How do you handle rejection?
I recently read this answer from a wife to a question here:
What is something you would love to do to/with him that he won’t do?
Have absolute freedom to say yes or no to sex when he initiates without any upset or disappointed feelings. It’s not for long, we usually try again within 12-24 hours.
I feel that this sentiment is likely shared by many if not most wives. My DW has shared this very thought with me. And she has shared that it bothers her to feel that she doesn’t desire sex and that it hurts me. I also know I have not often done a good job of fulfilling this above wish. Success is often called “outcome indifference”, a phrase coined by Dr. Corey Allen. I’m not sure I like that phrase, as I am far from indifferent about sex. But I understand what he is saying. He is saying exactly what this wife above indicates. And I usually suck at it…but I’m trying to improve. I want to improve because I know at the core of this is the potential enjoyment of sex by my DW or the potential for the opposite to just get worse. I think I’m getting better, but that’s not satisfactory. Not prepared to go into “how much is enough” or “do not deprive”, etc. That’s not the question here.
My question is to the husbands here (whom I know most are HD men already not getting all they desire in one way or another so I know this is a loaded question) and to the wives of said husbands (whom I know are most likely NOT here). It could go either way, I know The HD/LD dynamic is not always in one direction. So answer as you see yourself in your marriage.
How do you handle rejection? What has been the most positive? Most negative (though I probably could give a clinic on this)? Be specific if you can.
Thank you from a man trying to do better.
ETA – reframe of question: “How do you best handle disappointment over sex?”
I’m not entirely clear if the question is (1) about how one emotionally processes/deals with rejection…or (2) practical steps/compromises after rejection.
For (1), I think the most important thing is to try and see things through your spouse’s eyes and understand the reasons for the rejection. It can be easy to think ‘this would be so simple for her to just say yes, and she’d doing this just to spite/punish me (or whatever).’ Assume that’s not the case (hopefully it isn’t) and try to comprehend their thinking and why they’ve said no. You don’t have to agree with their reasons, but at least understand their logic. And in turn, gently over time try to communicate your own logic and thinking for them.
Solutions to (2) generally follow from (1), because any compromise (e.g “Not now, but sometime in the next 24 hours”) depends on fitting each spouse’s thinking and why they said no in the first place. This may vary considerably.
How do I handle it?
Not always well. Sometimes I’ll say “Ok” and rub his back as he falls to sleep, Other times it just feels quite devastating and I quietly cry myself to sleep. A few rare times I’ve started a duscussion(knowing it won’t change the outcome, but at least I can be heard) but that is difficult and time-consuming.
I’m reminded of Song of Solomon, when instead of rebuking her for her rejection(the Watchman ends up doing that), he left her gently and lovingly.
Just a quick comment though, in the first five years of marriage where I was not able to achieve an O, I rarely refused DH. If I ever did, there was a really good reason (like illness) and I was sure to offer to help him out any other non-PIV way he could think of. In those years, never did I find the non-refusal to be passion-killing or anything like it. I feel like each LD spouse should make their own assessment, but we shouldn’t assume that this is the case with all of them.
To answer your question, I handle rejection by not putting myself into a place of rejection. There’s a reason God didn’t make me a man. I don’t have the fortitude to be a constant pursuer…a huge plus to a high sex drive, it keeps the pursuer motivated. A strength and weakness of mine is self-sufficiency (being a middle child trained me well 😉 ), I can do fine without others. So if I am rejected once, very rarely are they given another chance to reject me again… it’s instinct for me and it’s probably all rooted in self-protection.
In my situation, my DW has lost much of her drive and desire due to early menopause. (Admittedly, I don’t always handle rejection well, part personality and probably more so, ghosts of the past from a different marriage and a spouse who was a gatekeeper and reluctant participant.) We co-created a solution of the person who rejects the ask is responsible to initiate as soon as possible and ideally, give a time frame of what they are thinking. While DW is low drive/desire now, she has made the choIce to serve me as the HD spouse.
“How do you best handle disappointment over sex?”
1) I work at seeing things through his perspective.
2) I do some introspection on why I am reacting/feeling the way I do.
3) If appropriate, I bring it up to talk through it.
4) If I feel it doesn’t need talked about, I forgive and move on.
5) Talk about it on TMB 😉 😆
Have absolute freedom to say yes or no to sex when he initiates without any upset or disappointed feelings.
This is one of those things where someone wants something they should not have. Rather than look at how to deal with the effect of it, it is better to correct the source. 1 Cor 7 teaches that a mutual agreement to abstain is what is right. A mutual agreement isn’t rejection, but often it is compromise.
I think I presented the question wrong. It should have read “How to best handle disappointment?”
I will say this – there can be no passion unless there is a choice. No one I know gets very passionate about something they are told, forced or guilted into doing. Just doesn’t happen. Sex or washing the car, doesn’t matter.
