October 17, 2008,
M.G. asks from Kansas City, MO on October 14, 2008
Men's Need for Physical, but Women's Need for Emotional
After reading many of the responses to "How to reconnect with my spouse," I ask the question on how can we as women be intimate or physical with our spouse if we lack the emotional connection or need? I struggle with this constantly! I have some deeper issues or concerns with my relationship, but I thought I would pose this question for discussion. We as women tend to always give and give. Is is not okay for us to not give our spouse the intimacy or physical when we are not being fullfilled? Or should we again, neglect our needs to hope by fullfilling our spouse need we will be fullfilled in return? I know it needs to be some give and take, but what is your opinion?
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So What Happened?™
It continues to amaze me how much everyone has struggled with this at least once. Thank you for all of your input. I have the book: "The Five Love Languages". It has been years since I have read it. I will dig it out and read it again. Best of luck to everyone in a similar situation. Thanks again!
C.H. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
It has been my personal experience that the more I focus on what I feel I'm not getting from my husband the less it seems like I get in the way of emotional support and intimacy (beyond sex). About five years ago I had had it with my husband and had made up my mind that I was going to leave and divorce him as soon as the time was right. For years and years all I had focused on was what needs of mine weren't being fulfilled in my relationship with my husband. It seemed it was all I talked about with my girlfriends and all I ever really thought about when it came to thinking about my marital relationship. Back then I really truly felt that intimacy (sex) with my husband was a chore and that when it came to intimacy he cared nothing for me or what I needed. I also felt that I'd been wasting my life with a man who didn't care about my needs let alone tried to meet them. I was done!
Thank goodness that for some reason I decided to stop focusing ONLY on what needs of mine I felt weren't getting met and started focusing ONLY on the positive things about my husband and our relationship. It's hard to put into words just how much of a turnaround our relationship has had. The more attention I paid to what he 'was' doing for me and how much he cared for me the more attention he paid to my needs and the more effort he put into making sure my emotional needs were being met. ALL of this happened without me saying a single word to him. There was no heartfelt discussion even though every few months for most of our 30 year relationship I had a mini-breakdown where we had a big argument with me going on and on about how my needs weren't being met AND no matter how many times we had this same old tired discussion things never changed. I'm sure you'll figure out the details on your own but I can promise you that if you stop looking only at the negative aspects of your relationship and begin to focus most of your attention on the positive ones things will change.
Today I enjoy a wonderful relationship with my husband. I didn't give up anything for myself, I didn't make any sacrifices, I didn't make any demands, I didn't threaten divorce, I didn't make tearful accusations that he just didn't care about me like I cared for him...I just chose to change how I percieved our relationship and EVERYTHING changed. Just by changing how I saw our relationship, which changed how I contributed to it, I have at long last gotten the loving, happy, fun and sexy relationship I'd always wanted but never thought I'd have.
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L.U. answers from Seattle on October 14, 2008
Hi M. - I posed this question ( sort of) a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to know where the sex had gone in our relationship. You can always go back and look at it.
Here's what I have found in the past couple of weeks. My husband and I were down to being intimate about once...MAYBE twice a month. I felt the same way. Why give it up if he's not willing to help out around the house, I am tired after working a full time job also, my house is a mess, and he never tells me I'm beautiful or appreciates me?
Here's a little secret....IF you give it up, THEN he starts helping around the house, helping with dishes, tells you you look good, and cleans up his mess!! I couldn't believe it!!
He's happier, he smacks my butt again when he walks by, he gets up after we eat to help with the dishes...it's amazing. I shoulda given it up a long time ago.
He and I are conversing more, we cuddle on the couch when we watch TV, we are more united in our parenting. It's crazy.
And let me tell you, we are not having sex every day...no no...we have worked up to twice a week....but it's making a huge difference. It even makes me feel better. I am wearing make-up, getting out of my sweats and into nicer clothes, and I feel appreciated.
It's not easy, although it should be. But I have found that if I just "force" myself (which it shouldn't be like that, right? But sometimes I just want to be left alone!), then the benefits are fabulous. (grin)
Good Luck, and know that you are TOTALLY not alone.
