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It appears that your wife may be avoiding nonsexual intimacy (soothing and healing) to avoid the physical intimacy (the part that may be uncomfortable and painful at the moment).

In my opinion you should focus on nonsexual intimacy to help bring the two of you closer.
If she is avoiding non sexual intimacy to avoid physical intimacy, I don't see how you can fix this by focusing on non sexual intimacy. This is what my therapist is telling me - to focus on non sexual intimacy - but since some patterns have been repeating themselves for years, it might never happen or it will take years to undo. In the meantime, you remain frustrated and depressed. In my opinion, they both need therapy. I will be discussing this very subject with my therapist next week, but if you think that any non sexual interaction might lead to sex or you think that your partner is doing that just to get sex, you have a mountain to climb, with no guarantee you will succeed. As I said before, you need a "complaint" wife...
 

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If she is avoiding non sexual intimacy to avoid physical intimacy, I don't see how you can fix this by focusing on non sexual intimacy. This is what my therapist is telling me - to focus on non sexual intimacy - but since some patterns have been repeating themselves for years, it might never happen or it will take years to undo. In the meantime, you remain frustrated and depressed. In my opinion, they both need therapy. I will be discussing this very subject with my therapist next week, but if you think that any non sexual interaction might lead to sex or you think that your partner is doing that just to get sex, you have a mountain to climb, with no guarantee you will succeed. As I said before, you need a "complaint" wife...
Or you have a partner who is thrilled to soak up as much non sexual intimacy as possible with no intention of ever taking it sexual or having any idea that there could be a link and one could lead to the other.

But of course in this case, acknowledging that link could be even more problematic since OP's wife already believes anything he does is just to get sex and will likely continue to think that... especially if there's anything disingenuous about his doing this (non sexual intimacy) in the first place.

So....
1. OP can work on non sexual intimacy with expectation that it will lead to sexual intimacy, in which case his ulterior motive will likely be obvious and this will backfire

2. OP can work on sexual intimacy with no expectations whatsoever; trying to be a loving, nurturing spouse completely independent of sexual relations and
a) Spouse will still think he's just doing it to get sex even if he isn't in which case this will backfire
b) Spouse will soak up all that attention and never have any intention of it leading to sexual intimacy
c) It will work like a charm!

2c is the only desired outcome, but it is probably the least likely.

Now given that OPs wife has undergone some serious physical changes and that sex itself is painful for her, I'd say that being that loving, nurturing spouse is paramount, regardless of outcome. This is the "for better or worse" part. The best opportunity to "meet in the middle" is the previous suggestion of engaging in non-intercourse sexual intimacy (assuming her physical difficulties don't preclude that as well).
 

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If she is avoiding non sexual intimacy to avoid physical intimacy, I don't see how you can fix this by focusing on non sexual intimacy.
It is like asking what comes first, the chicken or the egg. While generally you can't get one without the other, those rules can be broken when it comes to intimacy. Once the rules are broken it is hard to restart the cycle.

For example if a guy just wants sexual intimacy and there isn't nonsexual intimacy, the relationship tends to make the woman feel used for sex. Something akin to just being a masturbatory aid without any desire for emotional closeness. If this happens regularly then on top of that you start to add problems with low self esteem and feeling as if no one will ever love you for who you are emotionally. The only way to fix that is to focus on nonsexual intimacy until things reset.

Regards,
Badsanta
 

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If she is avoiding non sexual intimacy to avoid physical intimacy, I don't see how you can fix this by focusing on non sexual intimacy. This is what my therapist is telling me - to focus on non sexual intimacy - but since some patterns have been repeating themselves for years, it might never happen or it will take years to undo. In the meantime, you remain frustrated and depressed. In my opinion, they both need therapy. I will be discussing this very subject with my therapist next week, but if you think that any non sexual interaction might lead to sex or you think that your partner is doing that just to get sex, you have a mountain to climb, with no guarantee you will succeed.

As I said before, you need a "complaint" wife...
I guess we all know the intended was "compliant" W ??

Quite a difference from a "complaint" W.

😁
 

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I suppose it all boils down to attraction and love and wanting to work on the marriage... then, everything is possible.
Many folks will disagree with this...

There are some psychology books that suggest that physical attraction eventually has no impact on sexuality in long term relationships. For example you can have two supermodels with rocking hot bodies that after ten years of marriage can no longer tolerate one another even though they are both extremely attractive. On the flip side of that you can have couples that might be grossly disfigured from an accident and even disabled that somehow manage to have an extraordinary sex life together after many years of marriage.

That just leaves "love" as the primary variable of the difference between the two. So what is it? Generally speaking it is something nurtured by nonsexual intimacy.
 

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Many folks will disagree with this...

