Let Me Pose A Question....

We know that nothing is certain in life. Whether its staying in a sexless marriage or leaving one, there are consequences to these choices, and their share of pain. So many in this forum have spent years trying to fix our marriages, seeking the 'whys' for our spouses' lack of sexual interest in us, turning ourselves inside out, doing more chores, working out, romance, scented candles, you name it, we've tried it - the whole trick bag of things and events to recapture the ardor.

We've done personal counseling and marriage counseling - even marriage counseling on our own because our spouses just know its really our problem, and so forth. And...we've stayed for years, battling resentment, anger, depression and eroding self confidence. And we've kept trying to rekindle that connection until trying becomes a habit, like a muscle memory response without thought and feeling......

Now here's the thing.....given all of this, how much would we do, could we do, would we dare to attempt...for someone who loves us the way we need to be loved, want to be loved, ache to be loved? Just sit and digest this, think....feel...... Someone who loves your light, your dark - all of you. How much higher would you soar, deeper would you dig and further would you go? Now consider, what the hell are you still doing, dying slowly in your current sexless marriage, starved of intimacy and passion? Is not the chance of living a life of ardor, of passionate sexful love worth the risk?

LaoTzu LaoTzu
41-45, M
31 Responses Nov 29, 2012

Your question is more rhetorical and statement of fact than an interrogative. Your defining statement is when you said "our spouses just know its really our problem". If a spouse claims such, there is no care on their part or they are in major denial. And THAT is the bottom line. The real question is do you love them enough to live with it or is it better for you to look out for yourself when a spouse just does not care.

No mate, my question is whether you love yourself enough to give yourself a chance to love and be loved in return in the way you need and want.

Hi Lao, I remember reading this back in 2012. SK brought it forward again, and it is definitely worth a re-read, or two, or three...
I'm still digesting this, "how much would we do, could we do, would we dare to attempt...for someone who loves us the way we need to be loved, want to be loved, ache to be loved... Someone who loves your light, your dark - all of you. How much higher would you soar, deeper would you dig and further would you go?"
I was not just stagnating in my sm; in fact, I was regressing in many ways. My health, relationships with others etc.
The moment my refuser moved out I felt immediately lighter. Each day that passed, I breathed a bit deeper.
Now, in a loving, supportive relationship, the possibilities seem endless. I'm not saying we won't have our own challenges, but working together (encouraging each other, lifting each other up in times of need etc) we will reach heights unimaginable before.

What unjusted described has been my experience, too.

I had posted a short answer ("well-said") to this story last summer, when I was in the throes of pondering whether to leave my SM. Now, more than 9 months later, I have been blessed with a loving relationship of the type you describe in the last paragraph.

The difference is that between night and day. I am surprised at how little work it takes to maintain a relationship when both partners are loving, when both are into it. Sure there are difficulties of communication borne with the long distance - misunderstandings and such. But resolving differences is so much easier when the two of us are on the same team, with the same goal and outlook. Compared with our defunct marriages, it is almost too easy, and natural. I do not have to try hard to please her. I do not have to go out of my way. Just be who I am, and she will accept me for who I am.

So in a way, my earlier response still stands: "well-said!" Except this time I say it with the conviction of knowing both sides of the fence.

You mean to say, SK, you haven't even been trying to please me!?!? Hmmph!

Just kidding....
Loving you is the easy part, it's loving myself that's the kicker. Stupid self-esteem.

Yes and Yes

So, that kind of thing is possible? That's not just "pie in the sky" beliefs or a fantasy? People have marriages like that? My husband has all but convinced me that belief in such things is just my unrealistic way of looking at life, and real life is being negative, critical, too tired for each other, stressed all the time, etc.

Yes it does. Read my recent stories for more info. I am so happy to be rid of the negativity of my ex. She had me believing that I couldn't get a better deal - that was her emotionally bankrupt strategy of keeping me in. I suspect your husband is doing the same.

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Dare to dream...and live with it....very well articulated, thanks.

Excellent... so very thought-provoking.

This is so right


Exactly...and the fact that together, a couple, mutually supported and loving, you both would be in a very dramatically different loving relationship.

To be loved with the depth that I love would be wonderful.

