Sexless Marriage, Mistress. What Do I Do??

I will post the whole story another time. But the short version is: 12 year marriage to an adorable woman, 3 kids. Sex slowed down from the day after the wedding, went drastically downhill after our first kid 8 years ago. Sex a couple times a month, less than every other month at the end. And always very self conscious, uncomfortable and missionary. Always me initiating, her mostly refusing. Her lack of interest during the act eventually started causing performance problems for me also.

Absolute refusal to discuss the issue with me. I thought that was our only problem, and at some point years ago, I started seeing escorts for some release, and thought I had a solution to the problem. About 2 or 3 years ago, intimacy got worse, and started extending into a lack of any physical affection at all. She wouldn't come to bed at the same time as me, wouldn't snuggle. No more hugging.

About a year ago, I started an actual affair for the first time. Nice girl, totally uninhibited. Performance problems gone. I started feeling pretty good about myself. I didn't realize what constant refusal of my advances was doing to my self confidence. I started therapy about 6 months ago - wife wouldn't come with me. Our marriage went downhill, a number of fights, and finally she finds evidence of my affair.

We fight, she finally comes to couples therapy. We have it out. She (claims) she never knew. She didn't realize what it was doing to me. There was always a reason for not having sex (tired, I approached her wrong, work stress, kids in the house, I pissed her off by not doing the dishes, etc..). Eventually, after a couple of weeks of this, she says she will change.

We have a sex-filled weekend, my dream come true. Then I go into a panic. It feels fake. The sex is mediocre at best. She is sucking me in, and will change back, and I won't have the strength to do this again. I like my girlfriend, think I'm lucky to have found someone pretty, young and who shares my interest in kink, and don't want to break up with her.

Wife again breaks into an email account I didn't know she had a password for, and sees that I'm still talking with the girlfriend. She says that she is done working on our marriage, and won't talk about our sexual (or any other) issues again until I end it.

We've been in a rut for a couple of months now. Wife refuses to talk about anything, I think that she will make any excuse not to discuss our sex life, and honestly don't trust her or am even attracted any more. In my personal therapy sessions, I see that there are actually lots of things that I was unsatisfied with and that were making me unhappy, but I somehow ignored those problems.

Currently doing a trial separation. If I were to drop the girlfriend, I could go back and say "this is what I want" (have already said most of it already). She already claimed that she would change. But I don't believe it, hate the thought that I need to force her to provide sex and affection with the threat of divorce. And I'm already seeing a nice girl I don't want to leave. The trial separation is going well, my relationship with my kids is strong (and satisfying, even at 3.5 days a week). Trying to change someone strikes me as a lot of work that will require conscious effort for the rest of my life that I don't really want to deal with.

But then I have waves of regret about the good times, and about the lovely nuclear family we built, and the lovely house we own, and am sad for her, because her world is getting disrupted. And maybe the change is real?

But then I go back to being angry.

I've been on the fence for 2 months, and am making the decision to leave by indecision. Therapy is helping a bit, but I'm still stuck on the question of does anyone ever really change?
icancounttopotato icancounttopotato
36-40, M
15 Responses Mar 1, 2012

do what i did, turned bi and had one time affairs with guys, still married and wife and i get along great because im not looking for sex with her

Understand.. Happy that things finally work out for u.. All d best my friend

I might be being redundant here.... you've recieved quite a few replies, so I'll try to keep this short.<br />
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First of all, you can't live your life out of obligation or guilt. Secondly, you are free to make your own choices and mistakes. Thirdly, ever heard of "the ick" setting in? Maybe it's just me, but I generally can't be intimate with someone, and no longer find them sexually attractive, once they've hurt me. No doubt the affair hurts. No doubt that no matter how hard you try to rebuild the trust you've lost, she's probably always going to have software to check your emails. With every cell phone call, she'll wonder who you're talking to. Getting past an affair is the toughest thing you'll ever do in your marriage. Most people don't make it.<br />
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You have to ask yourself this: with the trial separation, are you happier? There's your answer.

Tha ks formyourncomment. It has been two months (wow!) since I wrote this. I wrote a folio-up post describing the decision to formalize the separation about a month ago. "happier" is tough, as there are things that I am happier about, and things I am sad about. Mostly happy, though.

