I'm not sure if this story is prompted by the fact that I have now been a member of ILIASM for four years - or if it is the time of the year (new beginnings and all that).

Today - right now, in the next twenty four hours - I ask everyone still stuck in Sexless Marriages, to DO something to move their situation forward. Decide if you are staying or going.  Or if you are staying for x period and then going . . .   And having decided, DO something to move that decision on from where it is right now.

Staying? Fine.  Decide how you can make your own life more bearable and plan for that.  Don't just think about it - actually DO something about it.  Phone that friend you want to catch up with. Join the gym.   Read those books (or see those films) you want to catch up with.  Check out enrolment for that course you want to do.  Start that hobby you want to take up. . . .  What you do is your choice - the significant factor is that you DO something to move your choice in a forward direction.

Leaving? Fine. Decide what you need to do in order to achieve that.  Make a plan.  Don't just think about it - actually DO something about it.  Make an appointment with a therapist.  See a lawyer.  Check out your finances.  Read the Real Estate pages to see what is available to rent (or buy).   What you do is your choice - the significant factor is that you DO something to move your choice in a forward direction.

Paralysis, inertia, batting your head against a brick wall . . . all of these are common and very understandable in Sexless Marriages. But these things only result in ongoing anguish and mental torment.   If you have read widely here, you will know what your chances are of "fixing" your situation - and in most cases, these chances are very low indeed.

Hoping that you can miraculously discover a "cure" through some action of your own, or that your spouse will enjoy an epiphany and miraculously change the behaviour of months (years, decades?) is to deny reality. Once you choose to recognise reality and accept it, you have no choice but to endure or move forward.

Why would you choose to endure? Enduring signifies allowing your current state to continue exactly as it is.   It means stagnation.  It means prolonging the agony . . .  Why would ANYONE allow that to happen for any longer than necessary???

HOW you move forward is up to you.  If you choose to stay in your marriage, then make the best of your OWN life. This does not mean you undermine your spouse's life or your family life.  It simply means choosing to do the things that will improve your own situation - opportunities for outlets for your energy and emotions that are missing in your relationship. Find and DO things that make you feel better, more contented and less fragile.

If you choose to leave, begin the process of your leaving.  Formulate your Exit Plan. Enact the first item on the list. DO something to move the process towards your separation.

Make your New Year's resolution one of ACTION.  Tell yourself: "I only have one life and I'm going to make the best of it."
enna30 enna30
56-60, F
21 Responses Jan 1, 2013

Sounds like good advice.

Excellent post.

Hi, thanks so much for your post. It is very inspirational indeed! You're one busy lady, but if you have time sometime, would you please look at mine and let me know your opinion? Kind regards, Irish 46

This is very thought provoking...I am at my wits end and know one thing for sure that things are not likely to change. I have 2 kids under the age of 7, while I don't have any financial binding to stay in the marriage its the fear of how a separation would impact the kids. I am not saying its healthy for them to see a dysfunctional relationship...its the unknown that makes us endure the agony.

I think you're right. Fear of the unknown kept me in a loveless relationship for years. It was only finding out about my ex's infidelity that gave me the push I needed. Yes it was upsetting for my children but healthier than being in a household full of resentment and tension. Do what you feel you must but if you have a way out I would take it.

Thanks for writing this. It is very motivating. I have been planning an exit and will be leaving on July 1st when my lease is up. I'm proud of myself for taking action and letting him know my plans.

Sex is a two way thing and has to be enjoyed. ************ may give you more pleasure if that is the case.
Where children are involved sometimes you may want to sacrifice it to stay together. How about having platonic relationship?

I'm not sure if this was a response to my post or not, HardingPhil119, but it seems to fit so I'll write on that assumption.

A platonic relationship would be very difficult to achieve in our situation, and I'm not sure I want it. The progress we've made (from no sex to toleration of sex, with very occasional good sex) is encouraging, and the closeness is wonderful, life affirming stuff, even if the sex isn't. And it isn't likely I'd find another woman who is this tolerant of my interest in men. I'm not making any big decisions just yet. I'm just doing the one-day-at-a-time, fake-it-til-you-make-it thing.

