A Broken Leg

A man was working on his roof and fell off, breaking his leg. He was able to drag himself into the house, and sat on the couch. His cell phone was lost, and the only other phone in the house was his wife’s. He begged her to call 911 so his leg could be treated.

She told him that his leg could wait, but she would be happy to bake him a cake. He cried and begged her to get treatment for his extremely painful broken leg. So she turned on the TV, and brought him his favorite drink, iced tea with lime. He still complained about the pain of his broken leg. So she made him a BLT, his favorite sandwich. He still was screaming in pain about his broken leg. So she put on a dress that she knew that he liked. And still, he would not shut up about his broken leg! Finally she told him, “Is your broken leg all you think about?”

Finally, a woman who lived next door heard his screams of pain and came in to ask what all the yelling was about. When she saw the look of pain on his face and his leg turned at an unnatural angle, she immediately called 911, showed the paramedics where he was, and rode with him to the ER.

As the ambulance drove away, his wife thought, “I wonder why he would leave with her when I did all of those wonderful things for him?”

Her husband never came back.

No, He/She is NOT a Good Spouse!

I regularly read/post on message boards about sexless marriages. It is very common for a new poster to say something along the lines of “He/she is such a wonderful husband/wife, but…” Then the person will continue saying that the husband or wife just has little interest in sex. Sometimes, the person will say that he/she has begged the refusing cheater for sex, but the response is less than stellar.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!!
Society has no problem whatsoever condemning a spouse who has sex with someone outside marriage. However, when it comes to refusing sex in marriage, society is totally silent. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because people are afraid to discuss sex in marriage. This is really sad, because sex is discussed on television on a daily basis.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!
Sex is an essential part of marriage. Period. When a refusing cheater ends the sex life, the marriage is gone. The refusing cheater is as unfaithful as he/she would be if he/she was banging the housekeeper or yard man. The refusing cheater is no longer a spouse. The only thing left to do is to make official what the refusing cheater has made effective.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!
Anyone who says that a marriage can be happy or fulfilling without sex is wrong. It is very likely that that person’s spouse is very unhappy, but is unable or unwilling to make his or her wishes known. The refused spouse will spend weeks, months or years in frustration, hoping that he/she can continue to stand the misery.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!
When a person gets married, he/she has signed up for monogamy, not celibacy. If you expect your spouse to live with no sex, limited sex, or transactional sex, you are no longer in a marriage. You might as well stop fooling yourself.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!
If your spouse has become a refusing cheater, you may think that if you jump through the right hoops, in the right order, or anticipate the refusing cheater’s needs, you will eventually be rewarded with sex. I am sorry to tell you, but you are acting like a trained sea lion. The refusing cheater is using what is called intermittent reinforcement. If you notice, the trained sea lion does not get a dead fish every single time he performs the right behavior, but only on occasion. This is actually more effective than consistent reinforcement because the seal never knows what behavior will be rewarded. So the poor animal is constantly doing things in the hope that he will get a dead fish.

A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES SEX IS NOT A GOOD SPOUSE!
So your refusing cheater has become the controller of your behavior. Fortunately, you are NOT a trained sea lion, you are a thinking, reasoning person who can break free from this toxic relationship. You can remind yourself that you got married with the reasonable explanation of being sexually fulfilled in marriage. You can tell your refusing cheater that you no longer accept this treatment. And lastly, you can get out of this abusive relationship.

I hope you don’t ever look for a sermon in any church talking about sexual refusal being a sin because you will never find it.

Choreplay!

Ever heard the word? It is a combination of “chore” and “foreplay.” The idea is that if you do enough tasks for the refusing cheater, he/she will eventually feel like having sex.

If you have been married to a refusing cheater for any length of time, you are probably very familiar with this dynamic. The refused spouse will make a comment about how he/she is not satisfied with the frequency or quality of sex in the marriage, and in response, the refusing cheater will say that if the refused spouse would just bring flowers, make compliments, do housework, get breast implants, be sexier, try something new, etc., then the refusing cheater might feel like having sex more often or in the manner requested.

