Intimacy and Resentment - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Intimacy and Resentment

Hello all, maybe you can give me some insight on this issue. I've been dealing with this on my own for a while.

First, a little context:

I'm a married dude. Wife and I have been together for 6 years, and married for 2 years. We have a powerful relationship, mutually supportive, lots of care and love, and we challenge each other to be better people.

Here's what's been eating at me:

1. While Wife and I are both looking for intimacy in our relationship, we want that fulfilled in different ways. I suppose that's to be expected to some degree. As far as I can gather from her habits, interactions, and the conversations we have, she wants to feel connected primarily through conversation and non-sexual touch (cuddling mostly). I primarily want to feel connected and intimate through sexual touch. Now, these aren't mutually exclusive by any stretch--she says she enjoys sex and that its still important to her, and I love our conversations and non-sexual touching. It's a just a matter of priority, frequency and what makes us feel most intimately connected to one another.

2. Aside from the earliest stages of our relationship, I haven't felt like my needs for sexual intimacy have been prioritized enough in the relationship. I feel like I am fully committed, and do a lot to make sure she feels loved in the way she needs. It doesn't seem fully reciprocal, from my perspective, and this has led to a lot of pain and a build-up of resentment. Psychologically, my habit is to defer to others and avoid conflict, which has made this a sticky situation to work through. Regardless, I'm beginning to understand that I need to assert myself and advocate better for my needs in the relationship.

3. I realize that any marriage requires significant compromise, so both partners can feel respected and valued. On one hand, I want a more frequent, passionate, and spontaneous sexual relationship. On the other hand, I know our sex drives are just calibrated differently, and I respect that. She doesn't want to have sex nearly as often, and I really don't want to push her to do anything she doesn't fully want to. I'm cool with the concept of compromise, but I end up feeling like **** most weeks. I go out of my way to do a lot for her, simply because I want her to be happy. I don't feel like she does the same for me, at least nowhere near the same amount. I guess that's the heart of the issue, from my viewpoint.

4. Because of all this, I'm beginning to fall into a pattern of resentment. I'm actually really angry, I should recognize that--I made my vows seriously, but sometimes I wonder if I've trapped myself in a relationship which isn't going to be healthy for me. The clearer this becomes, the more I find myself disconnecting from her and purposefully withholding my love. It's not healthy, I know that, but I want her to understand how I feel and how painful it is to feel this way.

What We've Tried so Far:

-Explicit conversations about my needs. She gets really defensive about it, and feels like I'm criticizing her. I'm working on advocating for myself in a way that doesn't get her to shut down, as I know this type of communication is probably the best route for finding a compromise.

-Cold-shouldering and general withholding. Not a good idea. I know it doesn't lead to any long term change or a better situation. Weirdly though, she seems to get my point after a couple days and then will seek out sex. Then we repeat the cycle.

-She's told me that she doesn't feel like she should be responsible for my sexual needs, and tells me to masturbate more. I've tried to make clear how sex for me isn't just a physical thing. Masturbating is a detached physical act, but good sex makes me feel loved, valued, connected, etc...


TL;DR:
Husband wants more sexual intimacy. Feeling resentful towards wife. Loves wife dearly. Has no clue what to do.
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post #2 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:58 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Resentment is a poison. It will slowly kill you. It appears it has already started. Your W should be taking care of your business. Telling you to masterbate more? How about your W do that for you?

What to do? You accept this behavior from your W or you look to find another that will fulfill your needs. Please divorce first before you do that.

“You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.”
― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
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post #3 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:02 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

I know this does not help - but you are in a club of many!

Read and share these articles with her and discuss with her the points you relate to. If nothing else these might give you some terminology tha will help you explain your feelings better to her.

Understanding Your Husband's Sexual Needs | Focus on the Family

If this does not help - I strongly encourage you to seek help from a marriage counselor - preferably a sex therapist. This will continue and get worse if you don't stand up for yourself and express clearly that this is causing major problems in your marriage. If you continue on this track - holding in your feelings and not standing up for yourself - you will soon begin to more than resent her. Its time to up this problem to "has to be fixed or the marriage is in trouble" status - because it is!!
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post #4 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:05 AM
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Fellow brother, just have a talk with her. Tell her this, she can take responsibility for your sexuality or else give it up. Give her the same example, that you are not responsible for making her loved in cuddling, if she wants to go down that route. Be strong, be firm and upright. You have recognise that this is selfishness. Since you love your wife so dearly, you got to make her a better person by letting her realise what a selfish person she is. But don't outrightly said it YET, just give her examples of the same logic that she uses on you, that will make her think about her actions. Ask her to be responsible for her being felt loved. But, do it with a heart filled with love, knowing that you are helping your wife to realise the error of her ways.
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post #5 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:08 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Quote:
Originally Posted by astral.wheats View Post
-She's told me that she doesn't feel like she should be responsible for my sexual needs, and tells me to masturbate more. I've tried to make clear how sex for me isn't just a physical thing. Masturbating is a detached physical act, but good sex makes me feel loved, valued, connected, etc...

