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Why am I angry that he is making efforts to change now..? After all these years..

It may seem like I am upset if he doesnt want to change or If he does wants to change.
Please help me here. My husband is doing everything to make the changes after I gave him that ultimatum. But instead of feeling elated that my life is going to change, my husband is finally working on trying to have sex with me etc.. I am instead feeling very angry and upset. Why does he want to change now?
Why didnt he change for all these years?
Did he not know that I was hurting all along?
I maybe sounding irrational, but it just doesnt make sense to me.
All these years he didnt care about sex. Now all of a sudden he wants to make all the appointments? All of a sudden he wants to be a sexual person? Just because he knows in his heart that I will follow through with the divorce this time?
So all that mattered was keeping the status quo alive, whether I was dying each day didnt matter.. right?
Am I overreacting? Should I just gracefully accept that he is trying to change, or should I be mad that he is just trying to appear to change in order to buy time and keep me hooked?its like All of a sudden my reality is face to face with me. I tried to hide it, deny it, look at the good things, all that...

Please say something. Any insights will help..
I am about to burst and scream!!

uma1980 uma1980 31-35, F 26 Responses Dec 3, 2012

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This post, and the replies and follow-ups have been bothering me (in a thought-provoking way). Thank you uma1980 and everyone else.

So I can see totally how making an effort to change has been devalued by only doing it in response to a threat of upheaval...

I became depressed and withdrew from responsibility in the marriage, which made my wife (reasonably enough) start refusing me sex, and eventually any affection.
I came back and apologized and have been trying hard ever since to rebuild bridges.
There was no ultimatum, though; one day I just came out of my funk and realized how special my wife was, and decided that I had to pull things 'round.

I have some questions - do you think you would have reacted differently if the change had not been in response to an ultimatum? Do you think you would be less angry if there was a semi- reasonable excuse for withdrawing behaviour? (I'm saying semi-reasonable, because I could have maybe tried to get help with the depression more aggressively).
Most importantly to you - do you think that a sustained period of change from your spouse would overcome your current anger against him, or is it just that you don't trust him to maintain it without a periodic threat?

I hope posting these questions referring back to my situation will help you think about what it would take for you to feel like he had done enough to be worthy of you again? Or if he can do enough?

That's the question I'm pondering from the outside - I'm hoping that someday my SO will feel that she's 'paid me back' in negativity, or be convinced that I've permanently sorted myself out, and put some affectionate response back into the marriage herself. Maybe, one day.

Thanks again...

Thanks for your questions, its making me think about my own thoughts:
Do you think you would be less angry if there was a semi- reasonable excuse for withdrawing behaviour? (I'm saying semi-reasonable, because I could have maybe tried to get help with the depression more aggressively). ---Yes. If I convinced that there was a real reason, but the onus lies on him to convince me of that. He needs to tell me each and every reason why that happened, and also He needs to think and reflect about each and everything he did wrong. And also reflect on Why he did it wrong? Has he realized a pattern in his behavior? Does he want to change it? How does he propose to change it? Why should I trust him that He wants to change those behaviors? how do I know that those behaviours wouldnt occur again? He needs to do self reflection, explore everything, even if there is not much there to explore, I atleast need him to admit that He procrastinated, maybe? And I need to know that He understands how his behavior has hurt me. Also make every amend possible to convince me that he really wants me to stay for me, not because I am useful to him..

Most importantly to you - do you think that a sustained period of change from your spouse would overcome your current anger against him, or is it just that you don't trust him to maintain it without a periodic threat?

---Yes. A Sustained Period of change Would overcome my current anger against him. He would have to go Above and Beyond himself to do that in a short period of time. I will come around eventually, But since I did not give up on him for last 11years, I want to know that He can do the same for me too..

Women are naturally givers, and if someone does nice things to us, we as women want to do nice things to them. So its easier for us to come back around as well. I have done a lot of giving without expecting. The min he starts giving without expecting, my female brain will automatically kick in at some point, and say hey I need to return that kindness..

