My Husband Stopped Having Sex With Me As Punishment

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My Husband Stopped Having Sex With Me As Punishment

Normally when someone complains about a lack of sex in the marriage, it's the man.

I've seen articles out on the dark web about women whose husbands had left them high and dry.

Sometimes it was due to their affairs. Their depression. Their body image issues. Whatever the case was, the women felt alone.

No one was used to women complaining about lack of sex — not to their friends or to anyone. This type of complaint seemed reserved for men, straight or gay.

For me, I was one of those women searching online for the answers as to why my husband stopped having sex with me.

I was attractive and in good shape. It didn't seem to make sense.

I didn't think he was having an affair and I still don't think that he was at the time. I thought it was depression. I still think that maybe it was.

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I also think my spouse was withholding sex as punishment. Follow me here.

You know how everyone has a love language? Well for me, verbal and physical actions speak to my love language. My ex-husband knew this. He knew that to me, sex was very important. He knew that touch and verbal expression "rung my bell" so to speak, and while he wasn't the most verbose guy or romantic, he started to tune me out — verbally. physically. sexually.

First, it was criticizing my appearance. While men at the gym and guy friends said how great I looked after having a child, he said the opposite. I was too thin. Or, "Look how light you are!" It was always a criticism. There was never a "Good work at the gym!" or "You look great!"

I had heard of men being critical of women's weight gain during pregnancy, and while I thought that was unfair, I'd never heard of a man being critical of a woman for being too thin.

Then, it was his indifference. When I asked if he wanted to have sex, he'd say, "No" or worse, "I don't know." That was the most baffling. How does one not know if he or she wants to or doesn't want to have sex? It was off-putting and put miles upon miles of distance between us.

It would go like this for weeks and then, on occasion, he might try to "get some" in the middle of the night, as if he couldn't stand to have me while awake. But over time as his affection waned, I couldn't remember last time I didn't have to ask for a hug or kiss. When was the last time he held my hand? It felt cruel.

I felt terribly single, yet there I was, married and all. It took me more than a year and more than two years to realize that my spouse was withholding sex as punishment. It was emotional abuse.

It was his punishment because I had not magically changed. I was the woman he married. I had not turned into who he wanted me to be. He could not "Stepford wife" me.

And his anger and insecurity about my body and who I was trickled down into cutting off what I needed. It was intentional. That's why when he couldn't take his lack of sex, he'd do so in the middle of the night. And that's why later on when we attended marriage counseling, he joined a dating site. Did he cheat? Probably.

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And the selection of women he spoke to was not all that wonderful or attractive. It didn't matter if they were models or not. His withdrawal was a punishment of the worst kind. And in the end, it was his indifference and coldness as well as his downright nastiness that had me walking away.

I don't regret leaving at all. I just wish I had more women to talk to about this, to say that sometimes, women are the ones left sexually high and dry, not just the men.

Alex Alexander is a blogger for YourTango whose written extensively on love, relationships, and lifestyle topics.