TL;DR:
Feeling resentful towards wife. Loves wife dearly. Has no clue what to do.
You express yourself quite well, kudos...

Welcome to married life, man/women relationships.

The part were she actually said she is not responsible for your sexual needs is troubling and cold.

This is the Kernel.

The Kernel of Truth on how she views her part in a marriage. Very cold. Very honest.

Don't bother me...go play with yourself in the corner...like a silly monkey.

You may want sex daily, Her? Maybe once a week, maybe twice?

It will only get worse.

My take? You are not compatible.

If you get less horny as you age, she will do the same. Then you will be mere room mates, not pillow mates...not belly-to-belly mates...ugh!

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
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post #6 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:13 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

You will find a lot of discussions on this topic here. A lot of people (men and women) are in this situation, and most have not found a solution.

You need to eliminate any obvious causes for her not to have a lot of sexual desire for you. Medication. Your behavior, appearance, support, etc etc.

What do you think she most wants from you but isn't getting?


Its quite possible though, that like many of us you are doing everything you can and she just has a naturally low level of desire. If so it may never change. I've been waiting 30 years for things to improve - they wont. If that is the case, you need to accept things as they are, or leave.
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post #7 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:14 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

I'm sorry, but why get married if you do not get to hold your naked spouse in your arms daily. Get to touch and play with your spouse daily. Maybe not intercourse daily, but daily touching and grabbing.

I am a Neanderthal. A full 3.5% runs in my genetics, and runs down my leg if I am careless.

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
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post #8 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:20 AM
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If she's "not responsible" for your sexual needs, will she let you open the marriage so someone else can be?

I agree that's a cold and shunning statement from her, very telling.
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post #9 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:24 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

You need to stand up for yourself and take charge. Telling her there is a problem and discussing it is not the same thing as taking action and letting her know that what she wants is unacceptable if she wants to stay married to you. What you really need to do is think whether you are willing to live this way for the remainder of your marriage and then choose a course of action.

My advice to you is:
#1 - Do NOT consider having children with her until you resolve this issue.
#2 - Do your part and make sure you are meeting her needs. If she isn't feeling listened to and taken care of then don't expect her to take care of your needs. If you are doing those things then make sure you are still dating her like you did before you got married.
#3 - Be willing to walk away if she doesn't meet your needs. If she knows you are willing to walk over this, then she'll have to decide if she's willing to end her marriage to you over her not wanting to have sex with the man she claims to love and wants to spend the rest of her life with. If she is willing to let your marriage end of it, then show her the door and wish her well.
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post #10 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeswecan View Post
Resentment is a poison. It will slowly kill you. It appears it has already started. Your W should be taking care of your business. Telling you to masterbate more? How about your W do that for you?

What to do? You accept this behavior from your W or you look to find another that will fulfill your needs. Please divorce first before you do that.
Accept it or find someone else... That's some cold logic. I'm still banking on getting through to her, but I hear your point.
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post #11 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:42 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

I understand completely what you're going through, am going through the same thing myself and, as you do, have no clue how to resolve it. I think the one thing that stands out for me is that your W says that she doesn't feel responsible for your sexual needs. If she isn't who is??? A prostitute, a woman down the street, someone you meet at work?? Like it or not women have to realize they ARE responsible for their husband's sexual needs. What man out there expects and is satisfied with a non-sexual marriage? I feel, as I'm sure you do, that your wife (and my wife) have a warped view of marriage. There's so many times that I feel I got played when I agreed to marry my wife.

What to do about it? Unfortunately today's divorce court gives us little we can do. You can divorce her and end up being forced to give practically all your money to her or you could have an affair, see prostitutes or masturbate. All of which are are bad options and do not force a woman to live to her responsibilities within the marriage. In a nutshell this is modern marriage. If a woman decides she doesn't want to have sex with her husband, it leaves her husband with little or no recourse other than divorce.

Marriage should be a renewable agreement every couple of years, where if the terms are broken by either party they should be able to leave the marriage without penalty or be responsible for any monetary obligation.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #12 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:44 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Married for 2 years and you're getting the "just go jerk yourself off" routine? That sucks pretty bad. She either has no interest in sex, or no interest in sex with you. Sadly, more times than not it's the latter. You need to decide what you want and need in the relationship (ie - sex) and lay it on the line. If she's not willing to provide that, then you divorce and find someone who will. And you tell her that in no uncertain terms.

But before you go down that route - have there been any major changes in you? Has your appearance changed (ie - weight gain), has your job status changed? Do you still hang out with your guy friends and engage yourself in your hobbies? That is all important stuff, and relevant to this discussion.
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post #13 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:53 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

How much time are you spending together meeting eachother's emotional needs? How often are you two having sex a week, and how often are you meeting her needs for intimate conversation, non-sexual affection, and companionship (doing fun things together)?

