In every relationship there will be issues that one of you will care more about than the other. This is normal. Where we get ourselves in trouble is when we get into marital gridlock and stay in it.
In this episode, I will cover various ways high desire/ low desire shows up in marriage and other relationships and why we respond the way we do to our loved ones. When we understand our reactions better, we are better able to decide how we want to show up and stand up for the things that matter to us, even if we are misunderstood.
Showing up in the way shown in this episode will help move things forward- either together or apart. Be sure to listen to see areas you are stalling out in and how you can keep yourself moving and invite those around you to do the same.
I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 78, High Desire, Low Desire.
Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
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Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, hello. Welcome to episode number 78. I hope this episode finds you
doing well, feeling good about the direction you are going in your life,
feeling good about you and the progress that you’re making. I want to just
say again… I know that I keep saying this, but I love hearing from you
and this week, I got some really beautiful, thoughtful emails that I’m just
so grateful for. I love hearing from you. I love hearing about your life
and hearing about how this podcast has helped you and in what areas and it
just means the world to me. So, thank you for reaching out, those of you
who have. I love it. I love hearing from you.
I am doing well. I am really tired because having a baby when you’re 44 is
no joke. I’m tired. Getting up in the middle of the night every night, just
the constant somebody needing you. Right? She’s a good little lady and
sleeps pretty good at night, but so far, she does not love sleeping during
the day. So, anyway. I know things will settle down, but this evening while
I’m recording this podcast, I’m a little sleepy, so I’m trying to perk up
for you. Overall, though, things are going well.
So, let’s jump in to the title of today’s podcast, High Desire, Low Desire.
Now, a lot of times when you hear that description, what do you think of?
What comes to mind for you? [inaudible 00:02:25] sex. No. That is not what
I’m talking about today. That may pop up as part of the conversation, but
it is much broader than that. Okay? Today I am going to talk about high
desire, low desire around all areas in our lives and why this can become a
struggle in our marriage.
So, last week I did an episode called Holding On To Yourself. Right? And, I
hope you listened to it. I’m going to be doing more around this topic.
Today, the piece that I’m covering around holding on to yourself is about
high desire and low desire and why holding on to yourself is crucial here.
So, as the words suggest, high desire, low desire is when one person
desires something more than the other and therefore is often the one taking
the strongest action towards it. Okay? So, with sex for example, the high
desire partner may be the one initiating it the most. It’s the person who
is taking the most initiative toward something, some goal, something that
they want. This dynamic happens all the time in relationships, even in
friendships. Right? All kinds of relationships, not just a romantic
But today, we are focusing on a committed romantic relationship. Here are
some examples of things that we can be high and low desire about. Financial
goals such as retirement, credit ideas, savings goals, risks that you’re
willing to take in your financial goals, et cetera. Children. How many
children to have or not to have, discipline around the children, all the
things children. Vacations, travel. Now, this one… As I was preparing
this episode, I thought, oh, for sure I know where I land in this one. I am
definitely the high desire person here and so, when we do traveling, I
generally do most of the planning because I’m the high desire person. I
desire it more. I want it more.
Another example is sex. High desire, lower desire. Not low desire always,
but lower desire. Communication. One partner might want all the
communication while the other one might be satisfied with very little
communication. It can as simple as shopping for the next car that you want
to drive. It can be what house to buy and shopping for that. It can be
rules around how much screen time you want in your house, when the TV is
on, things like that. Okay?
Now, sometimes it may look like control, the high desire, low desire cycle.
Okay? An example I thought of when I was preparing this is of a friend of
mine who… Several years ago, I remember her telling me that she felt like
her husband wanted her to look like this certain part and so he would buy
her… Like the certain role, like looking like the fancy… The fancy
housewife with the money. And, he would buy her nice clothes and heels and
things like that and she was really bugged because she felt like she…
Like he wanted to come home to her dressed up and wearing heels and looking
fancy at her house and she’s like, “That is not at all what I want to be.
That’s not… That’s not me.”
Now, this person, she is very classy. She does look nice and cares very
much about how she looks. But, to her, it felt like control because she
felt like it was more about him than her. So, she had to learn to say no
and yes from a place of her own desire and not his. Okay? Had to come from
her desire, not I’m going to do this so he can feel like he has this fancy
wife and make him feel really special and important. Right? Instead, it
was, “I’m going to do this because I care about what he wants, because I
want to look attractive to my spouse, because I care about that or because
I like how I feel when I dress this way.” And, sometimes it’s a no. Like,
nope, not today. Not feeling it today. And, either way is fine. That was
just an example of how it can look like control sometimes.
