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I have one of those stories - I had a normal, happy sex life with a significant other - until I didn't.

We dated for a couple years. He was romantic, devoted to me, and we had a lot of core values in common. We were in love. The sex was vanilla (early on I asked flat out what his fetishes were and he said the didn't have any. I also asked what I could do that would turn him on quickly when I was wanting to get down and he said 'you just have to tell me.')

But, we had sex every time we saw each other and it was evident he cared about pleasing me. He even broke out a toy a couple of times.)

Eventually he asked me to move in to his house. I had my misgivings (I was moving into his space of 15 years, he's a neat freak and I am naturally a slob, etc.) but ultimately gave in. The plan was that we would save up to buy a house together.

A few days after I moved in it seemed his interest in sex dropped dramatically. Like flipping a switch. I remember lying in bed next to him, wondering what the heck was going on.

The first time I confronted him about it he didn't respond at all (we were lying in bed in the dark - he was awake) the second he indicated the issue was with me. He said he didn't know when I was interested (um, every night when we get into bed and I ask if you're tired and you say yes?). Then one time he said (almost angrily) he'd never been in a relationship where he had to do all the initiating.

When we were dating I was having the 40-something lady hormone explosion, and I wanted to have sex pretty much all the time. But he made a few comments here and there that made me feel self-conscious about it. Once he laughed and said I was 'like a teenage boy.' (And I didn't perceive that he saw it as a positive.)

It was subtle, but after that I wasn't very comfortable initiating. But I still did part of the time. I had a special lamp one of us would turn on to indicate we were in the mood.

But as time went by with us living in the same house, he rarely initiated, and I rarely did either because I had started to feel I must be old and fat. (I hadn't gained any weight.) Anyone who's been afraid of being rejected sexually by a partner knows the feeling. I don't know why the prospect is so terrifying. It just is. But I still wanted our 'normal' sex life back. So one Saturday, I suggested we have a quickie right then or put sex on the agenda for later. I tried to keep it light and playful.

He didn't respond. At all. He just sat there and silently kept his eyes on the TV as if I hadn't said anything. (Yes, he heard me.) My soul pretty much dropped out of my body at that point. I was mortified. I thought, 'is this really happening?' There were a couple of incidents like that. After which I stopped initiating entirely.

Sex dwindled down to nearly nothing. But here's something I can't figure out - whenever we were traveling (in hotel rooms) - he DID initiate. And not only did he initiate but often in a very forceful (and honestly not pleasant) way and he would want to have sex multiple times. WTF?

Some notes:
- We are both early/mid 40s

- He has no ED issues (vegan for more than a decade - he has the arteries of a 25-year old). He can almost always go twice in a row.

- He told me (at different times) that his two marriages became sexless and that it was his choice. According to him because of long-term problems with each relationship. But he turned off the sex with me the day after I moved in!

- He is OCD in some ways and obsessed with certain cleanliness aspects of the house. I tried my best to keep everything the way he wanted it but, cleaning has never been a first/natural priority for me. I often felt his disapproval.

- One of his ex-roommates called him passive-aggressive. I had never saw him that way until after the sex withholding started though.

- He has always been into video games but in the past several months it got to the point where he put his headset on (a lady boner killer if there ever was one) as soon as he got home, and was still playing when I went to bed.

- After I moved in he only ever gave me one compliment when I got all dolled up, "you look very pretty" - always that exact phrase and always in the same weird, bland voice. I know this sounds like a crazy thing to complain about, but I was used to men calling me gorgeous, goddess, beautiful, hot, sexy. 'Pretty' seemed like a compliment you'd give your mom, or a little girl. So it just felt like a soft insult. Like he knew I was trying to look hot for him but I was failing.

- When I asked him if there was a method I should use to turn him on quickly, I told him mine. It's a shortcut that will work every time for me, and it's EASY. No skills required, no need to navigate complex feminine landscapes. You could literally do it while watching TV and it would have the same effect. I don't think he ever used it during our relationship, except in a 'I'll do this clumsily for 5 seconds so I can say I did it' way. So disappointing.

- I know I too have culpability in the demise of this relationship. I grew up in a passive aggressive/narcissistic household where nobody ever talked about anything. My communication skills are not great and confrontation is very difficult for me.

But after a year of this my self-esteem was in the toilet and I was incredibly lonely (and resentful) being in that house with him. I have since bought a house on my own and moved out (and feel sad but 100% better) but we haven't officially broken up yet.

