Many people have no idea what this is but after reading this you will know if your marriage has this or not and where to get help if yours does.
What Is Intimacy Anorexia And How It Tears Marriages Apart
Signs of Intimacy Anorexia and how it affects marriages from my personal journey.
The Signs of Intimacy Anorexia
There are several forms of anorexia and this type of behavior is: “Intimacy Anorexic” and it has addiction-like actions. We had an intimacy problem in our marriage. .Everything makes sense now. That being so doesn’t cure the problem though. Coming from a spouse of an Intimacy Anorexic we still go through the grief process as we had lost some of what we were before we married into this Bait and Switch marriage deal.
At first I was in denial, of course because that is the first step to seeing the problem. Now that I know that these types of people do this intentionally, on purpose, I was very angry. I cannot seem to get my head around anyone who would be so kind, considerate and loving before marriage and use the “Bait and Switch” tactic after marriage. It goes beyond the thought of he has you now he doesn’t’ need to work for you. It is way beyond that.It has nothing to do with them not wanting to be married else they wouldn’t have asked in the first place. I just cannot fathom how a person can be so cruel and show so much hate for another they are married too. It just does not make sense…..yet. That is where those friends that I have told my story too don't understand what it is like. When we tell them that we want to stay in the marriage, they simply do not understand and they get angry. They also think that Intimacy is only the copulation of two people. It is much more than that.
The whole relationship issue, as I understand it now, is like a come here I need someone to love and then when you get too close for them they want to push you away. Now think of it that way and it makes it a tad bit easier to cope with their illness.
The Signs and Examples of Intimacy Anorexia
These are the signs of an Intimacy Anorexic or a sexless marriage. Pay attention to them because like me they come on subtly at first so you don’t seem to notice them or can’t seem to put your finger on them. These include any form of touching, kissing, hugging or just being in the same room with your spouse alone. It would scare them if you are there alone without a TV or Radio.
Intimacy Anorexia symptoms:
Staying so busy that you have little time for your spouse. i.e, staying at work or working longer hours.
When issues come up your first reflex or response is to blame your spouse. i.e when the lawnmower breaks you are blamed for not taking care of it regardless of your involvement with the lawnmower.
Withholding love from your spouse. i.e hugging, kissing, copulation, foreplay. Foreplay can be brought up but not followed through.
Withholding praise from your spouse. i.e. never giving you praise when you have accomplished somehting but they demand it from you.
Withholding sex from your spouse or not being present during sex. i.e. eyes closed, room dark having your back turned towards them.
Unwilling or unable to share your authentic feelings with your spouse. i.e. you are nothing and you don't matter just as long as you keep jumping through his hoops.
Using anger or silence to control your spouse.
Having ongoing or ungrounded criticism, spoken or unspoken, towards your spouse.
Controlling or shaming your spouse regarding money or spending.
"Intimacy anorexics don't know for the most part they are starving their spouse of intimacy, but most spouses of intimacy anorexics have to beg to be loved, touched or to have sex."
“Intimacy anorexia can be caused by sexual abuse, sexual addiction or family of origin issues.” It doesn't have to be a rape or some sort of assault. I can be cross gender such as a male and the relationship with his mother. It can also be a female with her relationship with her father.
This is my story.
This is the very beginning of my journey getting to know this addiction and my healing from it.
This journey that I have been on started way back in 1996. We have changed since then but this is the beginning of how it all started. Remember this is the beginning of things, not what it is like now. It did take me 13 years to wake up to this. So here is that story...
There was a movie back in the 70’s by the name of The Stepford Wives. It was also remade in the 90’s as well. It was a satirical and the book was written by Ira Levin. It’s about a small town in the North East of the US by the name Stepford. This small town is run by all men and their lovely, well-mannered wives accompany them in their garden parties, raise the children and constantly be pleasant to their husbands and other wives. Sounds like a perfect community doesn’t it? There is a catch though. Most of the women were not this way before coming there and there was something about the wives the husbands wanted to change. They wanted their women to be prim and proper and totally submissive to whatever their husbands wanted of them. The women were expected to have the cleanest house, do all the work to keep the men happy and satisfied, and have the greatest moments in the bedroom. There was something wrong with this picture but it was hard for the new women to catch on at first. The husbands were all happy and satisfied, but the women, well that was another thing. They were expected to give to the husband, but the husband was not giving themselves to their wives. The author Ira Levin only touched on a very serious condition in his book and in the movie. I doubt that he ever knew about this. There really is such a condition that some men/women have that is like this.
