Now What?

I share in the all-too-common story, I guess.  Mid 50's, Married to one woman since 25.  Grown kids.  Faithful.  Good job with a good income.  Lucky enough to share in traveling a great deal.  My wife has struggled with depression for some time and I've been there for her; ups and downs, sad days and good ones, fury and withdrawal.  We've had some times when sex became rare, but things would improve.  Then it finally happened...Romance, Sex, Loving, Passion; it all shrank to a little bit of romance and a tiny bit of sex, to a tiny bit of sex, to nothing.  Before, sex had slowed to once a month or so, with one or two times when it would be 3-4 months between evenings of lovemaking, but then things would get better. 

And I understand (in my head) that it's the depression.  25 years of meds later, trust me, I know more about clinical depression that I could possibly write.  And it's not her fault, I got that as well.  And I want to support her and feel like a heel even considering anything else, but she has decided that she is "done".  Sex is only a "man" thing afterall, "women don't care".  And I don't buy it.  I've given about as much as I have to give and my patience is quickly coming to an end.

 I've considered a prostitue (legal in my part of the world) but that doesn't feel right.  One night stands?  I'd be awful at that, because I can't imagine sex without SOME strings; strings and familarity are part of the fun and excitement.  Someone to share a bath with, to eat fruit and drink champaign in bed, someone to be passionate, a tease, willing to try and laugh at mistakes, someone not only for sex, but for romance and passion...what I wouldn't give!

I'm trying to convince myself that this is a lose/lose situation, but down inside I feel like the song says, "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was"...  So I work harder, exercise more, stay on my hobbies, try to find ways to ignore something that is never far from my mind. 

I keep thinking "if there was a woman out there, in a similar situation, we could provide for each other and still care for our spouses, not betray something we believe in, yet still find fulfillment we currently lack"...yeah, right.  And find her how?  A dating site?  Pick-up in a bar?  I don't want to destroy someone else's marriage.  I don't want to trash my wife.  I just want a lover, a friend, a companion, even if it is only part time.

Is that really too much/

maddubh maddubh
56-60, M
15 Responses Sep 19, 2011

I am on the other end... husband of almost 30 years that has lost interest. In his defense he has medical issues that will not allow him to have typical sex life that a male of 50 could have. But the intimacy on all levels is gone too. We have had a very rocky marriage but up until recently the sex was always great and now thats gone too. I feel like things are just not worth trying anymore because its not going to change and will infact only get worse as his illness progresses. He has givin me permission to go out and have a partner but I dont feel that I could do that with him knowing I was doing that... he would hold it against me even though it was his idea. So im stuck without being able to meet my needs. I hope you find happiness and peace in your life as you deal with this similar issue as i do.

Not an easy situation! Do nothing and you continue down the same old spiral. Do something and you do it with a combination of guilt and fear. So you end up denying yourself and telling yourself (and everyone else) that "everything's OK". Sure. But it isn't and there is no easy fix.
I wish I had some wise or helpful advice to offer...but I know your story far too well.
Take care of yourself. Don't give in to the temptation of NOT caring for yourself. Something will happen. It has to, doesn't it?

You are so right... there is no easy fix and always someone is going to suffer its just a matter of who and when they suffer the most.

So...what do you plan for yourself? Where is YOUR balance...I get that you don't want to intentionally hurt someone...but YOU are someone as well. I mean, from your note, "intimacy" has been gone for some you coasted on "sex". Now that's what? Is that basically it? If so, what is it you want to regain...the sex or the intimacy? I know, they're intertwined...but really, bottom line...what ONE thing are you seeking? Figure that out...and it puts the rest into perspective! Good luck

"So I work harder, exercise more, stay on my hobbies, try to find ways to ignore something that is never far from my mind." for the 8 years of my sexless marriage.It's never been far from my mind either. In fact, I have missed having a real partner everyday. But a real partner is not a prostitute.. I guess it boils down to this, if you want sex, just the act - go to a prostitute. If you want intimacy, your going to have to face the fact that your wife is not willing to share this with

I hear you

Trust me, we are out there. And we want the same things as a guy.

Intellectually, I understand. Somehow, in the midst of the day-to-day, it's hard to believe.

