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Purposely Withholding

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CaptainRogers posted 9/26/2020 14:31 PM

Words have meaning. All too often, I see words "redefined" in order for something to be labeled as true or false. One such grouping of these words is the pair "purposely withholding".

Quite a while back (like seven or eight months back), I confronted my wife about these words. I had told her several months prior that, because of her prior actions (the A) and the lack of her pursuing a restored relationship, I needed her to initiate our physical intimacy because I couldn't get my mind there.

So, for a couple of months, we had absolutely no physical contact at all. No kissing. No hugs. No sex. Nothing.

That was when I confronted her about purposely withholding physical affection. She had responded with a statement that she wasn't "purposely withholding" anything, just that she needed me to be doing A, B, and C in order for her to be willing to be physically affectionate. I asked "So, if I don't do A, B, and C, then you won't be physically affectionate? Is that what I'm hearing?"

Mrs. C: "Yes."

Cap: "Ummm...that seems to be wholly transactional, which I will not engage in because it is manipulative, and it seems to be the definition of 'purposely withholding'. You are intentionally not being affectionate because I won't do A, B, and C. And I can't get my head to get the rest of me to do A, B, and C because you won't do the work on restoring our relationship."

MC: "I'm not purposely withholding affection from you."

C: "But you refuse to be affectionate unless I do things I've already told you that I can't right now."

MC: "See, you're purposely withholding from me!"

Granted, this was several months ago, but the conversation has stuck with me. So, I have finally decided to bring it to the good folks at SI. Do you see the WS laying out what they want in order to deliver physical affection to the BS as simply laying out boundaries and "needs" or do you see it as "purposely withholding" the affection until they get what they want?

Again, this isn't a recent thing and we have worked through the semantics, but I am still trying to settle everything in my brain. Thanks in advance.

[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 2:32 PM, September 26th (Saturday)]

HouseOfPlane posted 9/26/2020 14:54 PM

Ahhh, the games people play.

So would A, B, and C somehow make her want to be physically affectionate?

Or was she wanting to, but holding back (thus denying herself) to get A, B, and C?

Or did she not want to in the first place, but was willing to fake affectionate to get A, B, and C?

Google on ďHousewife Charged In Sex-For-Security ScamĒ if you want to laugh about it.

CaptainRogers posted 9/26/2020 15:05 PM

The Onion is awesome and that article was hilarious!

To answer the questions, her A, B, C had to do with things along the lines of "I need you to be affectionate towards me first." "You need to be pursuing me before I am emotionally ready to pursue you." "We need to be emotionally connected before I can pursue you." and other things along those lines. Eventually, we got to the whole "Stop playing the 'victim' because you chose to have your A. Welcome to the fallout. It's hard work to clean up your mess, but YOU are the one who has to do it." discussion. I'm sure she still didn't exactly "get it", but she eventually dropped her demands on my actions before she would pursue me.

HouseOfPlane posted 9/26/2020 15:17 PM

So she wanted you to play the pick me dance, in other words.

*sigh*

Strength, shipmate!

I love that Onion article.

Oldwounds posted 9/26/2020 15:35 PM

After the A, when it was still a secret, my wife withdrew into purely transactional partner. It was the worst version of the home game, ďLetís Make A Deal.Ē

It ainít much of a living.

My wife was just as miserable as me, I think thatís what prompted the confession.

I donít know that there are any real silver linings to the fallout of infidelity, but we did fundamentally change our relationship once R kicked off.

We give now, we donít take.

So, there are no prerequisites for affection, or honesty, etc. It turns out, we should have always been giving to each other, and itís a much better day-to-day.

I canít imagine your wife is any happier holding out waiting for the deal to come through either.

CaptainRogers posted 9/26/2020 15:39 PM

It really does take that entire mindset change from taker to giver. It was a mindset that I pushed with every team I coached. Our practice jerseys and undershirts all said the same thing for years:

WE
before
ME

Darkness Falls posted 9/26/2020 15:49 PM

My H and I went through a similar situation. Itís a long story so bear with me.

I was the WS; we divorced in 2010 immediately after D-day because he did not want to reconcile. We were apart for a couple of years. During that time, I was diagnosed with a medical condition. One of its common effects is a lowering of libido. This happened to me. In addition, absence from him did not make the heart (er, female anatomy, rather) grow fonderóI did not have desire for him anymore. BUT, because of the libido-killing effects of the medical condition, I didnít realize thatóI truly believed ďitís not you; itís me.Ē Old-timers here will remember how I argued that it wasnít a loss of attraction to him!, it was the medical condition!, etc.

So I told him what I believed to be true, that I was hardly ever in the mood. Long story short, we didnít have much sex. We got remarried and shortly after our wedding we went 4 months without sex. We had our first child and went another 7 months after that. He NEVER initiated. We talked about it; he said that it was important to him that I do the initiating because then he would know I actually wanted to and wasnít just agreeing out of obligation. Well, it went on like that for a few yearsóhe NEVER initiating sex, me ALWAYS. Then it became him being barely receptive to it when I *did* initiate it. We had another child and talked about it AGAIN. I told him I needed him to initiate sometimes because it was like the roles were reversed and I felt like HE didnít want it and was only doing it to appease me.

