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How to deal with consistant physical rejection when you are doing all you can

Community Member

Hi community,

I am new to this site and definitely new to having anxiety with physical symptoms. So please be nice but honest!!

I am a 32 year, male, medically i am fit and with no issues, dont smoke, dont drink and love being active however anxiety has stopped alot of that as sports now triggers breathing difficulties. I have two major anxiety triggers i have learnt about of the last 6 months. One being health based anxiety where a single little pain will trigger an anxiety / panic attack. This one i am working on and doing well at getting over it slowly.

However the second is the one i wish advice on. I am due to get married to my gorgeous wife-to-be very soon, and this decision will not change as i really do love her with all my heart. we are both super excited. However over the past year and especially in the last 4 months she has been constantly rejecting my advances. Intimacy has dropped to a level i have never experienced since i was single. Now i know most of you might have the stereotype view that i need to do more around the house to help her and to romance her. But this is not the case with me.

I am a hopeless romantic that loves doing little things for my partners, i do all the cooking, most of the cleaning and don't force her to do anything she does not want to do. She can hang with her friends and party without me if she wants as i dont have trust issues. I am a kind, caring and considerate person that considers everyone a friend.

It all started when her work life started taking over and she worked 12-14 hour days constantly. She had a stress melt down over work but after she got over it went straight back to working the same crazy hours. She sleeps all the time, falls asleep on date nights, too tired or not in mood in mornings or is too focused on other things. We used to have a great intimacy connection. She has been working on things but in last 4 months her stress levels have decreased a little, which is good.

Now last night when i touched and kissed her, suddenly i felt an instant and overpowering feeling of rejection and than anxiety kicked in. I guess i might be overthinking whether that touch will get brushed off or make her feel uncomfy. I am a very physical person and she used to like that.

I just need some advice to get through this patch and how people deal with it?

I want it to get back to what it used to be but i know it will take time.

ps. our communication is good hence why she is trying to work on things.

10 Replies 10

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Kitedrew

Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. Thank you for telling us your story. If you have a look around the site you may find others in a similar situation. If so, feel free to join the conversation and have your ten cents worth. This is a safe site to express your feelings but I think you have already worked that out.

It sounds very much like your GF is completely exhausted. You are carrying her because you do, from your comments, most or all of the home duties. I am not suggesting you stop doing these things, I want to bring it to your attention. If your GF did some of these tasks she would be even more tired, so good for you that you take this strain off her.

As you can imagine, being tired does not make for many intimate moments. These are reserved for the times when you feel happy and well. It may be that until you and your GF feel rested and well your moments may be few and far between. I appreciate how disappointing this is for you.

Has your GF spoken to her GP? There may be more amiss than plain tiredness. It's worth while getting a check up to make sure she does not have some physical problem as well. I would also suggest that the GF is disappointed about the lack of intimacy even though she is unable to take part. This is a large part of a loving relationship and both partners are disappointed when you lose part of your demonstrations of love.

I imagine several other people will be along soon to talk to you. Please continue to write in.


Hi White Rose,

Thank you for the welcome πŸ™‚ and also the advise.

You are right i do take a lot of the slack up to help my partner as i believe in being a good partner and look after those you love. Medically we are both health with no issues that would cause an issue in those areas.

I do believe it is a fair amount of exhaustion that might be adding to the issue, but i also believe it is an issue that can be worked on as we are not in financial issues. I learnt many years ago that work is not going to look after you and you need to look after yourself first. Also once you leave work, unless it is a extremely important issue, leave it for tomorrow. Plus dont let pride get involved as sometimes you just have to let things fail to make progress forward. Your health is more important.

But at the moment our wedding is causing less issues and stress than other life issues. It is funny how the most stressing event in our life is actually been really fun to plan. As i said we are really looking forward to it.

How lovely you are enjoying planning your wedding. It is supposed to be a very happy day and planning the progress can be delightful. Unfortunately many folk find it stressful, often because of the well meaning efforts of others.

I wish others would learn your lesson about work. It really is self-defeating to work so hard that you have no time or energy for anything else. If finances are not a problem and your GF can take time off I would think it a good idea. I remember turning down a placement because I thought my job may not be there when I returned. Silly when you look at it with hindsight but sadly true.

I suggested a medical check because being in itself can be a medical problem. If your GF has not had a check up in the past four months, the time when this problem has been at its peak, then it still may be an idea to to make sure. People become tired because of work but they also become for other reasons and then find work difficult.

I agree with leaving work at work. May I suggest you work together to find a way of unwinding when your GF returns home (apart from the obvious)? Or having a serious discussion on her work hours. While I know organisations like having work done for free, in general most of them realise the risks to their employees and the cost of WorkCover, unless you live in Victoria where W/C does not really exist. Working long hours can lead to stress and depression and also to all sorts of accidents, including driving home.

