I've Always Hated Roller CoastersThe first time I really remember being ashamed of my desire for sex with my husband was in early 2007. I was almost always the initiator from day one, but we had gone through a period where it was the absolute rule. I didn’t mind because all he needed was a little interest and after that it was pretty good sex. It happened regularly as long as I initiated it. I always had to be the slightly more sexually aggressive and assertive one, but that was ok. I didn’t mind it as long as things were going well. I could have lived with that my whole life and never resented it.
One time when I tried to initiate sex in January 2007 he refused and screamed and bellowed at me like a big angry bear. He shoved me and I fell off our bed onto the floor. He rolled over and went to sleep. Still on the floor I burst into tears, grabbed my keys and fled the house. I didn’t come home for two days. If I had known then what I know now, I would have stayed gone.
From there it only got worse. We went from sex 2x a week (my minimum expectation) to sex 1x a month to sex every other month if I was lucky. He never was a person who rejected me gently. It was always with anger and near disgust in my general direction for wanting sex. He couldn’t just let it be his choice not to want to. It had to be my problem for wanting to.
The Talk happened over and over. Each time he claimed he had seen the error of his ways and we would have sex once a week for about two weeks. We went through a spurt of more regular sex in 2009 for a few months. That was a great time in our relationship too; we had sex several times a week for sure and even multiple times in one day a few times. Then we decided to try to have a baby. And the sex stopped completely.
He began telling me he wanted a baby but he just didn’t feel any sexual desire of any kind. He said he would go to the doctor, but told me each week he had forgotten to make the appointment. That went on for 7 months. He went to therapy but he picked a therapist whose philosophy was to “help him” by stroking his ego and telling him it wasn’t his fault, it was his parents and his family and I was unreasonable for expecting him to have sex with me if we were trying to have a baby. He told me it was too much pressure. Every time I would back off and say that I thought there were greater issues going on such as him not feeling ready to be a father he would deny it, go to his therapist and bring back some wisdom she gave him about it not being his fault for not going to a doctor and dealing with the issue. Basically he did everything in his power to make it look like he was a good guy after all and I was being unreasonable.
I went to a fertility specialist to get checked out and to try and force his hand and make something change, for better or worse. She ordered some tests and sent him to a specialist. He didn’t make the appointment for several months still. I had surgery to check on a possible issue I had that turned out to be nothing. I went through invasive testing to be proactive. He sat on his laurels waiting for something to magically be different. Finally when he did go to the specialist he was found to have low testosterone and told to lose weight, lift weights and so on to increase it and to increase his sex drive. He was given medicine for ED and medicine to increase Testosterone. He took the medicines but did not lose any weight or work out.
A few months later when I was thoroughly depressed and underwhelmed by my marriage I attended a conference where I ran into someone I had known before in professional circles. He was an attractive man with adopted children who had never been married. Respected in our field I had heard him speak years ago and was impressed by his knowledge and similar interests. We bonded and began a NSA relationship long distance. For several months we met up at conferences and events and enjoyed a healthy, normal sex life except that it wasn’t with my husband.
I had The Talk with H again and let him know in no uncertain terms that if he wasn’t willing to have sex with me I was too sexual a creature to go without and I would expect he would allow me to quietly do what I needed to do. Basically I was going to get his permission or he was going to have to change something. He agreed and rolled over to go back to sleep. So that continued for a while until my FWB started becoming needy and demanding of my time and wanting it to be more. So I ended it. That experience was good and bad; it really highlighted what was extremely wrong in my primary relationship. I found and began lurking on ILIASM around this time. Reading all of your stories helped me to realize my feelings were normal and acceptable and I was being refused and abused.
Around that time I began to think that I should not get tied down with a child to this man (H) that refuses sex and refuses to work on issues and refuses to be honest about them. I began working on my exit plan. My brother’s wife announced she was pregnant. I responded with raging anger towards my H's inaction and dishonesty and lack of integrity. I let my anger at his refusals to get medical treatment, follow that treatment, go to a decent therapist or make any changes and my resentment of the situation be clearly known. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for my sister-in-law. It’s just that we had been supposedly trying for almost two years without ever having had sex during a time when I was fertile. I take that back, there was once. He found me crying one day after a failed attempt at sex when he had rejected me. For some reason me crying made him want me and we had sex. We had even tried a workaround through fertility treatments but there were complications and we only fully got through one cycle.
I was grieving the loss of the partnership I thought I had. I was grieving the loss of the child I had expected to have by then. I grieved the loss of my identity as a sexual person. I was angry and sad and confused. I was afraid that no matter what happened in my marriage I was getting older and I might not get a chance to have children if I started over. I also realized I might not get a chance if I didn’t start over. It was a no-win.
By that point I was sexless again and without a lover as well. I approached an old friend that I knew was also in a sexless marriage about a FWB situation. I really thought that would work. Instead of choosing a lover that was single I would pick one I knew was married but in the same boat as me. I figured it would be less likely for things to go haywire. We talked about it and even ended up in a hotel together, but he backed out at the last minute. Just what I needed: the sting of rejection all over again. It hit me hard. Someone who was the refused was refusing me; it was a self-esteem killer, for sure.
Things devolved with H as he became more moody and angry. He sensed my exit plan was in the works partly because I had taken kids off the table. He continued down the same path though. Nothing changed. It never really does with them. I had gotten us into couples counseling and he started forgetting appointments and not showing up for them. I kept going. She became my individual therapist as I worked through my exit plan.
Things came to a head a few months ago when for the first time he went from verbally abusing me to one act of physical violence. I made him leave in May. It was before I had expected to do so, but I was glad to have had my exit plan in place so it wasn’t quite so discombobulating. I doubted my choices for a while and considered reconciliation. I wondered if I would just end up finding someone just like him again. I wondered if he really was the best I could do. It boggled my mind how there couldn't be something wrong with me if he treated me like such an afterthought. How I was being treated had a direct impact on my self-worth. It was backwards. I should have taken my self-worth and used it to set limits on how I would accept being treated. He ended up taking a job out of state shortly after that so we have some distance between us.
My STBX & I do not have children together but for the last seven years we have been raising some of his relatives. They still live here with me. It is a strange situation to be in. They love me and I love them. They prefer to be with me. But it means we do have to be cordial and get along so as to not put them in the middle. This is not your typical acrimonious divorce where people take sides and we don’t speak to each other. Sometimes I wish it was, but for the sake of all the others in our lives this is how we are handling it.
I am enjoying my life now. I was thinking the other day about where to go from here. I am enjoying living in the moment and not feeling the weight of shame for having sexual desires and being who I am. I am technically still married. The divorce is in the works but not complete yet. It’s not a matter of whether or not it will be finalized. It’s a matter of when and how best to do it for me. My STBX has walked away from almost everything and given me the house and everything I have asked for, except for the convertible. Small price to pay for freedom.
I made a decision recently that I find to be very freeing and stabilizing. I want to use this time to explore who I have become after this wreck of a marriage and to live in the moment enjoying the new things that come my way. But I am also a person who needs goals and goal posts. My birthday is 10 months out. I have decided to continue doing this until my next birthday. After my next birthday I will start making decisive choices and actions. Until then I am free to explore and adventure and take one day at a time. Knowing there is a timeline brings me peace and a sense of permission to enjoy the moments I am having now. Things won’t always be like this forever. I will have to make choices about where to go and what to do next.
I am really enjoying the ride since I got off the roller coaster.