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Something About Us....

I have read so many of these stories on ILIASM, and accompanying observations from the posters that "He (she) knew there was something wrong, but did not think I would ever leave him (her)."

Yes. But what is it about US, the intimacy-starved spouses, that made our partners think we would stick around?

I examine myself here for a minute, so humor me as I drivel on about this. 
I remember before we married, H said something, and I do not even remember the exact context, only that it followed a discussion about the disintegration of his first marriage, words like "I know you would never leave me".  And even during our marriage counseling session, he said to the therapist, "By the end of the day, Engel and I know we can count on each other."

So he had such faith in my permanence that it was quite okay in his mind to forego sex except for 6 times a year, ongoing for 7 years or so, and to withhold affection all time, not even bothering to sleep in our bed?

You know, I have never been a doormat to him. When I am pissed off at him, boy does he know it.  And if there is something he wants me to do and I am adamantly opposed, I stand up for myself.  Further, I am not particularly unattractive and would not have too much trouble finding another man for some physical pleasure at least (and it was not a problem to find it, believe me), and the outsourcing could have escalated into full blown emotional affair if I were unfortunate enough.

So what is it?  What is it about me?  Or any of us, for that matter?

Is it because I am an introvert and not much of a social creature?  Because I am not particularly adventurous?  What?  What is it? 

Because if H dies tomorrow, and leaves me widowed, I do not want to send the same signals to an equally intimacy averse man again.  Of course, I have no intention to ever marry again anyhow, but the point is, I do not want any such relationship folly to repeat itself, even with a casual boyfriend.
EinEngel EinEngel 46-50, F 21 Responses Feb 9, 2013

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So Ein, it has been over 2 months and lots of conversation for you to consider. As I read the responses it comes to mind a separation of intimacy (attention) and sex. The desire for sex (intercourse) of either party in my mind comes from a level of intimacy. Even without the ability (me) for an immediate response to her desire (her verbal say = come to bed {lets do it} ) can represent bad timing. You see I am mostly (94.75%) the intimate one; opening doors, grabbing her hand, a kiss on the neck, even (before I started doing dishes {retired and she still works) going up behind her while she did dishes and reaching under her top and undoing the bra for a quick squeeze to just a pat on the but when we cross in the hall or at the store. She on occasion will stop we for a kiss.

Consider returning to pre wedding and baby the attention you showed, it get a rise in the blood flow (beginning of an erection) that after while will sink in ? Agree guys ? We don't have to be the only ones to grab our crouch. If that doesn't work it is time get to know a single guy for a friend with benefits.

OtherShoe, I tried all that. He does not want intimacy at all. Maybe once a week he wants a hug, because he says he is worried about his business, and we always kiss goodbye in the morning so our Baby Girl gives him a kiss too, but other than that, if I try to touch him he freezes up. So see, that part of our marriage is over, and I have accepted its death.

I recently went on a hunt for an old girlfriend (almost engaged) that still held
a place in my heart. Through a short email I sent with a hint of a special time
the response "why would you bring that up now" ! Maybe the stress of life at
the time, his business, will pass for him ? So never consider something dead just because it isn't currently present !

Women never forget but bury it away in a box, men just set is aside to solve
another day. That's the truth. xo

Lack of want or lack of ability ! Yes I am OLD to you Ein but early accidents (16 & 19) left me in my late 40's without the abilities. You are my partner - adaptive for the last 20 or so years. After multiple searches for answers (none guaranteed) I gave, even suggested,find it, locate an outsource. No need to flaunt or expound on it, I will be here for all else as long as don't feel you need to choose. Have ask many time her "How do I convience her". Oh, that 10 or 15% she is missing all she doesn't get from me 100%.
You will be happier and if just an outsource he will benefit with your new smiles. xx

I might be in the same boat as you, but I'll give the answer a shot. I'll start with saying that answering the question entails me assuming that "refusers" knowingly entice people to fall for them and enter into long term relationships and marriage. I'm not certain that happens ever and I doubt it happens often. But let's assume it does for argument sake.The sad answer is that there's nothing you can do or should do differently in the future. You were likely a vibrant, loving and romantic person, wanting to create a physical and emotional bond with a man for the rest of your life. I sure as hell wanted to do that in my life. For the right partner, your qualities are exactly what they would want and the fit, long term, would be perfect.After all, in marriage, you're supposed to get around the rough times by ignoring the possibility of leaving. Whether you are religious or just philosophical, there's no doubt that people are much more motivated to fix a relationship when they don't believe they have the option of just walking away. Your qualities of loyalty, trust and long term devotion are what every right thinking man should want.What sucks is that someone looking to nab all of the trappings of a wife will want those things to the "nth" degree. The more motivated, trusting and loving you are, the more that person can get away with. The more likely you'll stay, against all logic. In summary, don't change something genuinely priceless about yourself because some *** has used you. It's who you are and for most men, it's lovely.<br />
<br />
If you had a beautiful piece of jewelry that was stolen, you'd wear it again if you recovered it. You wouldn't avoid another theft by throwing it away, would you?