There are some psychology books that suggest that physical attraction eventually has no impact on sexuality in long term relationships.
I didn't mean physical attraction, but as in "attractive" person... a person you are attracted to for his/her qualities, not just physical aspect. Although that helps... :laugh: Sorry if I didn't explain myself properly... going through a bit of a rough time right now... :|
 

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I cant believe how horrible and harsh some posters here have been regarding the W here! She is dealing with something painful and difficult, and I for one dont blame her for being avoidant. I am quite sure she feels a lot of distress over all of this, and OP is NOT being supportive, so I totally get why she isnt being COMPLIANT. Seriously, compliant?? This thread turns my stomach, honestly, I feel terrible for her. The more pressure she gets, the more she is going to pull away.
 

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Many folks will disagree with this...

There are some psychology books that suggest that physical attraction eventually has no impact on sexuality in long term relationships. For example you can have two supermodels with rocking hot bodies that after ten years of marriage can no longer tolerate one another even though they are both extremely attractive. On the flip side of that you can have couples that might be grossly disfigured from an accident and even disabled that somehow manage to have an extraordinary sex life together after many years of marriage.

That just leaves "love" as the primary variable of the difference between the two. So what is it? Generally speaking it is something nurtured by nonsexual intimacy.
At 61 my wife isn't anything like the woman I met 63 years ago. She was 5'3", 120 lbs, 34b, beautiful hair. Today she's maybe 5'2", 200 lbs, grossly disfigured breasts from 3 breast cancers and a really awful reconstruction. And yet I find her as beautiful today as ever. Contrast that to myself, I'm 6' and weigh 162, maybe 5 pounds more than when I married. Yes, I'd like her to take better care of herself, not for appearance but for her health.

After having gone through a LOT of crap lately, I can honestly say our sex life is better today than it was when we married. Oh my gosh this woman frustrates me no end with her stubborness and how tone-deaf she can sometimes (often?) be. But I'm here for her. She's here for me. And if not for me putting my foot down, and to some extent enforcing decades of sex as a requirement, we could have been in the same place as many here. The difference is that we somehow, amazingly, made the move from sex as a required thing for the relationship, to sex as something that became normal and even sometimes desired for her. But getting there took a hellish several months.

You've really got to be willing to risk it all and you've got to be willing to change yourself. You have to find the invisible walls that have to be broken down. It's not just elephants in closets that you know about. And you have to stay on it, every single day, or else things can and probably will revert.
 

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Seriously, compliant??
The term was used in a general sense, not referring to the OP's wife or any other wife or woman in particular... I just meant that, to turn things around, people must want be willing to do it... I guess "compliant" has a pejorative connotation and for that reason it was put in bracket... it was meant to be a strong word to reinforce the meaning. Poor choice of word, I admit...
 

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I cant believe how horrible and harsh some posters here have been regarding the W here! She is dealing with something painful and difficult, and I for one dont blame her for being avoidant. I am quite sure she feels a lot of distress over all of this, and OP is NOT being supportive, so I totally get why she isnt being COMPLIANT. Seriously, compliant?? This thread turns my stomach, honestly, I feel terrible for her. The more pressure she gets, the more she is going to pull away.
Compliant is totally the wrong word. Compassionate is another thing entirely. It seems that he's communicating his displeasure with the change to her; where is she offering to help? PIV may be off the table. Lots of other things aren't.

The hormonal stuff creating lack of interest. Yes, that's true, but hormonal change shouldn't create lack of compassion & understanding. Unless, of course, you let it. Life throws a lot of tough stuff at us. That doesn't eliminate our responsibilities elsewhere. It may create challenges, but if you are in a relationship that you want to keep, you have to work to overcome or mitigate those challenges. This isn't just a W thing. It's a human thing.

You live with someone for 20-40 years and somehow it's OK to not think about how something you are or are not doing is affecting them? I suppose that's fine if you can only live in the moment (which was a huge issue I had to get my wife past... she'd live just in the moment and truly did not seem to understand long-term consequences because, as yet, they didn't exist).

So when it's said "I am quite sure she feels a lot of distress over all of this" I'd reply that, apparently, it's not enough distress to motivate her to do something about it. You're thinking he's been too harsh on her; I'm thinking it's possible he has not adequately explained the consequences.

I just refuse to believe every, or most, or even many women on the planet will go Bat-S crazy and lose all empathy due to menopause. Losing desire for actual PIV, sure, I get that. Pain is pain. I don't want to argue that you need to suffer some pain for the greater good. But as I said, there are alternatives. And it's possible that, finding appropriate alternatives, things might get working elsewhere again as well.

Of course, we can only speak authoritatively from personal experience. I am not that woman. My wife is not that woman. But My wife would have gone down that same path, had I allowed it. 8 months ago I was looking up information on D. Now we're probably happier and more-compatible in bed than we've been in our entire relationship. But it took a lot of work, a lot of tearful discussion, individual therapy sessions, books, and more patience than anyone can imagine because it took FOREVER for my wife to get past the "moment" and consider the future.