I feel that I need to clarify something here....Lots of women decide that they are going to "go for it" even when they are not in the mood. That does NOT mean that they are laying there "thinking of England", it means that they are making love to their husband, while their mind is saying YES!! and their body may be saying "really?" EVERY time I have been intimate with my husband it has been wonderful and I am happy that we have had the time together to enjoy each others BODY and be EMOTIONALLY together. I do not say "honey, I will have sex with you if you do the dishes"...it's just a bonus....great sex, clean kitchen (and I had NO IDEA that was going to happen)
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P.G. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
I firmly believe that sex begins in the kitchen. My husband and I both work. We don't nag at each other or try to control each other. We should respect our husbands and they should love us. But I don't think most men or women understand this. The only person you can control is yourself. Do you nag your husband? Do you complain about him to your friends or family? Work on yourself first, then you will be amazed at your husband's reaction. You can ask him to help out WITHOUT NAGGING. Over the last 15 years, my husband has taken over the grocery shopping (hallelujah!), the meal planning, and he cooks every Saturday & Sunday. I do not EVER complain about him to anyone. I only lift him up when I'm speaking to others about him. We are a team and I refuse to eat away at our marriage by only thinking of myself. I have never said NO to him. Did I always feel like it? No, but you can bet that I never regretted saying yes when we were through. Marriage is fragile enough in this age when everything from Cosmo to television sitcoms to Hollywood encourage just the opposite of a long term, happy, selfless monogamous marriage. Nurture your most prized possession - your marriage and your family! You made a commitment to love, honor, and cherish this man. Look back to the day you got married - you couldn't wait to hop in bed with him, take care of him, cook for him, clean for him. Someone once said that we put blinders on before the marriage and take them off and start nagging after the wedding day. We should do just the opposite. Best wishes to you for a long, happy, healthy, sex-filled marriage!
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J.B. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
I haven't read all the other responses to this post but I just want to encourage you to give unconditionally to your husband...meaning without expectations. I think of it this way, your daughter gives very little to you...you feed her, change her diapers, bathe her, put her to bed...you meet her physical needs. And as you do this, she learns that you are someone she loves and prefers above all other moms. Yes, you get smiles, hugs, kisses and other mommy perks...but it is a result of what you pour in to her. If you weren't meeting her needs, she would not be as responsive to you. Same goes for pretty much all of our relationships. We give and we receive. But if your daughter didn't meet your expectations, would you love her less? Of course not. I realize that pouring out to others without getting back in kind can be hard...but it is a choice. One you easily make with those you prefer above all others. Your husband should be one of those people.
I found two books extremely helpful to me. One was called "Love is a Decision" by Gary Smalley and it very much addresses the issue of choosing to love our mates unconditionally and above all others. If you allow yourself to become dissatisfied with your spouse, you will look to others to fill that gap...friends, family, work and maybe even another man. I probably would have reached that point had I continued the way I was going in how I perceived love. Another good book is "His Needs Her Needs" by Harley (last name) and it addresses the basic needs of women and men and how each needs the other to feel loved. If you want your spouse to feel your love, you should not neglect to give him his needs. And when one partner chooses to love sacrificially, the rewards will come. Men's basic needs include sex, respect, shared experiences (like hobbies) and the feeling that they are needed. Women of course need conversation, understanding, romance etc.. These things can happen together and both partners can be satisfied.
Now...add kids to the mix. It complicates things. But the best thing you can do for your daughter is to choose to make your husband your priority even above her. A strong healthy marriage is the greatest gift you can give her. Role modeling a positive love environment will help teach her to love others in the healthy, respectful ways. Being angry at a spouse because you aren't getting what you want so you don't give what he wants you are modeling a selfish kind of love. And most of what you hear from the world is about "you" and making "yourself" happy...and divorce rates continue to rise and fewer people are happy in their relationships and counselors have more and more business.
I would encourage you to be proactive in your marriage now before it gets harder. By the time I figured out how bad my marriage had become and then found the tools to fix it, my spouse was already involved in another relationship that was far easier than fixing ours. I am now happily remarried (9 years) and use everything I learned from my past. Marriage can be sweet...but it takes work...but I find the work easy and worth every minute.
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E.C. answers from Eugene on October 15, 2008
Do you feel that 'giving in' to sex when you don't initially feel like it will open doors in your relationship, or have you already tried it with no better results? I'm guessing from your question that you are already putting a lot of effort into pleasing your husband and are hoping that giving sex when you don't feel like it will help fix the relationship. I'm also guessing that you've already tried this more than once, right? After all, you're not newlyweds, right?
