Now I'm The Refuser?

We have not had sex in 10 months, and have not touched in any way for about 4 months. So the other morning, he leans over and starts rubbing my back. If I remember correctly, this is his version of foreplay. So I should be over the moon, right? I can finally get some!

But the thing is, I just can't get excited by him anymore. I really feel he is just a roommate. I told him I just wasn't into it...that we can't go months without any physical contact, then have sex out of the blue. He says "I know, I'll work on that". That was about a week ago and we haven't touched since.

So now I'm feeling guilty. Did I do the wrong thing? Should I have bit the bullet and went through with it just to try getting things back on track? I tell him it's not normal to go that long without intimacy and then refuse him when he tries? I just don't know how to get those feelings to magically come back after years of nothing. I'm thinking I did not handle this opportunity the right way.

pinkandgreen224 pinkandgreen224
36-40, F
12 Responses Aug 5, 2012

I was the same way. I would bring up the subject, he would get angry, refuse to discuss or tell me I was the one who needed to change (lose weight, etc) He would pat me on the head like a faithful dog, we would have sex, and then go great lengths of time before the cycle would repeat. Now I can't stand the thought of him touching me. I thought I had gotten past my bitterness about no intimacy, but for some reason it has reared it's ugly head again.

I understand your desire to refuse him. But I think you did the wrong thing. All spouses have problems, but if they make an attempt to correct one of them, you should accept it, nurture it, encourage it, be very supportive of them making an effort.<br />
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It is very difficult to change. Especially when you are changing for somoene else and not your self. I think you put the nail in the coffin when you refused his attempt to improve. I doubt he will try again any time soon if ever.<br />
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Consider yourself lucky he was willing to make an effort. Be less spiteful and more supportive. I wonder if how you respond to him is a big issue in your marriage, maybe it leads to him not making any effort to make you happy in any way.

Thanks for your input. I wouldn't call myself spiteful, though. I didn't refuse him to get back at him. I didn't want to because we have gone so many months without touching AT ALL. I can't go from zero to sex all of a sudden. It's like having sex with a stranger. I need some affection on a day to day basis. Then I feel the sex would come naturally not like some totally awkward big deal thing.

I totally agree with you, pink. After going so long without affection, you do feel like strangers. You can't just will those emotions to come back. I feel like they need to be nurtured before you can get back on track. I also get what ThePassionateMan is saying. It probably took a lot of effort for him to try and approach you, but you also made the effort to explain why it didn't feel comfortable for you. I hope he keeps his promise to work on it and I also hope you keep your heart open to the possibility of reconnecting. Hang in there.

Pink - I don't think PassionateMan's response should be given much weight... He apparently is only in his 20s and has joined about 400 groups... Don't think he's too serious on this board and don't really think he's shared our experiences.

I think you were justified in your response. As a "test" I waited a whole year to see if my wife would initiate something between us and she did not. Going through a long dry spell like that just weighs on you psychologically in a way that others just can't understand unless they've been through it.

IMHO - If a refusing spouse has gone so long without initiating sensuous physical intimacy or sex, and you are near the end of your rope, and you have talked to them clearly about your needs and how your marriage is in jeopardy, then after that point the "primary" burden shifts to THEM to be putting forth the extra effort in trying to save the marriage. I still believe both spouses should be trying to put forth effort to save the marriage, but the "primary" burden should be on them. Do THEY want to save the marriage or not? This issue is a deal breaker for nearly all couples. People don't get married under the assumption of celibacy. People get married with the assumption of agreeable regular physical intimacy / sex.


welcome to the wonderful world of being a married man, except in your case the roles are reversed. I feel your pain, and then they wonder why you outsource your physical needs

Counter refusals are a natural response to repeated refusals, we just can't keep exposing ourselves to the pain. I went through this process twice in my marriage. It is a process were we begin to disengage from the relationship and seeking answers to our situations.<br />
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Now is a time to seek understanding of yourself and what your wants and needs are without the clouds tied to your relationship or fears, pain and failures. Take time to understand how you got to this point and the contribution both of you have made to this situation. Then you can discuss it openly if you can. <br />
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If you chose to reestablish your marriage, do so with goals and boundaries defining what expectation both of you will need in the relationship.

