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I feel extremely guilty

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I feel extremely guilty

Postby ifeelbad » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:38 am

Hello,

I'm new on this forum. I need advice because I did something bad and I feel terribly guilty about it.
About 10 years ago, I was in a commited relationship with a guy I really loved (I'm a woman). Our sex life was great but we discussed how to make it spicier. I read an advice book and it said that men loved being woken up for sex. Therefore, I decided to try it. One night we made love and the next morning, I touched my boyfriend to wake him up. He seemed pleased about it and we made love afterwards when we were fully awake. I didn't think about it during all these years, but now with the metoo movement, I'm worried what I did was wrong because I didn't ask him if he would like to be woken up for sex beforehand. Although I know I acted badly, I didn't want to hurt my boyfriend, he meant so much to me. I feel so bad and so guilty. I cry all the time. How can I possibly forgive myself? I am a bad person. Unfortunately I broke up with my boyfriend years ago and we didn't keep in touch, so it is difficult to make amends. I need help. Thank you.
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby sprock » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:43 pm

Hey ifeelbad - thanks for posting, it takes some courage and honesty. I think metoo has woken up a lot of people to the importance and reality of enthusiastic consent. This is a really good thing - however, part of this involves difficult self-reflection that many are not so willing to engage in.

It seems immediately apparent to me that what you did was unwise. While it was wrong, it was not meant with any bad intent or against what you believe to be the wishes of your partner. I think the important thing is to focus on the fact that you 1.) know better now 2.) he was not upset or to all appearances hurt by what you did.

The difficult thing to deal with on a personal level is that anxious inner voice that says "I'm a sex offender/ abuser and have thus forfeited my humanity/ placed myself outside of the social sphere". I also committed an act of sexual violation (which I personally feel was more inexcusable than your own - though I recognise that almost all of us who posts on here feels that what they did was uniquely inexcusable because /we/ did it) just over a decade ago and while I still sit with it every day, I definitely don't have the self-loathing and pit-of-my-stomach fear that I once had. Posting and moderating here has helped, but I think the main thing that has helped has been involvement in voluntary and activist work, being honest (even though it is awkward and embarrassing and potentially loses friends) with people about what I did and not making excuses, and regular meditation.

I don't feel any less remorseful, but I find it easier to sit with that remorse without feeling panic-stricken or despairing. I now believe I still have a role to play in society and can better look myself in the eye in the mirror.

I hope this is encouraging on some level. You are not a complete "bad person" (and neither am I) because you have come to a point of self-reflection. We are both people who did something bad. While that might set us apart from the many thousands who have not transgressed or offended in such a way, we are also not so unlike them, especially as it seems increasingly apparent that a lot of people in our society have sexually transgressed or offended when younger, but never fully internalised the fact.

In terms of what you can do for your victim... I suspect he does not view himself as such. That is not to say that he was categorically "not victimised", but that what would be useful for you to do is different to if he did feel that way. While you could track him down on Facebook and apologise (or offer to turn yourself into the authorities) such a case would simply not be prosecuted and would be thrown out of court if it ever made it that far. As such, what you must focus on is doing good works that you can and teaching others about learning and practising good consent. I actually think it is potentially easier/ more socially acceptable for a woman to be doing this and that you could really help make a positive impact upon young people's lives! :)
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby m00m33mii » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:09 pm

I think there’s an important core message of #metoo and contemporary conversations surrounding consent that’s missing from your thoughts and anxieties.

That is, why is affirmative/clear consent so important? It’s because presumptive actions and advances CAN hurt people. CAN not WILL. That’s where consent comes in, you’re eliminating the possibility of doing harm by pre determining boundaries, rather than guessing.

Where your thoughts are making a leap is in the assumption that you’ve rendered your ex partner a victim. That really doesn’t sound like the case. It was for sure a risk doing something like this, but it doesn’t sound like it was the outcome, at all. Your mind is in a place of ‘oh no, I ruined everything’ when I think what would make more sense is a ‘phew, thank god I know better now and that my ex wasn’t fussed’.

Additionally, I think it’s unrealistic and unhelpful to scrutinise yourself in 2010 with 2020’s political and social discourse.

What with the magazine article you mentioned and everything, this discussion kind of reminds me of the discussions women were having a while ago about cat-calling. Some women were talking about how the found it to be a little confidence boost that made them feel good, and others were talking about how it felt dehumanising and scary. It all seemed to boil down to the point that, because it’s an act that affects people so differently and can do harm to some, even though a few like it, for safety it’s better off not being done. While your situation is different, I think there are some parallels.

Try not to blow the situation up and twist your own story into someone else’s. Every situation is unique. It says a lot about your character that you have so much concern for someone over actions taken so long ago. To me, it seems as though, luckily; your situation didn’t result in a victim or any issues other than those you’re experiencing now with your anxiety.

Chalk it up to a learning experience and look after yourself.
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby avatar123 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:58 pm

I think if you had consensual sex the night before, then woke him up in an erotic manner to have consensual sex again, that doesn't cross any lines. I'd be very surprised if he thought you did anything wrong. Most likely it was the pleasant experience for him that you intended.

If you had persisted after he had expressed his discomfort with what was happening, or his behavior was distressed and you continued anyway, that would of course be a different issue, as it would raise the issue of actual consent. It doesn't sound like he was uncomfortable, but you would best be able to judge.

The #MeToo movement has been a great thing, as it has massively elevated the visibility of consent, but that doesn't mean that romantic interludes between committed partners cannot have implied consent, by enthusiastic participation. The key issue is awareness of the other person's state of mind. In situations where that is in doubt, or if you don't know the person well or have not been sexual before, it's best to get verbal consent. But if not in doubt, if the other person is in a relationship with you, and is responsive and welcoming towards you, while in a clear state of mind, it's not wrong to proceed, as long as you are satisfied in your mind that it's clearly mutual.
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby ifeelbad » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:32 pm

Thank you so much for your answers. I definitely feel better now.
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby sprock » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:03 am

Aw really glad to read that - rightly so! :)
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Re: I feel extremely guilty

Postby m00m33mii » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:14 pm

ifeelbad wrote:Thank you so much for your answers. I definitely feel better now.


I’m overjoyed to hear this. Stay well. x
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