What to do when sex has been out of the relationship for a long time?

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Submitted by Hekate on
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Hi Everyone.
Im a Spanish female, now 54, My partner is 45...from a different culture and nationality.(perhaps this has its own influence too)
Forgive my spelling please.
I have been with my partner for ten years which is a record if we take into account the circumstances...perhaps credit my anxious/insecure way of attaching to the persistence...he is very avoidant and yes, he used to watch porn and masturbate.
At the beginning he was very passionate with me but love and affection were snubbed out. then afterm e insisting in going to some seminar affection and sharing emotions came into the picture and he started rejecting me sexually saying he wasn't attracted to me any more, maybe he was gay...in the midst of all this there was always memories of an old ex and first girlfriend and very strange communication patterns that i do not find strange any more as i became acquainted with Attachment Theory and through one of the books on this theory with Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, Marnia and Will's book.
For some miraculous reason we have kept in contact and we meet at weekends as we have dogs and cats that we both care for.During our encounters there are some hugs, holding hands,but anything more intimate has been rebuffed. He keeps in touch with some exes online and he has a 'friend' of the oppssite sex that according to him 'is nothing going on'...just the emotional betrayal feels big to me. In the middle of all about a year ago he got involved with a woman...( a very unhealthy looking woman..)but he soon broke it up as he said he 'was torn' between the two of us. In our relationship there has been much talk, about patterns, child abuse, porn addiction, orientation...and much drama as i became increasingly insecure with his rejections and changes that i now start to suspect had to do with his 'solo' practices and possible porn. I also used to masturbate but much less often and was lots more interested in touch as i have tried tantra in a safe enviromnt(no orgasm)and it was so energizing i always wanted to create more of the bonding connection that of the 'mating' type.
Recently i managed to convince him to read 'Avoidant' a book about his attachment type that he immediately said he could relate to and your book fell in my hands...than i talked to him about it...but with sex out the equation i dont know if we can ever repair nor reunite or completely recycle this relationship....Sorry for going on. The type of intimacy you describe is what i always have wanted in my life...i feel tearful as im writing..perhaps I'm skin hungry...perhaps it is much deeper than skin but i do not know what path to take wether to let it all collapse, try to invite him to become acquainted with this or anything else...any advise??/
Warm Regard

Hi Hekate

Welcome. I'm sorry for what you've been through.

Would your partner be willing to give up porn for a few months to see if his attachment style changes? If so, I wonder if you could just suggest the two of you take three weeks and do the Exchanges from the back of my book.

It might "kill two birds with one stone," because it's easier to give up porn when one has daily affection. See Karezza is for addicts (too)

Maybe your partner would like to spend some time at www.yourbrainonporn.com. That's the site where we put everything we've learned about internet porn use.

Update and getting slightly better.

Hi Marnia.
Soo so thankful for your fast response.
My partner assured me that he left porn alone a few months ago.In fact i sent him a video of your husband about a year ago and that already had some impact...(didnt know you were related by then nor did i know about your book) next has been masturbation...a couple of weeks ago he stopped . He also started to read 'Cupid's Poisoned Arrow' and found it extremely interesting though he reads quite slower than i do ( i devoured the whole book in a week, he is in chapter five...now im re reading it slowlier). He says he finds the whole idea of sex with me quite alien at this stage (we haven't had sex since Sept 2013) but we just spent the three last days New Years Eve and New year together. I have held him a good bit, we have held hands and cuddled in a non sexual way. We have managed to get over hostilities much easier than before though it hasnt been perfect. He said he's not sure he can do the exchanges...as stated before the idea of sex with me again seems weird to him...we do not live together but we meet every weekend. Wonder how to go about it but for now cuddling and massaging shoulders and eye contact at weekends is as much as I believe he can handle. So what i notice is that even the reading of the first five chapters of your book and two weeks without masturbation have made some small difference...we talk about the dopamine effect ( He hasnt reached the oxitocin bit and makes jokes about how much i mention it) and i see that more often he 'sees' me rather than 'the enemy'though he still is quite avoidant and i insecure I just hold fast on the hope that Karezza may in the end heal our old wounds and attachment styles and 'win the day'. Is good to be here and very comforting to see that other people have made it...Thanks and a very Happy New year to all.

My guess is

that you will have to slow way down and be very patient. This is actually huge progress, but it is clearly going to take some time for his nervous system to "re-think" things. (Obviously, this happens at a level way below thinking, so that's not the ideal word.)

Meanwhile, do your best to stay busy, look to your friends for support, and enjoy the journey - doing the bonding behaviors whenever you can in a relaxed way. They don't have to be for a long time per session to work. That way, you won't inadvertently push him faster than he can go.

Sounds like he's keeping an open mind, which is a very good first step!

