What was the reason you were most recently refused?
@Husband In Training
If you are getting that many No’s, it sounds like you and your wife may already be firmly entrenched in what is commonly called the “pursuer-distancer” trap. I could probably write half a book to answer your question, but I’ll try to be concise and hit the highlights.
- If this is a firmly established pattern, you may need some professional help to “undo” the rut you two have found yourselves in. “Handling the no” well can prevent problems, but suddenly doing it well after a history of not doing it well won’t necessarily undo existing problems by itself.
- John Gottman says he discovered that the husbands who respond “Oh, okay, you’re not in the mood, what ARE you in the mood for?” tend to have better sex lives; it’s about not severing the emotional connection when the answer is “no.”
- It is easier to “handle the no” well if you don’t take the “no” personally. She’s just not in the mood, vs. taking it as a personal rejection.
- The latest insights into love relationships come from studying attachment styles. Many pursuers in the pursuer-distancer trap have an anxious attachment style. It is unrealistic to expect them to not take it personally, or to respond like Gottman describes. In that case, it is much better to maintain the connection by expressing hurt or disappointment in a non-blaming way, (I-feel statements that avoid trigger words) rather than to cut off connection in silence or getting angry. A good therapist can help you learn to do this, or I am willing to coach you on that.
- Poorly “handling the no” is the leading cause, but certainly not the only thing that can lead to low sexual frequency. There’s a whole laundry list of things that can lead to low sexual frequency, either by themselves or in a complicated web of frustration.
IIRC, your wife’s health is also a significant deterrent to your sex life? I know your situation is much more complicated than simply how you handle the no, but that could certainly be one piece of the whole puzzle. I know it’s virtually impossible not to take it personally when it’s so pervasive. Besides “handling the no” it would also be beneficial to learn to speak up for your needs in a way that helps her be able to listen and doesn’t make her go “Shields up!” Perhaps a good counselor could help you learn to do this. The Gottman Institute has a list of Gottman certified therapists on their website and I can vouch for their methods having been through it myself; EFT trained therapists are also a good bet.
I could write the encyclopedia on this one… I’m pretty sure there aren’t many excuses I haven’t heard:
I’m too tired
Doesn’t feel good
I feel nauseous
I have a headache
I have a migraine
The migraine medicine makes me feel weird
I’m too hot
Your too hot (Temperature – this is actually the most recent excuse on this list)
Have a cold
Cervix feels bruised (yes I heard that one)
We have to get up too early
It’s too late
You waited too long to ask
You waited too long to come to bed
All you think about is sex
I don’t feel like it
I only wanted a goodnight kiss (peck)
I’m not the sexual person you are
Do you want me to throw up on you?
I just can’t do that – I need you to go to sleep
I did too much today – I can’t
And so on…
Basically most of this can be summarized as, “Your sexual desires are appreciated, but they’re the lowest priority on my list. Please don’t ask. I’ll let you know someday if and when I have some interest. In the mean time , thank you for being an awesome husband in every other way.”
Her reason for refusal is simply- not in the mood. Its very painful to be refused when horny. I have heard NO a couple of times and I wish I always heard YES. It makes me feel very bad and a number of times , I would just refuse to talk to DW to make her know I feel bad about not ML. I am of the opinion that ML should be often to keep us connected and close to each other.
Sometimes when rejected and not assured of ML later, I just conclude that prayers must be said for God to intervene. Especially after we have agree that we ML regularly about 3 times in a week. I am tempted to believe that the devil want married couples to stay away from sex and singles to rather engage more and more in sex. The objective is to create more room for temptation leading to sin (fornication and adultery)
Our God is a great God . He made sex beautiful and great to keep married couples together close to each other and live happier lives. All marital problems can be solved first with prayers and ML.
Idk if youd call it “refused” but hubs gets rely tired sometimes and just cant stay awake. We ml at least 2-4+ times a week tho, I understand. It makes me feel a little sad sometimes, and if I rely pushed him to wake he would certainly try but he works hard every day so I feel bad soemtimes.
My DW has been sick with some sort of virus the past few days. Prior to that, she was completely wiped out from long days at a work conference and coming home to our 1 year old. I do my best to help out with dinner and chores around the house, including working together with our 1 world year old. Prior to that, she was on her MC and she is not interested in any sexual activity during that time of the month.
It’s been a few weeks since we have ML, save one time last week when she was happy to give me a HJ. She made a promise to me early last week saying, “I will give you a HJ tonight and I promise to ML before the weekend.” Then she got sick.
I asked her a couple nights ago is she’d like me to MS her, but she said, “That sounds absolutely horrible.” I thought she was on the mend, but she apparently was not.
I am doing my best to be more vocal and explicitly ask her if we can be intimate. It still hurts when she says no, but I’m doing my best to continue to choose to love and serve her through it. Sometimes I’m left fuming or just plain horny and I need to just take a walk, change my scenery, or simply MB so I can get to sleep.
I asked and I shared because though refusal feels lonelier than anything, I am learning that it is much more prevalent in marriages than I thought.
There are plenty of victory stories out there, but I am encouraged when I hear and read of others going through their own struggles in the pursuit of marital intimacy, and emboldened to persist in pursuing my dear bride.
Mostly it’s “too tired” or “too stressed.” Which I’ve heard as “it’s my lowest priority.”
I’m just trying to be patient and not get angry about it. If I do get angry, it’s another week without sex. The trouble is that I start getting anxious and irritable from frustration after just one week. Two is murder. I have no idea how I stood it for a years-long dry spell.
@Sam- “It makes me feel very bad and a number of times , I would just refuse to talk to DW to make her know I feel bad about not ML.”
John Gottman has found that this is the #1 predictor of lack of sex in marriage, when one spouse gives the other spouse a negative payout for saying no to sex. When one partner severs the connection when the other says “no.” Handling the “no” is the biggest predictor of how much sex a couple will or will not have.
@ Shadow – I’d like to hear more about “Handling the no”. I get about 350 “no”s per year. I’m apparently not very good at handling them, and I’m wondering if there is some obvious improvements I could make. Like others have mentioned after enough of them, patience and understanding turns into frustration and eventually hurt (and a myriad of other emotions)
After reading the notes here I see myself in almost all of them. I’ve heard all all these reasons for “no” from my DW, and the list just keeps getting longer. I think what’s most disappointing is that she doesn’t make any effort to overcome the limitations and issues, she just says that’s the way it is. So, if she’s too tired every night, and some nights are out of the question due to migraines, there really is no hope for change if she doesn’t want change. Yes, we’ve had the discussions about trying to find a solution, but she spends the entire talk listing the reasons why it’ll never change instead of looking for solutions. My wish is that I could just get to the place where I could give up, but I don’t know how to do that without giving up on her as well.
I’m not sure why I’m even posting this, other than to commiserate, but wouldn’t it be great if all of us could one day come here to talk about the changes the Lord has brought into our lives? One thing I’m exploring is whether my attitude toward sex is improper. Hey, if I’m the one who needs to change, then I need to do it. I guess we’ll see what happens, but until then, sex is a sad part of my life.
Keep looking up!
Hi guys. All I can say is that I’m with you. Like I posted earlier my wife did give duty sex last night which was the first time we have had sex in about a year. I get rejected non-stop. I don’t find it hurtful, it’s just part of life. I’m going to look into this John Gottman thing… I don’t really trust therapists, they can make things worse… I have resorted to simply trying to find joy in other areas of my life like work, reading, the Bible, and other things….
If anyone finds answers please let me know. It’s a very nasty thing being married to a wife who refuses sex after giving every indication there would be plenty of it…. especially if we are generally good guys…