I read some of the excuses and justifications which are written and am saddened because they are really about fear - the fear of change. If one was being physically abused for years, or if their spouse is a drunk or drug user who exhibits volatile behavior, one would advise leaving, especially after years of physical, me tal and emotional suffering. The emotional neglect and the mental anguish inflicted by a refusing spouse, despite years of trying, of talks, of refusal to seek help, of excuses which change, also has an impact. In my posts I advocate taking responsibility for one's choices. Stay or go, each choice has its measure of pain and consequences. What I write about is cutting through the la<x>yers of excuses we give ourselves. Look in the mirror and ourselves, our light, our dark, our hopes and fears and know ourselves and why we choose what we choose.Again I ask - how much more would we do, how much higher would we soar, deeper would we dig,when we are loved the way we want and need to be loved?

Yes its very hard to live a life like that but if you take a look and realize that marriage isn't just a commitment to your spouse and you its also to god and the church. You're suppose to no matter what try and work through the good and bad, okay so the sex isn't great is that all that marriage is about. Love is not just a feeling of the heart it can tempt you in ways that are wrong, to love is not just with your heart you have to make a decision to want to love them mentally as well. Modern society has been corrupted into believing that its okay to just do whatever feels right at the moment not seeing what they should be doing in the long wrong. Most individuals who get divorced regret it within the first year.

And just so you know I have been having that issue of a sexless marriage he is more directed in pleasing himself instead of us both just because I haven't been able to have the big "O" at all. Without understand that I do very much enjoy sex, but I wont and will not give up on that.

Now take what you said and apply it to your refuser:
1. Marriage is commitment to your spouse and your faith (so your refuser is not married to you in good faith)
2. You're supposed to no matter what try and work through the good and bad (is your refuser doing this?)
3. Love with your heart and mind (is your refuser doing this?)

A refuser does not need to do one thing different because by not loving oneself enough to see that both are equal and equally responsible for a marriage in the eyes of God, the refused spouse continues to enable the dysfunction and the refuser. The refuser is not keeping faith with the refused spouse or his or her God.
Now, as to your statement about how modern society has been corrupted into believing it is okay to do whatever feels right at the moment - check the length of time s many in this forum have tried, prayed and hoped. Many have tried for literally decades while their souls died slowly, while their life turned to dust. So many here agonize about leaving. So I challenge your statement that people in this forum who leave do so on a whim. The sound of one hand clapping is.....silence, a silence and emptiness in your heart and soul.

Okay so your saying just because your going through a ruff patch with the refuser by not having a certain commitment but isn't that apart of being married is to have someone there for even the hard times when you do loose whats suppose to be there. To forgive even the worse things to let them know you'll always be there and help work through what is wrong? And through most people it may not seem that the refuser is trying, it doesn't mean they aren't. And yeah each person has there own way of showing they love you mentally and psychically just because they do it, a different way than you'd prefer. Like my husband he loves to go shooting but know that we don't spend a lot of time together bc of work, but he invites me to go along with him. After work he'll pick something up for me when I don't ask just to show hes thinking of me without asking. Even the little things matter. It shows that they do love you, they are trying. As for continuing the dysfunction where in the bible does it tell you its your responsibility to make sure that you don't continue to do good things to show love on your side to give up just because the marriage isn't the way you thought it should be going. That just bc your spouse is letting go of his vows that so should you. That by following the vows you made that its telling your spouse its okay to continue to do wrong. No, what I know that is right is to continue to have faith in god to ask him for help and strength to continue. To be strong during this time. and know what it will get better. That god made it so, that we would have someone by our side to help us over come the hard times not just the good. I never did say that people who leave do so on a whim, some do can't argue with that but most who leave have very good reasons I agree but if you ask yourself who really gives up in the end the person who has the problems or the one trying to fix the marriage? Even the ones that keep said person out of the home because they just can't do it anymore, they can't keep doing this. Can you really tell me that those individuals are really trying to fix there marriage or where they wanting an excuse bc they didn't want to deal with the problem at hand. If someone really wanted their marriage to work they would truely stay. And only the person that lets there soul die aloud it to be that way. And honestly I feel more for the individual that got left whether they did something wrong or where having problems that the other person just couldn't handle by sticking around, Even the ones that tried to fix there marriage but the other party said they couldn't help them or they just wanted somebody else. Its easier to say rather than do for most people, but we aren't just living our lifes for ourselves we are living it for god. God gives us these struggles to show that we have faith, to do whats right even when we think there isn't anything to hope in anymore. And you only feel emptiness deep inside you for a short while than most people after they are divorce all go looking again for what they gave up a relationship love someone to have with them through the hard times but since they gave up the first time many of them keep trying to search for that person that has the flaws or problems they can deal with.