Actually instead of waiting for her to pay you back in negativity, why dont you Give her in positivity. Women are naturally givers, and keep giving more thinking that our husbands will be inspired to give us back and feel resentful when they dont. But the min you start giving her, Giving her emotional support..listening to her, responding to her, appreciating her little things, also financial support because women are naturally resource gatherers, they want men to give them financial support and buy stuff for them.

Please watch John gray videos on you tube and also Mark gungor. We learn a lot from them about our relationships.

The only way she will put affectionate response in the marriage is If You are Proactive about saving/fixing the marriage. Because we as women want to be heard, not stonewalled, We want a proper emotional response, We want the men in our lives to say "I understand how you feel" "I am always there for you" "Please feel free to talk to me about it" "How can I make you happy?" "This is not just about sex, this is about making you the most special woman in my life happy" And one important thing women Love when their man does something for them without having to ask for it.

Thanks a lot for that response It actually allowed me to clarify my own thoughts and feelings in my own mind..thanks!

Thanks for replying so fully.
So there's hope for you and your partner. Here's to him keeping it up (in more ways than one...), and if you can put over your feelings as well to your SO as you do on EP, it's got to be good for you as a couple. The ball's in his court, as you've said.

On me: "Instead of letting her pay me back in negativity.."
I am giving her positivity in everything, taking nothing bar criticism in return, and I just came to figure she has some lingering resentment to work through. Hope she runs out of that at some point. : )

Thank you, I'll take a look at John Gray and Mark Gungor's vids.

6 More Responses

I was with my partner 7 years, the last 5 of which he refused sex. I could count on one hand the amount of times in those last years. Honestly it was devastating to live with. At one point just the thought of all the love and joy i was denied during that time made me weep. That was only one issue in a comlicated relationship. When he finally seemed to turn around....and start being open to me....I was the same.....so angry I couldn t bear it. I was hurt he finally seemed willing to give all the things he had with held for so long....it was as if it just opened up all the pain and waste I had been living with.
I suppose I realised in the end....I loved him.....but could never forgive him.

I just feel like I am reading my own story here..I really do want to forgive him..I just dont know how..

You are in a tough spot, I know because I was there too and I felt incredibly guilty for not being able to check back in and feel good about it. You seem to be in relationship ambivalence. You aren't happy but you aren't quite sure why. I just read "too good to leave, too bad to stay" I couldn't put it down...it told me over and over that I would most likely be happier if I left. I highly recommend reading it.

Thanks a million for that lead. I read that post by enna30 and then went ahead and ordered the book. Thanks a lot for that!

I've gone through this/go through this as well, not just about sex either. Every time they try to do something to "keep us", EXCEPT they (or at least mine) will NEVER address head-on what actually happened, WHY we are so hurt and angry, they NEVER see it from OUR perspective. It's always "what do I have to do to keep her here", not "oh my gd, I've hurt her so much, what can I do to help her out?"

I think too you may be upset because you've already left, in your mind. Trusting him again is opening yourself up to more hurt. From your stories, you have been hurt enough. Only you can decide if you want to cut it off right now, or stay and see if things really change.

You may be viewed now as the "bad guy" - "I promised her I'd change and she still left!" - but you may be viewed as the bad guy no matter what you do, so go with your gut, with your heart.

My STBX wife blames me for "rejecting" her...
My therapist said "Yeah, you are...rejecting emotional abuse, loneliness, and really bad sex."
...I got no sex for a year, then the duty sex.
She'd get me off , but I wasn't allowed to get her aroused...and she acted bored and disgusted.
She was bored and disgusted-she's not good at acting.

Remember...your spouse likes the status quo just fine.
Your misery wasn't important enough for him to change.

Zs, the way you state it makes me rethink what is at the root of not trusting the turnarounds: the (former) refuser spouse is still "me" centered as opposed to "we" centered. That's why the change that only happens when we are about to leave feels insincere--it doesn't have anything to do with us. It is focused on the refuser suddenly losing. So now I think this is the real reason trust is hard to rebuild. It's not a matter of making the refuser pay, it's a matter of waiting until the refuser starts thinking as part of a couple. Will physical intimacy automatically create that? Maybe not.

Well - I guess it depends on what is driving his change.

I too went through a SM and finally, the change I had wanted for so long has become a reality.

