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#MeToo and an OW's experience


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Old 29th January 2018, 3:09 PM   #1
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#MeToo and an OW's experience

Mods - I request that you not merge this with another of my threads, as it's meant to be a standalone post. It isn't a continuation of my story; rather, I'd like to know if anyone else relates to my feelings about the #MeToo movement and being an OW, and I'd like to have a discussion about the psychology behind that, not just about my particular situation.

---

I start with a message to BS's - you are, without question, the biggest victims in an affair triangle, and I am so sorry for your pain, and recognize it as superior to my own. The following post may offend some of you, but I hope it won't, as it isn't intended that way at all.

---

The #MeToo movement has triggered certain emotions in me. A certain familiarity and empathy for the victims, based largely on feelings that came up for me very early on in the affair. I will clearly state right now that I am NOT a victim of sexual assault or rape by xMM, and to the victims of sexual assault and/or rape - I am by NO MEANS presenting our situations as comparable. They aren't. I was a willing participant in the affair. You were not willing participants in your abuse.

But there is a pattern of behavior - "grooming" - that some (not all) MM follow. It really does a number on you, psychologically. And some of the abusers, who #MeToo has exposed, use similar tactics.

Hearing the victims of Dr. Nassar (the Olympic gymnastics coach) speak was especially poignant to me. He made each girl feel special, bringing them treats and doting on them. He was a trusted member of the community. It was unimaginable that he could actually be a predator.

xMM "groomed" me over time. Including me in meetings. Inviting me to coffee, then to lunch. Gradually delving into conversations about our personal lives. I was so incredibly naive. I had literally no clue - none whatsoever - what he was doing, until the day he called me to his office (lil' ole me! The chosen one!) and told me he really liked me and wanted to get to know me better. Go ahead and call me foolish and blind, but the thought never occurred to me. He was a married family man, and I had never questioned the actions or intentions of married family men - not towards me, anyway. It was the first time I had experienced anything like that.

So at the start of the affair, I believed his every word. Even though I felt twisted and sick inside, I believed he loved me, that he no longer loved his wife in the same way, that he intended to separate from her, that the marriage was dead long ago. This allowed me some mental space initially, to excuse both my actions, and his.

During those first couple months and especially the first couple weeks, I had moments of feeling practically powerless. You could have walked away at any time, I hear people screaming. I know. I screamed and swore at myself to do so. But somehow I felt held captive by him, mentally. I still don't fully understand where that feeling came from, and it's hard to put into words. But it was as though I had been chosen.

I wasn't able to contact him when I wanted to, and that mere fact, in the beginning, sucked me in even further. I was a secret, and that secrecy made me special. It also made me angry and upset.

I railed against that feeling, and then I succumbed to it, and then I railed against it again. My mind was often filled with imaginary scenes where he would grab me by the wrists and I would be pulling away, screaming, sobbing, trying to fight, but then eventually, I would give in. And then he would turn warm, soothing, and reassuring, wiping away my tears.

So, even while I was fully aware of my actions and choices, aware of his marital status, and so on, I was groomed for the affair. And when I hear the #MeToo victims tell their stories, a small part of me whispers a secret "me too." Not as bad. Not rape or assault. But some part of that poisonous, emotionally corrupting experience... I get it. Me Too.

Last edited by lemondrop21; 29th January 2018 at 3:14 PM.. Reason: Added a note to mods
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Old 29th January 2018, 3:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lemondrop21 View Post
I'd like to know if anyone else relates to my feelings about the #MeToo movement and being an OW, and I'd like to have a discussion about the psychology behind that, not just about my particular situation.
Not me. Iíve been an OW. Iíve been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. Itís just not comparable IMO. Maybe the American gymnast coach groomed his victims, but not all harassment or sexual assault involves grooming. Not all EMRs involve grooming either.

My xMM approached me adult to adult. I agreed as a consenting adult. This was nothing like harassment. I did not consent to being harassed by colleagues just because I am a woman. I did not consent to being groped at work because I am a woman. I did not consent to being threatened at work with losing my job if I did not comply with sexual demands by a former boss at work. Those were done against my will by people who had power over me or physically threatened me. The EMR was very different. We were adults. We both chose freely.
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Old 29th January 2018, 3:36 PM   #3
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Not me. Iíve been an OW. Iíve been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. Itís just not comparable IMO. Maybe the American gymnast coach groomed his victims, but not all harassment or sexual assault involves grooming. Not all EMRs involve grooming either.

