Beyond Life With Mr. No

I've been reading the posts on the site for a while now. Thank you all for sharing your stories. They have helped me immensely. Before I read your stories, I felt that there was something wrong with me. There had to be a reason for the rejection, the confusing rules, the endless frustration. Right? Now I know the reason. I married a refuser.

I am writing this post to share my story for the first time. I hope the post is not too long, rambling or, at the very least, confusing!

I am tired and feeling overwhelmed today. I am not very happy with my marriage. I feel like my decision to stay with my husband has cost me many opportunities. My life feels very empty most of the time. I envy other couples and families I see, an envy that at times, feels more like despair. It is hard to be nearing 40 and feeling so cheated out of such basic kinds of happiness. I have never asked for much and I have contributed a lot of time, money and emotional energy into this relationship to get nothing more than empty promises and a lot of frustration in return. But, I know that I did this to myself. I made a series of really bad decisions. I may have been manipulated and rejected. But, I repeatedly chose to stay, to endure, to try to make things better.

We were married about seven years ago. Before that, we dated for about six months. He is somewhat older than me but is "young at heart". He is smart, outgoing, friendly and funny. He can also be very passionate and, when we were dating, made me feel like a very special person. I was very glad to have found him.

My previous long term boyfriend, the man I was with before I met my husband, had been very self centered, and, as I realized much too late, was primarily using me for sex and money. (I was fortunate to have professional career that paid well.) He even admitted this during one of our last arguments. I felt so foolish for having stayed with him for so long and for supporting him both emotionally and financially. He was quite good looking though. He was a good lover too. I've been tempted to see if he's available for hire. (I can't believe that I just wrote that...)

So... to get on with my story... a few months after breaking up with my greedy, handsome boyfriend, along comes this man who was so fond of me. He would call me, email me and always say how much he couldn't wait to see me. He would take me to dinner. He would even buy me flowers. He made me feel very much alive and very much like I'd have a happy future. He wanted a family. He talked about how we'd have such a great life together.

But, maybe he was too good to be true? There were warning signs. I chose to ignore them since, in the past, people had said that I was critical of others and that my expectations were too high. (I have since come to realize that people will typically advise you to put up with stuff that they wouldn't tolerate.) I'm also a rather serious, reserved sort of person. This man was my opposite. He was a charmer, for sure.

What were the warning signs? He insisted that we get married even though we had only been dating less than six months. His reason for doing this was because he didn't want to go too far sexually until I had promised to be his wife. After we got engaged and had sex he started withholding. He said that he felt nervous, that it was wrong to have sex so much before marriage (one a week was too much?), that it would be so much better if we stopped having sex and held off until our wedding night, etc. I was dumb enough to buy it. Or, maybe it's just that he's SO GOOD at getting what he wants.

Of course there was no sex on our wedding night or the night after. He flirted with the young staff at the resort we were staying at and then pushed me away at night. He had so many excuses and even went so far as to ask me to get help for my "sex addiction". He tried to convince me that "good women" don't want sex that much. We had a pretty sexless two week honeymoon (which I had paid for). He did eventually agree to have sex and it was brief and then he made some remark like "are you happy now?". Upon returning home, back to the little house we had just moved into, the sex was really infrequent. Maybe one a month? During our second year we went about six months without sex. At that time I started the talks. I realized that he would put out if I told him that I was going to leave him. It was pity sex. It was horrible. But, we were moving in the right direction. Whenever I mentioned divorce, he would beg and plead for me to give him a chance to learn how to please me. Since then, we were lucky if we had it more than once a month. The rejection, my telling him that I was leaving, his begging for a second chance and the pity sex continued in what seemed to be an endless cycle of misery. The apologies and begging for second chances became increasingly sincere and heart breaking. The last few years we have had sex maybe every 2-3 months.

I have tried the 10,000 variations of "the talk". I have done a lot of other things to make myself more appealing. I have lost weight (about 20 lbs) He then said that he didn't like me being so "bony" - he said he liked curvier women. He really likes to go on and on about this. I have gained weight (about 20 lbs). He then said that I was too big and that he prefers women who are fit. Whatever that means. I have been more assertive because he can never tell what I want. I have been very passive because making demands turns him off. Over the years I have realized that he is very skilled at changing rules, redefining expectations and creating endless hurdles for me. I also realized that he will try to prevent me from getting other things I want. If I tell him that I want to do something, he'll try to talk me out of it (even if it is a hobby that won't cost hardly any money, a hobby that I would be paying for!). If I want to do a job around the house, he'll insist that he do it. Then, he'll find what seems to be an infinite number of ways to keep it from being done. If I say that I want to go do something with some friends, he'll ask me to wait until he can go with me. Then he will cancel on me. I'll miss out on what I had wanted to see or do. He even asked me to arrange my own birthday dinner and get my own cake this year. And then he canceled on my birthday! It felt really bad to have to cancel the reservation I had made for my own birthday dinner. I ate my cake by myself - he didn't want any of it. Because of this behavior, I have started referring to him as the "No Man" or "Mr. No".