Thank You

Thank You Marnia for your fast responses....
I hear you. And as much as i can ill take it easy. I do get triggered into panic and grief sometimes as it has been a long story of loss in my life and also in this relationship...but I hear you and I do keep busy, i have good friends within the community, people i can talk honestly with, who give great hugs when needed and lend a listening ear...We also do synchronised meditation most nights so that is a nice bonding behavior too. Theres a good bit to learn still. Early days. Many blessings

Flu break

Its amazing how just simple hugs and touch and listening worked magic for a couple of weeks. suddenly he was more affectionate and interested and in better humour with me. He even came and held me from behind when i was in the kitchen a couple of times!!!! He knows i love this so this was very positive. He also was open. Then he got the flu and two weeks late i got it too...Im still in bed with it...these four weeks being sick we havent touched or bonded much...thank god for the dogs and kitty!!!The difference is huge between touch and no touch . With no touch grumpyness prevails and the avoidant gremlin is out. I think also he is going through the P and Mb rebooting solo and its gone from feast to famine...which i think is quite dangerous. He told me that 'it hurt' a couple of times...i talked to him...said this was frequent and that he had been 'solo' long enough. That if he told me i could hold him and comfort him...I have suggested the sites YBOP /Reboot nation etc but he is not going for it...at first he said it was enough sharing with me but i feel that more support is needed...just sharing my journey and thoughts here as i worry...and there is not many people i can talk to about this...( guess my friends were not that open to the idea and i lost a long time friend by sharing it...she was angry and the tought of monogamy!!!)
thanks for being there.

Sorry things have been tough

but it doesn't sound hopeless. There are ups and downs in every recovery, and you two have a bumpy history.

A lot of people who are intially hostile to the ideas come around eventually. Just never push.

It's understandable that she got angry. When you've adapted to an upside down situation, it's annoying to have that pointed out. Biggrin

Hope you feel better soon.

You made me laugh!

A good laugh! Oxitocin laugh!!!
yes...my friend has been very upside down for a long time but in the last months alcohol and funny affairs are taking hold of her...i think i bumped into 'the addictive supply' and she did get as angry as the godfather before court day.
Yes i have to be careful with my partner and yes its not hopeless...in fact even without karezza exchanges and with touch deprivation we managed to give each other the flu...and i can be a pushy bulldog ( I blame Mars in Aries which is very convenient lol) This is not very Karezza-like unless i'm playing rumble tumble with my K nines...where are the cute smilies? Smile
Thank You Big Oxitocin lady! Smile

Keeping a sense of humor

is vital where human sexuality is involved.

Only moderators have access to the secret smilies. I've tried to get my webmaster to change that, but he thinks it unadvisable because they come as part of a package with other "powers" that are risky to make universally available. Don't ask me what!

Tough Going

Its been a while.
After 2 heavenly weeks where my partner seemed to have accepted Cupid's views on PO hangover and its effect in our lives, followed almost three weeks of flue, no much touch and a lot of distance.
Through so much effort i tried to reconnect again. He kept saying it didnt feel right though sometimes he did open up a bit. Avoidance of closeness kept creeping in. I explained that if we didnt engage in bonding cues we were going to lose the positive effects we had gained previously. One weekend we did the famous 36 questions for intimacy and we both got some closeness after it.
Following weekend we met, he was open and warm evn accepting the possibility of living together again in the summer. Within the first hour of our encounter he announced rather cheerily that he had MB during the week and it was 'great'. I wish i could hide my emotional reactions better but this felt much like a camel's hoof in the gut. He said that he didnt think it was going to upset me...but then, we did have an agreement to try the concepts in Cupid's Poisoned arrow for a while... Knowing his history i went into 'worst case scenario' mode'and imagined the whole cycle restarting...the P addiction The Mb the hangover and refusal to touch or hug...the lack of attraction for me...i felt pretty frustrated and i cried. He was angry then at my reaction. It mended after a few hours but the comment 'this book is now your Bible' keeps pounding in my head. He says that if after one and a half month of no MB i was going to be upset about it he is no superman etc...I thought he had absorbed the concepts of Karezza much better. I feel like im back to square one...I feel like i'm too rigid...but given the history i dont know what to think any more...Feel pretty hopeless today.

As I said,

this is a big adjustment and these kinds of experiments are all part of the learning curve. But just be aware that one MB often leads to more. It's called "the chaser." Do You Need A Chaser After Sex? So don't be surprised.

It's hard for someone, who has just voluntarily dimmed his perception of you without realizing it, to understand that it's not the act of masturbation that's upsetting, it's the potential loss of intimacy. He's now feeling and perceiving differently, so that message can't be delivered just now.

Tears are no use, and will only make the situation worse. When you're both calmer, simply ask him what his plans are. If frequnt ejaculation is his top priority, tell him you're willing to try again if that should change - and then choose to make the relationship more superficial for now. Better to grieve and move on than torment you both.

He had a taste of increased intimacy. That may be enough for him to reconsider later. Force and manipulation are useless...unless you want to be plastered with his projections that you are trying to "steal his sexual pleasure." Biology is very convincing, especially during that post-O period. Also, read this: http://www.reuniting.info/science/what_shamu_taught_me_about_happy_marriage

Let us know how it goes.



Tears happen alot

I dont know if im oversensitive but when i feel this abismal distance i just feel chocked and in very big pain...i do cry,not as a means of manipulating but because it is so painful. if I hadnt ever experienced the connection i would have given up many years ago but this on off connect avoid yoyo dance has lef tme in a situation where i feel completely helpless...

Yes, it's heartrending

But we have to accept that not everyone is on the same page at the same time in this process.

Are you keeping busy? Getting support from your friends?

Nothing stays the same, so don't catastrophize. Wait with optimism.

If you need reassurance, try the oracle (bottom left).

*big hug*

Doing the best i can

As far as i can. I work away from home and friends three days a week and this is Ireland a very small place with not much people for me. When i come back to the west i do have a supportive friend and the doggies..Yes, the Oracle is good. I am heading to an old support group and for a walk with the furries . Lots of petting.
Thanks for the hug Marnia. Hugely appreciated.