I Can Deal With Everything Else, But Not This.

She watches a lot of TV, you know, the prime-time stuff (and of course Y&R) that seems like every other scene is somehow related to sex. Maybe that's just how it seems to me because I'm hypersensitive to it now. I'll watch her watching these shows and wonder what she's thinking.  I usually have to leave the room though, I just can't handle it. I remember watching an episode of something where one of the characters was cheating on his wife because she wouldn't give him any physical attention. Did it ever cross her mind to make the connection between what she was watching and what she was living?

We met about 12 years ago, back in Spring of '98. I was a 21 year old small town boy 3,500 miles away from home, and she was the 23 year old city girl. I have to go back that far to establish a baseline on what I thought a "normal" sex life was, and even then I don't have much to go on. I was a very shy boy, and didn't have much experience with girls. To aggravate the situation, I was raised in a "christian" home, and was fed the steady diet of "don't have sex before marriage" and "if you wait til you are married it will be the most wonderful thing ever", followed by healthy doses of hellfire and brimstone. I was, however,  able to find solace in these myths, and the fact I could barely speak to a girl seemed to be less distressing. I dated a girl in high school, but we never had intercourse (it was still the hottest relationship I've had to date). I dated a handful of girls briefly over the next few years, but nothing long term or serious. By the time I met my wife i'd had sex less than a half dozen times. No, not with a half dozen people, a half dozen times.
I'm not sure exactly what the connection was, but there certainly seemed to be one. I was still shy, but she wasn't, and she took the lead. I held out for two whole weeks before she finally wore me down and got me into bed. For the next little while, I don't remember exactly how long, it was just as I'd been led to believe. No, we weren't married, but I knew this was the girl I would marry. I had few complaints about our physical relationship. It might have been somewhere between six months and a year into it that things started to slip. Sure, the novelty had worn off a bit for both of us, but there was more to it than that. I could understand that three times a day was not going to last forever, but it seemed increasingly difficult to be with her. There were always excuses and reasons, which I always took at face value, knowing that once that particular circumstance was addressed things would return to normal.
Looking back, I can only marvel at how stupid I was, how naive. I was always the optimist, I knew things would get better, I believed she wanted it too. Ironically, she has often pointed out over the years that I am too quick to believe and trust people. I don't think she even realizes that she was one of those people who played me for a fool.
It started out with the simplest things, being tired or ill, not having time or other trivial things that seemed just a matter of timing. When the "right time" simply stopped coming, and I expressed any concern, the reasons changed. It was living arrangements, fear of pregnancy, medication side effects and other slightly more complex issues. Undaunted, I would address each of them. I agreed to move in with her, I took extra measures for birth control and tried to be just generally more sensitive to side effects and other issues. Oddly, not much changed. I was working harder, but getting less, and less.
In another attempt to "fix" the problem, I brought up my concerns. After being made to feel selfish and shallow for wanting sex, a whole new salvo of reasons were fired across my bow. Following the pattern that I was still oblivious to, the seriousness escalated. I was now facing guilt of premarital sex, and commitment issues. Like a fool doubling down at the roulette table, shortly thereafter I proposed. Please understand that I was in love with her, and I did not marry her purely to get laid. I wanted to be her husband anyway. To me the lack of intimacy and it's underlying "causes" were symptomatic of deeper problems in the relationship, and I was more than willing to address them with all the resources I could muster.
I was sure that the "break" we had in intimacy prior to the wedding would reset the clock, and the honeymoon would be spectacular. I'm sure it might have been, but with the stress of the wedding, company and travel, sex was understandably not on the agenda for some time after the big day. In fact the pause we took before we got married was the death knell for our sex life. Over the next 9 years I tried exhaustively to jump through every hoop she held up for me. I tried everything from the obvious to the obviously ridiculous. Date nights, flowers, sexy clothes for both of us, self help books, games, marital aids, spending less time at work, got a vasectomy, started working out... anything and everything. On top of that, I'd taken over the running of the entire household. I manage finances, I run the business myself, I clean, do laundry, dishes, yard work, look after her dogs, she has a car but I drive her where ever she wants to go. I do absolutely everything I can think of. I don't yell at her or mistreat her. I'm not repulsive, and I take great care to always look my best from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep. I exercise and eat well to try and stay attractive. All the things that she doesn't do. No, I'm not perfect, I don't want to portray that image, but I do try desperately hard. I feel like I have to setup and elaborate house of cards, or cascade of dominoes, and no matter how close I get to completion, a single wrong move or errant breeze collapses it all, and I'm left to rebuild. Intimacy shouldn't be like this, should it?
About a year ago I realized that it was all futile. It was a puzzle with no solution. After I'd had the vasectomy to make her more comfortable (which was apparently pointless because I don't get retested every 6 months), I'd hit the end of my rope. I confronted her, and was clear about my expectations. I laid out what I felt was a reasonable frequency for intimacy, at least a point I could negotiate from. If it wasn't going to happen, I said I couldn't deal with it any more, something had to give. I suggested counseling, and she scoffed at the idea. My ultimatum worked for all of a week. Then quietly, it was back to the same as always. I've realized that it isn't worth the effort. Completing her impossible checklist is far too much work for the meager reward that comes with it. I've given up even trying, which of course just gives her another excuse. It's hard to believe I've been chasing the end of this rainbow for more than ten years. I feel like a fool, and that I've wasted some of my best years. I still love her, and I feel a great responsibility to her, but the prospect of another 10 years or more of this is unthinkable. I know you don't have the answer, that's OK. I do thank you for listening.
I've been writing a story in my blog about some of the consequences of all this, if you are interested in a long read, start at the bottom and fight your way through it.
Take care,
TheWendigo
TheWendigo TheWendigo
36-40, M
52 Responses Jul 13, 2010

