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Confusion over MMSL and who dominates who!

3638 Views 36 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  tiredandout
Lots of even more confusing and devastating background story could be found on my older posts but some of it's is already irrelevant. To put it shortly, me and my H have had a rough couple of years. But things have gotten better. Only now other things have gotten worse.

I was always the Lower Drive spouse, he was always the Higher Drive spouse. In the beginning I was inexperienced and sexually closed off. He .. well, hated it. He didn't encourage me to open up. He told me to do it. I was pissed for a while but then, I did it. I thought he was right. And I feel much more liberated now. However, at no point did I gain more desire for him.

I find my H hot. I think when he wants he can be *amazing* in bed. I yearn to cuddle next to him but I don't .. lust over him.

As it happens, I just ran into the book Married Man's Sex Life. And some of it rings a bell so loudly that my ears are ringing. My H is insecure. He is jealous (not in the hot "Oh no you don't, this girl is mine." *butt squeeze* -manner. But in the questioning-me-about-everything-and-everyone -manner.). He requires a lot of encouragement and reassurance of my feelings. He is not physically active. When he get upset, feels neglected or frustrated about something, he more often comes off as scared in panic then calmly addressing the issue and putting me in my place.

And a short while ago I noticed I don't feel like having sex with him. I still think he is physically hot. And I think he's an awesome person. And he can be very cute and gentle. But he doesn't make me feel sexy, and I don't feel like being sexy for him (I'm expecting not to get turned on, or even to get turned down).

I found parts of the MMSL book sexist and some idiotic but as said, some of it is really true. I DO realize I would want my man to be a more balanced combination of the "positive" Alpha and the "positive" Beta. Whereas at the moment there's too much insecurity and on the other hand uncontrolled aggression.

So lately I have been starting to feel pi**ed off and like he cannot do anything right. Actually he's trying so hard! But I don't want him to be a doormat. I want him to take responsibility.

On the other hand the one to do these "Tests" in our relationship is more him. To give him that thing he could very well get himself, getting upset if I don't. To set up the stage for me to offer him help with something (of his) and get furious if I don't. He has told it to me loud and clear: he loved it when in the beginning I was more "easy going". Helped him willingly and served him out of pleasure to do so.

But I started to resent it because — as I thought — I didn't get to have my say. I started to feel like I was disappearing. I didn't feel like myself anymore, as I wasn't expressing my own needs. Then I started to express them and he can't stand it. Lately, we have only some days or weeks of calm and otherwise pure madness, not getting our emotions heard.

But after reading this book I wonder: is there a chance that I also started to resent it because he didn't prove himself to be the leader I wanted to serve? Because he showed more weakness (And really, I don't need a macho man. I LIKE for a man to show his emotions and be vulnerable with me. But he should bear his own weight.) — and I started to feel unsafe: he is not strong enough to protect me? He's intimidated by ME. Add in the fact that I lost about 25 pounds after we started dating and, although I'm not playboy hot, am decent looking. He's handsome himself, but has put on about half of what I lost during the same time. And gotten out of shape. Anyway.

So it's a mess. But now that I have this "knowledge". Do you guys think it would be coming to play in our case? Or am I just looking for an easy solution where I am not the (only) one at fault, but one that would mean he would have to bear responsibility for this? I am quite sick of being blamed for all our problems so I wouldn't rule that out. I would probably love an explanation that would really force him to work on himself.

I'm not sure I'm looking for something exactly like the r/s the writer of the book has. I am a pretty stubborn lady and like to think of myself as strong and self-sufficient. But there is great truth in the notion that I don't want to feel this much stronger than my spouse. I want him to be my match. And, at times, I want him to command me, but not with fear or humiliation or belittling. But with a firm stance that forces me to take responsibility of my own stuff. The former happens in our r/s a bit, and I can very rarely respond maturely. Most of the times I just want to rebel such nonesense.

