Boundaries - Texting/Sexting
Hubby and I have very differing opinions on this subject & have for years. Texting has caused conflict because of differing views.
I have at times requested Hubby limit or eliminate texting during specific times such as when we're doing something special with our daughter, dinner with parents or other times that are limited to a short period of time. Short periods we seem to both be on the same page about. We both use our phones frequently so its not an issue of constantly putting limits. Hubby doesn't always seem to find it reasonable to limit for longer periods of time such as full days.
Another aspect is that I also care about the type of conversation taking place. I have learned quite a bit & found very enlightening advice here and so I kinda of suspect this may be an area I will hear some differing perspectives from my own which I welcome. What I mean by types is there are times that quick general "Hey there, hope you have a great day" wouldn't be an issue necessarily but sexting is not something I care for. Hubby's view is they are his conversations so the context of what is discussed between sexting to general hello's is irrelevant. (as a side note because Hubby & began in the swinging culture there has always been a easy transparency which we have continued despite our change in depth of relationship we seek. We don't share every detail but it's not uncommon to volunteer information ie: "How are things going with x today?" and the response being "Good. X is hanging out with family & not having fun." or "Great! Lots of sexy flirting." etc...)
Please before developing or sharing opinion allow me to share the details that shape this view for me with the following example.
I had an appointment for consultation with a surgeon today for a very invasive surgery. Hubby was texting while waiting for appointment with a woman he's just recently began conversing with (not an established relationship that needs daily nurturing). I shared with Hubby that I needed him to take a break from texting today (especially sexting - I made this specification because I knew a couple we do have a relationship with would be texting to share their well wishes & inquiring about how things went & didn't want to mean he couldn't respond to those along with the family that would be inquiring). This surgery is very scary & there are other things we needed to sort out as well financially as well as scheduling, dealing with work etc... Because of how much we had on our plate I needed him to be 100% here. I just wanted to close ranks for a day during a vulnerable time & tomorrow we could face what was coming and go about our lives as normal.
Hubby said he could facilitate my request. He did text to schedule a haircut (she's a stylist) which I was ok with. But then I found out this evening he had been sexting with her all day. I'm upset that not only did he agree and not honor (honestly though on this stressful day he could have felt comfortable saying he wasn't in agreement) but while we were talking about the risks of having my head cut open he was telling another woman how much he had been thinking about her & couldn't wait to go down on her. I'm hurt. is it asking for to much to leave outside interests be for one day? I don't know why exactly but the sexting part kind of bothers more than general conversation would have.
I know Hubby cares very much about what we're facing. I know he is extremely stressed. He finds playful & sometimes sexually explicit banter a stress reliever. He really doesn't understand what the big deal is. But for me - on days like this it's very important to me. I foresee this may cause further conflict, because Hubby does find it a stress reliever, if he is sharing sexy banter while I am in the hospital (I don't expect at all he would day of surgery - he's going to be a mess. But in the 3-4 days he will likely want to).
My surgery is next week. Friday he's going to see her for his haircut & evidently more. Now it's not just about the texting. I'm annoyed and now I'm annoyed he's seeing her. Maybe because he scheduled it today when I asked him to let things go. Maybe because I'm annoyed he's wanting to get together with new partners now - like it's so urgent during a time I want nothing more than to cocoon up & prepare mentally. Lots of raw emotions here.
I really have changed a lot of my perspectives from these forums. It would be great to see if I need to look at this a different way and not take so personally.
Edited to add...
I think part of the reason I wanted the whole day vs just during the appointment was because this was first visit with surgery and we had to decide - decide if brain surgery was the route we wanted to take. It was a day of reading the literature the dr provided, talking about pros & cons - making a huge decision. I thought it a day that deserved his full attention.
Another edit... (cut this part down because was getting too lengthy. Sorry if you read while I was editing)
One of the original responses said something about the circumstances amplifying things. I think that's another underlying element here. Hubby and I have not had a lot of experience seeing partners on separate nights. Emotionally because things do feel amplified I'm not keen on deal with any jealousy feelings or feeling left out. I just don't have the energy to do the work right now. The appointment is at her home so with agreed interest the option is there.
I think there are some situations in which I would definitely feel the same way. The surgery is a good example. While he's with you and supporting you, you need to know and trust that he's giving you his attention and not talking about having sex with others.
It seems to me, surgery is a one-time thing, and there would be a bunch of appointments, but during the appointments and the surgery, he should keep it non-sexual. Warn others that he's your husband first and foremost at these times.
This being said, I'm not sure it would apply to the whole day. Was the appointment the whole day?
I would try to understand if it's his way to cope (maybe he's worried about you and want to take his mind off of it for instance) but let him know it makes you feel lonely and like he's not there for you.
When Seamus had to go to the hospital, I stopped things with my friends with benefits, which he understood completely. It wasn't even out of respect or anything like that, I just wouldn't have been able to without feeling guilty. I still talked to him, but not about anything sexual. I mostly talked about Seamus, really.
