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She Said I Should Shop Around

Well, my life has gradually transitioned toward the inevitable separation.  Today was a milestone.  She told me she thinks I should go out and find someone.  She has alluded to this before, but today, she was very direct about it, not hinting around.  And she was sincere, not angry, not sarcastic.

I've posted my long stories in this forum, so I won't repeat the full history here.  I have been dealing with this sexless marriage for over 15 years.  We've been married 26 years.  Shortly after our second child was born the sex became infrequent.  It stopped pretty much completely 15 years ago.  We tried for a few months during counseling, but that did not go well.

So here I am, after years of work, therapy, discussions, agony, soul searching, at the final, honest conclusion that there is no marriage here to save.  We learned so much together about how to express our honest opinions, how to not hold back on how we feel just to avoid conflict, how to tell the other something unpleasant without blaming them or starting an argument.  We got to where we could really communicate.  I would strongly recommend to anybody fighting through a sexless marriage to get counseling to learn how to open up to each other with brutal honesty.  You have to clear the air.  It is a MUST.  You may find that there are things at the root of your problem that you can address, and there is hope.  Or you may find that the honest truth is there is nothing there to work on.  Either way, you are better off.  You cannot live in limbo forever, wondering if it will ever get better.  Take action.  Talk it out.  Learn the TRUTH.  Know where you stand so that you can plan a path forward.  Don't waste your life in a dither of uncertainty.

I should be happy that I am now free.  But I am not.  Not at all.  So much planning to do.  So many people to tell, so many explanations to be given, especially to our adult kids.  I dread this.  It's like a death.

I worry that I am damaged goods.  I have been through so much.  My wife has no interest at all in ever having another relationship.  For me, I know I will want to find someone else.  But for now, I just need that affirmation.  Hopefully I'll find myself in a good relationship someday that will just help me feel more confident. 

But none of that apprehension changes the fact that my marriage is truly, completely dead.  Damn.
deleted deleted 26-30 19 Responses Nov 13, 2011

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I assume you are going ahead with a divorce? You sound so sad I just want to hug you. I know it will be hard and different an adjustment to a way of life. But really can it be any worse living alone than living with someone who admits not loving you, refusing to give you the affection you crave, destroying your self-esteem? I personally can not wait to get out. I have prepared my adult kids and my family his family will be surprised. I know at this point you have beaten down and feel like no one will want you............trust me there is someone out there that will appreciate and want you. Trusting your judgement to pick better next time will be hard I am still trying to figure how I will do that. Guess just take your time and get to know them we are older and hopefully wiser and less spontaneous.<br />
Best of luck to you.

Sending you a big hug! I am sorry for your loss and happy for your freedome and ability to find someone that will return your passion with passion.

I wish you well Guy and don't envy you the hard yards ahead. If you can, see a counselor for yourself and it helps with the grieving process and letting go of any resentment. Be well.

Just my two cents Guy - your spouse has been upfront with you. Just remember that you have choices. They may not be choices to your liking, but they are there nonetheless. Each choice carries its own burden to shoulder and pain to work through. The main thing is that your spouse has not been deceitful. To her credit, she has not made up excuses or held you on hold with half-truths and promises of future intimacy. She has not made you labor away, dismantling your confidence, questioning your worth or left you festering for years with anger and resentment wondering what you did to deserve this. Plainly put, she does not love you as you would have her love you and she has communicated this to you. Hang in there and just bear in mind that you are responsible for your choice. If you stay, you do so knowing that your marriage will be devoid of sexual intimacy with your spouse. Leaving will bring its ownain and challenges. Be well.

I don't really understand your fears. Your adult children are just that, ADULTS. I think you are still holding onto the idea they are not mature enough to understand the concept of an "amicable divorce."<br />
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Other than your immediate family, you owe nobody an explanation. If you want to maintain privacy, just say things did not work out, but leave it at.<br />
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You need to seek some individual counseling about how to re-affirm your identity as a single person and not feel like "damaged goods." Think that half of all marriages end in divorce, statistically, you are part of a large group. Hardly a pariah.

My husband "tolerated" me seeing another man and even told me not to "hold fire" - it turned out he was having an affair of his own. It is a solution of sorts but muddies the water. Its probably best to end the marriage first and heal for a while - that way you will be more likely to find a healthy relationship. If you are a married man having an affair you will have all sorts of new problems along with your SM.