IF this would be coming to play in our case, how on earth do you tell an insecure person that "I'm just not that hot for you anymore because of your insecurities." ? I expect it to be met with heeps of defensive counter-attacks.

Any thoughts? They will all be appreaciated.
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Oh, to add to my sexual confusion: He keeps beating around the bush about what kind of sex he actually likes. He will say he enjoys or not, if something out of the ordinary happens, but he won't discuss it. He finds talking about sex uncomfortable. I have no idea what kind of fantasies he's hiding and have started to feel uncomfortable about it. He even feels uncomfortable about me talking about my preferences to him. He thinks sex should just happen, talking about it kills it for him. But how on earth am I supposed to know what he wants if he can't talk about it?! Grrr, I hate that.

Okay rant over.

I truly hope someone will take the time to read this through and offer some insight. Even if it is for me to get my head out of my rear and stop finding faults from my H and concentrate on myself. :p
Have you thought of sharing the book with him? It would be hard for a man to read the book and not get to some serious thinking because so much of it is not how we have been taught to be gentlemen.

My wife is as stubborn and headstrong as they come and most of what is in MMSL has effected positive change for us. She has not read the book but has stumbled across some e-mails I get from the blog. She specifically says "she does not want to be dominated" but sometimes she does....
I have thought about it. I just don't know how to do it without it coming off as: "I think you're a wuss, man up." You see, he's not a reader. There's no way to hint that it might be his interest or arouse his curiosity. I would have to shove it down his throat. And to be honest, I think he would think some of the book is too @ssholish. I think so too. But he is quick to judge things by first impression so I really don't think he would get really far in it unless I require him to read through it all..

Of course I could still try. But how would you best like to be approched with it? I can't seem to think of a gentle way to present the idea, one that wouldn't automatically provoke all those insecurities of his..
If you leave a book with that title lay around he would have no curiosity about that and pick it up? I know what you mean about the a**holish parts but the writing style is overall amusing and his audience is largely men. My wife read an e-mail from MMSL that said something like "No sex, GTFO". I heard about that one "great place to get relationship advice".

Can you find a way to position it so that he can use the book to help himself. He probably has some thoughts about what is going well or not as well as he'd like between you. Can you make the book the answer? If it is the answer to your needs/ideas sorry...but that's less compelling...we are still guys after all. You did say he was HD so you probably have that drive working for you. I think you can have faith that if he does the MAP, you will have the desire to go where he takes you.

It is worrisome that he is not a reader because many people who don't read, really don't read. I wonder if his insecurities keep him from telling you how he truly feels as far as intimacy. Its not easy to discuss so maybe he would be open to some knowledge.

You know, sometimes I think to make resounding, positive change, you have to take a risk. Maybe tell him you would like become a more intimate couple and refer to the parts about pair bonding/oxytocin and some of sexy moves. He will just come across the alpha stuff and I'd be surprised if he didn't take notice. If he started working on sex rank you would know immediately.
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If you want to make your husband more aggressive, and secure, you should not read books of self help for man because you are not one.

Go buy "the surrendered wife". It's an amazing book IMHO (I am a man) that help women make their husband more secure and more alpha.

My wife got it, read it and doesn't practice any :( so no help for me there. I read the no more mr. nice guy book that was a huge help for me personally, and would prob. be a huge help for your husband. But you cannot be the one "forcing" him to change. In fact, you "making" him more attractive to you will actually make him LESS secure, and it will turn you off even more.
There are ways you can help your H with his self esteem, but you have to be willing to swallow the resentment and focus on guiding him, not telling. You also have to KNOW yourself. Be sure about what it is exactly that you need. Sometimes getting angry is a sign that you aren't getting your emotional needs met.

I can empathsize with you, I tend to view my H as weak as well.
I did buy him the MMSL book and he's not a reader either. But he did eventually go to counselling which helped some.