Oh, no...we ARE out there. My husband of 33 yrs (got married at 20) is not interested at all in any form of sex, romance, touching...really not anything any long ..He told me when I was still in my 40's that I was getting too old for "that kind of nonsense!" We have not been together that way in almost 5 yrs-all his making, not mine.
I long for touching, being held, talking. Yes, even sex. I miss it. I have been a good and faithful wife. He is unwilling to make any changes in out relationship. I used to try to make attempts, however, how many times are you told "Get the **** away from me and go to sleep", how many times do you watch your husband jerk away when you lean in to kiss him or touch him, before you give up?
How much rejection should one endure, before you just shut down? I even told him that I could feel a wall going up between us and I was just going to give up even trying to have sex, touch, kiss, etc., and he laughed at me. He told me I would never do that. You know what? That is what I did. Pardon me for saying this as it is not very ladylike, but I thought "**** you then". I do not try to do anything. I don't hug him or touch him at all. And yes, I miss it. I have spent so much time crying myself to sleep. I have changed anything and everything on my end that I can think of to change.
I am an attractive enough looking girl (I am thinking anyway). I work out, dress nice. I wear makeup and smell good. I cook, and keep the house. I do laundry and all the wife things. I work outside the home.
I don't know what else to do. Oh, I do have a pet, but she isn't the same as a person.
He is healthy.
So now what? I am trying to not cry as I type this. Was I a complete idiot when I got married? I raised 3 beautiful sons. Not what? There is only so much cleaning and working out I can do...I STILL MISS IT!

and this is only a small part of all of it...

Oh, my. I am SO sorry to hear that. No one deserves to find themselves in that sort of situation. I understand FAR too well exactly what you describe. A simple casual touch...nothing more than an intentional touch in passing, would be enough to make my day. With your permission, I have a bit more to share, but I think it will be with you directly.
Be strong.

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You're singing my song brother. Except for my wife having Narcissistic Personality Disorder instead of depression, I could have written this. I wish I had advice, but alas, all I have is sympathy.

do yoga and meditation<br />
it helps making sex better<br />

Good idea...however a willing and interested partner helps as well!

I hope this comment doesn't go astray, because I certainly don't have your extensive experience of depression. But when you mentioned it being a common story, well- I think that human being with our newly extended lifetimes, are dealing poorly with monotony. The whole mid-life crisis thing, having affairs after faithful decades with one person, doing fantastic things with a brand new person that you never would with a long term ex (like skydiving, or cooking Indian food, whatever!)... the sparkle of excitement is the newness of it all (at least in part).<br />
<br />
There have been plenty of articles and books on how to "spice up a love life", like wearing latex or pretending to pick each other up in bars, etc. How would it be if you try to regain some of the positive aspects of sex with your wife (closeness, sharing, laughter?) by doing something new together? A cooking class, camping with some painting sets and paper, yoga classes, cosplay? Anything strange, ridiculous, fun and interesting to both of you. Something to jolt her and out of your normal lives.<br />
<br />
If nothing else, maybe you meet some nice people and learn something you'll never use again. :)

Thanks for the response, but it's a "been there, done that". All of the above sound wonderful to me, but I would be there alone. This is a woman who simply doesn't care...about anything other than her social activities and her computer. As I do all the house work, laundry, lawn work and work full-time, while she cooks on occasion, I would settle for just some "intentional time". btw...tried the cosplay, whe refused to even try on a hit the trash. no camping for her. she doesn't like doing things like yoga or taichi with me because I am either so bad it embarrases her or, worse yet, better than her. I usually CAN get her to a cooking class about 2x a year, but that's if I arrange the class.
Your ideas are good ones, and I would normally agree...but they simply won't overtake apathy. It's hard to get a spark going with a woman who will never initiate any contact; a hug, a kiss, a conversation, any interaction at all. She usually won't bail on the conversation...and will let me hug her, as long as I don't expect a response. Anyway...the activities sound long as I go stag.
Again, thanks for responding.

I was hoping you'd say just the opposite! And lol, you've tried the exact suggestions I made.. Well, I've heard of marriages where one partner cheats, the other is aware and they stay together because they are both satisfied and the marriage continues fine. It's not my place to judge a marriage.

But I do think it sounds like you deserve better than to have a affair. If the marriage has been that lifeless for so long, and you've tried so hard, I think you deserve someone who'll make you go giddy and will swoon in the moonlight. A girlfriend instead of an affair.

Otherwise the only alternative is to shock her out of it. So either a wrecking ball to the house (plead temporary insanity) or some kind of alien sex drug (see; Internet).

lol. Interesting ideas. giddy and swoon? where do I sign up? As for the rest...who knows?
Again, thanks for the comments. Stay sane.