If you are seeing him as a roommate your are too comfortable. If you truly want to stay in a relationship you must work at it . Your man was rubbing your back to see if you were ready. That was not a for play it was an intiation to see how you responded . He respects you a lot and waiting for you. Do you get excited about anyone else? If so stop waisting his time and your time and tell him the truth and move on . Everyone deserve to be happy even if it hurts at the moment time heals everything.

"He respects you a lot and waiting for you" ---Huh? I'm not sure going months and months without showing your spouse any affection is respectful.

So Sorry for All Your Problems and Wish You Only FIND Happiness, Peace and LOVE ! <br />
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Reading yours, orhers and experiencing my troubles brings me to this question I can't answer but believe would solve it for everyone ? .....<br />
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I might ask this to the general group but ...<br />
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Why do couples spend so much <br />
energy, time, FLEXIBLE, Passionate Love, money etc the beginning of their relationship then years later become mean, STUBBORN, COLD, cheap, sexless, hard self centered etc. <br />
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People as we get old are supposed to age gracefully, pass on LOVE AND COMPASSION TO EACH Other and Future generations Yet this isnt the case at a lot LUCKILY NOT ALL ! <br />
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But why can't everyone just get a long as we age ? No fight ?

Counter refusal sounds the death knell for the marriage.<br />
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You can dress it up any way you like, tie a pretty bow on it if you like, but once entrenched, the marriage is done. If you have one refusing spouse then you have a likely terminally dysfunctional marriage. With two refusers, it is done. Absolutely done.<br />
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You might (or he might) choose to formalise that situation in the future by divorcing. Or you might just stay together "for the (insert your preferred reason here)" and drift on in interminable misery.<br />
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Tread your own path.

Misery is relative. In my case, we so pass through each other in our daily lives that the time spent with lawyers or in court is time wasted away from work and hobbies. Why bother? But yes, functionally, mutually assured refusal is effectively a divorce.

I'm in the same boat. He want's sex on his terms, not on marital or your terms. I'm not saying that you should have sex just because you're married, BUT, rubbing your back is not the way to get back into marital "bliss"...

You handled the opportunity correctly. You didn't want him then for good reason, so you stopped him, explained why he needed to stop (you weren't into it) and explained yourself further (no intimacy forever followed by the sudden coming onto you). In explaining this, you presented the opportunity to him to improve the intimacy level. He is the one handling the opportunity incorrectly at this point.<br />
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If you are interested in 'reaching out' to him somehow, you could always initiate a conversation about the incident and take the time to reiterate your original point.

Sorry I know this wasn't a lot of information. I have another story on here that sums up the relationship better. It has been this way for the past 7 or so years. We usually go at least 3 months between sex, but since I've stopped caring, it has now gone on 10 months. By "caring" I guess I mean, I've lost interest in him finally in a sexual way. And I've lost interest in starting the same old discussion on why we don't have an intimate relationship. Thanks for the input!

10 months of nothing, or years? Not clear. You are embarking on the infinite rocky road of counter-refusal. It is sometimes justified, and sometimes needed to preserve your sanity, but never ends in a good marriage. Among the usual pains, your spouse will lose all memory and soon regard you as the agent primarily responsible for the SM. So if you are counter-refusing to get back some self-respect and control, by all means do so, but be prepared to face the repercussions. In particular, have no expectation that counter refusal will knock some sense into your spouse; it won't. Your relationship dynamics will change drastically once your spouse realizes you will not beg for (or even agree to) sex any more. Plenty of counter-refuser stories here, including mine. Read up. Oh, and once mutually assured refusal sets in, don't get into an affair to relieve your needs. It's too messy. Keep it clean. Walk out when you can.

Why should you be grateful when he offers you so much less than you deserve. To have to contemplate physical intimacy....I know I'm in the same boat. The crumbs they give us aren't enough. Its emotional torture. My husband makes little attempts when he thinks I'm going to start a big argument about being ignored. Just enough to quiet me down for a little while. In the meantime I bask in the small gesture of intimacy. Its sick really. When did I start to value myself so little? For me ive decided I'm not going to fight ir bring it up again. I'm making plans ti be the beet I can be. I know I owe it to myself and my children yo be whole again. He doesn't bring out the best in me but he takes the best of me...and ive allowed it. No more. We are so much more than they think we are.