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And I Ask Myself....how Did I Get Here?

Although I have been in a sexless (or near sexless) marriage for years - I had no idea the magnitude of this problem. I was convinced for a long while that I must be in this hell all by myself, that I must being doing something wrong, that I must deserve what I was getting (not getting). I did not know that there were other people who shared the same feelings of rejection as me. That is, until one day, while searching for answers on the internet, I found a story by an unknown author titled "This is What a Sexless Marriage Feels Like". The link is below, but if it does not work, you can just google the title and get to the Open Salon website where it is posted. When I read this story, my jaw dropped....and I read it over and over again realizing, finally, through another person's words, just how terrible my situation was...just how deep the pain is felt. I was so moved by this story that I immediately stopped searching for answers - because I had found it. The answer was I needed to get away....I needed to accept that nothing would change unless I forced it to happen. I stopped trying to "fix" my marriage.

I'm sure some of the veterans in this forum have already seen this story, but I post the link here in case others have not found it yet. This story was a game changer for me....after reading it - that's how I arrived on EP and stumbled into the ILIASM group.


http://open.salon.com/blog/and_yet/2009/05/11/this_is_what_a_sexless_marriage_feels_like
Buroak Buroak 51-55, M 9 Responses Oct 23, 2012

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Hi, I'm "Me" down below. I'm newly registered and not sure why my user name isn't showing(?) - jul1404

When you are logged on to the EP site, your name will appear as "me" in any stories or comments you post.

I appreciate the Talking Heads reference! Best concert of my life, during happier times...
This is my first post. I can't believe I got here either, to this very lonely place. When did it all Stop Making Sense? You write with eloquence and I've read a couple of your articles. I wish you well Buroak.

Welcome aboard. It's no cruise ship, but lots of nice people here with a few "kooks" thrown in for entertainment. Read up and write when you are ready. Like the rest of us, you stumbled in here for a reason.

Thanks Buroak, for the link and for sharing your story as well. I have been on ILIASM for some time but had never read either.

One more thing.
How did you get here?
Little steps.

The first time you ignored the little something she did that suggested she wasn't that "into you" as they say nowadays. (For me it was not opening the car door upon our first "meeting.")
It was the way she laid there and watched you and didn't say anything when you were in bed. You felt uncomfortable but you ignored it and were content to ignore it because you were so "into" her.
It was her indifference when you talked about the future.
It was when she came to bed much later than you; when she seemed to have her own body rhythms that were completely out of sync with yours.
It was when she brought up some unreasonable financial request/idea/scheme and you went along with it to "please" her.
It was when you were always thinking, "Will this make her **** me?"
It was when you reached out to her and she recoiled; watching your reaction.
It was when you married her and the "kiss" was a perfunctory peck.
It was when you tried to kiss her and she arched away; when you tried to hug her and her body stiffened; when you tried...when you tried anything and everything to capture/elicit/raise anything to do with her ardor and NOTHING EVER WORKED.
It was when you began to feel empty inside.
It was when you began to duck conversations; when you pretended to the outside world the two of you were happy.
It was when tears came to your eyes.
It was that time at Club Med when someone asked how you met; you told the story and he asked, surprised: "Were you pleased?" and you answered, "Yes" and then added, as an aside, "But I don't think (s)he was." And she looked away and said nothing.
It was when that stranger looked at you like, "What's wrong with you?"
It was when at that same Club Med he told a stranger how hot some other man was right in front of you.
It was all those shows she watched on TV that featured teenagers and young "20-somethings."
It was when you stopped looking in mirrors.
It was when you started buying wardrobes you'd never wear; purchasing "things" that cost a fortune to change yourself into someone she'd "want."

It was all those times and more.
Add your own.
They all boil back to the same thing:
You were kidding yourself. You were living a dream - a fantasy.
You met up with someone who saw an opportunity in you and took it and you got NOTHING in return.

