The Cycle Of Resentment

Having looked at a few of the posts here, it appears that I'm not alone. While this provides a welcome sense of camaraderie, it does little to address the physical isolation that has come over my marriage like a morning fog that never seems to burn off.

I'll withhold all the cliched details; you've heard them before. Yes, kids are a distraction and so forth and it would be great to have some time away from them. But I don't think kids are the issue. In short, the situation is this: I work outside the home, my wife is a full time mom. Two kids, one pre teen, the other a full-blown obnoxious teen. Married 10 years. I don't remember when the sex life began to decline, but it's been probably taken 7 years to get to the point we are at. A really good (and rare) month for us is 1 evening of intimacy...and I do believe that happens simply to get me to stop begging! It could go as long as three months without intimacy. Typically not longer than that.

The situation takes a heavy psychological toll on us. She wants more non-sexualized touching (hugs for ex.). I've said I'll make an effort, but when I do, it doesn't seem to make a difference as regards any proportional increase in the frequency of our intimate contact. As such, I feel further isolated and I emotionally pull away from her. I become irritable, am frequently in a bad mood, and become less communicative. Of course, she responds similarly and off we go into a cycle of resentment. Sometimes a fight breaks out and we point fingers at each other. Sometimes we just go for prolonged periods of trying to ignore it, but I admit, I almost always get so frustrated that I become kind of a passive-aggressive *** hoping she'll notice how the lack of contact is impacting me.

The lack of sex doesn't get to her; my ****** attitude does. As for sex, she really doesn't seem to have any interest..

Anyway, I'm venting after a particularly long and isolated evening. Thanks for lending an ear.
wolfcoat wolfcoat
46-50, M
7 Responses May 28, 2012

Maybe I'm just ******* dense (I've been accused of this by my 16 year old son...)<br />
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Why should there be "non-sexual" touching in a marriage???? To me - holding hands is sexual. Hugs...full body's sexy. It puts me in the "sexual" mindset. Play with the back of my neck...and it's a race to a door with a lock. <br />
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But I'm a sex person...and I'm "non-sexual" retarded. That's probably not PC. <br />
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If by non-sexual that means that you should be able to hug and kiss with no expectation of further intimacy - that's just wrong. Those things should lead to more intimacy in marriage.<br />
If your partner has a need to NOT be intimate...then I think you have the answer. you may not like it...but you have the answer.

I agree, in a loving, sexual relationship touching isn't and shouldn't be divided into "non-sexual" and "sexual" categories.

If one person is asking for "non-sexual" touching, they are saying "I don't feel sexual desire for you- there's something between us that's getting in the way of me wanting to be that close to you."

Before you get mad that they're "wrong", or not a "sex person", ask yourself why they are feeling this way. Maybe they really don't like sex. But if they used to, maybe there's something else that's the matter with the relationship.

Speaking as a woman, I have to say that I can't find anything in your story to indicate that your wife is misreading you. <br />
She asked for more non-sexual touching - you delivered it then waited for your reward- sex. You didn't get it- thus, the experiment was a failure. <br />
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I hate to break it to you, but if she has to request it, and it's an effort for you to make it, and even then it's a means to get to the payoff... you aren't meeting her needs any better than she's meeting yours. <br />
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Can you remember what it was like when the two of you were in love? <br />
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If you can, do you think you could woo her into feeling something like that with you again?

Truces do not work (nor does bargaining) if the refuser is not willing to really be honest. Often if the refuser is a woman, it could be she has lost respect for you - but if she's not willing to look at that, it will never end. I can't really speak to why a man would refuse because I'm not one. I was supposed to have scheduled sex on a certain day of the week, and it kind of happened once. I don't think you can negotiate with a sexual terrorist. At the end of the day they seem to get what they want, and we for whatever reason do not.

Some personality types produce a mix that makes conflicts and discussion there-of all but impossible to conduct.<br />
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Sometimes putting the situation to an ob<x>jective 3rd party to act as mediator / translator / referee can help the spouses communicate exactly what they mean.<br />
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Sometimes, finding out exactly what your spouse means is far from pleasant news.<br />
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Bit "if" your missus is amenable to seeing a counsellor with you, "if" you are both truly seeking the truth(s) of what is going on, "if" the counsellor is half decent, then you'll find out what is going on in the marriage.<br />
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It may well NOT be good news. But it might be.<br />
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Could be worth giving it a whirl.<br />
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Tread your own path.

You know the drill: <br />
This will only get worse. Your wife does not love you and she probably never did. Get a divorce. <br />
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Now, move on down to the I Am Getting A Divorce group and start planning your exit.

As elkclan says you are both engaged in a race to the bottom. The only trouble is that neither of you has any respect for the other or their opinions, needs and you don't trust one another either. What I hear is pretty well total estrangement. The only thing that could possibly work is a true and honest truce like the one they DON'T have in Syria at present. Your prospects seem equally grim. A statement of no more than the obvious. Who is going to divorce who first?

For me, it's not so much trust as it is respect. I don't have trust issues - I just don't feel as though she cares about what I need. It's not like I'm begging for twice a day --- just once a week would be nice... But I agree...some kind of truce needs to be worked out...

The dynamics between two people over sex or anything else like that can get to be really odd. MAYBE, she feels that all you are concerned about right now is dipping the wick and that you are foremost emotionally focussed on that. You reckon, yep, why wouldn't you because that is the only thing you are not getting. She reckons that you are all about dipping the wick just where it is most convenient and least difficult to call on, ie at home. So she is alienated by you and is possibly just denying you as a matter of some sort of principled stand. You reckon she is just being an awkward cow for the sake of being an awkward cow but, hey, you'll jump through whatever immediate hoops she demands of you as long as you get a positive result. Unfortunately, she sees you like a pet house-trained dog that is willing to do a few brief party turns in return for being given a few immediate treats. If the dog doesn't get them it barks like crazy and even threatens to turn a bit mean. She still is not impressed. Frankly, if someone else gets themselves wilfully into such a negative frame of mind I have absolutely no sympathy for them because they are likely to only be cutting off their own nose to spite themselves. However, that reflection is of absolutely no use to you. The real problem may well be that she has completely gone off sex altogether or off sex with you. You are her partner, you have the best chance of weighing that up accurately. If she has got beyond the point of return, well, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it other than to call it quits permanently. Otherwise, it would require a large personal sacrifice and unending patience to MAYBE turn it around. That has to be a big personal call. It calls for the highest diplomatic skills, the greatest negotiating skills and a lot of personal investment and possible pain and frustration. And even with all that you would still be asking either of yourself or maybe even of her, "What is your sacrifice, contribution to this process? Where is your commitment"? If she adamantly insists that it is all your fault, well, your ******! Couldn't be simpler than that.

You guys are in a race to the bottom when you start mutual withholding/ passive aggressive nonsense. Not throwing stones, I do it, too.

Yeah, it's the strangest thing - It's not like I say to myself, "now I'll be passive aggressive..." It's more like I hit critical mass, I get angry, but instead of showing anger, I pull away...