Some of you may wonder if there is a physical component to his rejection. Maybe it's his health? Maybe he's just too old? Well, there is nothing wrong with Mr. No. About five years ago, I told him that if he didn't get this checked out, I would leave. So, he begrudgingly eventually went to the doctor. His doctor said everything is fine with him. My husband will also flirt with almost any cute young thing he comes across (including some young men). So, I have come to believe that he is bisexual or just very outgoing. He does like **** too. I think he starts his mornings with it and ends his day with it. He spends about four hours a day in the bathroom with his iphone. If I ask him about it, he says that he doesn't like it. But, I have overheard him talking with his friends about it.

When we have sex, it is usually all about him. He can't really be bothered to try to turn me on. Foreplay? He will act apologetic and even use the fake "I'm so sorry" voice when he finishes in less than a few minutes. This is really not satisfying for me at all. Why bother? I end up "taking care" of myself, a feat that I have become quite expert at. I fear that I might actually be able to conjure a lover. For real. Maybe a man will materialize in my bedroom one morning.

Then we have finances... For a while, I made a little more money than he did. But, with the economy being so bad, I haven't been able to get as much work. So, I'm living off savings and unemployment. However, he still expects me to contribute half or more to the finances. I've paid for all of the work needed to be done on our house, the vacations, etc. He will say that he's paid for all these things when around friends and family, of course. When I later question him about this, he'll say something like "oh, I don't know why I thought I paid for all the appliances... that's weird". Last week I found out that he had saved quite a bit of money and that he could have helped out with some of the bills a little more. Add to this that whenever I start to run out of money and, god forbid, do something crazy like ask him to buy me a shirt on sale, he'll start giving me the little lectures about how he didn't want to have to support someone.

He most definitely does not want me dating other men. He does not believe in open relationships. He gets really jealous if another man smiles at me. He wants to know all about my male coworkers. If I get a new female friend, he wants to meet her. He will also sometimes show up out of the blue if I'm out with one of my female friends. It is like he is checking in on me. I'll also add that I rarely go out. So, being out on the town with a friend is sort of a rare treat for me. One of my friends said the he bothered her, that he seemed really controlling. She is right.

Late last year I realized that I can't stand him. When he touches me I feel a little creeped out. Maybe it is because I have realized that I can't trust him.

So, this guy sounds like a jerk, right? Why am I with him? I don't have a lot of money. I'm afraid of losing my house. It is the bulk of savings. It also has appreciated in value over the last five years.

I am not interested in putting up with him anymore. The sad thing is that for SEVEN YEARS I did everything I could to make our marriage work. He would not go to therapy. He would make only small concessions then revert to his same old ways. I think that he got worse with each iteration. The end result? I am not in love with him. I cannot see myself spending my future with him. That's another thing... after we got married, he would never, ever talk about a future with me. He doesn't even like to plan vacations with me. But, maybe that is just another way to keep me from getting what I want? I've told him that I feel like we don't have a future together because he can never talk about the future with me. He tells me that he likes to "live in the moment". Retirement? Vacations? What we might do next month? Go out to dinner this weekend? All irrelevant.

Fortunately, we never had kids. He always talked about having kids though. I would sometimes ask him how he thought we would have kids if we didn't have sex. That is an interesting discussion. No matter how much research I present about getting pregnant after 30, he still claims you only need to have a quickie and then ... voila! ... a child is born. Maybe he just taunts me with all this "the kids" talk since he knew I wanted a family. Who knows.

I have some friends in the area. But, they aren't close enough to let me live with them. My family adores my husband and would probably excommunicate me if I left him. I have thought of moving into a shelter. I realized that the best thing for me to do is try to get more work and save money, sort through all my things in the house, get my own off site storage, get the house fixed up so it could be sold, talk to a lawyer, move to an apartment or other house that he doesn't know about, file for divorce, finish the divorce and get on with my life.

For many years I was afraid that if I left him I'd be lonely, single and pretty much giving up on any chance of having a marriage or, let alone, a family. I also thought that I was being overly judgmental, that maybe he did love me in his own way. During the first years of our marriage, I also stopped doing things that interested me, like socializing with friends or spending time on my hobbies. For a while, my life revolved around work and Mr. No. For the past couple of years, I've been crawling out of what now seems to be a deep, dark hole. I can finally see the light.

Is this how it ends? There are some of you who have survived a sexless marriage that ended in divorce. Did you get to the point of thinking that just living in your car would be a better life overall?