When he left the hospital, he asked me about it, and I told him nothing happened while he was there, and he said he was relieved as he would have felt betrayed. And in that case it was for a week or two, so even after I was less worried because things were better, waiting really wasn't an issue.
I think I would have been very upset with my friend if, knowing my pretty-much-husband was in the hospital and needing surgery, he still had tried to be sexual. I would have taken it as a lack of respect for him and for me. I'm curious if your husband's friends know the situation and are sexting anyways.
Then again, as I said, it could be a distraction for him, helping him cope. Or it could be that he just doesn't understand what your problem with it is.
Tell him you need him to take a break and know you're there for him. His friend will still be around after next week, and she doesn't need that extra level of support you do right now. It's not like you're asking him not to see her for years. It seems you're not even asking her not to see her, provided they don't have sex while you're stressing out about your surgery and would rather have him (and maybe her, depending on how you get along) by your side, helping reassure you.
Do you think it might be bothering you because you know he's sexting her? Or that you know you wouldn't be doing the same thing if he was in your place? I ask because sometimes complete and total transparency can be a detriment depending on the situation. Like here, you feel that he should be 100% focused on you and he can't be if he's sexting with someone else, specifically a woman he hasn't established a relationship with.
You have enough on your plate already but is it possible that this is particularly bothersome because of the surgery up ahead? Things maybe feeling more intense than usual?
It is his way of coping. I know it is. I don't understand it. But it's who he is. I find it hurtful. Because of that my thought was there are other ways of coping that would not be hurtful to me.
This is a new new person. He litteraly just started talking to her this week. She's actually someone I think I would like (from what we know this early on) and would be very respectful (very important to me after his last interest that turned into a bunch of drama). She has no idea I'm having surgery or what was going on that day.
No. The appointment was not all day. Before my appointment he had already said gmorning to her so it wasn't that I was asking him to disappear did the day and not say a single word to her. I asked him if he could stop texting & any sexy stuff because I needed his support because I was freaking out. He didn't text during the appointment. But later in the day he did and I didn't really say much and didn't mind - so yea, I guess it was because I 'knew'.
I would not do the same. We're very different. When I get super stressed I have zero interest in sex. He on the other hand gets super sexed. Because this was a new new partner he had told me that he had not planned to jump into sex or sexting yet because he knew he tends to 'feel' like he likes the person after or 'feel' more like there's more in common but later realizes its not someone he would have chosen had he not been sexually involved. To my knowledge there was not sexual talk before yesterday & before yesterday he had not intended there to be anything sexual (beyond a kiss) on their first meeting. I think because he's stressed about me he's jumping the gun.
I wasn't concerned with him texting about whatever another day. I just needed a day to lean on him without feeling like his attentions were divided. I'm angry because I really feel like a single day shouldn't be too much to ask. If he had resumed business as usual today was fine. I just wanted one day to emotionally prepare for what was coming & face it head on. It's not like it's a minor surgery on my toe that I'm being over dramatic about. It's major surgery - though in this day & age it's rather routine - its brain surgery & I'm more than a little scared. I want to know there are select moments in our life I can ask to close ranks and honestly I want him to want to. Maybe that's asking him to be someone that he's not.
Because of this I told him I would feel hurt and betrayed if he texted while I was in surgery or the first day when I'm in ICU. Though I don't think I would be hurt the following days while I'm in the hospital but I told him I would because emotions were raw. I don't mind (and have told him) if he says G'morning, gives and update on how I am but I didn't think this girl that he had only by that time know 2 weeks & met once needed more. It isn't an established relationship & they should understand (I think she would). Part of me feels like a jerk for asking when I know this is a major coping mechanism and part of me is angry at him because it is.
The thing is he would be hugely hurt and angry if I had done the same thing! He wil never own it but it's true. He's very sensitive about such things because he had very hurtful things in his past (had a gf dump him because he had cancer). I goofed and broke a boundary about texting and it became a huge thing. We have an agreement in place zero texting during family events. It's in place because early on he would text like crazy during things with my parents (even an hour long dinner) and it became disruptive because he wasn't paying attention to anyone with his nose in his phone. It got to the point they started commenting. He realized he was being rude & we agreed no texting. The rule applied to both of us. We were spending an afternoon with my parents recently. I received a text before bf went to work. I notice the texts while in the restroom & we exchanged two texts. They weren't overtly sexual but did reference a conversation we had earlier that was (something along the lines of thinking delicious thoughts all day). Hubby was very hurt in part because it was the first I had ever broken a boundary & 2nd by sexy tone. His words at the time was that he was "hurt to the core". I know if I were exchanging naked photos and having explicitly sexual conversation on a day he'd asked me not to & especially when dealing with a medical issue he would be broken hearted. He disagrees.
Don't know if you ever had to sit and wait while someone you love is in surgery, but I know it can be extremely difficult, long and boring. Especially as this is is way of coping, I wouldn't put the restriction against the texting "while your in surgery", but definitely once you get out. I just went thru a surgery and could have cared less about what was going on during, but definitely didnt want the people with me afterwards (when I was awake and conscious) distracted by texts and emails.