My xMM approached me adult to adult. I agreed as a consenting adult. This was nothing like harassment. I did not consent to being harassed by colleagues just because I am a woman. I did not consent to being groped at work because I am a woman. I did not consent to being threatened at work with losing my job if I did not comply with sexual demands by a former boss at work. Those were done against my will by people who had power over me or physically threatened me. The EMR was very different. We were adults. We both chose freely.
Thank you for your perspective, Toots. I appreciate it and hope that my words didn't offend you. And I'm sorry for the abuse you've endured.
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Old 29th January 2018, 3:45 PM   #4
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Sorry but this thread illustrates an attitude of still not taking responsibility for your part in the affair even after all these years--despite your caveats and whatnot to the contrary. You were NOT a victim. You were not even 'kind of' a victim. A woman who stepped into an affair WILLINGLY cannot compare herself *in any way* to a **pre-adolescent girl** who actually was physically violated. Not even 'kind of sort of'.

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Old 29th January 2018, 4:01 PM   #5
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Sorry but this thread illustrates an attitude of still not taking responsibility for your part in the affair even after all these years--despite your caveats and whatnot to the contrary. You were NOT a victim. A woman who stepped into an affair WILLINGLY cannot compare herself *in any way* to someone who actually was physically violated.
Respect your opinion on this although I think you're misunderstanding me a bit.

I absolutely take responsibility for my part in the affair - from the minute I stepped into it, I bore some of the responsibility, as a consenting adult. That is correct. But some of the feelings, IMO, were different than someone who was also out looking for an affair, because of the way in which he sucked me in and prepped me to become his OW before I knew what was going on.

It's frustrating because it's really difficult - practically impossible - to explain those feelings to someone who hasn't been in a similar situation.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:06 PM   #6
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Respect your opinion on this although I think you're misunderstanding me a bit.

I absolutely take responsibility for my part in the affair - from the minute I stepped into it, I bore some of the responsibility, as a consenting adult. That is correct. But some of the feelings, IMO, were different than someone who was also out looking for an affair, because of the way in which he sucked me in and prepped me to become his OW before I knew what was going on.

It's frustrating because it's really difficult - practically impossible - to explain those feelings to someone who hasn't been in a similar situation.
Sucked you in?? You weren't sucked in. What you had was a MUTUALLY consenting relationship, at each step of the way.

Other people walked away from this very type of temptation, why couldn't you.

How could you possibly compare yourself to a **pre-teen* girl who was actually physically violated?

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Old 29th January 2018, 4:11 PM   #7
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Sucked you in?? You weren't sucked in. What you had was a MUTUALLY consenting relationship, at each step of the way.

How could you possibly compare yourself to a **pre-teen* girl who was actually physically violated?
I take your point about comparing to pre-adolescent girls; it was not my intent at all, in using the Nassar example, to equate that sort of experience to mine at all, and it was a poor example.

Here is maybe a more apt comparison: all of the women who actually slept with Harvey Weinstein willingly, as consenting adults, because he took them under his wing when they were aspiring actresses and vulnerable to being sucked in by his fame and reputation. We don't hear from those women, because they are too afraid/embarrassed/ashamed to admit that they weren't strong enough to walk away from the situation. But they were groomed for it and manipulated to a certain extent. Not victims like those who were raped. But something was still off about the situation.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:20 PM   #8
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I take your point about comparing to pre-adolescent girls; it was not my intent at all, in using the Nassar example, to equate that sort of experience to mine at all, and it was a poor example.

Here is maybe a more apt comparison: all of the women who actually slept with Harvey Weinstein willingly, as consenting adults, because he took them under his wing when they were aspiring actresses and vulnerable to being sucked in by his fame and reputation. We don't hear from those women, because they are too afraid/embarrassed/ashamed to admit that they weren't strong enough to walk away from the situation. But they were groomed for it and manipulated to a certain extent. Not victims like those who were raped. But something was still off about the situation.
No that STILL shows a lack of taking responsibility.

'I couldn't walk away! I was groomed! Big Bad MM used the Magic Words on me!

Meanwhile, your MM was not Harvey Weinstein. He couldn't make you a star with the wave of his hand. Correct me if I am mistaken but there wasn't that much of a difference in professional power between the two of you. And looking back on your Opening Post on your last thread, you admitted yourself to being clear-eyed about how wrong the situation was and how you missed the feelings, and then you willingly walked back into affair with MM.

http://www.loveshack.org/forums/roma...-2-years-later

Post #1.

So I find the idea of you saying Me Too in this situation to be...well distasteful.