No, but I will not put myself in a position of possible theft again.

To keep the statistics faithful here... My wife does not expect I will stick around. Some time back she admitted that she was selfish in the past and did want me to be around, but seeing that I am miserable in the marriage, she will no longer make any effort to hang on. I can do as I please. (I told her I am tired of initiating, so she has to make the first move.)

Does that mean you are free to outsource? If so, do you believe she means that?

No, I believe she means I can separate and/or divorce. We are very independent people, physically, financially and emotionally. She and I coparent, but there's nothing going on between us.

I think it is just a shame, like many things where someone who seems like a well-meaning, deserving person but still does not get their needs met. I am not in a situation like this so maybe I don't have a clue, but in these kind of discussions, as an outsider, I am often surprised at the motives those with a low-drive (or whatever you'd call it) partner put on that partner. I assume the other person does not necessarily mean anything at all by it but just has that difference. Our culture says men all love sex, but they don't. Many people have low desire for sex or even find it repugnant, or don't like to be touched or whatever and it is all about them and would be the same no matter what partner they were with. They want not to have sex as much as their partner does want to have sex, yes? Even calling the partner "The Refuser" seems to me loaded with... what word am I looking for there? Maybe just loaded. Is it not possible for two people to simply be sadly incompatible in a major way and it not be anyone's fault? Also, I don't get the "co-dependent" stuff. Of course sometimes it may be true but also, a LTR or marriage is very complicated. There are MANY things going on there and sex is just one of them. I feel like it is entirely, easily possible to just get in deep before you realize what a deep impact a partner's lower sex interest can have, no personal flaw there, either. Then of course if you have a life together and kids together, you do have a very real basis for staying anyway that would be hard to argue with and has nothing to do with psychology. So, anyway, as I say, I am a nobody in this discussion so just to put it out there if anyone wants the thought or to discuss.... Best wishes to you, EinEngel and others. No doubt it hurts to not get what you need.

Thanks Judge Judy. I wish it were true that all of our unbalanced marriages were come by honestly. However, many of the intimacy-averse spouses knew there was a big disparity in drive before coming to the altar. As for those for whom it was not a surprise, why could they not (why could my husband not for instance), just say, "Look, I just am not as interested in physical intimacy as you are. You want kids and physical affection and well, I just do not think I can meet your needs. So we should end this before either of us is really unhappy." That would have been the fair thing to do, right?

Yes, I think it would be the fair thing for him to do, except that I feel like those with lower sex drive often do not realize how hurtful it is to their partner, any more than their partner realizes at that early stage how hurtful it will be to them. One wants, the other doesn't, and both believe they are the one who is "normal" and acting in good faith. Do you see what I'm saying?

Also, I know women whose husband simply do not admit, perhaps even to themselves? that they ARE low sex-drive. They talk the talk but don't walk the walk, in other words. I am not sure they would be capable of warning a potential spouse therefore. And, why would they have more responsibility if the potential spouse herself has also chosen to overlook it? I am not trying to be argumentative, because as I said, I am not in that situation. Just curious.

Gah, I keep thinking of more after I have posted. I guess my question is, do you really believe your spouse deliberately misled you for his own gain rather than it just kinda being how things turned out? If I am even making sense...

Good point. Certainly for my husband, former athlete, a little on the macho side, that is the case.

And that happens sometimes. But once they realize that it is hurting their partner shouldn't a loving spouse make a move away from their position of not wanting to or not feeling the desire towards what works for both partners, which may be somewhere in the middle? Marriage is effort on both sides working towards the we, not forsaking the me but including it in that we-ness.