Wow, in reading your post, I see similarities. I am doing everything and the stars need to be aligned to even consider having sex. Then, once every three month when her hormones hit, I get to perform what I call monkey love. I guess I will have to learn to work on myself wean her off my servitude and create my exit plan, how sad.

Be strong and move on to look for a woman that deserve you.

Be strong and move on to look for a woman that deserve you.

What you guys are failing to understand, is that ever since meeting your wife, you were put on her list, starting with page 1. Ever since saying "I DO", you were reduced on her list, at about i would say page 2, after your honeymoon, and declining another 30 pages, with every 2 years of marriage, or with each consecutive child. So that probably leaves you on about page 200,<br />
I guess in between, getting a new roof, or your 5 year septic tank flush? <br />
<br />
So all you got to do to get sex from your wife/dominatrix, is be a good little boy, and wait for the roof to leak, and then maybe, just maybe, she will cut a hole in her pants, so you can slip your manhood in for a minute!!!!!!! <br />
Be a good little boy now puppy dog, now here is your bone, thats a good boy, now go away, and leave your master alone!!! You really are a obedient puppy dog, but, master, does not want to play right now!!! Now sit, no I said sit boy!!!! Thats a good doggie<br />
<br />
p.s honey, I LOVE YOU, as she is ROTFLHMFAO<br />
<br />
Any of this sound familiar? Not to me, anymore, because I dumped that *****, and kept right on dating, and like you will say to your girlfriends, no sugar for me honey, then I think it is time we see other people. Just keep doing this, until you find one that likes sex consistently, over a three year period, no matter what reason, and then you have found real "LOVE"!!

An you're right TW, I should've started a new post. I wasn't exactly responding to your situation, just bringing up my own! I will do that, and maybe ask my husband if he wants to add "his" side of the story to get both pictures.

I look forward to seeing it, and if you can get his input it would be very interesting. Good luck in getting him to cooperate!

I'm sorry TW, you responded to my post, but I changed it then reposted and I LOST your response. Can you resend it for me? Thanks.