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Old 29th January 2018, 4:38 PM   #9
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I could be wrong op, but I m getting the sense that you are sharing your experience more a a cautionary tale than an abdication of responsibility.

Sort of a "if a mm/mw does these sorts of things/acts in these ways, there could be more to it than just professional respect or interest...be careful".

That's a good warning for anyone.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:42 PM   #10
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I think this comparison hinges on his intent.

Do you believe that at all times he was wooing you with the intent to act in a very specific manner to achieve a very specific goal? Or do you think he was along for and enjoying the ride until he saw the brick wall ahead and bailed once he realized he was about to crash?

Here's an analogy. When I was younger, we used to go to this wave pool that had high diving platforms. One summer I convinced myself I was going to jump off the tallest one. For weeks I talked about how I was going to do it--I told everyone. People asked if I was scared, and I emphatically told them I was not. I was not lying, I believed that when I got to the edge I would not be afraid.

I had every single intention to do it. I was even incredibly excited and could not sleep the night before because I was going to do it. When I finally got up on the platform and up to the edge, I looked down. 45 feet never seemed higher. I chickened out.

Now I was not lying about wanting to take the plunge nor was it my intention to not jump when I was telling everyone. When I told everyone I was not afraid, I was not. I believed my own bull****.

I guess I would ask you if you believe he was a calculated player or just some guy naive enough to believe his own bull****? In other words, do you believe he believed he was going to leave his primary relationship, but when he got to the metaphoric ledge chickened out? Or do you think that he was pulling your strings like a puppeteer and worked harder than most would ever need to for some cheap sex? Basically, he doing it for the LOLZ?
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:43 PM   #11
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posted May 14, 2015 by:Lemondrop21

I'm not married, but was in a five year relationship that just ended (no children). The relationship had been rocky for many months, mainly due to the fact that I wasn't sure I wanted to go ahead with getting married to my (now ex) boyfriend, for a variety of reasons related to incompatibility (all of this was pre-MM). But he did want to get engaged, so I was under a lot of pressure. This was part of what made me so vulnerable to MM.

I do think that this short-lived affair underscored the fact that I was unhappy in my relationship - even though I of course have no proof that MM would have offered me more happiness in a real relationship (probably wouldn't have). But the existence of such a strong fantasy life that I created in my mind, was really powerful and jarring to me.


Not making excuses for poor choices, but being vulnerable can and will be a factor in poor choices.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:44 PM   #12
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Lemon, so glad to see you!
I get what you're saying.
It wasn't my particular experience, but I've come to know many people involved in affairs and I recognize the grooming undertones you're talking about.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:53 PM   #13
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I get what you're saying. *Some* MM are unhealthy in ways that extend beyond the fact they are having an affair and into how they treat women in general. Without respect. It seems from yes selfishness, also misogyny, and not just lack of boundaries which are in affairs by definition, but in some an extreme lack of boundaries which begin to violate individual dignity.

Because a person willingly enters a consensual relationship, they do not void all rights as a person because it is an affair. Abused women stay in consensual monogamous relationships often. Do you blame her for not leaving after the first time? After that point is it her fault? Some people say yes . I think it's more complex than that

Perhaps it's different perspective and understanding of psychological power and control dynamics. It is not always just about the job or age or socio economic differential.

Exmm started treating me in a way no woman should tolerate from any man, single, married, bf ,fwb, coworker, anyone. I was wrong to be in an affair, I've paid consequences and took accountability. It doesn't mean I "deserved" it because I was in an affair. Where would that line of thinking end?

I do not compare it to assault or harassment. The metoo movement is an opportunity for more discussion and education about healthy relationships, respect, consent, in general.
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:56 PM   #14
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I could be wrong op, but I m getting the sense that you are sharing your experience more a a cautionary tale than an abdication of responsibility.

Sort of a "if a mm/mw does these sorts of things/acts in these ways, there could be more to it than just professional respect or interest...be careful".

That's a good warning for anyone.
I agree, I think it was an interesting read and a good cautionary tale (though I do agree that the preteen comparison wasn't the best one). Also glad that the OP has managed to move on.
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Old 29th January 2018, 5:03 PM   #15
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I think the difference between the gymnasts and OW is that those girls were minors, children who didn't know what was going on. OW are grown women who know that if a man is married he is not available for a relationship with them. It is then up to them to decline and walk away. To say you were being groomed makes it sound as if you don't have a brain of your own to guide you from what is right or wrong. It makes you sound like some weak wimp who is so desperate for affection that they can't make a sound decision.
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