I don't know because I don't understand WHY they don't just do what you suggest, especially if a likely outcome of not doing so is to be left and they don't want to be left. Even if one partner is not especially in the mood for sex, it can be done without too much extra effort simply to please one's partner, and haven't we all done that? It is so hard to know without having access to that person's mind. Are they really just that selfish? Or subconsciously or otherwise actually wanting to drive their partner away? Or, lacking much of a sex drive, simply do not get it no matter how many times it's explained to them, the same way a child would not understand the importance of "sex drive?" Or, is there something more, perhaps darker? Like, what if being touched sexually makes them feel like they are being molested, sexually violated, or something like that? I wonder if those with low-interest partners know how their spouse feels? Do they tell you?

No. Most of them refuse to talk about it and instead tell us that we are sex-crazed or sex doesn't matter.

To me that sounds like an honest answer from a person with a low sex drive. However, I would be at a loss as to what to do about it. :(

Years ago my former spouse used to take the opportunity to loudly proclaim to our friends how we were having lots of wild sex when that was far from the truth. I remember once getting the cold shoulder for days after I casually remarked "only in your head my dear". She made these public statements and in private accused me of always undressing her with my eyes. Go figure.

I'm sure some refusers knowingly do what they do, but I suspect my husband is, like you suggest, assuming he is mostly normal or at least has his self-knowledge so well buried, that he can't see it himself. I don't really blame him for the "mismatch" aspect of our relationship, though I do put the responsibility for his PA reactions to me right at his feet. Neither of us have handled it well, though. We are mismatched in many ways, in the end.

I suspect many of us, like me, if we knew early on that there were problems, failed to realize how truly bad the problems were. I do think both of us went into the relationship well intentioned. I don't think he meant to deceive me.

JudgeJudy, to me an honest answer would be "it's just not something I like to do anymore. Maybe it's a medical issue."instead of "you're sex crazed" or "what's wrong with you? It's just sex." and if there's a low sex drive and it could be medical they should follow up with a doctor bc it can be a sign of other conditions with that as a symptom.

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At the outset, I'd wish to make this point.

Being "authentic" is a laudable thing. However - it does NOT mean that you are necessarily going to be a good person. There are people around who are "authentic" arseholes. "Authentic" refusers. "Authentic" dysfunctionals. "Authentic" predators. "Authentic" intimacy averse people. "Authentic" (insert your favourite trait here) That, is who they are. They are NOT putting on an act (bar the bait and switch practioners). It is who they actually are.

Further, some people are "authentic" doormats. "Authentic" sufferers. "Authentic" victims. "Authentic" refused.

Indeed, whatever you are TODAY, is the "authentic" you. TODAY. You may have the potential to be a greatly more evolved person in the future, but as of TODAY, you are what you are. And, unless you make some self propelled forward movement, your 'potential' to evolve as a person is a useless commodity. Unfulfilled 'potential' is of no value.

And, back in the day, when you hooked up with your "authentic" refuser, it was the "authentic" you of that time that made the choice. Quite probably because at that time, you were "authenticly" uninformed, and made an uninformed choice.

If you have been on this board for a while, you can no longer claim to be uninformed. You KNOW what the score is TODAY. All the tools are there for you to make an informed choice. But that does NOT mean you will. It does not even mean than you should. You may be "authenticly" inert.

Will you remain so ?
On the balance of anecdotal evidence on these pages, the answer to that is probably "yes". Most people stay. But as ever, that is going to come down to your informed choice, and that choice is going to be made by the "authentic" you on the day.

You tap in to your potential to evolve (if its' there) - or you don't.

Tread your own path.

<p>I think it's about having your own life and interests. I thing the way to stand up for yourself and get results is to go do your own things and enjoy life (not affairs, legit things). That drives a man crazy and he wants to be near you and make you happy. That's why it sometimes takes leaving before they become Mr. Wonderful.</p><p>It's not about being nasty, cutting them off, or putting them in their place. It's about being a person interesting enough to want to be with. Make him wonder, "What's she doing now? That's sounds like fun. I want to be doing it with her!"</p><p>What would make you hunger for a him? Probably about the same thing.</p>

Well, throughout most of our marriage I have been a career woman, making my own money, doing my own thing. Only during our courtship phase did he and I do things together. So I doubt this has much to do with it in our particular case. (The only hamper on my individual freedom to do as I like with my own personal interests is being a mom to a 4 year old. So if I wanna go out with the girls, it will cost me nearly 32 euros just for 4 hours of babysitting.)

I'm not saying you need to have a girls night out. It could anything. Organize some women from work to do an after work wine and painting, or cooking, class. Ask him to babysit or invest in a babysitter. Do something fun like this, on your own, once a month. You can get home at a reasonable hour.

