I Was Intimate With My Husband Just To Keep The Peace

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Couple in bed cuddling

Pick your battles.

It's a cliché that's rooted in meaning and is a pretty steadfast and helpful way to live your life. Not everything is worth an argument. Some things you just have to grin and bear through, knowing that it's easier than constantly fighting for your own way.

This is exactly why I ended up being intimate with my husband to keep the peace during our two years of marriage.

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Looking back, of course, this wasn't okay. I didn't know then about being in a healthy relationship. I didn't even stop to think that my husband was emotionally abusive, manipulative, and a narcissist. It didn't occur to me that the way he treated intimacy was not okay and that his anger when I turned him down was a huge red flag.

But at the moment, all I could think was that letting him be intimate with me would finally make him stop nagging me.

In the beginning, we had a fine relationship. But, like most relationships, as you ease into a place of comfort, the seductive looks while driving and abandoning pots on the stove so you can make out on the kitchen floor become less of the norm.

I'm a firm believer in still having an exciting love life, no matter how long you've been with your partner, but it always slows down. It's life. It's loving someone over lusting after them. It's normal.

What isn't normal is being intimate with someone simply because they won't leave you alone about it.

My husband was addicted to sex, I'm fairly certain. From his video collection, before we met, to the numerous times he cheated on me by having casual encounters with random women, to his Googling pictures of women, I was convinced he was an addict. It made perfect sense, and it also explained why he threw such a massive fit every time I turned down intimacy.

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The begging. Oh my God, the begging! It always started out as a plea but if I turned him down, he only became more persistent. "Come on. Please?" he would say over and over again like a teenager on prom night.

No excuse mattered to him. If I complained about being tired, he would remind me about how early his workdays started. If I argued that I just wanted to relax, he'd pester me about why intimacy with him wasn't relaxing. If I insisted that I just didn't feel like it, his insecurity became smothering. "You used to be into me all the time. Why don't you ever want to be intimate?"

I used to take my time going to bed, hoping he'd be sound asleep by the time I got there and I wouldn't have to fight the most irritating fight ever. But instead, he was waiting with a scowl on his face. "I told you I wanted to be intimate, what have you been doing?"

So I gave in. Over and over. It's just intimacy, I thought. I even began to repeat a mantra like a 1950s housewife. "It's my duty as his wife. This is one of the things that come with marriage."

Because I couldn't take his frustration and anger over it anymore. Dealing with his bad attitude for days was more exhausting than just being intimate. But it only ruined my views on being sensual.

He often asked me why I never initiated intimacy but I wasn't ready to admit the real reason why — he took all the fun out of it. Of course, being intimate didn't make our relationship any better. It didn't stop him from cheating on me or being intimate as a bargaining tool and weapon. It only kept the peace for the night.

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It wasn't until after we divorced and I started a new relationship that I was reminded of how fun intimacy can be — and how important consent is.

While my husband never forced me down and assaulted me, I think about the times I cried during intimacy because I simply didn't want to do it. I think about how persistent he was, how he made me feel like I owed him intimacy simply because I was his wife, and that my thoughts and ideas on intimacy didn't matter. If I ever argued, "I don't feel like it," his retort was, "Well, I do."

I'm willing to do a lot of things to keep the peace. I'll pick the dirty clothes off the floor instead of passive-aggressively showing my new boyfriend where the hamper is. I'll accept apologies instead of pushing for more remorse. I'll even let an argument go when I know there's no chance of either of us seeing the other person's side. Choose your battles.

But intimacy? That should never be a battle.

Sexual abuse is very common.

RAINN reports that every 68 seconds, an American is a victim of sexual violence. Females are far more likely to be abused and assaulted, and 90% of victims who are adults are women. This is especially prevalent among women who also happen to be college students, which makes their risk three times greater.

Anyone affected by sexual assault can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a safe, confidential service.

Contact The Hotline or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member.

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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.