Monday, March 31, 2008

Ladies, a Free Tip

You can reject a man, or you can tell him how attracted you are to him. But you can't do both; it's not fooling anybody, least of all him.

You certainly aren't going to be able to say anything that will keep him from feeling inadequate. He's not suffering some form of clinical depression that gives him irrational feelings of inadequacy; he is suffering utterly rational feelings of inadequacy stemming from the fact that you have told him he is inadequate, at least in your eyes. He didn't measure up, and that's what "inadequacy" means. If you'd thought he was such hot stuff, you'd have wanted him.

Rejection in any form sucks. Rejection from someone you love sucks more. Rejection coupled with well-meaning condescension is irritating as well.

17 comments:

Ambulance Driver said...

Uhhhhh...things okay at home, Don?

kvegas911 said...

You all right, bro? That sounds like a classic case of a woman who can't make up her mind about a relationship or is having issues with a "backup plan". Hope that's not about your life.

Don Gwinn said...

No big deal, really. Just an old argument they tell me men and women have been having for a long time.

dneylon said...

AD said just what I was thinking.

Seems "we can still be friends" is part of this too.

Less said...

This is, um, totally off topic, but I'm tagging you.

Don Gwinn said...

Uh, thanks, I think.

Look, let me make this clear. Sometimes I just whinge like a baby on this blog. Nobody's leaving anybody, we just have the age-old problem that one of us wants to have sex and the other doesn't.
I really want to be fair about this, so I'm trying not to use any loaded words. But I like to have sex with my wife. I love her very much, and I cherish her and I respect her and I admire her--but I still want to have sex with her, too.
I believe that she loves me and cherishes me, but she doesn't want to have sex with me, and I get sick and tired of hearing how it's not me, and it's not her, and she finds me attractive and desirable and admirable and all the rest, but seriously, I have to take my hands off her right now.
And don't take it personally, because the fact that she's rejecting me for the tenth time this month doesn't mean she doesn't want me.
Well, sure, that makes sense. Who could argue with that logic? That's not a mixed message or anything. The single example that makes me the most crazy is the time she gave me one of those "naughty coupon books" for my birthday--"Good for One Backrub," you get the idea. That was at least five years ago, and I still have it. The whole thing. She gave it to me, but every single time I've brought her one of the coupons, she's had an excuse.

Am I crazy? This feels like crazy. It feels a little like I'm a whining asshole, too.

Anonymous said...

Don. Long time lurker, first time post. Would you be so kind as to contact me at voxcautelo at yahoo dot com?

Jay G said...

*sigh*

I had to read your post three times before it dawned on me that I didn't write it.

I've often opined that my wife doesn't believe in sex after marriage.

Can't offer any words of wisdom, just commiseration.

moon-grrl said...

Well, when I've not wanted sex with a long-term partner, it's because:

a) I'm really, really tired.

b) I don't feel like I'm anything but a walking sperm depository to my partner (the only time he touches me or kisses me is when he's wanting to get it on).

c) The person I'm with is reminding me more of a child than an adult with all the time I spend doing things like picking up after them, making sure they're not spending us out of house and home, etc.

d) The sex isn't what I want and I'm tired of trying to "fix" it (requests/suggestions just make things worse).

e) I'm having bladder problems (I have ).

Unfortunately, during my marriage, option E was a huge problem and by the time it was resolved (took YEARS to be properly diagnosed and treated), B, C and D had come in to play, communication between us became non-existent, and our relationship never recovered.

I'm not running down my ex, here, because he's a wonderful guy (and I actually mean it, we still work together plus he's a close friend), but we were *never* able to have a good physical relationship due to having different wants, needs, and expectations as time went on. Jonathan was stunned to find out that my ex thought I was frigid! At that point in time, though, I can wincingly say I was. And not just due to pain.

It's not like you need advice from internet strangers, but maybe it's time to have a real heart-to-heart with your love and figure out where things went off the track. I wish you the best of luck.