Guy, there is a lot of good advice on here. I would only add this- follow YOUR heart. At the end of the day, it is YOU who must look at yourself in the mirror and judge whether you did it right or not. But, I think you will do just that- do it right. <br />
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One of the hardest things about this is looking at the investment you have in this relationship and trying to find a way for it to not be a total loss. And the fear of having to tell your grown children what's going on. Let me help you there- your kids probably have already figured it out. I think they will be more than supportive. They have witnessed YOU doing it right, hanging in for the sake of the family. So, let them help you through this process. <br />
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I'm here for you my friend. Call me and let's have a cup and visit.<br />
HT

Exactly what is keeping you from truly living separate lives in separate dwellings? It would seem you have no young children to consider - am I wrong? Finances are always a serious issue, especially at times like these. But could you not consider moving into a share household, or becoming a lodger or some such until finances can be more satisfactorily sorted out?<br />
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I truly "get" that you wife is not pulling your strings - my ex-husband is similar. You do not live with someone for all those years without truly knowing their potential - even if you don't know their actual activities. Unless she is a life long consummate liar or you are determinedly in denial, your take is probably correct.<br />
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But DO consider this. Reality is very different from the suggestion. If you find a woman friend with whom you can emotionally connect and have glorious sex, your wife will see a very different YOU. That may cause her to reconsider . . . after all, she appears content with your life as it is,so she may well find her "solution" is actually disruptive of her real life . . . . <br />
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I often read here on ILIASM of how the denied person is going to "have an affair" or "find an FWB" - and this will somehow solve the situation at home. I WAS one of those people, three years ago!! But in truth, for almost all of us, the solution is very short lived and brings with it a whole new set of problems . . . .<br />
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Please consider finding a way to live apart and thus effectively mark your "separation" with a date. Failing that, go with your wife to a lawyer and have a duly notarised document drawn up AND signed by you both, declaring that as from "x" date, you are legally separated but agree to live in the same house. This will protect BOTH of you from future legal and financial issues.<br />
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The emotional issues, sadly, are not so easily resolved . . . .

This has been an interesting journey for you Guy197.<br />
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SInce your first posting on April 19, which your wife was clear that she did not love you and that she never loved you, you have struggled with trying to get to a better place in life.<br />
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I read that she is totally accepting of herself, her lack of feeling of love for you, and her position, and is making concessions to maintain the material marital status quo, which she benefits greatly from. And every day that she remains married to you she accrues more benefits from whatever divisible assets exist between the two of you - just by sheer longevity of the marriage (jurisdictional dependent, of course).<br />
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So perhaps partly, that fact might be motivation for this latest generous offer for you to find someone else. Now, that does not make anyone here a bad person, but the financial realities of splitting up a long term marriage can hit home pretty hard - and divorce normally does not enhance most people's financial position. <br />
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Whether she has someone else or not is immaterial at this point.<br />
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What is important is the work you are doing, for yourself, to get to a better place in life.<br />
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You remained married to someone who did not love you. That is heartbreaking - for YOU.<br />
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But you have another opportunity to get to a more honest place in life, and so you will take the necessary steps to make that happen.<br />
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Finding and living a more authentic life will be worth whatever cost you will bear to dissolve this unloving (yet amicable) marriage.

Yep, pretty much! Honestly, if she is comfortable with her position with respect to you - isn't keen on changing it or has no intention to try, then you have to ask what the benefit is to you of remaining married, open relationship or not. It will be a lot easier for you to find love and the acceptance you seek when you are single, and near impossible while you maintain the appearance of being attached. In short, ask her what her stake is in being married? Does she value the relationship?

In my case, my wife is clear - she values the relationship. She realized (through her affair) that she wasn't broken, and that this was not an issue of libido, but rather something more deep seated with respect to herself or the dynamic between us. She missed having desire and wants it, and wanted to reconnect to it - and that's a difference from my situation and yours, where either your wife truly doesn't miss it, or isn't authentic enough to say it out loud and deal with it, with you.

If you read my stories, you'll know that we have a bit in common. I had pitched an open relationship where we might share, together, a couple years ago - as a measure to help her find her libido again, but my "celibate" wife declined. A few months later, noting how unhappy our celibacy made me, she engaged in a sincere and concerted effort to get me to go out and find someone to make me happy. <br />
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As it turned out, she was already engaged in an affair. She didn't acquiesce to my prior offer because she was already engaged in a deception, and likely the guy wasn't too into sharing. It would have been too much to continue lying to me when we were quite emotionally and literally naked with each other. She drew the line there at making me into that much of a chump. And it's good she did --I would never have forgiven it, ever.<br />
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If you are already separating, you need to protect yourself to ensure that - when things get strained - this isnt' twisted into ammo to be used against you by an overzelous lawyer.<br />
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If you choose to stay under the same roof in this situation, you need to get clarity on what the separation means to her, and how you feel about that. The "let's date others" discussion is a high value card that often jolts "celibate" spouses out of their low libido excuse, because it's where they reveal, if they can be brutally honest about it - their intention to date and explore with sex again, under different circumstances, trying different things, and with different partners. Which means, of course, that it isn't a case of "low libido" at all, and you can both dispense with the smokescreens and start talking. If that is the case, you should realize that despite your intentions, she will likely get a date the first time she says yes to an offer - and likely many, while you get plenty of rejections. So, if you aren't going to choose to explore that together, then you will need to decide how much you can tolerate, being at ground zero, without going bonkers.

