Obsession & Avoidance
anonymous Asks ...
I like to have one night stands and I have done this more than 400 times. Now I have a son who is 5 and I am realizing that I am never there for him emotionally because I am always thinking about sex and spending a lot of time finding new women to have sex with (it has to me new women every time to be exciting). When I go out at night but I can’t find a suitable partner I get very moody and hard to be around and then that makes me a bad father too. I can’t pay attention to my son when I am thinking about sex and I am too hard to be around when I don’t get it. I never realized that sex was a problem until my son started to not pay attention to me and when I asked him mom why she told me it was because I never gave him any attention. That hurt me for real. I am not sure how to stop because my habits are so set in place and I feel like I need sex or I will explode. How to I stop obsessing about this? I am 27 now so I think I should have had enough by now.
Jim LaPierre Says ...
I'm really glad you wrote to me. Your question has a lot of layers to it and while it's clear that you need help with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior - it's even more clear that you're ashamed and can't tolerate failing your son. The world needs more good dads. You've identified the obstacles to being the dad you want to be - but this is more than behavior and desire - this is a disconnect with yourself. You don't feel good about who you are - only about what you do. I'm guessing sex is a poor substitute for love in your life.
You're looking to fill an emptiness with something you can never get enough of.
I wonder what you know about loving others and if you're able to really understand what it feels like for your son?
See here's the thing - I think you know a lot about what it feels like for your son. I'd bet a month's pay that while you're able to bed a woman, you can't sustain anything deeper than bar room conversation.
I don't say these things to put you down - I say them to illustrate that the issue runs much deeper than your thoughts and actions. It's about being able to have empathy and meaningfully connecting to others. There is no greater honor nor more important job in this world than being a dad (everyone has a father only the lucky ones have a dad).
You fear intimacy and relating to our children requires vulnerability that scares you. Step up. Find a therapist who will not focus on simply your behavior but who will challenge you to find the connections between your past experiences and your present priorities, perspective, and behavior.
How much are you like your father?
Get this right - no amount of sex or success in any other part of your life will take away this pain. It's not too late. Your boy is 5. He will forgive you but his needs have to come before your own. Therapy can help you discover what your needs are. Write to me again and let me know what you find.
I'm biased (and unapologetic for it). The two greatest things I have ever done are to raise my son and my daughter. I will never do anything half as important in my lifetime. I make myself available to you as a resource because I'd rather serve a guy like you now than your son 10-15 years down the road.
I wish you well but I also implore you to get this right, right away. You can do this!