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Why Ask Why?

Here I am, 5+ months since my STBX left (at my request) to "figure his **** out," after 7 years of marriage and 8 months of couples therapists. For the past 8 months (and probably before), he didn't do a thing to fight for the marriage, or for me, all the while professing he loves me. He admits he totally checked out for a variety of reasons---depression, work stress, marriage stress, long term unresolved emotional damage, passive aggression, etc---but can't explain why losing me wasn't motivation enough to save our marriage. I guess on some level he did want this divorce, because he certainly hasn't fought me on it.

In fact, I DO think he loves me. But not the way I need to be loved. His definition of love is, "This is what I have to offer, take it or leave it." My definition is, "What can I do to make this work?" In other words, complete opposites. I miss his friendship, but I don't miss that struggle. AT ALL.

Now I'm in love with the most amazing man, SeƱor Spanish Sex God, who is the opposite of my STBX in so many ways. Totally available, emotionally engaged, honest, introspective, wise, brave, spontaneous, and creative...with an unreal sex drive (you wouldn't believe me if I told you) and incredible in bed. I've never been so connected with a man during sex before, one who is always thinking about my pleasure and expressing his love for me with his body. It's so free, and so natural. I can't even understand in retrospect how I survived all those years of emotional and sexual deprivation.

So the STBX is coming to town in a couple weeks to pack and move his stuff. He wants to see me and to talk---even though we could have been talking this whole time, if that's what he really wanted. Once again, I brought up how I couldn't understand why he never fought for us. I warned him so many times over the years that one day I'd hit the wall. He said he knew I'd warned him, he knew he shut down and didn't try, but it was the best he could do. That's it. In other words, after 5+ months of "figuring his **** out," he hasn't figured out anything at all.

The moral of this story is DO NOT WAIT to understand "why" your spouse has no desire, doesn't want you, doesn't love you, doesn't get it, etc etc etc. Don't wait for them to explain, because they don't know themselves. Don't wait. Because while you're waiting, you might be missing out on your own sex god or goddess...
nyartgal nyartgal 36-40, F 9 Responses Dec 10, 2012

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Like Most Refusers He didn't do anything to fix the marriage because he never thought you would act on it.

Bet when you did act it must have hit him like a ton of bricks.

Good advice by the way.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Excellent advice! I agree. I tried to work things out with my spouse and each time he would give a great performance and then quickly he would fade back to nothingness. I sat by waiting for emotional and physical love and need received it. I'm gone.

In so many ways I needed to hear what you had to say, Thank you!

I keep popping in here to say "Don't Wait!". Don't let this go on forever. In hindsight, I think that two years should be the max time spent trying (or as the case may be, not trying) to "fix" the marriage.

I actually learned more about what was wrong in my SM *AFTER* I left. This knowledge is thanks to guidance from the folks here in ILIASM. Some of it was my ex's issues, and some mine. Had I understood better during the marriage ... it would have made no difference. I was willing to work on it, and he just wasn't.

Oh, and congrats on SSSG. Enjoy!!!

Chai, your stories helped SO MUCH. You are a million percent right---it all comes down to whether your partner WANTS to work on it. Mine obviously didn't.

I don't have any regrets about the years I spent working on it, because I know I did everything in my power to change things and can walk away without regret. But 5 years was enough!!!

I think we all learn more about what was wrong after we leave. We spend so much time trying to defend and hold out hope that things will improve that we convince ourselves of many things in an effort to maintain the status quo. I am so glad I was willing to challenge the status quo! Change Did Me Good.

Maybe the WHY comes from the fear that the same thing can potentionally happen yet again with a different , once very sexual partner. No one is completely immune to the same variety of causes that created the SM the first time round ????All of us are exposed to the stresses that can ruin something that was once wonderful , and when the damage is done its very hard to undo.

question for you to ponder: who was (really?) very sexual? i think, with a bit of thought, you might discover it wasn't actually your refusive spouse.

yes, my h & i did have sex a bit at the beginning of our relationship. but then again, we lived over an hour apart, & saw each other a couple times a week. compared to a previous relationship (where the man *was* sexual), my h was low on frequency & desire right from the start. introspection can sometimes help us discover clues we previously missed.

my own future path will not involve a man who finds me less than irresistible. I don't ever want to settle for "less than" (in any way) again.