Does anyone have any similar experiences to share or insights into this situation and how it went so wrong so fast?
 

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If he's deemed to be "passive-aggressive," then I'd be greatly concerned that he will never find perfection, although he's constantly looking for it!

That almost replicates the definition of "insanity!"

Run!
 

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You need to be careful dealinng with this situation! Sometimes, the best thing to do is having a discussion. He could be so scared of repeating the same past errors that he just gave and started doing the same thing now better than later! Do you think he needs to see a doctor about this issue? It could something related to his past and that has nothing to do with the present
 

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I have one of those stories - I had a normal, happy sex life with a significant other - until I didn't.

We dated for a couple years. He was romantic, devoted to me, and we had a lot of core values in common. We were in love. The sex was vanilla (early on I asked flat out what his fetishes were and he said the didn't have any. I also asked what I could do that would turn him on quickly when I was wanting to get down and he said 'you just have to tell me.')

But, we had sex every time we saw each other and it was evident he cared about pleasing me. He even broke out a toy a couple of times.)

Eventually he asked me to move in to his house. I had my misgivings (I was moving into his space of 15 years, he's a neat freak and I am naturally a slob, etc.) but ultimately gave in. The plan was that we would save up to buy a house together.

A few days after I moved in it seemed his interest in sex dropped dramatically. Like flipping a switch. I remember lying in bed next to him, wondering what the heck was going on.

The first time I confronted him about it he didn't respond at all (we were lying in bed in the dark - he was awake) the second he indicated the issue was with me. He said he didn't know when I was interested (um, every night when we get into bed and I ask if you're tired and you say yes?). Then one time he said (almost angrily) he'd never been in a relationship where he had to do all the initiating.

When we were dating I was having the 40-something lady hormone explosion, and I wanted to have sex pretty much all the time. But he made a few comments here and there that made me feel self-conscious about it. Once he laughed and said I was 'like a teenage boy.' (And I didn't perceive that he saw it as a positive.)

It was subtle, but after that I wasn't very comfortable initiating. But I still did part of the time. I had a special lamp one of us would turn on to indicate we were in the mood.

But as time went by with us living in the same house, he rarely initiated, and I rarely did either because I had started to feel I must be old and fat. (I hadn't gained any weight.) Anyone who's been afraid of being rejected sexually by a partner knows the feeling. I don't know why the prospect is so terrifying. It just is. But I still wanted our 'normal' sex life back. So one Saturday, I suggested we have a quickie right then or put sex on the agenda for later. I tried to keep it light and playful.

He didn't respond. At all. He just sat there and silently kept his eyes on the TV as if I hadn't said anything. (Yes, he heard me.) My soul pretty much dropped out of my body at that point. I was mortified. I thought, 'is this really happening?' There were a couple of incidents like that. After which I stopped initiating entirely.

Sex dwindled down to nearly nothing. But here's something I can't figure out - whenever we were traveling (in hotel rooms) - he DID initiate. And not only did he initiate but often in a very forceful (and honestly not pleasant) way and he would want to have sex multiple times. WTF?

Some notes:
- We are both early/mid 40s

- He has no ED issues (vegan for more than a decade - he has the arteries of a 25-year old). He can almost always go twice in a row.

- He told me (at different times) that his two marriages became sexless and that it was his choice. According to him because of long-term problems with each relationship. But he turned off the sex with me the day after I moved in!

- He is OCD in some ways and obsessed with certain cleanliness aspects of the house. I tried my best to keep everything the way he wanted it but, cleaning has never been a first/natural priority for me. I often felt his disapproval.

- One of his ex-roommates called him passive-aggressive. I had never saw him that way until after the sex withholding started though.

- He has always been into video games but in the past several months it got to the point where he put his headset on (a lady boner killer if there ever was one) as soon as he got home, and was still playing when I went to bed.

- After I moved in he only ever gave me one compliment when I got all dolled up, "you look very pretty" - always that exact phrase and always in the same weird, bland voice. I know this sounds like a crazy thing to complain about, but I was used to men calling me gorgeous, goddess, beautiful, hot, sexy. 'Pretty' seemed like a compliment you'd give your mom, or a little girl. So it just felt like a soft insult. Like he knew I was trying to look hot for him but I was failing.

- When I asked him if there was a method I should use to turn him on quickly, I told him mine. It's a shortcut that will work every time for me, and it's EASY. No skills required, no need to navigate complex feminine landscapes. You could literally do it while watching TV and it would have the same effect. I don't think he ever used it during our relationship, except in a 'I'll do this clumsily for 5 seconds so I can say I did it' way. So disappointing.

