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#240762 - 07/28/08 07:08 PM Lack of 'affection' from my husband...
ChristineTrying Offline


Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 36
has always been a challenge for me. I'm a very affectionate and loving person We've been together for several years and he never in all those years ever made the 'first move' to make love. It was always me and I would get shot down repeatedly. Once in a while he would agree to make love but never was into it. Now, after learning of his abuse, his not wanting sex all those years makes sense but now it is me who can't bring myself to have sex with him. None of it was his fault (the abuse) of course. But I get thoughts of what happened tohim and it scares me and yes disgusts me. I want to show him affection in many different ways, sex only being one of them, so how do I remove these thoughts of what happened to him and how do I come back to feeling good about wanting to make love to him? And what if I can't?

I feel like such a wimp even thinking about not staying with him. It's not just about the lack of sex, it's the lack of total affection. It is so hard to show affection to someone who seems so devoid of it and who can't return it.


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#240788 - 07/28/08 07:50 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: ChristineTrying]
CDavid Offline


Registered: 07/05/08
Posts: 184
ChristineTrying,

Your honesty is refreshing.

Thank you.


If the "thought" of what happened to him scares you and disgusts you...and you are not sure whether you will be able to find your way back to wanting physical intimacy...I wonder, how that affects your perception of what you say is his unwillingness to be physically intimate?

Only, of course, if you are comfortable in replying.

I ask, as a survivor, not a partner.

Thank you


CD


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#240811 - 07/28/08 08:32 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: CDavid]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5779
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Christine:
It's usually about not feeling in control of the situation that scares victims of abuse. When he doesn't initiate, he controls the sex (by not being involved). When you initiate, you take control and I'd guess that sometimes he can perform and other times he loses interest or gets (internally) scared because someone else is doing the control of the sex.

It is a difficult area. You can ask him to take control when he feels ready and that you will be there to do what he wants. As long as it is not a replay of the abuse or he becomes abusive himself, he may experience sex without the other being in control. However, you should probably do this with some input from his t.

Remember, he was physically and psychologically controlled by his abuser for many years and such habits/conditioning are not going to be resolved overnight. It will take time.

Perhaps other survivors here can shed some light for you.

One way to have affection is to say that the kissing or cuddling you want to do (as seen by many partners as intimacy without sex) is ok for him with the reassurance that all you want is to be cuddled when he feels it is ok and will NOT lead to sex. If you try this approach, you will probably have to keep your word that it won't turn into sex. That might be difficult but if you show him that kissing and/or cuddling is ok without becoming a precursor to sex, he might be able to see that is safe for him.



Edited by Ken Singer, LCSW (07/28/08 08:36 PM)

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#240819 - 07/28/08 08:52 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: ChristineTrying]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Christinetrying,
I'm currently in a "Hospice, DNR" mode...
I can say that I feel where you're coming from...or..maybe..
I have frequently had my SO refer to his abuser as someone who "loved" him, he used to sit him on his lap and put his fingers in the cake... It...turns my stomach and makes me want to vomit. Enough said.
But when he makes "said reference", the very last thing I want to do is touch him. Because it sickens me to be lumped into the same category. As though my motives are the same. (And as much as he wants to deny it, this IS what he's thinking...it's the mistake he's waited 29 years and 10 months now, for me to make.)
The hardest part of ALL of this for me, is that, he's further away now, than he ever was. He answers my text messages days, even weeks later, as though he just got them. Maybe it's intentional, but I don't think so. He's losing time.
I can say that sex has never been an issue, (we've never actually had it) but it's never mattered.
My reasons for leaving have nothing to do with sex.
Always,
Liv


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#240885 - 07/28/08 11:25 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: CDavid]
ChristineTrying Offline


Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 36
Hi CDavid:
The issues around the affection have always been there between us. Early in our relationship I would be very affectionate, not overtly sexual, just playful and teasing and he would almost always pull away, maybe not outright cringe but that's what it felt like to me.

My reaction or actions toward him physically are only a recent thing to come up. I only learned of his abused past recently.