For most it is a satirical move, and some men will tell you that it is one of the funniest movies they have seen, but for us, who are forced to live this way, it is a living hell. There are many of us out here in the real world. Though we did not go through that one night transformation such as in the movie we are forced in one way or another to be a “Stepford Wife”.
I had no idea that there was something like this until I seen a program on the TV a few months ago. Things in my marriage were not making sense either and I couldn't put my finger on any certain thing. It was like seeing something or having a feeling and it vanishes before you can focus on it. This feeling is strange indeed and it's real.
This is why I think that something did in fact happen to him while growing up. I am not about to get a divorce because he is broken. I also do not make excuses for him now. It is his problem to face and he must do so. I can't do anything with that. What I am in it for is the love that he once showed me and I am hoping that he will be able to show me again. I certainly have asked and he seems to be trying.
Through my own counseling I have learned how to deal with the pain and how to deflect his anger and wanting to fight and all the things on the list above. I am so early in this counseling that I am just beginning to learn about all this. Eventually I will get over the anger part, but for now I am very angry. Most times when he is sleeping on the couch I can’t help myself but to keep looking at him and wondering who he is. He isn’t the man that I thought that I was marrying.I have often asked him why did he choose to marry me. I don’t get an answer back. All I get is my question repeated back to me. It’s like talking to a mirror that can talk back only it just repeats what I say instead of giving me an answer.
Another thing that he does, and it isn’t on the list above and it annoys the heck out of me. is mocking. When something snaps and it comes out of the blue he will start repeating everything that I say, word for word. It’s like living with Dr Jekyl/Mr.Hyde. It took me a while to understand what he was doing and that he really liked getting me upset. I don’t allow him to push that button anymore. Now when he does it I just walk out the house. I know that is what he wants me to do, but at the same time he wants to get a rise out of me. I will not give him that pleasure anymore. I don’t feel that I have any other choice.
When I first met my husband he was very kind and considerate to me. We walked down streets in towns holding hands.He would kiss me like no other and get my senses aroused. Everything was good.He even came to visit me and hold my hand in the hospital. He would stay until I could hold his hand no longer as the knock out drugs took me under.He would just be the most considerate person.Sure there were things that came up and stuff like that but he wasn’t perfect. They weren’t things that I couldn’t deal with and I didn’t think they were that big of a deal.He had his life still and I had mine.Merging the two I knew would be a task because it always is. I didn’t want to rush into things and we dated for a little over a year and a half.He then asked me to marry him and of course I said yes.So we set the date and life was grand and we were happy. I went through RCIA and we went to Engaged Encounter and all the things we were to do to prepare for this union. Nothing brought up red flags and I was too enamored by him to even take notice if there were. We passed all these things with flying colors.Love was in the air and it felt good for a change.
Things started to get confusing on our wedding night.Now he had a really bad accident 15 years prior to when we meet and he was left for dead and had a closed head injury.He does have an impediment that is confusing to write about.Something about using pronouns and verb tenses in writing but he can do it when reading or speaking and he is slow.No big deal.
You can be sure I was upset when we did not consummate the marriage and he fell asleep while I had gone to the bathroom to change out of my wedding gown.I did try to wake him and I ended up crying in the bathroom that whole night.I did not get any sleep at all. Funny how he would take my hand and we walked around the sites and places we went on our honeymoon. So I just put it behind me and thought he really was that tired, because he still hugged me and kissed me and all the rest.
It was a couple weeks later that I initiated the bedroom scene and we were on the floor and when I went to get on top he brought up his knee and pushed me off. That hurt!! Not the physical because I was sent to a standing position.The emotional implication that he didn’t want me hurt very much and I just looked at him and he didn’t say a word.I gathered myself up and went to take a shower. I was bewildered. I thought that I did something wrong and it was something that I did or said or it was some spark from his head trauma.
