For Those Of You In The "in Between" State, A Little Insight . . .

I see alot of newbies on the forum and it is heartbreaking to hear the stories, the worst part is that they still have hope. And I know, and most of us here know, there isn't any.  I am 2 weeks into my "no pills, no begging, no crying" recovery and would like to just share some insights (oh, and I quit smoking 2 days ago and haven't tried to kill anybody!).

And I would like to point out that most of us here have been through the Viagra/hormone therapy, counseling, "the talks (LOTS of them", bargaining, begging, praying and swearing celibacy or affairs, so it's not like we went 30 days with no sex and said OMG, I need a support group.

1) You can't "win" them back. Stop trying, you're killing your self esteem.
2) Quit focusing on it. Sex is important, but you're not going to get it from them and, if you do, they will make you beg for it, give it once, and then go back to refusing.
3)  If you'e spilled your heart out to them and they've made no effort to change, they DON'T WANT TO CHANGE. Stop trying to make them. They have this power over you, they need it, they're using it, they're abusing you with it.
4) Focus on yourself, do some yoga, take some classes, surround yourself with friends, and don't bring up the subject to SO anymore.
5) Don't be surprised when, after you implement #4, they a) have sex with you a few times because that power they had is slipping away and they're trying to figure out what happened and b) if you take them up on it, enjoy it for what it is and don't expect it to be a real change and c) if you don't take them up on it, be prepared for them to make YOU the refuser, play the victim/martyr.
6) Take some time to look down the road. What do you want in 6 months? 2 years? 5 years? Is it living in a sexless marriage with your partner and just making the best of it because they're wonderful, the father/mother of your children, you can't afford your own place, etc? Because if that's OK, then fine, make your peace with it and start learning how to cope. If it's not, then you need to figure out how to extradite yourself.
7) This is advice, don't do the affair route. You may be lucky but probably not. Bringing another person, their spouse and children, etc. into your hell isn't going to help you. You aren't addressing the specific issue in your relationship, you're hiding it just like I did (with xanax). Be aware of bad habits that "numb" your pain, affairs, pills, liquor, cigarettes, eating disorders, etc. Don't hide the issue behind these things. You have to face it.

I would be interested to have someone start a "status" thread in the forum so we could keep up with where we all are in are journey. I fully believe I will have setbacks (hopefully not with the pills), but I fully intend to overcome them and keep moving on. 2 steps forward and 1 step back, I'm sure.

Now that I read it, it doesn't make as much sense as it did in my head. But this forum is great, the people are great, you'll get alot of good insights here.  Good luck!

GingerJen GingerJen
41-45
13 Responses Aug 9, 2010

Well, don't congratulate me too quickly, a little lesson how fast things can change. I have been doing my own thing, no pressure on him, just happy to be here and being a good supportive wife, no mention of sex (though the big brown box from The Stockroom got his attention "don't worry" I chirped, "it's all for me". So he offers it this afternoon, hey - I'm free, it's OK, over too quick, but OK, and while we're laying their snuggling and I'm forgetting I hate him, he says "we should do this more" and I purr "well, I'm always up for it" and he says "yeah, we could do it more if you weren't so uptight and frigid". Ummmm, me? Frigid???? OH NO HE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT. I have melted like Marilyn Monroe butter at his touch every since he's known me. The only time I turn down sex is during the flu, or after surgery. So, I skip to our dinner date we've had made for a week to a nice restaurant b/c I always cook and never get to go out. He doesn't want to go (by now the cuddling is getting icy). I say "great! I'll go by myself, it doesn't bother me - you want me to bring you something home" So then he decides to go and pout the whole time. I mean, come on guys, he had to make love to me AND buy my dinner? I'm not fighting him over it, but I did break all three rules, I cried a little hiding over behind the duck pen, smoked a cigarette and then chewed up a xanax.<br />
<br />
SIGH. And to top it all off, there is a little rode hard put up wet women up the street he's suddenly taken an interest in. I think it's a platonic affair, her husband would kill them both and i think she's just using him to curry political favors for her and her business BUT her number is showing up alot on his phone. The bad thing is I don't really care. I emailed an old lover today and broke my other rule of not bringing anyone else into it, but I really just want to email back and forth with him. I don't want to actually see him. Bad day, ya'll. And they come! Boy, do they come.<br />
<br />
I think "in between" is the most dangerous, it's definately the scariest. I have a 3 year goal, will have my degree in 2 years and a kick *** job after that then I'm OUTTA HERE. He told me he would support me in getting a degree but not a job. Ummm, you jackass, you won't have a thing to say about it.<br />
<br />
Tomorrow is another day and I will be stronger. I can lick this. Just other be warned at the pitfalls that await you when you're "in betwen". One foot in the past, one in the future, and your poor body stuck in the present.<br />
<br />
Wish me luck.

