If you or your spouse have ever felt lonely, crazy or like you’re roomates, Intimacy Anorexia may be the issue.
This term, coined by Dr. Douglas Weiss, means the “active withholding of emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacy from your spouse”.
Here are some signs and examples to help you better understand:
- Busy: staying too busy so you don’t have time for your spouse
- Examples: cleaning, volunteering, working, TV, phone, video games, friends, children, sports
- Blame: blames spouse for issues in the marriage, justifies their own behaviours, doesn’t take responsibility for their part
- Examples: “she’s overreacting” “if we had sex more I wouldn’t have to cheat” “she talks too much”
- Withholding love: to not love someone the way they want to be loved
- Examples: can’t say “I love you”; doesn’t help around the house; doesn’t go for walks, doesn’t leave notes;
- Withholding praise: doesn’t sincerely compliment their spouse in private—may praise in public
- Exercise: write 10 positive things about your partner—when was the last time you gave praise
- Withholding sex or connected sex: sometimes years, feels like it could be anyone,
- During sex, do you look at your spouse or close your eyes?
- Do you think of other things to do during sex?
- Do you fantasize about others/pornography during sex?
- Do you give loving affirmations during sex?
- Do you act as if you dread sex?
- Do you hurry your spouse to get it over with?
- Do you leave your spouse physically or emotionally immediately after sex?
- Can you talk about sex with your spouse in conversation?
- Withholding spiritually: regardless of faith or beliefs
- Examples: will pray with others but not you, won’t meditate, won’t read with you
- Withholding feelings: unwilling or unable to share, they can turn it on for a short period of time
- Examples: focus on material things or work, feeling like you don’t really know your spouse or what they want, you only see an expression of anger or joy
- Criticism: can be made-up or constant, spoken or unspoken
- Examples: told you have bad ideas, puts you down in private or in front of others, “jokes”, sarcasm, notices everything you do wrong, binge attack at birthdays, holidays and before vacation to keep distance
- Using anger/silence: outbursts, passive-aggression, silent treatment
- Examples: feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, an abrupt agreement just to end a difficult conversation, silence until the spouse apologizes
- Controlling with money: to shame spouse, least used tactic
- Examples: criticizing spouse for spending but the anorexic buys whatever they want—(dinners with family and who pays), gives spouse an allowance, withholds financial information, abundance so the spouse won’t ask for intimacy, or complain
If you can relate to 5 or more of the above criteria, call us today to start your healing journey. It can happen for you and your relationship!