Why am I so bothered by his requests?
I know a husband (or HrD spouse) ought to be free to share their desires and ask for things. I know that the wife’s response makes all the difference on whether it’s deemed “a safe place” or not. I do pretty good at keeping a neutral reaction, at minimum, anytime my husband shares with me. He has been free to share things, and I always listen and take them into consideration.
Today was different, and it’s bothering me. I can see multiple things that are going on that could feed into such a reaction, but still….
It’s a special day for him, and that must have made him feel a little bolder to ask for something (actually, it was 3 somethings….if you can’t do this, will you do this…kind of thing.) All I know was when he started asking it was like it triggered an automatic response in me…. it was like my mind registered a “threat” and it automatically made walls come up and shutters come down. It was an automatic thing, if felt beyond my control even, because trust me, my mind was telling me how I “should” be responding. I know he saw the physical change in me, by the way he started responding, and I told him that I was feeling pressured. He was wanting to talk, he was apologizing…. I just wanted to be alone and to have space.
Now I feel like his day is ruined. I feel like a leaded cloak has been placed on me….I feel it in my shoulders, in my chest, with my eyes, and the developing of a headache. The gift “coupon” I was going to give him, of something he’s been expressing he wants to do sexually, but not one of his requests this morning, I feel like trashing the whole idea. I feel like it has been tainted or ruined by this mornings events.
This is just some of my processing, and I know the further I get away from the event, the more clearly I will be able to think through it and process all the “why’s”.
I sense your heaviness. You expressed yourself well. I’m sorry this went so badly.
So, I’m very curious to know why did that triggered such a negative response, when normally you do better?
Was it partly because you had your own special plan to bless him? And he kind of stole your thunder?
Or was his request such that you have no desire to fulfill?
Or is it something that he has tried before but you have said no and he (might have ) thought that trying on his special day might be the break through he wanted?
I wonder if your internal tank is low and that is why you responded the way you did. I know your life is full and you are constantly giving out. So, do you think your response would have been different/better on another day?
“Shouldn’t my vulnerable emotions have a “safe place” in my husband?”
@SeekingChange absolutely! This has to be a two way street. From what you’ve added since my original comment, it sounds like he isn’t listening to you or acknowledging your feelings. We can only control our own feelings, behavior and responses, not our spouse’s. I think that loving like Christ means loving my wife and validating her feelings even when she doesn’t validate mine (thankfully she has come a long way in that regard). Pray over your hubby, and show him love by validating his feelings (even if you’re not willing/able to meet his requests, validate them). And as much as you can, have meaningful conversation with him to get to the emotional intimacy that will grow your marriage.
Here are some of the factors I think have added to the reaction, which some were touched on by you guys….
1) I went out of my way last night to make sure he got a hoorah in, knowing I could start my period at any minute, because I was beginning to spot. Even though I wasn’t feeling good. I felt I went over and beyond, and to be asked for even more, sent a few different messages.
2) PMS hormones help nothing.
3) My planned gift, is something I know will naturally cost me more time and energy, and I have been putting thought into it and working myself up and mentally preparing to be able to pull it off, even though it would have to be “redeemed” in 1-3 weeks (again, cycle related). @Doug, he has not received it, so there has not been a chance to appreciate it, but it does make me question whether he will, even though part of me knows he will. He will not know what he missed out on if I choose not to give it.
4) Related to #3, it did take some of the air out of all my efforts.
5) The way it was asked, an answer (and action) was expected immediately. No space to give it thought and no time to mentally or emotionally prepare myself.
6) Guilt, because of the timing and the direct questions, I felt cornered on being forced to say “yes” or “no”, and I still am not at peace with saying “no”…. although I got one out with the first request, but when he kept coming at me with different requests, I clammed up and physically turned away….maybe stonewalled?
And then he started in with, “Shouldn’t I be able to ask for what I want? I thought we were supposed to be open about this. I have held back and haven’t said anything for a long time. I guess I shouldn’t say anything. I am sorry for asking. How should I have asked? ” and more similar statements.
It reminded me of an attitude of entitlement. It has made we question whether certain days “entitle” a spouse to get something they want? It seems like it’s no longer a matter of graciously accepting a gift, if given, but expecting certain things because of the day/holiday it is.
“And then he started in with, “Shouldn’t I be able to ask for what I want?”
I’ve been there! Having held back the totality of my feelings and desires to not “rock the boat,” I have the feeling I know where your DH is coming from. My DW has expressed frustration with me at times for not being open with my feelings with her in other areas, and then when I was open with her in the arena of sex she felt attacked. This always felt unfair to me and contrary to fostering intimacy between us. If we are to truly know each other, we have to be totally open and honest, and willing and able to take the risk of confiding in our spouse. That shouldn’t mean we always get what we want, but we need to feel safe sharing anything and we need to know we will be loved no matter what. It sounds like your reaction didn’t leave him feeling safe to share or loved. I’m sure that was not your intention, and I hope you can succeed in showing him that.
I’d encourage you to dig into this in conversation with him. The deep, vulnerable, nothing held back conversations my wife and I have had lately have made our marriage so much better and so much more intimate (in every way). I pray that you can find that place for your marriage!
@luvabug99, when I read this earlier, “If we are to truly know each other, we have to be totally open and honest, and willing and able to take the risk of confiding in our spouse. That shouldn’t mean we always get what we want, but we need to feel safe sharing anything and we need to know we will be loved no matter what. It sounds like your reaction didn’t leave him feeling safe to share or loved.”