Things started to get worse. Oh throughout all this I stayed in the relationship. A few times I did leave and stayed someplace else for a few days. You will say that I am crazy and I should have left but keep in mind I truly thought it was his traumatic accident and brain injury experience that were causing these things.
I noticed when I talked with my hands it would agitate him. When I got upset that he would put the silverware in other places that would agitate him. He would play games with me and hide my purse and I would have to call his work and plead with him to find my purse so that I could pay a bill or go to work myself. The consequences that I would get for talking with my hands or getting upset with him would get me put in the shower, fully clothed, and not let out until he was good and ready to let me out. He would stand there so that I could not get out. Sometimes he would put me on the bed and stand over me until he also thought that I was ready to get up. Most times I would be naked in this position. When I told him that I was ready to get up he still would not let me get up until it was his time to let me up. Ok this was a huge red flag and I had no one to talk to.In my past no one believed me and so no one was going to believe me this time either. His family doesn’t think that he could hurt a fly. No one wants to get involved. A city policeman lived next door and I asked him one day if he had ever heard the screams coming from our apartment and if he would do something about it. All he told me to do was to call the police department and get a restraining order on him. Well I couldn’t do that because my family wouldn’t believe me and I would always be the one to take the blame. So I just stopped using my body to talk and that seemed to help. It was during this time that I forced him into counseling, which made our relationship worse instead of better. My husband always cut me off when I was speaking. He would do things like say “what” when I had only gotten 2 or 3 words out. Of course at the beginning that would mess up my train of thought.I almost stopped talking to him altogether.That was one of the times that we went to counseling together and the counselor saw what he was doing and tore into him.I was surprised at his actions but at the same time relieved that someone else saw what was going on and I wasn’t making it up and/or crazy. I did set one boundary though and that was that he never ever manhandle me like that again, and he hasn’t.
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I started my own business there sewing for people and I was happy with that.It gave me a sense of this is mine and no one can take it away and self confidence. I loved working with people and providing a service to them. One time I was making costumes for a parade and it was good and all. The same time this was going on my husband had me do a dinner party for his family. He had reserved the Knight’s of Columbus Hall for the day and he wanted it to be like our first family gathering. Well those people that I was making costumes for changed their minds at the last minute and wanted me to sew up some head dresses that would go with their costumes. It was the day of the Family Gathering! What a tight schedule. My daughter, what a nice person she is, helped me put those headdresses together. My business meant a whole lot to me and keeping my customer happy was important. I couldn’t schedule it another day because the parade was also on that day.It was a deadline that I had to make. Well no one at the Knight’s of Columbus told me how the stoves worked and I thought that I had them on. Come to find out they were on but I couldn’t get them hot enough. It was ½ hour before everyone came that I put the dish in to re-heat. They did not know the dish was supposed to be served hot and they all liked it. Only after they all left and my daughter and I were cleaning up he took me aside and told me how disappointed he was in me. Yeah That Hurt! I wanted to make a good impression on his family and I thought that I did well pulling it all together. I thought that I did well with the change in plans from my customer and getting the dinner party done and yet it wasn’t good enough.
I remember him saying things like he is going to break me. I didn’t know what he meant. I did everything he wanted me to do. I went to church with him, to all of his Knight’s of Columbus functions and other things we did together. I kept the apartment clean even with making messes when I had unfinished sewing projects all over the place. I also put him in a good light. So I really didn’t know what he was going to break me from.
Everyone except my daughters saw only the good and right things in our relationship. On the outside it looked like the perfect marriage. I went to counseling by myself once and it was a women’s group but it was for mostly addicts and I wasn’t one of those so I quit going.I didn’t feel that I was getting what I was paying for out of it. That was then.