Hi GingerJen<br />
<br />
This is a great post. Thanks for posting this for those here who are still going around in circles. I don't think every refuser is doing it for power though. I know mine wasn't. But the advice you give regarding what people can do to regain some of themselves is very solid.

Thanks for sharing your story. My husband said my insecurities make him not want to touch me.. I'm trying to be more confident and do my own thing but I know I'm not going to stop being insecure over night..

Maninfull, interestingly positive relationships can be unhealthy regards sex too. Specifically Sex.<br />
<br />
First the concept of enmeshment needs to be introduced. Again, I have lifted this from some article or another...<br />
<br />
Long term negative bonding - enmeshment<br />
<br />
Couples who spend years together lurching from one negative bonding pattern to the next, become so enmeshed that they no longer know how to escape and become trapped in the on-going cycle. Enmeshed couples are easy to identify. One or both partners complain loudly and at length to friends, family, councillors and anyone else who will listen, about how terrible things are in the relationship. However even after years like this they stay stuck in continual negative bonding. <br />
Enmeshment is like being caught in an emotional net from which there seems to be no escape. <br />
<br />
Understanding negative bonding plus awareness of the inner selves as protectors of the inner child and the underlying vulnerability are the starting points for ending enmeshment. <br />
There is a more subtle side to enmeshment and that is when there is a hidden payoff for each partner which keeps them coming back for more. For some being in a long term negative bond is still better than being alone or abandoned. For others the joy of beating the partner down seems to help relieve their own pain coming from their childhood abuse. There is no doubt that some selves tell us we are less vulnerable each time we make someone else more vulnerable. <br />
<br />
Someone with selves like this may find it much harder to see the damaging nature of the bonding pattern they are stuck in until it is too late.<br />
<br />
I see a lot on ILIASM that appear to be in this state. (For some time me included!) Please note, this is my laymans babble based on nothing of substance, so read it as intended, just a snippit of information that may point someone in a direction that may help. If one wants serious psychobabble help go to a good couples therapist!<br />
<br />
But to get back to the point, positive bonding can mess up sex...<br />
<br />
Positive Bonding patterns<br />
The roles are reversed in a positive bonding pattern. EG. Jack's Rescuer Father (meaning a facet of his internal thought process) might fix Jill's car which sets up a positive pattern with Jill's Appreciative pleaser daughter (meaning a facet of her internal thought process). "Oh Jack you are so wonderful spending the whole day working on my car! I love you so much." Jill may then loop into Nurturing Mother (meaning a facet of her internal thought process) and spend the evening cooking Jack a special meal, tidying the house and washing Jack's clothes while Jack relaxes into Protected Son (meaning a facet of his internal thought process) and watches TV. <br />
One problem with positive bonding is that there are usually hidden conditional expectations of getting something back in return. When these are not met the pattern can go negative very quickly. (Do what I want and ill have sex with yo? - my input there, not part of article)<br />
<br />
The other big problem is that sex between a couple in long term positive bonding is often unsatisfying if neither person in the bed is in an adult state. If one or both partners are ****** survivors the overtones can be so toxic that often the 'relationship' where a positively bonded couple who say "We never fight." may be the same one where they also never have sex. (A bit of playful positive bonding in bed is OK on occasions, just don't let it become too regular. Sex is meant to be grown-up's work. don't leave it to the selves.)<br />
<br />
The thing is, you really need a psychologist to work through all this crap. You are reading sound bites, the kind you get on daytime TV. <br />
To put it bluntly - If you want it fixing you BOTH need to get GOOD couples therapy and the chances are it wont work. If your partner wont go then you are doomed, you will become self aware and see with clarity and the partner will not, you will leave and they still wont know why. Dont beat yourself up about it.<br />
<br />
Again, I lifted this so it wont apply to all, so read it as intended, just something to ponder for a moment...

