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Changing2013

I am having trouble being affectionate with my husband.

28 posts in this topic

Hi everyone. Im new here and am so glad I found this forum and wish I found it earliar. But I am really nervous posting but its an issue I am really struggling with and I really need others thoughts.

Some background to my story. My husband and I have been together for a long time. Married for 10 years. He has been verbally and emotionally abusive. For example, swearing at me, yelling and screaming at me, he would get very angry at the slightest thing. He used to make threats to harm me and harm himself. He would bully and pressure me for sex. Scarily, i didnt know our relationship was abusive and thought it was just normal relationship problems. We have a three year old son, and when our son was born, something clicked and changed in me. I knew I couldnt put up with this anymore. I didnt want my son to grow up in this environment and be subjected to the abuse too. I finally reached out and got help. I have been getting counselling and went to a support group. My husband went to a mens behavioural change group and starting seeing a psychologist. Throughout all this we seperated for a year and my husband has been back home since Janurary. Its been a long and difficult road.

When my husband came home, he would still have angry outbursts (despite all the help he has received!). He wouldnt swear or intimidate me. But he would be mean and say mean things. He would pressure me, for example pressure me to have another baby with him. We have now started marriage counselling and I think its been around 2 months since his last angry outburst.

So in marriage counselling its come up that we havent been intimate for 4 months. My husband complains that I dont show him any affection, let alone have sex with him. And its true. I really struggle with this. I dont want to kiss him or hug him. I rarely want to have sex with him. From my point of view, i am thinking maybe i need more time to heal and more time to see if he's changed and more time to learn to trust him again. And is it really so difficult to fathom why i cant be affectionate given what i have been through? But my husband is really struggling with the fact that i am not showing him any affection. He tells me he cant live this way forever. And if things dont get better, then he will leave the relationship as he cant live without affection and sex. This then puts more pressure on me. Its such a mess.....

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts? Has anyone else had trouble being affectionate or is it just me?

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Welcome to the board! I'm sorry you felt you need to find us, but I'm glad you're here. I visit rarely these days, but there are lots of lovely people here who will respond - we're all over the globe, so with the time differences it may take a little while.

Your husband is still abusing you, it seems to me. Even if he was a reformed character and now the perfect husband, you are not obliged to be affectionate to him. Trust takes time to rebuild, and it doesn't look as though he's doing anything to regain your trust anyway. Why on earth would you want to be affectionate with someone who was mean to you?

It may be that your husband has improved, but I think that his underlying attitude of disrespect and entitlement hasn't changed. If he had changed he'd give you as long as you needed to feel closer to him. And he wouldn't still be abusing you.

Hugs.

Di

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Welcome to the boards I hope you're able to look through all the advice. What you wrote really saddens me. I feel like: for one, your body is been very truthful. You do not desire to be with him and your self conscious seems to be screaming it. He may have done some noble work he is all so proud of. I do not see him having a comprehension of you and who you are. He is giving you a performance ultimatum and I feel he does not get it. I say hold back and let him leave. If it is his choice then you have a larger ground on him requesting a divorce. You can then say he did not care to do the recovery and he left me before we did the actual work. It was more than an intellectual change I need physical change. Let him leave. open the door for him. It is not just you. I went through a period of time my body was telling me all sorts of stuff. I had allergies to my EX. His sperm would burn like fire and his hair oil would make me sneeze. My body started to reject him. I was very embarrassed like something was wrong with me. If I put my face near his pillow my eyes would burn and water. I found myself sleeping on the edge of the bed on one side.

I am not sure waiting will make a difference. There was this constant resistance we could not agree or come together over anything. It was so destructive. We should not have stayed married as long as we did.

I would read what you wrote again. When you accept where you're actually at it starts to get easier to see it is okay to be where your at. I sorry you're having so much pain with this. Maybe you could just do your own counseling and quite trying to force the marriage to work. There is not one thing you could do to save it. Just be yourself and get strong. It the marriage fails it fails.

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I'm sorry you needed to find us, but I'm glad you did. You'll find people are understanding and know exactly what you're talking about.

