Shifting blame to avoid sex, and to avoid dealing with avoiding sex.

December 6, 2009

in Series, Sexuality

I’ll have more sex with you when you are perfect. As I said before, no woman ever says that, but some women do have an ongoing bait and switch, hinting or promising more sex if only their husband does such and such – then if he does it, there is another requirement, and another, and another. Or, a woman blames the lack of sex on something beyond her power to change, and if that thing does change, there is a new problem beyond her power to change.

While some small percentage of this might be simply a way to manipulate and get what she wants, I doubt that is a primary motivation for most women who do it.  Really this is about dodging responsibility for her actions – or should I say for actions she won’t engage in?  This is blame shifting pure and simple, and is nothing more than a way to not deal with the real issue.

You are over-sexed/You are a pervert/Marriage is about more than sex/Is that all you ever think about/Why are you so selfish.  These, and the other variations, are more blame shifting. Rather than deal with the problem, she says you have a problem.  Does she believe you have a problem?  She may, and she may know better. Either way, she is avoiding the real situation.

Blame shifting makes it very difficult to deal with things because the real issue gets pushed away in favour of the false blame issue. When you try to discuss the real issue, she may accuse you of changing the subject – a bit of hypocrisy, that.

So, how do you get past the blame issue(s)?

  • Don’t play: Let her know you see these things as a way of hiding from bigger and more important issues, and you are not going to fight about or even discuss these issues as it just prevents the two of you from dealing with what needs to be dealt with.
  • Call her bluff: Offer to see a qualified third party to sort out what is real and what is not.
  • State the facts as you see them: Your sex life is not acceptable, and would not be acceptable to any reasonable, sexually healthy person.
  • Batten down the hatches and weather the storm: If you have put up with these things in the past, rather than clearly and definitively doing any of the above, you have become a willing participant in her fiction. Doing any (or all) of the above is changing the rules, and will likely be seen as a betrayal.  She will be angry, hurt, withdrawn, etc..
  • Give her time to find a new stance:
    • She might refuse to give up her current blame shifting.
    • She might find a new blame shift.
    • She could find other ways to avoid sex.
    • She might admit to herself something is wrong.
    • She could admit to you that something is wrong.
    • In either of the last two, she may admit it and do nothing to work on it – or she might work for change.
  • Repeat or move forward: If her new stance is not correct, you will have do the whole thing again. You might have to do this several times before she realises you are serious. On the other hand, if she shows any willingness to change, be loving and supportive, and give her time and space to prove she is serious.

Yes, this is risky – you might really upset her, and who knows what she might do.  The bottom line here is this, do you want to keep the peace, or do you want to deal with the issues? I would suggest that blame shifting relies on the other person being willing to live with it rather than risk what speaking the truth might cause. Blame shifting is emotional blackmail – give in at your own peril.

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9 comments
mlserv
mlserv

Response to Eleutheros -----12/15/2009 8:10 AM Thank you for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate the opportunity to wrestle with these ideas. It is my belief that this is how I can get to the truth of something and shed any delusions I have in order to gain the correct perspective. If possible, at some point I would like to understand what I did that indicated immaturity and ignorance. It would help me understand how my words sound to others. Now lets look at what you have written. Eleutheros says: So you admit that you know nothing of any significance about Christianity. (Now whose fault is that, really?) I am sorry I was unclear. I should have said, “I learned nothing from the church.” At some point I began to study on my own and learned a great deal about the aforementioned. I read a lot about religion in general, Christianity in particular. I have of course read the Bible, a few years ago I read the Book of John 6 times back to back on the advise of a preacher friend of mine and I just finished reading the Jefferson Bible for the second time. I am currently learning Hebrew to better understand the origins of the Bible. It is my experience that my knowledge and understanding is way above the average Christian. All of this does not mean I am not ignorant of many other things. That is why I would like to hear from you concerning my ignorance. Please forgive my sarcasm. I believe it has led to some misunderstandings. I am not doing a good job of communicating exactly what I believe I should have been able to expect of the church. Let me try again. It is my belief that the church is the only entity that had both the opportunity and the responsibility to put forth the ideas that could have made a difference in my marriage and the marriages of many others, in a meaningful way and in a meaningful forum. Eleutheros says: So you blame them for not stopping your wife from doing what she wanted to do. Let’s just say that it is indeed true that in the context of the church you cannot force someone to not do what he or she wants to do. For instance some examples from people I know in the church: have sex with their children, suicide, divorce, affairs, thievery, embezzlement, fraud, physical abuse, emotional abuse, addiction and financial irresponsibility to name the ones that immediately come to mind. But isn’t it also true that you should try to stop them if you can or at the very least affect them so that they stop on their own and get help. So what might the head of a church say from the pulpit or otherwise that might have the desired affect concerning marriage? Believe it or not I have been giving this exact question a great deal of thought. What would I do, could I do, to remedy my own complaint? Since my complaint is sexual we will start with that but understand I believe the same technique could be used for most of the things that trouble us in life and in marriage. Since we are using my situation as an example let us imagine what might have happened 30+ years ago if the preacher, in the right venue, had said something like this: “If any of you married people are having sexual problems please get some counseling. If your spouse thinks you are having trouble then you are having trouble even if you do not think so. If you are the spouse that will not go to counseling then you are currently the greater part of the problem.” Or maybe broken down to three parts said over a period of months and repeated over and over at a long enough interval that it didn’t cause too many problems for the preacher. Eventually this is going to put enough pressure on the offending parties that they either change churches or make a move toward counseling. The other thing you could do that I think is very effective is the mentoring couple concept. That needs to be greatly expanded. This is getting too long so I think I will end it here. You get the point. You can change sex to money or verbal abuse or whatever, but the point is to keep it out in front of the congregation so that to ignore it becomes more and more difficult until it reaches a crisis point and the couple takes action. Be it fight or flight. If they get angry and change churches you didn’t want them anyway. I am of the opinion that if you solve the problems in the marriages in your church and create really great successful marriages you will not be able to build a church big enough to hold all the people that want to come and have their marriages healed.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@mlserv - Again, what you say is completely true - to a point, and for some churches. More and more pastor's are talking bout sex from the pulpit - often to protests from those who don't want to hear about it. I've been ministering about sex for 12 years now, and I have seen a number of folks grow backbones in that time - not enough, but more and more all the time. BTW, it sounds like not talking about sex was par for the course at the church you went to with your wife. I'm sorry you attended a church that was more country club than church. Please don't judge us all that that example - there are plenty of other examples, both good and bad.

