Did We Cause This?

I have to ask, because I've been wondering this about my situation and I see it more or less in others stories. We're the ones that show our love. We're the ones that pursue. We're the ones that want.

Is it human nature to reject what you don't have to fight for, earn, or somehow 'win'? A dollar earned is treasured more than a dollar won in a scratch off.. both are great, but somehow if you earned it, it means more. Conquering a worthy opponent is so much more satisfying than, lets say, winning a chess game against a 4-year old.

Here's my point. In my relationship, from the very beginning, I was so much in love I couldn't do enough for her. Sometimes I wonder.. If I hadn't brought her coffee in bed in the morning every single day for the first 8-9 years (until one morning she got up and walked right past me... I only do this once in a whlie now), if I hadn't been the only one doing all the small things (notes, smal roses on her desk/pillow, me constantly being the one reaching for her, etc..), me being the constantly wanting her in my arms, wanting to feel her body next to mine, would things be the same? Did I ever allow a momment for her to feel any loss, or a time when she missed it and pursued me?

I don't think she ever understood - it was never about neediness (some cold spouses will say you need to get a hobby), its not about control (who's in a position of strength, who's weak), it isn't about any scores (who's doing 'more') or just sex (like some addiction that needs to be satisfied)...it's about loving someone and getting that back - its about a connection so deep it makes you strong, not weak...

Do you respect someone that constantly does everything for you, no matter what? If there's no respect, how can there be love?

So my thought at times is, did I, did we, do soooo much thinking we were expressing our love that it became a treasure they never had to 'win'? If you love a cold Coke, but ten are put in front of you every single day, aren't you going to get sick of it? I'm not trying to find yet another reason why this is my 'fault' (lord knows she's thrown enough of those at me), but I have to wonder if we were just too good to them in the first place.

A few times this has led me to strategy number... I don't know 432,000. I tried backing off to see if she'd pusue. No dice, no matter how long I stayed aloof. I think after so many years of not having to worry about it (because I'd always be the one who pursued), her perception of who can hold their breathe longer waiting for love is already cemented... and it sure as hell isn't me.

So what's the answer? I should have been more of a jerk? Why is it wonderful people always seem to attach themselves to jerks, but the ones they never pursue are the ones who would actually return their love... it just seems to be a law of nature.

Is there anyone who tried the 'aloof' solution and it actually worked??? How long did that painful desert take to cross?

RandDannesk RandDannesk
46-50, M
13 Responses Nov 27, 2012

I found this surprisingly intriguing. I feel your frustration, and I don't know what solution you will ultimately choose. I grieve with you that your desert journey had been far too long, seems very cruel. I also feel that there are some hidden underlying motives as to why your wife persists in keeping her chastity belt on. Once again I wish for you both if is what both parties desire a nice cool desert rain to wash away all your dryness and distain.

Unfortunately our love for our spouses and all our good deeds are sometimes viewed as pathetic weaknesses from our dysfunctional partners.

As you so rightly mentioned you made coffee in bed, small notes etc, all out of love for your wife. She on the other hand viewed this as a weakness and as a sign that she had all the power as you worshipped the ground she walked on. You were just unlucky to be involved with a selfish narcissist.

Regarding your other question no amount of time you spending aloof will change her attitude. If she is not willing to be intimate with you a Refusing wife is just like a camel. You will die of thirst before she does.

Finally yes we do contribute to our own misery because often most here tolerate their spouses foul behavour for so long and offer no real consequences in return.

Brother Ragnardann i would suggest taking up some hobbies, make plans to go out with friends, buy some new clothes whatever makes you feel good and dont include her in any of your new found plans.

Also getting some legal advice on how a Divorce might affect you probably wouldnt be a bad idea.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Yes Frustrated, that's the 'me beating myself up' part of this - at times I feel like such a fricking loser, then I resent that fact that I would feel that at all from the woman I married...then....then... cycles back and forth and bounces between multiple different thoughts. Thanks for the comments.

One of the great futilities in ILIASM is to find reasons. Compared to you, I have been a jerk to my wife, but I assure you there are other ILIASM members who have been much worse. The end result is the same. Working marriages share many essential traits. Failures can be diverse. All working airplanes are very similar to each other, but each crash is different. Very painstaking NTSB work is needed to find any common factor at all in crashes. On the rare occasions when they find some, they help legislate changes in material or procedures immediately. Very rare, because Boeing and Airbus really know what they are doing, so systematic bugs seldom creep in. In human sexuality, there is one glaring systematic bug: there are two genders instead of the ideal one.