No question about the ick factor. Not sure about her, but I feel it.

The one thing I will say about this is after having been involved in affairs over the years(not in this marriage) I have found that a lot of what happens in an affair is that there is no real responsibilities, You meet , share some intimate moments have sex with no responsibilites, like paying biils, doing the lawn etc, If a decision is made to leave the marriage it should be done alone, not while involved with someone cause that has a way of allowing you to compare the 2 and for all you know, once divorced and free to spend the time with the mistress, you are she may find that full time doesn't work either. If you leave do it because what you have is not working , not because you have an alternative to go to.

Wow, potato, I feel like I am in a really similar situation, it's amazing. I have 2 stories posted, so I won't repeat it here, but I am taking the plunge, moving out, and I am going to see if I can give it a go with my girlfriend. My situation is a bit more complicated, as my GF is married, but I think she will leave her husband for me. Even if she doesn't, I'll be happier on my own, co-parenting the kids, and getting out of my sham marriage. I am telling my 2 kids (8 and 5 y.o.) tomorrow, moving out Monday. I am sure it will be tough, but life is short, and I owe it to myself and my kids to try to find some happiness. I wish you the best of luck through the tough times ahead. Please let me know how it all works out...

No matter how hard someone wants to change to make you happy, they always revert back to their normal, "their comfort zone" It can end no other way. We have to learn to accept our partner as they are and find comfort in that, or walk away and understand that everything has a season. <br />
Speaking as a girl I can say that we were raised to feel ashamed of sex. We were raised to believe that sex was dirty and something that "nice girls" did not do and we would lose to respect of others and they would talk bad about us. Something like that, ingrained from birth is not a even a conscious choice. It is just normal. <br />
We learn at an early age to use it as a bargaining tool to get what we want. Deep down inside the fear of intimacy, the dread of opening yourself up and risking being hurt again is alive and well. its easier to make some excuse, to feel like it is just another chore to be taken care of. Something else that someone else wants from you. <br />
I dont know where that just came from but I do not believe I have ever written a truer paragraph in my life. To recognize this behavior is the key, To want to change it is the goal. The thing is, it has to be HER goal.

I hate to break it to you, but you're done with the marriage. Your story sounds nearly identical to mine except for the fact that I broke it off with the girlfriend completely when the big "discovery" happened - which wasn't entirely a bad thing because the girlfriend was a seriously needy individual. (Google borderline personality disorder - they are tons of fun until they turn on you! Threats of suicide, pregnancy scares, trying to make me jealous - mix that with a girl who was seriously fun in bed - oh well I've learned my lesson with that type) <br />
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Now I'm back in the marriage completely and doing my best to play ball, but have been watching the intimacy continue to slide bit by bit as the months/years go by. We had a couple months of fantastic sex after the affair was discovered, but once she "reclaimed her man" it was back to the old.. and then even worse. Without having anyone else to leave for, I'm still contemplating pulling the plug and getting out while things are "clean" vs. leaving for another woman. Trouble is we have two young children who I adore and love to spend time together with us - and we really do all get along well as a family - other than the intimacy issues (and these are more than just sexual as you had alluded to in your own situation). <br />
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Just like an earlier poster suggested - look to the mother in law to determine how they will be - in my case I should have seen this coming, as the mother in law treats the father in law like a child to a degree. I cannot see how they have any sort of personal intimacy. My wife sees this and knows this, but can't seem to break the pattern to save herself at all. And to make matters worse, I'm seeing how relatively un-intimate she is with our children, and I'm foreseeing issues there with them having problems with feeling confident about female affection as they get older in life. So... the ball is completely in my court at this point.<br />
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We should grab a beer together one of these days and share stories! ha ha

It feels like you are stuck on the same issue I am. You can't see it working with your wife, but you like your intact family and lifestyle. Fwiw, there are pros and cons to this trial separation I'm doing, but one pro is that I'm seeing how nice my relationship is one on one with my kids, and I'm realizing that I don't miss my wife's presence asMuch as I thought it would. I actually think it could be good for the kids to get time with me alone.