Yes - Power!<br />
The need to control comes from fear, fear makes low self esteem, creates a need to control, a need for Power! This can be and mostly is subconsious I believe. A facet of this is denial, refusal - So Tahoebaby, you said "And yet they really do love you in some crazy way." and this it so true.<br />
<br />
So, again I have lifted some psychobabble from somewhere, take from it want you want, and again, one size does not fit all.<br />
<br />
Power and control are two of the most significant issues in any relationship. The more trouble the relationship is facing, the more these power and control issues will come to the surface. The better the relationship is working the less power and control issues will be a problem. <br />
<br />
A really functional "grown-up" relationship will be marked by the lack of emphasis on issues about power or control. Instead, both the partners will feel closely connected (linkage) while maintaining a strong sense of individuality and independence within the relationship. This is how relationships are meant to be.<br />
<br />
None of the first four kinds of relationship described below, are recommended. But I have included these four as a kind of bench-mark and as a contrast with number five, the "grown-up" relationship. Many of us have experienced one of more of these first four kinds of relationship in the past and most of us hope to avoid them again in the future. But because they have been so fully accepted (traditionally) in the past it's worth looking at them in terms of two basic positions:<br />
<br />
how effectively power and control issues are resolved <br />
and<br />
<br />
how much or how little individuality and freedom is experienced by each partner within the relationship <br />
Number five, the "grown-up" relationship is different. This kind can only be created by both partners working together as a team to discover better ways to minimise power and control issues. At the same time both partners work just as hard to recognise and maintain a strong sense of individuality within the relationship.<br />
<br />
1. Traditional Patriarchal.<br />
<br />
This type of relationship is based on male dominated teachings typically found in conservative religion based societies where the male is regarded as unquestionably dominant. Patriarchal relationships are based on and justified by their traditional view which regards women as weaker, less intelligent and therefore entitled to be controlled by the stronger male. Neither men nor women question this assumption. Females are expected to be subservient to males on most matters both within and outside the family. In this kind of relationship while the male experiences many opportunities for independence, there is very little opportunity for the female to experience life as an individual. See also separate page about the Inner Patriarch and Inner Matriarch.<br />
<br />
2. Traditional Matriarchal.<br />
<br />
This type of relationship while theoretically acknowledging the male as the head of the partnership, in practice places the female in the position where she exercises many subtle but powerful forms of control. This results in her having the final say on many significant family issues. Matriarchal relationships tend to regard men as being at best, "little boys" who (when it comes to family matters) need to be guided by stronger women. It is commonly found in many traditional Mediterranean, Eastern European and Jewish societies. Neither male nor females feel much sense of independence or freedom to be themselves as individuals. See also separate page about the Inner Patriarch and Inner Matriarch.<br />
<br />
3. Co-dependent relationship<br />
The unquestioned assumption here is that "the relationship" is more important than the independence of either individual.<br />
<br />
Each partner is focused mainly on finding ways to make the "relationship" work. So each partner experiences a major loss of self (their individual identity.) After a while each partner recognises this loss but they each tend to blame the other partner for causing it. Typically a co-dependent relationship allows neither partner very much room to experience life or to grow as an individual. (See separate page "The Fable of the Two Codependents".)<br />
<br />
4. Engulfment-Abandonment relationship (the Dance)<br />
<br />
In a relationship like this, each partner would describe themselves as controlled by the other. However, what one is experiencing as "control" is almost totally opposite of what the other is experiencing as "control".<br />
<br />
Partner A has strong abandonment issues, a fear of not being close enough to his or her partner. Partner E has the opposite, that is strong issues about being engulfed or smothered by a partner who wants to get too close too much of the time.<br />
<br />
Partner A's aim is to continually try to get closer and closer to Partner E to make sure E will not abandon him or her. <br />