So don't blame yourself, nor blame your spouse. There are spouses that are truly jerks, then there are others who just don't like to **** and don't want to be pressured. Their only mistake was to marry. Often it really was an honest mistake, or they imagined their definition of marriage will be compatible with their spouses'.

I think our blame lies in the fact that we ignored slights. We didn't speak up right away. We made excuses for behavior that was neglectful and not reciprical. We said,well they are not well, they did not mean it. Our spouses are not unloving, they are just tired,or overworked, or over stressed. And so a pattern starts. And if we do ask for intimacy, and are refused again and again, we get to feel very hurt and uncomfortable and enotionally deflated, and so we ask less often. And, now the snow ball starts down the hill, and years can pass.

The real difference between us and our partner is this: We miss the intimacy. We are hurt by the sexual dissinterst and lack of other intimacies in our life. We assume they miss it also. And, so we hang on, we keep waiting for them to speak up.More years pass,and the reality is, they don't miss it at all. So nothing comes from them. Matter of fact they are shocked by the fuss we make when we finally do speak up.

You are very right. I quit trying with my husband and I thought he would realize something was 'off' and start trying, it didnt happen. You can wait and wait but if its not who they are they are not going to change.

I know...I kept waitng for some sort of response. When i spoke up about the fact that, I could not deal with this loveless situation any longer..I expected him to say.."I agree, I can't deal with this either..We need to do something to get us back together..I miss us.. "...What I got was: 'what's the problem?..you know i am not an amorous guy"..and so the rest is history..now the intersting aside..we divorced last year, and that day, he left to be with the new woman in his life..So much for ....not being an amorous guy..
and the next bit of information..i jsut got off the phone with the spouse. he called to let me know that he is getting re-married..we both started to cry..and so ..it is such a bizzare way to live..it really is.

I feel this will happen with my spouse if we depart from one another. He will go to one of his cherished conferences and immediately click with someone he has known there for a while, and suddenly be in love with someone else. We used to joke at the beginning of our marriage, after a 4 year friendship after one year dating, that "we thought we broke up, but we were wrong." I have a sense that, after my eyes were opened 2 years ago, that in three years we will be saying, "we thought we were in love, but we were wrong."

I heard from my ex-spouse yesterday,and he announced tha the is re-marrying. And so a lot of tears came forward, and a lot of memories. And one thing that I recalled.,at least in our realtionship was that:
because ot the time span between intimacy, when we were intimate, it was awkward. I would immediately wonder..well maybe it is me?..Maybe I am not doing things very well. And so when we were ntimate, It was stressful. it was not pleasant, at least not for me. And so i would worry if we weren't intimate, and i would worry if we were. And so i think the problem feeds on itself.

1 More Response

Low testosterone women dont change. It is futile to try as they are not interested in changing, They got you and whatever else they wanted, now that they are married they feel entitled to turn off the sex tap as its no longer useful to them.
Sorry but its what I have read over and over....

Usually no. For my friends situatioin, they dont spend hardly any time together,s he is always working 9 PM onwards nearly every night. They dont do dinners, restaurants, movies, nothing without the child involved. It is sick.
But, it may be just their dynamiics and not general. Some spouses are happy to not have to put out and to not have to discuss sex. It is that revolting to them.
Good luck.

I would say that the "we" that causes the "this" is both partners in the relationship, not just one or the other. Families/relationships are integrated systems.

True. It is a dance, and someone has to break the pattern for anything to change. It may require breaking the pattern repeatedly before anything really does change though.
It is often that you have to be a ***** or an a-hat to get through to some people though. Their sense of entitlement is that strong.

The book I am reading says, the marriage is like a seesaw, if one stops doing something then the spouse will pick up the slack.
We wish !!
My BF's so called wife sleeps on the couch, he has not initiated sex with her in years because he has had every excuse under the sun as to why she doesnt want to have sex.
I dont know if she has lost respect as you say, but people like that should just agree to a divorce rather than put the spouse through hell dont you agree

Just my two cents.

True..or the refused spouse can also initiate divorce unilaterally.