I'm responding to this post after searching for advice on "how to stop feeling used by my husband for sex". You see, I am the wife, the denier, the refuser. I am the evil, selfish one deserving of nothing but divorce. I won't completely reject that notion until I'm sure, absolutely sure, about WHY I feel the way I do. Short of writing our entire relationship history, no one will ever get a full picture of our marriage but the two of us. That's the problem, we are so tired and worn down from the conflicts we can't see anything clearly anymore. So I'll give this a shot. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm ready to hear how horrible I am. I just need to know if that's what it is, with certainty, and then I can accept, try to change or move on.<br />
<br />
Husband is 6 years younger, from Las Vegas, me from St. Louis. He had few experiences with "girls" as he puts it before meeting me. I had already been worn down by a 5 year long relationship with a college boyfriend who turned out to be a terrible alcoholic. I absolutely hated this guy by the end of our relationship, but my husband defends him and feels sorry for him I left him, its so mixed up.<br />
<br />
Anyway, in the beginning, to me he was quiet and intelligent, mysterious and strange, adorable and sexy. I've always been attracted to him, even though there are certain things that I am not attracted to, isn't that true in any relationship? Anyway we fell in love. For the first couple of years it was just he and I, always together, very intimate, but me wanting sex more than him by a slight margin. He was very clausterphobic, he hated cuddling, wouldn't hold my hand in public, would have to pop his knuckles or neck if we got to close. He hated being around my family and friends out of shyness. He was always a bit paranoid, and had a lot of emotional issues about things like societal and political issues. We battled for years about these things. But he was also a hard worker, committed to me, sensitive, etc. We both finished grad school. Then, he left. He spent a couple of years "doing what he needed to do for himself" like traveling abroad with a friend, moving back to Vegas instead of back to me afterwards, joining the military, settling back in Vegas to start business with friends and family, etc. He always said he was going to marry me. He finally proposed when I was 31.<br />
<br />
I moved out there to be with him. Honestly, I can't remember if he even ever asked me to come. I think it was more of a "well, what are we going to do about our relationship now? I have had these plans, those plans, all the things I want to do here in Vegas" to which he just SUGGESTED "well you could move out here if you wanted to, but you know I don't expect that of you."<br />
<br />
At this time there was still sex in the marriage then, but not a whole lot. He was never a VERY sexual person, by his own admission, and I was satisfied with the amount and frequency of sex. We got married and I lived in Vegas, at first with his parents, then his brother, then rented a house I hated, all to support his entrepreneurial endeavors. I worked, I tried to establish friendship, spent time with his family even though I didn't care for his mother or his crazy friends who binge drank and gambled constantly. It was hell, I began to hate it there more and more and missed my family, friends and home more each day. When I expressed these feelings he became defensive, said I wasn't trying hard enough, etc. We fought and fought and fought. When we fight, I'm hurt, he's defensive, I get angry and say it more hatefully, he gets hurt and lashes back, screams and cusses.<br />
<br />
We tried getting pregnant, but found out at that time he had low ***** count. I had to have months of procedures and shots to ready myself for in vitro, then had twins. This should've been the most amazing time of my life. But I was tired, worn down, isolated away from family/friends, he was absorbed in his new business and didn't help enough even though I know he thought he did. He was SO selfish, glued to his computer, his business ideas, or just watching movies in his free time. He would say "I was trying to build a good future for us". True, but by this time I was afraid he was only trying to succeed for his own needs. I didn't trust him anymore. In a nutshell, I began to see him as selfish during these years, almost completely abandoning my needs.<br />
<br />
Then, when the babies were around 1 year old??? he started wanting sex more. I don't know what changed with him. I hated him then. My life was "harder" because of him, is how I saw it. We didn't have sex for about one year straight. He still brings this up as my "refusal" but we were hardly speaking back then. You could say it was both of our faults, but after everything I'd been through I didn't care at that point. I wasn't going to "give up" anything else anymore. He's convinced I should have been having more sex with him anyway.<br />
<br />
Anyway, SO much happened I couldn't explain it all, but basically three businesses failed we were broke. I demanded that he NOT rule out St. Louis in his job searches. He felt as if my suggesting we move back to St. Louis so I wasn't so alone was a slap in his face, he wasn't "ready to give up his dreams, his family, etc." By the grace of God the only offer he received was from a great paying job back in St. Louis. We moved back, and he didn't speak to me for months. He hated me for having to move here. Of course I wasn't wanting him to touch me during this time. He was irate at that too.<br />
<br />
We finally bought a house here and I've been staying home with the kids. He's been getting happier here, and I've been honestly, truthfully, trying to muster up the energy and emotional connection to have more sex. I still look at him and think he's handsome and attractive, and I always seem to enjoy it and get into it once we start, but he ALWAYS has to cajole me. I never approach him, and I always make him feel like it is an inconvenience. IT IS!!! I don't know, maybe I feel uneasy around him, maybe I'm resentful, maybe I'm the only one who gets up 2 to 5 times a night for the past 4 years with the kids. I'm EXHAUSTED! I feel used up. I feel like a slave. I'm constantly at everyone's mercy, I rarely get a break. Even when I do, I don't return refreshed for long. He swears he helps with the housework but I do 98%. I know he works hard, he always comes home to us, he loves our kids. But he also seems to have a hard time with relationships. Our kids have just never warm up to him. I think they are a little afraid of him. He's pretty short tempered, kind of loud and demanding and is always "directing" us around. I don't know, it just feels uncomfortable with him. I've told him ALL of this a million times in both nice and angry hateful ways. He is always defensive, it is never him, I am evil and selfish and using him, and I am abandoning him sexually. We will have sex like once a week, then skip a week, then twice in a week, then skip a week or TWO, it's very inconsistent. Anyway, he got back from a week long business trip, we finally got to bed at 1:30am and I KNOW he expected sex and I just felt resentful like, why the hell should he expect it so regularly when he knows how tired and used up I feel especially late at night? But he did. I know I should've had sex with him, but it gets almost more and more uncomfortable with the pressure. When I didn't make an advance he stormed out of the room, then at 4am started yelling at from across the house waking up our kids. It was hell. I don't know what to do. I was so afraid of him. I want to have more of a drive, but I just don't think it is there. I'm also kind of insecure about myself when I'm being intimate, not sure why. This has to be worked on I know! I hate this.

Melanie,
I don't see anything in here that makes you evil or selfish. Sexual intimacy can't be manufactured without the presence of emotional intimacy, safety, understanding and compassion. There's always two sides to a story, but I don't see anything in here that you should feel guilty about. I applaud you for tackling the issue where many would simply ignore it. Good luck, TW

i honesty can say i don't it get ...my husband and were like rabbits ..we never could get enough ...and if he had treated me this way ..i would have left him ..i mean we did everywhere and anywhere ..<br />
5times a day unless i was sick ...thats the way it was all the years we were married ...we made love up until the day he died

fromthisdayforward: <br />
Thank you for the comments. Before we got married my wife and I took pre-marriage counseling, and we covered the 5 love languages. She was strong in words of affirmation and quality time, and I of course gravitated to physical touch. I think it might be just as simple as her not liking sex. I don't like gardening, and it doesn't matter how she approaches me, I don't want to do it, and when she does get me to do it there is no joy in it. I made the mistake of marrying someone incompatible, thinking it was just a problem that needed to be solved. Now I'm left with a dilemma. Do I stay married to someone sexually incompatible or not? I don't think it's reasonable for me to expect she will or should change her feelings about sex. I do wish she'd been honest from the outset and just said she didn't like it (something she still won't admit to this day) instead of leading me down a path with lies about this reason or that problem making me think it was something that could be fixed. <br />
TW

BTW ~ I am a woman and I am appalled at your wife's behavior. Sex is NOT a weapon and SEX is not a trade-off. Sex SHOULD NEVER be used to enslave another or belittle him.<br />
<br />
I am truly sorry for your situation. I hope she is not just a mean ***** who wants to keep a slave boy around. There are all kinds in this world. I pray she is not intentionally using you for her own selfish purposes.<br />
<br />
I hope I don't treat my husband like he has to wait on me hand and foot so he can get a piece of ***. That is not the way to "work" at getting some! The "work" should be foreplay given out of love and affection!<br />
<br />
You poor soul. I know you are tired. <br />
<br />
Again; praying for you.