I can see someone reading this and thinking I'm this manipulative guy who has to have things his way. The reality is that I've integrated more and more of my time and life into things she does and enjoys. I know it's not possible to get her more into the stuff (normal everyday stuff & hobbies etc) that I enjoy. I've changed... a lot. She gets a lot of 100% of my attention now. I've broken down some of her own strange notions of privacy and gotten rid of a ton or hidden resentments. I never knew things could get this good.

So I have the same hope for the OP and his wife. They can both be a whole lot happier than they presently are.
 

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No one knows what his wife is amenable to or not because the OP hasn't elaborated. But; we do know that they have adult kids all over the house and the OP insists on sleeping on the couch.

So, just what do you recommend his wife do that won't gross out the kids or put her in traction?
 

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You met your wife two years before she was born?:surprise:
Ha! 43 years ago, I should have said.

Y'now, we talk about "mid"-life crisis, but I think there's a whole 'nother thing involved when we hit our 60s, and it's not just mortality per se that sets into our thinking, but also wondering how much longer we'll be functionally whole, including sex. We worry that it won't be that many more years before maybe we don't care anymore, but we care NOW and the clock is ticking away.

The OP is at that age right now. He might be thinking this is his last chance to fish or cut bait. I get that. He's not willing to wait 3 or 4 years because that might be the last really good 3 or 4 years he's got. Who knows.
 

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Many folks will disagree with this...

There are some psychology books that suggest that physical attraction eventually has no impact on sexuality in long term relationships. For example you can have two supermodels with rocking hot bodies that after ten years of marriage can no longer tolerate one another even though they are both extremely attractive. On the flip side of that you can have couples that might be grossly disfigured from an accident and even disabled that somehow manage to have an extraordinary sex life together after many years of marriage.

That just leaves "love" as the primary variable of the difference between the two. So what is it? Generally speaking it is something nurtured by nonsexual intimacy.
I think a lot of attraction also comes from personality.

I would say I agree with your post completely EXCEPT if my partner was GROSSLY obese that would turn me off. Unless maybe it was from a medical condition.
 

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here are some psychology books that suggest that physical attraction eventually has no impact on sexuality in long term relationships....
I think a lot of attraction also comes from personality.

I would say I agree with your post completely EXCEPT if my partner was GROSSLY obese that would turn me off. Unless maybe it was from a medical condition.
There are forms of sexuality that are personality driven such as pansexuality. OMG I just read the wikipedia article on pansexuality and it goes into so much detail to try and describe the notion of gernderblind, but it completely fails to say what it is that pansexuals are attracted to. Without getting into all that, a pansexual person is someone that is attracted to someone because of their personality without any limits on physical appearance or even gender.

My point being in bringing up that example is that for some folks personality alone can easily transcend obstacles of physical incompatibility. Even for short term relationships.

However I don't think it really works like that in a LTR. Perhaps kind of. But more so in the notion that a long term relationship eventually reaches a stage of absolute trust, complete vulnerability, and truly knowing/seeing each other's true self. You see all your partner's flaws and you accept them. Your partner knows you see this and is not ashamed. Perhaps someone's true personality is seen in this context, but it is more a process of being absolutely close to someone.

For example early in my marriage during intimacy, I often had no idea what my wife was thinking or what she liked. It was this fun mystery that we would explore and talk about afterwards. Fast forward a few decades and what used to be mysterious is now replaced with this solemn sense of togetherness of no longer really being able to feel where one person ends and the other begins.

Perhaps it is eventually sense of physical closeness that overcomes what would often be described as physical attraction.

And then you have these people in long term relationships with little or no intimacy, and I scratch my head. It could be the conundrum of those that strive to be someone better for themselves than the person that he/she truly are. Always keeping up this illusion of beauty and future accomplishment, but never allowing anyone to see the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings. No one is perfect and everyone has flaws. Not everyone is OK showing those to a spouse and allowing themself to still feel accepted and loved when doing so.

Regards,
Badsanta
 

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And then you have these people in long term relationships with little or no intimacy, and I scratch my head. It could be the conundrum of those that strive to be someone better for themselves than the person that he/she truly are. Always keeping up this illusion of beauty and future accomplishment, but never allowing anyone to see the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings. No one is perfect and everyone has flaws. Not everyone is OK showing those to a spouse and allowing themself to still feel accepted and loved when doing so.
Very interesting post. Considering a "manly" personality is part of what I'm attracted to, I'm thinking the whole pansexuality thing wouldn't work for me, LOL.

ANYHOW - about this last para of yours that I quoted. Not necessarily here in TAM where people are looking for answers, but IRL amongst people I meet, I notice that a lot of those in LTR with no intimacy are very hung up on what THEY are unhappy about and what needs of THEIRS are not getting met, with very little concern for what their partner might be unhappy about or what needs they might have that they are not meeting. I think as people spend more and more time together they either treat each other better and better as you only can when you REALLY know someone, or they focus on disappointments and resentments and somewhat deliberately stop trying to get to know their partner better and to have intimacy with them.
 
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