Media About Abusive Relationships
SEX ADDICTION RECOVERY RESOURCES
provides telephone counseling with national sex addiction expert Douglas Weiss Ph.D. as well as the leading books and DVDs in the field of sex addiction to date. The spouse and partners of sex addicts are also included
The Violent Take It By Force
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A Plumbing Problem
Well we moved and I lost my business. I struggled to find other work that I could do and it was bits and pieces here and there, but nothing like I wanted. Certainly it was nothing my husband wanted because he kept trying to keep me to the agreement we had before we got married and that was that we both would have full time jobs. Things changed though with me and I could not find work. When I did it was only for a short time and part time at that. 5 jobs I had total that ended like that. I would be glad and start making a budget so that we could get our heads above water and boom I lost the job. When we moved here I couldn’t get a job because our house was being remodeled—big time. We had many problems with that and my self-esteem plummeted because each time something didn’t go right it was my fault. If people did us wrong they became my friends. Even if I had never met them before and he knew them from work or school or a neighbor or the Knight’s they were my friends when they did something bad. He still does this to me.
Another odd thing that I was picking up on was that every time that I told him to do something or showed him what I wanted done and how to do it he would give me a fight. I began to notice that this was only for woman or me.I didn’t put this together until just recently. I thought something seriously happened to him in his past that he just couldn’t handle a woman telling him what to do.It was little things like this that I could not put my finger on that was going wrong.
I also thought that his erectile dysfunction was because of living in the apartment on the middle floor or from his previous auto accident. That wasn't the case. Each time I initiated I was ignored. When I touched him in certain parts of his body he would jump back as if I had hit him with a knife or some sharp object. When I walked in front of him with lingerie he wouldn’t even look at me. When I wore new perfume he would n't even notice me or say anything. I even tried dressing up for him like I had a job outside the home and not a single response. When we did do the deed in the bedroom it was always in the dark, with my eyes closed and facing away from him. I read about becoming a virgin again sometime ago and I do believe I am that now. The place where a woman has children is closed up to where it is when one is 12 years old. This may sound funny for some of you but I can assure you that it is not funny to me. I couldn’t have it if I wanted it now and if so it would take some time in getting the body part loose enough to enjoy it. I don’t even want that anymore. When holding his hand he pushes me away. When going to kiss him, it is traumatic for me. Why would giving your husband a kiss be traumatic you ask? Well the last time that I did go to kiss him he waited until I almost touched my lips to his and jerked his head around so fast it almost broke my nose. I haven’t tried to kiss him since and I don’t go to hold his hand anymore either. In fact I don’t initiate anything anymore.I feel dead. That hurts! We did go to another counselor and what he did was appalling to me. When I mentioned about the shower my husband interrupted me and told the counselor that I liked it and I laughed about it. I could not believe what I was hearing. The counselor gave us some names of books to read. Ha! My husband will not read a book if it was to save his life so I did not push to go back to him again.
I wish you could know just how hard this is to write. I believe I am waking up because tears are welling up in my eyes now and that is something they haven’t done in some time. I never thought that I could just get to be stone, but writing this I have just realized that I was.
Married and Alone
I was semi watching a program on the TV a few months ago and something they said caught my attention.When a woman came on and said that she had to have her eyes closed and the room dark and her look away..... THAT got my attention. The first thought that came to mind was, how the heck did she know about what went on in my bedroom. So I sat down and watched more and got a pen and paper and wrote down the information that was at the end of the program. It took me a few days until I called that number. I think that I was in some kind of shock to know others are going through the same things that I have been going through for the last 13 years.
When I called Heart 2 Heart Sexual/Intimacy Anorexic Counseling, Dr. Weiss answered the phone. That is not unusual but what was unusual is that when I was told to get in touch with an Sexual Addiction counselor there she told me that he rarely answers the phone. I told the counselor what was going on and she told me to get some video’s and a workbook. I was a little leery of this because we had gone through counseling so many times before and it wasn't helpful. This time since they are qualified as to how to counsel married couples, I sat myself down and thought about all this and decided to take a different approach. I was going to do this for me. I wanted to learn how others are coping with anorexia. If my husband wanted to get counseling he could and if he didn’t well that was his problem, not mine. I had to find a way to deal with all this and I had tried everything that I could think of before.I was at my wit’s end.
