Whether it’s the man or the woman, when your partner withholds sex it has a definitely bad effect on a relationship. Over and above what it’s doing to the relationship, what is it doing to you?
Many feel that the spouse withholding sex is a free pass to cheat. Personally I don’t see it that way. I believe if someone is unhappy in a relationship and you’ve tried everything you can think of to fix it to no avail, then it’s time to “man up” and bring it to an end, before you go looking elsewhere. That’s just the “right thing to do”.
Many of us are dealing with passive aggressive partners that withhold sex as a way of controlling us, a way of punishing us for things that have angered them, and because they are incapable of allowing themselves to get so intimate that they have to admit to themselves that they need us. I was surprised to learn that even without this little “fly in the ointment” that according to a study done by Bob Berkowitz, Ph.D., and Susan Yager-Berkowitz, M.A. that thousands of people in a heterosexual committed relationship where the man was the one to end the passion, an astonishing 24 percent of the female respondents told us that their partners stopped having sex with them almost from the beginning. Fourteen percent said that their husbands ended physical intimacy in the first year of marriage, 8 percent said that sex stopped prior to marriage, and 2 percent said that it ended on the honeymoon. (Only 8 percent of the male respondents claimed they stopped being intimate during or before the first year of marriage.) Are there that many passive aggressive males in relationships?
So what does it do to you when your partner doesn’t ever act like he wants to have sex with you? One thing it does is dump all the work needed to develop and maintain a sexual bond on you. They don’t have to take responsibility for any problems in the marriage, and if the marriage ends they can point a finger at you for being the problem. Sound familiar?
It leaves you feeling unattractive and undesirable. You wonder what happened, why your partner no longer wants you. You start to internalize their rejection and blame yourself. You start by thinking you are not attractive enough, sexy enough, thin enough, smart enough. There is the danger of depression, loss of hope, and there is certainly a sense of shame. Shame over the fact that your own spouse does not desire you. This shame keeps you from sharing your problems with someone else. You find yourself with no support system and the growing belief that there is something terribly wrong with you. You really need to take control and start protecting yourself immediately.
When I first got involved with my BF, I figured I was an answer to every red-blooded American guy’s dream. Oh no, not that I consider myself beautiful, or have the perfect female body, but I loved sex. I had no problem initiating it, giving it, or trying new things. I didn’t mind getting woke up in the middle of the night by a little jab or feeling arms around me, hands starting to get a little playful. I didn’t realize at the time that his being “courteous” and not wanting to wake me up even though he wanted to, was actually a sign of what was to come. I never rejected him, in fact telling him any time he had the desire to please, go for it. So what happened?
I quit initiating the intimacy. Once I quit being the one to do the pursuing, days turned into months, months into a year. I don’t even know now how long it’s been since we’ve shared any intimacy what so ever. Right now, I know my weight is a big issue and I get that. What I didn’t understand was when I lost almost 50 pounds to be more desirable, and it didn’t make any difference. While he complimented me and supported my weight loss efforts, it didn’t lead to any more intimacy at all. The lesson I learned? It’s not us!
According to Dr. Irene Matiatos, a PhD. psychologist in New York,
“if an individual has done everything in their power to be gracious, loving, and understanding towards their partner (which is their responsibility to themselves), and sex is still not forthcoming, then the individual needs to choose whether or not sex is important enough to merit threatening the relationship. “Forcing” or cajoling another to give what they don’t want to give will only lead to resentment and problems down the road.”
You really need to ask yourself if this is how you want to live for the next 5 years, and for the 5 years after that, and so on. If not, the only way to survive it is to run from it. Take your damaged self-image, your shame and any unhealthy beliefs you have come to feel about yourself and get out. Once you’ve done that, find a qualified therapist that can help you take back your power. It’s a tough road and it may be slow to repair but with time and work, you will once again feel sexually desirable, attractive, and maybe even loved.
Filed under: abuse, causes, coping, hidden feelings, mental health, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, passive aggressive spouse, trust | Tagged: abuse, coping with a passive aggressive, games passive aggressives play, hidden feelings, mental health, passive aggressive boyfriend, passive aggressive relationships, passive aggressive spouse, withholding sex |