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I've Always Hated Roller Coasters

The 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.
Changewilldoyougood Changewilldoyougood 31-35, F 12 Responses Nov 18, 2011

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Update, 2013: nearly 2 years after writing this and over 2-years post marriage.

Life is good. I am in a great relationship with a man who touches me, caresses me and reaches for me all the time. In this relationship there's not conflict, although there can be disagreement sometimes. We are for the most part equally intelligent (him maybe a bit more than me), equally capable (in different areas, one slightly more than the other sometimes) and equally emotionally aware (me maybe slightly more than him). We have this uncanny connection that just works.

He says things like "sometimes with you it feels like it's already a comfortable marriage and we just know each other that well". When we are in the car together and I grab my phone, send a text message real quick during a 4 hour road trip saying not a word he says "how is pam doing right now?" somehow knowing that while I haven't brought my friend up who in a couple of days that I was sending the text message to her, of all people. There's this uncanny "knowing" between us that just works.

He talks about the relationship in terms of always and forever, whether there is marriage involved or not involved is up to me, he just wants to be with me. I'm a little frightened of the idea of marriage again but that may change. And when I think about it, while I have some goals I want to achieve and may want children myself I actually want this relationship more. He is a bit older and has a 13 year old, so his perspectives on and need to have children are different. I'm really soul searching right now about the desire to have children. is it my desire? Was it an assumption I made based on typical expectations for life or was it something in my heart I wanted for myself?

I have this sense that I may need to have children in my life in some way, but the how is more open. I struggle with determining whether or not being a stepmom to his teenager when I've already raised someone else's two kids from teenagers is what I want and if that would fulfill me completely. On the other hand he is the first man I have ever known that I have looked at and wondered about how our genetics might come together to make a child. Everything else is pretty awesome, wouldn't that be too?

There's a part of me that would grieve only getting to help finish raising other people's children (my adopted teens, now young adults, and then now, his) if that's the way things go. He is concerned about his age (he's 43) and starting over again with another child a few years from now. He doesn't want to risk leaving a young child behind without a father. His mother died young, after an unusual complication from a routine surgery so it's something that weighs heavily on him. He was not much older than his child is now when he lost his mom so that's very real to him and I respect it, but it may not be enough for me. He would do it for me if I decide I want a baby... but I don't know that I do. I am not all that "into babies" and really probably would prefer to adopt an older child, maybe, or be a foster parent. I don't know the answer, really.

I enjoy my life and this relationship. I enjoy that I travel when I want, to exotic places, internationally and sometimes spur of the moment. I enjoy that I get to do a lot of what I want, including sleep in when I feel like it and nothing at all when I feel like that. The kids thing is still a question for me. And I'm still working on it.

But other than that, my life is settled relationship-wise and good in most other places. There are of course things I wish wouldn't happen sometimes like illnesses that happen or bills that come up. But the yelling, the screaming, the anger, the feeling of being on opposing teams as my partner and being more enemies than friends -- that is gone. We are united, we have sex a couple of times a week and it is wonderful and we take care of each other's needs whether it be sexually, by either of us cooking the other dinner or cleaning up the house. There's a deep concern for the other's feelings and needs that in my previous marriage was not reciprocated at all. This feels so good.

Very well written and thank you for taking the time to share your goals.

Could youy update us on how things are going with you in 2013, please.

Sure. I will do so in a comment.

Amazing story! I am so happy for you.<br />
And impressed by how strong you were to realize the issues and walk away.<br />
I wish you the best!

You are so brave.. You are definitely a strang woman... YouDid the right thing by making him leave.. I enjoyed reading

Wow you have endured a ton and I am sorry for how it all played out.I hope you are happier and find someone that will desire you and cherish you and treat you very well.<br />
Wanting sex is very normal ,the one's who are not normal are those that do not want it so no shame in you wanted to be intimate w/you spouse/partner whatever.<br />
Thanks for writing the story,best wishes to you.

wow. Just found this. You write so well and your story rings so true. A lot of comments are in my head, too much to write at the moment :), but will comment on your desire to be a mom. I respect that, and there's nothing wrong with you wanting it, and even though I have children, I do understand your anguish. However, let me try to convince you that a child in a sm or loveless marriage is a difficult situation from which there is no easy deliverance. Believe me and others who say you've dodged a bullet. Imagine the years of intense work needed to bring up a human being in this world, all the while being unfulfilled at a very core level.<br />
I can tell here you want both - great partnership and motherhood, and I agree its not unreasonable. But I'd refr<x>ame your thought as - thank God he showed you what he thought of the relationship with you when he refused you sex, so you didn't bring a child and permanent responsibility into a broken relationship!

