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Rejection – a horrible feeling

I wrote about this experience on another site several months ago:

The other night as we lay in bed, I reached over and gently began to rub my husband’s pubic area.  I wasn’t looking for sex, but if it went there that was fine by me.  I just wanted a connection, to feel him, to be close to him.  I gingerly rubbed around his groin, playing with the hair – it wasn’t going anywhere for him – and that was fine (mostly).  It was comforting to just lay there and feel him. I needed to feel him.  Suddenly, he took my hand and lifted it away and placed it on the bed.  I knew he didn’t feel good, I knew he was stressed, I knew I shouldn’t take it personally -but somehow it felt personal!  It hurt, a stab of pain in my heart – and tears welled up in my eyes.  Was I not attractive to him any more, did my touch repulse him now?  I rolled over and thought of all the times, the zillion times, over and over, I did the same to him.  How many times he must have felt the same pain, asked himself the same questions.   Yes – rejection is a horrible feeling.  It cuts to the core of our being and makes us feel unloved, unwanted, and unattractive.  It hurts!  Sometimes it is not personal – but it always feels personal!

A couple of weeks ago, once again my husband was under a lot of pressure at work and had a lot of stress going on in his life from other sources too.  His libido took a huge nose dive, and every time I initiated sex he turned me down.  I tried to be understanding, but after one episode of being pushed away, feeling really hurt I blurted out “Rejection really sucks and it hurts too.  But I guess you know that since that’s all you got from me for so many years.”  He looked at me in surprise and said, “I am not rejecting you.” 

“Really?”  I replied!  “What the heck do you think you are doing when you pull away or turn away from me?  If you are NOT rejecting me, then why does it feel like you are?  I would think that you of all people would understand rejection and how it feels.”   He had no answers for me but over the next few days he changed his behavior!

I am guessing he understood the feeling of rejection – all too well, he just didn’t recognize it from the other view point!




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7 thoughts on “Rejection – a horrible feeling

  1. A Happy Hubby on said:

    Intellectually I can comprehend saying, “I love you, but I don’t want sex with you” but emotionally it still feels that like my wife doesn’t love me. And I am not talking about one day getting rejected, but the on-going rejection.

    Your post makes me wonder how much my wife realizes how it makes me feel. I have told her it is the most painful thing I have had to endure and I often read many gatekeeping women that have changed say, “I didn’t understand how much it hurt him.”

    • I doubt if your wife truly understands how she makes you feel. I didn’t really get it until I was the one being rejected. I think most spouses that reject sex don’t think they are rejecting their spouse, only the sexual activity. For the most part, rejection is actually a very selfish act if you think about it. The one who does it is only thinking about themselves and what they don’t want to do and not about the other person and what they want. So in their mind they are not rejecting the person – just the thing they don’t want to do! At least – that is the way I felt back all the years I rejected my husbands advances. But when the shoe was on the other foot and I was the one being turned down, it sure felt like he was rejecting me, not the sex. Ironically, my husband felt he was just turning down the activity, but when I expressed my hurt, he understood very quickly where I was coming from and that I was hurt, because he had experienced it, but at the time he was only thinking about himself and what he did not want to do because his mind was on so many other things. I am beginning to think that somewhere along the line, we just swapped places in our marriage. lol

  2. So when you rejected him…he felt you were rejecting just the sex, and not him? Cos he rejected the sex…that must be how he saw it in his mind, with your rejecting the sex, only? Otherwise he would have understood the tears, so maybe he wasn’t as hurt as you thought. Seeing, he sees it differently. Not like a woman does…?

    • I asked Hubby your question, Kiss, and he said he WAS hurt over the years of rejection, but it was because it became the norm, and was not occasional. He did not connect what he was doing during his weeks of stress, to what I did to him. In his mind he was only saying, “not right now. Later” – not “I don’t want you or desire you”. When I did it, because I rejected him most of the time and only gave him pity sex the rest of the time, he felt I was saying “I don’t want or desire you – ever!”

      • Fair enough, I guess cos it was years of rejection…not the occasional night ‘ off’
        He saw it differently then, than he did when he said no to you, if that makes sense! Cheers for that .

  3. I felt your pain when he moved our hand. I have to tell you though, as a man my feeling is that he was aware of the rejection implied in moving your hand. I base this on my own occasional selfish attitudes and something you have said. He is intimately (sadly appropriate use of word) familiar with rejection, how it is “done” and how it feels.

    I know this happened over four months ago and I am not saying reopen the issue. It just seems that someone who knows rejection so well, suffered it so long, and should not want to see anyone else experience it would not have handled the moment in the way he did. I am not looking to stir up trouble between the two of you but trying to see it avoided. It just seems odd that he would do the once hurtful and unthinkable he endured to someone else, particularly someone he loves.

    I am wondering if he has completely healed, or still feels some pain similar to post-traumatic stress, though not so severe. People of “abuse” choose. “I’ll never behave like that and cause that type of pain.” OR “I’ll show them whose in control here, now that I have control back.” So I am wondering, did he, like a PTSD suffer, run to his safe place by “showing you” he was in control. After all this time, is there still more work to be done? Does he still feel wounded in spite of all you have done? I am certainly not saying he thought it all out and was being vindictive, just that he my not have it completely resolved yet and you may need to watch for that and get him to talk it our with you if something like that happens again. My wife will give me a “beating” when I pull that kind of thing on her and tell me I need to apologize and explain to her what was going through my head at the time. It’s not fun, but she’s dead on with her approach.

    Don’t even think I am judging him or condemning his actions or your histories. It was just that what you described didn’t seem to be “reasonable” under the circumstances as opposed to “Not tonight, Hon. Okay? I’m a little distracted and stressed. Later, okay?” After all your writings about him, that’s my impression of him and why his action concerned me. And of course, the big lug made you cry. Poke him in the ribs for me if he does it again. 😀

    • Dan, You make some good points and may be right. I need to think about this a bit! I hurt him for many years so it should not be surprising that some feelings from the past might still surface now and then, I guess. It hasn’t happened again since this episode, but if it does, I will talk to him about this possibility.

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