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#2082170 - 09/25/10 09:11 AM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
SpinFree Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 137
Loc: Arkansas

Originally Posted By: The Goofball Formerly Known as SpinFree (pronounced &)
Is there a way that you can show him what you find sexy?


Originally Posted By: Frustrated2
Right now I feel so broken that I don't find anything sexy. I feel defensive and anxious. When I work up the courage and self confidence to try to do something sexy, I am accutely aware that it is not enough to satisfy my H and so it does not end up being a confidence building experience.


Can you do it in a situation where it *IS* enough?
On the way out the door, can you turn a quick peck into a lingering kiss? (Now get to work, handsome.)
When putting out dinner, can you stroke his ear/jaw/arm and tell him how glad you are to sit down with him?

I think if you go to the limit in a situation where it *can't* go any further it will help you both.

If he gets pissy, ask him what more you should have done when the kids are watching or he's on his way to work, etc. Just because he doesn't want to wait for baby steps, doesn't mean that he doesn't have to/need to.

Originally Posted By: Frustrated2
I really need to be able to learn how to touch and be touched again, and to feel relaxed and pleasant, I need to be able to build my self esteem and confidence, but ultimately I move too slow for him. He is not interested in taking small steps for me and then relieving himself, I think he is afraid that if he allows that then we will never go back to actually having sex. Because he is so concerned about having his wants/needs taken care of, it pretty much defeats my efforts to take care of what I need. I don't want him to feel rejected, but I also don't want to feel like I am just a piece of flesh that he uses to make himself feel good.


You've set a good personal boundary that you won't be used.

Set a personal boundary for 5-minute "sexy sessions" to accomplish what you want to accomplish. Your husband is invited to participate, but you will be having a sexual break with or without him. His needs are his own and he is responsible for them.

You get to decide how you are touched, how you touch him, and when you're finished. (A nice touch is to thank him when you're finished.) You then have to stick to your guns and not let him push you around during your sexual explorations.

If he decides not to participate because it's not what he wants drag your sexy self off by yourself and enjoy yourself. This is about YOU. You aren't responsible for his feelings. Only yours.

SpinFree, movie and a quiet dinner for one
_________________________
Me 42
Her 38
D 8
S 10
S 14

Married 18 years, together 20

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#2087855 - 10/11/10 02:17 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SpinFree]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 50
I'm not very good at the whole boundary thing, when push comes to shove I am a pushover. I also have not been doing a very good job of making progress on my issues that contribute to the ssm - I have not gotten the books I would like to read, much less read them; I haven't had time for any personal improvement and have not had the time or desire for "sexy sessions". My H has made efforts to be patient and kind, but he is only good for a couple of days and then gets frustrated that I haven't come around. I continue to struggle with the conundrum that he wants me to feel desire and be involved in sexual activity, yet he doesn't have the understanding or patience for what it will take for me to get there, so he wants a courtesty act in the meantime - and then complains that I am not involved. I try to explain that this is counter productive for me, but he doesn't seem to understand how that is possible. Unfortunately, we have been doing this for so long that I have now totally lost patience with the courtesy acts even. I am probably just repeating the same complaints over again here, but it sure helps to take a moment to try to organize my thoughts and identify what I am feeling.

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#2088021 - 10/11/10 05:37 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
Young at Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 503
Loc: Washington, the State
I can really identify with what you are talking about. I think that on one level you also have a very good understanding of what is happening in your marriage.

However, let me offer a slightly different perspective.

In addition to really needing sex, I really need to be touched and to be praised by my wife. In the Chapman 5 Lanaguages of Love Book, my primary language of love is touching, and my secondary language of love is words of affirmation.

Touch is a fairly high need for a lot of men. Sometimes in the past I know that I and other men have wanted to be touched by our wives and yet didn't know how to ask or get that and so tried to initiate sex as a way of also getting the touch we need. I am not sure if your husband is the same way or not, but you might explore that. Touch and sex are different.

Those weeks that my wife is traveling on work, or too busy for me, I find that getting a professional theraputic massage once a week helps me cope and feel a lot better and less out of sorts with her. In the book the Passionate Marriage, Schnarch talks about self soothing. I have even taken up some self massage for calf muscles and shoulders to try to self sooth and get a feeling of touch. Again, the point is that your husband's moods you define as his need for sex, could in fact also be related to a lack of "touching." Sue Johnson has a good book out on how important touch is to some people, it is called Hold Me Tight. Reading her book really helped me understand some of my basic needs.

