Anger Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Shantal Feels Dissed
Shantal’s relief at opening her front door lasted exactly one minute. One look at Andre’s face told her that he was overflowing with irritation. She braced herself for the complaints he had stored up during her absence at a work conference. The barrage began right away. Shantal escaped to the bedroom. She crawled into bed without bothering to unpack, and tuned out. She felt like a dumpster being filled with four days worth of stinking trash.
Frustrations Froth Up The Battle
Andre put his arm around his wife and nibbled at her ears. That usually turned her on, but not this time. She said she was tired after her trip and wasn’t in the mood for sex. Andre let out a big sigh. He had been looking forward to making love with his wife. He had hoped that a few days apart would make her want him again. His imagination went wild with images of a frustrating sexless marriage.That would be unacceptable What was he to do? He didn’t want to cheat, and he couldn’t tolerate the thought of Shantal looking elsewhere for sexual satisfaction.
Putting The Dreaded Talk Off For As Long As Possible
Saturday came around too fast for Shantal but not soon enough for Andre. He prepared his opening gambit to get this problem out in the open and dealt with. Shantal clung to every moment in the shower, jogged for a longer time, cleaned, shopped and cooked, until there was nothing left to fend off the dreaded encounter. As soon as Andre sat on the sofa and asked if she was okay, she braced herself for a round of challenges that she didn’t want to explore.
“Are you feeling okay?” Andre asked, delicately opening the can of worms.
” I’m fine. Just a bit tired.” Shantal responded pushing the lid down on the can.
” It’s just that you seem to be tired a lot, and it comes up every time I try to make love to you.” Andre expressed as he pulled out a juicy worm.
” I can’t help it if I’m tired. You always want to have sex when I need to sleep. “Shantal defended, cutting off access to any more worms getting out.
” What am I doing wrong? I worry that I’m not attractive to you any longer.” Andre spilled out two more wriggly worms.
” You just don’t get it do you? You criticize me if I’m tired, or if I go away for work and don’t do the chores around the house. If I am not in the mood to do what you want, you blame me for spoiling your plans. You never ask what I want to do, or show any concern for how I feel. It doesn’t exactly make me feel like having sex with you.” Shantal spewed as she poured the remaining worms in the can over Andre’s head.
” I don’t mean to criticize you. I just want us to be on the same page. What’s the point of being together if we want to do different things? We might as well be room mates.”Andre said, deflecting the blows to his self-esteem.
Shantal Turns Off Her Sexuality
Andre and Shantal both felt unwanted and unattractive, but in very different ways. Andre felt his maleness threatened, so he came on strong, using sex to boost his masculinity. Shantal felt treated like an object rather than a desirable female. She turned off the tap to her sexuality.
Sex Is About Putting Up Walls and Tearing Them Down
What does having sex mean for this couple?
It isn’t about expressing love or sharing physical pleasure.
It isn’t about tender moments of vulnerable intimacy.
It isn’t about taking the time to be with one another in a secure embrace.
The sexual act for Andre and Shantal is code for managing boundaries. Andre wants to tear them down by engaging in sex, reuniting the couple. Shantal wants to put them back up to signal her refusal to be taken for granted.
Frank Talk Makes Sex About Love and Intimacy
Tearing down walls and putting them back up is exhausting. Using sex as the battle arena is destructive and futile. Andre and Shantal don’t have to act out their fears and power struggles in bed. They can begin a dialogue about their experiences when separating and coming back together. It obviously stirs up a lot for both of them that is not being adequately addressed. Once they have the courage to begin that conversation, love making will be unshackled by the stresses of separation and reunion, making it pleasurable once again.
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Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you might have while reading the article or implementing the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.