Sure, because God wants you to be in a miserable, painful, mentally abusive relationship where your partner does as he pleases and you just continue hoping, praying and begging for things to get better while you give-give-give. Yep, that's just what God wants of us...'cause he loves us so much. Puhlease. This is not about a rough patch, or the "hard times"...this is about someone in the marriage fundamentally doing nothing to consider your needs or happiness while you keep giving everything you have thinking you are scoring points with some invisible scorekeeper in the sky. All you're really doing is providing a playing field for someone to use you, and that is called co-dependency. I've spent 16 years of my life with a person who is incapable of real intimacy, connection, trust or mutual respect. I've done all that I can think to do, but I am done being the martyr. I will always love him, but sometimes love doesn't solve all the problems. I'm glad you are willing to stay in your marriage and put up with whatever because your god tells you to. More power to you. Your god also says not to judge, as I recall. Saying you feel more emotion for the person who gets abandoned than the person who has ground themselves down to nothing trying to think of ways to save their marriage and finally found the self-esteem to rebuild their life and start over is PRETTY STINKING JUDGMENTAL. Okay, that's all I have to say about that, stepping down.

And even if it does take decades several of them you've stuck it out that long why give up? There is a reason for staying with someone that long and the refuser must have given some hope for them to want to stay that long and continue trying otherwise why stay right???? Thats what your saying isn't it you've tried this long well time to give up this isn't the life i wanted so lets try someone new and hope that works out better.

Indeed, many refusers give hope - false hope which keeps one stuck for years. Passive-aggressive behavior, hinting at sexual intimacy and then withdrawing it - the excuses are legion. Alternating the promise of intimacy with ridicule for being too much into wanting sex with one's own spouse. By the way, the bible maintains that spouses have a covenant with each other and God and sex is a part of that covenant. No other relationship is defined in this way. The one type of love not just permitted but expected and encouraged is sexual loving between spouses. I'd say if a refuser is a God fearing believer, then they have broken faith. Then its time for the faithful to knock the dust off their sandals and move on. That too is in the bible. After all, parables are lessons to apply to life situations.

Honestly if you really believe that, I think this conversation is over because yes you are joined together as one flesh but you can't tell me that a person just because they are married you are expected to have sex. Did you ever think that fighting not talking anything can cause people not to be in the mood anymore that there are two parties that play in this and if you don't believe in continuing your side just because they have temporarily lost their faith in something during this time period of marriage you really think they are going to want to continue with that side of the relationship i don't think so. I was never trying to change your mind just give you a little in site, but you seem just head strong about telling others its okay to give up. And trying to justify what it is you've done...my thing is just because it worked for you doesn't mean that everyone is gonna be like that. Try being in that spouses shoes for a moment think of what they went through from there perspective probably not any better than yours. And how do you think that individual maybe not yours but others feel that their wife or husband left them just because it got hard and couldn't have sex with you writing that how many people do you think got the courage to leave said individual....just because of what You think and Your experience. There are a lot of individuals out there that are trying and dont need people leading them further into doubt that things are better separate. Maybe should should think about what exactly you really did try did you try what you thought was best or did you try what would work for you both. How long did it take you to give up? And if you've never been in a marriage like the one your expressing above than why are you even writing about it. I'll leave you be but finding people like you who spouting this kind of stuff doesn't surprise me why its not hard for people to get divorced anymore. If your one that has gotten divorce you'd know how painful it was and i would think try to help others work out issues instead of going through that kind of heart ache. Bye

Wow! Not yet twenty-one and not is a sexless marriage. No wonder she knows exactly what the rest of us SHOULD do!!

LOL! One thing that I reckon is not easy to grasp by some who glibly advise people who have suffered years in a sexless marriage against 'giving up' on the marriage is that they are encouraging them to 'give up' on themselves, this voluntary soul death.

And, the God bit is a real put off.

Believe what you want, but it is beyond obnoxious to give advice based on personal religious beliefs. It is pretty sad that someone feels compelled to stay in any relationship based on the desire of a deity. If that is the reason someone stays in a marriage, it is a sad commentary on that relationship. Fidelity, loyalty, commitment may compel those in a sexless relationship to stay, but if those values have to be culled from a belief outside oneself, I don't think that is integrity. It is fear. And, a damned convenient excuse for not taking responsibility to improve one's life. I have to stay because GOD SAYS SO! Love is what matters, and if you are with someone who can't/won't accept your love, you can't share love. I still love my ex but that is because I finally accepted the truth of our situation, and stopped seeking from him what he could never give. THAT is love. Not demanding and twisting yourself to force physical/emotional intimacy from someone who can't share it with you. It is FAR more loving to accept and live your own truth then adhere to promises that can't be realized.