TheWendigo,<br />
<br />
You are more of a man than most men ever dream of being! Wow! I am impressed with your true efforts to please your wife. KUDOS to you!<br />
<br />
I don't know what you will decide to do. For myself I know divorce is not the answer; however, I do not judge others because I don't know their pain.<br />
<br />
If you do decide to stay with your wife in the effort to grow a successful marriage; I suggest you look into a book called The Five Love Languages. Its premise is that there are 5 ways people feel loved: 1 - quality time, 2 - gifts, 3 - acts of service, 4 - physical touch (not necessarily sexual!) and 5 - words of affirmation. <br />
<br />
Judging by your list of services for your wife, I think you may be a person who feels loved through the acts of service given to you by others. However, if she is not responding positively to you, then I bet you are "speaking" the wrong language TO her. <br />
<br />
The book can help you determine which is her "language" if you don't all ready know it or if she can't help you discover it. Sometimes asking a person to write down 5 things you can do to make them feel loved will help.<br />
<br />
There is a particular account of a woman who was married to a terrible husband. She asked him for a list and she set out to show love to him in his "language." It took time, but as he began to feel loved his behavior toward her also changed.<br />
<br />
Have you heard of a "love bank?" We all have a love bank inside of us and each encounter we have with another person will either make a deposit or a withdraw from their account. If your "account" with her is negative (not because you aren't TRYING!) then maybe you can fill it up again with the "right" love language.<br />
<br />
For example, if she is a "gifts" person; then you have inadvertently missed the mark!<br />
<br />
It is just a thought ~ I certainly have no answers and maybe you have all ready tried this suggestion. It is just what came to my heart as I read your blog.<br />
<br />
I will pray for you my Friend.<br />
<br />
Much Love

Straightandwide: I checked out your story, looks like it went fairly well. The talk is coming here soon, almost happened tonight but she opted to stuff here earphones in her ears and close her eyes. Now that's performance!<br />
Coffecraver: I can't believe you didn't read every single comment! Shame! Yours is the kind of story I like to hear. I don't dislike my wife, quite the contrary. I'm afraid though if I keep in this mess I will learn to hate her. I'd rather split now and stay friends then drag it out til we both want each other to die in a fire. I like hearing that this can work out, that we could both be happy even if not together.

Anna, read my comments on your story. I know not all situations are the same, but living in a dysfunctional home nearly destroyed my older brother and I, yet when my mother left and took our youngest brother, he turned around from learning disabled to excelling beyond imagine. If it truly will hurt your children, that's fine, but don't underestimate the destruction of growing up in an unhealthy environment. But my home isn't dysfunctional you say, my children are well looked after! You are fooling yourself if you think you can hide it from them. Look ob<x>jectively if you can, leaving might be the best thing you can do for your children. I'm not saying it is or isn't, only that it needs to be considered carefully. As for your husband, don't confuse pity and guilt for love or care. <br />
TW

Hope, that goes with Change, no? Thewendigo, the difference is I have two beautiful children I'd loathe to hurt and you don't! Without them, I wouldn't even have married, and would have no regrets leaving, though I'd be crying into my pillow and wallowing in self-pity for oh, about two weeks? Seriously, I would feel a pang, a deep ache, as I do care for him from the depths of my being, but the break up would nonetheless be inevitable, and I'd know it.

Anna: Thanks for the tip on the link, I think I have it fixed now. I had a chance to read your experience in your sexless marriage. You urge me to get out, yet you stay. I'm compelled to tell you to get out, yet I stay. Why is this so easy when we see someone else going through it, but when it's happening to ourselves we lose all perspective? The answer seems so obvious when we see others in the very same plight we are in. I think we could both learn something from that. Thank you,<br />
TW

Thank you for the article, though there is a technical glitch and the URL didn't work until I removed the "?cat=41". I'll join the chorus and urge you to exit this hell and breathe again like the free and rightfully normal man you will become. I am also saddened by the fact that so many of us end up being mismatched to our spouses, and I really want to hear from the husbands who refuse what they feel and why they do this to their wives.

Thanks cre8tive. Looks like you might have the kind of wife some of us dream about. <br />
<br />
I posted a link on my blog to this, but I'll put it here as well for everyone, it's a moving read:<br />
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/4621/a_letter_from_a_sexstarved_husband.html

Hearing from those of you who have been doing this longer than I have is like a hearing a warning from my future self (I think there's an ongoing thread somewhere on EP about that). To hear so many say "I've been in your shoes for XX more years than you have, and I wish I'd gotten out sooner. Save yourself" is an ominous message. I can't beat the odds, I'm not going to solve in the coming years what I couldn't solve in the past ones. I'm determined to learn from your experience. If it's any consolation, the lessons learned from years of your suffering may not be in vain, you might have saved me and hopefully others. I am weighing all this very heavily. If nothing else, I will be well prepared for what the future holds if i choose to stay. <br />
TW

As with most times… again… (and I'm starting to sound like a broken record here)… I agree with GaDad.<br />
<br />
If I was in your place know what I know NOW I would leave immediately. Yes - harsh - but, so is another 10 years of WISHING you'd get some real-life intimacy vs. ACTUALLY doing the monkey thing with someone who wants you in every way like you want her.<br />
<br />
Stop messing around. Go. You can still stay friends - and if she can't? She wasn't your friend to begin with.

