Yes, We Do Have a Problem.

I've been thinking that my husband has arrived where a lot of you desire to be with your spouse.  After years of denials and avoidance, he admits we have a problem.  And let me tell you this.  It doesn't matter. His thinking is still way off and I am starting to think he is emotionally developmentally challenged.  As I already shared with a friend on here, talking to him is like trying to explain a sunset to a blind person.  I don't even know how to begin.

My husband is a really proactive person.  He's very successful at work with a commission based job.  He's highly competitive at work, sports or whatever he puts his hand to. But when it comes to our marriage, he has done nothing but sit back and let us fall apart. It makes no sense to me. ...not a book, not a conversation, not seeking advice...just avoid avoid avoid.  When he thought I was cheating on him, he didn't even approach me about it.  Nothing!  He just didn't do anything.  

As much as I have made serious mistakes in our relationship, it is hard for me not to blame him for our demise.  How can we work on or fix things when all I can do is chase down a retreating target?  It's impossible.  I throw up my hands.

So here we are.  He's bottled up all this baggage and now he wants to leave. "There's too much conflict" he says.  We really don't fight much at all.  I think the conflict is all in his head.

Emotionally (and physically)  I've been single for a long time.  I know I'll be OK.  But I'm fighting to keep things together for my kids.  Although sometimes I feel like I'm dealing with an alien.   

k145712 k145712
36-40, F
14 Responses Sep 15, 2009

My STBX is similar... Any discussion on difficult topics, she always uses:
"I don't want to argue" (I work hard at talking in a calm voice, don't yell, don't call names.

"I need to talk about it later" (well later never comes around even when I bring it up. No wonder we can't solve anything.)

"I feel my blood pressure going up" (really? again? Perhaps if you would diet & exercise like the Dr. told you to.....

Anyways the point I"m trying to make in dealing with and avoider... you'll never solve anything or find a solution that works... Marriage (to me) is about negotiations.

Everyone wants things their own way, but with the partner involved, one needs to negotiate a solution that's pallatible for both. If you can't talk about it, how you going to solve it?

This discussion of conflict is really interesting. No two people are exactly alike or perfectly complementary. Conflicts large and small are a fact of life. A person's strategy for dealing with conflict speaks volumes about their commitment to a relationship. I remember a workshop on conflict resolution where the main idea was that the most effective strategy depends on the importance of the issue and the relationship:<br />
<br />
Issue - Important; Relationship - Important: Strategy: Collabourate (win-win)<br />
Issue - Important; Relationship - Not important: Strategy: Compete (win-lose)<br />
Issue - Not important; Relationship - Important: Strategy: Accommodate (lose-win)<br />
Issue - Not Important; Relationship - Not Important: Strategy: Avoid (lose-lose)<br />
<br />
If your partner is avoiding conflict, intentionally or not they are showing that neither the issue nor the relationship is important to them.

Ooo that is a really interesting description of argument tactics. My husband and I do the compete thing all the time and it feels so awful. No wonder - it is constantly reasserting how little we value our relationship. Things have gotten very sad :(

JustMe and Sgurleyd, <br />
<br />
We are definitely all married to the same guy. You may want to read up about the passive/aggressive personality - there's a thread in the forum with a lot of links to references.

Once again, Enna and I think alike (are we married to the same person?). For years I have thought that if I just found the right words or the right approach, he would get it. I am finally realizing that when the other person chooses to live in denial, there is no right approach. I have always blamed myself for this failure. My spouse will do ANYTHING to avoid conflict or discomfort of any kind! His family is that way. If you don't admit there's a problem, there is no problem! If I am angry and emotional, he says that just makes it worse. If I an calm and rational, he just looks at me as though he has no clue! As long as we are not screaming at each other and are making small talk and sleeping in the same bed, he thinks there is no problem and he needs nothing more! He pretends not to realize that a 6 year marriage with NO intimacy is a problem! If I ask a question he is uncomfortable with, he just sidesteps it completely. He has proven to me many times that he would rather lose me than do anything that makes him uncomfortable. If there has to be conflict to resolve a problem, he would rather let it be unresolved, no matter how much that might hurt me! He told me once a while back that he didn't understand why I was complaining. He works, doesn't drink or gamble or hit me. I sometimes start believing he's right and I should be happy with that! But if that's all it takes, why do I feel so dead inside?

k14571,<br />
I know someone who is going to turn into your husband. This is a young person who wants children and has the traits you described that make your husband successful at work. But this person - does not have a thing for adult females. In his early twenties his sex drive may well be high enough for him to initiate a limited sexual relationship with a woman. Enough certainly to have kids. And then it will quickly fade to black. And I will tell you now, the odds he ever tells a future wife what he really desires are between zero and zero. <br />
<br />
Many people with a normal "exterior" are sexually broken and able to hide it enough in the beginning to create a lot of relationship momentum. <br />
<br />
Let him leave - you will find a nice person who will love and desire you.

responding...<br />
BS. My son does really enjoy time with dad alone. But I know he desires whole family times too. Who knows what's best in this regard.<br />
You're right though, a person who is going to avoid sex is also going to avoid other forms of "delving deep" and solving problems. Thanks for your other words of encouragement.<br />
Windy, I too made the conscious effort to stop any anger and conflict I possibly could about 5 years ago. It hasn't made any difference. He carries this anti-intamacy monkey on his back and it's become his Siamese twin. <br />
Mem, I do think you are right and thanks for pointing it out. I'm a half decent looking, in shape, not too old woman.... here and willing. His desire has never been huge and I've almost always initiated. What the heck is wrong with him even if he is angry with me?

