Observations From A Sexless Marriage -- Redux

I thought I would update my previous post with a continuation focused on how being on the refused end of a sexless marriage affects the one being refused. These observations are mostly my own, but some were shared by others. One interesting thing is that the effects seem to be very similar for men and women. This is a recent realization that I gleaned here (EP)!!

The first thing you notice yourself thinking is “Awh Geeze, Now what have I done?” This happens when you initially and perhaps callously ask the refusing spouse, Why? And they tell you about something you recently did that caused it. That was not what caused it. Unless it was. But this you will have to determine on your own. I suggest in the beginning you give them the benefit of the doubt.

Anger: After a few more “incidents”, more questioning, and more “reasons”, you get mad. Bad move. Being mad in these cases will not solve anything. Even if they are madly in love with – and hot for – you, no one wants to be around a mad meanie. In my defense, I was woefully unprepared for this in my marriage. I was ready to tackle financial problems, I guess, but I never thought sex would be a problem.

Pathetic: After a year or so of being forcibly weaned from sex, one gets pathetic. Now of all my experiences with this marriage, there is only one that I am more ashamed of. By pathetic, I mean groveling for any morsel of affection. He or She hates the job or the boss, you say quit the job. Lack of a vacation, you say let’s go. Your parents or your family, so you don’t go there anymore. Your friends, so you stop doing things with most of them. Hates where you live, so you move. Ad nauseam. Watch out here, because most of these things can cause other problems like financial hardship – now you have real problems – as if no sex or affection were not one. But don’t be deceived, you can get divorced if you have some money and be OK maybe – try that with a truck load of debt and you may not recover.

Resentment: At this point you will find yourself miserable. The lack of affection may no longer be the problem. You may find yourself sincerely lonely. And you will blame your spouse for this. Before you were married, you had friends, family, and lived a relatively full life. Now you have none of it – and you blame your spouse.

Clarification here: It is your own fault that you abandoned these relationships – not theirs.

Depression: Now you are down on everything. You Blame EVERYTHING on your spouse and become a jerk in many respects. You get out of shape and are miserable to be around. If you are a man, you are overbearing – not just to your wife, but to your kids, co-workers, employees, and bosses. If you are a woman, you start bitching and nagging. You may find yourself commiserating with your kids against the bastard husband. Please remember that that bastard is their father and you will never win in this arena (men please understand this as well). Now you are not attractive to anyone and no one wants to be around you. Stop.

Realization: Some how you will come to the realization that your spouse is either done with you or was never into you. How do you come to this realization? I am not sure in all cases, but you must understand that you are no longer communicating – if you ever were. If you have fights and your spouse says hateful things and recants them later, you may investigate the hateful things they say – especially if they seem more consistent with their behavior than the nice things they say when the fight is over. You have to be an interrogator or a trial lawyer in this case – and you have to be able to control your emotions even when you are being attacked. By this time, you should be well used to hateful fights – you are probably having them a few times a year. When it happens your objective is to find out WHY. When they tell you that they hate you, calmly ask them why? Now a screamer will move the argument away from everything they say, but you have to be calm and persistent. No, lets go back to that, You just said that you never loved me and have faked it every time you have acted or said otherwise. Was that the case when we were in…… A genuine and sincere spouse will break down here and admit they were just spouting off to hurt you. They will undo their own argument and admit to being a temporary or permanent jerk. But if the spouse is genuinely hateful and truly does not love you or has really been using you for years under a false pretense, they will explain it to you calmly or screaming, but they will not undo their own argument. You have rattled them and they are hard into their rant here and in their own hearts are dead set on getting it out. Let them talk and learn what you can. They may recant it in a few days – when they realize they may have just gotten themselves kicked off the gravy train – but at least you now should know what the deal has been through all the years of crazy making you have been dealing with.

Anger – or more Resentment: But now it should be different. You will feel righteous indignation. You can take action as you see fit. At this point, many folks prepare for the marathon, write a book, take the promotion (working a lot), etc. But you will likely not be depressed. And with all of this, you will likely become more sanguine and you will definitely be in better shape. The marathon can do that to you.