I had to tell him that I was going to do this because he now has the checkbook and the budget and is doing all the bill paying. He did not take that over, but I pushed it on him. I told him that I was going to do this and that some money was going to be coming out of the checking account. Oh yes, I took down all his debit card information and have that in a safe place.I don’t buy things that he doesn’t know about first. That is what he did when I had the checking and I was paying the bills. He would purchase something and not tell me and something, a lot of things, would bounce. I put it in a way that he could not refuse. I also bought the video that pertained to how I felt and that was “Married and Alone”. I also ordered the workbook to go along with it. I learned that all the things that I was going through others have or are going through too. I was put in group counseling that is done over the telephone.What a great way to do it this way! It’s hard when there aren’t any counselors that know about this in my area and I can’t get to them if there are. So this worked out great for me. Going through counseling is kind of hard because it dredges up the past that I just wanted to put behind me and stuff it all in a box in the back of my mind. Going through all of it again though is how I came to feel like I was made to be a “Stepford Wife”. I am to be the perfect wife, with the perfectly clean house and do just as he says. It is as if when he has a Knight’s Of Columbus or a Job related social event that I am brought out of the box and paraded around as his wonderful and loving wife. I am known to others as his Executive Secretary. When back home again I become the lowly maid. It has happened like that for years now and I am tired of not being appreciated or loved and ignored.
Married & Alone
|Married and Alone: Healing Exercises for Spouses|
This guide will help bring about healing for those impacted by their spouse's intimacy anorexic behavior. This is the first workbook to offer practical suggestions and technique...
|Married and Alone: The Twelve Step Guide|
The twelve-steps of recovery have become a major influence in the restoration of this country from the age old problem of alcohol and substance abuse. This book follows in the t...
More Hoops Than a Basketball Tournament
When being in a situation like this we are made to jump through many hoops to get attention.. We try to do things better and more of them so that he will notice us. All is in vain. We clean the house better, or wash the car or take the kids to other places, pack lunches, get up early with him, fix him breakfast, stay up late when he gets home and many other things. Some have home schooled and it isn’t enough. My husband asks me things like: how long did it take you to do that. I don’t have any idea.I don’t look at a clock when I am going to write or when I clean the kitchen or the house or anything like that in my day. I just do them. He seems to think that I sit and eat Bon-Bons all day and watch soap operas. I don’t do either. I am quit busy during the day. I am Neighborhood Watch Chairman and the last few weeks that has been hectic. I write and I am an Avon Lady. I quit that in 2012.
Another thing that he has done is wait until the last minute to tell me that he needs me to write a letter for him. I used to do it without a thought but now I can see what he is doing. He thinks that I have all the time in the world and I can just whip up a letter with his thoughts in a few minutes. That just doesn’t happen. I have also noticed in the last year or so that he will bring some work home and I have to type it up for him. I have told him politely that I will not do his work for him.It’s all about setting boundaries. I am learning more and more about them, but first I have to notice the ones that are being pushed before I can do something about them. There is the problem.
Oh and all this certainly messes with your mind. He would tell me something that I said or did when I know that I have not and then call me a liar when I don’t remember saying or doing it. He has told me that we did something together when I know we have not. There is this concept of the “Good Box” and the “Bad Box”. He loves to be in that “Good Box” because it strokes his ego and he likes everyone to see and think that he is all good and can do nothing bad or wrong. Meanwhile I am put in the “Bad Box”. Everything that I say or do is not acceptable and I am the bad person for bringing out anything that is not good about him. I am made to feel guilt about it all and that I am the crazy one. In fact there is something mentioned about this in the workbook that I am going through.
