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It's Just The Sex....everything Else Is Fine! Is It? A Questionaire.....

Okay. So, you have little to zero sex. But, everything else is fine.

Really?

Once upon a time, I thought that my spouse was a dear friend, if not a lover.

Hindsight is twenty/twenty, and I know realize that my so-called friend was a verbally abusive control freak who used me for financial security and safety. My spouse was not only not much of a friend, he was abusive. Deep down, I knew there was more going on then the lack of sex, but I was so close to the relationship and caught up in the fear of loss, I couldn't see the obvious. It is only in the past couple of months after he called me a c (insert three letters) for the third time and blamed me for not seeing my daughter because I didn't give him gas money that I realized this person was never going to be a true friend. (We have now been apart for about two years with a very brief and awful reconciliation about a year ago).

I hope that you are not in the same type of emotional and psychological abusive hell that I lived for a decade. But, here are some questions to answer HONESTLY that might help you get a clearer perspective.

1. Outside of sex, does your spouse provide physical affection, cuddling, hugs, kisses, and warm human contact?

2. Are you allowed to express your emotional and physical needs without being invalidated, dismissed, or punished?

3. Does your spouse blame you for their inability to express intimacy in the marriage (i.e. if you just did this...if you only...if you were)?

4. Does your spouse blame you for his/her own problems?

5. Does your spouse make you accountable for their emotions and thoughts instead of owning them as his/her own?

6. Does your spouse try to control you outside the bedroom (i.e. choice of friends, activities, decision making, money)?

7. Does your spouse express compassion for your struggles or show contempt?

8. Do you feel you can talk to your spouse openly without fear of repercussion?

9. Do you have real fun together?

10. Do you dream together?

11. Do you hold grudges against each other?

12. Do you (or your children) walk on eggshells around your spouse to avoid
setting him/her off?

13. Are you treated with compassion and love?

14. Can you count on your spouse to follow through on his/her word?

15. Does your spouse constantly criticize, belittle, minimize, or ignore you?

16. Do you trust your spouse? Does he or she trust you?

17. Do you feel supported in your personal decisions and choices by your spouse?

18. Do you look forward to your future?

19. Is your spouse open and willing to work to make problems better in all areas?

20. Are you the emotional caretaker of the relationship?

21. Do you feel as if you didn't mention underlying problems in the marriage, they would never be discussed?

22. Does your spouse actively work to solve problems in the marriage and make
your relationship better?

Honestly assessing your situation is the first step to being able to truly work to improve it. Good luck to all!
rosedl rosedl 41-45, F 49 Responses Sep 24, 2012

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Wishing there was a way to bookmark this post to keep it visible.

Bumping this 2012 story up for newbies to have a look at.

What a great questionnaire. It pretty much confirms what I already knew.

I am already divorced. We don't have kids and we actually do want to be friends. We are good as friends. We are not as a couple. We are in new relationships. I see his as super controlling and ...well ick. (Him being the controller) I am so happy. I found someone who not only appreciates the good things about me but who even loves the things about me that make me feel horrible about myself. I have been married 2x and had plenty of what I used to think were healthy relationships but I haven't ever known anything like this. Sometimes, I'm sure that I don't deserve it. But then I remember that we all do. We all deserve to be with people who really get us and make us smile and here's to hoping we do the same for them! I really was ready to grin and bear my situation for??? for the rest of my life/his life (?) I had flings and they provided distraction and enough guilt to make me feel like it was all my fault. I have a great bunch of friends and i love work....I could've stuck it out. Message to everybody....THIS IS WAY BETTER THAN STICKING IT OUT!

Well written..... You give direction and hope to people who are indecisive about taking stock of their lives and deciding to look for someone better than to 'just abide.' We only have a very few years to find happiness and thus make ourselves productive in our society instead of living in fear and doubt.... we seldom can do that without the support of true friends and spouses.

It was hard though. My ex husband pushed for the divorce more than I did. I liked my life being comfortably uncomfortable. I liked the familiarity of everything. It's been a whirlwind of a year but I've learned so much and I'm still learning and still believe everyone that is staying in these situations is short changing everyone. Even the kids if there are kids.

