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#2090349 - 10/16/10 06:35 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
OK, I'm back. Sorry, somebody literally had a stroke.

So . . . now that I'm back, I see you're already reading the other thread and posting good insights, so ignore that.

The other thing I wanted to ask you about was the conversation/argument today. What happened? You said it started with your husband asking whether you remembered what you said last night. To what was he referring there?

Then, you say it came down to him demanding that you "make up for" not having sex last night, I think. Is that correct? What was your response to that?

I will tell you this from the HD point of view: How you decline sex makes a HUGE difference. If you're expressing your frustration with the whole situation when he asks you for sex, the way my wife was, you may be doing things like snapping at him ("Are you serious?!?" or "Do you HAVE to do that?") or even laughing at the idea of sex. It sounds like you don't do those things, but he may still be taking your refusal as a rejection of HIM, rather than declining sex.

It was a very big deal for me when I began to look at my wife's refusals as less personal; more akin to turning down someone who wants you to go to the bar tonight or go to a ball game tomorrow. It's hard for the HD spouse sometimes to remember that sex is something the LD spouse has to do with him, that it does require effort and take time even for someone who feels desire.

It really helped when she began to understand how I felt and refuse in different ways:

"I'm just too tired tonight. How about tomorrow?"
"I love you so much, but I can't do it right now."
"I do love you, and I do want to make love, but not tonight. How about this weekend?"

Notice sometimes she does suggest another time. That lets me know that it's not that she never wants sex with me again, just that this isn't the time. I don't like it, but I don't feel desperate or frightened. The catch is that if you do suggest another time, you're committed to it or he won't let you forget, so sometimes it's better not to do so.

From your description it sounds like he thinks that a "rain check" is implied when you say no. What do YOU think? Are you OK with that? I wouldn't like to be locked into that obligation, even as the HD spouse. If you don't either, have you told him that?
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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#2090372 - 10/16/10 08:34 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
Margali Offline
Member

Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Virginia
Wow, I'm glad I decided to check out this thread, and saw what SillyOld said about reading stories of the opposite point of view.

And I'm glad I saw the part where Frustrated said she was "tired of the battle." Yes! Yes! I'm "tired of the battle" too. I'm tired of worrying about this. That's why sometimes, I'm tempted to give up and just learn to live with a nonsexual marriage (since almost everything else about my DH is just right for me) OR, if we ever split up, just not ever get into a serious relationship again. You just get tired of the battle. You don't want everything to be such a BFD all the time. You just want to relax and laugh and have fun with the person you married.

Luckily, my DH and I enjoy a lot of the same things, have similar tastes, similar opinions, and a similar sense of humor. Well, that's why I'm still with him. What we've got out of bed is so good that I don't want to give it up (yet) because of our lack of activity in bed.

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#2091025 - 10/18/10 07:59 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: SillyOldBear

The other thing I wanted to ask you about was the conversation/argument today. What happened? You said it started with your husband asking whether you remembered what you said last night. To what was he referring there?

He didn't ask whether I remembered what I said, he asked "what did you say" which was so disappointing to me because I took it to mean that he hadn't really heard me.

Originally Posted By: SillyOldBear
The catch is that if you do suggest another time, you're committed to it or he won't let you forget, so sometimes it's better not to do so.

This is so true, and honestly, I am careful not to commit to another time because I might not be up to it when the time comes.

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#2092005 - 10/20/10 01:36 AM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
Ohhhh. . . I have a bad habit of asking people what they said or I said as a way to get them to repeat it back to me. . . bad old school teacher habit. I can see how that would be frustrating. I had a similar problem with my wife constantly talking about how I didn't listen and telling people how much I didn't listen . . . but ignoring everything I said and feeling free to talk over me.
The only thing that made any difference was to start demanding her attention. If I think she isn't listening, now, I stop talking and ask her if she's listening to me. Often she's not, but she catches herself with a rueful little smile now and refocuses when that happens. It'll take awhile, though.

Quote:
I am careful not to commit to another time because I might not be up to it when the time comes.

That IS very honest. And it's not a completely unreasonable way to look at it. Have you told him that you feel that way? If so, what was his reaction?

If not, let me suggest that you should tell him, but also that you should choose your words very carefully. He's in a sex-starved, scarcity mindset right now and he's not always going to hear what you say the way you say it. And you're in a harried, pestered state of mind and things might not come out the way you mean them, either. When my wife said things like that to me, I heard something like "I know you want to make love, and I know it hurts you when I reject you, and I know I could soften the blow if I said we would do it tomorrow . . . but sex with you turns me off so much that I just can't stand to promise that, because then tomorrow I'll have no escape and I'll have to have sex with you."

Something like "I'd like to promise to do it another time, but right now, I'm struggling with desire and it scares me to promise something without knowing for sure whether it'll happen or not. I don't want to make promises I can't keep."


