partners are comfortable with it. In my relationship, we're both aware that just because we're in a committed relationship, it doesn't mean we don't notice when someone else is attractive or flirts with us. We point it out, we joke about it. That's something we're both comfortable with. In your relationship, you aren't comfortable with it. But you can't hold him accountable for saying those things if you've never told him it bothers you. In one place you said you'd rather not know and ignorance is bliss, but then later you said you ask him questions about it because you'd rather know than not know. If you engage him in that topic, you can't expect him to know it bothers you.

    You have every right to tell him it's just not something you're comfortable hearing or talking about. But you need to actually do it. After you have that conversation, you can start working on your confidence. And you do need to do that.

    As far as the botox/fillers comment, that wasn't a very good response, but I also don't know what the appropriate response is. For starters, you said he didn't want you to get it in the first place. But you did get it, because you're admittedly feeling insecure. I'm certain that wasn't the very best response he could have come up with, but honestly, I've never known anyone who's had botox or anything done, and I don't know what the appropriate response is. If the person is feeling especially insecure to begin with, it seems like any response that praises the botox or confirms that you look younger insinuates that you looked old previously. And obviously saying something negative (or even indifferent) about whatever you've had done would also hurt your feelings. What response were you hoping for? What response would you have been happy with?

    As Angel mentioned, once you have this conversation with him, it’s very important that you enforce that boundary. Figure out how you will respond if he slips and mentions something. Don’t indulge your jealousy by asking questions. It’s not good for you, and it will just confuse him about what you’re actually comfortable with.
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  7. #7
    gorillagirl Guest
    1. without self work, your insecurity will likely only increase as you age. embrace your beautiful wrinkles!!!
    2. his curiosity about other women may increase as he ages (lack of experience).
    3. all of this might require intensive direct and calm, non blaming, sweet communication to work through.
    4. if your fear/insecurity persists, seek counseling so you don't go off the deep end with unwarranted fear or invest in potentially harmful, costly, and ugly plastic surgery....
    5. breathe!
    6. if, god forbid, he ever does cheat with another woman, just forgive him. most of us
    went though an exploratory stage. better to allow him forgiveness than to choose to let it break up your family.
    7. you wrote, "Ignorance is bliss, as they say." no, ignorance is delusion. better to be upfront about everything so it doesn't become some secret and turn into something have another 40 years with him. he's your husband but you don't possess him. it's time to allow and accept full honesty. there's really no other choice.
    8. check out
    Last edited by gorillagirl; 11-19-2014 at 05:02 PM.

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