Pressuring you for sex is abusive, just as much as yelling and swearing at you. It's not surprising that you're not interested in being affectionate or having sex when someone is angry and pressuring you for sex. Your body is telling you that you're not happy and that something is wrong with the relationship.

He can live without affection and sex...and if he had made much progress with his counseling, he'd give you all the time you needed to feel comfortable and affectionate.

Whatever you do, don't let him talk you into having another baby-it will make it harder for you to leave if you decide that the marriage isn't viable.

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Just echoing the above posts, pressuring for sex IS just another route to abuse you.

Abuse, verbal and emotional abuse is about discounting you and re-defining you. It's a re-enforced message that you're worthless, your desires are nothing, your feelings mean nothing. It's a bombarded message at you that you have no value. Pressuring you for sex AFTER you've said "No" or "wait" is another form of that message. YOUR desires mean nothing to him, YOUR body and what it wants isn't important to him, and what YOU WANT doesn't matter. It's about what HE wants because he's the valuable party in the relationship, not you.

You should NEVER have to have sex just to make him happy. You should have sex on YOUR time table when YOU are comfortable and ready. You ARE valuable, regardless of whatever lies he's chosen to believe about you.

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No one in their right mind would wish to have sex with a person they don't trust. Sadly, he seems to feel its still all about him and his needs.

Your response is extremely healthy!

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Hi everyone, thanks for your replies it really helps.

Have had a few dramas this week. My husband had another angry outburst. This time in our counselling session. It was horrible but good for the counsellor to see what he is like. He really has a way with words and knows what to say to hurt me. I started shaking in the session and couldnt stop. I think my counsellor was shocked to hear what he said.

Anyway, the next day, he continued to abuse me. He made threats to harm himself, and in the end i decided to leave the house with my son and check into a hotel to get some space. I have never done that before. I was so anxious...anyway i did it and i glad i did. I am back home now.

I spoke to our counsellor on the phone. She said she understands why I am having trouble being affectionate given what she saw. But she also said I really need to think about if our marriage can work because she said as much as my husband has to be accountable for his actions and learn to control his emotions, I have to give a little and try to allow more affection because the lack of affection causes my husband so much despair. So, now I dont know what to do. I really dont want to give up. But honestly, i cant see myself being affectionate and intimate with him......

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I am sorry Changing, but I don't think your counsellor understands the dynamics of abuse...

Quite honestly I find her advice appalling.........

THE lack of affection is NOT what causes your husband despair, HIS thinking and lack of control over YOU cause him despair....

HE is manipulating you with his threats of suicide.

YOU are not responsible for his feelings or his behaviour, nor are you the CAUSE of it......HE IS.

I love the 3 C's: you didn't CAUSE it, you can't CONTROL it, and you can't CURE it..........HE is responsible not YOU!

*HUGS*

MG

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I can't imagine how you could be affectionate without having to employ some really unhealthy coping mechanisms that would destroy who you are.

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Anyway, the next day, he continued to abuse me. He made threats to harm himself, and in the end i decided to leave the house with my son and check into a hotel to get some space. I have never done that before. I was so anxious...anyway i did it and i glad i did. [/Quote]

That's a smart strategy. There's no reason to listen to his abuse. Also if he makes threats to harm himself again, you might offer to call the cops or his doctor so they can ensure he gets the appropriate treatment. Several posters have done this and it tends to stop the abuser from making threats to harm himself.

But she also said I really need to think about if our marriage can work because she said as much as my husband has to be accountable for his actions and learn to control his emotions, I have to give a little and try to allow more affection because the lack of affection causes my husband so much despair. So, now I dont know what to do. I really dont want to give up. But honestly, i cant see myself being affectionate and intimate with him......

Her advice is terrible! It's basically telling you to ignore your own feelings in order to pacify your h.

During the brief time we were in counseling, I was encouraged to allow my now xh to touch me for short periods of time and to occasionally be intimate with him. I tried letting him hold my hand, cuddle on the couch for the prescribed amount of time and all it did was make my skin crawl (I felt like I was a dog getting petted). And tried being intimate with him when I had no desire for him-and all it did was make me feel like a prostitute. And unfortunately, it didn't do anything for improving how my xh treated me-he didn't keep his part of the agreement about not hassling me at other times.