The only why that makes any difference in your personal outcome is your own why. Why did I contribute to this dysfunctional dynamic and create or allow the SM to be created and maintained as it was? What choices did I make that led to this dynamic? Yes, the refuser chooses withholding sex, but this place should really be called I live in a dysfunctional marriage and we don't have sex (ILIADMWDHS just isn't as easy to say).

In the case of my friend nyartgal she tolerated words without actions for way too long. Me too, nyartgal, I am not picking on you. :)

But this won't happen to me again because of ME. Because I have learned about my why, my mistakes and I have had significant personal growth I see red flags and human behavior differently than I used to. So I will never have a relationship that reaches the level of dysfunction that most of the ones here do simply because I will see the red flags earlier and work on it earlier. If my partner does not work on them or says things but doesn't do them (like my ex, nyartgal's and most refusers here) then I will take the action, not the word as my answer.

A SM cannot happen a second time if you learned from the first experience and change yourself. Their why matters not. You can only have any impact on your own choices, not theirs so asking WHY about them is mental gymnastics that keeps you stuck accepting dysfunction and moves you away from making choices that can improve your life, your boundaries and your relationship with yourself and others.

I love this!! It is so true about the mental gymnastics. One of the things that shifted for me was going from, "What's wrong with him?" to "What's wrong with me for putting up with it?" I will never make excuses for another man's behavior like that again.

Like + + + Changes' comment.

A SM/ relationship can always happen again.......no matter what you have learnt from the first one, this only applies to you! Your new partner can do what ever they like..You can apply what you have learn't and do your absolute best , yet your partner does not have to follow your plan.The only thing you can control is how much time you are prepared to spend trying to correct the situation before you move on .You can choose the best partner , but they can still change over time.

H, of course they control themselves!! But I control MY actions... including NOT tolerating the SM. We are all complicit in staying in these relationships. As we stay, they push the limits and things get worse. As I said before and have said over and over, I will walk away if those red flags pop up... the same ones we all ignored. So NO, it can not and will not happen to me again. I have learned to choose to end a relationship before I will accept one that is hurtful, neglectful or abusive. Period.

Did you actually read my comments above or the comments I made on other posts of yours? Because I said all of this already but I am not sure you are hearing what I am actually saying... you teach people how you will accept being treated. Could I end up in a marriage that turns towards dysfunction? Sure. Will I stay if it does not improve on both sides with actions, not just words? No. I will not. It's really quite simple. Not complicated. That IS my absolute best.

You seem very angry and rather stuck in a victim role. Or maybe you prefer to argue because I notice that you take two very different approaches to the two comments you've made on this story and then on mine. Over there you argue for hope and that this is fixable and that this web site is not a good representation of the population living in a SM. Over here you are saying that we have no control over whether this happens to us and whether we can make any impact. I don't like to just argue for argument's sake so if that's your m.o. I will no longer engage with you. If there's any rational conversation and purpose in what you are saying I am very willing to have discourse.

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Thank you!!!! (a million times over.) I'm almost there, divorce process in place, waiting for my sex god to arrive.

A bit of "why" chasing is both inevitable and healthy.

Making it your mission in life is decidedly unhealthy, and ultimately futile. And, as sister N points out, your potential life is passing you by as you go on your relentless chase for the "why".

Tread your own path.

Just adding a point - post leaving, one can let go of asking the ex 'why' or why they didn't try harder. It made no difference before and is a non-issue now, unless one has not completely let go.

Exactly. I feel like I am almost done letting it go. On occasion (like talking to him), this giant painful "WHY???????????" will emerge screaming from somewhere deep inside me. But then I think, "Who knows? It doesn't matter why." All that matters is what people actually DO in life. And he did nothing. There's nothing left to examine in the face of that undeniable fact. Nothing = nothing.

You're nearly there. The pain will fade. I'd suggest you also let go of keeping track of his internal journey because that keeps interested in his why and personal growth. As a counterpoint, once the storm over my leaving had subsided somewhat,my ex told me to my face that she hoped I did not fix all my issues and find myself in a wonderful relationship too soon. She believed and still does, that her lack of desire for me was my fault. For me to then find love and desire would shatter that belief.

In fact today he said he wanted to keep me informed of how he's doing (internally). I said, "Why? You don't have to do that anymore." It's very strange.

The more interest he can generate in his journey, the more he can feel some influence in your life - its still about control.

Agreed. Like the old song says: "Set me free, why don't you babe? Get out my life, why don't you babe? Cause you don't really love me, you just keep me hanging on. Cause you don't really want me, you just keep me hanging on"

I do love that track...

So true

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Amen.