I also went to counselling. And I realised a few things about myself. Pinning how much I desire my H based on his actions for the past few days can be a tailspin. I'll always find something wrong, some reason, keep raising the bar, and he'll never be good enough.

So there does need to be a balance there. Learn to accept some of his behaviors, learn to focus on his good qualities, and "teach" by reaction. By that I mean when he does things that do make you feel desire, make sure he knows. Tell him. Encourage it. Tell him when he does things that make you feel special, wanted. If it hasn't happened for awhile, tell him what did make you feel that way in the past.

For the non-readers, there is also a video series from marriage builders that gives an overview of his needs her needs. It's quick, but gives the message.
Ignore the rest.
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joshbjoshb, Touché. ;)

I glanced over this book but honestly, based on the reviews I don't want to spend my money on it. I agree with the principals: let go of control over my H's life, trust his decisions about his own life, keep myself in shape and attractive looking, express my gratitude over the things my H does. And I do these. Where I can improve is taking care of my own happiness: do things that I enjoy and maintain relationships to my friends and family.

However, I don't think I need this book for this. Especially since I read in the reviews it encourages to "not tell my husband advice, even if he asks". He would get mad at me for it. :p I never say "I told you so." and I try to always to remember to ask whether or not he wants to hear my advice. I do agree that I could shut up about my opinion or side of things sometimes. I tend to be a bit too out-spoken for his liking at times. There is also no way he would become the financial leader of our household, and he himself would panic at the idea. He says it himself: he hates paying bills and would always push it off as far as he possibly can.

So, I think I already own other books I can use to help me with this part. In addition to already being in IC for my own issues and helping me to rewire the disfunctional ways of dealing with feelings I learned in my FOO.

However, I do strongly agree that there is no way for me to FORCE this change on him. Nor should I. And it's true I cannot even tell him to read this book, it wouldn't be the same as him reading it on his own. Hence the confusion.

deejov, Thank you for your reply.

I think you hit the nail in the head with resentment there.
I always thought I wasn't harboring it, but lately I notice how much of it is actually there.

Resentment over the fact that despite me trying to lead by example, he belittles me, judges me and shuts me down. Or explodes in a frenzy.

But then again eventhough I've tried I am by no means an angel myself. I am still learning. Today there was an incident where I thought he was trying to hurt my feelings. Six months ago I would've not adressed the issue but gotten sullen and upset, giving him a half-assed response and then being passive aggressive in my actions towards him afterwards. Today I stopped and said: "Hey, when you said that I felt X. I don't feel good about you talking to me like that." He was naturally totally clueless about the affect of his words on me, apologized and rephrased it. Afterwards we congratulated ourselves for a job well done. For once we managed to NOT escalate something! :D

I could still more attention to what it is that he IS doing and show gratitude for that. I'm a firm believer of learning through praise rather than punishment so I should show him that too.

One thing you also got right that I don't have a crystal clear image of what is IS that I would want. I have been working through it in therapy and on my own, but it's still a work-in-progress. The more I dig into it the clearer it gets though.

So there's hope, I guess. I hope. :)
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It is kinda disheartening to read the book, and think "yeah, that's how I want my H to behave" and know that there isn't a magic pill that would make him act that way.

Would I want the perfect man? No way. Most men can behave "manly" at times. That's enough for most of us. And realistically.... most of us women over a certain age would not want a 100% MMSL man. Women's lib. There isn't much you can gain from reading the book other than male insight.

The key is often the male self esteem.
And I hate to bring this up, but google passive aggressive behavior in men. Nothing is their fault, ever. They won't make decisions, because that puts them at blame if isn't the right decision. They change their minds constantly about what they want to do. They show anger and aggression in response to being "called out" for being responsible for their own actions and behaviors.

Some say it's just lazy. Some say it's being passive aggressive, and it's all a big defense mechanism for low self esteem. They don't think they will succeed, so they throw up all these barriers and blame everyone else for what's really going on. They are scared to try.