When does the high desire, low desire become a problem? It can be a problem
when you get into a gridlock situation where one wants something badly and
the other either, one, drags their feet to slow things down and not really
deal with themselves, or two, they really don’t want what the other person
wants from an honest place. They really don’t want it. So, one issue that
comes up a lot with my clients is when one client wants to heal the
marriage more than their spouse does. So, there’s a high desire person in
terms of moving things forward and a lower… Low or lower desire person.
Now, this happens for many reasons. Let’s talk about some of those reasons.
As you are listening, I want you to identify what you feel is most true for
you if this situation applies to you. Number one. They don’t want to stay
married but haven’t come out and said it. Instead, they don’t really do
anything. Things can become very stagnant in this place. This is an example
of them wanting something different. It seems like a gridlock but it is
more of an issue of not being honest and telling the truth of how they
actually feel and maybe even to themselves. Maybe they haven’t even
admitted it to themselves yet. They’re just kind of living in this space of
I’m just not going to do anything because I don’t want to… Don’t want to
deal with it. Okay?
Number two. They want to stay married but are afraid to self-confront. Now,
self-confronting is an episode that I’ve got coming up, so you’ll learn
more about that. But, basically it means they don’t want to see themselves
as they are, so it is easier to stall out, blame you for their weakness as
for why they can’t or won’t put in more effort. It’s easier to stay in a
Number three. They want to stay married but don’t want to be controlled in
the process. They don’t want to be told exactly what it needs to look like.
They want to work on their end of it on their own terms without being
prescribed of what to do. Sometimes, in an attempt to feel better, women
will put things in place to try to calm their emotions, like daily phone
and internet checks, putting trackers on cars, wanting to know exactly who
they talked to and when and what they are doing to work on themselves. They
might want to know what podcasts or books are they listening to and
reading. What did you listen to today? What are you reading? As an
assurance to them that they are working on themselves. They want to grow
but may feel stifled by the demands placed upon them and want to do it
their way at their own pace. They want the high desire partner to slow down
a bit and wait for them.
Number four. The fourth option is that they have communicated that they
don’t want to stay married but you have asked them to give it a certain
amount of time and they have agreed to it.
All of those apply to anything you might be in a gridlock in on your
marriage. Okay? Let’s look at it another way. Let’s say there’s something
you are low desire about. Maybe it’s about money. Okay? Looking at and
managing finances. [inaudible 00:10:02] number one. Don’t really care as
much, truly. Truly don’t care as much. Maybe you have a mindset that says
that things will just work out and that you aren’t going to worry about it.
Maybe your level of financial care looks different than your spouse, so it
may just be that it’s not as important to you and you’re okay with it, but
you have not communicated it well to them so it comes across as
indifference and not caring.
Number two. You do care but you don’t want to feel the feelings that come
up for you when you look at finances. You’re afraid to feel shame and guilt
for your spending habits. You might have scarcity around money. You might
not want to look at the numbers because you know that you’ll feel like
there’s not enough. Worry might come up. Maybe you don’t want to see
yourself honestly and see exactly what your spending habits are, so you
avoid it. Again, this can come across as not caring but it really is about
a fear of seeing yourself.
Number three. You care about money but don’t want to feel controlled around
it. You don’t want to have to monitor every penny cent and feel like you
have to give a report. That feels punitive and childish to you. You want to
engage more but feel like it has to be on his terms or it doesn’t count and
you don’t like that.
Number four. You have communicated that you don’t want to engage in certain
financial things but have agreed to leave the door open. And, sometimes
you’re stuck in gridlock on this and those are some of the reasons why you
might be stuck. Okay? Why you might be the low desire partner and why you
might be stuck. Again, this can come up in any area, any area of marriage,
this gridlock around high desire, low desire.
Now, I mentioned a book called Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch and he
shares an example in it where he talks about a time where his wife held on
to herself in a pretty important matter, and I’m going to tell you about
that. So, [inaudible 00:12:05] they had planned on having at least one kid
but they didn’t really decide when. So, they get married. Several years go
by and she keeps bringing it up. “I really want to consider having a kid. I
really want a kid.” And, he kind of puts it off and puts it off and puts it
off. “Well, I don’t know. I don’t think I’m ready.” And, they get to this
So, what do you do? Well, in this situation, what happened is she said to
him, “I am no longer on birth control. I am no longer on birth control, so
if you don’t want to have a child, you’re going to have to use
contraception yourself.” And, he was mad. He felt a little bit controlled.
He felt a little bit like she was forcing his hand when in reality she was
holding on to herself. She was holding on to her own desire and saying he
can do what he’s going to do but I am not going to continue to play this
part of somebody who doesn’t want children when that is not accurate. I
actually do. So, if he doesn’t want children, the burden is on him now to
make it not happen.
