Severing Ties With Ex Who's Into S & M

Love, Sex

Often the emotional ties that bind are stronger and more durable than their physical counterparts.

Question: I split from my ex five months ago.  It was not a good relationship although I tried to make it good for 3 1/2 years.  The reason we split was because of his sex addiction.  He actually wanted me to go away for a couple of months so he could indulge his BDSM lifestyle - and then come back home.  He never understood why I did not enjoy this type of sex (he liked domination, torture and pain -- for me, not him) and thought it unfair that I would deny him this indulgence and if I wouldn't play along he should be able to go outside of our relationship.  Call me crazy but I think a monogamous relationship doesn't allow for extras.  Our therapist suggested treatment for sex addiction but he never thought anything was wrong.  He still doesn't understand why I had a problem with his request and has told family and friends horrible things about me.  His parents won't even speak to me and I was very close to them.

I have a stalking order against him (there's another long story) and I have had no contact with him since the split.  My problem is that I can't seem to let go.  I think about him all the time, worry about him and I know he's doing foolish things.  All things I have no control over and logically know I don't want in my life.  I guess I just want to know why men say they love you and then can't control themselves concerning sex.  And not think it's wrong or disrespectful.  Can you explain that one for me? ...Tara

Answer: From what I can gather from your letter, it seems apparent that your ex saw your relationship as one where his desires and wishes were of paramount importance, while yours were, annoying and insignificant.  A relationship built on such inequality is doomed from the beginning, and the fact that you were able to last for three and a half years is simply a testament to your tolerance and determination to continue to invest in a losing commodity – him.

For the most part, I am of the belief that sexual behavior between two consenting adults should be as “white bread” or kinky as both the participants are comfortable with.  In other words, if you both got off on S & M, go for it.  But his badgering you to participate in an activity that he knew would cause you physical pain - pain which you obviously did not want to endure – is the epitome of selfishness and shows a blatant disregard for you and your feelings.  In fact, the only masochistic tendencies you exhibited were those that lead you to remain in a less-than-satisfying relationship with a semi-sadistic narcissist.  And while he may have been motivated to infidelity by his sex addiction, his rubbing your face in it by suggesting you should “go away for a couple months” so he could satisfy his desire to engage in extracurricular activities, smacks of emotional abuse, in light of your supposedly monogamous status.   

At this point, one has to wonder why would you have any positive feeling left for this guy, given the heinous treatment you endured during your relationship, and the slandering you were subject to after?  You can certainly do much better.  Let me repeat that – “you can do much better.”  And, yes, you can let go – you just don’t want to badly enough.  So quit it!  Stop indulging your bruised and battered self-esteem.  Regardless of any positive attributes he may have possessed, overwhelmingly your ex was bad news.  And the only reason to waste additional emotional energy on him, is because you want to continue to revel in the misery that was your relationship.  At best, that’s dysfunctional – at worst, deeply self-destructive.  You’ve left him physically, now cut the emotional ties, and cut them for good!

Now (at long last), to your question: “Why do men say they love you and then can't control themselves concerning sex?”  The fact is, they can, but they sometimes choose not to, either because of laziness, weakness or lack of discipline.  Still others just don’t want to control their activities, and view your attempts to quash their philandering ways as a personal affront. Your ex falls into the latter category.  And while this group of men may be fully cognizant of the fact that treating you like that is wrong and disrespectful, they are just too self-involved to really care.  

But do not despair.  There are many good guys out there who understand the meaning of fidelity, and are interested and even anxious to be involved in a mutually rewarding sexual/emotional relationship with you – one without torture, physical pain, and ongoing emotional abuse.  Actively focus on seeking out one of these guys, while simultaneously severing all ties with the protagonist of your painful past.  Do this, and I promise that your heart and your self-esteem will both breathe a big sigh of relief.

© 2010 David M. Matthews.  All Rights Reserved.

Besides being a relationship coach and author of the controversial book, "Every Man Sees You Naked: An Insider's Guide to How Men Think," David M. Matthews is an Emmy-winning TV Writer/Producer who's worked on some of television's best shows.

For more information on David or to get a copy of his free report on "The 3 Things Men Are REALLY Looking For In A Relationship," go to

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.