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I Made Vows For Forever And Don't Know How Much Longer I Can Hold On :(

I've been married over 10 years. My DH is a good man, a kind man, a wonderful father. He's my best friend and I enjoy his company. But our marriage is sexless. When we dated we didn't do very much because of our religious beliefs. When we first got married I was a bit saddened by how basic our love life was - and how little we did, about twice a week to start out with. This quickly slipped to once a week, then once a month...after about 7 years I was so upset and depressed, gaining more and more weight, substituting my desire for sex with a desire for food. Amazingly, miraculously, I fell pregnant after only having sex once in 4 months (like they say, it only takes the one time) and having a baby made me happy again. I put all my doubts about sex aside. Our child is 5 and we have only had sex once since he was born, about 3 months after he was born.

DH is aware of how I feel, he says that he just doesn't feel very much 'down there' and this has been of problem of his for years. I've begged him to go see specialists, he does and then doesn't follow up etc. He's just not interested. He says he doesn't think about it or care much although he's sad it makes me sad (what an understatement).

I'm more than sad now. I am starting to feel resentful, i'm starting to feel i've missed out on such a nice part of marriage. I ache to be touched in a sexual way (DH is very affectionate but not sexually), to make love, to have hot meaningless sex, to share those 'looks' that couples do when they are sharing and remembering something only they could know. Real intimacy.

I know I was naive to think things would get better, hotter with a bit of time, patience and practice (my DH was a lot less experienced than I was when we got together - not that i'm some expert either, i'm not!). I thought it would be fun. I'll be honest and say that I would have still married him knowing all this because I love him so much and I thought sex in marriage was only a small part of it. But when you're not having it it seems like a huge part of it.

I have always taken the vows I made to him in our marriage seriously and I hate the fact that I think about other men now, encounters, and wonder how i'm going to last another 30-40 years like this.

I am comforted (and saddened) to know others are in the same position. I sometimes feel like i'm the only woman going through this. I smile and agree when my friends tell me about their husbands and their filthy minds and constant demands for sex and it makes me feel like there must be something wrong with me because I don't seem to have any answers or ways to make my husband want to want me.

Thanks for reading xx
anastasiagrey anastasiagrey 36-40, F 15 Responses Jun 12, 2012

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You say you take your vows seriously....there is a family now... you need to do whatever it takes counseling, medical intervention, honesty, love, toys..... to make it work. Dont give up hope.

He's having medical intervention at the moment...there are some medical issues which explain part of this...but not all of it. I can't make him go to counselling and he needs it. My child will always come first in any decision I make. I havent' give up on the marriage but if i'm honest i've given up on the hope of having the kind of marriage I want.

I find this thread very interesting. The fact that some believe neglecting physical touch and sexual intimace in marriage relationship is failing to uphold vows. I have felt guilty in thinking so myself for years. In my case I experienced the neglect from my wife for the better part of past 7 years. When I think back she never really put much emphasis into that physical aspect of marriage. I mean we've had an active sex life, but usually I always initiated contact. Over the years it's became a chore for me and eventually I just grew tired of working for it. Something changed and I actually began to feel dirty, unwanted and like something was wrong with me. As it turns out it was the one thing that I most craved from her. I now know it wasn't me but something in her. What's sad is that since we seperated she seems to see clearly and is trying to make up for it now but sadly it may be too late. I don't want to be a second thought. It's like she's saying wait if I'm gonna leave over it ok let's do it. That feeling just doesn't ring genuine with me. I wonder what many of you think about that.

Of course it's a failure to uphold marital vows - 'with my body I thee worship'... There has been sweet **** all of that - so it's a broken vow as far as I'm concerned. I have given all I can give. The issue for me now is trying to figure our how much he has not given through choice or because he just isn't able to do it (there are physiological and psychological issues at play) - and I'm willing to keep going, to give the benefit of the doubt, to be patient and kind and loving and all the things live is meant to be...but not forever. I'm sorry you separated but now that you are free do you feel more whole again? If you don't feel she is being genuine with her intentions dont go back...it would probably be harder to go a second time - go find what you need and deserve, life is too short.