Yeah I had a bit of a weird conversation with my former sister-in-law she said 'Jane (name made up to protect the guilty) says that you two are getting to be pretty good friends after everything is said and done'. I said 'really? That's weird I don't feel that way at all. A friend would never do the things she has done to me. I guess we are more 'friendly' because my kids need their mother and father to have a relatively amicable relationship for their benefit. Trust me that if we didn't have the kids she would have never heard my voice or seen my face again once the divorce was finalized'. Needless to say that took my sister-in-law a bit aback, but hey I'm tired of pretending/lying that things between 'Jane' and I were or are 'okay'.

While I have already made my decision to quit this relationship, your questionnaire was able to confirm that I am making the right decision. It also brought up other qualities in this marriage that are lacking that I haven't even addressed or told myself that I deserve to have. It's almost like a checklist for any future potential mates.

1. Outside of sex, does your spouse provide physical affection, cuddling, hugs, kisses, and warm human contact?

NO


2. Are you allowed to express your emotional and physical needs without being invalidated, dismissed, or punished?

NO

3. Does your spouse blame you for their inability to express intimacy in the marriage (i.e. if you just did this...if you only...if you were)?

YES

4. Does your spouse blame you for his/her own problems?

YES

5. Does your spouse make you accountable for their emotions and thoughts instead of owning them as his/her own?

YES

6. Does your spouse try to control you outside the bedroom (i.e. choice of friends, activities, decision making, money)?

YES

7. Does your spouse express compassion for your struggles or show contempt?

Contempt.

8. Do you feel you can talk to your spouse openly without fear of repercussion?

Absolutely NOT

9. Do you have real fun together?

NO

10. Do you dream together?

NO

11. Do you hold grudges against each other?

I try not to do that. She does.

12. Do you (or your children) walk on eggshells around your spouse to avoid setting him/her off?

Usually not. She's good with the kids.


13. Are you treated with compassion and love?

NO

14. Can you count on your spouse to follow through on his/her word?

NO

15. Does your spouse constantly criticize, belittle, minimize, or ignore you?

YES

16. Do you trust your spouse? Does he or she trust you?

Usually I can trust her. She says she doesn't trust me.


17. Do you feel supported in your personal decisions and choices by your spouse?

NO.

18. Do you look forward to your future?

Only if it means being divorced from her, otherwise, NO.


19. Is your spouse open and willing to work to make problems better in all areas?

NO


20. Are you the emotional caretaker of the relationship?

I'm not sure what that means.


21. Do you feel as if you didn't mention underlying problems in the marriage, they would never be discussed?

YES

22. Does your spouse actively work to solve problems in the marriage and make your relationship better?

NO.

my answers were very similar to yours - this is hell!

My wife has 17.5 of those damaging behaviors. I did the test on myself, too. Had to guess how she feels about me, and I got a 6.

Very sorry.

I answered no to all of them...ı wish ı am as brave as u are...

I am not particularly brave. Twelve years of hell and abuse drive one to finally leave. When the reality of staying becomes worse then the fear of leaving....it happens...

I couldn't do it anymore.

Rose,

You ask some great questions.
Do you have a cut-off score for replies?
Or a formula to work out where you are exactly with a key to sets of answers?
When I answer the questions it feels like this self-test left me on the fence, but it did make me think about some new angles on my situation.

Thanks..

...and just for the record...
Do you think that everything else ever can be fine if there is little to zero sex?

No particular scoring system. This was a off-the-cuff questionaire. If your answers indicate a lack of support and invalidation in other areas, you have a big problem.

"...and just for the record...
Do you think that everything else ever can be fine if there is little to zero sex?"

Only if both people have little to no interest in sex with each other. Otherwise, NO. If sex is a core need, and you are in a monogamous relationship with someone who doesn't want it with you.......you are denying a core part of your being to accommodate another person. This is NEVER a good idea. Resentment, hopelessness, bitterness, and all types of other negative things bubble out until the situation becomes too much to bear. Sorry.

"Do you think that everything else ever can be fine if there is little to zero sex?"

If you read stories and forum posts here on ILIASM, b10-53, you will discover that you are deluding yourself that "everything is fine bar the sex". A partner who resolutely refuses to address an issue that s/he KNOWS is causing the other pain, is selfish and unempathic. NOT good traits in a spouse . . . .

wow, great questions

SEX IS 50% IN MY OPINION

It's so hard to see the picture clearly when you're in it. There's something about being removed from it that clears things up. I suffered an abusive marriage as well. I am so glad to free from that now. However, I find it difficult to engage in a committed relationship now. I'm soooooo protective of my space and my atmosphere. I refuse to allow anyone else to disturb by peace! In an attempt to not end up an old cat lady.......I hope to overcome issue at some point. Right now.....it would take a pretty amazing, calm, soft-spoken sweet heart to break my walls down!