The other alternative is finding another job but this may not appeal to your GF. I hope this is helpful.


Hi Kitedrew. How old are you guys? What does she do for for work? 12-14 hour days are pretty hefty.

What I would want to know is this - is there an end in sight? Are you working to save up for a house deposit, etc... Are these work hours indefinite? I only ask this because those kind of hours are unsustainable in the long term. I mean doctors can work those hours but they have an outcome - which is an exponential income and ultimately less hours, albeit many years later. That's why I asked your age too - obviously if you're younger you're much more able to cope with that kind of stress. What kind of hours do you pull? Do you have your own place together?

And if you feel comfortable, are you able to describe a little about your initiations?? As in how you approach sex - that can also be a factor. So you kissed your wife the other night - what happened next?

I dunno, even working those hours there has to be some kind of reprieve. That's either a nice holiday or it's going to be in hospital with pneumonia. I agree with Mary about a medical checkup too. Exhaustion is clearly a factor but a full medical clearance is warranted to exclude any chronic conditions, anaemia, hormone issues, thyroid, etc...

I was going to go on and on but I won't - but I think what's also important is dealing with your own anxieties. Working on your own stuff is what you can easily control in the first instance and can only have a positive impact on your relationship. Maybe back off on the nice guy stuff. More info required man, more info

Sorry, you said you are 32. Your fiancΓ©?

Community Member
I'm very sad to read your words because it reminds me that my ex wife did pretty much what your finance is doing to you. Basically she lost interest in me and the relationship and started to focus on her work more and more until ultimately she started seeing other guys...initially work mates and after that from dating sites. It took about two years for her to realise that she just didn't want what out family (we have three kids together) had to offer her, before she finally left. So I would suggest you talk to your wife about it, maybe get some counselling if she will agree to it and be prepared for the worst. At thirty two you are still young, remember the good times and be grateful but then move on. Continuing to pick up the slack is not making you look good in her eyes...no body is really attracted to a doormat.

Apollo Black:

We are both 32. We both work in IT except she is more in the customer / client sections than i am, but we dont work for the same companies. It all started a year ago when she took on a management roll and felt she had to make sure everything did not fail and she couldnt delegate. She has since left that management roll that has helped her stress but she is still work focused too much. For example she left work 2+hours late the other day because "she got distracted on a task", even with my multiple messages to figure out if i was delaying dinner. I would prefer not to get into how and who initialises sex as i like to keep that stuff personal BUT i have done what nearly every "couple helping" book says to do.

Thanks so much for replying πŸ™‚ i do appreciate it a lot.

Mr. Cheese:

This is my one massive concern 😞 i spoke to her about it this morning and she assures me she loves me and definitely wants to marry me. But also is concerned that if she is not satisfying me than is she the right one for me. Which tells me she is doubting things about herself. I have never got angry or pushed for things but we have had a few discussions about the intimacy lately as it has been really getting me down. So my guess it is from those discussions that is where the comment came from. We are working hard at fixing these things, but i feel sometimes it is lost once work goes nuts again.

Thanks again for your messages and i massively appreciate it.

I only ask because if your initiations are weak then it could well be a turn off. The fact that you're reading every couple help book before you're even married is a massive red flag.

So she didn't respond to you asking where she was when she was two hours late? Shes not seeing anyone else then? Are you sure?

Once again I'd lay off the beta stuff. It would be nice if she had dinner ready once in a while for you and had a think about coming home from work on time every now and again. I fear this workaholic stuff is a big smokescreen either for her not being into the relationship or that she's seeing someone else.

If you've made her aware that you're not happy and why, and she's saying stuff about being the right one for you, it's a massive red flag. It's almost like a passive aggressive move to make you the beak up bad guy. Be alert. You're not stupid and you know there's something wrong. And you didn't say anything about getting her health checked up on. Get her to the GP as discussed previously.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Kitedrew...

Just because she's working long hours, doesn't mean that she is playing up. Your comment "she got distracted on a task," the presence of the quotes makes me think that you don't believe her (which could indicate a red flag). But, I think its worth mentioning that I've done that very same thing many of time. I recall back in my programming days, often I'd feel like stopping for lunch only to realize it was 7pm and I was late to go home.

"It all started a year ago when she took on a management roll and felt she had to make sure everything did not fail and she couldnt delegate."

I understand that she's exhausted, but I think some light reading may help; whether she is in a management role or not. I recommend she reads: One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard; this is about being an effective leader (and learning to manage your manager).

It is said that insanity is constantly doing the same thing over and over, and hoping for a different result.
It is said that too much of a good thing is bad.
It is said that in order to get people to change, first I must change.
And, it is said that we don't truly appreciate what we have until it is gone.

Don't look to me for relationship advice, as mine failed after 24 years, but I would consider withholding your advances and let her come to you. After all, love is a two-way street.