You said you haven't done things together since courtship. Is that boring? Could only talking about work and kids get boring?

So, my suggestion is go out and have fun. Then, when you come home you have something new to talk about and remember you can have fun outside the home.

You'll also be able to see parts of your outing that he would've been fun for him. "I learned xxx and you would love it." "So-and-so said this. You would've laughed."

That gives you, or him, the perfect opportunity to say let's go out together and try this.

A marriage has to be about more than just kids and work. Both of those things will one day end (kids grow up &amp; move out, people retire) and there has to be something left in the marriage when they do. You need fun as a couple now.

I really enjoyed reading this exchange between the two of you. Great things to think about.

Personally, I believe many of us are shaped to respond to our Refusers by our childhood experiences with a family member (or members) who had their own psychological issues. Most often this is a parent (parents) but could be another close family member with whom one is in regular contact.

We unconsciously develop "skills" to accommodate, appease and soothe a person whose needs are different from our own. So when we encounter a person in adult life whose needs vary from our own, we automatically resort to the earlier learnt behaviour.

Our Refusers see that we are willing AND able to be "there for them" in ways that others may not be. And we reinforce this understanding by continuing to tolerate behaviour that is clearly NOT in our own best interests.

This IMO stems from the fact that, as children, we had NO choice but to tolerate the significant other in our life - we could not "divorce" our parents, or abandon our grand-mother etc. As a result, WE fail to recognise that, as adults, we are no longer confined to the situation as we were when we were children.

So WE continue to tolerate, absolve,ignore or in other ways "cope" with the behaviours that are not supportive of our own needs. Given that WE behave like this, our partners / spouses have every evidence they need that we WILL continue to accept them AND their behaviour.

If we recognise that we need something we are not getting from our marriages, we need to actively pursue it in ways that are psychologically healthy AND promote our own well being. If we do not put in the "hard yards" to change OURSELVES, nothing will change.

For this reason, we need to accept that, at bottom, it is we who have to change if we desire change in our lives . . . . .

Excellent comment. If we are unhappy within the context of our romantic relationships, our relationship patterns must be put under close examining and we must own our part and our own behavior. That is the only way to get to living a higher quality of life - and stop repeating unsatisfying relationship patterns. This is very demanding and difficult work.

Yes, this is it. If I look at my own childhood, then yes, I see that now. Adaptive behavior that has followed me through adulthood. Not good.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/symptoms-of-codependency/

Enna, You are absolutely right. A lot of the characteristics I hear people talking about here as their best qualities fit into the codependent category: overgiving, willing to please, working hard to understand and meet needs, wanting the other person to be happy, sacrifice, too nice, always forgiving, not enforcing boundaries and limits etc...

I also hear lots of passive and aggressive behaviors instead of assertive (not always meaning passive/aggressive in that sense of the word either), not communicating clearly and owning our own feelings, our own difficulties with true intimacy (which, as baz suggested above, may be how we ended up with intimacy uncomfortable or intimacy averse spouses... if our authentic selves at the time weren't as comfortable with intimacy -not sex, intimacy- as we are now then we probably selected mates that were similar. If once grows and the other doesn't we suddenly have a mismatch where there once was a match) and so on... I hear it here all the time.

The difference between all of us who search the web and find ILIASM after years of being refused and those who divorce before ever reaching that point of desperation and frustration is for a lot of us, codependency. We are codependent, we have our own reasons that we stick around.

Engel, you can change your behavior. At the very least if you change your behavior and even stay married your H will have to adjust to the new you.

Like, like, like both Enna's original comment and all the comment replies.

You should post this as a story Enna, I want to rate this way up!

ChangeWDYG, Your comment is rated up too...

Yes, good point Change. He will have to adjust to the new me.

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I think sex drive level is just one of those key things where you will have problems on if you are not in the same neighborhood on it. Many people simply are not that sexual. It is not your fault. They don't crave it that much and don't understand that it would even be a true dealbreaker to others. If threatened with being left, they would probably ramp it up for awhile but then, like most of us, drift back into their own habit and level that is comfortable to them. It is unfortunate but maybe when there is a big discrepancy, it is a dealbreaker. Nobody's fault, just a basic imcompatibility. Good luck to you, it sounds very difficult.

I think it is as simple as this: they believe we will stick around because up until now we have stuck around. That is to say, they are basing their conclusions on our actions.

When we start basing our conclusions on THEIR actions, that's when the change begins.