This will be me too - once this is over, I'm committed to being single for several years (at least) as I start asking myself the questions that I have never asked before:
*Who am I?
*What do I want in life
*What are my priorities
*Why have I been willing to compromise myself to accommodate a relationship?
*If I enjoy living alone so much, why do I keep letting people live with me?
And on, and on.

i am just posting something to see if i get 15 points for reply:)!

Nice ploy

good post.

What u r raising here is true,I just came out of a marriage that I think I was not suppose to be in,u know sometimes u get married 4 the wrong resin,which I ended up chitting on my husband bcz he was not suppotive the way he shud've been,he ddnt even want me 2 go to school 2 further my studies,I've been with him almost 10 yrs,up until this year June when he found out that I'm cheating on him,I was scared to leave him bcz I thought I won't be able to lice without him,which that's how he made me feel

That is pretty typical for men who want to control their wives. Men who are secure in their marriages want their wives to be happy and will support them in all they do. After all a man also wants his wife to support him when he wants to pursue his dreams.

You bring up very good points in the above questions. Most are very familiar if not spot-on.

Thanks for your story. My spouse/marriage failed each and every one of the questions you pose, and that is why she is an ex-wife now.

I wish I had seen your list and realized all this years ago -- it would've saved me many years of suffering.

These questions also reaffirm my feeling that my new relationship is everything a relationship should be. The difference is day and night.

Sex in a marriage is important, hands down. If there is no sex then that opens up the possibility for outside influences. And there are all kinds of outside influences that can ruin a marriage. Marriage is not going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time but its also not supposed to be sexless either. If it is sexless there is something else going on.

My marriage of 19 years recently had a set back on this very same subject. I considered having an affair with someone that I knew would satisfy my need at the moment. Then I realized that I had not told my wife what I was feeling or what I wanted in our marriage. So I laid it out for her and decided that if she didn't want to change things then I would consider moving on but I would not give up with out at least trying. Today our issues are working themselves out and we are moving forward together. Just done give up until you have figured out that you really have exhausted all your options.

In your case you have the same priority... You don't have this sort of frustration the most people here go through... So you are basically blessed.... Unfortunately it does not help anybody in this group...

GREAT questions. I found most were negative, which affirms my belief that my relationship will have to at some point come to an end. we get along ok enough, I guess, but every time I bring up the topic of sex (i.e., why we don't have any...for years!!, can we work on this?) I get the blame for having been depressed 15 years ago and his job takes it all out of him, etc. and we end up in a huge argument (with no makeup sex, haha).
Thank you so much for your insightful post.

Mmmmh! I counted 19/21 in the negative! Do you think I should be re-evaluating? Ha! Actually, you have to laugh at the 'irony' in the end. Thank you. Thought provoking and well thought out questions.

Wow, I just logged back on and I forgot I wrote this....

Glad it was helpful!

wow i have so many negatively associated answers. this is definitely a good list by which to evaluate.

Thank you for posting this great questionaire. It helped me to understand that I married a perfect girl.
At the same time I did realize there is a (small) room for my own improvement :)
If I will ever need a family consellor, I hope to find someone like you.

Very well written. After evaluating my marriage, based on these questions, I see that we fall right in the middle. I guess the thing to do now is to decide if we really want this marriage to work.

a great writing, but then I understand that people become scholars out of experience - there is no better college than experience.

Yep....lots and lots and lots of experience.

That pretty much sums up my mum and dad's marriage!!! She got out of it too though before it destroyed her courage to do so.

i need sex

FIRST NIGHT ON EP AND REALITY SLAPS ME IN MY FACE

Smart Cookie! :) Great Questions, wonderful post.

This made me cry, you articulated many of the things that dont feel right in my relationship but I guess I was too close to see. Thank you

I feel your pain. A great book I suggest is: "Stop walking on eggshells" 2nd edition by Paul T. Mason, MS Randikereger. It's an easy read, but I suggest you read it slowly and let it digest. It has helped me so much in understanding my partner, and how I got to where I am and feeling the same as you. Let me know if you check it out.

Verbal Abusers Speak Out is also a fantastic book.

I am out of the relationship for good now, but thanks for the referral!

Is there a scorecard?
Pass/fail?

