I Keep Fooling Myself

Presently, my husband and I have our "own" rooms where he sleeps in the master bedroom and I share with my 2 y.o.  We haven't had sex since our son's conception and our daily interactions match those when you press "play" on an answering machine - with messages pertinent to running the household.  I've a weak heart and the slightest instance of improvement would bring a landslide of hope that our love and our life would get better.  I might mention that I forgot to buy trashbags or to water the plants that get missed by the sprinklers - when my husband does this the next day - does he do it because he's in love with me or that he loves me or because it's a chore that can't wait any longer?  Are there people out there that are okay with believing you can conceive love from gestures like this and need only that?

My husband was previously married 7 years and was divorced for 2 years due to his ex-wife having an affair on him.  After that, he was in another relationship with a girl barely 18 years old for 6 months and that ended understandably since she wanted to date around and couldn't commit to a longterm relationship.  We met and had a very predictable and hollywood-movie-picture-perfect sort of romance.  Things got serious very fast and after just half a year, we were moved in together.  There was chivalry, hearts-on-sleeves and passion.  I had mistaken the sense that he appeared "removed" for being the usual patterns of "out of body experience" and "blinded by love" reactions during a relationship's first course.

As soon as we were moved in together - our sex life went on hiatus after just a month.  When I asked about the sudden drop, my husband, in exasperated tones, told me that he only needed to have sex once a month or even less.  I felt humiliated and shameful for it, despite my personal research and surveys from other couples who counted at least once a week.  Soon the embraces and kisses during our departures and arrivals from eachother were met with "I'm in a hurry/I'm busy right now."  All other forms of physical affections were refused because "It's too hot/I need my space."  There was never a time that my husband could say on his own that he loved me; it was always a reply back and a usually less enthusiastic: "You too."

I was feeling more like a roommate with the burden of financial contributions to our household and his obligations of child support during his rocky and sporadic stints at employment.  I was looking for any reasons that our love was dying and thought that he wasn't over his ex-wife.  Once I confronted him on this, he made an emotionally-charged case that he was over his ex-wife - that any man would be over someone who betrayed him, stole everything he owned and kidnapped his kids.  His inability to express love and affection was the way he had always been, but he promised that things would get better.

I believed him and things got worse.

More and more, as I sank into emotional debt, so did my finances with more of his career changes and court-ordered child support and insurance coverages.  I didn't know why I was becoming so invested, both psychologically and financially.  I would challenge him on it and like tides, we'd have ultimatums.  The worse one being when he promised we'd get marry and I foolishly agreed and miraculously - those magic words got me pregnant the one intimate encounter we had the following month.  I kept thinking that maybe it was a sign from God for the two of us to stay together.  I now have a son, and wouldn't trade him for the world.  However, sometimes it feels like I owe the world to my husband for even being able to have my son.  My husband's first reaction upon hearing about the pregnancy was, "Well, you got what you wanted."  I would have to fight for the right to purchase a keepsake or a toy for my son at the same time, budget for his kids's fun money for a church field trip - another weekend we would have spent with these kids we barely saw anyways.  I cry for my son and the countless "firsts" that his father had forgotten or outright refused to share in.  My son's first birthday, while I conceded to my husband that we wouldn't throw a party - we arranged a small get-together at home.  Despite reminding my husband two hours beforehand, somehow, he and my stepkids "forgot" and were gone the rest of the evening after school and work to go out for movies, dinner and dessert. 

During the time that's passed, I have lost the baby weight and gain some confidence from compliments and number requests, here and there, but after finding a stash of **** in my husband's dresser drawer and on his computer, it gets frustrating and hurtfully confirmed how meaningless even my physical existence has become.  When asked about it, my husband replies how every guy is like that and I wonder if its the same way every guy hasn't kissed his wife in over 2 years.  And so I have given up on my husband initiating any expression of love.  Pathetically, every once in a while I would feel drawn and hopeful, by stroking his back, reaching for his hand, or even asking if it was okay to touch him.  Each attempt would be met with him physcially pushing me away, slapping my hand or a very unapologetic "no".  Our conversations have grown short and to the point - about children, household and dwindling finances with wrecked credit and increased child support.  Sometimes I look at him, feeling lost longing, and ask him if he loves me.  He ends the conversation with either, "I don't love you the way you need me to," or "You should already know the answer."

I keep looking at the picture I took of myself and my son on his first birthday and become convinced that my husband has become emotionally and psychologically divorced.  When I wonder if it's possible to fall in love again - is it just in my head and I'm in denial?  When my husband says I should know the answer - if I believe the answer is yes - than that would make it true.  Does it?

weepingwillow weepingwillow
26-30, F
4 Responses Jun 24, 2007

You have my sympathy. I too lived in a marriage where our love for one another faded into something I cannot describe very well. Early in our marriage, within a few months after my daughters birth, my wife left me. I came home after a three day fishing trip with a friend and found a letter telling me to contact a local attorney. He told me she was filing for a legal separation. I went out of my mind over the next few days trying to find out where she and my daughter were. a I even considered ending my life. I finally prevailed on her father to have her call me. I promised to go to counseling and do whatever it took to get her and my daughter back. She came home and we went to counseling and I tried to do the things she complained about but things were never the same. We stayed together for 20 years and then she filed for divorce. I was really messed up for over a year. Then I looked back trying to figure out what went wrong. I came to realized that when my wife left me and took my daughter with me she had destroyed our marriage. She had broken the trust I had in her. A trust that could never be restored. I have been alone now for more than 30 years. There have been other women in my life but I could never trust them. Maybe this is what is wrong with your husband because no man should treat his wife in the way your describe. I think you should cut your losses and save yourself and your son years of unhappiness. I am not an advocate of divorce but when you are abandoned, and what you describe is certainly that, you must take care of yourself and your son first. Find a way to provide for yourself, cut your losses, and try to find some happiness for yourself and your son. Life is much too short to spend it as your describe your life to be.

Remember, God loves each of us and will take care of us. Put your trust in Him

I was moved by your story. I have been married 20 years and currently live in a loveless marriage (on both sides). We sleep in separate rooms and haven't had sex in so many years I've lost count. We don't really argue, we're more like room-mates at this point. I stayed in this situation for financial reasons and because I thought it was best for our children. In hindsight, I feel it would have been better to leave the relationship and if I found love again, my children would see what a true loving relationship is like. Not sure what will happen when my kids leave for college; perhaps then we will separate and move on. Not sure if I made the right decision, but no regrets....we'll see what the future holds. Good luck to you and I hope your future holds lots of love, peace and happiness.

Oh I hope you are not offended by this because I am not saying it to offend you. Is it possible that your husband is gay? He treated his ex-wife the same way he's treating you right? So maybe it's all him. You sound like a wonderful woman. I hope he changes or you find someone else who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

You know, after having read through all of your stories (I picked this one to reply as it didn't have a comment), I feel compelled to say that I was moved by your plight. It seems you have a very earnest, and honest want for better things. <br />
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It also seems to me, reading between the lines, that your husband has some fairly deep-seated emotional issues. Hopefully you can find some way of creating a separation in your mind so that his problems do not become yours.