I too was afraid that not giving in to sex was going to make the problems in my marriage worse, but when I got pregnant I really put my foot down and refused when I didn't want it. Honestly, we've been intimate 6 times in 8 months. But guess what? We went to marital counseling and all the issues which I tried many, many times to explain in different ways to my husband sunk in instantly when it came from a third party!
The end result is that instead of complaining about the dishes and freaking out or going off on me every evening, he now does them himself. He does more housework, he is happier, and I feel like doing more for him because he does so much to make me happy. And this is all happening while there is currently NO sex in our relationship -- granted we have real physical reasons for not having sex. But we are more respectful to each other than we have ever been in our 7 years together, our bond is stronger and our affection for each other more real. This is what a mutually giving relationship should look and feel like. (Of course, I plan to reward him with more sex when it becomes more feasible.)
As you've already heard many times, loss of interest in sex is usually indicative of an underlying problem in the relationship. I do believe that *sometimes* just giving in to a little more sex turns your man into a walking, talking musical film, singing his way through house chores and loving compliments of his beautiful wife. But I don't believe this is necessarily always the case. (Also, is there a real change in the nature of your relationship or do those underlying issues just continue to be there?)
One 'trick' you might try in the meantime: I've heard that for women foreplay is an all-day affair. Tell your husband what would turn you on such as compliments, help with housework, less criticism (tell him THAT is the biggest turn-off!), romance, massages, or whatever else it is that you think would make you feel like giving your body over to the man you love. That way, you BOTH have the opportunity to get your needs met without one of you getting ripped off!
Finally, I think couples counseling can be extremely helpful if you find a good counselor. But you have to interview your counselors first so that you find one you're comfortable with. Or try calling a local hospital for recommendations. In fact, I think everyone should go through couples counseling even if just to learn a few tricks or fine tune the relationship. A lot of people are skeptical of counseling -- everyone told my husband that once we were in counseling that meant the relationship was over and we were headed for divorce. I was aware, however, of how ignorant and fear-based these comments were and told my husband that we were just being pro-active and thinking outside the box. Well, I was right! :-)
Lastly, since I'm already being so long-winded, if he doesn't want to go to couples counseling, you could go to individual counseling to help you fine tune how you communicate and respond to him in your relationship. Maybe learning how YOU can meet your OWN needs will go a long way to modeling that kind of behavior toward yourself by your husband. Maybe he needs to see you pamper, love, respect, take care of and really STAND UP for yourself first before he can really understand how to do that for you. I think both couples and individual counseling could go a long way in helping anyone through this kind of roadblock, but that is me -- I have benefited from both and always love to recommend counseling. Good luck.
P.S. Books I would recommend are anything by John Gottman, and "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I know the last one sounds weird but there is an inner child in all of us and Faber & Mazlish's books have taught me more about relationships than any other book I've ever read.
P.P.S. A 2 hour date every one or two weeks without the kids is essential! How can you have a relationship if you're always mommy & daddy and never hubby & wifey? Also, you probably won't make much progress if both of you are constantly overwhelmed. Prioritizing scheduling time together and time alone for each of you, I think, is the only sane way to parent. ;-)
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A.P. answers from Eugene on October 14, 2008
Well, this may not be very popular, but, I think that women are constantly asked to subvert our needs for the needs of others and I will not be in a relationship with another adult that doesn't give back to me as much as I put into it. Simply, I'm not going to have sex with my husband with the hope he'll do more dishes. And if I wasn't connecting with my partner on a level that fulfilled me emotionally, I don't think I could have sex with him either. Frankly, I am shocked by the "just lay there and think of England" type responses to this question and the other question. I believe that a relationship must be reciprocal and when both parties feel their needs are acknowledged everything else usually falls into place. Bending and sacrifice are important to a relationship, but both people have to do it. Frankly, I'd rather hire a housekeeper and buy a vibrator before I had sex with my husband to encourage him to help do the things around the house. And I don't think I could physically have sex with him if he wasn't attempting to meet my emotional needs. As a member of a family, he should be doing those things anyway--that's part of the deal when you decide to make a family with someone.