Very interesting post + comments. I *especially* agree with the comment about our partners representing a challenge.

You have commented on the dichotomy between your work life (where you have to be decisive and a courageous leader) and your home life (where you feel as if you are on the back foot). I suspect the element of challenge has probably been the thorn in your side that has kept you intrigued to date.

My first relationship was with a lovely guy who was a very generous giver and it was wonderful for a couple of years but then become dead boring. Why? Because there was no challenge. He was too nice, too accommodating and dare I say it, too into me. Later in life I understood that relationship difficulties help us in our personal growth and so, although our choice can appear illogical, on a subconscious level I think we deliberately choose marriage partners who we know are going to challenge us in weak areas.

I could never get why my husband wasn't physically attracted to me (when plenty of other men were! Once they looked at me and glazed over I instantly disregarded them - no challenge). My husband's lack of attraction to me fascinated me so much that it became a competition against myself to see how I could MAKE him want me. Especially ironic given that my H is physically unattractive (you'd think he'd be grateful!!). After many years of consistent failure and later the discovery of his chronic **** addiction, I got over myself and realised it was a competition I could never win and thence declined into indifference and counter-refusing aloofness. I don't think this "worked" because by the time I'd adopted these behaviours, it was well and truly O.V.E.R.

.... Am nursing an exit strategy into shape (v. slowly it must be said) and fervently hoping I have changed this aspect of my karma to the extent I will never be attracted to someone like him ever again! I am interested to discover who I will be attracted to in the future.

As to whether a giver + giver = happiness, that I don't know. I wonder if we need opposite polarities, like a battery??

I definately believe that's part of it. Maybe if I could stop viewing it as such a challenge, such a hill to climb, but rather turn to other, personal challenges...I'd probably be a happier person because, truth, I just don't think I'd leave no matter what at this point with the kids. I'd like to think I'd have to courage to say 'screw it' (not to the kids, but to her) and console myself that the kids are better .... just can't get there in my head, you know? Thanks for the thoughts.

I've never heard of the "aloof" position (known in these parts as "counter refusing") working, if the aim was to spark up the rfusing spouse. It makes no sense to figure that it would work.
Consider, she doesn't want to **** you, so you take a position where you are not going to ask her for a ****. Her (non) need is thus conclusively achieved, with your passive aquiesence.
What counter refusal WILL do however, is to help you reclaim your sexual autonomy, that YOU are running this part of YOUR life.
It will also accelerate bringing your dysfunctional marital situation to a head, which is highly likely to end up in agreement to end it. Be that agreement an angry vindictive one, or something a bit more adult and amicable.

Tread your own path.

And, 'did we cause it ?'

Maybe, maybe not, but we sure as hell own our part in it - even if that was 'only' enabling the other spouses behaviour.

You're right... I guess its the knee-jerk reaction to try and switch things around.

These are such good questions. I'll be thinking through them a lot over the next few days. Thank you.

Well I'm getting just as many reasons to re-think what I've held as long-time 'truths' from other comments :) Good luck!

The moment one bandies words such as strategy, or game or manipulation, guess what? It isn't authentic anymore. if you are not being honest about who you are, your gift of love, how you roll and what you desire, then aren't you presenting something other than yourself in order to instigate desiire and wanting? Here's the mind bender - are you not then as guilty as your refusing spouse for a bait and switch? I would sugggest that it would be misrepresenting yourself in order to attract a partner. If you want someone to love you for who you are, your light, dark and in between, this is not the way to go about it. I would not consider it a means to develop and deepen trust and intimacy.

You and Cat have a great point...counter-faking not being a good solution - I didn't think about it that way; it is, in fact, just another game in a relationship that is already insubstantial.... thanks for the thoughts.

Great post. It reminds me of something I said to my wife tonight. I told her that, to me, when someone pays attention to me, it's like pure gold or a diamond in the rough because she never wants me or pays attention to me. I then told her that, to her, affection and attention are cheap and worthless because it's always readily available from me.

Read my post about my experiment. For four weeks, so far, I've decided to eschew showing affection or a desire for physical intimacy. For me, it created a zen-like mood, especially when coupled with what was a potential affair. My wife told me tonight that she had been wanting to have sex, but didn't know how to ask since I seemed so aloof. She even offered tonight. I turned her down though.


Four weeks... it sounds like you triggered a reaction. Good for you!