If there has been loyalty, love throughout your marriage there is a foundation. Usually everything else can be tweaked. Life is too short but a marriage should be forever if the person in the wrong is willing to work on it....which in your case it seems she is trying to let you know what you needed was there all along and she is wanting to make it work.

Dont give up on your vows. If she sees clearly now and is willing isnt that a step in the right direction? Marriage is not something you just give up if there is honesty and two people willing to make it work. Dont give up!

Oh what to do!!!<br />
I admit I haven't had time yet to read everything here, but just wanted to say I really understand your plight, and feel exactly the same towards my wife.<br />
May I ask how you are going on the religious factor? I was brought up in a highly religious family, but have now given it all up, Best thing I ever did!!! Life experience has taught me how damaging it can be!

I can't see myself giving up my faith - it is a part of me even if at this point in my life my needs and desires are conflicting with my beliefs. I will admit that I'm not feeling too conflicted or guilty at the moment for any 'sins of the flesh' I've committed or may be about to commit. I have a clear conscience about my role as a wife and what I have given and shared. I have not received the same back. Maybe I'm just rationalising... In any case me and God are still on talking terms - he knows me better than anyone- my needs and more importantly my intentions. I did not wake up.one morning and just decide I was bored with my marriage...I have given every part of me to this, sometimes at a very painfully high cost. Intention has to count for something... Is your faith gone completely? I hope not. Thanks for your message x

Yes, I'm afraid I have anantasiagrey. Religion has been nothing but hurtful in my life.

:( am sad to hear that...but we all have to do what we need to do to thrive..survive etc xx

It's almost cliche how many people (men and women) deal with this issue. It is something that weighs on me everyday.

isn't it just...I really had no clue...I was conditioned by society to believe that I would be the one who would have 'not tonight darling, I have a headache' excuses and that my husband would be sex crazed...maybe cheat...who knows...I was not prepared to be the one who was sex crazed from starvation...sigh. Life's a *****...

I'm with you on that. And, I'm not some unromantic slug. I've tried stuff that one of her friends tells me should be accepted by her. I have ended up in a "relationship" with a guy, oral only.Technically cheating, I know, but I needed something.

I don't think i'm ready to go there yet...but I understand that need so i'm not judging you for that.

Don't really know what to say, but I get it mate!! Have had similar thoughts myself!!! Don't be hard on yourself, were all human, and we all have needs, doesn't mean your gay or even bi, but you just need the moment that you are normally denied.

Too true! just realizing the same thing myself! As I only have my wife as a guide, I have begun to lose all faith in female sexuality! But it seems I'm wrong!

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I am very sorry you are going through this. I myself, have been living in a sexless or near sexless marriage for the last 7 years. I love him with all my heart, and he is my best friend. I am not going to cheat on him or leave him. We aren't religious, so the religious implications aren't there about divorce, marriage, and sex in my situation. But it takes such an emotional toll to be rejected in this way. Although I have no practical advice (I wish I did), I just wanted to say I hope things work out for you. :)

thank you, I hope things work out for you too. It is a huge emotional toll, thank goodness for this site or i'd be on the tequila this week...

Clearly, you have been thinking about this a lot.<br />
<br />
Him, not so much.<br />
<br />
Just as clearly, you stand ready to embrace anything that might improve the situation. Just as clearly, his enthusiasm for a potential improvement ain't so whole hearted.<br />
<br />
It is YOU who have had to drive this process forward. His involvement being re-active, certainly not pro-active.<br />
<br />
I think you know, down deep, where this is going, and you are going to fight like hell to avoid that outcome you fear. As have we all.<br />
<br />
Comes a time when facts have to be faced. For you, that time is NOT now.<br />
<br />
That time WILL come. Prepare as best you can.<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.