He never initiated.

I stopped initiating.

Entirely celibate ďmarriageĒ for almost 18 months now.

Plus now many other marital and family problems (special needs child, financial concerns, etc).

We talk about nothing now except the briefest of words here and there about the children or finances. It has gotten to the point where we canít stand each other and I look forward to the day when divorce is a viable option.

nekonamida posted 9/26/2020 15:54 PM

Didn't you give her A, B, and C before and nothing changed? Why is this time going to be any different?

So is she still not initiating intimacy or is this an old conversation you are ruminating on because in it she acts rigid and selfish, much like the mindset that contributed to her A?

apache posted 9/26/2020 16:07 PM

So to pursue you, she needs you to pursue her.

So if you pursue her, all she has to do is stand still and she's caught, problem solved.

When would she ever pursue you if you have to do it first?
Why is the heavy lifting up to you?

I see a tiny (sarcasm) window for improvement on her part here!

ChamomileTea posted 9/26/2020 16:19 PM

I chalk up the "Initiation Game" as, well... game-playing. And for me, it boils down to "play stupid games, win stupid prizes". Any time my WH wants to play stupid mind games with me and engage in secret score-keeping, he can do that by himself. I don't play and I won't play. And I don't believe infidelity factos into it past the point where two adult people choose R.

CaptainRogers posted 9/26/2020 16:27 PM

It was several months ago that this happened, nekonamida. And you are absolutely correct about that being part of the Wayward mindset.

And yes, apache, there was certainly a window for improvement.

Darkness, I'm sorry that you're dealing with a celibate marriage. That is certainly not how it is meant to be. A husband and wife are supposed to delight in one another and please one another physically.

I do understand the medically limited libido (my wife deals with a myriad of hormonal issues, as well as thyroid issues and adrenal fatigue; she is on a constant cocktail of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid meds, etc.). My wife has been in that state (minus a few weeks with her AP) for several years. It really does suck.

Oh, and apache, that question on the heavy lifting has been answered by me many times. The last time was in response to this exact situation. Haven't needed to "revisit" the issue for several months now.

Ultimately, I was just looking to see if folks thought the "purposely withholding" phrase accurately described what I was seeing back then.

sshawness posted 9/26/2020 16:34 PM

Requesting A, B, and C BEFORE her infidelity may have been fair, but after an affair the WS needs to be the one putting in the Xtra effort IMO.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. She won't do XYZ until you do ABC, and you don't want to do ABC until she does XYZ.

"Stop playing the 'victim' because you chose to have your A. Welcome to the fallout. It's hard work to clean up your mess, but YOU are the one who has to do it."
I agree with you Captain, and this has been my message to my WH, but even though I feel it's "right" and "fair", it sure isn't get me anywhere.
there are no prerequisites for affection, or honesty, etc. It turns out, we should have always been giving to each other, and itís a much better day-to-day.
This brought some tears. My God how I want to be a giver, but it just gets too hurtful when that giving is not reciprocated.

steadychevy posted 9/26/2020 16:45 PM

My XWW wouldn't pursue me because she didn't want to. If she pursued me I'd want sex. She shouldn't have to pursue me because we were married. Other reasons, too. She did, however, pursue her AP until after she arranged for their first sex. After that she just answered his call.

I view it as purposely withholding, Captain. I think she knew what you were asking and deliberately set up requirements for her to do so. Thereby you pursued and she succumbed. No effort required.

HouseOfPlane posted 9/26/2020 17:28 PM

Ultimately, I was just looking to see if folks thought the "purposely withholding" phrase accurately described what I was seeing back then.
Sure sounds like it to me.

LadyG posted 9/26/2020 19:16 PM

If my STBXWH seriously wished for reconciliation with me the WS is in No position to be making demands or placing conditions on the BS to do the work.

As a BS I did not purposely withhold anything. I wasnít feeling it. Any good will between us was killed off by the constant TT.

Sayuwontletgo posted 9/26/2020 19:23 PM

Sex or physical affection after the affair is such a complicated topic. I am sorry your going through this Cap. I can tell you that I believe MTB and I have had this exact conversation so I can only share with you what finally helped me figure it out from the wayward side.

