First of all, I think your high integrity/ high transparency approach is admirable. And that is especially true for the sex part.
Us humans are a confounded lot. Nowhere more so than in the bedroom where ego protection often crashes headlong into true intimacy.
I read this article about women faking it - and how bad that is for their LTR/marriage. And I nodded.
Because when you fake an orgasm you are combining apex intimacy with intentional deception. And when it's patterned deception - you are creating a huge amount of emotional torque.
So your H has a phobia of not being desirable. And it is a phobia - because you clearly desire him. And his phobia is triggered by you not reaching the rapture.
He also has a more general phobia of not seeming masculine/manly - which is why he claims to be fearless. Or at least to have no phobias.
So the approach to someone like that is to avoid words that - make him appear weak.
In the beginning - working through this with M2 - I learned that it was an epic fail to say:
I know that when I do XYZ, it makes you angry (and over time as I learned more - I discovered that the real deal was that XYZ caused her to feel either frightened or hurt - and that the anger was just a reaction - a secondary emotion)
Trial and error led me to a different delivery style which worked a lot better:
Sometimes I get the sense that when I do XYZ, that feels bad to you.
Sometimes I get the sense that you don't much like it when I do XYZ
And if I got a defensive reaction - I would bookend the conversation with this:
Everyone has likes and dislikes. Stuff that feels good and other stuff that feels bad.
And then I drop it.
I find this post fascinating and inspiring. What you did here is exactly what I try to do in my own marriage - I have a great interest in my own self discovery and simultaneously the discovery of my husbands inner workings as well - with the goal of a more harmonious marriage.
You were ingenious to discover M2's "phobias" as it gives you invaluable inside information about what her triggers are, so you can deftly maneuver around them and avoid any major landmines that might spring up.
I think every person on earth has those landmines scattered around them - but that each individual may not have the introspective clarity to know what their phobias and associate landmines are. Or they may know them, but refuse to acknowledge them or admit that they are there. There is nothing that I want more in my marriage than to learn and subsequently avoid my husbands landmines. I am 12 years into this relationship with him and still learning new things about him every day. My H conceals his phobias behind guarded doors. And he throws so much shade up around them that it is difficult for me to decipher what the truth is - he deflects me as soon as I get close to it. I've spent a long time studying him, and to this day I couldn't tell you whether the deflection I perceive is intentional (he is actively hiding parts of himself from me for some reason- shame? embarassment?) or unintentional (he has not even admitted his phobias to himself, so he tells himself and me that they just don't exist). 12 years in and I still feel like there are pieces of him that I don't really know at all.
One thing that struck me about this post of yours is that it appears that while M2 may not have given you these answers on a golden platter, she also did not actively work against you finding them or using them to help navigate your sticking points with her. You can see this because when you ask her for permission to do things, she doesn't protest against you asking, she just quietly says yes and is grateful that you asked first. That helps with your harmony with her.
Let's say my H had the same phobia - FOMO. He too would never dream of telling me I couldn't do something without him, so in reality I don't HAVE to ask permission as I know he will let me go. But let's say I asked permission as a courtesy to him per your move with M2. His reaction would be indignant. "Why are you asking me for permission? You know you don't need to ask me. Did you think I'd say no? Do you really think I am THAT overbearing that I'd tell you no? Have I ever said no to you before?" It gets to the point where I just roll my eyes and walk away, and get annoyed that I even tried to do something for his benefit when I get raked over the coals for it. How do you navigate that when your spouse won't let you help them?
What is most annoying to me - I try to be a completely open book. I think FW and I are kindred spirits in that regard because I am unapologetically honest in my life to the point of being seen as abrasive or intimidating. I have phobias for sure. More than the average woman, I think. I own them and for some of them, I even seek treatment. My husband knows them. I tell him what they are. I give them to him on the golden platter. I couldn't hide my flaws if I tried...it's just not in my nature to deceive. I would be horrible at it. Most importantly- I think that being unapologetically honest and forthcoming is the morally "right" thing to do. And to knowingly deceive is a major sin. (This is why I triggered hard a few pages ago when discussing the idea that LD'S must actively deceive those they enter into a relationship with. The whole idea that anyone would even accuse me of doing that stomps all over everything I believe in.)
Sometimes I think my husband is overwhelmed by my phobias, or that he cannot understand what it is like to have things that trigger an uncontrolled or exaggerated emotional response that logically you know is over the top, but that you feel you cannot stop from happening. I've tried to ask him if he has any phobias - literally anything in his life that causes him fear or anxiety- and he will look me in the eye and say "Nothing. I am not afraid of anything." And I can tell you he firmly believes it to be true. It's not true - it can't be true. Every single person on earth has things that cause them anxiety and fear. He's not a robot.
I can't for the life of me figure out how to bridge this gap and get to where you are with M2!
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