GaDad: I laughed when I read that comment, funny but still effective, point taken! Thank you!

GaDad: I laughed when I read that comment, funny but still effective, point taken! Thank you!<br />
Shar: Very eloquent and thoughtful response, I'd like to respond to you in private.

TheWendigo,<br />
<br />
My heart goes out to you, I also understand the feeling of futility and the need to quit trying so hard. I am female and the issue for me is with hubby. When you mentioned the TV I couldn't help but feel like I was sitting in your corner with you. My husband loves TV and I also wonder just what he is thinking when he sees normal interaction and intimacy - somehow it doesn't seem to faze him. <br />
<br />
One thing have realized since writing here, he is incredibly self-oriented. In all ways he thinks of himself, even when hearing a story of someone else - he will always manage to make it about him.<br />
<br />
Unlike AnarC, I do not think of these people as evil - I think of them as 'locked out'. I don't believe anyone purposefully chooses to have no level of intimacy in their lives.<br />
<br />
The hard part is those of us who are wed to these wounded people - we have to make decisions we don't want to make because of their wounds. <br />
<br />
We cannot ever walk the walk of another - we can only walk our walk and we have to decide what level of intimacy we need and desire in the rest of our lives. Even loving them like most of us do - we cannot fix their wounds - but we can allow ourselves to have what we need in our lives. For most of us the question is - Can I live this way - for how long can I live this way - and of course - what are my options. Divorce?? Affair?? Counseling?? <br />
<br />
There are some people here having the same experience who are very bitter. Don't let them influence you to take steps you don't want to take - do what you have to do for you but think everything through carefully. My suggestion at this point for you? See a counselor on your own and unload this story - it will make a difference and you will be clear-headed enough to take the next step - whatever that may mean to you.<br />
<br />
Your wife and my husband are very blessed people who are not well connected - but we love them. I will always love my husband - but I may not always stay with him. There are choices I have to make - just like you.<br />
<br />
I am not on here very often, but would love to stay in touch so we can just chat and share bad or good days. Thanks for sharing your story... Take care and good luck.. Shar

I'm flooding my story with my own comments, how uncouth! Just another thought on co dependency...<br />
I was diagnosed as depressed earlier this year, a condition that I've apparently had for most if not all of my adult life, I just assumed I was normal but sucked at it. Now that I am being treated successfully, much of my codependent behavior has stopped cold. It's been a huge personality change, and not everyone is liking it. Behavior that I fought for years disappeared spontaneously after beginning treatment. It's been fantastic, and I think she is fearful that I'm done putting up with the garbage. <br />
I read a book, No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr Robert Glover, and it may have been one of the most important books I've ever read. Although he doesn't address it as codependency, it covers all the behaviors and more. I didn't know I was dysfunctional until I read this book. It's geared to men, but I think women could benefit from it too. If you are in a similar situation, or some of these behaviors sounds like you, PLEASE read this book. OK, I'm going to lay off padding the comments for a while ;-)<br />
TW

Wow, I am amazed at the response! This is not at all what I'd expected, it's worlds more helpful than I ever imagined. I just expected to hear 'it's not that bad, quit whining' and 'did you try giving her flowers?' I think I've been in denial over how serious this is. When I let myself think about what it could be like, it makes me want to cry. <br />
Nexstep: It kills me to see and hear about "normal" couples. Even hearing friends talk about their conquests is devastating. I've begun looking at couples everywhere and wondering how often they have sex. This can't be right.<br />
PittieLover: Thank you for the compliment, writing has become a new found joy, and it's therapeutic powers are astounding. <br />
Thoughtitwasme: We keep trying don't we? I'm constantly trying to make myself more attractive for her, yet she lets herself go. I don't know where I'll end up, but if I make the move, I'll make sure I pass on some vicarious excitement to you!<br />
sadinnyc: Anything can be fixed if all the invested parties are working together. We're trying to do the work of both parties, and it can only fail. I'm learning that we can work ourselves to an early grave in the hopes it will be enough to make up for the other persons apathy, but it can never be enough. You can't make someone want you. One of the most devastating experiences I've ever had is realizing in the middle of making love to your spouse that they hate it. I guess it was too much effort for her to even keep pretending it was OK. I still have nightmares about that, it shatters something inside you.<br />
Heartfelt thanks again to all who took the time to comment. <br />
TW

Rosedl: I actually read a book on codependency a while back, it was frightening to discover how I fit the description. There's no doubt this has all the hallmarks of codependent behavior, you're sharp for picking that up. I'm going to see if there is a group on here for codependents, I bet there is. I hadn't thought about it, I'm glad you mentioned it.<br />
arlington: that's right, no kids, just the wiener dogs!