Wait. Maybe you did get something. You got brought to your knees and your ego cracked to the point you could face what was happening in your life and the part you played in it and became empowered to do something about it.

That's a gift.
I GUESS.

..."she" told a stranger...
I wish there was an edit button to comments.

Hi Fool4Waiting...thanks for that reply. I think my situation is more like this....described below in a letter I wrote to myself...an entry in my journal on August 23, 2012.

Dear Me:
I know you are struggling to understand what went wrong….why your wife has sexually and emotionally abandoned you. You spend countless hours of mental and emotional energy each day and night focused on this single topic – trying to figure out why she intentionally hurts you so much. It consumes you, it weighs on you, it hurts you so deeply that it’s hard to be happy about much of anything. This thought process has been going on for years and you still haven’t figured it out. And, YOU NEVER WILL!

The truth is, she has built a wall around herself and left you (and others) on the outside. This wall is made up of unresolved issues, unresolved hurt, unresolved anger. The wall is so high and thick now that she cannot hear you. The building of this wall is partially your fault; many of its bricks were made by you. Every time you failed to meet her emotional needs, you made a brick for her wall. Every time you were dismissive about her feelings – you made a brick for her wall. Every time you failed to validate her feelings – you made a brick for her wall. Every time you put your needs ahead of her needs - you made a brick for her wall. Some people are able to communicate their feelings; others have a very hard time doing so because they are emotionally immature. Your wife is the later – it is extremely difficult for her to entrust to you and others how she feels – how deeply hurt she really is. Not just from issues in your marriage, but from issues deep in her past – things that have nothing to do with you. You will never know what it was like to be her growing up in a dysfunctional household with an alcoholic father and a bitter, valium addicted mother. She learned early in life to be passive-aggressive rather than to confront directly whatever relationship issues she was unhappy about. Now, at mid-life, your wife wants out. She wants a new life. She sees greener pastures. She sees you as the problem.

Perhaps, the greatest gift you can give her is to let her go. You cannot fix her. You will never understand her. You will never be able to meet her needs – it’s too late and the wall is too high and she is too comfortable in there. She refuses to get help. She says she is fine. She says she does not love you.

I know you wish it was not this way. You wish you could somehow say the right things and she would come back. You wish you could avoid the pain that a divorce will inflict on you, on your two beautiful children, on your family, and on your friends. But, understand this: you haven’t much of a choice. You are dying a slow death from despair!

Know another truth: while you gave her many of the bricks used to build her wall, you have also tried very hard to bring down that wall. You have done this through sincere apologies, patience, reflection, and reaching out. You have shared your deepest feelings with her. You have been on your knees gently asking her to turn back to your marriage – to work on it together. You tried very hard to make the changes you thought were necessary to be the man she wants you to be. You have done everything you can and still, she refuses to build trust in your relationship. In fact, she has gotten ever more overt in her negative feelings for you and making it very clear that you have no value (not wearing her wedding band after you confided in her how sad you feel about it). For whatever reasons, she has serious issues with intimacy. For whatever reasons, she uses sex as a weapon to punish you. For whatever reasons, she has given up on your marriage. For whatever reasons, she is unforgiving. Stop trying to understand her. Stop beating yourself up.
As you prepare for divorce, do it in a loving and responsible way. You can do this by being fair, by doing what is best for your children, by accepting her choice to move on, by trusting in yourself that all will be okay.
Know that a happy future is attainable, but only if you force change.

Sincerely,
Yours Truly.

I went through that phase.
Blaming myself.
You'll get over it.
This is a lot simpler than you imagine.

This is a HUGE UNTAPPED MARKET ripe for exploitation. (Think Dr. Phil and Oprah.)

I read the story. I kept thinking to myself, "At one time, NOT SO LONG AGO, I would have sent this to my husband." He would have harrumphed or made some nasty comment. He probably would have sent it on to our therapist (who I've stopped seeing) after a curious "mix-up" in scheduling and who (reportedly) has said to my husband, privately, "Sex? Most women her age don't want anything to do with it!"

