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I Pulled Back

So as my plan to leave slowly moves forward, I have pulled back emotionally and physically. I do not even seek out hugs or holding his hand (all things we regularly did.) I hadn't considered that in my effort to take care of me and stop seeking the affection and intimacy I saw desperately craved, I began to shake his comfortable world. The things that make him happy and content are now slowly withering and he is reacting. I have taken the power away from my refuser, from my passive-aggressive spouse and it is rearing its ugly, little head in a new fashion. He is cold, withdrawn, and more angry in general than I have ever seen him. It's really empowering to me. I do mean to sound like this is some sick, twisted game I am enjoying because it isn't. After I everything I read in articles and posts on EP, I am seeing that his behavior is predictable and there is power in that-that I am not crazy or making any of this up. That what has happened throughout our marriage has a name, that my feelings during this entire ordeal are now validated, and that in my process of freeing myself I can now see him for who he is. I don't hate him- I think I just feel sorry for him. That he is incapable of feeling the joy and pleasure of an emotional, intimate, sexual bond with his spouse. I cannot be angry anymore-he is built that way. I am just not built to continue keeping his happy little world happy anymore.
nutmeg99 nutmeg99 36-40, F 25 Responses Dec 22, 2012

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After discovering a long-existing ***** obsession I had my epiphany moment. It took 18 months, but I planned my exit, and I left him. In the end there was no reason for anger or blame, it was over and we needed to move on with our lives. Doesn't change the fact that we still are, and will always be parents to our daughter. Time makes a difference. We do our best now to respect one another. I feel no guilt. I went in with the best intentions, and in my heart I know that I gave my marriage my best effort . . .We only get one life to live, and I chose to live it being happy. I owed it to myself to take the initiative to exact what I feel was a difficult and painful but necessary change for my life. Before this, my self-esteem was shot, I was basically just going through the motions, not living for myself. This is no way to live in my opinion. It's not selfish. For me, it's realistic. I truly hope that your journey brings you better things in 2013.

Thanks!! I am confident 2013 will be different.

Best of luck. Stay positive and focused. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled.

I am in the exact same situation. I have been going through counseling over the last several month b/c I thought that I was being an unreasonable shrew, or hormonal, or just plain crazy. After discovering that I just am none of these things, & that I really do try to put others feeling before my own & do the right thing, the counselor finally asked me "Don't you have the right to be happy?" That really struck a chord. I've been married to this man for 14 ears, and have a 5 year old son with him. I tried my darndest to "do it all". All I have been doing is short-changing myself; &, consequently my self-esteem lowered too. My parent (84 & 86) think I am over-reacting, but they don't have to live with the constant changes in mood. He knows that he is PA, & apologized a few weeks ago & is trying to change, but I think it's a little too late. I don't want to get sucked into the abyss again. We discussed the fact that my mother is also PA, hence, the reason I probably married him in the first place. I had my nose to the grindstone (school) for years, never had a boyfriend (not that I couldn't), & he was the first. I was in my late-twenties when I married him. Had I known that I was leaving one unhealthy household for another, I would've thought twice. His fluffiness is becoming ridiculous. Somehow, I manage to run the household, run a business, am starting a new job soon, & take care of my son without missing a beat. He, however, can't seem to keep it together. I will not sacrifice myself or my son, just to honor my marriage contract. Know that I have started figuring things out about my situation with him, I am feeling more empowered. Leaving him will be a struggle, but I believe that I will mentally be stronger. Of that I have no doubt, but I refuse to be a martyr. I have lost respect for him, & the deep intense love, as well. I pretty much feel that all emotional connection is gone. l I care for him as a person & as my son's father, but I can't be his mommy any more. I have a 5 year old to think about.

Are you sure you aren't married to my H? Wow, my story as well. And we are the same age. Maybe I just have two jk I do know your pain though. And I too am not angry or bitter. I have nothing left for him emotionally or physically. I am kind to him. He has some great qualities about him. But he has slowly killed me, to where I became a withered shell. That is, until I took back my life, the same as you.