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K.I. answers from Spokane on October 14, 2008
I think we all feel like this at some point. It is true however that even if you dont feel like it and try doing it anyway the benefits are worth it! I actually find that the more "us" time we have the closer and lovey we are to eachother. It's kinda a catch 22...you dont feel loved so you dont want to give him love, which makes it worse. However if we just take the first step and give in one time when we dont feel like it you will be surprissed at how much better you feel towards him and vice versa. And yes it is always us woman who have to bend or sacrifice, not fair but like I have learned over the last few years..."It's not easy being the mommy!" The bottom line is MEN NEED SEX and WOMEN NEED TO FEEL WANTED and neither party gets what they need without the sex! So I say to you and all other moms out there embrace your inner vixen and just jump your husband when he's not expecting it and the rest will fall in place. I dont know about anyone else but it seemes that I'm never in the mood when he's in the mood so I started being the instigator whenever I felt in the mood and it's amazing how men will always find time for sex! It kinda took the pressure off of the uncomfortable situations at the end of the day when all I wanted to do is sleep! Hope this helps...atleast a little.
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D.E. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
I think it’s not only OK, but important, to set certain boundaries on physical intimacy. It is one thing to give to someone who needs when you can do so either joyfully and with no strings attached. And certainly as a mom there are times you must give when you wish you didn’t have to, but even then, we can set limits on reasonable amounts of giving. But when you are feeling not in the mood for intimacy with your partner and you give in for his/her sake, this is giving a piece of yourself away, and it is unfair to you (and in my mind, to your partner as well, who may choose (one hopes,) not to “take” if s/he knew that the giving was done under those circumstances). Other times you might feel neutral about intimacy and choose that you’re willing to give to help someone else, so to speak; this is different, and basically just your own yes/no decision. In the case where you’re giving when you actively don’t want to, the important thing to begin to examine is what it is about yourself, your world, your relationship, your upbringing, that contributes to the sense that giving up a part of yourself is the appropriate thing to be doing. Can we really ever be saying "yes" if we never say "no?"
OK, so all of that was for the “general discussion” purposes; however in your own particular case you mention other relationship issues that are at play, and contributing to your apparent lack of interest. In that case, it is crucial to address those issues, because they’re in the room there with you and your partner, even if they’re not being voiced. There’s a great book you might check out, called __Passionate Marriage__, which, despite the cheesy title, I recommend highly. An important point is about investigating your sense of self and boundaries in an emotional and physical relationship. Also, I have a great couples counselor I can refer to you if you’re interested – I usually read without responding on Mamasource, so not completely sure how this works, but I think you can email me if you're interested in the name/number (he's in North Seattle).
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A.K. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
My husband and I have been together for 13 years. Finally after trying to explain the emotional part to him for 12 years
I finally made it short for him. IF I'M NOT HAPPY EMOTIONALLY, YOUR NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY SEXUALY! Then I told him again the things that really hurt my feelings & amazingly he finally got it. If anybody thinks thats mean it's only because you don't know my husband and i's relationship, we are very open with one and other. Good luck to everybody, try to be true to your self. And I do think it's ok to give in somtimes when your just to tiered, or not in the mood only because I think of how bad it would suck to be as horney as a man is and have somebody turn me down just because they were not in the mood themselves.
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T.E. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
I think that if your emotional needs are not being met and you don't feel like having sex, you shouldn't. For years I have had sex with my husband every other day, on average. It still is not enough for him. Now I feel dirty and disgusting every time I do it. Sex has been ruined for me because I just went ahead and did it because he wanted to. I would tell him that I didn't want to but would anyway, and he always took me up on that offer. So now I resent it. I try to find ways to avoid being around him in the evenings so I don't feel the pressure to put out. It totally sucks. Giving it to him once a week I could handle, but not constantly doing it when I didn't want to. There are other issues at play here, such as the fact that I probably should not have married him 11 long years ago. But I was able to keep it together until just a few months ago. This is a tricky area...if you give too much of yourself when you don't want to, you just end up resentful.
1 mom found this helpful
L.L. answers from Charleston on October 15, 2008
I guess my question to you is . . . what needs do you have that are not being met? I know that it can be far easier for guys to start connecting on an emotional level right AFTER sex. Granted, this doesn't work as well if it is really late at night and you both just want sleep. But I have found that sex can be a lead off to a much deeper connection. Also, when you want to talk about something serious to you, starting out in a playful manner can make your husband feel more comfortable talking to you. Nobody wants to feel critized, put on the spot or interigated. So taking on the big stuff in a light hearted manner can help.