For women to desire sex, they need 2 things:

1. An emotional connection
2. The prospect of enjoyment

You may think you're doing enough to make her feel connected enough to desire sex, and it may be true that you do a ton for her, but if you're not spending enough time meeting her emotional intimate needs (listed above), she's simply not going to desire sex.

Dr. Harley in His Needs, Her Needs recommends at least 15 hours a week of dating your spouse. He says that almost all sexual issues in a marriage disappear once a couple is willing to do this. He found the best way to restore intimacy in marriage was to devote the same time you did when you were dating. Helping with the chores, kids, and providing financially are certainly needs spouses have, but they won't cause feelings of emotional attachment as much as meeting the intimate needs listed above.
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post #14 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Quote:
Originally Posted by mary35 View Post
I know this does not help - but you are in a club of many!

Read and share these articles with her and discuss with her the points you relate to. If nothing else these might give you some terminology tha will help you explain your feelings better to her.

Understanding Your Husband's Sexual Needs | Focus on the Family

If this does not help - I strongly encourage you to seek help from a marriage counselor - preferably a sex therapist. This will continue and get worse if you don't stand up for yourself and express clearly that this is causing major problems in your marriage. If you continue on this track - holding in your feelings and not standing up for yourself - you will soon begin to more than resent her. Its time to up this problem to "has to be fixed or the marriage is in trouble" status - because it is!!
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I've tried to condition myself to see my desires as excessive or burdensome. It's like, I don't even want to bother her, so I don't even ask. Part of this may be on me, as I'm not naturally assertive. I'm beginning to think a little more positively about my sexuality now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DEGROW View Post
Fellow brother, just have a talk with her. Tell her this, she can take responsibility for your sexuality or else give it up. Give her the same example, that you are not responsible for making her loved in cuddling, if she wants to go down that route. Be strong, be firm and upright. You have recognise that this is selfishness. Since you love your wife so dearly, you got to make her a better person by letting her realise what a selfish person she is. But don't outrightly said it YET, just give her examples of the same logic that she uses on you, that will make her think about her actions. Ask her to be responsible for her being felt loved. But, do it with a heart filled with love, knowing that you are helping your wife to realise the error of her ways.
I think this makes sense. I just need to be 100% honest about what I need. I do sympathize with the fact that cuddling is much less of a commitment than sex. I sort of feel like I am asking a lot sometimes, maybe too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunCMars View Post
You express yourself quite well, kudos...

Welcome to married life, man/women relationships.

The part were she actually said she is not responsible for your sexual needs is troubling and cold.

This is the Kernel.

The Kernel of Truth on how she views her part in a marriage. Very cold. Very honest.

Don't bother me...go play with yourself in the corner...like a silly monkey.

You may want sex daily, Her? Maybe once a week, maybe twice?
Thanks! Yeah, I actually didn't realize how awful it was of her to say that. Now that I reflect on it, it doesn't seem so nice. It's not that she never does things for me, though. I should be clear of that. We typically have penetrative sex every week or two. Honestly, that would be fine if she were willing to do other things more regularly. Maybe that's something I need to emphasize with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhtred View Post
You will find a lot of discussions on this topic here. A lot of people (men and women) are in this situation, and most have not found a solution.

You need to eliminate any obvious causes for her not to have a lot of sexual desire for you. Medication. Your behavior, appearance, support, etc etc.

What do you think she most wants from you but isn't getting?


Its quite possible though, that like many of us you are doing everything you can and she just has a naturally low level of desire. If so it may never change. I've been waiting 30 years for things to improve - they wont. If that is the case, you need to accept things as they are, or leave.
I feel like I've run down this checklist, and pressed her on this point multiple times. She says it's not me, and that I'm a solid partner, still attractive, supportive, etc. She frames it mostly in terms of a much-reduced sex drive, which she isn't particularly happy about either.
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post #15 of 147 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 11:12 AM
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Re: Intimacy and Resentment

Try, but set a time limit.

I literally tried for 30 years. Every time things improved a bit I believed (because I wanted to) that it was a real change. It never was.

You have every right to leave. You have every right to stay and accept things as they are. Just don't stay hoping that they will get better - odds are this is as good as it will ever be.

Its not her *fault*, she can't control her own level of desire (assuming she didn't deceive you earlier about her sexual interests). Its not your *fault*, your desires for sex with your wife are completely normal. You are just not compatible.


DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN until this is sorted out. If you do, as an honorable man, you will be committed for the rest of your life to this relationship.




Quote:
Originally Posted by astral.wheats View Post
Accept it or find someone else... That's some cold logic. I'm still banking on getting through to her, but I hear your point.
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