My wife knew that I was hurting because of our lack of intimacy, but I never thought her unwillingness was intentional. She just didn't "feel".

I welcome her change with open arms. It is genuine and sincere. There was never threat of divorce or separation. She was not coerced into change. She always wanted to change, but never knew how. Now that she has, I can't be angry.

I refuse to live in the past. It was a bad time, but my wife IS my best friend. Best friends forgive the past and move on to better tomorrows.

I am going through the same thing as you. My miracle took place 2 weeks ago and though I fight negative thoughts, fears and emotions, I REFUSE TO look backwards and sabotage what I have been praying, hoping and believing for for 30 years!

How long was your SM? How long have things been turned around for you?

We were sexless for about 20 years and things have turned around for about a year now. In the last 12 months ( actually, even the last 12 weeks ) we have "gotten busy" more often than we did for the 1st 20 years.

Not duty sex. We're having the time of our lives !!!!

You'll hear pro's and con's here, but let there be no doubt....this is a very individual situation. There may be a lot of feelings that can be related to between members, but only you can know what is right for you. For us, it was well worth working this out.

I agree...all individual situations and individual responses. We cannot change our spouses. Only the refusers can take on the understanding of what we have experienced at their rejection and choose to fix themselves and change for the sake of their marriages. Not all will do the work to make that happen.Thankfully my refuser has, and I pray it last. Happy for you 1hotcouple.

I would really like things to work out with my husband as well. Because he is really my best friend, and we have unlimited affection for each other too..

Thinking of you and praying you find your path in this journey.

@1hotcouple: Your story is inspiring I hope with all the efforts things will turn around for us as well..

thanks a lot LynnLee!

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The anger has subsided, the truth is out, maybe I was denying it because I didnt want to feel all the pain. I am feeling regretful now. I am feeling I didnt have to endure all this, I could have been done with this when I first got married and I knew we had no sexual connection whatsoever. I should have left on day 1. I regret I put so many years of my effort and everything of me in this relationship. I feel like I lost the best years of my life..
Is it too late? what are my chances of being able to turn my life around a second time over? I know if I stay on, i am going to keep feeling this a lot worse Over here my future is dark, sad, lonely and lifeless..Picking myself up and doing it all over again sounds like a big challenge..where do I start?

Been there, did that to myself.
I convinced myself that sex was too petty a reason not to get married...
*headdesk*
She got ten years out of me, but she's not getting any more.

My story is a little different..we had sex that never stopped but all of the otherneeds weren't there and I didn't even know it..he cheated on me with his exwife a year after we were married.we did work that out few years later he said he didn't want to be married anymore. We split for year and ahalf always stayed in touch. We both started seeing other people anyway I came back to him and I do see a change but I'm very angry also..same questionsiv just read why now and will it last..I feel sorry for him because he is trying so hard making promises about not hurting me again but it does take two and I'm not feeling wht I use to feel for him he was my world but I don't feel that now. And its sad.

Wow. I have had this exact thought in the back of my mind for a while. What if she trys? I will always think she is faking it. Can I be happy with non genuine passion? I just don't know' I need a therapist.

elven....> as soon as i start making him matter in my life again he WILL sit on his butt and stop bothering


gypsy...>yep i too have gave up.. my guy likes to sit on his butt and watch tv and troll on p/c all day, then off to bed to sleep.

his life no longer matters to me, im out there making a life for my self. im to young to sit in the house all day, every day, year after year watching him watch tv...yuck

I understand...
He's broken your trust.
If he wants you back it's going to take a huge effort.
...Mine didn't seem to realize how much my trust was broken...the efforts I saw to fix things were totally puny.
...And it didn't work.

Thanks, my husband is trying to do everything he can to keep me..Now...

I think the issue is that intimacy requires trust. For me, jumping back into the full intimacy of a physical relationship after years of rejection would be almost as coercive and one-sided as the denial of intimacy in the first place.

At this point in my marriage I would want a Big Bang style relationship contract detailing mutual responsibilities, including a prescribed number of physical contacts, with provisions for ongoing periodic review. Complete physical intimacy would be a condition to be considered after a specified number of successful reviews. Trust has to be rebuild incrementally.