I had a similar reaction as @SongofAngels shared in a comment to me, “Talking about being vulnerable and shouldn’t we be able to ask each other anything…doesn’t that ALSO apply to you?”
Although me “asking” wasn’t the case here, my automatic response, yet controlled because I didn’t attack or get defensive, shouldn’t it be allowed to be expressed and shouldn’t I be allowed to be me? Shouldn’t my vulnerable emotions have a “safe place” in my husband?
To add to my numbers above on possible reasons…
7) In the last two weeks, we have had two incidences/conflicts around sex and communication. I am still trying to figure out what’s behind those attitudes. The first one was me sharing concerns around the situation we were in while visiting family, and how I am uncomfortable with having sex at certain times, because our door was a curtain, right next to kitchen, and to get to the garage, family had to walk through our “room”. And after sharing that one night, the next morning he makes his moves. I stopped him and confronted him on it, “After me sharing how I feel, how can you still do this? Did you not listen to me?”…. “I listened. I understand. I just don’t agree with you.”
The second one, was earlier this week, I was so exhausted that I just wanted to go to sleep. He did all he could to keep me awake (because one rule I have in this season is he can’t wake me up if I’m asleep.) once he got in bed and started his routine, I did not stop things, because I know that responsive desire can kick in. After some time of him doing our “foreplay”, I was even more exhausted, and the idea of even mustering any energy to even just give my body, sounded too overwhelming. Instead of just saying, “no”. I suggested he “take care of himself and I would [help, I gave specifics on how]”. He was irritated, and his attitude came across really clear, that he couldn’t see any reason why I just couldn’t get in a position so he could have a quickie. But he took what was offered. I kept a good attitude and did my best in aiding him. It was a much more pleasant experience than he had expected. The next morning he apologized for his attitude, and we talked a little about my own process I went through.
Both of those incidences have an underlying theme of him not being a “safe place” for me when I speak up. The underlying message that I feel comes across (and it could be a total misunderstanding and just my feelings) is that his sexual wants and needs are greater than my needs.
Lots to think about here, and there are some (distantly) related things to what Zelda and I have gone through lately. Too much to type now (and possibly too late to be helpful), but one thing that really sticks out to me and I’ve not seen someone suggest:
IIRC, your husband is taking hormones (testosterone?) as well as Viagra (I think I remember you suggesting getting the pills at Sam’s). Is it possible these need to be reduced? The whole door=curtain and “he disagrees” thing really strikes me as an overly charged hormonal thing. Much more like a late teenager than a guy that’s been married 20+ yr. Not trying to be insulting to you or your husband, but it just does not seem like he is thinking clearly in those cases, which reminds me of crazy-hormone teens.
I feel like I am in the same place as your husband some times. When it’s my birthday, not saying that it’s right, but I always feel entitled to a special gift from my DW out of the norm, also if on her birthday I’ll try to do something special for her, sexually of course. I know it might not be right but when it’s the same pattern year after year it’s almost something you’re looking forward too as the day drew near. I wonder did you maybe hint to him that you had something special for him leading up to it and in his mind, he automatically went “yes, now I can ask for it”?
I know my DW will never let me do anal because we tried once many years ago and it was hurting her so we gave up, but the fantasy is still there and every once in awhile I’ll request it knowing the answer is still no thinking well maybe it won’t hurt this time if we use lube. At the time I’m so wound up I tend to fail at how she feels when I ask and I know she just wants me to give it up. I’m still learning but your DH could be feeling the same way.
I don’t see why on certain occasions that the feeling of entitlement is wrong. Whether it’s my birthday and I want to 69 or it’s her birthday and she wants a full-on hour-long body rub massage to some extent I think we all have this feeling of entitlement in some way or another.
When it comes to wanting sex and you’re just too tired so you offer to help him take care of himself, this happens to us all the time. This is %00 something he needs to deal with. My DW does this and sometimes I’m good with it and other times I’ll keep persisting for PIV that she just wants me to go away. All it is is a complete lack of thought and consideration on my part. When I’m aroused and thinking about her T&A, unfortunately, my mind doesn’t think about anything else.
Just wanted to let you see it from a male point of view in the fact that we might interpret things incorrectly and selfish in the moment but if you can come to us later on in the day or next day and talk about it with us then you should be able to find that safe place in us. When we’re not aroused we tend to be thinking clearly. Just my view from someone who has many faults in this area but doing my best to learn from them.
Dang it! I can’t imagine how hard that was for both of you. I obviously don’t know your DH from Adam, but if it was me that would fester inside me all day, and my DW would too. I would suggest making some alone time and explain what happened, just like you did here. It may not be a perfect closure, but it will at least give his brain an answer when he’s stewing over it, and it will give you a chance to understand what happened better. Also, I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, so I don’t think you should approach it as if you did. You might apologize for his feelings being hurt, but explain that you need his help to understand your emotional response.
I can’t know for sure, but based on what you said, there were likely a few dynamics at play.
You mentioned the coupon, and from what I read between the lines, you were not entirely comfortable with that. That tells me that you had already done some work to overcome reluctance on one particular act. It is quite likely that when he came with a different request, it was an immediate overload. You may also have felt that the gift you had prepared was not good enough or not appreciated.
I imagine if you give it a little time, the answer to your question might come to you, but those are what immediately come to mind.