How to deal with husband who has intimacy issues
Hi everyone. Please, I need help before I give in to resentment.
Due to being in military and financial issues, we’ve been mostly long distance for almost 9 years where he’d come home to us (another continent) at least once to twice a year. Since last year he has been home with us for over a year.
Due to his combat PTSD, he is now a disabled veteran. In the past, each time he comes home, regular sex was good but lasts for maybe 2 to 3 week before he starts becoming conscious of intimacy. We used to cope with the distance by playing on video cam. So I never really noticed this intimacy issue until he stayed home much longer. Unlike me who feels ‘inspired’ and ‘motivated’ after making love, he feels ashamed after sex. He says similar to the feeling when you are forced to sing at a karaoke and everyone is silent as you walk away.
This ‘aversion’ to intimacy has been noticeable – he no longer holds my hand nor can he put his arms around my waist or on my shoulders when we’re out for our dates. At least that’s better than feeling like I’m walking with a stranger as we still do walk close – him offering his arm for me to hold instead. We used to shower together, and I used to trim his body hairs but now sometimes even undressing he does it behind closed doors. I sense he is masturbating secretly to avoid having to be intimate, same time ‘temporarily’ relieve the urges.
When we married he said we should sleep naked together all the time, which I find quite odd at first but nowadays it’s helpful as I am able to take him up on that, whenever he’d sleep with clothes on. I have to take him up on it – our bedroom feels like it’s been friend zoned.
I am completely confused how to deal with this as a believer. I know part of my duty is to be his helpmate. As much as I love him, his soul is as important so I’ve been researching for solutions. On my part I’ve resolved to avoid initiating sex, trusting God with the outcome and keep my own thoughts pure. It’s been extremely stressful to me, my hair started shedding again so much that I’ve taken pills for regrowth, lose sleep and difficulty breathing. It’s relived my childhood issues of abandonment and rejection. This doesn’t help because my natural reaction is to distance myself. My love language is ‘Words of encouragement’ and ‘Touch’, so as you might guess, my love tank is depleted as he does not touch me or anyone. So much that I am fighting off porn too.
Why would avoid I initiating sex? So as not to relive his childhood traumas. My hubby was sexually abused at age 5 by his mother’s ex bf, along with his other siblings. From his sharings, I realized he experienced child abuse from neglect and eventually had to go into group home and foster care. He also had an alcoholic father who beat them up. He says he became promiscuous growing up, and felt urges as a predator which he does not nurture. He prefers to avoid thinking about sex at all, which is what he used to do in order to stay faithful in our marriage while away. I think this may be the root cause of the distrust in general and intimacy issues. He’s received counseling back then and managed to survive attempted suicide, avoiding any addiction or jail and actually able to be of service to the country.
What is a good way to talk to a man about this sexual issues? I’ve tried many times before but he said eventually he just gets irritated because he does not like to talk about things he cannot do. I have tried to hold my ground and deal with my own sexual needs through prayer. I do feel so unloved. I am also scared of the effects of porn in my brain. I ask God why am I having sexual problems when He already designed marriage to address this issue.
Thanks so much for taking time to read this.
It grieves me deeply to hear of your pain, your struggles in your marriage, in your attempts to keep you mind pure, his past, his present, etc. 9 years of being apart. So much to deal with! It’s amazing you are doing as well as you are.
I agree with the others, find a pastor or counselor who you can meet with as a couple. You each may need separate sessions too.
Also, might it somehow be possible for just the two of you to have a romantic get away? So that you two can be together away from pressures, people, and technology? Not with high expectations. Just to be together and find a new baseline from which to move ahead together with baby steps? Get to know each other again. Just be there with each other, for each other. Pray. Read the Bible. Watch good movies. Make love when you both feel like it. Praying for you.
Hurtwall i just want to say God bless you. I will leave your post up to others far more eloquent and with far more wisdom than me but i would ask are you receiving any counseling at all? If not i would really urge you to ask your Pastor for recommendations for a Christian counselor well versed in this area if possible. You NEED someone to talk to and regularly. It sounds like your husband is doing all he can to “survive” right now and while unfair to you, i don’t know if there’s much you can do about it until you can get your thoughts and feelings together enough to formulate a plan to approach him where you two can work out something in the interim, as, after all, your feelings and thoughts are as important.
Thank you for being so vulnerable, it seems like you have a good grasp of what’s going on. I am praying for you two, that you will find answers and healing. Have you consider seeing a Christian therapist together, or maybe a Christian sex therapist? I know that there’s one on FB that I follow, and I know that because they are rare around the country, they do online sessions. Just a thought.
I have close relationships with a few veterans. Some handle things extraordinarily well, others not so much. Throw in your DH family issues and it’s gotta be difficult for him. My question is has HE seen a counselor? He needs someone who really understands PTSD. Christian or not, that would be my first requirement of a councilor for him and you. He might gain some benefit from just talking to some fellow vets. The guys I know have various ways of coping. I would not think sexual desire has gone from him, but that like you said, he has successfully walled that off so it’s not another stressor. He does it while on DP, so it’s a default mode likely. For him to let that guard down would mean letting other guards down that he feels he needs up.
be gentle, but seek help diligently.
May God Bless you Sister, and your dear husband, richly and soon. There are many people here who are wiser than me who can offer better advice than any I could give you but ALL of us who read your posts have (or will) pray for you both.
Also, I SINCERELY THANK your husband and you for his service to our country and the sacrifices you both have made for him to serve.
Please keep us posted so we know better how to pray and to see our loving Father work in your lives.