This is as good a summation as I've seen for many a day.

One word: codependency. They recognize it in us. They know we are getting something out of the dysfunction too and they feel safe in that. Because we have our own reasons for staying.

They are predators. And they sniff us out. There will always be predators. If we change us though we may never be attractive to those folks again.

Sticking with the prey analogy, I rather think we give off an effusive, heady scent. They may not be trolling for us so much as we are calling to them without realizing it. At least, this is how it has played out in my past.

My wife thinks I will stick around because I am an introvert and I never give up no matter what.

Maybe you need to be a different person - for your own sake?

I don't give up in the sense that I always try my best. I feel good knowing that I tried my best but ultimately only one person trying in a relationship is like trying to row a boat with one oar. I have put my oar down, and I am planning to swim for shore.

engel, very good question. i think it is a case of our spouses seeing in us a quality or qualities they believe lead to: loyalty, fear of or aversion to failure, perseverance, patience, other qualities that allow our spouses to believe (with good cause, it seems) that once they've "got" us, we will stay.

And without a close, sexually active marriage, don't you (all of us) "feel like a complete loser"?

" Yes, it is co-dependancy, and isn't that what being a couple is in essence. "

No. It is what being a codependent couple is. Healthy couples are not codependent.

EXACTLY Change! Co-dependency is NOT the way a healthy couple functions.
LC, I think you should do some reading on co-dependency - I believe you are confused about the real nature of this relationship.

LC, it's the opposite of semantics. Healthy couple = low codependency. Unhealthy couple = high codependency. It's not easy to hear sometimes that we do have our roles that we play in this. LC, you brought up something that happened today that immediately struck me as odd in that you slammed doors and drawers because you were mad that he was not in bed when you got up. That's not a healthy way to increase intimacy. Have you tried saying "Hey, I miss you when you're not in bed when I wake up." or something more honest and real than passive aggressively seeking attention when you're unhappy about something? Codependence is a hard one for people because we (I say WE, as I am a recovering one myself and I know from prior talks that Enna is too) convince ourselves that being codependent is what makes us "good people" and so while we hate the label we hold out the traits as proof of our good qualities. But make no mistake, most of us are codependent doormat types. Not all, but most. Some of us will grow beyond it and many will not.

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I think it's different for each of us. I know why husband assumed that about me. It wasn't really ego but I agree with mvc that for a lot of people they really don't like failure.
For me, I'm not afraid of failure but I dislike drama and rocking the boat.

I think this is more me... I don't feel I'm afraid of failure. What I don't like is conflict/drama. It causes me a lot of anxiety. Someone else on here said something recently about being terrified of the unknown AFTER the relationship. I'm the absolute opposite. I see nothing but goodness and possibility AFTER. It's the DURING, the process of divorce, that makes my stomach turn.

laureltree: I fell exactly the same way! It is the process that is so taxing, and funnily, my husband is the same. We BOTH avoid conflict as much as possible because we both find it so taxing.

It may also be that we are people that don't like getting outside of our zone that we build around ourselves and when we marry we build a zone that we become accustomed to. Even though it may be a crappy place at times it is still ours and we tend to cling to it as our home turf because it is familiar. I think many people do this and even after their relationship has disappeared they will still remain in their zone because they really don't want to give up this spot on the earth that they have claimed as their own regardless that their one time mate still occupies space in it.

I have to second mvc, ego. I have never been able to admit failure. There are other areas in my life that where I simply have not gone after what I wanted because I was afraid I would fail. To admit I failed at something as big as a marriage is, well, traumatic.

Yes, Maleficent. That too. There is something I really do not like about ending my marriage. I feel like I have invested so many years and effort into this thing, that it would be hard to leave, even if we were in the United States as opposed to Germany.

I think as we do end these dysfunctional relationships, we change and grow in ways that mean we internally will not allow this type of thing to happen again - it should be easier to spot the signs, to say "never again", to be self-sufficient, and to pack up and go if need be. If we don't "allow" them to run roughshod over us, those that want to will be kicked to the curb early in the relationship?

At least I hope so. I have felt myself change.

Yes Zsu. The ones who are looking for a target will find the codependent ones.

Like pedophiles pick their targets carefully, so do user/abuser spouses. Boundaries and walls have to remain strong around protecting yourself and meeting your own needs above catering to theirs.