The world of choice is a harsh and hard landscape.<br />
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But you don't get a pass. No-one gets a pass.<br />
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Your missus choice to withdraw sexual ex<x>pression had a consequence of alienating you.<br />
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Your choice to react by having an affair also had a consequence of alienating her.<br />
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Your problem right now is the dysfunctional state of your marriage. Period. That is the core issue all these matters are spinning off.<br />
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If you want to make some heroic effort to attempt to save / reconstruct the marriage, then the price of admission to that game is to dump the girlfriend, in the full knowledge that the rescue mission will likely fail.<br />
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If you want to accord the girlfriend "soulmate" status and pursue that aim, then the price is to dump your missus, in the full knowledge that the girlfriend and you may not work out either.<br />
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Women do not play "2nd fiddle" terribly gracefully - and nor should they, and it is (IMO) a pretty cheap way to treat a person. A highly likely outcome of attempting the "concurrent" love interests is that you end up with neither.<br />
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Which brings up option #3.<br />
Tell the girlfriend you have to resolve or dissolve the marriage, and cut her loose whilst you do so.<br />
Then, get on with the resolving / dissolving of the marriage. In the full knowledge that<br />
(a) - the marriage turns out to be non repairable <br />
(b) - the girlfriend chooses not to wait<br />
And you end up on your own, running your own show. Would that be such a bad outcome ??<br />
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Tread your own path.

First of all, thank you for your posts on this site. Reading your thoughts were particularly helpful to me over the past months.
A couple of months ago I thought I was going to do number 3. Told the girlfriend we needed a break while I resolved things. She was miserable, I was miserable, and the experiment with my wife felt totally artificial. I felt like I was trapped ad couldn't breath. The sex happened, but was mediocre. She still wouldn't / couldn't talk about my sexual needs and what we could do to try to fix things up. A trip to a female friendly sex toy store (credit to her for going at all) resulted in a 5 minute visit, and her fleeing the place with out talking about anything. In short, she seemed willing to do the deed, but not talk about it, or discuss at all now we got to where we were, what her issues were. I didn't believe anything was real, that she would deal with her problems seriously, and that this wasn't going to be an up hill battle for the rest of my life.
Not sure if the girlfriend is soulmate yet, but I like her a lot, and feel like I am healing sexually from years of abuse.
Mostly, I'm pretty sure the marriage is ending. We are mostly separated at this point. But I'm still looking back with sadness, and still sort of wish it could have worked. I'm sad that we have 16 years of history and memories together that I won't share with anyone else, and I'm sad that I need to walk away from that.

"...honestly don't trust her or am even attracted any more."<br />
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Right there. The key point, the important point, the very crux of the entire matter is in those few words: "..or am even attracted to her any more." If your wife does not do a complete 180 in her behavior, attitude, and desire for and toward you, you will not be getting any boners at the thought of screwing her. You really need to dig deep and ask yourself if you really can go back to wanting your wife sexually if she magically turns the sex back on full-time. <br />
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Think about life without anyone but yourself and your kids. The fact that you are having sex with someone else (good sex!) skews your reality. If your wife is the only female left on the planet earth and you really still have no desire to have sex with her, then you probably have your answer.

Trust your gut & first instincnts. More importantly READ, READ & READ some more of the post from people here who have lived this for years. See just how many times they gave their refuser another chance at which time thre refuser became quite the sexual beast. That is UNTIL they got comfortable that their victim wouldn't leave then they just revert to form.<br />
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Honestly I don't even blame them or think they can help it. If you read the many post here you will see that there is a pathology to this behavior. The exact same behavior is repeated over & over again from different people. <br />
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The fact is most have no sex drive. Some find the act disqusting. They will do it long enough to get what they want & as soon as that goal (marriage, kids etc) is acheived they shut the door on intimacy. <br />
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In your case the goal will be to get her husband & lifestyle back. As soon as that goal is acheived the door will be slammed shut again. She honestly can't help it or stop it. This is who & what she is. <br />
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So the question becomes can you live THE REST OF YOUR LIFE with it. Take it from somebody who saw this & got out. While the intial pain takes a while to get over, once you have experienced hot sex again the odds of you being happy with a sexless wife are slim & none. Oh by the way slim is with Elvis selling bait in Boca Raton<br />
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Bang Away.<br />
NSH :-)

"Some find the act disgusting." So true. I was talking to someone irl the other day about a common friend. She's an adult, a refuser and her H is miserable but so very patient. They don't have sex because "sex is icky". Yes, a grown woman with children said that. She readily acknowledges that she had sex to have kids and now she's done. I'm hoping to see him on here one day.