Thank you for such a heart felt answer and I am very sorry you live in the dark abyss (or lived I hope) with us. Very good advice about protecting one's self from the lawyers too! My H is an attorney and thankfully, very kind to me. His generosity amazes me still. I hope you are out of the abyss love.

thank you! We are both working on it, and have made some positive progress.

I am glad to hear you have positive progress on your home front. It is encouraging...

I think you need to begin divorce proceedings immediately - and it sounds as if they can actually be amicable proceedings, if you let them. Don't knock the idea - it seems as if she is already there in her mind. Are you prepared to split and remain friends? Think of that possibility.<br />
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The longer you wait, particularly if you enter into an outside relationship, the more complicated it is going to get. Now is the time to get really good, solid and specific legal advice - about things such as separate bank accounts, work, benefits, social security and all that numbers stuff. <br />
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You may have a chance to do this in a way where you needn't lunge to put a house on the market, or be reactionary in any other part of the task of dividing your marital assets. Accept that you are roommates and that you have assets together - so you can be smart about liquidating them . <br />
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I believe its better to live together as a divorced couple if you can, managing a common asset than to wait and keep expectations alive. In the mean time, your relationships with others, as they develop, can be free of any sense of obligation or guilt on your part. If you keep your mind on the fact that things happen and this is one of them that happened to you and to her, maybe you can overcome the anger and hurt - invest that energy in making both of you free.

I so agree with you... Stayed in the ILIASM for 8 years, 11 months, 14 days and finally my H left -- he had the courage I did not. It is so much harder to stay and I did not know it until he set me free. My H is a wonderful man, sweet friend and enjoyed advertising online for "married man seeks casual sex." We will remain friends and other than his love for casual sex, he is perfect.

It is love... he took every ounce of Stef and poured her down the drain. Took all these years to even consider being a single woman.. much less a sexual being.

Can you legally separate, while still living under the same roof? If that option is available, I recommend pursuing it. It's one way to "get it in writing" and make the situation clear to everyone concerned. <br />
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It would also increase your credibility for dating.

I wouldn't say damaged, I'd say experienced, and able to recognise and protect yourself from harm in future.<br />
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Yes, your relationship has harmed you (in the past) and you're now going to be free of that.<br />
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Like others, I got a strong whiff of disingenuousness about her offer to see other people. The first person you need to see is a lawyer, who will clue you in on the financial situation, and any implications of external liasons at this point.<br />
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In any case, the key focus is to get yourself clear, and look after yourself. New relationships are best done on a solid foundation.

She has passed the ball of choice over to you.<br />
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Run with it.<br />
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Tread your own path.

My heart goes out to you, after so much time and heart invested it hurts. To get through ... requires walking through the pain and making the hard choices. I'm not there yet, I admire you and your quest for truth, painful though it is, you are in motion! Best of luck!

Hi there - - <br />
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I get how painful this, and even the truth of you two, there is nothing left, it is still sad. I am sure it wasn't always that way.<br />
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IMO - with all the work you have done, you are well on your way to you... I also get the sense, that although it is clear your marriage has no future, you two aren't quite done, on multiple levels. These are your last days with her whilst you set the stage for the next phase with your life.<br />
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I would hope that you keep it uncomplicated, and not let yourself get distracted by other women. Get as much as of it all worked it, finish cleaning the gunk out, if you catch my drift. In the end, I don't think it is about the quantity, so much as it is about the quality. I think your chances for quality are greatly improved when you stay on your course, continuing to be fully present to ever last phase of your marriage, up to the end. Not for her, but for YOU....<br />
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What I am trying to say, the ending has just as much value as the beginning, and you two have worked hard for a honest ending, which will end up being a great ending...but just stay with it.. and wait until you have the clean slate on all levels... it will make for a quality experience, for now and for later.<br />
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Just trust me on this one...<br />
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VBM

I am completely aware of how hard this has to be for you. <br />
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I know my advice will make many people mad, but will offer it anyway.<br />
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Why not date selectively now to reestablish your confidence and help you plan for the future. You can keep relationships to a "friendship" only level until you finally divorce.<br />
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This will also minimize time at home, where you are not appreciated.<br />
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Best of luck

Date selectively? I like that. I did get a bit of advice from a friend to just make friends with women and pay attention to their character. It would save a lot of heartache later

You are not damaged. You are fine. We are not the one's with the problem... nothing is wrong with you.

You have a very clear insight into yourself and how your experience may have affected you. You should be alright even if it proves tough, very tough. Here's hoping.

Tough it is for all of us in these poisoned relationships... However, after finally getting out of mine... I can now see it is much tougher to stay!

I can only imagine the relief coupled with the grief over the loss of a long-term marriage. I'm sure it will be terribly difficult for at least a year or so, but if your marriage is truly an unhappy one, I think you will eventually be relieved to be out of it.