So, here I am. Hopefully not too bitter. I feel tired but hopeful. But, I know I have a long way to go.
ahhyess ahhyess
36-40, F
7 Responses Jul 20, 2010

Thank you for all your comments. I agree with all of you. What I have been enduring has been soul sapping. I also feel like my marriage is a sham, like I am "the wife". My happiness, my life, is something that I am responsible for. I have to take care of myself. I suppose my husband likes the idea of being married more than he likes me. Overall, he is friendly. But, I have come to accept the fact that I can't depend on him since he likes being able to break promises. I have stopped talking with him about the future or what we might do. I feel like our interactions, however civil and friendly, are somewhat calculated and even staged.<br />
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I'm working on my plans, one sad step at a time. This past week I told one of my brothers what had been going on. He was really supportive of my decision. He said he thought our marriage wasn't the best, that he had thought it was weird that my husband and I had separate bank accounts, that I had to pay for so much stuff even though I didn't have a job, that my husband didn't come with me to visit family or go on vacations, etc. He said it was like I had a marriage of convenience and not a real marriage. I am glad that he could see this. It makes me wonder if other people have noticed this and have chosen not to say anything, thinking that I'd be better off dealing with it on my own. I was so worried that my family would think I was some sex driven heathen who was too spoiled and self centered to realize what a great man she had.<br />
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My husband is happily going on with his "friendly roommates" marriage. He will give me a quick peck on the lips and some hugs but nothing more. A couple of weeks ago, when I was in bed with him one morning, he started touching me and then, all of a sudden he said "oh" and then turned over and fell back asleep. It was as if he realized who he was touching. That is pretty honest behavior no?<br />
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Thank you for your encouraging words. I am glad some of you have been able to move on from a bad marriage and into a better life. It is not a fun thing to do. However, I do like spending time with myself more than spending time with him now - I dread seeing him in the evenings. I have started sleeping on the couch most nights. Maybe I should just take more classes, sign up for more activities, go out with friends more. Get on with my life. <br />
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Best wishes to all of you who are still enduring a sexless marriage. Hopefully, some of you will be able to fix the things that can be fixed. And, if not, maybe you'll be able to disengage in a peaceful and graceful way.

Oh my, your story is eerily similar to mine! Except that we had mad passionate sex the whole time we dated, lived together and the 1st 2 years of marriage (we've been together 7 years, married 3 1/2.<br />
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I know what you mean by being "creeped out' by him. I think that should be a heads up for both of us!<br />
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I don't know what to tell you, you can read my latest story and see what I'm TRYING to do. I guess that's all we can do is keep trying? You and I are about the same age, so we still have lots of life to live, we just have to get these albatrosses from around our necks. Do NOT have kids with him.

Hi there. You guys don't have kids so there is no point in keeping this situation.<br />
You are free to pursue your happiness and let all the bad things behind.<br />
If I was in your shoes that's what I'd be doing right now.<br />
Make a plan, a long term plan and stick to it.<br />
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Oh and BTW, a real man, a real husband, SUPPORTS his wife, in emotional and finance aspects.<br />
Your husband is not a real man, sorry.

Ahhyess, welcome to our group. While I was reading your post, I began to think that our husbands are related! I am also in the habit of giving and giving and don't ask for much in return other than being wanted and shown affection. Seems too tall an order for some folks.<br />
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I don't have any answers as I am in the same mire as you, except we do have a child. If I didn't, and knew I tried everything to fix the problem without any results, I would leave.<br />
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Maybe if you explained your situation to your friends, they might offer some assistance, whether it be financial or otherwise. Or maybe you can secure a job somewhere new and start a new and happy life that you definitely deserve sooner rather than later.<br />
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Sending you strength and clarity.

Ahhyess, your concern for your future is very understandable. But please know this, nothing is as important as your happiness. Yes, you will lose money if you divorce - but you will be entitled to half the assets of your marriage so you will not be completely without assets.<br />
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Think of ways in which you can support yourself until you can resolve the financial settlement and then make plans to leave. You have given and given - and he has taken and taken. As you know from reading our stories, he will NEVER change.<br />
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You are still a young woman and you deserve a truly happy life. Your chance of this whilst in your marriage are effectively nil, IMO. If you leave and start again, you can fashion your life to be as YOU want it . . . . Please don't let money (or fear of the lack of it) stand in the way of your future happiness. Best wishes.

Congratulations on deciding to reclaim your life. What he has been doing is soul-sapping and it is good that you are now finding a way out of that. The light you see will keep getting brighter. Don't lose faith in YOURSELF.

Such pain...I can only hope that your refuser is clueless to what he is putting you through because anyone who purposefully does such things to their spouse is sadistic and beyond cruel. I admire you for being able to begin to understand the affects this is having on you and your determination to find a way out...thanks for sharing!