Unlock Your Intimacy: Abusive husband demands sex

Dr Aman Rajan BhonsleUpdated: Saturday, March 05, 2022, 07:04 PM IST
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I am a daughter who couldn’t save her alcoholic father. I find myself falling for men who have issues and need ‘fixing’. I become their rescuer and caregiver, and then feel unloved when they do not nurture me back. I’ve had three abortions. How do I break this pattern of pain? Please help.

In an ideal world, reciprocity would be a bye-law reflecting tenets of decency and honour in society. Your expectations of how 'men should be' are at odds with 'who they are choosing to be'. Idealism must make room for reality. The world does not follow your personal descriptions of individual proclivities. This is the bitter truth. There is only so much control you may have over other people. Learn to curate the types of men who enter your life. Congeniality, loyalty, trust, respect, integrity and honesty are good qualities to look for. Are you using these men who need 'saving' as a way to address your guilt for not being able to show your father 'the better way' that could have perhaps saved him from the well-known effects of alcoholism that eventually took his life? Human beings are creatures of self-determination and they spend most of their lives either addressing problems or creating problems as a way to build forward momentum and define their place in the stars. Your father made unfortunate choices and your inability to navigate him towards a different path need not be a burden that you bear alone. Before declaring war against injustices and inequities, one must learn to take excellent care of oneself. The men you date must adhere to your goals for a future worth building rather than staying captive to a past long gone.

My husband is verbally abusive and then expects sex, which I hate. How do I help him understand that for me physical intimacy is based on emotional intimacy? Please guide.

Abusive people are a reality of every culture and society. Being ill-tempered and impatient can indeed feel like an attack on the stability of any significant relationship. Sex is not just an expectation. It is the shared celebration of love and romance between two people who care deeply for each other. This is a concept that only human beings understand. Sex is not the technical survival indexed formality that we so commonly view in the animal kingdom. A human may opt to imbue it with a certain dignity and sincerity. It is perfectly reasonable for you to express your emotional needs to the man you have married by telling him what is important for you so that you'll both enjoy sex. His behaviour towards you is unlikely to change overnight but if he is someone growth-oriented and sensitive to your well-being, he may agree to visit a relationship counsellor so that he benefits from the perspectives on offer from someone impartial, skilled and well-versed in the sways and ways of the complex paradigm of couplehood. Helping him understand what 'respect and love' look like to you will be a pivotal first step in assessing how stubborn he is about being exactly how he is versus a gentler and more cued in version of himself that would quite possibly treat you with the care and compassion you are seeking. There are no instant fixes to such nuanced problems. People don't magically change their nature overnight. Assert yourself and communicate what you need fearlessly.

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