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Broken

So the events that have unfolded this week have left me nothing short of confused, hurt, angry, resentful, and emotional. I have posted my story and subsequent stories already, so this is a continuation. I have made my decision to leave and I have felt good about it....but there is a real monkey wrench thrown my way....and I am trying to figure out the best way to proceed. My H, in his SLOW course to fix himself, had a sleep apnea study done and recently started treatment. He is feeling better, well-rested....sex drive has come back. I have my doubts as to whether he can actually make an emotional connection in addition. He swears it is ALL related. He has been unusually calm and patient as I have expressed my concerns, my doubts, and my overall hurt that has built over the years. Does he think that I can just turn off all of that because now he suddenly has desire? Yet, at the same time it is exactly what I have been waiting for.....I definitely know now what I want....I can let him try to make up for what has been missing. My bar is set very high and I feel as if I will be setting him up for failure. If he gets even one ounce of a hint of that....he will come crashing down and we are for sure done. But....if I don't have at least a certain set of expectations than I am most certainly settling into old patterns. So I HAVE to HAVE a set of expectations. You see? He has to take control and the lead. That is the first requirement. My list is long.....we shall see.

I am posting the lyrics to "Broken" by Lifehouse because it summarizes exactly where I am right now.

"Broken"

The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain (in the pain), is there healing
In your name (in your name) I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin')
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be OK

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain(In the pain) there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm barely holdin' on to you


nutmeg99 nutmeg99 36-40, F 5 Responses Dec 29, 2012

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I hear you. I find myself slowly detaching, and it scares me. I recently wondered if I would have any desire if he finally initiated or would I find myself being the refuser. When I am out places, I look at other men wondering if they would be interested in me. I'm not looking for an affair, I just can' get these thoughts out of my head, and It's driving me crazy.

Yep- I hear you:)

Sexual intimacy is a mutual gift. Here's what I ask you to consider. Sleep apnea may or may not have contributed to his lack of sexual desire, but he did nothing about your sexual desire.

Here's another thought. You need to be clear about this 'Hail Mary'. Its not all up to him to fix this. You have to be completely committed as well. If you cannot or won't, its important to be clear about it. He may rediscover sexual desire, but only the two of you together can rediscover intimacy. Be well.

No truer words have been spoken. Thank you. 13 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, heck 10 months ago....I was committed to fixing this. I was in it with him. I'd do anything. Quite honestly, I think I passed my breaking point a few months ago and I cannot go back. Did he ever consider my needs or pleasuring me even if he couldn't enjoy sex?? Absolutely not. I am not sure I am a willing participant in rediscovering our intimacy anymore. Thanks so much for your thought provoking words!

Many excellent and wise comments already. Just want to add this:
Think carefully about "why" you are setting the bar so high . . . I suspect at an unconscious level you are doing this in order to "ensure" he fails. I feel sure your conscious mind has not articulated this, but it seems likely it may underpin your thinking about that "bar" you have set.

If this sounds right to you, consider instead simply saying something like:
"I have decided that I can not continue in our marriage even if the sex resumes to a satisfactory level. I am dismayed to make this discovery because for X years I thought this was all I ever wanted. But it seems so much time has passed now without us connecting intimately through sex that I can no longer accept you fully as a sexually intimate partner."

In this scenario, encourage him to continue working on his health for his own sake - "and for any future relationship you may have". But make it clear that NOTHING he does will "fix" the problem the two of you have together.

OTOH if you find this too harsh or not accurately representing your feelings, consider this:
"Am I setting the bar high so he will almost certainly fail because at some level I want to punish him for his previous neglect?"

If you can honestly say "no" to this too, then you are wise to continue as you are - with a high standard he needs to meet in order to achieve a successful outcome with you.
I think that once you clarify your OWN motivations to yourself, you will find it easier to make a decision (or decisions) that feel comfortable and "right" for you. {{{hugs}}}

Wow....I've reread what you've written several times. Definitely a lot to consider. I'm fairly sure that I don't want to punish him. I do harbor a bit of resentment but I think I'm much more aware of this on a conscious level and I do think of him as a good person and I know that he does not do any of this purposefully-I think he's doing the best that he can to fix it-it's just I know in my heart of hearts it probably isn't enough. I really like the words you suggested for me to say-that may really be ultimately what I say to him. However, I am still not convinced that I want him to fail even on a subconcious level. I think through EP and good friends in my life, I now know EXACTLY what I want. Because I chased the why for so long and focused on fixing him, I really ignored that even when the sex is there, quite frankly it just isn't any good. Making my decision to leave allowed me to start seeing all the other problems quite clearly. I am never satisfied, he's not adventurous, and he never really pursues me. I always have to initiate. So my bar is set high because unless he actually suddenly does these things, I already know my answer. It's not a master plan. I think it is just my reality. I think setting my bar high is actually my avoidance in ending it right now. I already know it's over.

Well done! And I truly mean that. Recognising that you are usingthis straegy to avoid deciding to leave "now" is an excellent realisation. May I suggest you also consider the corollary? Is it fair to him to allow him to "really try hard" when, in your heart of hearts, you know it is not going to work?

I suspect he actually will NOT do the work, which will make it easier for you to leave. But if he really does through himself whole-heartedly into "fixing" things, you may be wise to tell him that it is over before he gets too far into such a process.

If he really tries hard and you still leave, he will blame you. But that is not as much of a problem as you feeling guilty about letting him do that . . . I can see you care deeply about him and don't want to hurt him.

<p>Behavior pattterns are hard to change, long term wise. Not impossible, but very difficult.</P><br />
<p>His pattern of behavior within the context of the marriage will not be sustainable if the reasons he is trying to change is only for your approval and/or to avoid divorce.</P><br />
<p>If the reasons for his changes are for himself (to increase the quality of his life regardless of relationship status) and to increase intimacy (not to avoid divorce) and because he feels a deep need for the changes, then the changes would, more than likely, have an increased probability of becoming second nature to him over the long term and be successful.</P><br />
<p>Might want to run a clock on the operation.</P><br />
<p>Time will sort the wheat from the chaff with respect to these so called behavorial improvements.<br />
If the changes do stick, they will stick regardless of whether your marriage makes it or not. He could then use them in his next relationship.</P>

Thanks! That is very helpful:) I do intend on a clock....I am still planning on leaving....something absolutely miraculous has to occur for any amount of change to take place!

Mine had a sleep apnea dx in 2005. He swore things would get better and for a while they did. The thing about cpap treatment is you feel better for a while, then you level out and things drop off and then plateau. My experience.

and that is pretty much what I expect to happen as with absolutely everything else in this marriage. That is why part of me doesn't even want to try.