Wow, I am amazed at the response! This is not at all what I'd expected, it's worlds more helpful than I ever imagined. I just expected to hear 'it's not that bad, quit whining' and 'did you try giving her flowers?' I think I've been in denial over how serious this is. When I let myself think about what it could be like, it makes me want to cry. <br />
Nexstep: It kills me to see and hear about "normal" couples. Even hearing friends talk about their conquests is devastating. I've begun looking at couples everywhere and wondering how often they have sex. This can't be right.<br />
PittieLover: Thank you for the compliment, writing has become a new found joy, and it's therapeutic powers are astounding. <br />
Thoughtitwasme: We keep trying don't we? I'm constantly trying to make myself more attractive for her, yet she lets herself go. I don't know where I'll end up, but if I make the move, I'll make sure I pass on some vicarious excitement to you!<br />
sadinnyc: Anything can be fixed if all the invested parties are working together. We're trying to do the work of both parties, and it can only fail. I'm learning that we can work ourselves to an early grave in the hopes it will be enough to make up for the other persons apathy, but it can never be enough. You can't make someone want you. One of the most devastating experiences I've ever had is realizing in the middle of making love to your spouse that they hate it. I guess it was too much effort for her to even keep pretending it was OK. I still have nightmares about that, it shatters something inside you.<br />
Heartfelt thanks again to all who took the time to comment. <br />
TW

Did I get that right--you have NO children. OMG-I would have been our the door 7 years ago! Sorry, don't mean to sound cold--but your new life is awaiting you---she sucked the old one dry! Now go get it!!

My recommendation would be to get your hands on every resource you can find to read and learn about co-dependent relationships. Google it first, and then read. Also, individual therapy for your own self and sanity might be a really good idea as you sort out how you will address your current relationship and help you understand why you have gotten yourself into such a relationship in the first place. <br />
<br />
Get yourself some support and move forward at your own pace. <br />
<br />
Your wife is an ADULT and it is not up to you to 'take care of her'. She isn't a child. <br />
<br />
All the best to you.

Realizing that I've been wasting the best years of my life is what really aggravates me. I truly am starting to resent my husband for this and resentment unfortunately only ages you more. I also feel a small sense of responsibility for my husbands well-being, much like you do for your wife. Divorce was something I told my husband before we married was something that would never be an option bc I believed that if you work hard enough on something you can fix it. Trouble is: I never thought it would be on my relationship with my husband. How do you make someone want to make love to you. How does someone humiliate you like that and then go to sleep at night. I don't know. I wish you luck.

"Intimacy shouldn't be like this, should it?"<br />
No. The situation you're in is just wrong from so many directions. <br />
I add my voice to the "LEAVE" chorus.

I am sorry for your horrible, yet ever-so-familiar situation.<br />
<br />
What stood out for me was when you said, "...made to feel selfish and shallow for wanting sex..." I go through this with my husband on an almost daily basis. I try to keep everything the way it "should" be: I keep myself looking nice, keep our child clean and well- behaved, the apartment spotless, laundry done, etc... But when I DARE bring up the fact that we haven't been intimate in light years, I'M being selfish and "acting like a high school kid"... <br />
<br />
You don't have children, so RUN! You can get out without ruining a child's life. SAVE YOURSELF before it's too late... Let me live vicariously through you... ;) Good Luck to you!

Oh man. Watching other couples on TV, and becoming so overwhelmed you have to leave to leave the room, I've been there many times. I can't speak for your wife, but once I pointed out the difference to mine, and she said that was a TV and real life wasn't like that. ok, partially true in a way, but its hard to accept that real couples just don't have sex after the first few years.

Goldilks,<br />
I think here in Canada an uncontested divorce can be pretty affordable, but if there's any disagreement.... different story. Good luck.<br />
<br />
I'm getting so many examples of the "other" perspective here, I'm blown away. I knew my marriage was dysfunctional, but I'm not sure I realized the extent. I figured it couldn't be as damaging as it felt, it just couldn't, but I'm starting to understand that it might be that bad or worse. I've got a lot of thinking to do.

Wendigo: you say "I don't know if I could function in a normal relationship now even if I had the chance". Believe me you could ! The way you are feeling is only an indication of the mental turmoil your refuser has caused you. If you are lucky enough to meet the right person you will see how EASY it can be to love someone again. Just insist on honesty from the outset, and you'll find that it is possible. I know you can't see it now, but you will when the time comes.

Sandnsurf,<br />
No need to apologize, blunt, honest, it's all appreciated. I wasn't really clear, off the medication she goes into a slump, but while she's on it there's no sign of depression. I agree, you make choices that dictate your happiness, your success and your fulfillment. I am now considering choosing to be happy, or at least choosing to change my circumstances to those that are conducive to happiness. It's surprising to me that she's so content, and I'm not. I figured we'd both be miserable, in which case this would all be so much easier. I know it takes two to tango, and again, I'm not perfect and I can't blame her for everything. I just want her to try, to see my point of view, to understand what's important to me.