Have you left yet?

No. I refuse to because of the kids. He would use it to turn the kids from me. I asked him to leave in August and he did for two weeks and the whole time he used the kids to beg me to let him come back. Would tell them that he would b home if only mommy would allow it. So some were angered that I refused to. They didn't understand. So in my children's eyes, I will not be the one to break up the family. He will have to leave, which he texts me weekly saying he is going to. So I know it's just a matter of time.

Way to go for seeing it for what it really is! Run run run for the front door. Life is not worth wasting on someone emotionally stunted and detached. Hugs to you for your strength. Been there, done that and it's the best thing I ever accomplished in so many ways :)

Thanks for your encouragement!

Anytime love, anytime. xoxo

I could have written this story however not as well! I am not "good" with words but I am really good at understanding EXACTLY how you feel! I, too, am in the same place as you. Its a hard place to be as somedays I have it all going on, then the next day I am unpacking. I don't like it when I get this way but at least I now understand why! I gave up ME to try to make him happy! I was a fool thinking I could do that! His happiness is not my responsibilty. and I gave him the power to hurt me like he did. I miss holding hands, hugging and yes SEX. I miss sex, hugs, kissing, and all the things we do when we are in love. But I now have given myself back ME!! I wish you everything good, and I wish that for me too. We will get there, because we both now know why we did what we did!

I wish you all the best. Take back you- your self-esteem and self-worth belong in your hands-not someone else's. Keep reading the posts and stories on will find yourself so comforted! Good luck:)

You are an inspiration for all women stuck with men like that!

Thank you!! That means a lot....I am glad I can help others because so many here have helped me!

I live with a passive-aggressive father... It's different because it doesn't include the sex aspect (luckily), but I can definitely relate. Take care!

However, things work out I wish you peace. You are discovering that the lack of intimacy in your marriage was not your fault. I respect you for not remaining stuck in your usual role. I hope that your sense of empowerment is not dependent on his reaction. best

Thanks for your kind words. I do not feel my empowerment is dependent on his reaction. I felt empowered the second I decided to leave. I was merely reflecting on how much more empowered I felt when I saw his reaction.

I'd be careful, resentment is dangerous. This is still game playing because you're purposely removing affection from him without his knowledge of your reasons.... I still preach honesty to be key to salvaging a sexless marriage.

Oh I have been ridiculously honest in this hasn't changed anything. If you have read any of my other stories, I have tried it all with him and without him (as far as help, counseling, communication coaching, etc.) I know to some extent I am being deceitful and my reasons are good. There is a high level of personal stress for him at this time and with the holidays here I am trying to be sensitive to the timing as well as preparing myself financially. It absolutely KILLS me to not tell him this very minute but I need to wait. I did not purposely decide to pull back, it was a natural reaction after I made my decision. I feel I would be more dishonest if I pretended that I still felt something for him. If he wanted to know why I pulled back, he could ask. But he doesn't and that is just one more reason why I am leaving.

I stayed with the same man for a long time hoping that he would be open, affectionate and sweet to me like I was to him. But over the years I felt more like his maid and cook and I wasnt happy. The last straw was after we have been together since age 19 and stumbled through a pretty intense relationship, we never became parents, well I didnt. However my senses were serving me right He had been with other women resulting in a pregnancy!!!He wanting me to believe I was paranoid and insecure was only a way hide his infidelity and disinterest for a while longer_It has been more than six months since I decided enough was enough, even though I am lonely ALOT I am happier because I let go!!! I do not suggest playing games back and fourth I wasted the last 5 years doing that with him, it is inevitable that you move on to a more compatible partner.