Another thing that you might try is for you to massage your husband on the neck/back/foot, or to try to hold hands with him, if you are not too angry and can handle it. For a while, my wife, when she read in bed and would not talk to me, but at least put her toes against my legs or feet as a sign of affection. That was something I could use in my head to say that she was showing me that she desired and cared for me. It was a limited way of feeling touched by her, which made me feel loved.

At one of the low parts of my marriage, when my wife would not have sex nor would she praise me, I withdrew from her and focused more of my time at work, where by spending more time there; clients and coworkers would praise me for the things I accomplished. It was how I tried to emotionally survive. Oh course it made my wife feel like I was emotionally abandoning her, and made her more likely to reject any sexual initiation I tried.

The point is that in trying to deal with my feelings I fell into a partern of behavior that reinforced a negative spiral. My wife didn't provide the touch I needed or the words of affirmation and so I went elsewhere for that, which mean I spent less quality time with her (one of her primary languages of love.) Because she didn't feel loved by me, she withdrew even further from me and became even angrier at me.
It was a bad spiral.

We finally were able to break that spiral, by my working hard every day to make her feel loved in her languages of love, and by working with a sex therapist to point out to my wife that i was changes and my wife could either change with me or realize that I would divorce her within a year. Ultimately, my wife was able to change with me and together we have been fighting old habits and rebuilding our relationship.

Until she started to change, I felt like a massocist and kept asking myself why bother. Ultimately, I said it was worth the trying just to make sure I could say I tried everything before I divorced her. I wanted to try to make the marriage work and if it couldn't not look back with any regrets. I sense you too are asking yourself if you should try to "please" your husband or give up trying since he doesn't understand/meet your needs.

MWD talks about how at times just one partner can change things. I really believe that one partner can change themselves, but that it really takes both partners to establish new behavior paterns.

Again, as you state below, I think you have things pretty well figured out. Now I would suggest taht you need to push your comfort level and start making changes in your life in the hope that your husband can see the changes, can feel loved and is moved to change with you and meet your needs. Professional sex therapist counseling will help achieve these goals as well.

Good luck!


Quote:
...I continue to struggle with the conundrum that he wants me to feel desire and be involved in sexual activity, yet he doesn't have the understanding or patience for what it will take for me to get there, so he wants a courtesty act in the meantime - and then complains that I am not involved.

I try to explain that this is counter productive for me, but he doesn't seem to understand how that is possible.

Unfortunately, we have been doing this for so long that I have now totally lost patience with the courtesy acts even...
_________________________
>40 years of marriage--My wife and I are now closer than we have been in decades. I believe that my SSM is over.

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#2088487 - 10/12/10 04:43 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
Young at Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 503
Loc: Washington, the State
You might find the following link humorous...(since you would like to change your husband - which you probably cann't directly do)...

On training men
_________________________
>40 years of marriage--My wife and I are now closer than we have been in decades. I believe that my SSM is over.

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#2088567 - 10/12/10 09:57 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Young at Heart]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
How are you doing out there, F2? Anything new?
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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#2089504 - 10/14/10 04:24 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 50
Thank you Young at Heart for both of your recent posts. A neutral perspective and humor are always good for me.

SillyOldBear: Thank you for asking how I am doing. I feel like each day brings a challenge in the relationship, but that is nothing new. I am very tired of the issue.

The most recent incident occured because both of us were feeling a bit depressed about our situation and frustrated with the other. It came to a head, we each got angry, verbally sparred and then tried to let it go. Keeping Young At Heart's post above in mind, I spent the evening snuggled up to my husband but then wanted to go to sleep, without making any sexual efforts. My husband felt disappointed by the lack of sexual activity and said so. In the morning I explained that I was very tired of the battle about taking care of his sexual needs, but that I care about his feelings and was trying to be close and affectionate. He thought about it for a minute then asked for a hug and told me he loved me. It felt like a positive moment. I desperately hope that it can be sustained...but I doubt.

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#2089551 - 10/14/10 05:59 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
Young at Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 503
Loc: Washington, the State
Originally Posted By: Frustrated2
.....I explained that I ... was trying to be close and affectionate. He thought about it for a minute then asked for a hug and told me he loved me. It felt like a positive moment. I desperately hope that it can be sustained...but I doubt.


Maybe you should think of what you did (closeness & non argumentative explaination) as a "180."

It was something you did different and it produced a positive result. Write that one down so you will remember it.

Keep trying more "180's" until you have a list of things that "work" for your husband and you.

