Basic MismatchI see lots of stories lately from people who are new and hopeful there will be a solution here they haven't thought of yet. They come here, post a story and get some feedback. Then they go about trying to fix the marriage. They read the same stories we've read and the same stories we've poured our hearts into writing. But their hearts are not ready yet, so as part of the ILIASM process they keep working at it.
The hardest stories for me to see are the ones from people who have been working on things for a little while and have hope. Inside I hope for them too. But I know the reality of it. Many people come on here after a while of working at it to report great progress. And sometime after that - sometimes a few weeks, sometimes months - they come back to report that it was not a permanent fix and once the initial scramble to put things back the way they were faded, things went back the way they were before.
To me - at this point in my process - it's pretty simple. No matter how much you compromise on something with your partner, no matter how much you are willing to accept and adjust your role in dysfunction, no matter how right you are or how right they are... if you want something in your life that they genuinely do not want then one (or both) of you will be unhappy and there will always be conflict in the relationship.
There is a basic mismatch if a relationship is made up of one person who likes physical touch and one who feels no value from it. There is a basic mismatch if one person likes to talk deeply and vulnerably and another who is apprehensive about the vulnerability. There is a basic incompatibility if one person wants to have children and another does not. There is a basic mismatch if one person values a lot of alone time and the other craves near constant proximity to feel safe and secure in the relationship. There is a basic incompatibility if one person thinks sex once a month is quite enough and another wants it daily. You can compromise all you want on these basic things, but in the end both people will feel like they have given up a lot of what they view as a natural human desire and will see the other as somehow "broken" for not having it the same way. That goes for refusers who think we are sex crazed and the refused who find them cold and dispassionate.
It's not that hard to find something better. By better I mean a relationship with someone who wants something closer to what it is that I want. That simply makes things easier. It flows better. You BOTH want the closeness (or not), the sex (or not), the touch (or not), the distance (or not) and so it is a) much more likely to happen and b) when it does happen, both members of the relationship don't feel they have compromised more than they wanted to. When you both want the same thing - whether it be a strong sexual relationship, children or lots of snuggling and touch - things just go much more smoothly.
Incidentally, it is only when both members of the couple truly have the same goal first and foremost of the relationship being more important than whatever the reasons are that the marriage became so dysfunctional and sexless that there is any chance of saving the marriage. Since most of us have that basic mismatch with our partners on several levels, what are the chances we will be able to agree long term about the importance of this issue?