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Death Grip

I feel like it would be easier to drown in the bath tub than it would be to leave.
I'm embarrassed that I feel like this. It seems like I'm back at square one. I feel guilty, I wish I hadn't told anyone in real life (even though my confidants were ultra-supportive of me).
Recently I took a solo vacation - my first solo vacation ever. No kids, no refusing husband. As I prepared to head across the country, I wondered if there was a way I could somehow meet up with another ILIASMer. I really just wanted to chat face to face with someone who really, really knew where I was coming from. But alas, I didn't reach out to anyone and there was no such meeting.
I thought time away would help clear my head. It didn't. While I was gone I became completely overwhelmed one day and had to talk myself down. Then when I returned, I found myself wearing my old mask. The one that hides my pain and despair. I had thought it had fallen off and broke - apparently I just momentarily forgot where I had placed it.
I didn't want to allow that cold, deceitful mask to even get near my face again, but somehow I am being smothered by it. Why can't I reclaim my life?
I think of all the insightful stories I have read on this forum. I've even saved them as favourites and reread them from time to time:
"Why Repairing a Sexless Marriage is So Impossible" by neuily
 "It's just the sex! Everything else is fine! Is it? A questionnaire..." by rosedl
"Another F*@ckless Fathers Day ," by nonookie
"My Love-Hate Relationship... With my Bed" by Pinkberry
"A Story With Some Twists" by hl42
"Depleted Resources," by golferel
"Are You a Victim?" and many others by enna30
"Choices," "First Post? - What's Ahead?" "You're Going to Pay. Now? Or Later?" "You Pay Now - The Kids Can Pay Later," "Why Are You Writing?" and many more posts by bazzar
There is a plethora of other stories by many other poster that I haven't mentioned... If your name isn't included here, it's not because I don't value your contributions, experience, and advice, it's just a matter of time and space.

So why is it this dysfunctional relationship has such a hold on me? WHY?!?
I wish the death grip would loosen its hold. Where is my alter ego who I introduced in my story "At Knifepoint?" I could really use her now.
Unjusted Unjusted 36-40, F 10 Responses Nov 30, 2012

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Good luck; I'm in the same boat. I haven't been back to this website in a few years because it reminds me too much of what I am not doing. At least you are moving forward by taking some actions. I work and hang with the kids and work on myself a bit...and now in a state of ignoring everything else.

Thanks for replying... Sorry for the late response. Like me, I'm sure many members here (maybe you too) have trouble "celebrating" the holidays... This past Christmas was by far the lowest of the low... Likely because I kept thinking that it could be our last one under the same roof. Anyway, in 2013 I am resolved to do more to take care of myself and protect my kids from this dysfunctional relationship. I wish you well, and hope that you keep moving forward too - whether it is choosing to stay but treating yourself like you and your needs matter, or by separating and treating yourself like you and your needs matter. Take Care, and don't be a stranger to the site :)

<p>Hi Unjusted,</p><p>I know exactly how you feel....I have been on that downslide many times. When I am questioning myself, I will often go to my journal for a "reality check"...because my journal accurately details the truth. When you begin to question yourself under all the stress from past and present - it is very easy to start second-guessing what you are doing....and self-doubt begins to take over. I am finding that it doesn't help to be "right", it doesn't help to find fault, it doesn't help to dwell on the past, it doesn't help to imagine your marriage will improve. What I am finding that does help is to love yourself, like yourself, take care of yourself. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and reassure the real YOU that your decision is right and you are moving on to something better. Continue to be open and honest with yourself and others (take off that mask)...the honesty gives you freedom and is manifest from knowing the truth.</p><p>I am on the same bumpy ****-pot-holed road as you. As bad as it sometimes feels, we both need to know this road leads to something much better. Remember always what you are being offered by your spouse....the truth is: what is being offered is unacceptable. Period! I am staying on this road and not going back, I am not stopping to rest, and I'm going to be a better person for having traveling this road. </p><p>God that must sound stupid....kinda like Stewart Smalley on Saturday Night Live....him looking in the mirror wearing an argyle sweater and saying "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darmit! People like me!" But as stupid aas that image is....it's true.</p><p>Love and trust yourself....that's got to be the answer!</p>

You advise in a very excellent way, and my God, I too have recently had to reassure myself that I was right to feel as I do, and not being A: selfish, B: misinterpreting of my experience/situation, C: a horny perv. Reviewing the accurate sequence of events as they transpired helps me stay sane (if not happy) I think we all generally "wear the mask" for want of peace in our home life-not out of cowardice but futility. As bad as it is, I dare say that we know that "another talk" won't yield any lasting results and acrimony sucks on the interior of those lonely drywalls. Particularly with children to consider.