The biggest advice I can give you is to find an activity that you have never done (and he hasn't either) and learn about it together. This can really reconnect you both and make the sex part come easier.
Also remmeber that forever is a long time. Some days you just won;t feel like having sex and some days he won't feel like talking to you or being romantic. This means that some times you have to bite the bullet and do it anyway. I have found that this type of "leading by example" can really change a guys actions if you stick by it.
Good luck and God bless! Marriage is difficult but wonderful!
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J.C. answers from Anchorage on October 15, 2008
For months my husband and I went back and forth with this. We both told the other what we needed, but were both so wrapped up in what we were not getting that we could not seem to start giving the other what they needed. My husband started spending time with someone from work. He said he liked how she hung on his every word, and gave him the attention he was not getting from me. Needless to say, he ended up having an affair with this woman. He claims full responsibility for his poor behavior and choice, but I can understand how he did not feel like I desired him any more. If I had given him what he needed, then maybe he could have given me more of what I needed. Neither of us knew how to be the first to give. If this sounds familiar to any of you other moms out there, don't keep ignoring the problem, you could just see your entire family fall about. If you need help addressing it there are plenty of good councilors our there.
It is emotional for men too. He needed for me to make him feel like a man, not just a paycheck. I needed him to make me feel like a woman, not just a mother. If either one of us could have just realized that if we gave to the other person what they needed, then the other person would have naturally turned their focus from themselves to us. He did not know how to ask for the emotional feeling of desire and want he needed from me, so he got it in a physical form with someone else. Don't think it could never be you! My husband was not the "type" of man to do this, but a connection with another woman mixed with a little alcohol and an emotional void at home can lead to disaster, and often does.
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N.Z. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
I learned the hard way to take care of myself. My first marriage was rough, and I was always trying to make him happy. It got to the point where I could cook his favorite meal, and he would "eat later", usually out with the guys. I bought his clothes, patched them and picked them up off the floor. I went to his parties and was the one that didn't drink. My friends never came over, his friends did.
I broke down, and saw a counselor, where was he?, out with the guys and wondering why I was such a slob.
I took care of myself and realized that somewhere I had lost me. I don't know if my marriage would have been better if I had taken care of me. I would have been better, my kids would have been better, if I had known and taken care of me.
My current husband loves me for who I am, and when he notices that I'm losing me, he makes me take the time to reconnect with myself.
Your marriage cannot be happy, satisfying, or anything else if you aren't there. Maybe your husband would like to see more of YOU.
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H.P. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
Sorry, guys but give and take go both ways and women get tired of GIVING all the time. You need to seriously look at this relationship and if it is way lopsided and you feel unfulfilled and resentful, by all means, you need to be honest, with yourself and your DH. Working full time with a 10 month old daughter is a tall order for anyone. Who does all the "extra" work for your daughter? Are you also doing a disproportionate amount of household chores and he is getting off living as a single man "with benefits"?
I have two daughters but before I agreed to have the second one, we had a serious discussion about my need to stay home or if HE wanted to be the one to stay home, we would have to move to the state where my job was a good carreer and there would be no more than one child. If the situation continued the way it was going with both of us working and both of us feeling resentful with a child who was not getting her needs met, the marriage would have ended.
Expecting a physical need to be met without paying attention to the other person's needs in the relationship is simpy inconsiderate and immature, not marriage material and you are perfectly right to "withhold fulfillment of his needs" or even seriously renegotiate your willingness to continue the "relationship as usual". You deserve to be happy also and your daughter deserves involvement of two parents devoted to parenting her.
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J.E. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
I read this book and it did wonders for my husband and I. http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/forcouples.html It is about love languages, we all give and receive love differently. I helps to know how you and your spouse receive love. If you give and receive love differently than your spouse - then you are not speaking the same language. For example: If your love languages are acts of service(him doing things for you) and his is physical touch. Then you would be showing him you love him by doing things: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. He would be showing that he loves you through intimacy. You both can become resentful of the other person - all because their is a language barrier. If he started helping out around the house - you would want to be more intimate. Then you two speaking the same language. It is simple, really.
