Communicating with a stonewalling LL
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|Thu, 04-29-2010 - 3:22pm|
I just responded to a new HL poster who was getting nowhere trying to communicate with her LL husband. Even though I'm LL myself I find myself getting angry at these noncommunicative LLs. (There's nothing I hate more than stonewalling.) At the same time I sometimes think the HL may be using an approach that puts off the LL (or enables him/her to dodge the issue). So, I'm starting this new post with some general suggestions for communicating with a stonewalling LL.
Don't hint, talk directly. Many LLs are masters at pretending they didn't get the hint. (Trust me, they did.) Sexual hints (like walking into the bedroom wearing your new lingerie or informing your partner that you've booked a "romantic" weekend at a hotel) may keep the fires burning in sexually matched relationships, but they work very poorly in mismatched relationships: right or wrong, the LL ends up feeling manipulated and somehow harassed.
When you talk to your LL partner, I suggest you keep the following principles in mind:
1) Acknowledge the difficulty (for your partner) of discussing the topic
2) Explain that you're only bringing it up because you're miserable with the status quo
3) Respectfully acknowledge the differences between you
4) Avoid casting blame on your partner for being the way he/she is
5) Ask him to give you more information about his sexuality, emphasizing that there are no right or wrong answers
6) Avoid generalities like "sex is very important to a marriage." Instead, frame the issues as specific to YOU (e.g., "sex is very important to me, especially within a committed relationship") and thus to your relationship
7) Keep insisting that he/she engage in the discussion, while continuing to acknowledge the difficulty of doing so.
Some ideas for specific wording:
- I know you hate talking about this, but I NEED to talk about it because I'm absolutely miserable right now and I don't think our marriage can go on as it is.
- I understand that you and I are different in this way. You don't seem to need much of a sexual connection within marriage (at least not with me) and if that's truly the case I respect it. But I need to have sex within a marriage, for both physical and emotional reasons. Masturbation isn't a substitute.
- So my question becomes: is there anything you and I can both do so that you'll be more interested in having sex with me more often? If there is, let's talk about it. If not, let's talk about it, too.
- If there's anything you haven't told me about your sexuality, I respectfully ask you to do so, even if it's difficult -- for instance, if you have any preferences or kinks that you require in order to be interested. If you're not attracted to me, please let me know (and let me know if I/we can do anything to change that or not). If you've never been much interested in sex, period, please let me know. I'm aware that it's an uncomfortable area of discussion, but we need to put our cards on the table so we can make informed decisions about our marriage.
- Please keep in mind that my ultimate goal is to enable greater happiness and fulfillment for both of us, whatever shape that takes.
In other words, make it safe for him to be honest, but put things in a way that he simply can't dodge.
Edited 4/29/2010 3:33 pm ET by freelancemomma