My ex did not believe I would leave - she thought I would stay and support her in the way she was accustomed to. For many years, I proved her right, then no more. In your case Ms Engel, you are staying - your spouse has hedged well. Whatever the reason, the premise is that in some way, for the stayers anyway, your spouse knows you place a greater value on what constitutes your marriage than you do on your belief in your ability to meet the ebb and flow of life outside of your dysfuunctional marriage.

I imagine that part of his hedging is that he knows I am an American in a foreign country, and that there is too much here that I do not know how to deal with myself without making big or costly mistakes. I bet if we moved to the United States he would become a lot less secure.

Yes he would. The fact that you stay there despite being far from your family, his failing business, his alcohol problem and his dysfunctional family also tells him a lot about how much control he has.

No mystery here for me. He knows I will stick around because, well, when we started, I said so, as did he. Otherwise there was no reason on Gd's green earth to marry.

H's family is filled with men who are married to women who married *out* of their situation and *into* a more functional one. Yes, that's right. H and his family functions on a much higher level than anything I had encountered up close. Why would I not want to make a commitment like that? I loved the overt chance to better myself (and I don't mean monetarily) as well as the person who took care of me and cared enough to assist me in that journey.

So do you spot The Con? The Con is a fundamental power imbalance. H. and I fooled ourselves into thinking it was a union of equals. Mental equals for sure, but not in any other area. He was teacher, I was student. It worked for a while, even though intimacy was not ever satisfactory.

TMBAWO, i am beginning to see there are lots of parallels and similarities. brain is ticking overtime right now, there's probably a story post in there somewhere.

Parent child relationship in romance = codependence.

Surely you did not mean if he beats me up I will stick around? Cheats? Fathers children with others? Moves other women in as a harem? Develops a drug problem, loses the house, goes to jail and leaves me and the kids on the streets? Is mean to me and does things that leave me feeling like dirt on the bottom of his shoe? Things like wont have sex with me and doesn't like to be close to me?

cwdyg, I had to do a double-take to make sure you replied to me and not someone else. We overtly agreed to stay based on an evaluation of who we were after a lengthy friendship and courtship, not a lifetime agreement with a stranger based on no information. A whiff of anything in your list and h. would not have gotten the time of day in the first place.

The answer to the rhetorical question is that yes, you do spot The Con. Asking the question means that I see it in neon. My time on the board has been filled with extricating myself from the thinking that kept me conned. I am also fully aware of what my role in this is. And am confident that, having spoken in the past tense, that the co-dependency business is on the wane.

. . .[editing of replies not allowed]. . . .rather, that I thought it would be obvious that using the past tense in my original comment would indicate that I've got a good handle on it.

"He knows I will stick around because, well, when we started, I said so, as did he."

This is what made me think there was still an issue presently.

Sounds like I misinterpreted that, though.

Thank you. I believe my original point was about the alignment of words and intention, and the simple force of being as good as one's word. A friend and I had a discussion recently on this topic regarding her teenage daughter dealing with an obnoxious boss in her first part-time job. The concern was how to teach her to know what it means to honor a commitment when the going gets tough, but also to know when walking away from a commitment is best for all concerned.

I wrote my comment from a position of high context. I appreciate the opportunity to see how it looked from the outside.

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I'm curious about this as well.... I am not typically the one to end a relationship. I have broken up with others before, but only after letting it go on too long. I have a stick-to-it-ive-ness, I suppose.

Same here. They must sense this somehow.

Reframe: you don't see clearly the dysfunctional relationship until well after they notice it and have the wherewithal to do something about it by ending it. You don't see dysfunction in the moment. Why? Don't want to be alone? Confusion due to early childhood dysfunction? Paralyzing anxiety? Etc? Understanding YOUR why will prevent this from happening again.

<p>-----" But what is it about US, the intimacy-starved spouses, that made our partners think we would stick around?"</P><br />
<p>Our own EGO.</P><br />
<p>We aren't easily "quitters", and they know that. And the real smart ones carefully maneuver to avoid our "third rails" in behavior they know would be a dealbreaker.

True. I, for one, do not easily give up on anything I have set my mind to or committed to. Maybe he saw that. Unfortunately persistence is usually a good trait. Maybe we are better off hiding that one then, LOL.

We aren't easily quitters because of the reasons Enna lists above. We couldn't quit (most of us) in some early relationships that were dysfunctional and we couldn't quit for legitimate reasons (primary caregiver, dependent on parent, too young, threatened not to reveal abuse etc) so we learned to persevere. This muscle when overdeveloped causes problems in other life areas because we persevere beyond where a healthy person would.