This a great post, but I'm not clear how much it applies to my situation. I did live in a sexless marriage, but now she tolerates sex pretty much whenever, even if she isn't aroused herself. I like the closeness--feeling her body against me never fails to arouse me. She tolerates my bisexuality, which is easy given that I don't act on it, I just live with the ache. I'm here until the kids are grown, I guess. After that, who knows?

If she tolerates sex whenever,,,even if she is not aroused,,,then you are in the wrong experience.

I understand what you mean, but respectfully disagree. Things are not satisfactory, but so much better than they were before, that the other facets or the relationship (someone to be close to, living with and being there for my kids), makes it worth it to stay. Things may get better, and they may not, but for now this is where I am.

I disagree with PTI too. My expetiance, if you arent running a bloke down, if you arent questioning everything they do and if you are having regular sex, then he will not stray and he will not leave. Your comment about sticking it out until the kids are grown...I think thats less about your wife and more about your sexuality. Not my field mate. Good luck either way (excuse the pun). R

I act on my bisexuality as often as I can. I love sex with other men quite alot. Part of me knows having sex with other men is wrong, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

1 More Response

If you add ModLulu's list of 10 things to let go, that's a pretty good prescription for the year!

I'd also recommend making a little daily list of 3 things that were good in your day - whether large or small. That helped me a lot in my focus on getting more of what I wanted in my life.

This year, I'm intending to take advantage of deeper levels of trust in my W, to have more fun and be more adventurous.

I love the "3 things" list. Helps to keep one mindful of the GOOD in your life.

Such an inspirational story. The start of a new year is a great time to make a new start! Oh and going to the gym definitely helps me feel better. Good luck :-)

Me too! I don't know why I always try to find excuses NOT to go! :0

Ive done nothing since before Christmas. Back in work tomorrow, so there is no excuse not to head down to the gym in the 'basement' tomorrow. They do say it gets easier after the first one......

I am overwhelmed by the responses to this story. There is so much determination and energy in people's efforts to improve their situation. Wow! You ARE amazing!

The inspiration and encouragement that yopur posts offer is one of the many things that keeps me coming back - this is truly an AWESOME group to belong to!

The journey for each person is different - takes different time spans, involves different choices and results in different outcomes. And that is exactly as it should be.

I agree with those who say that "doing something" (whatever it is) is empowering. What you do is your choice - and if one choice doesn't work, choose again! Good luck to everyone.

Indeed action, action and more action. "If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it don't *****". The point is any of us can change our circumstances and choose to not be victims. In many ways my first step was to find this web page, step 2 was to post my story, step 3 was to make some friends here on EP, step 4 Setting firm goals and parameters defining success for those goals. Time still will take some time.... I have decided I will not wallow in self pity, remorse, and indecision. I am actually taking classes, and have involved myself in community service organizations. i will not be held back by others actions. I am master of my destiny. ACTION, ACTION and more ACTION are the three keys to my future.

"I am master of my destiny." That sums it up perfectly! Thanks!

Excellent advice for anyone in a situation that needs to change. Period. Do something about it. I am a doer. I know when something is not working for me. I also know I will make a life somehow, somewhere, someway because I am only really responsible for me (since my child is grown).

We are the lucky ones - the ones whose children are already grown. The parents of young children have the hardest choices IMO.

Not really. My child is grown now.

She was 5 when I left her dad. She 9 when I left a cheater, she was 12 when I moved away and she stayed behind with her dad (school reasons). She moved in with me last year, she is 23. She says that along the way I did the things that made the most positive changes in unhappy situations. She grew up to know that her parent's love her and supported her but she is adaptable to change. She knows life can be difficult but you adapt.

People are afraid of change, afraid of responsiblity, afraid it might be worse...freedom to choose is always better than being afraid of the unknown.

My daughter came to me because she knows I can adapt to her needs as much as she adapted to mine. We have a great relationship!

Staying. For at least 8-12 months.