I read the book and then took the test with my husband. I am physical touch/words of affirmation, my husband is gifts/words of affirmation. He likes to give me gifts and it doesn't do anything for me, in fact it is kind of annoying. Once we read this book and realized why it made it so easy. I can get him a soda on the way home and he so elated. He can tell me how great I look or how nice the house looks after I clean it and makes me feel wonderful.
It is good to be on the same page and know how to communicate our love for eachother.
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J.M. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
First time responder here, but your question rung a bell with me. I recently read a book called the 5 Languages of Love... by Gary Chapman, I believe. It was a quick read but a real eye opener and made a huge difference in my relationship. Seems my guy was showing love to me in ways that made sense to him but left me feeling empty. I read the book twice and I shared sections with him. WOW, we understand each other so much better. There is a section near the back about a woman in an empty marriage and how she connected with her hubby through his language (physical touch) and renewed thier relationship. Nope, I am not selling this book or getting a kick back in any way. Just realizing that the "romance" is leaving my relationship with stresses of kids and housework, etc. So I been on a search to figure out how to keep the love flowing. This book really helped!! Good luck! J.
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L.R. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
You mentioned that you have "some deeper issues or concerns" in your relationship, which is probably why your needs aren't being met. Sex is very psychological, and even a man that is feeling unloved by his wife can have a decreased sexual urge (toward her, anyhow).
However, keep this in mind. A man who has had his sexual needs met will be less likely to notice other women, so I figure if that there has to be a VERY good reason not to give when he asks. Of course, since there aren't any issues in our relationship at the moment, it is a mutually wonderful experience, but even if it weren't, knowing that I am helping to "affair-proof" our marriage is a big motivation to give the best I have.
I don't know if you are a Christian or not, but if you are, keep in mind that your husband cannot fulfill all of your needs. No human can. But God can, if you will let Him.
Hope this helps.
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S.T. answers from San Diego on October 15, 2008
I have been married twice now. And this issue has come up in both marriages. I give and do SO MUCH and then sometimes feel unnappreciated, taken for granted, etc.
So the first time around I told my first husband how I felt and he demeaned and belittled my emotions. He was an abusive, selfish man. We were married for eleven LONG years. And now, after years of therapy, I see that I did, indeed marry the wrong guy for the wrong reasons. I read Dr. Phil and did everything I could for that marriage and it DID NOT WORK.
But now I have been married to the best man I have ever met for 18 mos. We have FIVE kids collectively. And things get crazy at our house. But when I tell him how I am feeling HE LISTENS. We talk and talk and talk. And then we have sex. Because we both feel connected. I absolutely AGREE WITH YOU. If you are not feeling like he understands/ hears you, takes you for granted, etc... you should not have sex. He'll think everything is fine. What is the motivation to do anything differently for him? It depends on what your issues are and the man.
Time to get some couple's counseling. Write him a letter if you feel like he is tuning you out when you are trying to tell him how you feel. You must connect in the ways that feel right to you. Don't dismiss your needs and feelings, because it will cause resentment. Get all of the deeper issues out in the open, before it's too late.
A.B. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
Coming from a psych major, future therapist, there should always be give and take. You are PARTNERS! You're right, women give a lot. But there is no reason your spouse can't give too. Sex is supposed to be about 2 people sharing something beautiful together. I just got divorced for a myriad of reasons, but eventually there will be emotional burnout if you are never given the attention you need. I would highly recommend some professional help since you mentioned there are some deeper issues at hand. Good luck!
T.T. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
As a woman, I know I have physical needs as well. In fact, I am often the initiator of intimacy, because I want it! But, I also need it to be complete and that for me means caressing, stroking, words, and more than just 'the act'. My husband almost always takes care to see that I am fullfilled and brought to pleasure before seeking his own. That is what a loving relationship is about. I would have concerns for anyone who's partner is selfish in this way. It has been difficult for me in the past, but I have come to realize that communication is the true key. If he knows what I like and what I need and what is working or not, then he is better equipped to make me happy. Women often have hesitation is speaking up to their lover, and you cannot assume that they are going to know or will get it. It does go both ways, but there is a large percentage of the male population who could use some lessons in loving. I do not feel that withholding the physical intimacy will cause forward progress in your issue. My hunnie just gets crankier and harder to deal with, if he wants/needs it and isnt getting it. Try some 'exercises' to increase intimacy - get a little wild and crazy, expand your horizons from things you maybe would not have tried before. Blindfold him and feed him with your fingers, different items and have him guess what they are.... blood orange, whipped cream, exotic fruits, etc. Try a stroking session - where you just touch - all over the body, run your fingers through his hair, tease those sensitive parts, and make sure he knows that it is expected for him to return the favor. Set an eggtimer in the beginning if you must. If he loves you - he should WANT to know what turns you on and what will make you happy, cause.... if Mama ain't happy.... Ain't Nobody Happy! Good luck, best wishes!