The next week when the counselor asked me how I felt, I was honest and he exploded (because a wife shouldn't feel that way about being touched by her h).

That experience taught me never to ignore my feelings again. No matter who is telling me that I should allow myself to be touched, if I don't want touched it won't happen. Nor would I ever have sex with a partner again unless I want to.

When I left that marriage I thought perhaps I had a fairly low need for physical contact, given that two prior xh's had complained about my lack of interest. But what I eventually realized was that my my "lack of desire" was a very sensitive and accurate barometer of my happiness and the health of my marriages.

During the past few years, I've found out that my body also responds quite differently when I'm treated with respect and affection. In fact, my significant other of over three years finds it hard to believe that my xhs considered me "frigid and cold." And I've been pleasantly surprised by the difference a healthy, abuse-free relationship makes.

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your counselor doesn't know WTF she's talking about. Try to find a counselor who has experience with abusers.

I went to "Doodlehead" for about three months with marriage counseling. I did get some perspective by going to her, but she didn't understand abusers. She told me I was wrong when I jumped on his back to stop him from destroying my graded papers for a prof I was working for at the time. He was threatening to DESTROY my livelihood and my paycheck!!! She was right, I WAS wrong to jump on his back to stop him from doing it. But she was WRONG about what I should have done. I should have called the police and gotten the h*ll out of there asap and let him have the one stack of papers.

she asked you about "saving" the marriage. What price are you willing to pay to save your marriage? Do you want your son to treat his future partner like his dad treats you? check the statistics. Think about your future.

Honestly, that's what drove me to get help. I truly loved my ex so much I probably would have stayed with him forever if I didn't have kids. I didn't love myself enough to save myself, but I looked at my baby boys and I thought, "do I want them losing their children and their spouses when they're grown because they were raised in this kind of a home with this kind of a parent?"

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What all the others said. What the counselor said is wrong, and will mess with your head.

Your body is YOURS. No one else - not even your husband - has any rights to it. There are valid reasons you feel turned-off by him. And those should NOT be ignored.

Please please please don't listen to what she said, and don't try to override your lack of desire and allow your body to be used by him. That is a huge mistake *I* made (when I had no understanding of such things) and it led down a lifelong path of horrible stuff.

So please... This counselor, I'd stop seeing her. She's only going to do you more damage - even if she seems to be helpful on some aspects of what you're dealing with. I've been there, with a counselor who didn't understand abuse, and it messed with my life very badly. Please don't be me ;) Listen to yourself and your body.

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I spoke to our counsellor on the phone. She said she understands why I am having trouble being affectionate given what she saw. But she also said I really need to think about if our marriage can work because she said as much as my husband has to be accountable for his actions and learn to control his emotions, I have to give a little and try to allow more affection because the lack of affection causes my husband so much despair. So, now I dont know what to do. I really dont want to give up. But honestly, i cant see myself being affectionate and intimate with him....

That's ball pucky! Its called consequences for his actions, and sorry but life just doesn't work that way. What she is asking would basically enable bad behavior. You don't reward bad behavior with affection. He broke the trust, and closeness bond with his actions. You don't learn to STOP that by buying into this male of bull story over his despair.

Ask her when is the last time she made out with a bully so they wouldn't be so mean to her! When she 'grasps'....remind her it would give her HOPE that they wouldn't bully anymore.

Same principal.

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Ask her when is the last time she made out with a bully so they wouldn't be so mean to her! When she 'grasps'....remind her it would give her HOPE that they wouldn't bully anymore.

This is really a super-good point. It's coercion - blackmail. Quid pro quo (by the way, that would be illegal in a workplace, right? "If you give me your body, I won't _______.")

The thing with intimacy is... it seems like there are a lot of people out there who seem to think the woman "withholds" it for punitive or manipulative reasons. It sounds to me almost like the counselor buys into that. Like intimacy is something he "deserves and has a right to" and you are withholding it from him purposely. When that's not what's going on at all.