Have you ever considered that he may be embarrassed because of this issue, and that's the reason why he doesn't follow through with getting help? Your husband is a typical male and has pride, going to a dr or anyone to discuss his lack of feeling is quite humiliating to him. <br />
<br />
Give him time, be patient, you as his wife need to calm the humiliation within him and when he feels confident then you both go to discuss it with a Dr. <br />
<br />
In the meantime, he's your husband and you should be supportive.<br />
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GOD Bless

Ana <br />
In many of the prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim denominations, refusal to have or the inability to have sex is grounds for dissolving the marriage. It is a very serious matter because the perpetuation of the God-fearing species depends upon us-folk reproducing and bringing more believers into this world. <br />
<br />
Consult your pastor.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating, that sex is 5 percent of a marriage when it's good, and 95 percent when it's bad.<br />
<br />
Sorry that you had to join in our club. But I don't see how he can say you are *pressuring him* when you've only had sex once in five years. (which is where I'm at time-wise, too). <br />
<br />
I wish I had all the answers, but we all deal with it in our own way, in our own time.<br />
<br />
Oh...and BTW, ANA, let me know when Fifty is available. Laters. *huge grin*.

Oooo..I like that first sentence!
(AND your reference to Fifty. LOVE that books)

Anyways, back to Ana here:
Is there any possibility that he has a sexual disorder?
Or maybe he is really insecure and not confident in his "size" or his skills. Maybe he doesn't really know what he is doing and has anxiety about being terrible in the sack?

I would recommend a marriage counselor, too.

Yes, I think that is exactly it. I think its massive insecurity, possible problem with repression - thankfully not a size issue ;) He's says he's willing to go to counselling so that is a positive step. But i'm becoming more aware that this isn't going to happen quickly and I need to find the patience and hope I have enough love and committment after all this time to see it throughh. I think I do but who knows what i'll be feeling in 6 months, a year...

If I had 'Fifty' with me, I sure as heck wouldn't let him be 'available' and I wouldn't be sitting here typing either ;)

From what you describe, there could be any number of things going on with him, psychological and physiological. <br />
<br />
I'm not religious at all, but I've read enough to know that it can result in an unfortunate and unnecessary stunting of sexual potential in some folks. Not due to religions or their sc<x>riptures themselves per se, but often the way some people or groups or families choose to selectively [mis]interpret them. Lots of shame, guilt, repression, etc. I don't know if there's any of that going on with him, and it would be presumptious of me to assume one way or the other. <br />
<br />
On the other hand, it sounds like he's historically had problems with confidence and performance in bed, something both of you are aware of and have discussed openly. I don't know how or to what extent it affects women, but for men that can trigger a negative and defeatist downward spiral. Nothing worse for a guy than the feeling that you don't fully satisfy your woman. Don't quickly turns into can't. Coaching a man on how to be a better lover can be a VERY delicate operation indeed where many men are concerned. You can't just let things go, because he'll think everything is great and never get any better, but you have to broach suggestions for improvement gently. Criticisms should be bracketed by and not outnumber compliments, even if you have to bend and stretch the truth just a little to achieve the desired results. Multiple treatments may be required to get the point across, etc., etc. Positive reinforcement works much better than negative.<br />
<br />
I also get the impression that he may be a little intimidated by you sexually. Many men aren't prepared for and don't know how to deal with a woman with a high sex drive, especially when it exceeds their own. We're acculturated to think that's not supposed to happen, but it does. There's plenty of evidence on this board alone.<br />
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From a physiological standpoint I would suggest the usual suspects, low Testosterone causing his sex drive to be low, or ED which he's avoiding due to embarrassment. If this is what's going on he needs to get to a physician asap, and if he resists you will need to force the issue. I don't recommend gentleness in this case, but a swift kick to the seat of the pants, repeatedly if necessary until he takes action.