Temptation: You may never have been a “Ladies Man” or a “Temptress”, but being tempting has a side effect of introducing temptation. Folks will notice the new you. You are no longer pathetic. You have purpose in your step. Some of you might find that you are “Hot”. The withholding spouse may also notice this and find that spark that was lost for years. If you are lucky, it will stick and your heart may not yet be totally hard toward him/her. But you will notice others noticing you.

Horny: If the spouse does not notice or if you become a counter refuser (because your heart is hard) you may get all sparked up yourself. Face it, you are here reading these things because you want your spouse to have sex with you. By definition you are probably more sexual in nature than most – at least more than your spouse. If you were not, you would be perfectly satisfied with the Friday night movie snuggle by the fire.

Personal anecdote here: At one point at a furniture store, my wife hit me in the arm and cautioned that I might burn a hole in the sales woman waiting on us. What? Oh, yes that, sorry. I wondered if it was that obvious to my wife it must have been really obvious to the woman. I was embarrassed. Note to self: Stop doing that.

You may find yourself reading the “I’m So Horny” forums here on EP. Hunting for friends here you think maybe you might meet sometime. Looking for excuses to contact that old friend from college. You may find yourself noticing folks on the train or in cars at stoplights. At the coffee shop. In the airplane. Customers and even employees. What have you become? You used to make fun of those guys. At the coffee clutch or bunko night, you used to be the prude, but your friends are shocked that you are not righteously indignant about Barb’s affair. Now you understand such things.

Affair: Unless you are the paragon of virtue and self-control, or are just too ugly or stupid for words (don’t count on it) it may be inevitable at this point. You send the card to the old friend back home at the death of one of his parents offering any assistance needed or a shoulder. You comfort the co-worker obviously struggling with a problem marriage. Or you do nothing, but someone does something to reach out to you. It would be presumptuous to assume they are “after you”. But the connection feels even better than you had imagined it might.

Shame: Now your righteous indignation is gone. You are no longer the righteous victim. You are just like everyone else. Not a very pretty place to be is it. It’s even worse than you imagined it to be. And it is not that you are under the control of a prudish, Victorian morality. You have failed and it is no more complicated than that. No one else even knows – not even your hateful spouse. You think to yourself: Too bad that.

Depression: In some ways worse than before.

Exit Strategy: You contact the lawyer and figure out how to leave. But there are the kids. OK, if it gets worse I’ll leave. Or, if things deteriorate to the point where I am less effective married than I would be divorced, then I will leave.

Restoration: Lots of prayer, family, hobbies, exercise, and work later, things are a little better. Perhaps at some point in all of this, you were so preoccupied with all the rest of it that you actually left your refusing spouse to him/her self. You (actually they, but they won’t tell you) may find at this point that it is no fun being a refuser to someone that does not care. What’s the fun of making a monk or nun out of someone if they don’t care? Your refusing spouse (if they were genuinely getting their jollies from your response to their refusal) may by now chasing you for some of that new hotness. Or if they were refusing you because they have no libido or just don’t care, they may now be quite tolerable as a house guest. Perhaps they don’t mind driving the boat while you ski?

Or not.
CreelUnion CreelUnion
51-55, M
8 Responses Nov 5, 2012

*** Clarification here: It is your own fault that you abandoned these relationships – not theirs. ***

well in my case i moved hundreds of miles away from the life i use to know... so yes it is my fault because i moved to be with my reufser but, hey its not like i could visit them or go to my old hang outs on a daily drive by . he knew i was moving away from everything i knew and loved ! and when I did what did he do? he dumped me the day i got there! who he really was/ is showed up !

p/s i left him nearly a year ago

I'll have digest this...but worth reading.

I came here for a post-mortem, not a Lazarus job. I must say the post-mortem went well. Now it's just occasional venting when I am particularly down, plus asking for tips about parenting in a SM. I need to check if there's a more specialized group for parenting in a SM. So I guess I don't fit into ILIASM (expands to "I am collecting courage and moral support for separation") quite that well.

Wow, feel like I just read a manual for how to survive a 20 year marriage.

What strikes me as I read my life story in your words was how I was looking for the happy ending paragraph there at the end.

Or not.

It seems our response can become an equal issue as well?