I agree

You are mad because now you know that, for him, giving you sex was just a way to keep you - and that he did not enjoy it at all. Now you know it was not a matter of having a headache, etc...

Also, consider that you may have been suffering long enough that your mind is already made up - you know you want to leave, and only asked him to change to go through your ticklist of making sure you did everything right.

Also, consider that you may have been suffering long enough that your mind is already made up - you know you want to leave, and only asked him to change to go through your ticklist of making sure you did everything right.

I think that ticklist thing maybe true

no. i feel the same. you suffered for so many long years and he didn't care. you are fully entitled to be hurt and angry. yo know he doesn't plan on keeping that change, once he has you back to suffering quietly or thinking that being the squeaky wheel will always get the grease so to speak. You know, at some point you have to say enough is enough, this man is bad for me and you have to stop buying into the half-hearted attempts to keep you trapped in a loveless marriage. truth is, if you mattered to him he would have shown you from day one and kept showing you no matter what. When he responds only to the occasional ultimatum then you KNOW he just wants to not lose what you do for him and it's solely selfish reasons that make him try now. Besides, you are just now seeing that he could have put up the effort a long time ago but just didn't bother. That would hurt me and make me angry too!

i have stopped bothering with my husband and his drama and started focusing on my friends and family. now he sees me smile and he knows he is not the reason behind it, it irks him and so he started trying to get me back. Joke's on him: i'm not ever going to feel anything for him again and i know this as i know how he is and that as soon as i start making him matter in my life again he WILL sit on his butt and stop bothering. I have accepted it and began grieving for a love that really ever was only one-sided and now I am not allowing him to use me that way anymore.

Think it over. You have the answers to why you feel this way. You just refuse to acknowledge those answers/reasons :(

You answered your own question. Your husband is working on sex to keep the status quo alive. You have every right to be angry.
Listen to your emotions. You probably have been like me and have been blocking them out for a number of years.
Now, speak your mind to him. Tell him just what you told us.
I wish I would have been more blunt about this stuff over the years instead of walking on eggshells.

Uma,

Feel free to SCREAM as loud as you want! It's good to vent out the pent-up emotions sometimes... and this is a wonderfully safe place to do so.

BUT... to your question of "Why am I angry...?" Well... I asked myself that same question just yesterday while talking with my wife. She asked me to share my thoughts and that voice in my head immediately started screaming "There's NO WAY I'm going to tell you my thoughts!".. and I didn't. But my internal reaction to her simple request was SO strong that it shocked me... I've got more anger pent up inside that I had imagined...

MLSA2878

It is very good that you have a handle on the "emotional gun" but if you do not share with her your feelings it is highly unlikely things will change. In fact they cannot if she doesnt know.

I believe there is a way with our words to describe the complete and utter devastation done to our hearts, mind and spirit by living in this unexpected and imposed rejection. If done with passion and exposed emotions maybe they will 'get it'.

Im not saying you have to be calm cool and collected completely. God knows I have had my HIROSHIMA MOMENTS...and it was a HIROSHIMA moment that led to us talking for hours with me in a more controlled stated...still tearful...but "unpacking" every emotion, thought and pain that has dismantled my self esteem, and confidence leaving me mentally and emotionally challenged in this marriage.

How can we hold our spouses accountable for how they make us feel if we never tell them?

Hoping you find the words to explain to your W how you feel and internalize her actions.

At least she was asking for your thoughts. I never got that.

Hoping the best for you.

Thanks, this is indeed the safest place to vent out all the pent up emotions and process everything, and look from the outside..

Uma... it doesn't feel good because it's what I term Welfare Sex/Attention. I know the what you mean by the seeming contradictory feelings of getting what you wanted (attention/sex), and then not liking it when you get it.... here's why.

If the 'urge' and feeling was there, it would have shown. My wife and I are up to ~5 post-discussion attention surges. Right now, she's trying, but I know she's trying only because I asked (or threw the gauntlett)... a few times, it feels genuine, but most of the time it feels fake, pushed, block-checked.