<br />
Meanwhile Partner E is continually trying to break free from what they see as A’s engulfing, smothering and clinging.<br />
<br />
Power and Control issues in this relationship<br />
<br />
So Partner A’s experience of being powerless and controlled in the relationship is based on their ever-present fear that E will abandon them. However, E experiences a different sense of being controlled. Partner A who is seen as "controlling" through his or her continually trying to keep E too close. <br />
<br />
Partner E with strong engulfment issues is overly concerned about losing his or her own identity, of being overpowered and over-controlled by Partner A. Which as we know is poor old worried A’s way of trying to reduce his or her fear of being abandoned.<br />
<br />
Individuality issues in this relationship<br />
<br />
There is an irreconcilable conflict here: <br />
<br />
E's fear of loss of individuality through being over-controlled by A <br />
A's fear of being left alone which for A means too much individuality <br />
The more A tries to keep E close to them the more E will feel overly smothered or controlled. This increases the chance that E will naturally try to spend even less time with A in order to maintain their (E's) sense of individuality. <br />
<br />
Interestingly, an E partner, in trying to protect their individuality may have a fear that they will appear as "too controlling" since they do not like being controlled themselves. So they tend to avoid methods of control like manipulation that they regard as "dishonest". <br />
The A partner on the other hand may be inclined to use almost any technique including manipulation to try to keep E. close to them. That leads to more disagreements, more abandonment for A, more engulfing for E. Backwards and forwards they go, the result is often described as being like a kind of toxic self-defeating dance. It's not a pretty sight, but one that is all too common.<br />
<br />
5. The Grown up Relationship<br />
<br />
One of the comfortable features of this kind of relationship is that issues around power and control take up very little time and seldom assume much importance for either partner. A peaceful relationship is not one that is free of conflict. It is one where both partners have the ability to deal with conflict in fair and moderate ways.<br />
<br />
As they follow the guidelines below and other guides they work out for themselves, grown-up partners learn to define and agree on how their particular relationship can work best for them. There are no standard rules, each couple has to work their own set of rules out between them. However typically there will be some emphasis on issues like:<br />
<br />
ways they are both comfortable with for developing a very strong personal bond and ways of connecting closely and comfortably with a high level of trust, mutual respect and friendship<br />
<br />
at the same time, allowing each partner plenty of room to still maintain their individuality, that is each person allowing the other as much space as they need to continue being who they are as an individual<br />
<br />
ways of developing closer intimacy at some times, while maintaining strong individuality at other times <br />
To achieve this kind of outcome both partners will need to become well practised in different grown-up partnership skills. These will in themselves help define the nature of their individual relationship for example:<br />
<br />
working out ways that suit both partners that allow them to share any resource that is limited, for example, time, money, physical energy, space, professional activities and so on. For example: For how long and how often does each person want to spend time with the other and how much time apart? How will expenses be shared? What expenses will not be shared? How much time is it Ok to spend apart because of work or professional commitments?<br />
<br />
agreement about defined limits, that is what is and is not acceptable within the relationship. This is a very important part of providing each partner with a continued sense of being an individual, and protecting them from losing their individuality within the relationship. Some relationships may involve very few limits and still be successful.<br />
<br />
a willingness to experiment, to try new ideas and solutions without a guarantee that they will work. It helps if there is acceptance that in a relationship there is no such thing as a totally failed experiment. Some useful new information will always be discovered as a result of trial and error experiments even if the end result shows of no immediate benefit. <br />
developing their own set of negotiation (conflict resolution) skills to deal with issues of conflict. Understanding that in every negotiation it is normal for one person to want more or less than the other. Negotiation it is just grown-up way of discovering a midpoint where both are as comfortable as possible with the outcome.