Can you see the difference there? I hope you can see the difference. At
first, he was upset but ultimately it brought him to a point where he had
to self-confront, where he really needed to look at it and go, “Okay. What
is going on with me? Why do I keep putting this off? Do I want children? Do
I not want children? What do I have to see in myself that I don’t want to
see, that I’ve been putting off?”. Ultimately, they decided to have a child
and had a little girl. So, that’s how they moved past gridlock.
What are some other examples? Okay. So, here are some points about what
moving past gridlock looks like and doesn’t look like. Okay? First of all,
it does not look like contention and being adversarial and fighting. You
might think otherwise. Okay? You might think that you have to go in guns
blazing. You know, you listen to me. Okay? That is just not true. In fact,
when somebody is really in a space where they’re holding on to themselves,
where they really know what they want, they are the high desire person,
they know what they want and they’ve cleaned up all of their reasons why
they want it, they’re in a really, really strong position and here’s why.
It requires a lot of work, personal work, to look at yourself to really see
why you want something and get to a place where you like it, you know that
you want it and it feels true to you, to where you can validate your own
reasons, where you don’t need somebody else to say, “Oh yeah. That is a
good idea.” Where you yourself know that it’s a good idea, where you know
that it’s something that you want. You’re not needing anyone to validate it
for you. So, the reason why you’re in such a strong position is because you
can go and have this conversation without needing them to validate you,
without needing them to go, “Oh yeah. That’s right. That does sound good.”
Or, needing anything from them because you have already done that work. So,
if they give you pushback, which they often do, you can handle it. You
don’t have to get defensive. You can just know what you know, know you like
your reasons and stand your ground.
Now, for example, what about something like sexual intimacy? Okay?
Sometimes people want intimacy so it can make them feel manly or womanly
and desired. I need you to do this for me so I can feel this way about
myself. This is placing the burden of feeling desired at the feet of
someone else instead of wanting to be intimate with your partner. Okay?
You’re making it more about you than about your union, being together with
this person that you love. You’re wanting them to want you more than you
actually want them. You want them to validate you so you can feel okay.
This is a problem because that person has to continue to validate you and
it can put quite a burden on that person and on your relationship. A
strain. So, when you can identify something you want and validate yourself,
you can then go have a conversation where even if they do get defensive or
say things that are incorrect, you can be so sure about your stance that
you don’t need anything from them. Initially, the other person may kick and
scream around this new version of you and not quite know what to do with
it, but eventually, if the marriage is going to grow, they will see that
you are standing your ground, holding on to yourself and understand that
they have a decision to make where they will either be forced to
self-confront or leave the relationship. Okay?
What does this look like when the storm rages? What it looks like… And,
by that I mean if the other person is really throwing a fit about it. What
it looks like is reminding yourself that you matter, that what you want
matters, that you’re not being unrealistic, that you’re not being unfair.
Okay? It’s not a control move. It’s you saying, “This is what I want and
I’m willing to let go of you. I’m willing to let go if this is not
something that we can come to terms on.”
So, let’s go back to the example of you wanting the marriage more than the
spouse. Okay? And, I’m just using you, whoever is listening, as some broad
person. Okay? Not you in particular. It might fit. It might not. If the low
desire spouse takes a look at themselves and addresses the fears that are
coming up for them about being all in and takes action from that place, it
will send a clear signal that you both want the same thing and it settles
the marriage down. If they choose not to, for whatever reason, it may heat
things up more. Either way, you are getting new information. You’re getting
more clarity on how to proceed.
We don’t have to suddenly become high desire if we are low desire, but
showing our spouse that we care about what they care about goes a long way
toward mending a relationship. And, on the flip side, we don’t have to
tamper down the thing that we’re high desire about to match the energy of
our spouse. Okay? We can find a place where we feel content that we are
moving forward or that we’re moving toward the thing that we’re high desire
about without going down to the low desire position and pretending like we
don’t care, that we don’t actually want it, go into this place where we
drop the things we want just to keep the peace. Okay? We’re not doing that.
We’re sticking to the things that we want and we’re taking action from that
Okay. So, to wrap this up, I want you to just think about the areas where
you are either the high desire or low desire person. Whether you’re married
or single or not sure yet if you’re going to be married or single, this
still applies to you. Okay? It still applies to you. You’ll always have
relationships where there’s going to be differences of how we think it
should go, how we want to interact with each other, the things that we
want. And, you understanding your stance, why it’s your stance and then
holding on to yourself while you stand firm in that stance will strengthen
you. It will grow your self-trust. It will grow your ability to manage
uncomfortable emotions as they come up for you. You will be able to honor
yourself and know that you are standing up for yourself. That is a
powerful, powerful thing, my friends.
Okay. So, in the next couple weeks, we’re going to be talking about a
couple things. Self-confrontation and self-soothing. They’re both awesome
topics. I hope you come back for more. All right. Thank you so much and I
will see you next time. All right. Bye bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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