Sexlessness And Codependancy

I don't think Sexlessness is caused by codependency. However, the revers is true - a sexless marriage IS codependant ASSUMING you are a person who NEEDS love, emotional connection, and physical intimacy. I read somewhere that “Codependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself." I can't think of a better definition of nearly all my relationships.

I find it all out of whack with my world view. I think of codependents as people who put up with spouses addictions and beatings, infidelities, etc...I also tend to think of that as a weakness, which never fit my worldview, and I saw my actions as exclusively good and coming from a point of strength....which turns classic codependent.

As I think back on my marriage, I try to remember the last time I felt loved. Not the last time I felt love, but the last time I felt her love me. I have to go back to a few days before our wedding. But I do remember feeling my love for her nearly constantly, and expressing my love all the time. That was powerful enough, even though that does not make any sense.

One thing I find odd is the way codependency is framed as codependent and narcissist. I find this to be an oversimplification. I don't think my wife was a narcissist. I think it simply came down to having different goals. She wanted to live like a bum on the road, I wanted to have a family. Both of us felt those goals very strongly. There is no point of compromise there. She probably felt jilted because I wanted to live a normal life, and I felt jilted because her goals meant rejecting all I could provide.

I see this more clearly in light of her fear of an early death. Maybe I am making excuses. but she had every reason to fear an early death. So I am coming to a conclusion here - I had no control over that fear. She came by it honestly and while I'm gutshot right now...she could no more have chosen to be a good wife than I could have chosen to be a bad husband. She simply did not have or need the tools to live a normal life. As long as I was around, she had no reason to heal herself, as I provided all the social interaction she needed, the money through my work, etc...

But when I look back at previous relationships...I do see codependancy patterns. I wonder if it is simply my response to difficulty in a relationship. Sort of a by-product of 'if at first you fail, try, try again.' I would give more and more hoping to get what I wanted.

I don't know if there is much value to thinking about these things...but I'm finding it is a little helpful, now that I am out, to analyze my role in all of this, and realizing that giving and giving is not an inherent good.
FilteringMachine FilteringMachine 31-35, M 7 Responses Jun 19, 2012

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You live what you know until you decide to learn something better - I lived like a wolf, having been raised by them and then said no more. Not everyone can "villify" their childhood and/or parents or kick it around enough to see the pattern. (I'm not going there with my own personal story, I'd have to write an effing tome). Look to the past to see what you need to learn - perfect parallel example - I did not want to do what my father did to me (among other things) make them entirely dependent on me - I know what I did not want, but I got the same results because I did not learn different. Sounds hard, but really it's so much easier then banging your head on a wall.

I think is will be both painful, and ultimately, therapeutic to analyze what happened in your marriage and look at all the the things that played a part, may have played a part, and most importantly, figure out more about yourself so that when you are ready to meet someone new, you will be able to do so with a better understanding of yourself, your needs, what you have to offer, what you do/don't want in another person and in a relationship. You will also have learned from your past mistakes to know what things you would want to to do better.

It is a very huge learning process. But by sorting through this crap now, it will help you make better sense and process through the feelings instead of stuffing them down.

Lots of gold so far in this thread. : )

If this applies in your case, I also recommend the book "Claiming Your Self-Esteem: A guide out of codependency, addiction, and other useless habits" by Carolyn M. Ball.

"She wanted to live like a bum on the road, I wanted to have a family. Both of us felt those goals very strongly. There is no point of compromise there."

There was a compromise there. You did live like a bum on the road for a while. You compromised. But -- You did not have a family. There was no compromise in your direction. A healthier person would see that happening and call her out on it.

Narcissists develop those characteristics due to emotional injury as a child. They fear that they are not loved unless they are getting something constantly. Narcissists live on a planet where someone else should exist to meet all their needs and take care of all their hurts and unreasonable expectations.

Codependents develop these characteristics due to emotional injury as a child. They fear not being loved unless they give. They live in a world where they believe they should meet someone else's every need, resolve every hurt and caretake through every unreasonable expectation.

They are perfectly matched to create disfunction. Both come from a similar background and are emotionally attractive to each other.

Narcissists think to themselves "I have to find someone to meet my needs to prove that I am loved." the codependent thinks "I have to find someone to give to and meet their needs in order to earn love."

So the narcissist develops an attitude that the codependent has to continually give in order to validate the narcissist's worth and steady them through proving that love. And the codependent is perfectly happy to oblige because in their mindset the more they give the more love they earn.

Round and round it goes until someone steps off the merry go round. Usually the giver side of the equation burns out and doesn't feel loved in return for all their efforts and can no longer continue to give without having their cup refilled. Their fears, misery and unhappiness are based upon the fear of not being loved so they give a little more hoping to be loved. The narcissist has the same fears but they take a little more hoping it will prove someone else's love is strong.

Until there is nothing left and we have to re-evaluate everything.

Yes, i think your ex was a narcissist. That's no better or worse than what I was, as a codependent. We have the same core internal problem but we chose different perspectives to resolve the issues.

For me at this point it becomes a matter of dealing with and watching out for unhealthy patterns going forward.

I can be trusted not to take too much, to give and not to be a narcissist. That's easy; can I be trusted to take as much as I am due, give only what feels safe to me and not be a codependent? Only time will tell.

Getting beyond good and evil, and other labels, is a great first step... keep going.

Absolutely 100% agree. Whilstever we remain mired in value judgements we cannot truly see the wood for the trees. (Apologies for the mixed metaphors!)

A very smart friend on EP suggested I read "Codependent No More" by  Melody Beattie. It was like looking in a mirror. Knowing some of my responsibility in the SM (real responsibility, not misplaced guilt) has helped me start to take back control of my emotions and choices. Before, my mood and outlook on the marriage was completely dependent on what DH did or didn't do.  I'm working  toward really believing that it's not just ok but actually healthier to put my own best interest first. 

Like you, I can look back and see this was a pattern from earlier in life.  And finally I've found something that's within my power to change!  Good topic, FM. 

You have picked the right time to run assorted autopsies on the dysfunctional marriage you were in brother FilterMachine.

That time being 'when you are out of it'.

You will discover stuff that you would NEVER have discovered whilst you were in it.

And it all goes into the toolbox, ready to be used by medium of informed choice as you move forward to better days.

Tread your own path.

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