Now, all that said, if you read the Sex-Starved Marriage book, you saw references to what MWD calls the "just do it" theory. Basically, she says that many people (more often women, but not always) believe that they should feel desire first and then get stimulation. But many people, especially women, can't do it that way, because they walk around without feeling desire for days, weeks, months or years--but when they relax and accept stimulation, suddenly the desire is there. This was a revelation for my wife, because I'd been complaining for years that she would be wild on the rare occasions when I could get her to make an effort sexually, then go back to asexuality the rest of the time.

She began trying to "just do it." Every once in awhile, when she didn't feel desire, she'd open up to kisses and touching anyway. What we found was that it does work . . . if she feels no desire, but she relaxes and forgets about trying to get aroused, all it takes is some kissing and touching and she's full of desire. The key difference is that she only does this when she wants to do it. I don't try to make her do it, and I don't think it would work if I did.

So if you decide that "just do it" might work for you, give it a try and see. But don't accept your husband trying to guilt you or push you into a sexual encounter you don't want to have; that's going to do the opposite.

The way I introduced "just do it" to my wife (before I'd ever read The Sex-Starved Marriage) was to say "Give me five minutes of your time with an open mind. Set the alarm if you want. At the end of five minutes, if you want me to stop what I'm doing and go take a cold shower, I will." She didn't always accept that challenge (and she doesn't always "just do it" today, either) but every time she did, she found herself unwilling to stop after five minutes.
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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#2092453 - 10/20/10 06:53 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: SillyOldBear]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 50
I actually went thru a phase in the progression of my relationship toward the ssm where I would "just do it", and it was ok, and sometimes I would find myself feeling something that I did not expect. I also tried to accept what my H suggested, that I was depriving myself by not wanting sex as much as he did. Unfortunately, more often than not I found myself feeling very distant, it felt more like a mechanical interaction than an intimate connection with my partner. It felt like he was only interested in getting, not giving, and was focused on the feelings that his orgasm gave him rather than sharing the experience with me. It was more like an "I'll get mine and you can get yours" attitude, which can be ok I guess if both people feel that way, but in a long term committed relationship it didn't feel right to me.

I also consciously tried to "just do it" again after reading the book. I have to be honest that I couldn't really give myself wholeheartedly to it, but I tried. Husband was not aware that I was trying this approach, he just thought that I was doing what I should be doing. He was noticeably happier but not necessarily more attentive, understanding or giving to me.

We have spent many years struggling with this issue. I can honestly say that I have tried very hard to accommodate him and make him happy. I don't think he has ever recognized or appreciated how hard I have tried because what he seems to see is that I have yet to become the sexual person he would like me to be. I think he feels that a healthy sexual relationship simply involves more sex and my definition of a healthy sexual relationship includes feeling respected and cared about while engaging sexually.

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#2093181 - 10/21/10 07:19 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
Young at Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Washington, the State
Originally Posted By: Frustrated2
....more often than not I found myself feeling very distant, it felt more like a mechanical interaction than an intimate connection with my partner. It felt like he was only interested in getting, not giving,

....I also consciously tried to "just do it" again after reading the book. I have to be honest that I couldn't really give myself wholeheartedly to it, but I tried.

...We have spent many years struggling with this issue. I can honestly say that I have tried very hard to accommodate him and make him happy.

...I don't think he has ever recognized or appreciated how hard I have tried because what he seems to see is that I have yet to become the sexual person he would like me to be.

...I think he feels that a healthy sexual relationship simply involves more sex and my definition of a healthy sexual relationship includes feeling respected and cared about while engaging sexually.


My heart goes out to you and your husband. You sound like the two of you are trapped in a relationship that if you could just change a few things, could blossom again.

I know that I found my wife and me in a negative spiral where she would withdraw from me and then I would focus on work and she would feel more abandoned. It sounds like if your husband could just figure out how to make you feel respected, carred for, and engage your spirit and mind that your relationship could blossom.

In my relationship having a skilled sex therapist and going to a couples marriage weekend course taught be John Gottman and his wife, really helped change the way we related to each other. We are still trying to make more changes, but at least those things got us back to visualizing a happy marriage and jointly working toward that goal.

One of the things that surprised me was how unhappy my wife had been and how much happier she became after we started to take care of each others needs more.

You might need an outside "change agent" to help you get what you feel you need out of the relationship. Good luck to you.
_________________________
>43 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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#2093465 - 10/22/10 02:29 AM Re: Trying Again [Re: Young at Heart]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
That is so hard.

I can feel the frustration radiating from your written words. It seems like you feel like you're the only one making an effort. I've been there--from the LD point of view--and it's a truly depressing feeling. I started to feel like things would just go on that way forever. I was counting the years left, saying to myself, "Do I have 50 more years of this? Do I want that?"

Did you feel like you could talk to your husband about what you were doing and why? It sounds like you tried to "just do it" without telling him about it. Were you uncomfortable talking about it? Or did he do something that made you think he wouldn't handle it the way you hoped?