Thanks for listening and your thoughtful comments! I will ponder all of them. It's nice to be able to work this through with people.

WOW.....I hear the "conflict" and "you're so angry" comments every time I try to talk to my husband about this topic. I understand there have been times when I actually was angry, but after so much time, my only goal in the last few years was just to put the topic on the table and finally just TALK. I've always assumed that I must not realize that I'm being "angry" or "confrontational." AVOIDANCE!!!!!!!!!!! This is his self-preservation mechanism. He turns it around so that I'm "attacking" him and it gives him the perfect out so that he doesn't have to listen or discuss something that makes him so uncomfortable. Man it feels so good to finally know that I'm not crazy.......and not alone. I'm glad to have found all of you, but so sorry we're all in the same sexless boat....

I know this is from a long time ago but omg it feels so good to know I'm not alone on this! I had no idea! My husband constantly tells me I am too difficult to talk to and that he is afraid of how I will react (?) what? I am honestly a very level headed reasonable person. This makes so much more sense now!!!!! Thank you!!!!! I could cry :( :(

The thing is - even if you solved his ANGER problem - what would remain is his uttler lack of desire for sex. And this is almost certainly not a lack of desire to have sex with YOU. This is a lack of desire to have sex with adult females. He just doesn't have it. He likely does have some desires. And if you were able to coerce him, you would likely be dismayed by what he actually finds exciting. He is almost certainly ashamed by it. I only say this so that no one thinks, if we could solve the "anger" issues then ...<br />
<br />
Being angry is not a strong sexual suppressant for a male. I won't speak for women.

K, I believe that you nailed it when you said you believed the anger was all in his head. That's exactly where it is-he doesn't like it-doesn't want to own it-so he projects it unto you. My husband used to tell me the same type of thing-for me it was that I was too negative-I complained and criticized too much. It is only when I stepped back that I realized that what he was describing was what characterized him.<br />
They not only refuse sex, they also refuse accountability in the failure of their relationships.

I never fail to marvel at how ILIASM still provides me with "aha" moments! Thank you K14571 and Chai07, for opening my eyes to something about my relationship with my (now ex) husband that I have never recognised before!!!<br />
<br />
He too would complain about "conflict", or me being "too angry" for him to talk to . . and I was always puzzled and guilty about this. I couldn't identify the anger or the conflict in our relationship - and I'm a fairly astute person in most situations. . . . <br />
<br />
Obviously, as in all relationships, there were occasions of both. But to hear him talk you'd think we lived in seething anger and constant conflict!! WTF?<br />
<br />
Only on reading your posts today have I realised (finally!) that this was his way of avoiding discussions or answering questions about our relationship. By painting me as the "bad guy" that couldn't be approached because I was so volatile (!!), he could make me feel responsible for our lack of communication.<br />
<br />
I walked on egg shells for years, always trying to find "the right way" to approach the issues that separated us. I went for months and months not talking about ANYTHING that might cause any disagreement, however mild. When I finally did raise a subject, his immediate reaction was as I've described.<br />
<br />
And dopey me fell for it every time - and only NOW, as I read your posts, do I finally recognise his behaviour for what it was.<br />
<br />
I'm betting a LOT of refusers take this tack - and I'm SO grateful to you both for helping me to finally see the truth in my own situation. Thank you!!!

Tony, <br />
I guess we could also ask: Why would you want to have kids?! <br />
<br />
I do not mean to start an argument but I can not help pointing out that I think your have omitted some other elements in the cycle of life. Namely, eventually, you will get old and feeble. <br />
<br />
We will eventually all be become dependents ourselves. We will have to depend on either: <br />
1) our kids to take care of us (that is the old fashioned way and the way it still is in many less affluent parts of the world) <br />
or <br />
2) we will be dependent on a stranger who is only taking care of us for the money. <br />
<br />
Personally, I would take my chances with my kids taking care of me because all I can do is foster their love.

Quoting: "There's too much conflict" he says. We really don't fight much at all. I think the conflict is all in his head.<br />
<br />
Oh, wow, I have seen that too - avoiding conflict or confrontation at all costs!

I really think its hard to stay or resolve problems without a sexual connection of some sort. Why would you want to stay?I made the very same mistake, I stayed, the ' kids' got married, moved on and have a life.