And, anyone thumping to someone about why they should stay in a marriage and admits struggles in their own is most likely self justifying.

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@HotMarvelousDays,Have you checked this forum out mate? This is a specific posting for a specific audience. Over 30,000 members here, many of whom have had years of sexless, intimacyless marriages, trying to reach their spouses. The sound of one hand clapping is the normal for the ILIASM forum....absolute silence and failure to participate from refusing spouses. Nowhere have I disputed that things have a chance (slim though it is) of working out if both spouses work together. This is all your disagreement hinges on. Read the stories in this forum and you will find that most refusers do NOT work authentically with their spouses to fix the marriage.<br />
<br />
Please check out the other stories here and btw, your 'Bitter Man Syndrome' comment used to describe me gave me a good laugh. Read some of my other posts and you'll find I encourage people to work past anger and move on with their lives. I also maintain that both spouses are responsible for where they are at in their relationship and there are consequences for our choices.

HMD, you are a ****! Just because YOU haven't experienced something, youchallenge its existence. Welcome to the Flat Earth Society. You are so unaware you write your answer to Lao without realising he is a MAN - yet it clearly states this on his User Name.

You have obviously NO idea what a Sexless Marriage is - and that is a blessing for you. But realise that just because you have been spared this agony does not mean it does not exist!

And FIRST rule of giving advice (on the Net or in Real Life) have at least a CLUE about your subject matter! Otherwise you expose yourself to well deserved scorn - which I am heaping on you now!

After such counter productive feedback, and my sincere objective was to offer a more uplifting thought, I realize how totally wrong and nieve I was regarding my innocent efforts. I will admit and acknowledged publically that I was not completely correct with my assessment of a major problem that clearly and without question exist within some relationships. While have I never experienced this matter directly, I cannot deny its valid existence. Its primary for this reason that I need to apologize to all especially those person that reach back to me to provide much needed education on this matter of grave importance to all that clearly are affected by the lack of affection on a daily bases. It was never my intention to insult or appear critical for such a serious matter that affect peoples lively hood. To this end I was also wrong and humbly ask that all parties accept my most sincere apology for not knowing enough to fully understand your pain. Going forward I will make sure I fully understand before providing feedback regardless of the subject matter to avoid showing myself in such a negative light while not helping matters but causing uproar which in this case was warranted.

It takes a good person to recognise and acknowledge that s/he has made an error. Thank you for being that person. My friend Lao said I was a "bit feisty" on this post - and he is right - but actually I was rude. My sincere apologies too.

Those of us who have been through Sexless Marriages are inclined to be bitter when others offer advice based on good intentions but lack of knowledge.

Frankly your options are limited at best. While its clear that you both love and care mutually but that part of your marriage which vital is missing or lacks the fire. Its clear that your needs and desire are great and believe me he knows better then you realize. But something is perventing the lust for passion that you crave. The problem is not you, but you need to have that serious sit down with your spouse to discover what he really is not telling you?? Men don't like to discuss changes in their body and will do almost anything to cover for those things that at present is lacking with them physically. Trust me when I say if his desire is their but can't seem to find the paszion, he is avoiding those important moments because something else is wrong that he is avoiding discussing, thus making it collective when you know otherwise. You need to hold his hands and let him know he will never be less of a man in ur eyes at this point prepare urself for a new revelation, but you will finally have ur answer.

No mate, more often than not, the desire is NOT there. Please read widely in this forum. Many refusers switch off sexual attention very soon after marriage, some even before. As for waning sexual performance and refusing to seek treatment and letting one's spouse twist in the wind for decades without intimacy, without touch and without knowing why, is cruel and shows exactly how little love there is for the spouse.

I am sorry but I don't agree with that at all
dude, most marriages maintain a very healthy sexual relationship and while I do agree at time things seem to simmer they never die entirely. You seem as though your speaking from personal experience??
I have never dated are once married didn't crave my mate and sometimes it wasn't about love but mere lust!!!! Finally the fact that they are both willing to work together to correct the problem clearly discard your assertion and to make it only indicates and I say this with respect a
" Bitter Man syndrome" which doesn't help it only henders the situation thus baad advice

You think Lao is a "bitter man"? Boy, you are even more stupid than I first realised!!!!

OMG... Okay, "walking in love" as Fr. David said today...

Maybe MOST marriages do maintain a very healthy sexual relationship...this forum is for people for whom that IS NOT true. So, you are talking about apples and we're talking about fruitcakes.