There are those here who, if pressed, will tell you that forcing themselves to never say no, over time, wears itself out. Kills passion. Whereas having the freedom to express one’s preferences, and have those honored from time to time, is ultimately passion building. Despite my own statement to the contrary, I’ll address scripture. The scripture says “except for a time, for prayer and fasting.” It does not say only one side can request “for a time.” It doesn’t say only if the husband declares a time of prayer and fasting. The first sentence makes it is a two way decision. So that would seem to me that a wife can also request a time out. As long as the husband agrees, then time out it is. If you requested a time out, and your wife denied it, over and over, how would that make you feel? Does she have that right to request a time out? Scripture says she does. So if you never gave her that right, who is in the wrong? Who would be killing passion?
What this wife I quoted seems to want and need is the ability to express her wishes without having her husband pout, cry, scream, moan, groan, guilt or otherwise make her feel bad about her feelings. I agree, if she said “no” most all the time, or even a good amount of the time, then she is in the wrong. and should examine herself. But, if she is willing to get back in the saddle so to speak in short order, and this doesn’t happen very often anyway, (as she indicated was the case with her) yet her husband does some of all of those things to make her feel bad the few times she says “not now” – then he is in the wrong and is cutting his nose off to spite his face.
I understand that in order for a wife to say enthusiastically “YES”, she needs the freedom and security to know that she can say “not now please” without having to suffer the wrath or guilt-trip of a selfish husband.
However, if she has a sensitive and generous husband, yet she still can’t say YES! enthusiastically – there’s a whole other problem, and it might be mostly on her to address it.
My mind goes to the old adage “If you love something, let it go. If you loved it well, it will come back.” Without the freedom to leave, all you have is a slave or prisoner.
Well…first time rejection is one thing, but a record of rejection makes one give up. After numerous rejections the rejected person feels;
temptation is a risk (porn), the relationship suffers (though the rejector does not feel it), depression, self-esteem drops, masculinity drops which means a lot of self doubt in the male in which his work or job suffers, he is bored (a body that desires sex does not just forget), brain stimulation looks for other things and if porn is off the list and money available, shopping or big purchases such as cars, boats, guns, tools, clothes and beer will occur.
I suffer from all these since rejection is near 100% me. it is now day 12 w/o sex. With no job and no sex, my self-esteem, depression, boredom are bad.
I’m trying to understand the heart of the question, and it seems to be you want to know how you can handle being disappointed when your wife is not in the mood, so that you can give her the freedom to say yes enthusiastically when she is. (Or at least so that you are doing all you can to respond in a loving and patient way.) Am I close?
So, at present I am the higher drive spouse, and although I don’t feel like I am experiencing rejection, there can be some disappointment. Frankly, the best way I handle that right now is if, as we are going to bed he is clearly too tired to engage, I simply turn to a good book. I’m a raging bibliophile and have always spent my free time reading. Occasionally, my body will tell me it is especially disappointed to have missed out, and if it gets insistent enough I will call on battery operated assistance. I then tell DH about it in the morning, which gets him wound up and frequently leads to an encounter that night. He has expressed that he would like me to wake him up when that happens and I would like to, but feel that he clearly needs the sleep or he would have been interested before he dozed off. We are still working that out. I know he is under a lot of pressure and is giving everything he has to take care of our family, and I know that I present some unique burdens to him sometimes, so I feel a little more patient and understanding about it than I have sometimes.
There have been times in the past when I would feel completely rejected and would curl in on myself and cry and decide I would never initiate again and then waited in agony for him to “get it” and convince me he really found me sexually appealing. There have also been times when I felt that he was making choices that led to his lack of energy for sexual activity and I felt petulant and angry and that’s when I would read romance novels that fell on the steamier side of the tea kettle and have a bit of mental “so there!” attitude. OTOH, I had a mystery pain that lasted for 5 years, as well as chronic migraines and for a really long time quite often felt too physically awful to care about sex, so he went without and never complained. Later, he admitted that he would decline to bring it up because he “knew” I felt too bad, but since I was also missing it, I told him that there were times I would have felt okay to try it or at least have some sexual intimacy if not actual intercourse. These were during some years of fairly bad communication. I’m really thankful we are past those!
I’m not sure this is a lot of help, since even as the high drive, I’m also mostly responsive drive too, so I feel mentally and emotionally frustrated about lack of sex, but much less often is it a physical discomfort, like it seems to be for men. I also don’t mind giving him a hand job or even OS when he needs it, as long as it doesn’t lessen his desire for intercourse.
I guess the only thing (from my own experience) that I could point to as a method for handling disappointment for HD husbands would be to find a pastime (like reading) that is engrossing enough to overtake the part of the brain that is absorbed with wanting sex? I know that doesn’t always work.