Your life sounds way too much like mine. I ended up having the affair. Hurt my wife, lost some self-respect but regained self-esteem (didn't expect that both were possible) and am looking at leaving as she isn't working on it and I refuse to go back to the occasional bit of oral sex.

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Yep, it has left some scars. <br />
I'm a simple person, it doesn't take much in the way of guess work to figure out what makes me happy. Trust is a great concern of mine in what is to come.<br />
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The first two women, there was a pattern, there were like little wounded birds that I took under my wing, the most recent (my former wife) was the complete antithesis of this. Yet, still she just withered and faded when life got tough.<br />
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At this point in my life, I have little faith in the ability of most people to buck up and deal with what is important. I've found nobody but you can solve your own problems. <br />
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I don't mean this in a "woe is me" sense at all. I believe it is a simple truth and one thing in this world that one can count on. <br />
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Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong.

I would really agree with your central premise...nobody but you can solve your own problems. And, that said, you can't solve the problems of others.
It strikes me healthy people can support one another, especially in the hard times, but they can't "solve it" for anyone but themselves.

Here's hoping you find a healthy partner!

Depression takes loved ones away. If, that's if, they get better, they often feel they must make some serious changes and leave you in the dust. This has happened 3 times in my experience.<br />
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You must find your own happiness.<br />
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Next woman I meet that shows a glimmer of depression, though I know it is a serious illness, I'm gone. I just can't live like that again.

Wow. I AM sorry to hear that, especially that you have been burned 3 times. That only makes it harder for you to enter into a relationship...
Stay sane.

I guess we are all in the same boat. My better half is disabled and in constant pain so I don't dare to even ask. Its really hard to keep it together at times but what do you do.

That's certainly not easy. I'm not sure where any of it is easy. I guess much of it boils down to how we believe our partners see us. And, of course, all the ties and obligations that go along with any relationship. You're right...what do you do?

My hart goes out to you man, that is why I posted in another area that we have PWP, parents w/o partners organizations,so<br />
why not PWS, parents w/o sex organizations? I think it would be a sure thing.

From the feedback I get here, there's probably not a server large enough to handle the traffic of membership! Definately would be a sure thing!

Your wife has depression, mine has OCPD - the end result is the same. The onset was fast with mine, 15 years ago when the 1st child was conceived. Your sexlife, your life of passion is 1000 times better than mine ever was... not comparing, just setting a backdrop for your comment - <br />
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'And I understand (in my head) that it's the ... ...And it's not her fault, I got that as well. And I want to support her and feel like a heel even considering anything else, but she has decided that she is "done".'<br />
<br />
I know in her strange way she loves me, and needs me, and the kids need me... but she is done.<br />
It's a big step an affair - but we need to remember we are alive. We are human, and a therapist said to me when I was still trying to fix it, fix her, that as a human I can not stop the need for inclusion, feeling, touch, affection - it's part of being human, we are made that way...<br />
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So what to do? It's a tough call, and the results of this? Maybe it will tip you over and you will leave, maybe you will get caught and be forced to leave, or maybe it is a sticking plaster... it will last for so long, then hurt all the more when it's gone.... and then on to the next one... maybe.

Thanks. The reality is I most likely would never take that step, simply because I could never cause hurt to someone else, even if I was "taking care of myself" in the process. The cost would be too high...the cost to me.

I appreciate your response. "It gives me pause to think."

You are not alone... trust me. My reasons for being in the SMC (sexless marriage club) are different and the effect is the same. And yes... there are people out there that understand, who do not want to change the situation and who, like us desire nurturing, companionship and sex... even part time...<br />
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I am so sorry you are here with us in this dark place. It can be different and we are all just trying to find our way..... here is to believing that it is not "really too much." <br />
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Thanks Stef;
Yeah, "if only" seems a powerful "if". How to balance "right", "fair", and all the rest, and still take care of a very important and very human part of ourselves. Thanks so much for your note...and the support.

You are not alone... trust me. My reasons for being in the SMC (sexless marriage club) are different and the effect is the same. And yes... there are people out there that understand, who do not want to change the situation and who, like us desire nurturing, companionship and sex... even part time...<br />
<br />
I am so sorry you are here with us in this dark place. It can be different and we are all just trying to find our way..... here is to believing that it is not "really too much." <br />
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