Just Going Through The Motions


I am sure that many in this group will relate and this is part 1 of a 2 part issue. I will post the 2nd part later.

I am 48 and my wife is 52. We've been married for going on 21 years now and have 2 boys in their late teens.

We met at work, dated for about 2 years and then got married. Our company was laying people off (outsourcing). I was lucky enough to get a job before being laid off, but not so for my wife. It was the height of the recession of the 90's and her field was hit the hardest so she was not able to find a job. I could see all the rejection was weighing on her so I made the decision that we would be able to make it on just my salary, so she really did not work outside the house. I should say that she originally lived in NY and I in NJ, but we had decided that who ever had the job, is where we would live.

I really think my wife resented that move as she constantly talks about moving back to NY. Additionally, all through our marriage, she was not very supportive in the things I did. For example, when I would contemplating changing jobs for something that I believed was better, she very rarely was positive about it (so far I have done very well in my career, btw). Yet I had always tried to be supportive for her, especially during her time looking for work and in anything she wanted to do.

Sex in the beginning was fine. At least once a week if not more. We had our first child 3 years into our marriage. Of course the sex tapered off some. Once the 2nd child came then sex really took a back seat. I completely understand. Being a stay at home mom is not an easy job. it truly is a 7x24 job and after a long day, the wife is tired. I get it.

However, we haven't had sex for the past 8 years. Before that, I would have to ask and almost beg to have sex. After a time I just got tired of asking and many times being turned down, so it just stopped.

I have talked to my wife about this and she just would say that she is not interested in it any more.

Some will say that this may be a sign that we should get divorced, but I really don't see that as a possibility. For one, I don't want to have that happen to my sons. Secondly, because she has not worked in many years, it would be financially devastating to me. Between the child support, alimony, losing the house, I would basically be living on the street and that is not good.

Along with the sex, so has gone the attention. I take just as much blame for this as my wife. We use to hug and kiss quite a bit and pay each other compliments, but that has all pretty much stopped.

So I just stay in my marriage going through the motions. We sleep in the same bed and have a generally good relationship in that we rarely argue (any more), but I am really missing the attention. Not only receiving it, but giving it.

So what to do?
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10 Responses Aug 10, 2012

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I was in similar situation, and it led me to an affair, I would get this addressed with counseling because it is going to slowly rot your marriage one bitter resentment at a time...

Hi mike, you tell my story, it's very lonely , get you 100% the D word is scary, and effects so many people around you i to sit & wait for happier days !

No nothing will change, the sad thing is i am more
bothered about hurting my daughter & parents more then him, isnt that awful, i miss the hugs, kisses and goofing around, why should all that stop, i still love all that

One thing on divorce and kids. It all depends on HOW you manage a divorce not the mere fact of divorce. Your kids may actually learn from you when they see you get your situation resolved and become more happy. You CAN do a divorce in a way where both parent collaborate WELL and where kids have free access to both parents without being thrown into the middle of fights. For the sake of the kids it is very important to find a divorce agreement which is acceptable by both sides.

You have options as long as your heart beats and you are alive.<br />
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I have gone through some of the things you are in or heading towards. Trust me, you do have options. It's far too early for you to give up, and certainly you know already that you have to address your issue, because if you get caught in an affair, everything will become twice as difficult and possibly expensive for you. DON`T DO AFFAIR, DON`T TRY ANY RELIEF OUTSIDE, LOOK INSIDE AND FIX YOUR PROBLEM!! You have a good chance, either way, you will be well on your way in 2-3 years.<br />
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You could turn your marriage around. That is a possibility. The way you feel trapped right now you are not a free man but a slave. A slave to your wife is nobody your wife wants sex with. So you need to solve that.<br />
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Do not remain a slave in your own mind. But get real information, not the horror stories. You need to make a realistic assessment of your possibility to divorce. What state are you in? NY? Either you find NY giving you a fair deal, or you move to a different state. You are the only earner, you get yourself transferred to an easier state. Stay there for 6 months and file. What are your real assets? A house that's still 70% financed is no real asset. Child support sounds always like a lot, but it is not that much in percent. Alimony? I can tell you have not really done your homework because you are saying in NY you pay alimony like crazy, but you don't. Only for a set period of time, possibly no more than 3 years, and never more than you can afford. The only gotcha is usually if you have a business, like a professional practice, but even there you can get a fair deal, and you can consider temporary closing your practice to reduce your risk, but even that is an extreme measure that you take when you are in a real fix.<br />
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I'm not saying you should immediately divorce, nor am I telling you you should cheat your wife out of her fair share, I am only telling you you need (and can!!!) reclaim your freedom as a man with dignity. And as you do so, you give yourself AND your marriage a chance. So, homework #1: make a realistic exit strategy.<br />
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Secondly, you can work on yourself. There is one book you should read by Glover called No More Mr. Nice Guy. Work with that first.<br />
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Take my presc<x>ription, please. And have hope! You will have a great life yet to come inside or outside your marriage.