;0

Thank you for this, not all of it was "my case" but enough was to make me realize I made the right choice to leave.

wow, this is fantastic and like blaring some light on my marriage. It has really bothered me that my spouse does not initiate or even think about sex anymore. Then I realized I really didn't want him anymore either. I really need to take some time to untangle this mess we've created. Thanks for posting!

This is fantastic!! Thank you for posting, should be required reading day one for anyone on ILIASM.

Sex is never the problem, but the symptom of something bigger or more sinister.

This is a great set of questions. Most of which I don't like my answers, although true. It's just kind of sad to think that something born out of great hope for a happy-ever-after (marriage) can turn into something no one saw until it was way too late. Hence, most of us staying for way too long.

BTW - my answer to question 15 is the only thing I need to see to know I'm doomed.

These are excellent questions, in my own relationship there are some that I can answer yes and some I can answer no. I agree with what MVCMVC said. These questions sometimes fail to consider an older younger relationship as in my case. The things I deal with daily with my wife do Alzheimer's I think goes beyond the realm of these questions.

These are good questions to ask in almost any relationship one has (friends, family, etc), and to backup what MissLee wrote, the only question I ask myself these days within the context of a romantic relationship (which I consider marriage to be) is this:

Do I consistently feel well loved no matter what is happening on a daily basis in our shared lives?

Interesting Questionairre. U really seem to have given it a lot of thought.

WOW great post Rosedl. I have been in that situation before myself and you really described it perfectly. *hugs* Thank you so much for sharing this

Those are very good questions indeed! I would like to add one of my favorites that mvcmvc asks quite frequently 'round here: "Do you feel well loved?"

I think about this question almost everyday. The answer has been "No" for a very, very long time. Too long.

Fingers in ears saying la la la la la la la

Great post and one for all here to work by. Rated Up.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Rated up. Terrific post, born out of extraordinarily gutsy work and choice by sister rosedl.

Suggestion. In the absence of stickies, let us resolve to bump this story up every couple of weeks by putting a comment on it.

baz

Rose, I'm sure you will agree with me that, once you are living in a different environment, these questions have VERY different answers to those we experienced in our SMs. That is certainly true for me and Baz. Of course, NO relationship is "perfect" - and acknowledging that is part of living as our authentic selves. But when you can give an unqualified and resoundingly positive answer to most, if not all, your questions, you know that what you have now is SO much better.

Like you, I totally convinced myself that "all was fine except the sex" and UNLIKE your Ex, my Ex is a good and decent person (there are quite a few questions on your list that I could answer positively for him). But the crucial ABSENCE of intimacy and connection, coupled with the controlling, made my life less than bearable - despite my long term and insistent refusal to see that!

I am SO glad I finally realised my truth - and so very glad to see that happen for others here. This is a fantastic stotry and as others have said, deserves to be a "sticky". Thank you for posting it.

I agree Enna, it is hard to honestly evaluate the situation when you are so close to it. However, if there are underlying problems, a list of questions such as this can be a wake up call. It is harder to dismiss in the context of the whole, then a single incident. I found that when I started to read information about verbal/emotional abuse, I started to see the situation a little more clearly. Many of the questions sprang from these readings.

Absolutely agree!
Seeing the whole thing in context is an eye opener.

You have 22 questions. I will bet pretty much anyone around here will score poorly upon sampling any 5 at random. Clinchers are clinchers for a reason: you don't need too many of them.

Around 2009, about four years after mutually assured refusal set in, I asked my wife if there's anything she could do to make my life more pleasant, a reason to want to come back from work. She said (quite correctly) that given she now turns me off, and I'd anyway not like to ever have sex with her again, there's nothing she can do in that department. She did not raise other departments in that conversation.

That was a few months before I realized (ok, on her raising the topic) that she needs to be a mother to salvage what happiness she can in her life, and agreed to adopt a baby. I am a pretty mediocre father. But hey, I try.

Ulae, this comment disturbs me greatly:
"I will bet pretty much anyone around here will score poorly upon sampling any 5 at random." Do you mean that most marriages are essentially miserable?

I meant, on this group.

....wow, rosedl: this list, if i hadn't already reached the same conclusion, is a most awesome checklist. i answered each one & i think maybe 1 or 2 elicited "not bad/neutral" responses. all others? negative feelings from the response.

thanks for sharing.

rated up

Good list. Thanks for posting this.