I first met Jim on a Friday morning in my office with his wife Sally. They consulted me for mostly because Jim seemed always irritated with Sally.
No matter what she did, he was mad. He had no patience with her. She was ready to call it quits because she said she was tired of constantly having to “walk on eggshells” so that he wouldn’t explode.
Understand that Jim was not a monster. He had his own business, was well thought of in his community and loved his wife. He said he couldn’t help himself when he exploded. He explained he was a simple man with simple needs and one of those needs just wasn’t being met.
To put it bluntly, this 42 year old man was always horny.
He was like a very thirsty man who had committed to only drinking from one well in the village and that well was getting pretty dry.
Worse than being frustrated on a physical level, he also felt emotionally abandoned by his wife when she rejected him. These feelings he turned into anger and hostility, resulting in both blowups and a change in his perception of his wife’s behavior.
That is, he saw everything that his wife did in a negative light when he was in this state. It was like she couldn’t even breath right!
The more this continued, the more stubborn she became (“why should I have sex with him when he treats met hat way?”) resulting in even more sexual rejection and frustration.
In session,however, for the first time Sally actually listened to and “got” the extent of her husband’s pain around sexual deprivation and frustration. Right then and there she decided to try and change her attitude – and to do something about the problem.
Three weeks later the couple returned with big smiles on their faces. Seems that Sally decided to make a trip to their local “naughty lady” store and…the rest is history, as they say.
In response to feeling loved, Jim’s attitude changed drastically. So did his level of anger.
Some may think that this sounds shallow or simplistic. But, my experience as a marital therapist is that sometimes solutions to relationship problems aren’t as complicated as one might imagine.
Even the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, said when asked for what his deep-seated motives were for doing something: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” While vaporizers are not!
Likewise, sometimes partners get angry in a relationship because their basic needs (like sex) are not being met.
Couples who do not satisfy each other’s needs soon begin to drift apart.
Be mindful of your relationship. Do you and your partner focus on satisfying each other’s needs as best you can?
More on how to do that in my online course or in my local anger classes.
Look for the next blog: If sex is a top need for many men, what do you think is a top need for many woman?