What is a sense of Entitlement?

“a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights . . . someone’s belief that he/she is deserving of some particular reward or benefit”

the feeling that one has a right to be given something which others believe should be obtained through effort, and unrealistic expectations of favorable treatment or automatic compliance with one’s expectations”

At the heart of many Sexless Marriages is a spouse with a sense of entitlement.  A spouse who believes that s/he has the right to have or do what s/he wants, regardless of the effect on his/her partner.   One of the problems we, the Refused, face is teasing out exactly what entitlements are reasonable – and what are unreasonable.

 (An) area deserving high ranking in terms of reasonableness of expectations concerns contractual obligations entered into . . . such as marriage.

A reasonable entitlement of marriage is a sexual relationship with your spouse.  Numerous aspects of this that must be considered.  Exactly what constitutes “reasonable” sex?!  Individual variations of libido will affect levels of desire; environmental factors (work, children, running a home) will affect willingness and availability.  Personal factors such as feeling ill, feeling unloved or disrespected, or lack of trust in a partner will also cause disruptions to a couple’s sex life.

In a healthy relationship, a couple will negotiate these issues as they occur.  There is room for compliance and room for forgiveness.  Both parties will make an effort to address the issues that are keeping them apart.   And perhaps most importantly, a couple with a healthy relationship will continue to address these issues each time they occur.  Because they recognize and understand that there is no “one size fits all” response to the individual situations they face.

In a sexless marriage, there is usually one spouse whose feelings of entitlement allow that person to believe his/her desires are paramount. This sense of entitlement can be (usually is) deeply ingrained in the psyche.  This means they do not ever pause to consider if this is reasonable.  For them it is a way of life.  Behind such behaviour lies an unconscious expectation that life should be perfect and ideal, where frustration never occurs and no effort is required to meet one’s needs:  the objects of our wishes and desires will simply come to us whenever we want them.  When the expectation is strong but meets with frustration, the response is often narcissistic rage . . .

The Refuser has decided that s/he does not want or need sex and that this is then automatically his/her right.   No consideration is given to the effect that this might have on the other spouse.   Even when the Refused spouse objects, the Refuser sees no reason to accommodate their objections.

What does all this say about the Refuser?

“ . . they implicitly place themselves above everyone else, as if different standards should apply to them.  They may come across as condescending or patronizing; they may feel and express contempt for other people, as if they consider themselves to be superior.  They often expect to be taken care of financially and behave in exploitative ways in their relationships.”

“. . these people have a very limited ability to tolerate frustration”

“When this typical toddler-like selfish attitude is seen repeatedly in adults, you are dealing with a psych-pathology.” (abnormal/maladaptive behavior)

The Refuser’s insistence on having his/her own way regardless of the effect on the spouse is not something that can be successfully addressed by being “reasonable”. This aspect of their personality is deeply ingrained and will not respond to being asked to change.  They may offer to change, in response to requests by their spouses, but in fact they almost certainly can NOT change without intensive therapy.

Now, what about the entitlements of the Refused?

We agree that an expectation of sex is part of the marriage contract.  Does that allow the Refused partner to feel entitled to sex?  My answer is a cautious “yes”, but it must take into consideration the many variations of life that can affect this.

If a Refused partner insists s/he is entitled to sex because of the marriage vows, yet makes no allowances for the many personal and environmental factors that can influence desire and availability, that person is also demonstrating “unreasonable entitlement”.

When we believe we are entitled to certain things, instead of focusing on how we can earn them, we set ourselves up for failure. When you assume you’re entitled to something, you stop working to get it and begin waiting for it to come to you. That’s a sure-fire way to fail.”  This is an important message here for Refused spouses.

Melody Fletcher describes this in a very interesting way:

Let’s say that you’ve set the intention to manifest ABC. Somewhere out there in the Universe is someone who has set the intention to provide ABC. The Law of Attraction brings the two of you together, and in that meeting, both of you get exactly what you want. It’s perfect co-creation and when this happens, it’s easy. There are no demands, there’s no pushing; no one has to make anything happen.

However, when you, having intended to find ABC, decide not to wait for that person who’s a perfect match to that intention, but rather choose whoever is closest to you and demand that THEY provide ABC, even though they’re not an energetic match to it, we get a lot of negative emotion. There’s vibrational discord.

Basically, when you have this negative sense of entitlement, you’ve decided not to leave it up to the Universe with its infinite resources, but that what you want has to come through a certain person, event or circumstance.

If you’re the “victim” of someone who has this negative sense of entitlement, then realize that they simply have a misunderstanding of how the Universe works and how we manifest. If they’re open to it, you can explain it to them. Otherwise, just understand that they’ve simply decided that what they want has to come through you, but that you have no obligation to provide it to them, if you’re not an energetic match. In fact, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you forced yourself to give them what they want out of obligation or to make them go away.  (note: my emphasis)

This applies equally (in different ways!) to both the Refuser and the Refused.  Whilst ever your wants and needs are not being met by your spouse, and it is clear that person cannot or will not meet those needs, then effectively you are with the wrong person.  This applies to both sides of a sexless marriage.

The website Out of the Fog (http://outofthefog.net) offers some great resources of people living in Sexless Marriages, especially if you suspect your spouse or partner has a personality disorder.  He following advice comes from this site:

Entitlement - Entitlement or a 'Sense of Entitlement' is an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

Coping with a Sense of Entitlement:

What NOT to Do:

  • Don't give in to unrealistic demands just to keep the peace.

