Stages Of GriefIt occurred to me that when you're the higher-desire partner and your lower-desire partner starts to withhold sex, it's similar to the stages of grief. So I looked up the stages of grief for a lost relationship, and tried to see if it fits with being the HD partner in a sexless or low-sex relationship.
I got the information from Psych Central Forums
My comments applying the ideas to the loss of the sex life are in parentheses.
The Stages of Grief:
Shock and Disbelief - The person may not be able to comprehend that the relationship has really ended, and these feelings may be all consuming. This stage may overlap with the next stage which is:
(End of sex life: Not sure how this applies, since the slowing down of the sex life is usually gradual, not sudden.)
Denial - The person may not accept that the relationship is over and may continue to pursue their ex partner.
(End of sex life: You don't understand how he or she could possibly be OK with having sex so rarely. You think it's a temporary bump in the road, and that things will get back to normal. You still behave pretty much the way you always have.)
Anger - The person may seek to blame their ex partner for the break up, ruminating on their faults and feeling and expressing a great deal of annoyance and hostility towards them.
(End of sex life: You think about leaving or having an affair. You're angry and hurt that your partner doesn't appreciate your good (and sexy) qualities. You're angry that he or she gets to make this unilateral decision not to be sexual, and does not even care that they're hurting you and taking away *your* sex life.)
Bargaining - The person may seek to win their partner back, promising to change or make compromises.
(End of sex life: You wonder if something is wrong with *you*, if you've lost your attractiveness. Or maybe it's a non-sexual part of your personality or behavior. You try to change yourself into whatever he or she wants. You try to be more domestic, less domestic, more romantic, less clingy, etc. You think if you can just be what he or she wants, they'll want to love you in a sexual way again.)
Guilt - The person may blame themselves for the break up, and may at this time have a very low sense of self esteem. They may wish they had done things differently, or said things differently and take on board all of the blame.
(End of sex life: Similar to this stage of grief in a breakup. Maybe twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to be what your partner wants didn't work so well, and you're beginning to think whatever is wrong with you just isn't fixable.)
Depression - The person may have feelings of sadness or hopelessness, withdraw from social relationships and spend a lot of time brooding and ruminating. They may cling on to memories of their partner, play the same songs repeatedly and day dream about what might have been.
(End of sex life: Continuation of the feelings in the guilt stage, but the hurt goes deeper. You feel like something horrible must be wrong with you, and maybe it's not just your partner who doesn't find you attractive - maybe *nobody* does, or ever could. You might have a liaison with someone else, more because you're hurting terribly and in need of comfort than because you're falling in love, or even just horny. If you still love your partner, these mercy f*cks won't really help, because you don't want another partner; you want *your* partner, the way things used to be. You see other things in your life - work, hobbies, friends - as a p*ss-poor substitute for the only thing you *really* want.)
Acceptance - The person now begins to feel a fresh sense of hope, and they think of their partner less often. They will not feel the same sense of raw pain, and will resume social relationships. They may even begin to seek out a new partner. From time to time they may feel nostalgic, but they will accept that the relationship is now over.
(End of sex life: Acceptance? What's that like? How does it happen? Do you lose interest in your partner and feel real intimacy with someone new (not just a revenge affair or a mercy ****, but your next real partner)? Do you lose interest in sex altogether, and become happy to stay with your partner and just hold hands occasionally like good little boys and girls? Do you have a religious conversion and suddenly find that religion is enough? Do you have a lobotomy? If anybody knows how acceptance happens, please share.)