The short answer is no that I dont believe she is purposefully withholding from you. I can 100% see how it would feel that way to you. I think she's not understanding what you're asking for because waywards kinda suck at understanding our spouses most of the time. I think part of it boils down to what you really want. If it is more about a certain number of times per week or if its regaining some of the lost intimacy? The initiating to feel desired is understandable and from what ive read from most of the BH in particular its necessary. I had some help figuring out how to relate to MTB idea of initiating when we took a course and we started the Gott Sex series as well. We had to talk about it openly a lot, sharing some of the harder truths but also listening to eachother. If I had to take a guess I would say your wife feels like you are asking her why her labido or affection is so low, she answers,(I need A,B,C) then you are upset because it feel like shes putting it back on you. I was at my wits end in this exact scenario. Took me forever to figure out MTB wasn't asking about my feelings it was a very one sided I need you to do this for me and then MAYBE we can talk about the emotional stuff and regaining the emotional intimacy that most (not all) women need for their desire. Im not saying you just want to screw and care nothing about her, but that maybe for a while she's got some making up to do. She may see the conversations as let's make OUR sex life better when what you really need is to be heard and see some improvement first.

Im not letting her off the hook here by any means. She should absolutely be pursuing help if she doesn't understand your needs. She should be the one looking for courses or books or classes. She needs to want it bad and show you by proving it. If there's old sexual trauma or resentment she should be working through that and talking to you about what she's learning. I had to go back to the very beginning and look at how I viewed sex and why it was so transactional in a way. One of the conversations I had with MTB after I figured some things out has completely changed our sex life. I had to get over some of my stuff before I could be completely emotionally intimate with my H again.

I wish any of this was fair for the betrayed. Especially when it comes to intimacy and affection but it really isn't even close. I can tell you that for us there wasn't real improvement until 1- I made an effort to learn/talk about or sex life/physical affection by trying my best to meet MTB needs before my own. 2- we got to a place where both of our wants/needs could be adressed(pre A resentment,trauma etc) 3- Being flexible with progress instead of expecting perfection.

[This message edited by Sayuwontletgo at 8:33 PM, September 26th (Saturday)]

CaptainRogers posted 9/26/2020 20:29 PM

I can tell you that for us there wasn't real improvement until 1- I made an effort to learn/talk about or sex life by trying my best to meet MTB needs before my own.

And that's ultimately the key, isn't it? Just like Oldwounds said above...it's about being a giver rather than a taker. When we adjust that mindset, everything else falls into place.

Again, I do want to emphasize that this was several months ago and is not the current state of the union.

It is fascinating to look back at so many places where the most important words said were things like "I/me", "my", and "mine" where the words "you" and "your" would have been a better perspective.

I was thinking through something else earlier today. Way back in the MC days, our counselor gave us one question to ask one another. It was "How can I make your day better?" Pretty simple & straightforward, right? It says "I want to focus on doing something to brighten your day. What would you like that to be?"

Except, my wife would never ask.

We were in weekly sessions at that point. Everything, the MC would ask how it was going in regard to that question being fulfilled. She would say "Cap is doing great." and I would say "Mrs. Cap isn't even asking it." When the MC would ask why she wasn't asking, the response was always "I don't know."

It took about 3 years, but it has finally dawned on me. She wasn't saying "I don't know" in regards to why she wouldn't ask. What she was really saying was "I don't know how to ask a question I'm not prepared to follow through on." At that point (and still a struggle at times even now) she had absolutely no ability to be selfless. She hadn't ever truly learned what that meant. And, frankly, probably didn't really even care.

So, short story long, Mrs. Cap does have a lot of historical baggage that she is dealing with, layer after layer after layer.

It's certainly much better than it had been. And, there's still plenty of room for growth.

[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 8:30 PM, September 26th (Saturday)]

Sayuwontletgo posted 9/26/2020 20:40 PM

Just gotta say Cap my heart skipped a beat when I saw your other post! Lol. Not nice 😆.

You are absolutely right that without that 1st one nothing else can really get better. I guess I just feel for your wife here too because it seems like such a simple thing to grasp and sometimes we just cant see it. I know for me it took way too long to figure it out. Couldve saved MTB some heartache if I could understand it earlier. Hopefully she can figure it out for you. Wishing you both the best 😁

BluerThanBlue posted 9/26/2020 22:12 PM

Itís really simple. She doesnít desire you. She doesnít want or need your affection and she doesnít care about you want or need from her.

Didnít you have to beg her to even carve out quality time with you?

OrdinaryDude posted 9/26/2020 23:00 PM

Itís not the BSís responsibility to pursue the WS for the WSís satisfaction.

Itís up the the WS to prove they have the desire and commitment for the M in order to keep the BS interested in the M. If they refuse to do that then they are not worthy of R.

Iíve told my WW that the M is what she makes of it...I will not chase her, so she gets the attention that she gives. Iím available to her, but itís up to her to initiate most interactions.

Itís been made abundantly clear that if she ever feels that she is not getting enough of my attention then its because she is not giving enough attention.

She has always been the one that felt she needed more, and I gave as much as I could considering my family and work commitments, however that is no longer the case. I take a lot more time for myself and my hobbies and friends that I left neglected for her sake, so now she has to work much harder for my time.

This is not her punishment, this is part of my healing.
I am striving for balance, and if she wants to be part of that then fine, if not thatís fine too.

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