Wow you are right, our stories are so VERY similar! Amazingly so! I m glad you are happy and moving forward. <br />
<br />
My H wasn't s verbally abusive, but there was always some excuse why he would put me off and why I was being too demanding...I remember getting angry once after he said I was pushing too much and putting to much pressure on him and expecting too much, and saying...we are supposed to be "trying" for a baby and we haven't had sex in almost 3 months and THAT is too much pressure??? REALLY??? How do you argue with that blatant lack of reasonable thought?<br />
<br />
I am dating someone new as well. Well, I have known him since I was 8, and we dated briefly when I was 16, and have recently reconnected. He has given me strength... and the sex is fantastic. I love that we both understand how important it is each be able to initiate. <br />
<br />
Thanks for sharing your experience. Knowing I am not alone and not crazy helps so much.

It is crazymaking when they say we are trying for a baby and then there's no sex. Mine blamed the pressure too, which is why I was willing to consider fertility treatments. Finally I just wised up. I realize that my friends are right and not having a child really was the best thing in our situation.

It doesn't help my biological clock though. It is ticking louder and louder lately. Today I watched a Christmas-themed commercial with babies in it and teared up. I really expected to be a mother by now. Sometimes life goes other ways, but there's so much grief when you are talking about motherhood, children and the inherent vulnerability that it takes to decide to start a family with someone.

Another friend of mine said just after we separated that the act of refusing to have a child with someone you say you love is insulting. As much as it hurts to admit, it does feel like one huge rejection.

Good luck to you in your journey. Women don't talk about these issues; we don't even discuss infertility publicly. This is even more than just biological infertility with all the psychological and social implications involved in these complicated relationships. I felt a lot of shame that he refused not only sex but to have a child with me. At least I am not alone.

Not sure how I missed this story earlier.<br />
<br />
It is a gem in its' content.<br />
<br />
Thank you so much for it.<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.

Hmmm idk how you would put up with that, i love my lady to death i really do and sometimes she treats me badly, but if she quit having sex with me i would prob move on quickly. I am far to sexual of a being.

It is always very pleasing to read that someone has made it through a SM> A very few are fortunate enough to do so with the spouse who refused them, but most are in the same situation as you - it is necessary to end the marriage.<br />
<br />
Your decision to explore your "self" and become familiar with the "authentic you" (as Baz calls it) are very wise decisions. I applaud you for being so wise. Thank you for sharing your story.

I used to have a handle on my authentic self better than I do now. Somehow I lost me in my marriage. Too many compromises for the sake of making things work, I think and I forgot my own needs and boundaries.

I am glad that your life has turned around for the better. Just one thing though. No matter how much you want and enjoy sex do not set yourself up to undermine your self-esteem by virtue of whether any particular man wants to have sex with you or not. It may seem obvious and it may be difficult to achieve in practice but think about it nevertheless. Say out loud to yourself:<br />
<br />
"I am worthless because 'x' doesn't want to shag me silly"<br />
<br />
See? It is silly isn't it?

Thank you for that clarification. I guess for me it is freeing to be able to express myself freely. In my marriage I became afraid to express myself for a variety of reasons and capacities, sex only being one of them.

Thank you for sharing, what a wonderful and inspiring story. I am so happy you were smart enough to not have had kids under those circumstances. You are still young enough now to have children with someone who is truely your partner in life. This story is sure to help others in similar situaions.<br />
<br />
Good luck.

It really does seem like many with kids are much more torn than those without. In some ways we were raising children together because of the relatives of his that still live with me. But being that they are grown now and quite independent and want me to be happy (they see a lot of the issues as well) they have been quite loving and supportive. I really did want a family... now I am not so sure what life has in store for me. Guess we'll see.

Well that you are out and dating leaves you the option of finding the right person for you. Choose wisely. We have all learned a thing or two about relationships since we got married the last time.

Good luck.