What she said is all kinds of messed-up. It's so messed-up, I don't even have words to express my thoughts...they're all over the place, lol

You don't have to give anything. You don't feel safe - for good reason. And you have a right to feel safe and secure. That's not possible with him. Of course you don't want to be affectionate with him. Who would?

You are reacting normally and what they are trying to coerce you into is not normal or okay. YOU are the "okay" one here...not them.

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Hi, I read your post earlier but didn't have enough time to reply. But I agree with above posts, I was really quite shocked what your therapist said to be honest. My body shut down from my husband and when I told my therapist that I let him be with me because I was afraid of an outburst she knew that was not right. I always used to think that I could not be intimate with an angry man. Thinking about it, it doesn't even make sense that you do that do yourself but been there.

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Most of the intimacy in my marriage happened because I was afraid of making him angry. Nothing good comes out of it. He was never satisfied anyway. All I did was hurt myself and it did absolutely nothing for our marriage.

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I remember how awful it was to be in a relationship where I pretended I enjoyed the intimacy. It felt like being a prostitute... I learned more how to disconnect from myself and my body... it wasn't a good thing. My situation/reasons were different from yours, but the effects are probably the same... And we were in counseling too, and I felt the intimacy issue was "my problem" and we worked at it from that direction... but it wasn't. It was NEVER "my fault." It was always that the relationship sucked and also the intimacy was horrible. Only I didn't realize it at the time.

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Interesting to hear several of you speak about this and I believe it was Chavah speaking about her body rejecting her ex. Hmm I experienced that same feeling but never heard it described that way.

I too did not want to be close to mine, I could snuggle or hug easier, but that meant sex to him, I was repulsed by his bodily fluids, it made me vomit, I was also turned off by his scent of his body.I couldnt stand his breath either, granted I attributed it to his health, but maybe there was more to it.

And the last time I was intimate with him, I also felt like a prostitute, like I sold my soul. And it was me beforehand telling myself to just have sex with him and maybe it would make me feel closer(we had been separated and not living together and going to counseling and not intimate sexually for months)

You dont sound ready at all to let him back into your intimate life, which is totally understandable and you are facing pressure to do so.

And the threats to hurt himself, that is manipulation tactics.

I just posted a thread from a Dateline tv episode that just aired, it made me think of your post, the woman filed charges against her husband for his abuse, they separated, he went to anger management then they later got back together, she said the abuse continued again, and eventually it got into the sexual aspect, she said No one eve and he said her answer was unacceptable, he raped and choked her, I just posted the episode on the forum.

Listen to your body, your instincts are telling you something whether you realize it or not

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I can't imagine how you could be affectionate without having to employ some really unhealthy coping mechanisms that would destroy who you are.

I know - and I wonder if i have already done this??

Try to find a counselor who has experience with abusers.

My counsellor has conducted mens behavioural change programs for domestic violence. So I thought she would be a good choice. And in many ways she has been great - but this advice I am truly having difficulty with.

After my husband had a meltdown in the marriage counselling session, she said I should wait a few days but make sure I re-assure him and tell him I love him. She wanted me to do it at the end of the session but i just couldnt do it.

Today she said to me on the phone that she is having trouble understanding why I am having so much difficulty being affectionate when things seem to be going well for awhile. I keep saying I need more time. As generally, the longest time my husband has been "good" is around 2 months to 3 months and then there is another blowup. My counsellor thinks that time wont necessarily make me feel better and that I almost need to take a risk and try to create a new history together. She said obviously right now after recent events that would be difficult but if i want my marriage to work then i need to work towards increasing the affection in our marriage. She keep hinting that perhaps issues from my past were affecting my ability to be affectionate. Otherwise she has been totally on board and said my husbands behaviour is inappropriate.

But now I am feeling crap. Maybe my expectations are too high? Maybe I take too long to get over things? I dont know.....i feel so messed up right now and have been crying every night since my husbands last blowup.

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Take what advice you're comfortable with and forget the rest. Your expectations are not too high!

She is pushing you to ignore your feelings. No one should ever do that!

You're not ready and if you're still upset about your h's latest blowup, this is no time to increase the affection in your marriage.

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In my opinion, your counselor is "on the abuser's side." She is saying and recommending things that could be harmful to you.