My reflection, just for the moment is that you are a very emotional person and that you husband is not. You say that despite the lack of sex he is very loving, yet do you get a sense that even that is reserved, controlled, managed, carefully handled? Would you say, overall, that he is an inhibited personality, someone who normally thinks before he reacts?<br />
<br />
At face value, I would say that the problems in your relationship are too far gone, too deeply established to actually turn things around, especially if he has an over-simple, fatalistic attitude to it. But, you know what, ultimately that could well prove to just be a load of bullsh1t if only the circumstances were just a LITTLE bit different.<br />
<br />
I am convinced that I could behave in the way that your husband does, but I wouldn't necessarily leave it at that. If I liked someone, for whatever reason, I could and would be prepared to put myself consciously on the line to please them because in doing so I could get so much satisfaction from the sense of service, or giving. You might find that odd, but I would not, just that it would be something that you would not maybe readily identify with. The trick, though, that you would have to convince yourself of is that the way I would behave would be 'authentic' enough, albeit authentic in a way you don't normally have an affinity with, for you to accept it.<br />
<br />
Let's face it, even if a man does not instinctively run around with a hard-on looking for 'it' at a drop of the hat, given sufficient motivation and opportunity he can force himself to erection and do what is necessary, notwithstanding physiological complications. Not only do you need to have the motivation but you also have to have the imagination to put yourself in the putative scenario, along with your partner. That requires positivity of thought, enthusiasm, relishing the self-challenge as well as the compassion towards your partner. That in itself may require imagination. Is your husband a dreamer, schemer, fantasizer? If he is devoid of that then he is in trouble and so are you.<br />
<br />
As a complete aside, I have been wondering recently whether a life-time of using **** may be one of the factors that can kill both fantasy and yearning simply because it is always available. I'm not suggesting that is an issue with your husband, hence the aside, but if it were to be true, it would be a problem with **** of a different type altogether.

Your post is interesting...your references to what I assume are **** (as they came out as ****) did make me grin though - of the two of us i'd probably be more inclined to have a peek than him.

DH does not hold back AT ALL in any other areas of our relationship, which is why I find this all so hard to take. He is very affectionate and its genuine, I wouldn't say its inhibited. When we used to have sex that sometimes felt inhibited, like he was always holding back or not sure. He used to talk about it, he has never been a confident person in that department but now he just doesn't want to talk about it and the last fight we had was my wanting to talk about it and him saying i'm putting too my pressure on him...sigh

I think tonight was the first time he realised that I am struggling big time with this - in the sense that I might leave. I think for him, part of it is the physiological side and part of it is he has just left things for so long he probably thinks he's incapable now. I wish he'd go talk to someone about it. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Thanks for your post x

I have no idea whether this has any relevance to your situation or not but if things are as you describe them I can only suggest the following even if they seem fanciful. Firstly, ask him whether you can discuss it, no expectations, no pressure, no pre-conditions. Assure him that you do not have performance expectations, (even if you do). Tell him it will please you only if he TRIES to talk about the issue for the meantime. Tell him that as far as you are concerned that it is about solving a problem, an issue together, not attributing blame. Tell him you are prepared to start from scratch to rediscover the sex between you right from the very start. Tell him it is as much about him being happy in it as much as you. Tell him that the last thing you want him to be is anxious, stressed about it as you would not enjoy it knowing that. Tell him above all you want it to be fun, whether satisfying every time or not. Tell him that you having satisfying sex with him is as much about your contribution as it is his. Tell him that if he can find his way to overcome his apprehension that will be a valued start and that you want to be able to work with him on it. Tell him that you have as much to learn as he, and that you can do it together. Tell him it is not about it being his responsibility alone but about it being a shared experience. Tell him it is not about him servicing you like some sort of stud and that to be honest the idea is a bit off-putting. I am suggesting, I don't know how realistically, that it might be about using kidology, making a sales pitch, convincing him that you are on his side, that you want to assist him rather than put him under examination and critical assessment. If you have already tried all this, I am barking up the wrong tree again and I have no idea what you do after that other than pray for a miracle. If you are asking yourself why do I have to jump through hoops and go through such convolutions, well, that will have to be personal value judgement. Depending upon how important something ultimately is to you, the end can justify the means. There is a risk that it will not work but what is Plan B? Just stroke his fragile ego a bit, recall fond past memories even if they are a bit fanciful. Look a bit wistful for past 'glories'. Life is just a game sometimes and a ridiculous one at that. It wouldn't be below you. Infact, it would be quite cunning of you, may I suggest? By the way, have your infamous female intuition/radar switched on for any potential issue over PE or ED that he might need to tell you about but is fearful of confessing. Slight though either might be, never discount it. Us men and our poor wee egos. I ask you!