Yes - Power!<br />
The need to control comes from fear, fear makes low self esteem, creates a need to control, a need for Power! This can be and mostly is subconsious I believe. A facet of this is denial, refusal - So Tahoebaby, you said "And yet they really do love you in some crazy way." and this it so true.<br />
<br />
So, again I have lifted some psychobabble from somewhere, take from it want you want, and again, one size does not fit all.<br />
<br />
Power and control are two of the most significant issues in any relationship. The more trouble the relationship is facing, the more these power and control issues will come to the surface. The better the relationship is working the less power and control issues will be a problem. <br />
<br />
A really functional "grown-up" relationship will be marked by the lack of emphasis on issues about power or control. Instead, both the partners will feel closely connected (linkage) while maintaining a strong sense of individuality and independence within the relationship. This is how relationships are meant to be.<br />
<br />
None of the first four kinds of relationship described below, are recommended. But I have included these four as a kind of bench-mark and as a contrast with number five, the "grown-up" relationship. Many of us have experienced one of more of these first four kinds of relationship in the past and most of us hope to avoid them again in the future. But because they have been so fully accepted (traditionally) in the past it's worth looking at them in terms of two basic positions:<br />
<br />
how effectively power and control issues are resolved <br />
and<br />
<br />
how much or how little individuality and freedom is experienced by each partner within the relationship <br />
Number five, the "grown-up" relationship is different. This kind can only be created by both partners working together as a team to discover better ways to minimise power and control issues. At the same time both partners work just as hard to recognise and maintain a strong sense of individuality within the relationship.<br />
<br />
1. Traditional Patriarchal.<br />
<br />
This type of relationship is based on male dominated teachings typically found in conservative religion based societies where the male is regarded as unquestionably dominant. Patriarchal relationships are based on and justified by their traditional view which regards women as weaker, less intelligent and therefore entitled to be controlled by the stronger male. Neither men nor women question this assumption. Females are expected to be subservient to males on most matters both within and outside the family. In this kind of relationship while the male experiences many opportunities for independence, there is very little opportunity for the female to experience life as an individual. See also separate page about the Inner Patriarch and Inner Matriarch.<br />
<br />
2. Traditional Matriarchal.<br />
<br />
This type of relationship while theoretically acknowledging the male as the head of the partnership, in practice places the female in the position where she exercises many subtle but powerful forms of control. This results in her having the final say on many significant family issues. Matriarchal relationships tend to regard men as being at best, "little boys" who (when it comes to family matters) need to be guided by stronger women. It is commonly found in many traditional Mediterranean, Eastern European and Jewish societies. Neither male nor females feel much sense of independence or freedom to be themselves as individuals. See also separate page about the Inner Patriarch and Inner Matriarch.<br />
<br />
3. Co-dependent relationship<br />
The unquestioned assumption here is that "the relationship" is more important than the independence of either individual.<br />
<br />
Each partner is focused mainly on finding ways to make the "relationship" work. So each partner experiences a major loss of self (their individual identity.) After a while each partner recognises this loss but they each tend to blame the other partner for causing it. Typically a co-dependent relationship allows neither partner very much room to experience life or to grow as an individual. (See separate page "The Fable of the Two Codependents".)<br />
<br />
4. Engulfment-Abandonment relationship (the Dance)<br />
<br />
In a relationship like this, each partner would describe themselves as controlled by the other. However, what one is experiencing as "control" is almost totally opposite of what the other is experiencing as "control".<br />
<br />
Partner A has strong abandonment issues, a fear of not being close enough to his or her partner. Partner E has the opposite, that is strong issues about being engulfed or smothered by a partner who wants to get too close too much of the time.<br />
<br />
Partner A's aim is to continually try to get closer and closer to Partner E to make sure E will not abandon him or her. <br />