You might ask him to do something... he picks a fight about it instead. And you get angry, or emotional. Which is JUST the point.
You get hooked in all the time, without even realising it.

Good for you for recognizing it and be assertive. You need boundaries, and you need to enforce them. Know how you expect people to treat you, and work on calmly asserting that boundary.
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Ladies, you can't command a guy to be more "manly". They will have it in them or they will have to fake it. But you really can't force the issue.

But you can, on your side, expect them to take the lead. Let them form the idea that they are expected to lead at times. Do this and even stick with it when the results aren't so hot at times.

Many men that have this sort of problem didn't have an effective male figure to show them how to poise themselves. They were raised by their mothers or had and absent/submissive father. They really don't know any better.
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The only way I know to get a man to take responsibility in this type situation is to give it to him.

Now that doesn't mean be a doormat yourself, disappear, not have needs or boundaries it means study the dynamic and change it from your end not from his. You have no control over what he does. You can learn to love him AS IS or you will continue to struggle.

I suggest you read the book Fascinating Womanhood.
Thank you costa and Mavash for your comments!
This is what I was looking for, asking which approach to take and whether to ignore how HE should change and instead focus on my own growth. Latter should be the answer, as always. :)

I got myself some sort of version the book Fascinating Womanhood and have read the first few "Secrets". I must say, parts of this book really make me squirm in my chair. But eventhough I will never become the perfect Stepford Wife it suggests, I do have a lot to improve. Focusing on my H's good qualities instead of his flaws should be a given, but lately I have fallen to the trap of resentment and contemptment. With the help of the start of the book I already dug myself up quite a bit.

And I got my encouragement when about 20 minutes after giving my H notice of how proud I was of him working so hard on his own business, he came back and thanked me for my kind words earlier. He does have a need to be admired!

The irony is, that the fact that I grew resentful of him is because I didn't feel admired. I have a need to feel adored like the next gal, but I also have a need to feel respected, as an individual with my own thoughts and opinions, as a person of my own needs, and as a professional of my own career and creativity. Feeling undermined and belittled is why I lost my admiration for my husband in the first place. I am willing to give this method a try, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't at all suspicious of it working.

I dare say I was raised into one of the most equal societies on this planet, so accepting this whole "Your husband shall rule over you" -thing sounds pretty foreign. At the same I would like to see my husband being more strong, not completely but towards the way described in the MMSL. I guess I have to admit to myself that I would rather be strong, and have him be stronger than seeing him weak and feel like I have to make myself weaker. But this is of course mostly a question of perspective. When looking at the brighter side of him, I see him as stronger than me. Should concentrate on that attitude I guess than.

Again thank you for the recommendation!
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The only way I know to get a man to take responsibility in this type situation is to give it to him.

Now that doesn't mean be a doormat yourself, disappear, not have needs or boundaries it means study the dynamic and change it from your end not from his. You have no control over what he does. You can learn to love him AS IS or you will continue to struggle.

I suggest you read the book Fascinating Womanhood.

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I first read fascinting woman 8 years ago and like you I squirmed too. After I studied more I realized it wasn't about me losing MY strength it was about building up his. I'm still quite the powerful woman but now I use my power for good and I'm more than willing to let him take charge (it's hot actually). Just knowing I CAN do things on my own is enough. I don't need to run the show anymore.

It is our curse to try and control men but when we do that we lose what makes them great. If you give them back their freedom to be men they give it back in ways you can't even begin to imagine. I'm living it now and let me tell you I'll never ever go back to the woman I once was.
After I studied more I realized it wasn't about me losing MY strength it was about building up his. I'm still quite the powerful woman but now I use my power for good and I'm more than willing to let him take charge (it's hot actually). Just knowing I CAN do things on my own is enough. I don't need to run the show anymore.
This makes sense to me. I realize I have a habit of wanting to control too much, and I would be better off just letting things slide more. In fact, I used to do that. But things turned sour in our relationship and I didn't want to stay quiet anymore. However, I didn't choose the right way nor the correct words to speak up. I can see many thigns where I should correct my course.

