No Longer Sexless

After four and half years of celibacy within my marriage, I decided to write a letter to my husband to let him know how much and in what ways I had been affected by this development in our relationship.  I had not been able to bring myself to do this until I had transferred to a safer work environment.  I had just moved to another job when all this began; add to this menopause and children leaving home.  I was in survival mode but I had a plan of sorts to leave the poisonous work environment in any way possible before 5 years was up.  A friend who is a priest, and handles annulments exclusively, told me that we would not last past 5 years if this was not resolved in some way. He was one of the only people who could honestly see the crisis I was in and I trusted that he had the experience, seeing divorced couples exclusively.

Writing the letter was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  Regardless of the long term outcome, it was the right thing to do.  I just couldn't live with pushing this sadness and frustration aside on what seemed to be an hourly basis.  It was destroying me physically and mentally.  I want to emphasize that I had to be in a safe place to do this.  I also need the space of time so I chose the March Break to give it to him.  Writing this letter opened up a flood gate of love that I had kept bottled up for so long.  As I wrote the letter I began to think as much about him as I did about myself and I was careful to word the letter in such a way as to hopefully open up dialogue.  No accusations or resentment.  

In all of this I see too that there is sorrow in him.  I don't think this is resolved completely and may never be.  The one thing that I emphasized in the letter was the need to look forward and to do things differently.  The day after I delivered the letter I made love to my husband. Something has changed in me in the four and a half years since we last made love.  I feel for one thing that I am living in the present and that I am truly present in this relationship for the first time.  All I can really do is take control of myself and open up to possibilities.

I hope for the future but I also see a lot of work ahead for both of us.  I hope that people reading this will consider opening up communication in some way.  Writing was the best way for me because I wanted to make the message as clear and non-threatening as I could.  It was a love letter in the tradition of St. Paul.  I was prepared to be destroyed but knew that there was no other way.  I could no longer push this aside.  It wasn't so much the loneliness but what the absence of physical intimacy meant in terms of our lives together as adult.  Coming from a Catholic tradition I had always thought that there was something holy in the celibate life but this experience demonstrated that for me, holiness is really being what we are meant to be. I think that this is what real love feels like and it is the first time for me. 

Leda Leda
51-55, F
10 Responses Apr 30, 2012

This man is not my parish priest, but a trusted friend. He also has tremendous experience as a canon lawyer, handling all the cases involving annulments of Catholic marriages. It doesn't have to be a priest - anyone who is sensitive enough to really see you. Anyone with compassion too. There was another close friend who is very spiritual who offered support as well. Both of these people could appreciate how multi-la<x>yered this situation was. When I went for counselling through my workplace I was told outright to move on and leave my husband. It was a very superficial reading of my situation and not helpful at all. Some people, even professionals can be clueless. I should mention too, that I did disclose this situation to my parish priest who blithely told me that he had to deal with celibacy and it wasn't so bad. When I related this advice to my friend, the canon lawyer, he just rolled his eyes and told me in the most diplomatic way that he could, that this was cruel and ridiculous. He was quite angry about my parish priest's insensitivity.

I am glad your husband was receptive to your needs and attempts to open up communication. If the refusing spouse acknowledges a problem and is willing to really work at it then your chances of success increase exponentially. Good luck to you. Keep us updated.

This is how it's done, folks. Demand better for yourself, follow through, and then work. Brava, Leda!!! I am so happy to hear that you were able to open up to love him again. I know how a toxic work environment can break down all other aspects of your life, so I am glad things are turning around for you. Very inspiring.

Thank you for the acknowledgement. The work is ongoing and there are other issues to confront. This is far from a romantic story. It is real life and therefore somewhat messy.

I think that's a really important thing to learn about marriage: that it mirrors life. It's messy and complicated and sometimes completely unromantic. And the work never ends.

For the sheer effort you had to undertake to get it, I hope it was a stupendously good root you got.<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.

Thank you for your comment. This is by no means over.

Let it be!<br />
All the best in your new found era of communication!

Great news.

Congrats! Glad you were able to turn your marriage around. <br />
Do you feel this is a lasting improvement?<br />
You mentioned your H is seeing a naturopath, did he not treat a medical problem before?<br />
I had a similar experience except it was counseling rather than the letter that opened communication between us.

Sorry about my crazy comment. If you can discern what I actually responded I congratulate you. My math might be bad but in the end It was a solid 4 1/2 years during my time at this new job. That is why it is easy to mark the time. <br />
<br />
Taking a pill would not have helped him. He had been seeing a naturopath. The communication made the rest happen and he was a surprised as I was.

Thank you for your good wishes. I hope the best for everyone out there. It is so painful to look for the truth but necessary. I want the best for my husband, even if that means being separate from me.

I'm so happy this worked out for you and I pray that you two stay united and keep working on this for the long run.<br />
Good luck to you both