- I know I too have culpability in the demise of this relationship. I grew up in a passive aggressive/narcissistic household where nobody ever talked about anything. My communication skills are not great and confrontation is very difficult for me.

But after a year of this my self-esteem was in the toilet and I was incredibly lonely (and resentful) being in that house with him. I have since bought a house on my own and moved out (and feel sad but 100% better) but we haven't officially broken up yet.

Does anyone have any similar experiences to share or insights into this situation and how it went so wrong so fast?
Yep, been through it too.

Here is a thread that I think will be of some help to you. It's a long thread, but read at least the first few pages as they give a lot of insight and resources.

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/ladies-lounge/350970-sex-starved-wife.html

From my experience, this is his problem.. it's a passive aggressive way for him to punish you for whatever ills he imagines you have inflicted on him. After all, if you complain, then you are inflicting more injury on him... it's a great passive aggressive trap. He punishes you and he wins because if you complain, in his mind, he wins again.

What purpose does it serve him? From what you say, he's OCD. On the one hand he wanted you to live with him. On the other hand his OCD tendencies means that he cannot handle his environment being out of his control. Your existence in his environment is an affront to his OCD. By walling himself off from you, he regains some element of control of his environment.

Your sex life was great when you were dating because he was still 100% in control of his own space. So when he was on a date with you, he could let you close. With you in his space now, he cannot afford (emotionally) to let you close and sex is about as close as a couple can get.

At least that's what I get out of what you have shared.

Your relationship is not going to get better. He's not interested in fixing this. But he cannot being himself to tell you to leave, so he will keep pushing you away.

The only sane thing for you to do here is to leave and chuck this one up to a learning experience.
 

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In addition...

Note that he has told you that he helped to destroy his previous relationships the same way. He's told you what he will do. Now that you have lived it for a while, do you finally believe what he told you?

His actions are speaking very loud and prove his words.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. It's so confusing to be with a man who apparently does like sex (since he initiated it multiple times when we were in hotels) and seems to want to be in a relationship, but then deliberately sabotages it from within.

Elegirl, yeah, I did see his turning his other relationships sexless as a major red flag, but according to him that was after years of issues and major incompatibility. Like the last year of a 6 year marriage. His first wife decided she was not going to work (no kids or desire for kids) despite a degree and major earning potential so he had to support her. Second wife also wanted to not work and be supported, but she developed major health issues and they also had a huge values conflict. (He ethical vegan, she meat eater).

Since I was independent financially, and we shared values (non religious, vegan, childfree, community-minded), and no issues with sex had come up in a year and a half other than his vanilla preference and the 'teenage boy' comment, I just didn't see any reason why he would want to ruin the relationship.

I was blindsided when the 'bait and switch' happened. I could see it happening after years of unresolved problems, familiarity, aging etc. but never anticipated it would happen the day after I moved in (at his urging).
 

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He may be using refusing sex to punish you. He may also just have a very low libido and did a bait / switch where he pretended to want sex until he "got" you.

Either way you are very mismatched sexually. This is very difficult to fix - many of us have tried and failed for many years.


There is a mythology that almost all men want lots of sex, but it really isn't true. There are a large number of men with very low sex drives. Its just not something that is talked about much.
 

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You will never understand why someone does something. Even if he becomes fully self aware and uses words to explain it you will never truly know what is going on inside someone else's head.

Judge someone by the actions, not their words.. and decide how you want to react.

I would move out before progressing anything further. But its easy to say that as an outside bystandard.
 

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Right, I could see him just being low drive and pretending to be a sexual person until I was trapped - if it wasn't for the way he suddenly initiated again once we were out of the house.

It's true that it's beyond fixing. I have already moved out - in fact moved to another town 2 hours away, and I have finally lost all attraction to him.

But I am sad and feel this strong need to understand WHY (looking through our old happy photos last night wasn't a good idea), though I agree obsessing over it is probably not a productive way to spend my time at this point. I'm also afraid if I start dating I might end up with the same type of person.
 