Don Gwinn said...

Well, let's see:

A: That's the only one she'll really admit. I try to be understanding. I think I know what she goes through, and she has every right to be tired, but how can you really know that you actually know how someone else feels? I think of what I do as pretty tiring. I teach all day, I drive an ambulance overnight on Fridays and Sundays, I'm still wrapping up college courses, and my free time goes to working on the house and the yard. And YES, I cook, I mop, I do dishes and laundry, and I clean the bathroom.
I know what it's like to be tired, but when I've had a hard day, I want her more, because she's the good part.

B: Definitely not the problem, but I might need to touch her less. Then again, I've tried that.

C: She does fill out the bills, but I clean as much as she does. I do often get the impression that she thinks of me as an overgrown child, but I don't know how fair that is. And honestly, I do have a goofy, self-deprecating sense of humor.

D: If this is the problem, she's never been willing to admit it. That's what drives me so crazy. She insists that everything's fine, that I shouldn't feel bad, that she's just madly in love with me, but actions speak louder than words--and her actions reject me. I know she doesn't want to think of this as "rejection" and she knows that I can't help but think of it as "rejection," so we're stuck.

E: Sure, everyone gets sick. Not much anyone could do about that--but that's not our problem.

We've done the heart-to-heart. It always ends up the same way; she's crying before I can finish the first sentence, and it doesn't matter what I say or do. The crying doesn't stop. I've tried everything I can think of . . . once I even printed out a series of articles by a woman who'd had the same problem, and let me tell you, it cost me something to suggest we read those together--I thought several were very good, but one was actually about how men should brush their teeth and shower regularly. No dice. She said she'd read them, but not with me. Then she simply didn't read them, and eventually I stopped asking. It's always the same answer "I don't know why. I don't have a reason. I can't tell you why, except that I love you and it's not your fault and you're wonderful. . ."

Honestly, to my ears, it sounds like there's an unspoken addendum:
" . . . . and I wish you'd stop bugging me about all the disgusting stuff I had to do to get you to marry me, because we're married now and that part of your life is over forever."
For the record, I know that's unfair and irrational, but it never quite goes away.

My wife's best friend is . . . well, let's just say she could be her mom. She tells her that about the time she turns 40, she's going to turn a 180 and decide she can't get enough of me . . . but by that time, I'll be the one who's not interested any more. I hope not.

Fire said...

This is the first time that I have read your blog. The man I love wanted me to read this post because he knew I would have a hell of a lot to say.

In 5,4,3,2,and we're off:

You CANNOT tell someone that they are attractive, admirable, and ten kinds of other stuff, and NOT WANT to have sex with them. You can't have one without the other. I will tell you that I am no longer in love with my husband...he has neglected me for 8 years...put me on a shelf until he is ready to be a husband...but expects me to always be there. Over time, I have come to despise his touch. Just the touch of his fingers on my hand will turn my stomach. I cannot have sex with him unless it is doggie style...because I do not want to see him...and I do not want to be questioned as to why I am crying silent tears. I am just not in love anymore. That's the short story. And I hate any intimacy with him now.

I have never told him that he is great, admirable, good looking, and I think he is the best...without wanting to have sex with him. When I believed these things, I wanted to have sex...could not get enough. When I stopped believing these things...I no longer wanted to have sex with him. I am still married because he is better than most men out there, I could have it a hell of a lot worse than I do. But, I have fallen in love with someone else now, and I am going to be moving out.

I hate that you are going through this, and I wanted to tell you how I view it. I wanted you to have a heads up about it...which to me, you do have that heads up. You're not stupid...what does your gut tell you?

By the way, maybe give her a dose of her own medicine. If and when the day comes that she wants to have sex, say that you don't feel like it. Start ignoring her a bit, don't let her know that you need her so much...after all, it sounds as though you are the one giving and not getting. So stop giving so much and take back some of that control. The person who cares the least in a relationship, has all the control. We are the ones who try like hell to keep things as they should be, we are the ones who give and give and give...and we don't get.