Lao is right. How long does a man get to be "too embarrassed" to address his issues and leave his spouse twisting in the wind? Mine took ten years and then only addressed it *after* I left. But, of course, still denied it was a problem 99% of the time.

Most of us here are, in fact, speaking from deep, long-term personal experience. Your "drive by" comments are hurtful and show a complete lack of understanding. Read widely here and then thank your Creator that you know nothing of this experience.

Princess WalkingInLoveWalkingInLoveWalkingInLove

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I have taken that chance and do not regret having taken it. There are many people in the world who can both accept and give love. I found one, so can you!

LaoTzu, I think it's up to each individual since each marriage/relationship is different and unique in it's own way.

If your partner is ill, or a sexual relationship is not happening for medical reasons, or your partner recently had a baby (within the a year and half) or there is a good reason for not being able to have a sexual relationship (like abuse/assault)....I think you stay and find a way to work it out.

Should a partner not want to have a sexual relations for any other reason(s), I personally, think you fight to be heard, till you cant fight any more...you've done all the talking you can do till you're horse and cant talk any more, you've done all the counselling available but nothing is helping and your partner isn't opening up, or at least trying or they are giving up. Then possibly try a trial separation...but keep communicating and reaching out....maybe it will wake them up...but on the other hand you just may both enjoy the calm in the relationship...

Please read more widely. This topic is not for the uninitiated. Most who read here already understand the standard caveats - medical condition or chronic illness, etc. Given that I wrote clearly that many have tried for years fighting to fix it, tried therapy and other methods to engage our refusing spouse, how valuable and cherished do you think one would feel if the only way to get them to take our pain seriously would be to threaten to leave? Secondly, I doubt anyone in the sexless marriage forum is enjoying the ,so-called, calm (read lack of intimacy and connection) in their relationship. I can on the other hand readily see how a sexless marriage where the refused spouse does not agitate for his or her needs, would be absolutely ideal for a refusing spouse.

Hi Helen,

You are full of ****. Please sit down and shut up until you have grown a brain...and a heart.

Princess TakeNoPrisonersToday

WHY do these people think they have some "insight" into a subject they know NOTHING about? And how dare they assume that each and everyone of the rest of us is so DUMB we cannot figure out how to approach these situations?

WARNING! To all those NOT in an SM who have great "advice" for us - leave now before you reveal yourself for the DUMB-A** you really are.

LaoTzu, As person in a SM...the one who was unable to fulfill "wifely duties"....I do have experience and personal knowledge of what it's like not being able to "perform wifely duties.” I know the guilt, I know the pain, I know what it feels like not to have a "normal" marriage, I know what it is like to see your partner suffer and not be able to give him/her what he/she needs. I also know what's it is like to be "pushed" for quicker healing and resolving my medical issues, to "just get over it". (I'm in no way implying that you're the "bad guy" in your relationship). I do clearly understand it's not easy for either person in the relationship. SM is not about one person suffering, both couples suffer in different ways but believe me BOTH are hurting, BOTH are suffering.

Do I think there is a time to end a relationship? In some cases, yes, I do! As I said earlier, “If your partner has medical reasons, or if your partner has given birth or if there is a good reason for not being able to have a sexual relationship (like abuse/assault)....I think you stay and find a way to work it out”. In some cases where an agreement cannot be made, and the couple begin to "hate" each-other and the frustration becomes too much to handle or before a person says or does something that they may regret....Yes, I can see separation as temporally answer....a time out.

My comment &gt;&gt;&gt;”but on the other hand you just may both enjoy the calm in the relationship”.&lt;&lt;&lt; I was referring to the time in a SM or in any relationship where there is a serious issue or concern, that at some point the couple just seems to go "into their own corners." Neither wants to fight, or argue or deal with the issue(s) at hand because the pain and frustration has just become too much. Each person tries to avoid "the subject"...."the calm before the storm", as soon as one of you approaches the subject or seems to avoid it or when the other wants to talk..."the calm" is over and the tension refuels.

So, let me clarify and lets leave medical issues aside. If I read what you wrote correctly, you reckon that regardless of whether things get resolved, time out, and a back and forth from respective corners are the extent of what ought to be done. You would see leaving as acceptable only if spouses start to hate each other. Therefore, if there is no hate or resentment then people in a sexless and passionless marriage ought to bear with the slow soul death stoically because that's how it should be. So stay and suffer together is your advice. I am happy to be corrected if I misunderstood what you wrote.

Does that mean you're sharing "your seat" PrincessMore?

“Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.” Erick Hoffer

WARNING! To all those NOT in an SM who have great "advice" for us - leave now before you reveal yourself for the DUMB-A** you really are.

enna30 no one claimed to have "great advice"...it's a place to share...and who are you to threaten and tell people to leave? Where's your "wise and all knowing answers? How do you know what others are going through?

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Maybe the reason isn't really sexual at all, and maybe it isn't that they aren't attracted to you but that they don't like themselves. People are more than just their sexual function. They need to feel good and confident about themselves in other areas before they can feel confident in having that kind of intimacy with someone else. So as a spouse it is your responsibility to show them that you care more about their intellectual, spiritual, and physical well being before you make it all about sex and romance. Sit down with each other and make goals (long term and short term) then spend your time helping them achieve those goals. help each other become the best you can be. Be nice, be kind, be helpful. Maybe they just don't feel confident enough to be in that kind of an intimate situation. The need an emotional boost that just doesn't come from sex, it comes from achievement, and ability. Challenge each other to become better, regain that mutual respect and responsibility. And maybe there would be less cheating and laziness and other horribleness in the world.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?....Silence. Please read widely in this forum and you will have an idea of how much of care and love and support many of us have shown our refusing spouses over decades to no avail.

You all aren't doing your best to be positive. Best interests at heart means to also encourage healthy principles, for the sake of being healthy, not just to look good for sex, principles that are true like having good morals and goals outside of sex. There are tons of couples who don't like to do things that are healthy but if I told you that it would save your marriage you still wouldn't do it. Sometimes you have to go against the grain. When they don't want to do something you stick to them you encourage them you be the strength because in that moment they can't find it. But at the same time don't applaud yourself for doing so, you shouldn't even be thinking of yourself anyway. When achieving goals be hard on yourselves, keep going when the going gets tough, because there is always light at the end of the tunnel and your ability to do will increase. Change your attitude don't act like you're fixing a temporary problem, it is a lifetime that you have committed to. And who ever said life was fair? I never said you didn't care for the person you are with, I'm just saying that you can't give up, and that is how you find true love. Every situation is different, but if you decide to dedicate your life to someone, you need to be darn well sure you're going to dedicate your life to them. It is as simple as that, and no it isn't easy. The fact that you don't understand why your significant other doesn't want to have sex shows your lack of communication and commitment, communication is more than just talking and listening, take action. And if it is you, discuss why they think it is you, if it is them discuss it, most of the time it is going to be a combination of things.

Yes, because people who are passive aggressive and withholding sex or refusing to get treatment for sexual issues and letting their spouse feel unloved and rejected for year after year are SOOOOO famous for their ability to talk and discuss openly, right? OMG....please just stop. The level of ignorance here is so deep.

My dear child,
You are very idealistic - as you should be at your tender age. You are not in a sexless marriage - for which you should be grateful. But you are choosing to proselytise to adults whose life experiences vastly outweigh your own. That is naive at best and offensive at worst. You know NOTHING about that of which you speak - so your wisest choice now is tio say nothing further.


I would not wish the decades many of us have endured on my worst enemy and certainly not you. You propose that countless years of endurance and pain be put into a non responsive spouse (I suppose forever is your ideal). Now, lets say your spouse is actively abusive - he or she emotionally hurts you, insults you and slaps you around. It could be for many reasons (childhood trauma, personality disorder or he or she is just a nasty piece of work) - what do you counsel? Now consider your response - what if the abuse is through neglect - passive abuse? Emotionally absent, withholding of love and affection, refusal to put into the relationship and refuses to find out why, refuses to support you or give a damn about you. Say you have life events which in which you require support (we all have them - a family member dies, you lose your job, or some other emotionally debilitating event) and your spouse who is supposed to love you, lets you be - that is all. Your spouse does not make you a cup of tea in the whole time you have been together, let alone stand by you and hold your hand when you face troubled times - you are effectively alone in your marriage. Have a good long think and feel.

I do not think Laotzu was referring to that kind of situation. I think he was referring to the type of situation where you have created a safe environment, given your mate all the encouragement in the world and they still do not respond. I have left that type of situation and can only look back now and ask myself why I waited so long.

Enna / Lao,

They've sure begun popping up (popping off?) lately, haven't they? Poor grammar, poor spelling, poor perspective and poor advice. As much as I enjoy having my point of view or my delusions rearranged by a good poster's experience-born jab, I can't even stomach someone else being lectured to by an illiterate or, even worse, an idealistic teenager.

There should be down-votes for comments. Ten and it's zapped.

kkexpress 18-21 years old, Come back here in 10-20 years and then maybe someone among us will see your 'advice' as something other than the example of youthful inexperience and arrogance you' ve so generously prresented here.