<br />
Meanwhile Partner E is continually trying to break free from what they see as A’s engulfing, smothering and clinging.<br />
<br />
Power and Control issues in this relationship<br />
<br />
So Partner A’s experience of being powerless and controlled in the relationship is based on their ever-present fear that E will abandon them. However, E experiences a different sense of being controlled. Partner A who is seen as "controlling" through his or her continually trying to keep E too close. <br />
<br />
Partner E with strong engulfment issues is overly concerned about losing his or her own identity, of being overpowered and over-controlled by Partner A. Which as we know is poor old worried A’s way of trying to reduce his or her fear of being abandoned.<br />
<br />
Individuality issues in this relationship<br />
<br />
There is an irreconcilable conflict here: <br />
<br />
E's fear of loss of individuality through being over-controlled by A <br />
A's fear of being left alone which for A means too much individuality <br />
The more A tries to keep E close to them the more E will feel overly smothered or controlled. This increases the chance that E will naturally try to spend even less time with A in order to maintain their (E's) sense of individuality. <br />
<br />
Interestingly, an E partner, in trying to protect their individuality may have a fear that they will appear as "too controlling" since they do not like being controlled themselves. So they tend to avoid methods of control like manipulation that they regard as "dishonest". <br />
The A partner on the other hand may be inclined to use almost any technique including manipulation to try to keep E. close to them. That leads to more disagreements, more abandonment for A, more engulfing for E. Backwards and forwards they go, the result is often described as being like a kind of toxic self-defeating dance. It's not a pretty sight, but one that is all too common.<br />
<br />
5. The Grown up Relationship<br />
<br />
One of the comfortable features of this kind of relationship is that issues around power and control take up very little time and seldom assume much importance for either partner. A peaceful relationship is not one that is free of conflict. It is one where both partners have the ability to deal with conflict in fair and moderate ways.<br />
<br />
As they follow the guidelines below and other guides they work out for themselves, grown-up partners learn to define and agree on how their particular relationship can work best for them. There are no standard rules, each couple has to work their own set of rules out between them. However typically there will be some emphasis on issues like:<br />
<br />
ways they are both comfortable with for developing a very strong personal bond and ways of connecting closely and comfortably with a high level of trust, mutual respect and friendship<br />
<br />
at the same time, allowing each partner plenty of room to still maintain their individuality, that is each person allowing the other as much space as they need to continue being who they are as an individual<br />
<br />
ways of developing closer intimacy at some times, while maintaining strong individuality at other times <br />
To achieve this kind of outcome both partners will need to become well practised in different grown-up partnership skills. These will in themselves help define the nature of their individual relationship for example:<br />
<br />
working out ways that suit both partners that allow them to share any resource that is limited, for example, time, money, physical energy, space, professional activities and so on. For example: For how long and how often does each person want to spend time with the other and how much time apart? How will expenses be shared? What expenses will not be shared? How much time is it Ok to spend apart because of work or professional commitments?<br />
<br />
agreement about defined limits, that is what is and is not acceptable within the relationship. This is a very important part of providing each partner with a continued sense of being an individual, and protecting them from losing their individuality within the relationship. Some relationships may involve very few limits and still be successful.<br />
<br />
a willingness to experiment, to try new ideas and solutions without a guarantee that they will work. It helps if there is acceptance that in a relationship there is no such thing as a totally failed experiment. Some useful new information will always be discovered as a result of trial and error experiments even if the end result shows of no immediate benefit. <br />
developing their own set of negotiation (conflict resolution) skills to deal with issues of conflict. Understanding that in every negotiation it is normal for one person to want more or less than the other. Negotiation it is just grown-up way of discovering a midpoint where both are as comfortable as possible with the outcome.