  • Don't expect a personality-disordered person to reciprocate favorable treatment you show them.

  • Don't try to use logic to argue your way out of it. That will only be interpreted as invalidating their feelings and result in a Circular Conversation. [Circular Conversations are arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no real resolution.]

  • Don't stay in any situation or room where there is a threat of violence or retribution towards yourself or others.

  • Don't feel rushed into making or denying commitments or decisions. It's OK to say "I'll have to think about it".

  • Don't fall into black and white thinking. People with a sense of entitlement also have some legitimate needs and concerns.

What TO Do:

  • Recognize the characteristics of a sense of entitlement and understand where it comes from.

  • Accept that you are not going to be able to meet all of the needs of any person. That is especially true for people who have a personality disorder. Give yourself a big pat on the back for all the good things you do.

  • Take care of your own needs as well as the needs of others. That's not selfish it is just common sense. Try to establish patterns and choices that are healthy in the long run.

  • Talk to others whom you trust about what is being asked before saying "yes" or "no".

A sense of entitlement is something to approach with great wariness!  It falls into a similar category as “deserves” . . . There is NO Universal law which states we should get what we want or even what we deserve.  Many millions of people live on this planet without life’s basic necessities – and surely they “deserve” these?  Moaning that we “deserve” better or that we are “entitled” to what we want is NOT going to change anything for us or for our Refusers.

Dwelling on our own entitlements is not going to achieve anything.  Our Refusers dwell on their entitlements to the exclusion of our’s (their spouses), and often end up with something they do NOT want – the end of their marriages!  Our time is better used understanding that we need to be active agents for change if we are to accomplish any genuine changes in our situation.  Whether we choose to do this within the existing marriage, or to leave and start again, is entirely a personal choice.





enna30 enna30
56-60, F
7 Responses Nov 23, 2012

Interesting article though pretty difficult to digest for a person without a solid background in personality traits and personality disorders. Or I may have complicated things by taking a peak on the mentioned website.

However, what I understand from your article is that there is no standard logical positioning in a relationship. It should be a continuum of memoires, negotiation and resolutions. The trick is to write the memoires in the language of the reader, metaphorically speaking.

Correct me if I am wrong. :))

(offtopic: my 4year old girl plays near me and she has discovered her medical kit for dolls. There she shows me how she uses the otoscope to look in the ears and she knows how to hold the reflex hammer... Gee, what's with the kids today?! I think she'll have a good grasp on personality disorders by age 6... Wait for her to enlighten me :)))) ).

Your summary expresses it clearly - thank you! "Expecting" certain behaviours just because they "ought" to accompany the contract of marriage may result in increased anger, frustration and disempowerment - even though the expectations are reasonable. Both partners need to recognise the need for mutual cooperation, negotiation and be willing to concede their own rights at times when other needs are paramount. But unless BOTH partners do this in a spirit of loving and caring willingness, there will be discord. . . .

My entitlement to sex does not require her to supply it but when she does not then it does remove her right to be offended when I find it elsewhere.

"If a Refused partner insists s/he is entitled to sex because of the marriage vows, yet makes no allowances for the many personal and environmental factors that can influence desire and availability, that person is also demonstrating “unreasonable entitlement”."

I think this is where many of our sexless marriages end up. As the refused, we may not feel (or at least act upon) our entitlement early on but most of us get there in the end. We feel angry about the lack of sex we have in our relationship. Once the anger sets in, we stop doing the things that would normally be present in a healthy relationship. It then creates a spiral of bad feelings on both sides that many times end up in the dissolution of the marriage.

I know that's the way it happened for me. At the end, I was far from a good, loving, reasonable husband. I was angry about the lack of sex and definitely felt like I should be entitled to receive it. The anger grew and my negative behavior intensified. It eventually reached the point where neither of us wanted to have sex with each other.

I will never forget the point where it all came to a head. Knowing that I had a foot and a half out the door, my now ex-wife asked me if I wanted to go to the bedroom one afternoon. It didn't take a second for me to turn her down. I think we were both relieved. That night we started to get our affairs in order to head down the path that would eventually lead to our divorce. I suspect we are *both* happier people at this point, and I'm glad to finally have the self-awareness of my part in the dance that led to the end of our marriage.

Enna, I just spent a lot of time reading through the website you mentioned above, outofthefog.com. It is a wealth of information and I have only read part of it. As always, your words are on target and beyond helpful. Thank you, Louise

It's .net. :)

"Whilst ever your wants and needs are not being met by your spouse, and it is clear that person cannot or will not meet those needs, then effectively you are with the wrong person. This applies to both sides of a sexless marriage."

Yes. My wife will not face the fact that she is either asexual or very close.
So she blames me for rejecting her. As what I want isn't duty sex. I want a sexual partner who likes the attention. I felt like a molester...for simply wanting sex once a week and wanting it to be enjoyable for both of us.
...I believe she needs to look for an asexual partner. Rather than "servicing" me with ill-concealed disgust.
I cannot get my affectional needs met with her: I never got enough talking, touching, and the sex was so wretched that by the end I was forcing myself to try.

"Don't expect a personality-disordered person to reciprocate favorable treatment you show them."

Lesson hard learned.

I read this as a counter refuser - and my head goes all over the place. I feel guilty, I feel the pain of the words on both sides of the story. - I have lived on both sides.

"Deserve has nothing to do wiht it" [Clint Eastwood, "Unforgiven"]