Through counseling I have also found or just begun to realize that what he says means nothing and should be ignored. Instead watch their actions. I thought that I was the cause and that I was the one sabotaging all my work at home jobs that I have had in the last 8 years. When looking back I find it wasn’t me that was doing this, it was him. Oh I am not trying to blame him but put the cause in the right place.There is a reason why we only have one car now. I had my own car and loved it. Then we were given another car, yes given. and I had the choice of getting my husband’s that was paid for or using mine. We live on a wooded mountain on dirt roads and my little Toyota Tercel isn’t heavy enough to drive on the ice and snow so I decided to sell that one and use the one that my husband gave me. Sounds all good, huh? Well his car that was given to him was having some issues and he got in an accident and it was in the shop. He needed a car to get to work and took mine. One day he was coming home from church and we had a freak and fast ice storm and a few vehicles were in an accident in front of the road that we turn on to get to our house. He sees this and decides to go down the hill anyway and he ends up totaling my car. So now we have one car and that isn’t the end of that. We go to get a new car because something is seriously wrong with his car and for safety sake they don’t allow us to take our car off the lot. They sell us a used car—a lemon at that. We still have that car because I made them repair it. So we are making payments on that one and I don’t have a car. Ironic thing about the accident----I was nowhere near him and I was blamed for it. He kept telling that he was just trying to get home, not taking responsibility for his own actions. He was talking like there was someone else in the car with him or that was using his body to drive it. It was only he that was in that car.
His actions are telling me that he wants a 20’s wife or "Stepford Wife" at the same time I am supposed to work outside the home. I went through a really rough time with that guilt and then his sister got on me about that too. Finally I came to my senses and told them all to get a life! I am here because that is where my husband wants me to be—shut up in a box.I feel trapped. Yes, I can get the car but I have to go through so many hoops it is not worth it. I simply cannot be two people in the same body and I certainly am not Wonder Woman.
Starting Over - The Beginning: June 23, 2011
So for now and through the counseling to make me stronger I have started to ask for things and put consequences to those if he doesn’t work for it. I have worked for his love and attention for 13 years and now it is his turn.I have learned that I have to draw him out. This is hard to do when all this time I reached out to him and now I have to ignore him. Oh but I do see a difference and yes I now know that it is his choice and he chooses to do what he does intentionally.
My first encounter with this type of response was when he was leaving for work and he said come get your hug and I said no. He did repeat it a few times and got kind of irritated with me. I asked why can’t you come to me for a hug. So he did and I did not hug him back. Do you know how hard that is to do? The reaction that I got was priceless. He picked up my arms and threw them around him. I just hung there like a ragdoll. When he went out the door to go to work he asked why I didn’t hug him and I answered with why don’t you hold my hand. That was the first instance. The next one he gets upset with me because I won’t hug him. Now it is weird but I don’t want to hug him or kiss him or touch him anymore. When he attempts to hug me now I really don’t want it. I am that angry still.
Tonight is Date Night.I have asked to start over from the point of dating. Yesterday I told him that I want it all.I want the kisses and the hugs and the holding of hands and that I want him to initiate things. I want him to stop being afraid of me. I am not sure what to expect but I have to learn how to set boundaries and put consequences to his in-actions. Believe me this is no piece of cake or picnic.
If you feel or see this in your relationship please call Heart2Heart Counseling at 719-278-3706 or find a counselor in your area that knows about this.
Marriage Is A Total Committment
Several years have gone by and we are in better shape. We understand where each other is in this life and in our marriage. Neither of us wanted a divorce because we both knew that we made a commitment to each other. During my counseling that is all they wanted us to do...get a divorce and give up. We didn't want that. We wanted to fix our marriage and our lives and we wanted to understand each other. I am sorry to tell all of you that marriages can be save, with lots of work. One thing in this life is that if you want something bad enough you will work through the bad stuff. When there is bad stuff and both are committed to something, each of them grows, and most times it will be together, and the marriage bonds will become stronger. It is only through chaos that we learn. There is always a new beginning and it happens every time you put your feet on the ground when you get up each day.
My husband and I just celebrated our 19th anniversary. I am a testament that it can be done. It is up to each of the individuals in the marriage to take on their own responsibility for what has gone wrong and to be self accountable. That is lacking in today's marriages. Marriages require that you have compassion, be committed, learn about your self and how you relate to the other person. It takes learning how to act and react to situations and how you contribute to the melting pot that is called a marriage. There ae two in the beginning and you two will become one in years time. Always remember that your plans do not go as you would like them. There will always be opportunities to learn and grow and the only way that life knows how to do that is to put a wrench in your plans.