I'm with Mave...it amazes me when I hear these stories from men...about how much effort they put in to trying to fix what their spouse believes is broken...or more likely address the excuses they get from their spouses. And then you feel responsible for taking care of her! I agree with the others who say move on with your life. You owe her nothing...she is not a true partner for you. You will ulitimately find someone who is deserving of your efforts and who appreciates them. My husband has failed time and again to support us financially because he has trouble getting along with employers and he refuses sex and basically says he does not love me. We can't afford to divorce...tho there are days when I think we should figure out a way. Good luck to you.

Well then....you need to leave. I'm sorry I had to be blunt in asking. Just trying to see things from all sides. You are in the right place here for support. I'm sorry that you are here. But you are the right place. <br />
<br />
And perhaps any of you can help me on this one: Explain why the NOT DEPRESSED, would take medication for the DEPRESSED? I've never been on meds. I am by and large a happy person. Even sexless.....I believe we chose happiness over misery. But it is a choice. Sorry to preach. there..unintentional. But I really don't understand medication--especially with all its side affects. Why do we chose to take it? Unless it is vitally important. Again...pardon my ignorance there and I really really do want to understand.

Kungfuchic,<br />
I hate what you said, but I know you are right. It's demoralizing hanging around waiting for those crumbs. I read an amazing book "no more mister niceguy" by Robert Glover, he describes it as "table dog" behavior. The little dog that constantly hangs around under the table waiting for a scrap to fall. He hovers constantly so he doesn't miss whenever that rare opportunity comes. Exact same thing, describes me to a tee. Thanks for your thoughts.<br />
TW

Sandnsurf,<br />
I'm not sure what the issues are anymore. She is on antidepressants, but then so am I. She's certainly not depressed, she's one of the happiest people I know. I understand there are side effects to these meds, and that can explain away a certain amount of disinterest, but I can't believe that people on antidepressants never want to have sex. She had chronic pain issues from a car accident before we met, and that was always a good fallback excuse, but I find she's able to the things that she really wants to, and has trouble with the things that she only pretends to want to do. I'm certainly not saying that all her excuses are bunk, I know they aren't. What it comes down to though, regardless of the reasons, I'm left out in the cold. <br />
I'll probably give one more push for counseling, but after that I'm pretty much out of ideas. I was just telling someone that I don't know if I could function in a normal relationship now even if I had the chance.

TW: My heart breaks for you. Boy can I relate to bending over backwards and forwards trying to get a little love, any meager crumb. When I read how other people do what I did, it reminds me of how fkg pathetic I was. And believe me I was.<br />
<br />
As cold as this sounds, you NEED to move on with your life. She will never love you or be what you hoped for. You can't fix her, or save her or turn her into what you need. I know the pain of walking away from someone "you love". Really I do. I live with that pain constantly, but in the end, I know I did the best thing for myself. You have already given this woman enough of YOU. Find someone who really loves you and wants to be your lover, your wife, your friend and your intimate companion.<br />
<br />
You may think she needs you, but trust me, she doesn't. She has created those things in your head to keep you where you are. Once you are gone, she will find someone new to take care of her and you will be a memory. Believe me!<br />
<br />
I wish you the best.

I gotta ask...<br />
<br />
1) what medical issues?<br />
<br />
2) is she depressed? I mean...if you are doing EVERYTHING, what is there left to do?<br />
<br />
It sucks and I'm sorry. Really. You need to take care of your own mental health. If she doesn't agree to outside help....clergy, or therapy...YOU still need to take care of you. Talk to anyone of these occupations: Lawyer, Clergy or Doctor. <br />
<br />
Remember that no matter how broken you feel. YOU CAN HEAL.

As a woman as well your wife makes me sick. I know that their are days when us women do not want to be sexual. Case in point our monthly. Sorry to be all grosse, but some of us would rather not. Also I just had a baby so my hormones are out of wack. <br />
<br />
With her sitting there saying you have to do this, and this.. and then she doesnt do for you.. RUN AWAY and fast. It is women like her that give us women bad names... I am usually the one who has crappy relationships after crappy relationships.. Constantly doing all for the other, cleaning, cooking, massages, going to work, taking care of a child with no help.. doing lawn work and whatever have you.. and then I am reading your story and I finally do see that their are other great guys out there I just havent met one. LOL.. <br />
<br />
I know the divorce word scares the crap out of me as well. I said if I ever get married it will be until death because I am not going to be getting a divorce..but I dont think someone should stay in a marriage for the kids sake (not that you have any) or because you love the person.. If they arent give you the emotional, physically, mental support you need then I would say move on. <br />
<br />
Well good luck to you in all you do. Take care.

Mave, Thanks for commenting. I was hoping I might get a woman's perspective, although I wasn't expecting a sympathetic one. I'm just noticing that I hadn't been expecting positive feedback and sympathy here, I'm conditioned to get neither when I bring up the subject at home.

Skippy, you make a great point. You don't get a medal. You don't get to the end of your life and get some kind of reward for sacrificing your happiness. Unless you call a wasted life of bitterness a reward. I don't want to look back over my life and have to justify decades of missing out on living by telling myself I was a good person and did the right and honourable thing. You don't even become a martyr, because nobody else knows or cares what you've sacrificed. Again, thanks everyone.