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I am now divorced. I did try all of the things, the scented candles and making an effort in every way. Truth is he did not notice until I pointed it out, at which point he looked pig sick and its was too late....I was mentally and emotional exhausted from him. All of the things I tried he criticised, without realising my efforts at the time. I don't, upon reflection, know who hurt more, me at the time, or him afterwards after losing everything. I do not think I would try that hard again for anyone, with so little to work with. It was only the fact that I was married to him otherwise I would have left much sooner. I am glad I am free to love again now.

I often say I will never give anyone else as much as I gave him. I hope one day I can give my love and passion to someone who appreciates it! Good Luck to you!

Thank you WPeace....I have a beautiful hearted man now who I can honestly spend my love on and he knows what to do with it....I count my blessings. I shall make the very most of it and I sincerely wished that everyone could have a taste of it I really do. God Bless

'I do not think I would try that hard again for anyone...'
In a healthy relationship one should not have to 'try' to earn affection at all. It is not something to earn. It should be given.

Do you think that is true? I'm not being a smart***...I have no experience in relationships where I didn't have to earn it all the time. And most of the time I worked very hard for little or nothing in return. I think I need to work on myself so I can stop this terrible cycle in my life.

That person is out there.

Good for you establishment1, I hope to some day experience that! God Bless You! :-)

OmyTVC15, I will continue to have faith! Thank you! :-)

I make you right WPeace....

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I like this LT! Good question.

I thought it was a question worth asking. Just imagine how it feels - warmth and comfort with intensity and sizzle!

I can't imagine....

Sounds like a good curry to me! Im getting out today if its that good!

warmth and comfort with intensity and sizzle....oh yeah.....makes you feel really alive...really alive

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<p>the one point I do want to bring up is this: </P><br />
<p>After spending time here in the sexless marriage group, we are much more aware, of the kind of love we now want, and need in our life; simply because of the sad sexless marriage we are/were in. And we certainly did not enter the sexless relationship with the awareness we now have. Most of us here did not have a clue as to what to think or do. And most of us here did not really understand the dynamics of our empty marriage, until we came here to this group, and shared and discussed. And so it is because of all that, that we are now very different people. We know very well what we now need and want in our life. We are much stronger individuals, and have gained confidence to speak up for what we want in our intimate realtionships. <br />
I think that after being here, and learning, whether you stay in the marriage, or you leave the marriage, you will have an entirely different set of wants and needs and awareness, and tools, than before. I think that being here is a major game changer, and it is a good one. it allows you options to have the life and love you want. Being here provides information, wisdom, understanding,and the ability to assess and make personal decisions that will work for you.</P>

Like x 1000. Couldn't agree more.

Bazz, what you say makes perfect sense - this where the whole becomes much greater than the sum of its two parts. The work does not feel like work precisely because it is a joint endeavor. However, this coming together, this synthesis of effort, takes on a life of its own and there is momentum because each partner gives to each other and the union.

The total value is greater than the sum of its parts. It's magical but true.

Mate, that is a brilliant question.

If we are prepared to invest the levels of energy into trying to keep a dud relationship going, then how much more would one put into a good relationship ??

I think that in a good relationship one IS putting in a fair amount of work. Thing is, that such work tends to pay off - and as a result is not thought of as "work". AND, critically, the partner is also doing the "work", thus sharing the load.

So, I will advance the proposition that ones ability to put in the "work" is pretty constant. It is the dynamic that one is putting the "work" into that defines whether it is "work", or simply healthy input (that is not thought of as "work".

Make sense ??

Tread your own path.

Beautifully put Lao, the snares of fear and the sunk cost trap too easily trip us, and keep us from touching life.

For those who balk at the fear, I'd observe that that level of daring and trust can build, and most of all, you have to heal the damage so that you trust yourself again. Most of all I've found that that healing comes from the certain knowledge that it will not happen again.

I love some lines by T S Eliot:

"The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed....."

I love T S Eliot. Powerful words and wonderfully sane advise. I can't believe this group exists.

The fear is what if I am just asking an alligator to help me out off drowning water..
Uncertainty and giving it all away for....unless you know what you are getting into.. I want to be extremely sure I know what i would be getting into if I made that decision..

I once loved a man deeply and he loved me too, we had the perfect chemistry, it was beautiful and divine. But we werent matured enough at the time to honor that love. I got pregnant and he asked me to get an abortion because he wasnt settled enough. After 12years I still cannot get over the guilt of abortion. I had to move on from the hurt and I married my current husband 11years ago, with who I have a forever sexless marriage..