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But I am sad and feel this strong need to understand WHY (looking through our old happy photos last night wasn't a good idea), though I agree obsessing over it is probably not a productive way to spend my time at this point. I'm also afraid if I start dating I might end up with the same type of person.
You are correct to fear. People absolutely will pretend to be something they are not, to try and lure you into a relationship. But you can protect yourself. The key is to learn from your past experience. One of the most important lessons is to have a quick trigger. It is easy to pretend to like sex when you aren't living together and only see each other on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The low drive person has a week to recharge before they have to give the next performance. If you have decent sex while living apart and the sex stops when you move in together, DUMP THEM IMMEDIATELY! Do not accept any excuses. Do not let them explain why it is a bad time or stressful at work or they had a cold. Just dump them for lying to you about how much they enjoy sex with you.

If dumping them immediately seems too harsh, do the following: move apart and tell them you guys are not moving back in together until they have shown themselves willing to have sex several times a week over a period of several months. Don't tell them how many months. Make them WORK HARD to get you back into the same residence. Don't let them tell you that you are being harsh or unreasonable or not trusting. Agree that you don't trust anyone who baits and switches sexually, and that is what they did, and you are going to be fiercely self-protective until they have convinced you that it really was just a cold or a bad week / month at work that interfered with the sex and that they LOVE sex with you. Sexual mismatch is more than good enough reason to end an otherwise compatible relationship. Ruthlessly weed out those who don't satisfy you sexually. Your future self will thank you for it.

The most dangerous words for a person who values sex within a committed relationship are "until death do us part". Don't feel that if you are in a committed relationship that you have to be willing to do without sex as a sign of your commitment. if they are not hospitalized, they can do something sexual for you. Especially if the sex drops off suddenly when you move in together, get married, etc. That is such a red flag I would warn everyone to run for the hills if it happens to you. Yes I am scarred. Yes I am a fearful. But I have unquestionably been whacked in the head too many times and I just don't want to see anyone else have to endure the heartache I have suffered.
 

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I always - ALWAYS - try to be positive and optimistic.

But I have been in your shoes. It does not get better. I have heard of a few, rare, one in a million cases where a withholding wife can be turned around. I have NEVER heard of a case where a withholding man is turned around. And I feel your pain. I also understand this:

"Anyone who's been afraid of being rejected sexually by a partner knows the feeling. I don't know why the prospect is so terrifying. It just is."

If you are generally well-fed and you ask someone for some of their food, and they say no....eh, boo on them, but it's no biggie. If you are starving and they turn you away....your hunger gnaws even more. You have no "reserves" to deal with it. When you're starving for sex, every rejection is magnified. So it's debilitating to even try.

You are not married yet. Get out while you can.
 

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Thanks all. It's so confusing to be with a man who apparently does like sex (since he initiated it multiple times when we were in hotels) and seems to want to be in a relationship, but then deliberately sabotages it from within.

Elegirl, yeah, I did see his turning his other relationships sexless as a major red flag, but according to him that was after years of issues and major incompatibility. Like the last year of a 6 year marriage. His first wife decided she was not going to work (no kids or desire for kids) despite a degree and major earning potential so he had to support her. Second wife also wanted to not work and be supported, but she developed major health issues and they also had a huge values conflict. (He ethical vegan, she meat eater).

Since I was independent financially, and we shared values (non religious, vegan, childfree, community-minded), and no issues with sex had come up in a year and a half other than his vanilla preference and the 'teenage boy' comment, I just didn't see any reason why he would want to ruin the relationship.

I was blindsided when the 'bait and switch' happened. I could see it happening after years of unresolved problems, familiarity, aging etc. but never anticipated it would happen the day after I moved in (at his urging).
The story that he tells you about his previous marriages is probably filtered through his lens. So of course his story justifies his behavior in those marriages. It's also very likely that the marriages were almost sexless for some time.

This is his 3rd marriage and here he goes again. It's his pattern, his way of handling marriage. Actions speak louder than words. And this is the third time that you know of that he's made a relationship basically sexless.

Keep in mind that a marriage in which there is sex 10 or fewer times a year is considered sexless.
 

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You are 'Why' chasing and it is a futile effort. Even if you find the true 'why' the situation remains the same. If your partner gives you a 'why' and you 'fix' it, the sexless relationship will remain but the 'why' will change.
You are not sexually compatible with him. A sexless marriage (relationship) is often said to be having sex 10 or fewer times per year. But the reality is that there is not a standardized number. A sexless marriage is when the maximum enjoyable frequency of the low libido partner is less than the minimum acceptable frequency of the high libido partner.
You say you have moved away from him, that is good. Now quit why chasing and start asking what you have learned from this experience and how you will apply its lessons to your next relationship.
 
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