S.S. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
I agree with Laura U and many other responders. My husband & I have struggled with this as well but what really helped me to understand him more was reading a book by Dr Laura called: "The proper care & feeding of husbands". Whether you agree with how she says or does things on her radio show (which sometimes I do & sometimes I don't) her book had invaluable insight for me to really understand how much sex and emotional connectivity are intertwined for men. It helped me to see that my husband wanting sex had very little to do with a physical need most of the time but rather had much more to do with an emotional need for being with me akin to me wanting a hug or a conversation with him. When I finally "got" that, it became so much easier for me to willingly be intimate even if I didn't "feel" like it that much in the moment. I was now able to overcome a sense of resentment and instead, help to create the mood by realizing that I was offering him something so precious and vitally important for our relationship. I know how hard it can be to get there and it definitely is a 2 way street, but I agree that it is a great place to start and that, most often, the change in your husband will be phenomenal very quickly. My husband always says that men are simple: if they have good food in their tummy and intimacy with their wives, they will pretty much be willing to deliver us the moon on a silver platter! I've definitely found that to be true! Take care!
J.R. answers from Eugene on October 16, 2008
First of all I would COMMUNITCATE! With words! Tell him how you feel. Believe me, he can't read your mind and will be very thankful if you just spell it out for him. If you're not "feeling it" tell him why. He can't fix what he doesn't know about.
If he won't hear you out or is cold or unfeeling, then maybe y'all have deeper issues and might do well going to counselling.
Hope this helps!
S.W. answers from Medford on October 15, 2008
That is a very hard question that most women deal with. We as men and women are soooo much different. I think our problem as women is we don't make it known to our men that we need the emotional attention and they are clueless!!!!!! It is something we need to demand. And I am very bad at that also. But if we don't we won't get what we need. But we have to remember that they need thier part too!
K.G. answers from Portland on October 16, 2008
Make a list of what attracted you to your husband in the first place then make a list of what gets on your nerves now and I bet they are the same things in just a different perspective for example friendly and talkative could be looked at as flirtatious or something like that. Ok so the next person will see the positive spin on things, not the negative, you have made it negative. I have been married 12 years and with my husband for 14, I have the advantage of being separated early on every other year for military deployments, both of us had them, and it made us very good at communication, we talk about things as they bother us and it makes all the difference in the world, we don't always agree but we are different people and shouldn't be the same but we respect that we have differences. Now my marraige isn't perfect for everyone but it works for us and we don't want to be with anyone else, I think if you have thoughts like that then it is time to split up. As far as sex goes, I am not always in the mood at first but I know we need that intimacy and men really do associate it with how much we love them so by the time we get to the actual act I am glad we did it. My husband satifies me first with foreplay. Oh and we hardly ever have sex at night, we are too tired so it is a morning or afternoon thing. We are on a once a week at least schedule, we were in the once a month rut but that is too long to not connect. We did the long stretches when we were deployed for months at a time.
I can't help but wonder if you are deficient in vitamins and minerals and are making yourself depressed, I was after having kids because of the chemical changes that take place and a poor diet, check your diet and take a look at your tongue, if it isn't smooth and has no cracks down the middle or circles on the sides then you are deficient. I would start with zinc for libido, it takes 6 months to restore levels. Oh and a B-complex for energy.
Does you daughter have an early enough bedtime to give you and your spouse time together without her under foot or do you take advantage of naptime on the weekends. Don't take all of that time to do chores, take some of it for each other.
We also do not have a TV in our bedroom anymore and that is nice because it can be a distraction from intimacy.
I agree with some of the others that you need to change how you look at things. I wish you luck and remember communication is key.