Again, don't rush to conclusions. When I discovered I would have a divorce, more than 2 years ago, I was frightened to my bones. I have managed an uncontested pro-se divorce, but it was because my wife is an angel. This is why you'd be an absolute fool if you were to do anything with your coworker there, DO NOT have an affair under any circumstances!

You are in NJ and that is not a place to be for a self respecting man in a marital crisis. You don't sound like you have a huge job, so consider being laid off and find work in a better state. NY is not far, and that may be your best place nearby. But inform yourself on the situation in candidate states.

This may be the time to enhance your education. Seek a job in a different state. NJ is not the place to be, it has permanent alimony. Try to get out of NJ. But don't panic. How reasonable is your wife?

I see, hm, tricky. Well Mike, good luck. What I learned from my experience is to never go into a marriage (or even any relationship beyond casual dating) without a contract (pre-nup). And also to choose one's state wisely. I lucked out on my state. NJ is not good, not good at all. There is some alimony reform bill in the works, but it could take years to bear even modest fruit.

I think your story shows that making a husband into a slave by marriage is bad for marriages. Because your wife has no reason to change. You are required to give her everything she wants and she needs to do nothing for you. This makes you so unattractive to her.

You may want to find a men's group in your area where there are people who have found solutions. You may have other solutions available to fix your situation.

But also, think outside the box. If you are a highly specialized person, you might still find an assignment out of state. The more specialized you are the wider should be your reach simply by the fact that your skills are rare.

Another thing you could do is to become generally more assertive in your life. You bring in the money, you should be the king of your house. And you decide who spends what. May be by just stepping it up and being less of a doormat you could feel better and have things under control better, and that might make you more attractive to your wife.

Also, do consider a complete sex moratorium, where you won't even touch her but go about your own life cheerfully and with statute and grace. Take control of little things. Stop deferring to her in decisions, take decisions and execute them. Reclaim your place. Divorce is a battle for her too and if you don't let it come to this but take control over other parts of life, things might change.

Hi, really understand your situation. I am in a very similar one with my husband. It has gone on so long now, and i am the only one that it seems to affect. We live very well together as good friends, this is not enough for me. My husband is twleve years older than me, so i think he feels i should understand, i do, to a point. Every night is the same, i have to be the first to even kiss eachother goodnight, he wont even try to do this first. Last time he did it was christmas eve! perhaps he thought i deserved it that night. Have thought about it every which way, cant seem to come up with any answers.

Ask God for the best solution..

Eight years is a long time. Her reasoning is just not right. See if she is open to therapy. If she is not demand it. No one should have to stay commited to a marriage when their spouse is not fulfilling their end of the deal. I think that her lack of action is a clear message that she is not being fully commited.

Are your fears about the fall out from a divorce ba<x>sed on a recent consultation you have had with a lawyer in your jurisdiction ?? or just 'what you have heard' ??<br />
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That would be something to check out as a matter of some urgency.<br />
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See, once you get to the point of counter-refusal in a marriage, it is a dead duck. The marriage is done, and what you are now engaged in is just playing out time. That 'time' can run as long as you like. Until one of you gets sick enough of the situation to officially end it. <br />
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The law in your jurisdiction is unlikely to have materially changed between now, and whenever she or you choose to call a halt to the situation, so any problems in the split are going to remain pretty much as they are today.<br />
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Take your pain now, or take it later, but you are already divorced. It only lacks the paperwork to make it official.<br />
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Tread your own path.

It doesn't follow that you must continually test said tolerance level.

So your wife has effectively been sulking and feeling sorry for herself and taking it out on you for nearly 20 years. That requires quite some effort. And it's quite perverse. But then it still would be your fault.

For the record, while it is normal to lose some sex drive when exhausted from raising little kids, it is by no means ordinary to have it erase sex as a whole. Your wife sounds is a long term refuser, and if you are honestly describing the situation, selfish and unsupportive as well. Sounds like you are a paycheck. <br />
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Finances are real concerns. But, if the kids are near grown, child support won't be an issue very shortly, and alimony laws have changed in many states. You don't need to imprison yourself for the rest of your life to her. And, you being miserable is no gift to grown children. You DO have options