Now? I consider sending it but won't. I've sworn off him and I don't believe anything ever could make me feel differently. Ever. Again.

Hi Fool4Waiting....I have had the same thought - to print out that story and leave it for my W to find...but then I think - WHY? What good will that do? It won't change a thing. I think the story is more for the refused...not the refusers. Also, my counselor has made comments too about midddle-aged women and them not caring about sex...like that's normal. If that's normal....I want freakishly abnormal!

Yeah. And my therapist is a "woman."

mine too!

Yeah - so simple...and sad.

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This is one of those things really.

If you have a particular matter in your life, say cancer as an example, the stats about how widespread the problem is in the wider community are not particularly helpful. If a particular problem arises in the general population "in 8% of cases", and you are in that 8% then as far as you are concerned it's 100%.

Where the numbers DO help though, is in the level of support you can engage, from people who are in the 100% common issue you are facing.

Here for example, you are in a dysfunctional marriage - same as the rest of the membership - 100%. And the chances it is going to go guts up is 95%.

Tread your own path.

Thanks Bazz....dysfunctional...yes! Deep down I think I always knew it was dysfunctional, but that truth was buried beneath a "pile of denial". Not anymore...I am soon putting down $$ for my retainer...taking it to the next level. Things are about to get very "real" for me and W.

Amen brother! I keep asking, am I right, am I wrong?
What am I going to do about it is the big question. How do I force something to happen? And what is the right something?
Thanks for sharing your link and message.

And....you might ask yourself....this is not my beautiful house. And this is not my beautiful wife! I'm going to crank that jam while working out later today. And I'll think about a better future....and not ending up in a shotgun shack!

Thanks for recognizing the talking heads reference.

My wife and I feel that sex, or making love is a fringe benefit, and I know I can go months without it, but I am not sure she can. I don't think she has cheated yet, but I know that things are not as great as I wish they would be. She stays up all night studying, or on Facebook, chatting with whomever, and does not come to bed until it is almost time for me to get up for work. We have been arguing for awhile now, and she has said that this is due to the fact that she cannot stand to be around me anymore. I do not know what happened, or how I can please her, at times, I feel there is no pleasing her.

How do you know she views sex as just a fringe benefit? I'm guessing she doesn't. I'm sorry she's not coming to you honestly and telling you her needs. But perhaps you can go to her and listen openly.

As someone married to someone like you, I can tell you that I deceived myself for a long time that things were ok - but they weren't. I needed more.

I don't know how long this situation has been going on for you...but the little bit that you have described indicates a massive marriage malfunction! If you continue to ignore it...it will grow worse by the day. It's time to expose the truth - don't you think?

I have previously posted this story on this board. It is very well written. The story unfortunately did not get much reaction. I encourage all of us sexless folks out there to read it.I think we all wonder how did me get in this sexless situation and now that we are here what are we going to do about it. As is mentioned in the story you refer to, our spouses did not ask our permission if it was alright to be in a sexless marriage. It just evolved over time. One day we wake up and say what happened.<br />
<br />
The EP link to this story is:<br />
<a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Am-A-Woman-In-A-Sexless-Marriage/1841017" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a>

Out Of Patience....perfect call name! I'm out of patience too!

OOP!! Loved what you wrote! Thank you, sincerely, for the link. I found so mch of what you wrote valuable to my current relationship. Tell us, where are you know in all this?

Jeez, I meant "now" not "know".....sorry

I am still in a totally sexless marriage. It is frustrating. I keep hoping things will change. Hope that answered your question.

I read the story. She captures the pain, but focuses on her husband's medical issues for the reasons they can't have sex. It somehow doesn't quite fit for me.

Hi Gonebabygone,

Where am I now? Acceptance. I've arrived at the safe harbour of acceptance, but it was the biggest struggle of my life getting there (and sometimes I slip backwards). But...I have arrived and I'm feeling confident for the first time in a very long while.

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