Of COURSE "issues from the past" affect your ability to be affectionate. You have no reason to trust him. They're not "the past",- they're, just in a different stage of the ongoing abuse cycle... I frankly am very angry on your behalf that she is laying this on your shoulders. She should not be doing this, imo. This is exactly the kind of "counseling" that was SO damaging to me, and ended up being a huge mistake that by keeping me thinking it was "my issues" AND messing with my head about the marriage itself...hard to discern that's happening when it's from an authority figure...ended up wreaking horrible things in many of our lives.

And this :,

Today she said to me on the phone that she is having trouble understanding why I am having so much difficulty being affectionate when things seem to be going well for awhile. I keep saying I need more time. As generally, the longest time my husband has been "good" is around 2 months to 3 months and then there is another blowup. My counsellor thinks that time wont necessarily make me feel better and that I almost need to take a risk and try to create a new history together.
Wow. Imo, she should be RESPECTING your need for time and space. She is pushing you into doing things with your body that you are not comfortable with for good reason. Abuse isn't a one-time thing you "get over." It's ongoing, recurring. An expectation or suggestion that you "just take a risk" is unreasonable, imo.

I am concerned for you, with this counselor. What you are feeling is normal and expected, given the situation. She seems to be trying to make it "your issue." It's not.

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There are people who are actually experienced and knowledgable about abusers and then there are these morons who think they know better than the experts and they think they have special effective methods and they s

tick their muddled psychology in and they believe they magically cure the problems that no one else can.. this is just as stupid as those people that push the latest diet pill at you and claim it will magically force the weight away

If she thinks she can fix him you would be better off at a voodoo witch doctor than trying to use her psychology advice. Because right now you would be sacrificing yourself as a live sacrifice for a lost cause (him) in the name of her fake pseodoscience. do you go to a quack who uses medical technology from the 50s when you need heart surgery or do you go to someone who researches and stays uptodate with modern techniques and instruments and gets real results and not delusional results?

Get away from her and her delusions asap. Are you going to go to a quack who uses outdated I

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I am concerned for you, with this counselor. What you are feeling is normal and expected, given the situation. She seems to be trying to make it "your issue." It's not.

I'm also concerned for you Changing, this doesn't sound right at all. :(

How did you go about choosing this "counselor", she wasn't chosen by your husband was she? I'm just wondering if she's someone he's met at his behavioural change sessions that he feels would be sympathetic to his cause.

It might be worth your while to do some checks on this woman if he has had anything at all to do with choosing her.

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My counsellor thinks that time wont necessarily make me feel better and that I almost need to take a risk and try to create a new history together.

This is a major flag to me....

I never knew someone that could change a history is she mad? You might be able to start communicating and start respecting each other. It is not about recreating it is about a nature that is highly offensive to one person and causing problems for the other. Because he wants compliance not resolve. Being intimate is about being able to trust and feel respect and loved. Women do not feel horney when they are treated like cattle. They do not want to do anything if you argued with them all day. If you were dishonest. If you made them look like a idiot in front of her friends. He needs behavioral lessons. If he was considerate you probably be all over him like hot cakes. It would not be the first time he is nice though. It would mean he would have to work a bit of the crude out. None of this word stuff that is followed by emotional laziness. I am freaking beautiful and need serious respect. Like that makes me think of bunny rabbit stuff. LOL

Gosh I should get paid for this. People do not have problem having sex. They tend to have sex no matter how hard you try to get them to stop. You are having trust issues with a man that has invaded your nature in some way. That is the core he is not connecting to you deeply and getting to know you. There is work to be done. It think this is a bad idea. I would say I need private counseling with a person that is not her then start to look at what it is privately. Work on you communicating and saying it boldly without fear. You want to have sex right? You want to have closeness and feel that right?

It is something else then.

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I know from my experience I forced myself to be intimate with my husband twice because he was going in for surgery the next day to remove a tumor and we didn't know what to expect. He was scared and it seemed the right thing to do. I thought I could make myself do it and it would be ok.

It wasn't ok.

It triggered a flashback that then triggered a reoccurring nightmare that I've now been dealing with since January.

It definitely wasn't a healthy move for me.

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