Have you thought about what you will do if your husband makes a final decision that he isn't willing to (or doesn't need to) change? Are you willing to leave if you reach a point where you're certain he's never going to change? We don't cheerlead for people to leave marriages here, but there's a paradox: if you've thought about leaving, even wondered about it, there's some chance that you will leave at some point, and often hiding that possibility helps prevent you from working it out so that you no longer need to leave. Conversely, as hard as it is, sitting your spouse down and explaining that you've had thoughts of leaving and why, and explaining that you don't want to leave and that's why you want to make changes, can lead to changes you wouldn't see otherwise.

Nothing changed for me until I admitted that I'd begun to wonder about leaving. I'd been adamant (even to myself) that I would never ever leave no matter what, and that was part of my victim mentality--she'd tricked me into marrying her by acting like she liked sex, and now that she had me "trapped" and I "couldn't" leave her, she was free to taunt me and mock me and keep me celibate for the rest of her life (or at least the rest of mine.) It wasn't until I accepted that staying was my choice and I was responsible for every compromise I made and every outrage I accepted by staying that I was able to confront her with the statement that I would leave if I couldn't find a way to fix our marriage and I wanted her help for real.

Now, if you genuinely know that you aren't going to leave--if you're happy enough despite the sex situation, for instance--then all that doesn't make much difference for you. But you DO sound like someone who's doing all the heavy lifting. He seems to expect, not without reason, that you will make all the compromises and that you agree with him that his libido is right and yours is wrong.
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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#2093837 - 10/22/10 06:06 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Young at Heart]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: Young at Heart
You sound like the two of you are trapped in a relationship that if you could just change a few things, could blossom again.

I totally agree with this suggestion, in fact, this is the thought that motivates me to keep trying. I honestly believe that it is possible to resolve our issues, we just have not figured out the right way to do it yet.

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#2093891 - 10/22/10 07:05 PM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
Frustrated2 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 50
Have I thought about leaving? Yes! However, I adamantly (or stupidly) believe that it is possible to work things out. I know that I love my husband and that he loves me. H used to threaten to leave me, or to have an affair, or even to bring another woman into our lives just for sex. Those were very hurtful threats to me. I felt that he didn't love me enough to try to work with me. Remember that I never wanted to not have sex, I just wasn't comfortable with his attitude and beliefs about sex, and the way that he treated me in regard to sex. These days I believe that if he is unhappy enough with me to leave, then that is what he should do, but he has not made threats in a long time. If anything, we have traded shoes. The disparity in our personalities has caused stress in our relationship that goes beyond our sex life and over time I have lost patience and respect for him and what I see as his undesirable behaviors. I am not planning on leaving, but I also don't want to spend my life battling with him and suffering from the loss of self confidence and self esteem that are a result of the battles. I know deep down that if we separated I would be just fine and he would be the one struggling...but that is not what I want for us. I think he also realizes that his life would not necesarrily be nicer without me and I do believe that he wants our marriage to remain in tact and for both of us to be happy with each other.

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#2094134 - 10/23/10 03:40 AM Re: Trying Again [Re: Frustrated2]
SillyOldBear Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 538
Loc: Midwest
You're probably right to think things can be worked out in your marriage. I don't want to suggest that they can't. What I do want to suggest is that if you think about leaving, you tell your husband about those thoughts. I firmly believe that one of the reasons the stay-behind spouses elsewhere on this board get blindsided so "suddenly" is that they feel like they have things settled with their spouses . . . that maybe everyone's not really happy, but there's an unspoken agreement that what they do have is too good to give up.
In reality, the other spouse has been battling down the urge to throw a tantrum and leave for years. At first it was just passing notions and felt like no big deal, then they began thinking of all the reasons not to leave--which led to thinking about ways to get past those obstacles, or beginning to think, "well, I'd have to stay until the kids are raised, so that's ten more years . . . " and then waking up one morning and realizing that the last kid has moved out of the house.
Then one day they panic and decide they've been betraying themselves and they're ready to leave just like that. The stay-behind spouse thinks it all happened suddenly for no reason, but only because their spouse didn't talk to them openly about what they were feeling and what the stakes were. In effect, they didn't know the stakes they were playing for, and then they're left alone--and even if they had a LOT to do with the problems that drove their spouse out of the home, they feel with some justification that they've been sucker-punched without warning out of the blue.

I just want to encourage you to think it over and make sure that you're facing all the possible consequences for everyone and that you've made a real effort to have your husband understand what the consequences of his actions might be. It's not that it's a cure-all, it's just that if you let things like this stay under wraps they fester. It's like having a wound under a bandage. If you take the bandage off, you can see the pus and smell the sepsis, so you pour some peroxide in there and put a new bandage on nice and tight. That covers it up and you feel better for awhile, but if all you do is cover it up, you're going to end up losing the limb if you're lucky and your life if not. Don't let it fester.
_________________________
Recovering Sex-Starved Husband.

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