I read some articles and they kind of fit in here, so for what they are worth some extracts say...<br />
<br />
... in order to grow within an emotionally committed relationship, we must experience the process of “differentiation.” This means holding onto yourself within a relationship, staying true to what you want out of life while sharing your life with a partner. Differentiation allows us to break free from the negative processes that happen between partners in any relationship. It allows us to take a time out from arguments in order to comfort ourselves. It leads to self-control, which means that we can stop trying to control our partners.... ...And when one partner differentiates, it upsets the old equilibrium that had developed so that the other partner is prompted to make changes as well. In short, a healthy relationship is one in which two people, each of whom has a firm sense of self, come together and celebrate both their differences and their similarities.<br />
<br />
What I found interesting from my perspective is that I have rocked the apple cart, well, tipped it over actually and have moved on somewhat. Call it what you will, differentiation, finding my 'self', growing a spine, self actualization, self realization, rebirth etc. I have most certainly moved on in so many ways, yet my wife is still in the same cyclical patterns. She sees I have moved on, away, up, changed. She even commented during a recent argument that "Since you 'Found yourself' you area right..." She couldn't find the words. So she knows I have changed.<br />
<br />
So it seems one should aim for - (and I have lifted this)<br />
<br />
Maintaining a clear sense of who you are within the relationship. Differentiation involves looking within, gaining a firm definition of who we are, and celebrating our uniqueness. <br />
Maintaining a sense of perspective. We need to accept the fact that we all have anxieties and other shortcomings. This is part of the human condition. The mature person, however, understands that these frailties need not determine our behavior. <br />
Committing to a willingness to engage in self-confrontation. Looking within is difficult, but it is a necessary step both in our own life development and in helping our relationships to grow to new levels. Self-confrontation means coming to terms with our own fears, anxieties, and insecurities... We need to understand why we avoid ourselves, and then we need to make an honest commitment to enter into a path of honesty and integrity. <br />
Acknowledging our projections and distortions of reality that protect us from ourselves. We need to understand why we blame others, especially our emotionally committed partners, rather than acknowledging our own participation in interpersonal conflicts. This involves admitting when we are wrong. We should not expect that our partners will do likewise. <br />
Learning to tolerate the pain involved in self-exploration.<br />
<br />
It goes on in depth, but the gist of it is basically GO FIND YOUR 'SELF'.<br />
Many people talk of this on ILIASM, and it seems to be the part of the process that GingerGens insightful story called "The In Between State". It seems it is the time when people in these unhealthy relationships start to 'seriously' start looking for answers, in the hope of fixing to start, then an epiphany or a string of epiphanies arrive.<br />
Next seems times for choices, then planning, then leaving or accepting and staying, even if it is staying 'until....'<br />
<br />
Ginger, it seems you have found yourself, and are now in the midst of 'Self Soothing', Action, self improvement. There are many psychobabble terms for this, methods and styles dependant on the therapist, or book, or whatever, but it all boils down to the fact that once you know who you are, see the reality of your situation and have internally dealt with it you can start acting with clarity. Again, I lifted this from somewhere:<br />
<br />
We blame our partners when we feel discomfort, and this tends to create distance within an emotionally committed relationship. The distance, then, creates a feeling of further discomfort. The clue to dealing with this dilemma is to learn how to soothe your own emotional pain.<br />
Don’t take your partner’s behavior personally. Even if your partner doesn’t make all the changes that you’ve made, it should not be taken personally.<br />
Put the current conflict into perspective.... ...Think about how discomfort will surface again in the future - and if you learn now how to deal with it, you will be better off in these future instances. Control your behavior, even if you can’t regulate your emotions. While we may have difficulty in controlling our emotions, especially in the face of a conflict, we can have control over our behavior. Prevent yourself from saying and doing things that you will regret later. Tell yourself: “I don’t have to take action on my feelings.” <br />
Stop the negative thinking. Our thoughts drive our feelings and behavior. When you find yourself engaged in negative thinking, make the change to more positive thoughts. Accept what is happening and then calm down.<br />
You may have to break contact temporarily with your partner until things cool down. When you are engaged in a conflict, you may need some time to get in touch with your self again. Look on this as a time-out, not a separation. Tell your partner that you need some time alone to calm down and that you can discuss the issue better later, after both of you have had some space from each other.<br />
<br />
And Ginger, the last point is written just for you it seems - Self-soothing does not involve substance abuse, the abuse of food, or emotional regression. You need time to confront yourself and understand what your part in the conflict may be. This does not mean hiding out, sleeping, binge-eating, or the use of drugs or alcohol, which are all ways to avoid self-confrontation.<br />
<br />
All of us are in a process I believe, by reading a lot of posts here many of us are in a process of separation and are coming to terms with the fact. Most of the time sexless relationships are a symptom of something else. Asexuality is truly rare. Both sides of the couples have insurmountable mountains to clime to solve these problems, and that is why we are here.<br />
<br />
For me, I have accepted the fact my wife is unwilling and unable to change, and I have made my choices and am happy with them. Other partnerships will be different to mine, so all of the above may be off the point, but that's life, there are billions of couples in the world and one size will not fit all. I do not try to project here, take from this psychobabble what you will.