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

Hey mlserv, You are right about this, "...the situation is as always vastly more complicated than I can convey in a blog comment..." 'cause that was my case as well. So, I'll let you know that my 'easy manner' was hard earned, even as it's expression was an attempt at being sardonic to bring out further comments from you that I might know if you were just responding from bitterness or were truly immature enough as a human being to blame a religion for the breakup of your marriage. I see it was mostly out of immaturity that you spoke. And ignorance. You said, "I started going to church with her. As I look back on it I am amazed at how little it was about anything other than socializing. I learned nothing about the Bible of any significance or anything about the moral philosophy of Christianity and it’s inner and outer workings." So you admit that you know nothing of any significance about Christianity. (Now whose fault is that, really?) And yet you said this: "Just to clarify, the church did not teach my wife to act the way she did nor did they condone it, but more importantly they did nothing, nothing at all, to tell her not to." So you blame them for not stopping your wife from doing what she wanted to do. If you were the head of this church what would you have done to stop her from doing what she wanted to do? And you said this: "You see she thought it would be all about me being wrong and not her. This is another place the church let us down. They did not prepare her for this revelation. That is that she could also have some problems." So you blame them for not preparing her to see that she could be wrong. Again I ask: If you were the head of this church what would you have done to prepare her for this revelation? And what word would you use to describe this kind of thinking if you saw it in another human? Does modern Medieval Christianity have issues with hypocrisy and inconsistencies? Yes. Does it seem to be devoid of intellectual honesty? Depends on what individual you talk to that claims the name of Christ. But this I know to be a truth- when you blame a religion for the breakup of your marriage you have some issues of your own- your wife left you because she choose to. Whatever prompted her desire to leave, religion is not to blame. Only the two of you are to blame for the breakup of your marriage. So, what contribution did you make to this break up? It's a rare human indeed who can honestly answer, "Nothing". What then are you going to do with this opportunity to learn about yourself? Are you going to squander it on bitterness and blaming? Or are you going to set your heart and mind on learning righteousness by learning what Jesus is all about? Don't want to be a Christian? Fine. There are plenty of good reasons not to want to be tagged with that label. But Jesus- He's not a Christian either. He is the Son of God and He said some astounding things about Himself that you have heard and know and are now accountable for. So, instead of blaming, why don't you decide to set your heart and mind to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness for yourself- discovering your own personal version of Christianity that will be consistent, genuine and intellectually honest, rather than approaching it the way you have been, sitting passive and ignorant in a pew once a week while you were spoon-fed and socialized. Then you will see why it is wrong for you to blame the modern Medieval Christian system for not stopping your wife from doing what she wanted to do, leave you. Do you want to be a righteous, un-hypocritical, intellectually honest human being walking the walk with true humility and thus knowing that you are well pleasing to God? Do you want to be filled with vitality and agape and hope, loving an equally righteous woman who wants to have great sex with you because she loves the goodness she sees in you? Then discover Jesus. I’ve found that He is more than glad to teach any human how to be good, just as we were all originally created to be.