Wow!!! As a woman it really kills me to hear so many men tell stories about all they are doing just to make someone happy. Here I thought the cards fell that way just because I was a woman and that is what is expected of me. It just really makes me sad to hear that there are so many men out there that are willing to make an effort (and all they really want is something I'm more then willing to provide) and my husband won't even say goodbye to me in the morning. My financial advisor was just telling me yesterday the exact same story. He literally does everything and his mother in law lives there too! But he hasn't been going thru it as long as we have he still thinks that he can hang in there just for the kids. He doesn't want them to experience what he did as a child. And I really respect that, but at the same time that makes me feel really guilty and selfish because I don't think I can hang in there just for the kids. And really how long is my affair with my next door neighbor going to continue unnoticed?

Wow!!! As a woman it really kills me to hear so many men tell stories about all they are doing just to make someone happy. Here I thought the cards fell that way just because I was a woman and that is what is expected of me. It just really makes me sad to hear that there are so many men out there that are willing to make an effort (and all they really want is something I'm more then willing to provide) and my husband won't even say goodbye to me in the morning. My financial advisor was just telling me yesterday the exact same story. He literally does everything and his mother in law lives there too! But he hasn't been going thru it as long as we have he still thinks that he can hang in there just for the kids. He doesn't want them to experience what he did as a child. And I really respect that, but at the same time that makes me feel really guilty and selfish because I don't think I can hang in there just for the kids. And really how long is my affair with my next door neighbor going to continue unnoticed?

TheWendigo, <br />
You are right. You did waste some of your best years but I have good news for you: Your wife has not killed you yet. <br />
<br />
You are alive. There is no reason to believe that your future years ( without your unloving wife ) can not be better than your past years. In fact, given what you endured, there is a good chance that you will be able to avoid being ensnared in this demonic trap again. <br />
<br />
Dump your evil wife. She does not love you. Seriously, it is time to start seeing your wife as an abuser who is doing what she is doing with deliberate intent to cause you harm.

It was the very first part about watching TV which hit home with me.You are so right. It is unbearable to watch couples on TV behaving like couples SHOULD, and feel the anger as you look at your oblivious spouse. I think you'll make your decision soon enough, you'll know when you've truly had it with her and that there's no going back. This in not what anybody signs up for, and you don't get a medal at the end of it for being good believe me !

Thanks everyone, I didn't expect to find so much support. I guess that's what the group is about though right? It's tough, a little while ago divorce was a curse word in my vocabulary, but I'm starting to entertain the idea. With these big changes there's that point where you go from not even thinking about something to slowly giving it due consideration. That's where I am right now, it's a real paradigm shift. I don't know where it will all end up, but I really appreciate all your feedback. Thank you and I feel for those of you in similar circumstances.<br />
TW,

Thanks for writing this. It is a common thread we hear over & over again of refusers. V B once said it best. The goal post will just keep being moved. I add, usually while the ball is in the air..LOL A common thread among refusers is "if YOU just did A, B & C then I will want to have sex". Then after you do A, B & C they come up with D, E & F. Then G, H & I etc..etc.. I always wondered what they do when the alphabet runs out?..LOL That is provided you are even allowed to get past B or the domino falls & you have to start over at A. <br />
<br />
I am sure you have heard over & over again what HER needs are & how you fail to meet the ever expanding list. Does she even have any consideration of what your needs are & make ANY effort to do a few? I can't advise anyone to leave as that is a decision only you can make & only you know what is right for you. You do have one big advantage over many in that you don't have kids to consider. So that is a positive. Not to mention the behavior any kids would be taught from this. Whatever life brings I wish you luck.

You've said 3 things I find hit home with me 100%.<br />
<br />
First…<br />
"Ironically, she has often pointed out over the years that I am too quick to believe and trust people."<br />
This is me. Your story (at least the beginning) sounds amazingly like mine. She has told me more times than I can count that I shouldn't be so trusting. So, they are saying we shouldn't have trusted them too. Yes - I agree.<br />
<br />
Second…<br />
"I feel like I have to setup and elaborate house of cards, or cascade of dominoes, and no matter how close I get to completion, a single wrong move or errant breeze collapses it all, and I'm left to rebuild." Also a huge disconnect with a lot of people here and their spouses. One wrong move and the whole moment is shot. Many of us wait for months before we have the dominoes in place again. And, you're right - it shouldn't be this hard. No wonder many of us quit trying. It becomes more work than it's worth. Which bring me to…<br />
<br />
Third…<br />
"Completing her impossible checklist is far too much work for the meager reward that comes with it."<br />
This one can apply to just about any of us, but she grew up with a mom who made list after list after list - although she declares she 'hates lists' she has one constantly marked in her head. The list keeps growing and never ends. You are correct - it is impossible to work on it or finish the list because there will always need to be something else that jumps ahead of anything involving their spouse. <br />
<br />
I get it. You've done a good job putting some of my feelings into words. Sometimes, no matter how badly you understand and no matter how good you are at putting feelings to paper… someone else has a better way to explain exactly what you are thinking.

I wish I could argue with you Steve, I really do. I know she loves the life I've given her, I think she confuses that with loving me. I feel more like her big brother than her husband. If I didn't feel so responsible for her, like a caregiver this would be easier. I need to take care of her, but I need to be happy too. Thanks for reading and leaving the comment.