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#240887 - 07/28/08 11:29 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
ChristineTrying Offline


Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 36
Hi Ken,
The lack of affection is in every area not just sexual. If I touch his hair or back of his neck, he almost cringes. If I sit close to him, he moves away. My reaction or actions toward him have only been recent as I have only learned of his abused past recently. Oddly enough it was my therapist (a female) who told me about this site.

Maybe none of it has to do with his abused past...maybe he's just 'not that into me?'


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#240888 - 07/28/08 11:33 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: Liv2124]
ChristineTrying Offline


Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 36
Hi Liv,

I can so relate to what you're saying. I have only recently learned of his abused past and now it's in every conversation we try to have or anything we try to do together. I made a mistake one time of trying to say something I thought was sexy and inviting but the answer to my question was a lecture on what happened to him as a teenager. If I could have puked I would have. Was that a test and I failed? I guess so. Since then no affection of any kind.

My reasons for contemplating leaving are like yours. They have nothing to do with sex but everything to do with abuse.

Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.


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#241133 - 07/29/08 08:09 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: ChristineTrying]
LittleMiss Offline


Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Christine, welcome and I hope you find this site as beneficial as I have.

My question is this: Were you considering leaving before you knew about the abuse? You mentioned that affection had always been an issue and you have been together several years. Is this something you were already thinking about, and now current events have brought it to a head?

If so, I would say, maybe hang on and try to work through. At least now you know the reason, you know it has pretty much nothing to do with you. I understand that now you feel different, but maybe because now you are worried about how you come across to him and you can't relax.

The fact that he disclosed to you and you said now every conversation leads to talk of the CSA, I think shows that maybe he is ready to try to deal with it? Will he see a therapist? Everyone says that helps - though I have no experience with that, as my husband will not. If he is willing to work on things, then that at least is something positive.

I don't know. Each situation is different I guess, no matter how much we all have in common. I don't know what exactly I'm trying to say and I'm just rambling on. I guess I just wondered if you were already kinda planning on leaving and now his disclosure has made you feel 'obligated' to stay, or if you were just having a hard time dealing with it - in which case therapy can help.

And you are totally not a 'wimp'! You are here. You are in therapy. You are definately trying - OH I get it!! Christine Trying. I like that.

Take care

_________________________
LittleMiss

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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#241239 - 07/29/08 11:20 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: LittleMiss]
ChristineTrying Offline


Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 36
Hi Little Miss,

Thanks for the welcome.

I have been thinking about leaving for a while because of many reasons. The abuse issues only recently within the last year and while I'm not afraid of working at things or trying to make things better, I'm not sure I can continue now that I know about the abuse. Yes it answers a few questions but not all about his lack of affection. I still do try to get near, to touch (in a non sexual manner), all those things but he is pulling more and more away from me.

I have been in therapy over this issue and others. It is working to the effect that I'm seeing what I want and that is starting to look like I want someone who will be there for me, who will show affection towards me (and I have been in relationships before with men who in fact were much more affectionate than even I was), and who will just be there.

Does this get better? Will we move on? I don't know.

It's nice to read the posts here though from women who are a lot like me.

Thank you.


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#241452 - 07/30/08 10:39 PM Re: Lack of 'affection' from my husband... [Re: ChristineTrying]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Christine,
I know the touch thing is a big issue, and I know exactly what you're referring to when you say you're trying to get near to him and touch him in a non-sexual manner. Pedophiles do the same thing. Unfortunately, they use games and normal non-sexual touch and affection to open the door and then...BANG...it's something else. If he tenses up when you get near him, it isn't always because you're doing something "wrong" at the moment, it just triggers him to believe it's going to lead to something else.
I'm can't comment on whether this will get better in your case, but seeing your own therapist will continue to help you in determining if you want to continue pursuing this. You have to come to a point where you want to pursue what you need, because, that's what he's doing. If it ends up that you both want and need the same things, GREAT!
I wish the best for both of you.
Always,
Liv


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