mlserv
mlserv

Thank you for your comments. This will be a response to Eleutheros. You are quite correct when you say I am bitter, angry and resentful and I would say I have every right to be so, for a time. It will pass but my feelings toward the Church will remain for a very long time. I would like to respond to your comment item by item. Of course I did not behave righteously through 31 years of marriage and 4 children. My wife has just as many complaints as I have and they are just as valid. She only became culpable when she turned her back on the very counselors she chose when they pointed out the problems with her behavior. You see she thought it would be all about me being wrong and not her. This is another place the church let us down. They did not prepare her for this revelation. That is that she could also have some problems. I disapprove of the easy manner in which you dismiss or change spouses, even if it was unilateral in your case. My wife never intentionally did anything to hurt me with the exception of when she started planning the divorce and even then hurting me was incidental. The thing that causes me the most sadness is that right at the moment when we were most able to change things for the better she made the decision to leave and thereby missed the opportunity to heal. She will go into her next relationship with exactly the same problems. And because I love her, I care about that. I do not blame Christianity for her change in attitude but for giving her cover for the change and never revealing it as the opposite of what the Bible teaches. Also the situation is as always vastly more complicated than I can convey in a blog comment so some latitude must be given and I apologize for any seeming inconsistencies. I do not subscribe to any version of Christianity. All that I have any experience with are rife with hypocrisy and completely devoid of intellectual honesty. I know how this sounds but I mean it as purely descriptive and not some kind of cheap shot. This and more is why I am not a Christian. Please read my response to Paul for more info. I will blame and be bitter, for a season. As in grief there are steps to be taken before forgiveness and acceptance are possible. The time will come for the acceptance of my unwanted divorce but not for accepting the state of the Christian church.

mlserv
mlserv

Thank you for your comments. This will be a response to Paul. In all fairness to my wife I must tell you she is a good, honest, loving and caring Christian woman in all areas of her life but one, her sexual relationship with her husband and how it radiates out into the rest of the relationship. Just to clarify, the church did not teach my wife to act the way she did nor did they condone it, but more importantly they did nothing, nothing at all, to tell her not to. It was as if sex didn’t exist. (Let me know if you have never heard of the parable of the crocodiles.) In my opinion the problem is not which version of Christianity she followed (she did a lot of denomination hopping) but with the state of Christianity itself. After she was saved I started going to church with her. As I look back on it I am amazed at how little it was about anything other than socializing. I learned nothing about the Bible of any significance or anything about the moral philosophy of Christianity and it’s inner and outer workings. Therefore, whether or not any of her or my actions were Biblical or not never came to be questioned.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

mlserv said: "Welcome to Christianity. In my mind that is where the blame lies." I'd like to tell you that you are wrong, but I must agree with you - after fashion. No doubt the version of "Christianity" your wife followed was at fault. I would bet it gave her justification for what she wanted to do, but that's still a very bad thing. Of course her actions are completely contrary to what the Bible says. Sex is not just encouraged, but required. To withhold sex from your spouse is called robbing them! I wish your wife had heard the truth, rather than a bogus version of what God actually said. Paul

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

Hi miserv! She's gone. And that by her own volition. Which means, if you behaved righteously during this ordeal, you should have a clean conscience about what transpired and thus be free to pursue another and better woman. (Just be sure your own emotional maturity is up to the pleasure, so you don't sin with her.) Sure, you loved her, but, since the love in marriage is conditional, you should be appreciating the fact that you are now free to fall in love all over again. Right now you ought to be celebratiing for ths hope- I know I did when the misery-making woman I was married to prior unilaterally decided to end our marriage. You blame Christianity for her change in attitude- I think you should thank it. By Christianity, or at least her version of it, you are free of a woman who earned your disdain and made you miserable. So, which version of Christianity do you subscribe to? The version that through faith in Jesus Christ, compensates for human stupidity and error with forgiveness, so you can, by grace, become the best human you can be and thus find yourself pleasing to God with your goodness and humility? Or her version that apparently teaches that simply to be human is sin enough and so we must hate ourselves(our flesh, so-called)to be pleasing to God? So, what will you do? Blame and be bitter or forgive and be hopeful? The choice is your's. Just be good, above all and you will find that being good is what you were created to be!

mlserv
mlserv

This is exactly precisely what my wife did. Starting about 35 years ago. First she got religion, then she cut me off from all sexual intimacy or even any pretense of it, although we still occasionally had sex. The sex was usually bad, empty and meaningless with intimacy nowhere in sight. I am sure the men who read this blog intensely know the difference between a sexual experience that is intimate and one that is not. The ultimate shame of all this is that she did none of it on purpose. I don’t think she ever realized that she was doing anything wrong, even when the counselors tried to make her aware of it. Instead she divorced me after promising me she would not. I did manage to help get her through nursing school though. Welcome to Christianity. In my mind that is where the blame lies.

Brent
Brent

Maybe the form she followed (Christianity that is); however, true Christianity teaches that spouses ought to fulfill the sexual desires of their spouses. It is very clear in the Bible (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Ironically, you are shifting blame from her to "religion" or "Christianity." It is her fault, not Christianity's fault. The Bible teaches, and promotes, fulfilling sexual desires in the marriage relationship (Proverbs 5:15-19. You can't blame religion for a poor choice your ex-wife made. Just something to think about, since shifting blame is under discussion.

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