And as stated in my above story, I am doing just that! Thanks for sharing.

they naturally react once you take control. I've read some woman went on letting their spouse know their going after boyfriends then Oups they suddenly wake up

Don't be withdrawn, be the better you. Need love? Remember it, than talk about it. How you became eye to eyes. The feeling of warmth and comfort is near by, just re awaken it, turn it on. Stay sharp. Need sleep? Sleep. Drink water. Live happy, but be sure every thing is all right, by seeing through the light, and grasping it with open arms are serenity. I'm 16, and shattered, yet there is hope. I'm beautiful. Say the words and commit...

word of advice, be careful, always make sure that you can re-awaken when the time is right.
To live while withdrawn from the world is a detrimental in the long term. I know from experience, else good luck and may things work out.

I know what you mean...believe me I am in no way withdrawn from life. I embrace each day fully. I am merely in self-preservation mode from feeling any more pain from my H. There is no way I could ever shut down my emotions to a level where I wasn't human anymore. I live passionately and lovingly each day. I am just refusing to beg for the return affection from someone not capable of giving it back!

Whew! I'm quite familiar with all the situations that you all have mentioned through past relationships of my own so I feel your pain...I never married any of them though and was able to get out with no strings attached... Good luck to all of you!

I feel your pain. I am going through something similar. I've done a lot of things lately to take back myself and my life. If he doesn't like it I don't care! I need to do me now. I hope you stay fast, maybe he will get the hint or you can move on and be truly happy. Hugs.

Good luck to you:)

There are times when you have to make a decision that is best for you. There is no point in allowing yourself to be hurt.
Enough is enough

Do you feel in control now?

His reaction means that he cares. What he'll do about it, who knows?

If there were no reaction? I sincerely believe that he wouldn't care. At all.

Lastly, he is the perfect husband - for someone else.

I'm amazed that your husband even reacted to your shutting him out (no hugs, handholding, good night). My wife never reacted. As if she didn't notice. I figure that it must be because she didn't want it, didn't need it, didn't miss it. I sometimes wonder if I died, if she would even notice.

If that isn't true love, what is?

Sad, isn't it? You only gain strength yourself when you refuse to let the lack of intimacy control you. You have decided to empower yourself. Good luck. Perhaps some day you'll be able to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to love.

You have the perfect profile image!

Wow this story just hit home for me. My H is also passive agressive...didn't know until I started reading on EP and internet and was able to co-relate a lot of his behavior to a PA. Usually whenever we had some disagreement..he would withdraw and it became so bad in the last 2 years that he would move to the guest room, stop talking to me for weeks, the last time it was 2.5 months. I was always the one who tried to diffuse the situation for the sake of my kids and just for my own sanity. I was also the only one in the relationship trying to initiate sex and intimacy. After reading a lot of experiences here and coming to terms with reality, I started to withdraw...I spoke little, did not hug, hold hands or be the one saying I am sorry even when it was not my fault. Just like in your case it bothered him and he moved to the spare room, only talks to the kids even when I am in the room, professes his love for them...while ignoring me completely...Its not easy but I need some time to reflect on my self, deal with my emotions so I can make sure whatever I do next is the right thing...Stay strong and I wish that the new year brings you new hope and happiness...Everyone deserves to be happy.

Thank you...I intend to have a VERY good New Year. Good luck to you as well!

Freedom is really sweet..believe me, just the thoughts of freedom and dreams of what you may have after this is over, is liberating..leave him alone and keep putting your energies to where they belong, to yourself and your kids and Your future..

Happy Holidays! I have not been on EP for a while, but when I saw a part of your story in my email I had to come on and respond to it. You see, in June 2010 after seeing this group with all these people writing about sexless marriages, I decided to write an article called "Attract what you want" I know how to keep my marriage sizzling. Well it was not long after that that my marriage fizzled. I began to not like having to be the only one that initiates sex while my wife acts like she doesn't need sex. I am now separated after 15 years of marriage and am happy with my decision to move out 8 months ago. The reality is that it costs a lot more to live on your own, but I would rather incur the expense than the heart attack.