Thanks Buroak for your excellent advice. I did read this, but was too emotional to respond before now. I often come back to re-read and reflect on comments and other members' stories. I truly appreciate it. Hope you are still traveling forward - I definately realized I need to value myself as a person, and I know I can't remain in this situation. It is a matter of time now...

xbelmont25 - thank you for commenting on Buroaks reply. I need to memorize the reassurances you outlined. Best of luck in 2013!

Update: I asked my parents to watch the children Friday evening... I dropped them off before refuser got home from work and went home to wait for him. I wrote a letter, so if I got tongue tied or blubbery I could just give it to him. I fell asleep waiting. The weather was bad, and his normally one hour commute almost turned into a sleepover. He called to let me know he was delayed, so I went and got the kids. This is the second time my plans have been foiled. However, I was able to discuss the calendar and upcoming events with him. I told him to let me know a day that would be good for him in order for us to book a marriage counselling session. No comment (from him).

I feel the same way. Back in Oct. I felt all big and bad. I was headed out the door come January. Now, I can feel myself beginning to chicken out.

It is such a yo-yo, this situation we are in. I know it is difficult to tell anyone in real life, but I did findit helpful to speak with my minister. I know your hubby is a pastor, but another member of our group talked to the elders at his church and they supported him too. Not that you need their approval, but it does help you sort all of your thoughts out. I think in some way we enable our refusers by not telling people in real life. I know my refuser would be mortified if he knew I told anyone! I may use this as fuel/ammo in a future "talk."

I'd suggest a slight modification in your underlying position here.

From - "I am asking for a separation"
To - "I am telling him we are separating"

You require no-ones 'permission' to do this, least of all his.

Tread your own path.

I did start an exit strategy... I told some close family/friends in October so I could lean on them for support, I recently had a consult with a lawyer, collected information regarding our finances, and I'm in therapy. If there is anything I am missing, don't hestitate to advise me.

I feel like I have rallied. I has been a hard couple of days, and I know it is about to get a lot harder. I can no longer put off the inevitable. I am planning to speak to refusing husband this weekend. No time is a good time, but he has to know that we won't be havig this "talk" again. I'm asking for a separation.

Please pray for me. I need all the strength I can muster to see this through. I am choking - this death grip has to be broken!

We are all here for you! Good luck!

My guess, you are getting SOMETHING out of staying that you feel would be lacking if you left. Doesn't have to be something positive. Just enough to make you feel that leaving is not an option.

Have you done as Baz often suggests, and contacted a lawyer to "plan"? Because that "planning" could open a world that is possible, whereas right now it may seem too distant.

You seem to also have a fatalistic view...

Unjusted, it can take a long time. Some of us stuck around for a decade, two decades, more. At some time, you may reach a breaking point, an epiphany, a point where there is no more "trying"; a point where you know it's worse to stay than to leave. I don't think you can force it. You'll know when you get there.

Unjusted, I just joined EP. Your post was the first I've read, and this response is the first I've written. While I don't know very much of your story, I find myself very much relating to the pain and frustration your post conveys. I am in a sexless marriage - well, as near to sexless as it can be without being ENTIRELY sexless... average for us is months and months between getting together - six or more months is common. I am SO angry and hurt and feel so rejected. I try to let go of the pain and forget about it all and just resign myself to the situation so maybe I can see it as normal so I don't feel so hurt and angry. I can do that for ... a day.. maybe a week... then I'm back to the pit. I also find myself wanting to get with someone else just for the closeness (even if is is "false"), the physical contact and the release. I don't want to lose my marriage, I don't want to put my kids through any of that. But if it weren't for that - staying for my kids - I know my marriage would be over. Which would also probably make me feel very sad and lonely and rejected. I'm in a pit that seems to have no way out. I think about finding casual local 'hookups", but it scares me, I know it would threaten my marriage. I'm rambling here, I should have probably posted this under "my story"... but I felt strongly compelled to respond here. I don't yet know what is appropriate or frowned upon here at EP. But if it is not appropriate to mention it, I'd happily "chat" with you (or whatever means is available). I'm so sorry for your situation.

This posting really conveys a sense of pain. Had you driven across Michigan on your trip I would have invited you over for a hug.