At first, the refused spouse is overjoyed! He/she now has the key to unlocking the sexuality of the refusing cheater and will finally be fulfilled. All he/she has to do is to complete the list that the refusing cheater has constructed, and he/she will be sexually fulfilled!

So the refused spouse gets to work. He/she dutifully completes each item on the list. As one item is completed, he/she looks to the refusing cheater to see if sex is going to happen. However, he/she is met with looks of disdain or disapproval. So the refused spouse works harder. He/she gets every item on the list done and is finally rewarded with sex! Even if it is not enthusiastic and fulfilling, it is better than no sex at all. Now the refused spouse understands. All he/she has to do is to continue to complete the items on the list! This will work!

However, after a while, he/she finds that the list has changed. And worse, the list was changed without the refusing cheater notifying the refused spouse that it changed. The refusing cheater just refuses, and when the refused spouse asks why, the refusing cheater just says that there are other tasks the refused spouse must complete before being blessed with sex. The refused spouse becomes disappointed again.

But the refused spouse trudges on. Every day, he/she checks with the refusing cheater to see more tasks have been added. Sometimes, sex happens, and sometimes, it does not. At some point the refused spouse is frustrated and asks why sex is not happening when the tasks are being completed. The refusing cheater then responds that the tasks were not done flawlessly, or that the refused spouse did the tasks with the wrong attitude. Then the refusing cheater will accuse the refused spouse of only doing the tasks for sex. The refused spouse then scratches his/her head in confusion.

What has happened here is called a conditioned response. The refusing cheater was able to shape the refused spouse’s behavior by using behavior modification. By using sex as the reward, then insisting on new and different behaviors to achieve the reward, the refusing cheater was able to get the refused spouse to perform just like a trained sea lion.

Fortunately, human beings are more intelligent than trained sea lions. After a while, the refused spouse may begin to realize that he/she has been manipulated into performing tasks on demand. Then resentment begins to creep in. And if the manipulation continues, the refused spouse may decide that enough is enough. It is very similar to a trained elephant who finally realizes that he/she is stronger than any chains that the trainer can use to restrain him or her. The refused spouse is likely to break his/her bonds and do whatever it takes to get away from the refusing cheater.

As always, if you want to hear about the dangers of sexual refusal in marriage, stay away from any church because you will never hear about it there.

Is It About Control?

So if you have read a lot of my blog, or other writings about the refusing cheater, this may have occurred to you. This may sound really shocking, but the spouse who wants sex the least is in the position to be in total control of the sexual relationship. Seems kind of strange, doesn’t it? But it many marriages, it is very true.

The spouse with the higher libido lives at the mercy of the lower libido spouse. Unless, of course, the higher libido spouse forces the issue, but this is very rare in marriages that last longer than a few years. The HL spouse has to hope that when he/she initiates, that the LL spouse will finally be in the mood. But if the LL spouse is not in the mood, the HL spouse is in for disappointment.

So the HL spouse is constantly wondering if he/she will be rejected. The HL spouse has a legitimate need that should be fulfilled in marriage, but has no control over when or if it will ever be met. If the LL spouse is a caring, giving person, the HL spouse is very fortunate because the LL spouse will want to see the partner fulfilled.

However, if the LL spouse is not a giving person, or has any manipulative characteristics at all, the HL spouse is going to be living a nightmare. The LL spouse can control the HL spouse by doling out sexual contact at limited times, and only under limited circumstances. The LL spouse can only have sex when he/she wants and if the HL spouse does not comply with the prerequisites, then the HL spouse will be left out in the cold.

And if the HL spouse does not comply with the demands of the LL spouse, then he/she will be accused of being “insensitive” or “uncaring.” The LL spouse can then use these accusations against the HL spouse to further limit any sexual interaction. And when sexual interactions do occur, the LL spouse can characterize him/herself as very “giving” because he/she is willing to engage in sex even though the HL spouse is such an insensitive/uncaring person.

So the downward cycle will continue until the HL spouse is beaten down to the point where he/she will do ANYTHING for the distant hope that the LL spouse will drop just a simple crumb of sexual contact. The HL spouse is very angry and resentful, but he/she hides his/her resentment for fear of being completely and total cut off from all sex by the all-powerful LL spouse.