I hope this helps some. If you have any questions, go to my blog and hit "contact" and email me, I'll do my best to help.

Don Gwinn said...

I appreciate your help, but it sounds like you're talking about giving up and leaving. I'm not going to do that.

I love her and she loves me. We just have this disconnect when it comes to sex. I don't want someone else, and I don't want to leave. I want her.

She shows me that she loves me in a hundred little ways. She just doesn't see sex the way I see it.

Fire said...

Yes, I am leaving. But since sex is the only problem you have....then you are quite lucky. Grab onto those "little things". Sounds to me like this wasn't an issue of great substance...I was under the impression that you were extremely upset about it...now I see that it is not that big a deal.

Good luck with all that.

Fire said...

Oh....and it took me eight years to "give up". After fighting for my marriage with all that I am...and realizing that I was not important to my husband...well, I guess "giving up" was my only peace.

Don Gwinn said...

I don't think we're in the same situation. You sound like you haven't been left much choice. I hope it all ends well. The thing is, I really don't want to have a war--you withheld sex, now I'll withhold sex. Besides, she doesn't want to have sex and I do. Trying to deny her sex is a lot like throwing Br'er Rabbit into the briar patch.

I think if I stopped mentioning sex entirely--acted convincingly like sex didn't matter to me at all--she'd never bat an eye. That's basically her attitude; she doesn't see the big deal. She knows it's important to me, but for her, not so much.

The other night, for no apparent reason, she just rolled over at about 1:00 in the morning and . . . uh . . . made her intentions clear. I obliged, nothing loath, and it was all very nice. But even then I can't stop obsessing. I want to know what happened. I want to know why that night was different. She insists that nothing different happened, it was totally random and there is no reason and I should "go with the flow." But I'm not really capable of that. Whatever happened (everything happens for a reason!) it made the difference between another long night of total frustration and a night of loving passion. How could you not want to figure it out and do more of it? But it's as if, to her, that night really wasn't any different than a "normal" night for us. Maybe for her it wasn't. For me it was a big deal.

Nyx said...

I suggest the two of you do something more in the "talking about it" department. Even if that means some kind of counselor to help you talk about it. Sometimes, sex is just sex... it feels good, it's a physical release, and it's probably best to do it alone or with your partner but no one else. (Not in all relationships, I know.) But it's not always "just sex". It's bonding, loving, and sharing something that can't be shared any other way. I think a lot of couples lose sight of that, or at least half of the couple does, and it can be important to get that back.

For years, I could not talk about sex. If something wasn't quite what I wanted, I lived with it. I tolerated it, but I wouldn't talk about it. In my case, it wasn't even that I didn't want to hurt a partner's feelings. It was that I didn't want to have to be responsible for fixing those hurt feelings afterwards. I didn't want that job on top of all the other jobs I had around there. Eventually, I didn't want to be touched at all. That marriage ended in divorce. Because of sex? No. But that was a warning sign that the bonds were falling apart, we weren't communication, we weren't working together, and as all of that got worse, it became less and less possible to fix. Neither one of us is a bad person... we just could NOT work together. But the signs along the way were ignored because no one thing seemed that important.

That's not a mistake I will make again. My husband and I talk about everything that needs to be talked about, no matter how hard it is. When I feel like I'm being responsible for everything and he's just waiting until I tell him what to do, we talk about it. When his feelings are hurt because of something I said in a moment of frustration, we talk about it. We talk about the finances, the food I cook, keeping the house clean, and we talk about sex and our needs for it. We're the only people I've ever known who can hold hands during an argument. If one of us has a problem, that means both of us have a problem. So we fix it together.

Do what you have to so the two of you can talk about whatever is wrong. Whatever keeps her from wanting sex is that important, and it is very possible that being attracted to you isn't her problem. But your feelings, even if those feelings are contrary to facts in the situation, are just as important. You have a problem together... fix it together.

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