Nice post, like the focus on what you (we) can do, to take back our lives and focus on self, self acceptance, self improvement, etc. The comment (#3) about the need to stop making/trying to change them hit me ... #3 ... because that shouldn't really be part of the plan, trying to change another. Sure trying to understand, to love, to stretch, to communicate, to touch .. but to change.? Well, just makes me think of the oft-written "sex people should be with sex people" by Vegas-B or maybe it was Tahoe-B.

I'm in way the same situation like goldilk more often I felt very isolated from the society, one of this day I will have courage to just break away.

I think what you said makes a lot of sense! You are right that it's a journey...and not always a forward moving one...coming to the point of accepting the fact that your partner does not want you and does not care how this affects you is not easy. I am kinda sorta but not quite yet there! I am learning that I am not really in a sexless marriage...I am in a dead marriage. A sexless marriage would seem to mean that it's a marriage in every other way except the sex...but I think I'm beyond that. But I am stuck financially, so as you say, I have to accept that that is why I'm staying for now and really work hard on figuring out how I will be able become independent at some point. Thanks for your post it gave me a lot to think about!

Rated Up.

Makes sense to me GJ.<br />
Don't agree with all of it (particularly the motives of refusers - simply because in MY situation they were different, tho in YOURs they were as you say)<br />
<br />
Thought I'd comment about strategys to cope while we go thru the stages you describe. As there are solutions to things. A solution being to 'better' a situation short term (band aid if you like) while you work thru the longer term.<br />
<br />
A solution (say as you mention in #4 in your story) is a super idea. It won't solve anything, but is a start to working on the only controllable variable in the dynamic - OURSELVES.<br />
Any solution has a finite life. Then another solution is needed. And so on. Until, the final solution for the marriage has to be undertaken.<br />
<br />
By then, ones personal growth ought have got one to a point of clarity, resentment and recriminations are no longer part of the dynamic and whatever has to be done can be done in a state of knowledge, caring for all parties involved, and - dare I say it - 'love' (whatever form it may have morphed into by then).

It makes sense. I hadn't smoked a cigarette in 17 years until this July. Thankfully I realize how bad it is for me & so far I haven't had one since Saturday. Would be very easy for me to slip into a pack a day, but I was making myself sick (er) so I do hope that's it. I did yoga for years & it did save my sanity, for awhile, now I am angry & doing a more rigorous (P90X) work out to vent my pent up energy<br />
I don't want to be lulled back into his comfort zone & get all zen like again...nope...ain't gonna do it...<br />
Good luck to you with breaking ALL of your bad habits!