Dealing With Guilt.....why Is It My Fault?

I feel guilty. My wife and I have not been intimate in any way for over 5 years. We have been married for 33 years. A few days ago I asked her directly if she thought intimacy and sex would ever be a part of our marriage again. She told me that she was not interested in me that way any more. When I asked if she thought she could be with someone else, she said it would be possible.

That hurt me. Even though I knew the answer before I asked. I told her that I needed intimacy in my life, and that I could not go on this way. I suggested counseling, and she absolutely refused to consider it. The conversation turned to arguing and ended with her telling me she was going to move out.

A few days passed with us not talking and stayng in separate rooms. I asked last night when she planned to move out. She told me that it was just a threat. She said that she loved me, loved our life, and did not want to leave. And, if I insisted on an answer about intimacy, I would be ending our marriage.

So, its my fault that our marriage is ending. My fault that we won't grow old together. My fault that we have to tell my daughter that we are breaking up. My fault that I need intimacy. And, I can't convince myself that she isn't right.
Ranfar Ranfar
51-55, M
11 Responses May 9, 2012

Ok, I'm having a problem with this. she say she loves you and loves your life together but that any talk of intimacy is forbidden. Exactly what does she think a marriage is? A convenient friendship? She's really a contradiction of terms. Ask her if this means that you can date, she what she says to that. Tell her that if she thinks she could be intimate with someone else than you can also, but in this case it isn't a threat, it's a real plan.

It comes down to what is good for your daughter. What does that say to her when she has to live in this tension, feel the frustration and see no connection between her parents. She will grow up thinking that this is what love is about, and the pattern will keep repeating itself.<br />
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Keeping secret and keeping quiet is no way to live and sets a poor example for your daughter. Guilt is an excuse.

I remember telling you to total up the bill and present it to her a few days ago. Especially about the bullshi..t about her moving out. I recall i wasn't the only one telling you to call her on her bullshi..t threat of moving out.<br />
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Now fast forward a few days, you call her on her shi..t threat to move out so she admits that she was just threatning you - Result more grovelling bullshi..t from her now that she loves you, loves her life and marriage.<br />
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Real interpretation to this is I love my little world, and all the fringe benefits that marriage provides, like security, a nice home etc, and i am not willing to lose it over a lack of sex on my behalf. Then she threatens that if you continue to persue sex from her in this marriage that it will end. Call her on that bullshi..t too.<br />
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Has it ended yet? The advice i gave days ago remains the same. Stop supporting her, financially, emotionally, whatever. Visit a good Divorce Lawyer and find out your rights. Then present her with the bill for her actions and demand she pay up.<br />
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Your other alternative, stop complaining and suck up the next 20 - 30 years left of your life with no sex. Do yoy really want to do that? Dont you deserve better?<br />
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Stay Strong & Good Luck

Your wife is not holding up her end of the marriage bargain. You should not feel guilty. You only have one life to live.<br />
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Why grow old with someone that doesn't meet your needs? <br />
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It sounds like she has problems, not you.

"I asked last night when she planned to move out. She told me that it was just a threat. She said that she loved me, loved our life, and did not want to leave. And, if I insisted on an answer about intimacy, I would be ending our marriage."<br />
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Wow! Refuser playbook # 16: make it all YOUR fault. <br />
Seriously, that quote says it all. <br />
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So you are the bad guy. I was the "bad guy" in leaving my marriage of 27 years. It was not easy, but all of my friends and family were supportive to me, and nearly 3 years out, I'm in a happy new relationship (like, beyond my wildest dreams). <br />
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Your results may vary.

Chai has nailed it. Majking YOU feel responsible lets HER avoid the guilt. And as hl42 points out, there are good reasons for feeling guilty. IMO this is NOT one of them!!!

You feel guilty.<br />
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I like guilt as an emotion. It tells me one of two things:<br />
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a) I'm not behaving according to my own core standards;<br />
b) I'm not behaving according to someone else's standards (which may in fact be antithical to my interests and manipulative to boot).<br />
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When you've distinguished these, you're in a position to act, and the actions will be quite different between the two situations. Most of all, let your feelings drive some action here.<br />
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And do the Bob Dylan here: Aim for some real good notes.

Guilt you should not feel - you may have contributed to issues in the marriage - however it's hard to make changes and improvements when one party just says, "Oh hell no" - which is what she's saying by her actions and the fact that she thinks she could be attracted to another (which means it's not hormonal or asexuality). This is her issue - if she has resentments, she should have discussed them with you etc. and given you the chance to compromise or improve.

OK. I am convinced! It MUST be your fault if you say so. <br />
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Now, tell us: What did you do to deserve this?!??!???

Well, let's accept for a moment that it is ALL your fault whatever the reason(s). Is she going to forgive you? Is she going to change her behaviour, assuming that is actually a conscionable process? Has she told you where you go wrong apart from asking to have sex together? Has she even hinted, ever, what you could do to rectify the situation?<br />
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I thought not. So, do you live with it? Can you live with it? Are you at fault for being who and what you are? Should you be expected to supress your normal feelings of desire and to be desired? Would an expert (god help us!) suggest that?<br />
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I think the answer to all these things are "No", "No" and "No" again and again. So you leave whenever you leave and you be the bad boy in her eyes, you already are. If you are in your fifties what age is your daughter? Is she of the age where she already knows or can understand it if plainly explained to her? Those who jointly know you both, consider explaining it to them in as plain a language as you can both contemplate and you think warranted. You can be as explicit as you like without ever having to directly criticise her in any way. The circumstances should just speak for themselves.<br />
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PS. She is blatantly black-mailing you and that is just downright nasty and not the actions of someone who cares even a jot.

She doesn't want you, she wants the life that you helped her build, but she does not want you. She can see herself with another man. Stop beating yourself up, looking for blame is just distracting yourself from the fact that the bond is broken and not working at all, so if you focus on anything put your energy into the lack of compatibility.

Don't bother yourself with defending your position.<br />
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If it were 100% your fault or 100% her fault, or any combination of respective fault apportions you care to put forward, the end result would be the same.<br />
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Your missus is intimacy averse to you.<br />
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Get out.<br />
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Tote up the blame score then if you happen to feel like it, and are not too busy getting on with your authentic life.<br />
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The rear view mirror will give you great insight into such matters, as you think from a perspective outside the toxic relationship and see things way clearer. But be aware, you will also discovger that the pursuit of blame is an unproductive exercise too.<br />
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Tread your own path.

I have an update to this sad event.

Today, my wife made an attempt to reconcile. She told me that since every other aspect of our marriiage was good, she would try to fix the intimacy issue. The gist of the conversation was that she would try to find a awy to be interested again. No promises that it would happen.

Now, maybe I'm too sensitve, but I'm not sure I want to go on with someone who will 'try' to want to be intimate again. And, still no counseling, and no idea what 'trying' would look like.

Be very careful. I fear she is just trying to buy time and get you off her back for a while.

You have called her on her empty threats and upset the dynamic in her little world