Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
A good idea? [Titled edited by MNHQ at the request of the OP](99 Posts)
Our story is long and I tried to type it all out the other night but lost it when I tried to post so I will try to summarise...
Basically, dh and I have been having difficulties for several years. We've had counselling jointly and me individually. This has helped me enormously but we don't seem to be able to break through whatever is the real problem.
Dh thinks the main problem is that we don't have sex often enough. he describes it as the glue that keeps the relationship together, the third leg of the stool, etc, etc. I understand that he is frustrated but his very neediness is one of the things that turns me off completely. There are very specific things he does that I really don't like, have told him many, many times but every time we have sex or he tries to initiate sex, he does them. Why is that? Passive aggressive behaviour? He says he can't help himself.
After a dreadful episode on holiday last week where dh woke me in the night and was so desperate for sex that I ended up giving him a hj whilst almost in tears, he has suggested that we should think about a sex contract. He sent me links to read about it and I have spent the last week thinking about it and everything else.
Will it make things any better? I have a horrible fear that it will make things much worse. He thinks it's all about my lack of libido and that I am deliberately withholding sex from him (and from myself) to punish him. I don't think I am but all my thoughts are going round in circles and I'm at the point of wondering whether I am being unfair or even abusive towards him. Perhaps I need to try this contract idea? It scares me though.
Does anyone have any experience of such a contract?
it's like ripping a plaster. Not nice at the time but will soon be over. I hope your counselling today is helpful.
Things at home are ok. No further forward. Still in spare room, still not really talking, being polite towards one another. Neither of us wants to start the conversation. I think we're both scared how it will go.
I have my counselling appointment tomorrow and we are going out in the evening. It all feels a bit unreal. Normal but not normal.
I have been looking at things I have written down over the last few years and can see that nothing has really changed. It's time to start thinking about separation... I think he'll take it really badly but i think it's what he's expecting. I know once I've said it there will be no going back so I have to be absolutely sure. Bloody hell.
How are you today OP? How are things at home?
OP - I confess I've only read your OP but felt I had to reply. How on earth can this man be seen as decent and kind and loving if he has no qualms what-so-ever about making you do things that you don't want to do? How is he getting any enjoyment out of that? I get the immediate feeling that there's something not quite right in his psyche to be perfectly okay with having his wife nearly in tears just so he can get his own jollies.
So sorry you are in this situation.
I'm so saddened by your situation. Please don't feel pressured into doing something you're not 100% happy with.
I can imagine all this pressure coming from him is a complete turn off and only makes the situation worse.
Have you considered dating your DH, like starting again and trying to get to know one another? Everyday life can wear you down and you can lose sight of who you are and indeed what you see in each other. Perhaps going on a few dates may help you open up and communicate more easily.
You are doing the right thing.
Just to update as requested...
No more mention has been made of the contract. We were supposed to be having more talks this weekend but have both kept ourselves really busy and have been avoiding any communication. I particularly don't want to talk as I'm not ready to say it's over though I think that's that I want. I just can't face the repercussions in terms of endless talking and tears and recriminations... I also want to speak with the counsellor, and maybe also a lawyer.
I have slept in spare room for 2 nights and will again tonight. So nice to have the bed to myself.
Thanks again for all your posts and concern, especially those who have shared their own experiences. I really appreciate it and they have helped me take a more honest look at my own situation. I am hoping I will have the strength to sort out this mess properly.
I'm sorry but if my Dh presented me with something like that the only thing I'd be signing would be divorce papers. Fucked up on so many levels.
OP slightly worried for you. could you please come back and just let us know that you emerged from the contract negotiation unscathed. not wanting to pry into the details of he said she said (unless of course you want to sound off).
Just want to know you are ok and that h did not blow a fuse when you did not want to go along with his plan.
My XH used to wake me up for sex, and expect it every night. A few times I shrugged him off because it was 1am and I was knackered. He took this as a huge rejection. Even when I said I was tired.
He would also touch me when DD was on the bed watching tv on a Sunday morning. This made me very uncomfortable as I did not feel it was appropriate with 4yo DD in the room and he took it as huge rejection when I said No Way.
Any sex that you are not comfortable with is wrong.
I'm glad you can see through the contract. It was all about him, there was nothing there for you....
Ummm "not" instead of "big" obviously.
2. The reason that you find him such a turn off and the reason you feel anxious and tense are the same reason - it's because he doesn't make you feel safe. In fact it's the exact opposite, he deliberately does stuff you don't like (even if it seems innoccuous) and he's constantly pushing/pestering at your boundaries by saying things like "it's torture" and making his sexual tension your responsibility. Nobody would feel relaxed and sexy in this situation, really, nobody. You are not abnormal in the slightest.
4. Can you not see how staggering it is that you even have to have this conversation? Sex which isn't fully consensual is rape.
I am glad you are sleeping in the spare room tonight and I hope you enjoy a night free of pestering/guilt. I'm sorry you're in this situation in your marriage, just know that this really isn't the way it should be. Do you mind me asking if you were quite young when you got together, perhaps in your teens?