Since you talked about religious beliefs here you go- 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 Paul advises, "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." Essentially this says that neither partner in a marriage has a right to deny sex with the other, except if they both make a mutual agreement to abstain for a specified period of time for prayer and fasting. This means a short time, because it is not likely one would or could reasonably continue a real fast for long periods. If he is eating meals then Paul says he should not deny you. One would be tempted to say "deny any reasonable request for sex," but Paul doesn't even put that limitation.<br />
I am not clear whether you are saying that he denies you this right in order to teach you that you must love God more than you do him. If that is so, he is going about it the wrong way. Very soon it will be easy for you to love God more than him because your love for him may be so little. Besides that, how can he ask you to love God more than you do him if he does not show a love of God by showing love to his own wife? God has commanded him to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25), and, as Paul said, part of that love is not denying her those things which are a right as part of the marriage.<br />
Please see a qualified counselor, and try to get him to join you. It would not be right to see a marriage fall apart if it can be kept together just by following the sc<x>riptures. If not then leave and never look back....

Thank you for that, I will keep all of that in mind. I do think he would consider going to a counsellor with me. I cannot just walk away without trying even if i'm in pain at the moment and feel like running.

Your decision to stay and try is very admirable.
I think if you try your best and do everything you can to improve things and to try and get him to, that's all you can do.

It takes both of you wanting the same thing and being willing to work for it.

If he doesn't, then you will be able to walk away at least knowing you tried everything you could.

Yep. Hubby has already broken his vows and you now have to decide what you are going to do about it. There are basically three choices... stay and get used to it... it never (extremely rarely) gets better, leave, or outsource. <br />
1. Can you imagine putting up with this for the next 40 years?<br />
2. Leaving a comfortable existance and traumatising your child won't be easy.<br />
3. Getting this one past your religious beliefs won't be easy... it might be do-able if hubby agrees to it before-hand.<br />
Tough choices... best of luck!

Well...I am not sure I can cope with number 1, i'm trying to hold on and cope with this week.
Number 2 I could never do, not until he's older.

Sadly the one that would be easier would be number 3 and I never in a million years thought i'd be someone who would consider doing that. On the surface it seems the easiest and less complicated but i'm sure the reality of it would be anything but... thanks for your comments x

-----"I have always taken the vows I made to him in our marriage seriously"<br />
<br />
Most people do.<br />
<br />
However, with that said, the vows of "till death do you part" can be taken any which way you want them to.<br />
<br />
Such as this: a long term sexless marriage can be considered dead - so, since the marriage is dead (but not the actual spouse) the "death do you part" has already happened.<br />
<br />
Anyway, I recommend you keep reading on here.<br />
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Be prepared for your thinking to change. You won't put this genie back into the bottle again.<br />
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You won't last another 30-40 years. The marital envrionment that has been established by the lack of intimacy (coupled with HIS disinterest) is NOT conducive for long term marital success. This set up guarantees failure.<br />
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Best plan on big changes coming sometime in the future.<br />
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You are here. That, in and of itself, is telling.

Yes, perhaps it is telling. For now I just need to talk to people about it or i'll go mad...or assault some handsome man in the street lol

I agree with this. The fact that you feel like this will not go away. You will continue to build up resentment, fighting over small, unrelated things because the resentment will seep out into everything. And you said: I've begged him to go see specialists, he does and then doesn't follow up etc. He's just not interested. He says he doesn't think about it or care much although he's sad it makes me sad (what an understatement). That is saying a lot., He knows how unhappy you are with your love life but says he just isn't interested and he just doesn't think about it. Well that's fantastic for him, but very insensitive to you. He should want to make you happy.

mvc is right, you won't make it another 30 - 40 years.

Welcome to ILIASM. No, you're not alone, and you certainly aren't the only woman in this situation. Approximately half the members here are women. Stick around, read lots of stories, and post again if it helps. <br />
<br />
As for the life-long vows ... I felt that way too. But there are limits. ILIASM member Fatherof2 wrote this: "For better or worse does not mean that one person can pi$$ in your corn flakes every day and you have to eat it. The intent of the vow is that when bad times comes you stick together and face the hardship shoulder to shoulder. If your partner is not doing this then they have broken their vow. "

Thank you for your post. Yes, there are limits and for whatever reason i'm finding it hard to accept them today, this week. DH was quite upset after our talk tonight and went to bed early, so we'll see what tomorrow brings. Thanks xx