After several years of this, one of two things happens. Either the HL spouse becomes a shell of a person, with anger spilling out at inopportune times, or the HL spouse finally realizes that the LL spouse only has the power that the HL spouse has given him/her, and takes it back by leaving or finding someone else. At that time the LL spouse will claim total surprise and innocence, saying he/she has just been the best spouse he/she can, and had no idea why the other spouse had enough.

As usual, don’t hold your breath waiting to hear this in any church, because it will never be said.

But What About…?

I don’t know about all sexless marriages, but I heard this kind of thing many times from my refusing cheater:
1) What if I got sick and couldn’t have sex?
2) What if I was physically unable to have sex?
3) You just married me for sex!

Do you notice any commonalities in the above three items? There may be many, but the one that seems to stick out to me is that each of the three totally ignores the fact that the refusing cheater is depriving the refused spouse of a normal and reasonable expectation of marriage, and shifts the blame to the refused spouse.

Because none of the above items are questions, I am going to refer to them as statements. Assume that each statement is in response to the refused spouse’s expression of being disappointed at the lack of sex in the marriage…

“What if I got sick and couldn’t have sex?”

This statement deflects the issue, which is the lack of sex, and brings up a totally unrelated topic. If sickness is the issue, then the first thing to do is to see a doctor and take all steps to resolve the sickness. However, because sickness is not the issue, it is a blatant attempt to shift the focus of the problem onto the refused spouse. What the refusing cheater is doing is very telling. He/she is making it clear that he/she does not care about the refused spouse’s feelings and will not discuss them.

“What if I was physically unable to have sex?”

Again, the “what if” statement that begins this rhetorical question clearly shows that a physical condition is NOT the reason for the refusal. Why would the refusing cheater even bring this up? Simply because the refusing cheater is trying to shift the focus from his/her negative behavior to an imagined shortcoming of the refused spouse. IF this was the issue, then the condition needs to be confirmed by a doctor, and all medical solutions need to be explored. Unless this has been done, saying this is irrelevant.

“You just married me for sex!”

This is the most insidious of all the three comments. It completely ignores and degrades the refused spouse’s need for sexual fulfillment. Beyond that, it accuses the refused spouse of being uncaring because he/she is requesting the fulfillment of a legitimate expectation of marriage. It is also a judgment by the refusing cheater on the refused spouse. The refusing cheater is implying that if the refused spouse married with the expectation of sex, that there is something wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with expecting sex in marriage, and there is something wrong with a person who things that this expectation is wrong.

If you are a refusing cheater, you should stop making these kinds of statements if you want to preserve your marriage.

When Is It Enough?

I am just writing a note about my situation. I have been separated from my refusing cheater for over 7 months now. I still enjoy being able to come home and know that there is no way I will be yelled at or berated in any way. I am able to do much better at work, and my friends have commented that I seem so much happier and content. I am exercising regularly, and I feel so much better.

So you may be asking what the problem is. For some reason, I am having a hard time telling my lawyer to go ahead & get the divorce filed. He is a very good person, and a very good friend. His charges are very reasonable, and I know he will be able to resolve the divorce quickly. But I still find myself being hesitant. I have seen my refusing cheater on a few occasions, and she has been fairly pleasant, but the sight of her still puts my stomach in knots. It is the same feeling I used to get before going out onto the football field knowing that I was about to get into a physical confrontation.

I have had the chance to discuss my situation with many friends, both male and female. When I tell them about the forced celibacy and verbal abuse, all of them, without exception, are appalled and cannot believe that I stayed with my refusing cheater for so long. I also spoke to a long time good friend who told me that I just have too much compassion to let go easily.

But then a friend suggested that I consider attending a Codependent’s Anonymous group. There is one in the town where I live, and I went for the first time last weekend. It really made a huge impact on me. I am starting to realize that my refusing cheater can only affect me if I let her. I already knew this intellectually, but I am starting to realize it emotionally. I just have to work through my hesitance to finalize things and let her go.

As usual, don’t expect to ever hear from a pulpit that when you have had enough abuse from a spouse, it is ok to walk away.