B.L. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
Giving in to yet another need of your spouse's is not akin to neglecting your own needs. Rather, meeting your spouse's needs is like filling up your gas tank. You need to get somewhere, and your car needs gas to do it. Men can't run for very long with sex. Sex IS AN EMOTIONAL NEED for men. If they can't dock their boat with you, then you'll be stranded on an island.
Also, please don't take this wrong, but make sure that your job isn't getting in the way of you meeting your family's needs. If your job leaves you too tired to be there for your husband, then you should find a different one, or better yet, quit and stay home with your kid so you can meet your husband at the door with a big smooch every night.
K.W. answers from Portland on October 17, 2008
Never neglect your own needs. That's starving the goose that lays the golden eggs. How can you be of much use to your family when you're all played out?
That said, I am a big fan of compromise. Your husband needs to know that you are struggling to find balance, and that sometimes you are just not able to respond intimately.
Even if you had no other issues in your relationship, being a full-time parent of an infant is exhausting on so many levels. I have struggled with being "touched out"--too much physical contact with my child sometimes makes it hard for me to accept any from my spouse.
You didn't say you were going to hold out until he did the dishes. You didn't specify what it is that would make you feel fulfilled. So I join those who recommend _The Five Love Languages_ by Chapman. Really. I dislike self-help books and have no time for Oprah, Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil. But this book really does frame it in a useful way and help guide you through simple steps that can be made immediately. And the author has several case studies of people who were really set in their ways, really deeply mired in behaviors that they were absolutely sure could never ever be changed--but then things got better! Please do take a look at it; it's a very quick read.
Best wishes and blessings to you both.
M.M. answers from Seattle on October 15, 2008
If you feel all right about being physically intimate with your spouse when things are not going too well, then go ahead. You need to make sure that it is not going to make you feel resentful though. If it will, don't do it as it will just make your relationship worse.
I have heard and read that if you fulfill your husband's need for sex, then he will do just about anything for you and will fulfill your emotional needs as well. That does not always work! Personal experience! I have found that if I can express what it is that I need to help fulfill my needs, then my husband has something specific that he can do. It is very hard to be that specific, but it helps him have something that he can check off his list.
Most of all, you must make time for each other, even if it is just being in the same room with each other without other distractions, especially you daughter. Hard to do, but really necessary.
B.G. answers from Eugene on October 15, 2008
I certainly don't have this one totally figured out yet, but one thing that has definately helped my marraige is for me to TRY to understand my husband. As your posting suggests, you understand that men and women need different things and a woman's definition for a romantic or emotionally fulfilling evening is rarely the same as a man's. I read the Five Love Languages, which was suggested to you by some other readers, but I really think an even better resource is 'For Women Only' by Shaunti Feldhahn. The author is a Christian, but her data is based on polls and interviews of a wide demographic and the information is totally applicable, regardless of your personal beliefs.
Like a lot of people said, you are really only responsible for yourself, and since that is all you can control anyways you might as well start there. Of course, a marraige takes two committed parties, so if after some time you are still not getting your needs met--try the novel approach, talk to him! :) Just make sure that the conversation focuses more on the differences between men and women in general terms, and less on accusations. Good Luck!
L.W. answers from Bellingham on October 15, 2008
I totally recommend reading "Sacred Marriage" and/or "Sacred Influence" by Gary Thomas. They both have amazing insight into marriage and what God designed it to be.
S.B. answers from Portland on October 15, 2008
It looks like you need to fix the relationship with in your self before it can be chainged from with out. Remember that sex is 95% in the mind. The phisical part can be taken care of in a number of ways. It looks like you are wanting the endorfin fix that makes one feel good and that is a chemical that does that. Like any drug that makes us feel good the body craves it and that is what addiction is about, that fix.
Inorder to fix the relationship both you and your partner need to be OK as an indivdual and than come together and the magic will happen. It is not something that can be forced or put off or ignored, It just happens when things are right in both partisipants. If one is not ok than what ever happens is not ok and will build resentments. Good communications is the Key with not only the partner but with the SELF. You fix you and he fix he and than become a WE.
J.B. answers from Medford on October 15, 2008
I still recommend the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
If his primary love language is physical touch, then he will feel loved and respond more positively to your needs. You might try to discover his primary love language and "speak" that to him and see if he responds by speaking yours. He would have to know what that is though or he will try to speak his own primary love language. Work with that untill you read the book. It is a must read. I hope you get this resolved and have a wonerful marriage.