God yes I've had the its agony lying next to you and big being able to touch you bollocks too.
I think it's 1 of the most manipulative things which can be said.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks everybody for posting. Your opinions have been very useful. I was shocked by how dreadful most posters have found our situation but I needed to hear that and it has made me think a lot more about what is actually going on.
I have taken from all your comments several things -
1. What he did that night was wrong.
2. I need still to think about why I find physical contact with him such a turn off and why I feel so anxious and tense.
3. I need to be honest about my feelings for him.
4. I won't be signing any contract. I am open to some sort of discussion where we are agree that all sexual contact has to be completely consensual.
I was sitting at work today thinking how unreal it seems to be considering ending my marriage. We have been together for many years, almost half my life, but sometimes I feel I don't know him at all.
He has been pretty freaked out by me this week as I have asked for some space to think about things. He asked me this morning if it was because of what happened on holiday. I told him one of the most upsetting things about that night was not just what happened but that he doesn't even seem to see it as wrong. He was very contrite and promised that it would never happen again. He said also that it is torture to lie beside me in bed and not be able to touch me. Well, it's not much fun for me either. I feel so tense and anxious. So I am decamping to the spare room tonight.
I spoke to the new counsellor on the phone yesterday and liked her a lot so will see her next Wednesday. I didn't go into details with her but said I need to talk through this crisis and that I was wanting to make a decision whether to stay in this relationship or not.
Once again, thanks for all your comments. I have found them all very helpful.
Someone told me once that men (generalisation) think everything is fine, as long as they are having se. Women want sex when everything is fine.
Do you think your P is taking that attitude that - as long as i can persuade/pester/cajol Boots into sex, then all other problems meaan nothing (especially those problems that she keeps going on/nagging/bringing up)
Whilst he has this attitude towards sex you will never feel turned on, or want sex with him - end of!
I had a 'contract' of sorts with my exH, we had to have an hour of 'kinky sex' per week, I had to tie him up and do all manner of, quite frankly, gross stuff. I used to blind fold him so he couldn't see me cry. I also had a clock next to the bed and it was always 60 minutes, no more.
What it did, was make the situation worse, I couldn't bare him touching me, or kissing me, I'd dread 'the day' I had to do it, as it got closer and closer I'd get more and more anxious.
I realised later this was abuse! And after 10 years I left. My now dh us nothing like that and we have a happy and healthy sex life. This surprised me as I was always told by my exH that what he wanted was normal, and I was fridged and had a low sex drive. I don't, it was his whole attitude that turned me off.
I'm afraid it's unlikely to ever get better tbh. The contract will only make things worse .
you don't owe him sex
nandh i think you did miss the point a but yes, if the amount of sex in a relationship does not suit one partner (him in this case) and that partner does not feel that there is sufficient reason to stay without the sex then he should consider leaving rather than abusing his partner.
The thing about a contract is that it is negotiated. So you should be able to say "Actually I don't like your proposal at all. Here's mine which is more of a Framework Agreement..."
And your's would say
1. Both parties acknowledge that sex with a person who doesn't want to is rape or sexual assault
2. Both parties agree not to rape or sexually assault the other.
3. Each party shall demonstrate their consent enthusiastically by verbally saying yes, asking for more, etc.
4. For the purposes of clarity lack of enthusiasm will be recognised as lack of consent.
5. Lack of enthusiastic consent will be respected at all times.
6. It is recognised by both parties that disrespecting or reacting negatively to lack of consent is corrosive to the relationship generally, and makes it less likely that the other will want to have sex with them at all.
7. Taking into account all of the above, both parties can have sex, as frequently, as imaginatively as they both jointly desire.
But because you feel unable to negotiate that then it would be better to call it a day maybe.
You don't owe him sex.
NandH - not sure you are deliberately misunderstanding, but I don't think you are. The op doesn't like the way he is doing things she has asked him not to do to her, ie stroking her hair in a particular way and ignoring the fact she has asked him not to.
This shows a lack of consideration at the very least. Hardly conducive to a decent loving sex life. Perhaps it's not that she doesn't like sex, but that she doesn't like sex with someone who ignores her feelings and wakes her in the night just because he wants a hand job!
He doesn't care about your feelings at all. You are just an object for him to do sex on.
The problem with this "contract" is that it's to benefit him.
You could easily present him with your version and let him decide to take it or leave the house.
BTW, it's this kind of sexual pressure that ultimately led to me breaking up with exH. He turned violent too.
scarlet ... if the OP doesn't like sex why's she in a relationship with soneone who does? you can't force someone to celibacy because you just "dont like sex" ....
OP, if that's really the case, for BOTH your sakes, just end the relationship!
The hair stroking really creeped me out and I think that's because it's violence in the guise of affection. The iron fist in the velvet glove kind of thing.
He's vile, OP. Really, really vile.
Join the discussion
Please login first.