There is no certainty. This is not a credits and debits model of looking at love and intimacy. It requires a leap of faith.

I love the freedom in that kind of thinking, LaoTzu. That's the kind of life I want to live!!! It is the complete opposite of the type of life I can live with my husband. He calculates, tabulates, keeps score. Life is a chess game (he says that all the time). I couldn't disagree more. Life is NOT a chess game. It's an experience. Whatever the experience WE want to make we can. Why do we need to plot, plan, scheme and analyze our every move to death? Why can't we love, live, laugh and enjoy the journey?

"Life is NOT a chess game. It's an experience. Whatever the experience WE want to make we can." How fitting to have a group like this on experience project, sharing our experiences... Great comment.

"It requires a leap of faith" - you jump when you realise that even if there's no-one to catch you, just to have the air rushing passed your face is at least feeling something.

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LaoTzu- Thank you for your deep insights. Your words cut to the very depths of my soul and shine light on the folly of my current course. I will however, maintain this course until I am confident that I have done all I can. I have a solid timeline and plan, now, just one last attempt at marital CPR before I accept the death of our marriage and move on.
I am beginning to believe that the relationship Nirvana you describe exists, but it is stepping out onto that path that is terrifying. It feels like the moment you cross the threshold of an airplane into the open sky. Fear. Risk. Hope. Reward...
The clock is ticking, and you have illuminated the path with hope.
Many thanks,

Relationship Nirvana... love the phrasing of that. I'm borrowing it! :-) You're right. It is stepping out onto the path that is hard. There's also the question of what will I do with all that energy once I am in that relationship that isn't so troublesome. I'm struggling a little with that. If it's easy, then is something wrong? Perhaps not. But that's new to me. I don't want to wreck my own nirvana because of faulty thinking.

Very good question, the answer changed a lot for me. Most days I thought it was worth the risk but others I really didnt know. Now I'm almost certain it is worth the risk.

Very thought provoking, insightful and accurate, will have enough to think about ...

yes, it is worth the risk to me. That is why I am done (and gone!)

I deeply feel the absence. Throwing all my energy into a dark hole for a decade has left me drained. Thank you for posting this, it is timely and wise.

LT - What is marriage? What is it good for? If the couple will just become cold and indifferent to each other, or secretly repulsed by each other? I feel my husband is repulsed by me because I didn't give him five children. As soon as we started having issues with fertility (on my part), he changed. Why marriage in the first place? Does the kind of love you talk about actually exist in some other world? Or here on earth?

In my opinion, its not so much marriage in of itself which is the issue. You just have a spouse who does not or cannot love you the way you need or want to be loved. In the end, the 'why' does not matter. What matters is what you decide to do about it. The other question is not whether the kind of love I described exists. It really is whether one is willing to take a risk and seek it.

First step is recognizing that -- marriage or not -- love isn't cold indifference towards each other. In some ways because we have so many examples of marriages that are only semi-functional on sitcoms and non-functional on reality tv and that are certainly devoid of the deep intimacy and love that we all seek, we believe that marriages are that way. That what we all feel doesn't exist. If it exists in our hearts and minds as something we desire and reach for and we find someone of a similar heart and mind who is emotionally strong enough to carry that relationship forward with us, then wouldn't we choose to create it and protect it? What you are talking about is real intimacy. If it isn't in your current marriage that doesn't mean others don't have it. It just may mean the dynamic and chemistry between you two just isn't going to allow for it.

I really like this explanation.

Wow, Changewilldoyougood, thank you.

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Oh my god. It is worth the risk. I have just recently come to jesus so to speak about the truths of my marriage. In all actuality, I did so before I found this place. Reading here just validated what I was refusing to accept but felt was truth. I don't want to do the counseling with him. I don't want to fix anything because I don't want what we had. I don't want a man who could and would refuse his wife of real passion, intimacy and love. The facade is not enough for me. I know who he is, why would I stay?

You speak words to my feelings. Sometimes it's very empty inside. I am reaching such a sad place with all of this. I don't know how much more I can handle. And with the holidays coming, it's worse.

This is a terrible but wonderful realisation. It comes like a slap in the face with a wet fish!! For SO long we feel we would do ANYTHING (and usually we try EVERYTHING we can!) to "fix" our marriages. Then at some indefinable point, we suddenly realise "No! not any more. I cannot do this ANY longer!". An awful realisation - but one that frees you to make decisions about your future. . . . .