Just something to think about.
It seems that your husband and I are similar and you and my husband are similar. Sex is definitely a stress relief for me; talking about it, feeling sexy, teasing, being teasted, all of these things calm me down when I'm stressed. Runic Wolf shuts down sexually when he's stressed. It is just not on his radar and he gets upset with me when he is stressed and I'm feeling sexual.
I would say that asking someone to stop texting for a whole day is a bit much. I don't sext b/c Wendigo doesn't believe in cell phones and will never own one if he can help it, but we did go through a period where we had sexy chats over instant messanger. If he is able to take a break from testing while you are in appointments, which it sounds like he was, than I would leave it at that.
I agree with SNeacil, that it would be unfair to ask him to refrain from texting while you are in surgery as that would be the time he'd most need to be able to reach out to people. If he was in the ER with you that would be a different thing all together, but I assume he won't be.
Thank you for the feedback!!!
I was able to take a step back knowing things are so hightened. Hubby and I were able to talk without so much charged emotion.
Before I go there I did want to respond that I have been there. Hubby had emergency surgery (aren't we the pair lol) and it is definitely agony sitting in the waiting room worrying. In that time anyone else can go fly a kite. I have zero emotional energy to deal with anyone else. I also have zero interest to use someone sexually for an outlet. But I realize Hubby and I are very different.
I don't understand the need for sex to cope. But I can understand while it's not for me using sex as a stress reliever is normal. I don't think it is fair to try to change Hubby. So I promised Hubby to make the conscious decision to not take it personally & to accept him as he is.
Hubby was able to address my concerns. He said he actually doesn't have an interest in talking to others while I'm in surgery or ICU. He intends to meditate, watch movies, read sports etc... I appreciate the suggestion to not limit while in surgery but while he is in the room with me while I'm in ICU at least.
I did aknowlege to him that he wasn't daft about my feelings and perhaps I took personally something that wasn't. He only texted after we had done our discussing about what to do & had made our decision to go ahead with surgery. And when I asked him to say goodnight for the evening and watch a movie with me to disconnect from things he happily obliged. Maybe I was busting his balls to much & taking my fear about what was going on on him.
I did talk about my fears or disinterest in dealing with taking the relationship to the next level tomorrow. He shared that though they were sexting there was no talk of or plan to act anything out tomorrow. While it may be her home he is keeping it professional because he is seeing her in the capacity that it is her place of work. He said he was excited to get to know more about her and he may kiss her goodbye but he had not intention of getting sexually involved that quickly. He also suggested I do something fun for me while he's gone to 1. Not feel like I'm being left out 2. Because I need an outlet to let go of the stress of what is going on.
I feel kinda foolish now - total over reaction. Its been a very stressful couple of months with my health and emotions have run high. I'm excited to get this surgery behind us and to go back to our life feeling better and not spread so thin I'm about to break.
It sounds to me that you would like some of that "mono" focus and being # 1 in someones heart and thoughts while some people are picking around in your skull. And I don't blame you a bit....I would too. My guess is he would to if roles were reversed. However I have a very low tolerance when it come to this ...if I'm taking or having a conversation and you feel the need to answer a text then you don't need to talk to me and we're done. ...simple. Its the same as walking up an interrupting because what they have to say has got to be more important. Whats more important???
Priorities ....getting a haircut and or getting his rocks off with a new chick vs you having brain surgery and health ....I might take a bat to the fucking phone or the fingers using it....just me :D again low frustration tolerance.
Good luck with your surgery and I hope you have a quick recovery.
I totally get the frustration with your husband and the constant texting. My husband does this, he is constantly texting, emailing or messing with his phone and it drives me batshit crazy. Granted some are legitimate work related stuff, he's not even sexting anyone (nowadays - I've checked :rolleyes:), but REALLY, can't I be a priority for a couple hours? It is hurtful even when your not facing something as incredibly daunting and scary as brain surgery. He isn't superman, he will forget and likely need to be reminded to put the phone away every now and then.
Glad you were able to speak up for what you needed. Good Luck!
Did you also ask him to refrain from talking to anybody aside from you? That's the only way that would have been consistent--if you asked him not to speak to people just because you thought he should do nothing except spectate at your experience. As it was, you simply asked him to not speak to some people, though that may have been only because there weren't many people in close proximity with whom he'd strike up conversation.
Get the idea that I think your request was unreasonable? You should. If he were to be texting while engaged in conversation with you, he would be out of line. When he's not actively engaged in a discussion with you and simply waiting, with whom he speaks and how he goes about doing it isn't something you get to decide.
And it was a big "fuck you" message to him. Fuck his experience--he can only think about yours. Fuck his way of managing his stress--he can only do what you want him to. Fuck him being his own person--he's supposed to be your pet/puppet and only do what you want.
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