So shouldn't the fact that they are making the effort mean something?... I know the logical answer to this is 'yes', but the emotional one screams that they never felt it before, so there's no way in hell they 'really' feel it now... and that leads to getting pissed as you realize, 'damnit, I'm BETTER than having to beg for block-checks!".

It gets very muddled - but here's what I think is the key. Ride this out (haha... just realized the pun.. ok, seriously) - the important part of this will be whether it stays or not. No human can block-check love for long. It's either 'real' and you have yourself a reformed, woken up to realities mate, or it will just go right back to the way things were, and you'll have your answer.

Bottom line - completely understandable to resent what he's doing, but completely possible, at least, that it will stay long-term.

Thanks for that insight..

I believe there is moment in a SM relationship that all that is left inside us is resentment and anger towards the refuser... but we cant reconize it... we keep trying and pushing and trying ...out of desperation to be wanted, desired, touched, loved. We only come to reality when we face the situation discribed above by the autor. They showed us so much rejection and indifference during so many years, that when they finally accept to fight for the relationship ( threatened to lose what for them is an aceptable life), was past the point. The point of no return.

Take care my friend.

Thats whats going on here pretty much, being past the point in a way or just dont want to deal with the hurt anymore..

I know honey... It sucks bad!!!

My dear friends, Please allow me to Cry out aloud and Scream it all out..I dont want to sob quietly anymore... I want to cry it out Once and for All and be Done...

In my opinion he is trying to buy time. He probably knows this time he you are serious so will temporarily do a,b,&c, to please you.

Remember the word is temporarily.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Thats exactly what he is doing, even right now from offering guiltfree sex outside the marriage, to money to all kinds of stuff to promises of having sex everyday!!He is pulling all the plugs to make sure I stay..

Isn't it pathetic at this stage. You can bet that once he feels safe again he will make dramatic cutbacks on his budget afterwards.

By budget i also mean emotional affection etc, as doing these acts now is draining his emotional budget cuause it is not naturally him

What you shold be, is SUPER suspicious about his motive(s).

Do you really think that if you hadn't driven this agenda - hard - that he would have done one damn thing of his own accord ??

His motive is to preserve the status quo. You say "I'll stay if you do A B & C", so he is going to do A B & C to keep you around, then revert back into his preferred position when he figures the risk to the status quo has passed.

Tread your own path.

If I hadnt driven this agenda, the status quo would not have changed for the next 50years or so.. Right now he is offering every possible thing in the book in order to keep me..

My sympathies. I am living this right now. And, angrily, I want more. Perhaps more than she is able to provide. I don't think that is a healthy way to deal with the feeling that you also have but I am too close to this and can't see my way through.

I need to deal with that. And at the same time deal with all the old regrets that this situation has dredged up while at the same time dealing with my age.

So you know the score. It takes the potential disintegration of your refuser's world for your refuser to give a damn. In my opinion, it seems that your refusing spouse only decided to do something because your leaving would cause him pain and discomfort - its not about your pain, its all about his.

@LynnLee828 - after 30 years?? The begging and pleading and he did NOT know how you were hurting? I have my own opinion on this but I do wish you continued success. We all in the end have but one life to live.

Lao..I know he is conveniently forgetting the pain of the past because yes it has been 30 years of crying, begging pleading etc etc.

At this point..I DONT CARE about the past. I want my future and I want a future with him. To have that future, I have to do that leap of faith ONE MORE TIME... I HAVE to forgive the past (even with him denying the truth) and focus forward..Otherwise all the talks, all the praying everything has been for nothing.

If Im not willing to let go and look forward I WILL SABOTAGE all that I have been hoping for.

He is not strong enough to keep pushing through barriers/walls of hate and resentment to get back to me. He was willing to endure the EXPLOSION , crying and rant for 2 days of how I was feeling devastated and he did it with true empathy. WHY AFTER 30 YEARS? I do not know..but why explode cry and rant if Im not looking for a response? I got my response..A POSITIVE ONE! I need to embrace that not p*ss on it.
T
He professed his shame and cried his eyes out after my last and final HIROSHIMA "TALK".

For 2 weeks he has made every effort and I am focusing on that. Its this last ditch effort or going back to living with him in a pathetic existence forever because I do love him and do not want divorce. He heard me..Im not dredging up the past...and if it dont work out..well...I will face that then as it comes.