Yet, I find myself deeply troubled by one aspect of this, and unable to figure out how to put it into use:

I make more money than my husband. In fact, soon there will be a short time when I will be the sole breadwinner as he has to rearrange his business. After that, I will still be likely to be the bread-winner and he will be working from home. I know that he is terrified of the idea of having me provide for him. I can understand his feeling because, in fact, I would dislike that too if the tables were turned. But I don't know how to approach this situation from the "Fascinating Woman's" point of view. I keep telling him I'm proud of him for his work and efforts, and excited for his successes (I've done this for a long time already, and truly believe it) — but it doesn't take away the fact that I'm the one putting foor on the table. And we both know it.

((( Sorry to talk about all this lady stuff here in the Man Cave. I thought this would be a topic for the males to respond, but as it happens I should've just directed to the ladies as the solution lies within myself, not my man. )))
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I used to be the breadwinner too. It did not bode well for my husband's manliness. He needed to provide for me and will readily admit that now that he does. I'm a homemaker now.

A warning about implementing this. He WILL fail. I guarantee it. I spent years rescuing and enabling my husband. He knew subconsciously that no matter what I'd fix his messes. Then I quit and yes I suffered as a result of letting him fail. Within no time he quit making rash decisions and learned to take control of his own life. I was DONE saving him from himself. I treated him as if he were a grown man capable of fixing his own mistakes. Heck I don't even give advice anymore even if he asks for it. I'll help him in little things but mostly I try to stay out of the part of his life that he needs to be in charge of.
With hubby and I going through some problems in our marriage, I realized that a lot of it had to do with power shifting in our marriage. He went from the main breadwinner to stay-at-home husband and now stay-at-home dad.

I was traveling quite a bit which just made it even more difficult since he was left at home.

Since this book is recommended so highly, I bought it on Amazon and sent it to him as a gift hoping it will help re-ignite some of the passion we had previously.
((( Sorry to talk about all this lady stuff here in the Man Cave. I thought this would be a topic for the males to respond, but as it happens I should've just directed to the ladies as the solution lies within myself, not my man. )))
Don't really like hangin around the ladies forum and I find this short thread pretty inspiring. Thanks for putting it here in this forum!
I suggest either you have him read MMSL telling him you've heard it really helps spark up marriages


you secretly put him on a the MAP yourself.
To the ladies who are struggling with their husbands not "manning up" enough. The thing you have to remember is you don't ever "make" your husband think one way or the other. An environment is set that promotes certain thought processes that develop within each person's predisposed personality. There are "Alpha" type men who, if in a different relationship, would end up very Beta, and vice versa. The degree is determined by the person's preset boundaries, but the directions are definitely influenced by the environment over a long time. Remember water will erode a mountain if given enough time and consistent beating on. Now with that thought process in place, let's look at the difference between men and women.

I'm going to speak from a "reformed" doormat. Your average man likes consistency with his thoughts. If he believes or thinks something today, odds are, as long as no dramatic things change, he'll think that way in a year, 5 years, 20 years etc. Where women tend to vacillate. If their husband is "sensitive" for a month, they want him to be more "manly". If he then "mans up", he'll hear how "he's not attentive to my needs, he doesn't like to cuddle, he's not sensitive enough". I'm sorry to say this, but you confuse us because frankly, whatever we are, you want something different.

Over time, the husband in such a situation will take "the path of least resistance" which is ALWAYS becoming the doormat. As you voice your displeasures more, he caves more. This becomes a cycle. You find more things unsatisfactory, and he bends more and more. Soon, your mountain is gone because of the waves.

If you want you husband to man up, treat him like a man. You may not agree with what or how he's doing something, bite your tongue. If you want your husband to be more "manly" then you need to be more "womanly". There can only be one "man of the house" and you've slowly and surely taken over that role.
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