That is really where my head is at. And at this point, I think it is mostly over. But I'm sad about it, and nostalgic about the (non-sexual) good times. But I totally agree with you - even if I were somehow willing and able to end it with my girlfriend, the "once you have experienced hot sex again" it will be impossible to forget.

I know how ya feel. If my ex were to ***** down &amp; say "let's go big boy" I would be torn between hysterical laughter &amp; throwing up. Now that I have experienced hot sex I will NEVER go back to sexlessness or pity sex. Not with her or anybody...Viva Las Sexless Liberation Front :-)

It sounds to me like you are grieving not the relationship you had, but the hopes and dreams you had for the relationship that never happened. <br />
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Just known that if you return to the marriage you will continue to grieve the hopes and dreams of the relationship that never happened but this time you will also grieve the hopes for the relationships that could have made you happy if you stayed out.

Awesome point!!!!!

Get a divorce. Never trust a faker. <br />
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Pray that your young girlfriend still wants to spread her legs for old wishy-washy you.

I left for 45 days and moving into another bedroom for 7 months and still nothing changed with all the promises .. I would like to say a happy ending could happen for you but I would take caution.

I would have been satisfied with a happy ending once in a while.. But no luck.

Make it for your self .. find your happiness, what ever it is!!

I was making an off color joke... But I do appreciate the sentiment.

I hate saying this because I am working things out and I am seeing my wife change. But I would be very suspicious of your W sincerity to change. The change can be sustainable only if she believes that there is something about herself that she would like to change in order to be a better person FOR HERSELF. If she does it for you, for her children, for the sake of keeping pretence of what a family should look like, it will not work. It will not work because that change is extremely difficult, I know, I see it in my Wife, that the things that come naturally to me, she needs to make an effort, daily. That kind of resolve can come only from deep within. <br />
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She needs to understand what she did wrong, how her actions (inactions) affected you, and how much they hurt you, and why. If she thinks that just putting out more will fix things, she is not even close. <br />
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Also, it takes a lot of resolve, hard work, and patience for you to heal from that pain. My marriage made a big turnaround almost 3 months ago, and I still am finding out new things about myself, pains, scars, anxieties, trust issues, forgiveness issues… things that would not exist in a fresh relationship. But new relationship would also have alimony, ex-wife issues to, so it’s not a clean slate either. <br />
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Either way, you need to put your big girl panties on, pick your side, and stay with it all the way. If you keep this wishy-washy stance, you will lose both.

People do change. They really do. The key to that change is that they have to want to change. When I first came to this site I thought my only marital problem was that i have a sexless marriage. After reading here and folks pointing out that I am, in fact, married to an *******, i started to open my eyes.<br />
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Of course you don't trust your wife. She hasn't treated you with the respect and admiration that you, as a man, deserve. There are two sides to every story though. It is likely pretty hard for her to trust that you are interested in reconciliation when you are still seeing your girlfriend. <br />
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The only way for you to truly see what you want is to get rid of the girlfriend. There will be plenty of others later, but its too complicated with a wife and a girlfriend for you to have any clarity. Just my opinion. I also have an *******. ;)<br />
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Don't feel guilty about your wife. Feel guilty about your children. THEY are going through some tough stuff right now. Keep your girlfriend away from them to. They should have your full attention when they are with you. Not divided between them and the girlfriend.<br />
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You cannot have your cake and eat it too my friend.

Definitely keeping the kids from the girlfriend. Would not be appropriate.

I agree that the girlfriend is a large part of the problem. But I really like her. And given my low hopes for my marriage, I really don't want to give up the crutch of emotional support I've got here to go through this by myself.

Hence the gridlock..

Thank you. I have been trying to look at the marriage in isolation, and the gf has been very understanding also. Not easy to unwind a 12 year marriage with three kids, and not something to do quickly without thought. But I've got to admit to myself I would probably have given her more of a chance to change if I wasn't already checked out with someone else.

I don't see this mentioned your girlfriend married or single?
Did the two of you agree upfront about the type of relationship you'd share?