You are in a "high stakes" sociological study where your marriage and your happiness are the outcome of the game. You need to explore what does and doesn't work and keep track so that you can do more of the things that work for the both of you. This means that you have to actively try things that may not work (which will require courage on your part.)

Congratulations, keep up the good work!

Visualize sucess as opposed to assuming it won't keep happening. Remove the "...I doubt" from your thoughts. Become positive.

One of the very positive things that the sex therapist did with my wife and me was to help us visualize what a happy marriage would include and help push us to take small steps in that direction. Without a counselor, the successful 180's you initiate and repeat need to be your small steps.

P.S. I hope that you thanked your husband for the hug and his understanding. You want to reinforce his positive behavior. Have you figured out what he did? If he is a touch primary language of love guy, then his asking for a hug could have been him asking you to do something to make him feel loved or it could have been his saying that he loved you and was showing his love for you in his primary language of love. If he says non-verbally "I love you" and you answer with a non-verbal touch language "I love you too" you have really communicated with him and made him feel loved. If the two of you can also add verbal "I love you's" at the same time it is even stronger.

If his secondary language of love were verbal affirmation or praise and you then praised him for what he did, he would feel even more loved.

Men are really pretty simple creatures to train once you know their languages of love and as in the other post jokingly says, train them like a dog.

Good luck to you. Keep positive and keep trying.
_________________________
>40 years of marriage--My wife and I are now closer than we have been in decades. I believe that my SSM is over.

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#2089572 - 10/14/10 07:28 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Young at Heart]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
That IS a positive moment. The thing is, at this stage in the game, a positive moment could be followed by a blowout, and it's easy to get discouraged. But that's normal. Just the fact that you're talking to each other about these things openly and explicitly, without having to yell and fight about it, is positive. It means you both want more than what you're doing right now. Even if you feel like he doesn't understand or that he's not trying as hard as you are, he's trying.

Keep going! What are you doing about your GAL?
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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#2089951 - 10/15/10 01:02 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 50
Yes, it was a positive moment, but the doubt was reinforced. The next conversation was him saying "what did you say to me this morning?" and ultimately whatever happened the night before was reduced to the fact that he didn't get what he wanted and it was time to make up for it. I do feel discouraged and I feel like it is pointless to even try to share my feelings and perspective with him because he seems to hear my voice but not my words. I feel pretty strongly that counseling would help us,especially a sex therapist, but we live in a small, remote town where counseling choices are limited and he is unwilling to truly participate. In his own way he is trying to help improve the situation, but as is typical in a disagreement, he is not open minded or compassionate to the other side and is mainly interested in preserving his own argument.

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#2090333 - 10/16/10 12:30 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
I'm going to give you some advice now, because frankly that's what I do even when I'm not asked for advice. You may need to ignore some or all of it.

First, if you're not reading Margali's thread "Hello Hello is there anybody out there?" yet, you should be. Someone there is dealing with a similar situation from the other point of view, right down to the fact that both of you had a nice cuddly moment recently that could have turned sexual but didn't, and it caused hard feelings in both marriages. But she's your opposite; she's the one trying to get more sex from her husband. Might be interesting reading; I know that reading about how the LD spouses here feel has helped me empathize with my wife. This is even more important in a sex-starved marriage, because people tend to try to figure out why their spouses are "doing this to them" or "punishing them this way" and over time, forget that their spouse might have the best intentions and just not know how to fix the marriage.

Next, my advice on counseling is not to wait if you feel like you could benefit from it. The counselor is unlike your husband in that she's not going to be emotionally involved in what's going on, and she's unlike us on this board in that she will really know you and have a conversation with you in real time (plus, you can hope she'll be experienced, whereas we're just a bunch of other people who got fed up with our marriages.) If he won't do couples counseling, go to someone by yourself instead if you think counseling will help. He's in charge of what he does, you're in charge of what you do.
In the interest of full disclosure, I say this as a man who waited. We have adoption preservation family counseling sessions aimed at helping us deal with the high-risk twins we adopted, but we weren't seeing anyone for us. I wanted us to get marriage counseling or see a sex therapist, but my wife kept putting it off. She's been prescribed anti-depressants several times and acknowledges that she suffers from depression, but she had never seen a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist for it--she just got a prescription from her general practice. I'd been thinking I would go ahead and go to someone on my own now that I have insurance, but she hit rock bottom in a way a few weeks ago and was finally convinced that she needed to go someone individually. Her IC also recommended marriage counseling, but she still says she's not comfortable with that. If things continue, I'll start my own IC until she's willing to go for marriage counseling.

Oops! Gotta go! Just got paged. Back later.
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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