Realizing When It's Over...after Your SpouseOver the course of nearly 3 years (of 4 years total), I've lived a pretty celibate life. It wasn't until recently when a friend of a friend pointed out the obvious to me that I knew it was over. How that came to happen...well...at a birthday gathering, I met a friend of the birthday guy...someone I had never met before. This friend asked me, "are you going to talk to her?" Me, "who?" Friend, "[my spouse's name]..don't you think she's hot??" Me, "um...yes." Friend, "I think you should go for her." Me, "That's my wife." Friend, "[Gasps] Ohhh! I'm sorry, I didn't know that!"
Wow...if that didn't point out the obvious. A perfect stranger couldn't tell we were even a couple! That's how distant we were...it spoke volumes through our body language and how we interacted (or didn't interact).
The other part of that same story really gave me a splash of cold water to wake me up. My partner decided to go dance at this party. Fine, I'm not big on dancing and don't care that she wants to go dance. She comes back from dancing with some gay man (who sounds like he dances professionally) and cannot stop talking about the experience. She's practically drooling about it to the point where it occurs to me that she sounds and looks like she just had one of the best f**ks of her life! Now, I'm not a jealous person (as in I trust my partner not to cheat and I don't call every 5 minutes when she's out) but this made me so enraged. Why? Because it was the attention, that oh my god, you rocked my boat message that I had not gotten in years from her. She could however, react that way to a total stranger in the matter of a few minutes of dancing. Hmmm...
Up until that night (which was a few days ago), I've spent the last 3 years basically begging for scraps. Scraps being a peck on the cheek or lips, hugs, brief cuddling/intimacy, any type of physical connection. That look of "you're so hot, I want you now/forever" was long gone--apparently I was the only one capable of that anymore. When I tried to initiate and she'd go along with it, she would lay there with her eyes closed, motionless, while I was left to feel like some dirty old man. I might as well have been trying to make love to a pillow. The frustration grew and grew, exploding every few months through arguments. She would find some sort of excuse every time. "I just showered, I don't want to get dirty again," "I'm too tired, you shouldn't wait until we go to bed," "I don't want to do it in the morning," "I have to go to work, why do you wait until now...you had the whole night!" And worst of all was, "I don't know what's wrong with me." [Side note: There's nothing wrong with her...she's 26, no kids, no medical issues.]
The part that hurt the most was that she never looked at me. That look of desire for me was gone and I was trying desperately to figure out why and how to bring it back. I'd take her on vacations to Hawaii, Europe, Mexico and short weekend ones (none of which we had sex during or after returning). I'd buy her flowers and have them delivered to her work so that her coworkers could fawn over how lucky she was because their men didn't do that. I'd buy jewelry, cook dinner (I'm the one who can cook), take her out for dinners, bought a new car (that she drives 99% of the time), gave her massages after a long day, did her laundry...the list goes on. When she hit me with "you've gotten lazy...you haven't been to the gym," looking at me with disgust...I signed up with a personal trainer (not cheap!). [Side note: I'm naturally lean and require exercise to keep muscle and pounds on. I had LOST weight and she complained.] I just about tried to fix/improve everything she pointed out. I even went salsa dancing with her and I don't even know how (and being an introvert, you can say I was very uncomfortable with this). Whatever I tried, there was always something else wrong with me.
While trying to please her and make her feel special, I felt like I was dying inside day by day and with every rejection of affection. I stopped wanting to go out because I couldn't stand making myself appear cheery while my "happy" marriage was basically a sham. This only made her annoyed with me, constantly nagging at me as to why I was such a "Debbie Downer." When your self-esteem has shrunken down to a raisin, how can you not be a downer? I couldn't dig deep anymore because there was almost nothing left of me. I became so frustrated and constantly irritated at not FEELING loved. She may have said the words, but there was little if anything behind that. I started to realize I was giving and giving and giving and all I could get back was, "what? I appreciate you." My boss appreciates me, my spouse should be IN LOVE with me. The realization that this was not a sustainable relationship was beginning to creep up on me.
Since that night of my "enlightenment," we've been unofficially separated. We argued and I finally threw the towel in, saying I couldn't do this anymore. To which she (figuratively) slapped me in the face with, "I warned you...I told you I wasn't made for relationships." WTF flashed and scrolled across in my head like a CNN breaking news scroller. Why would you say yes and why would you keep things going if you knew in your heart that you couldn't be in a relationship?? At the time, I figured, well we'll see about that--we're doing great together so it can't be true. Apparently when she said that, she wasn't lying...but the rest of the time she certainly was, letting the sham carry on. It was then that I also realized this relationship was already over and that she was just waiting for me to SEE it...and to do something about it.
At this point, I'm seriously thinking about (actually definitely going to) file for divorce. There's nothing left between us but pain (on my part), guilt (on her part), and resentment (both). Luckily we don't have children involved in this so there's really no roadblocks to my decision. I've had it. I don't want to be like my father who gave his all for a nagging, bitter, unloving wife for the last 40 some years. I've got a lot of reflecting to do and however difficult this divorce will be, I need to move on and get her out of my life. There's so much re-building of my self that needs to be done. I wish I had seen it before letting all this damage happen.