I Feel Completely Irrelevant To My Wife.We have been married for 26 years and we have four children living at home with us; the youngest is 15. I am 51, and my wife is 48.
My wife is a wonderful mother, and in so many ways a wonderful wife. I’m sure many people think we have the perfect marriage, and that might include my wife. But I’m sure my wife is in love … or content, with what we have, not with me.
Our sex life is fading away and I cannot bear the thought of ending up in a sexless marriage; but there are no shows of intimacy from my wife at all. It’s rare for me to go a day without spontaneously showing my affection in some small way: a short e-mail or text message; holding hands when we’re out; a peck when I get home from work; occasionally buying her favourite chocolates or some other small gift because I was thinking of her; gently rubbing her back in bed at night; touching her leg when we are driving together; hugging her in the kitchen. Just little things, and by no means constant or smothering. But my wife never does the same. She will kiss or hug me back, but she never initiates anything. When I think back, I know she must have done so in the early years, but I just don’t remember it any more as there has been nothing in the last decade at least.
She has everything she wants: a family, a husband, a beautiful home, a current model car, well above average household income, the freedom to do what she wants without question, dinner with her girl-pals and occasional weekends away with them, shopping without having to be too careful about the bottom line.
But while there is no-one in the world I would rather be with, I feel that I am just ‘the husband’ in this picture.
I am articulate, well educated, and a non-drinker earning a very good salary. I work long, but not ridiculous hours and I’m usually home in time for dinner with the family every night. I work out (at home with one of my sons) to stay in decent shape. I help with the house-work, share the demands of the kids, and my wife has a cleaner come in to do the bits neither of us likes doing.
While I dress well for work and pay attention to grooming and hygiene, I tend not to spend a lot of money on myself. For example, my kids (and wife) drive much newer cars than I do because that’s just not important to me. And over the years there have been women, married and single, who have made it clear to me that they’d be interested in some fun if that’s what I chose.
I never forget a birthday, anniversary, Valentines, or other occasion. I can probably count the number of true arguments we’ve had on one hand in our 30 years together and we never yell or fight. It’s not avoidance, just a measure of our general compatibility. That said, I’ve tried talking to my wife about my concerns but she won’t truly engage because she ‘doesn’t want to argue’. My wife just says we should work on making things better, which she does for a month or so, and then we’re right back to the same pattern.
In truth, she is most often the one who initiates sex. I can generally predict when that will be because there is a time in her cycle when she is most aroused. When it occurs it is generally great for both of us, and I’m always conscious of her pleasure, but it is always on her terms. We do what she wants; when and how she wants it. But in recent years I’ve rarely initiated sex because I either end up feeling rejected and worthless, or I’m made to feel like a rapist when she plaintively whimpers ‘don’t’ at my touch.
For several months I completely avoided sex with her because the pattern was making me feel worthless. I’m sure it didn’t bother my wife and worse, I walked in on her ************ in the shower one weekend morning. I quietly left and she was none the wiser. So clearly the desire for that release is still there for her.
I probably love my wife more deeply than the day we married, and I still find her attractive in every way, which just makes things harder for me. There is simply no way I could or would want to divorce, and I now regularly find my thoughts turning to what I see as the only way out. I have researched suicide and I now have a couple of options at the ready. I feel I have been desperately close a couple of times, but I know it will have a devastating impact on my daughter at this stage of her life. Yes, it will upset my sons, but they are now in their 20s and much more resilient. I just don’t see any other option.
Apologies for the long post ... but I wanted to get it all clear in my own head ... and give you enough to properly understand my situation.
Am I doing something wrong or missing something here?