At a certain point I did not want to have sex with my wife, and it wasn't because I didn't want or need sex, it was because of her attitude and the vibration I was feeling from her. Of course her not initiating it also played a major part. It doesn't really matter who's at fault. I was angry, she was passive aggressive. Now I'm no longer angry because I don't live with her and don't have to be dissatisfied with anything she does and voice it unless it has to do with our children.

We are sexual beings, and just think, if the marriage is sexless, then where is the sex happening. It's happening somewhere, and when you get this revelation you can determine that it's a decision that was made by one of the partners that turned into a rut, that turned into a war of egos. When my X decided to move to another room, I let her stay there for a couple of months then told her that if she wants to sleep in a separate room she might as well find another place to live.

She eventually moved back to the bed, but there still was no intimacy and she moved to the other bedroom again. I refused to let my young children live around this behavior for long, which consisted of arguments, her coming and going without saying she was leaving or hello, and then I thought about something as simple as going to bed without saying goodnight and when I saw she could say goodnight to her visiting family members and not to me I got the picture. There were no family members visiting while we were in separate rooms, that was before.

I feel like I'm rambling on. I think it's important to move on for whatever reason that the marriage becomes sexless, and for me everything starts with communication. If you want sex and intimacy and it's not there, it affects your self esteem and your self worth. I'm not saying that I was refused sex by wife, I wasn't. As men, and some women too, though they may not admit it, we have the ability to meet someone and have sex with them the same night. No emotions, just plain sex. However, for me, after being involved in a relationship and emotions get involved, the sex is not that easily separated from the day to day interactions.

I must stop now, because it seems like I can go on forever with this. Happy Holidays to all you EPers and try doing what makes you Happy this coming year. I'm being asked to return to the house, but I don't see it as a possibility. I think whoever the boyfriend might have been while I was in the marriage has probably also disappeared. You know the type, give me the fun but not the responsibility.

Best of luck to you Nutmeg. It's not easy moving on, and it is sometimes lonely, but there is peace, joy and contentment awaiting.

Thanks so much for your story. It never ceases to amaze me how many of us there are and how in our own unique stories, we find similarities that are comforting and ultimately freeing.

Good for you. Next perhaps he may try to reform. Whatever is offered under duress is likely to be temporary.

He may try to reform...I won't hold my breath. He has tried to reform in the past when I was ready to bolt or he sensed that I may go but now that I know this too has a name (reset sex) I won't be fooled. However, I doubt he will even try because for the last 6 months he has been dealing with a new symptom......can't get an erection. (Which he seems perfectly content with-he puts in a bit of effort to try to deal with that. Saw the doctor, had a sleep study done, getting treated for sleep apnea but it has taken way too long and he still doesn't seem anxious to get things right. He is so removed from me emotionally that even if the physical gets fixed, it just won't matter anymore.)

My refuser has apnea too. I wonder what the connection is.

There is definitely a connection, but like I said even if the physical gets fixed, the emotional connection isn't there. As I reflect on our entire relationship, it NEVER was there. I wanted it to be, I willed it to be, and I became blind to it because I kept thinking I could fix it. I didn't want "us" to be a failure. We took vows and I felt strongly that if there was enough effort would could get through this. I guess I convinced myself it was a phase, something therapy, talking, reading books, exploring new sexual avenues could cure. Well, I'm fairly confident that EVERY avenue has been explored and what came of it? Not a damn thing. In fact, we are so removed from each other on all levels that it's amazing to me that we are allowed to even say we are married. Roommate seems so much more appropriate.

I feel the same pain. I am glad you found this community.

Mine had severe obstructive sleep apnea too. Interesting.

I think overweight and bad body image may be the underlying issue.

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No, you are built for love, laughter, cooperation and passion!


Fasten your seatbelt the ride towards getting to living a higher quality of life is gonna be bumpy! Your exit plan will help absorb some of the blows.

Keep moving forward!