Thank you for your wishes :)

So LynnLee,

If I am reading this right, if your spouse reverts back, you will then face the prospects of existing in a loveless and passionless marriage because you don't want to divorce him.

Lao, if he reverts back NOTHING is off the table for resolution.
At best Outsourcing or Open Marriage
At worst Divorce, but in all honesty I dont see this happening.

I am going through this right now as well. I understand your anger, thoughts and fears.

Truth is tho...if we want to stay in our marriages and work our way back to one another we have to accept what they are offering and fight our tormenting thoughts and fears.

Its a catch 22 for us and them.

We pray, beg and talk in the hopes that our H's hear us , They do, they make a move and then we go all nuts because we dont know how to respond, the walls are up, we dont know how to take the walls down, we are AFRAID TO TAKE THEM DOWN FOR FEAR OF REJECTION AGAIN, so we either BLOW UP OR in turn reject THEM or SHUT THEM OUT..which in turns makes them think "why try"!

ITS A CRAZY MESSED UP relationship, but it can be pushed through and saved..if both are willing.

I have lots of fear right now.. Things have BIG TIME changed in the last 2 weeks. We have had more sex in these 2 weeks than the last 2 years! He is HUGELY MAKING EFFORT!

I have talked to my h and asked him why now? why and how the change?

I didnt do it in anger, I didnt do it upset....in fact we had just made love and I asked him why now. I expressed my fears and asked him was this 'reset sex' or "duty sex".

He said he never realized how badly he had hurt me and he never wanted me to suffer pain like that under his care and he would live every moment trying to make that up to me.

I got my miracle AFTER 30 years. I fight fear everyday.

It takes 2 to make this work. I have to fight all those thoughts that point BACKWARDS...but I AM FOCUSING ON MY FUTURE...if the future falls apart..well..I will handle that then!

Good luck.

The problem I had with the "don't go, we can build that, I can change" thing was the implications it brought up. I was angry that this thing I had needed for so long was being brought out of the bag only when I threaten to leave. I was angry that it implied she had ignored my needs for so long for the sake of her own.<br />
<br />
Actually looking back in from this distance I see that really, humans can throw out any words they think will buy them time to come to terms with a change in a situation they enjoy being in. It now seems to me she was trying to buy time to work out and make sense of the shock I'd given her. Could she have changed and given me what I wanted really? Probably not. Might she have managed for a while to not lose someone from her life I really believe she loved? Again, maybe. Would it have lasted? I don't think so. She is who she is. We share a lot of characteristics in common which make us suitable for a partnership. We just don't tick "the" box. That box in my opinion is the "Can this person meet my MOST essential need(s)?". She could not. <br />
<br />
It's probably true that I met her most essential needs, and really that actually puts more onus on me for letting the situation live for as long as it did. She was honestly being herself and giving all she could. My efforts to change her and make her be who she was not were ME clinging to something which wasn't meeting MY needs. I wasted a lot of both our time by not seeing this truth earlier.<br />
<br />
Change can only be of yourself, and only FOR yourself. Change for someone else will just lead to someone being unhappy. I wouldn't trade my happiness for my ex's. It is a scale, it must balance.

We share a lot of characteristics in common which make us suitable for a partnership. We just don't tick "the" box. That box in my opinion is the "Can this person meet my MOST essential need(s)?". She could not.

I think this statement really did strike me, and made me think, thanks

This is my big fear Uma too-when I finally let him know. Based on what I have read and the advice that has come my way via EP, I would say that he definitely is calling for a last prayer. If it wasn't there all along, it's not going to last. Someone here called it "reset sex." I have come to realize that is the only kind of sex I ever saw in my marriage. When their back is against the wall....they will do anything to keep us, and then we are trapped. You sounded as ready as me. Stick with your plan and don't look back.

Thanks for the support. yes thats right my husband is pulling all plugs as well!

Yes life is confusing I think you should go with it because like most it probably won't last long I know this is a bit sceptical but I have had many talks and nothing happens and not quite ready to take next step so have given up talking about it and just accept the status quo