DH is having more surgery to repair some after effects from his cancer surgery, which will require an extended convalescence. Six months from now, I will begin to have a clearer picture of his health and I should be fully healed. I also am working on resolving a long-standing work issue and be better settled in a new position: I command enough money to fully support myself, and need to lock that in place for an extended period of time. I have already met with an attorney and both emergency and long-term exit plans are in place.

MR, you are one of the most pro-active people on ILIASM. You have been (and are) managing a very difficult situation with great outcomes. You are one of my ILIASM heros.

Wow, Enna...thanks! You have always been there for me and I appreciate it greatly. The happiness that you and Baz share has shown me that there IS life beyond a SM.

The issue that I still wrestle with is whether I will actually activate exit plans. For now, I have decided to decide in the future. That, in and of itself, is a decision.

I think that asking people to declare their intentions is a good thing; to quote my favorite Beatle (George) with nods to Lewis Carroll: If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Team EP, great to see some real positive resolutions for many. TXmusicgirl, stay true to yourself and stick with your course of action. If things get tough on the property settlement, give in to him, its not worth your health and thats what it will cost you. And no, it IS easier said then done. You just say it to yourself and find a way to make it work...smaller house...move back in with your folks...whatever, but do not think these are backward steps, every move that claims more of your freedom is priceless. Be proud of yourselves people...In time you will love your new lives. Good luck. R

thank you so much!! great to hear some positive feedback.

Kiwi, greetings to a near neighbour - I'm an Aussie! Thanks for supporting and encouragement you are giving. It is very helpful IMO.

Thank you Enna. Again, beautiful, poignant and direct advice from a wise sage on this board. Since my H has already filed for divorce, and I have counter petitioned through my attorney, the ball is already rolling for this to end. Today and yesterday, I sent my attorney 3 emails. One, asking her in 10 bullet points how she plans to help me move through this process expeditiously with as little conflict and cost to the pocketbook as possible. Second was an email explaining 3 scenarios I want to present to my STBX about the marital home. Third was detailing my financial expectations and custody expectations in my settlement. Tomorrow, I see my individual therapist to go over the gas-lighting, crazy-making and instigating conflict that STBX is doing to try to trap me for documentation purposes.Day after that I see my psychiatrist to tell him the same thing, mention how STBX is trying to fr<x>ame me ba<x>sed on my psychological issues (depression, anxiety, etc.). I want him to know that H is trying make a case on me ba<x>sed on his supposed judgement of my mental instability.I called all my doctors and asked them for heightened security on my records so H doesn't have access to them for his own purposes of making me look bad.I am going to ask my employer for ANY opportunity that comes available to be hired on full time with full benefits and salary ASAP.Now that holiday craziness is over, I plan on starting back to the gym at least 3 days a week. I've already lost 30 lbs., so that's hopeful. :)I am going to look at houses that I might be able to afford, and see where I want to live if we sell the house or H insists on keeping it. Buying me out might make the best sense financially for me in the long run. We'll see.I'm in no hurry to get into a relationship or even consider dating. Probably not even until this year is over. I have a lot of work to do on myself, and rebuild my life into one I want and feel happy with. Even with having lived in a SM for 9 years. :) I can be patient. I plan on doing things with my boys as much as possible and being present with them as much as possible, even while H is still living here. My affirmations:I'm a damn good mom.I'm not crazy.I'm smart, funny and talented.I deserve to be happy.I deserve to be content and at peace with myself and all around me.I deserve a man who will love me with every ounce of his being and treat me with the love and respect I deserve.

I'm exhausted reading your post!! ROFL Actually I am in awe of your commitment, your energy and your ability to stand firm against the crazy making behaviour of your STBX. Fantastic!

hahaha. somehow all the spaces and paragraph separations disappeared! it reads like a manifesto!! lol. thanks enna. :)

Hi Enna,

Have done the deciding - or at least think I have. There exists a great possibility that the gating factors will be opened within this year. The results of the gates opening will allow the possibility of choice. I have been socking away some cash and building my side business in the event the choice leads to jumping off this ride.

I also note that when I came here feeling alone in this; angry, disillusioned and searching for answers, I came here nearly every night. I have been absent more in the last few months because I found that coming here and hearing the "never will change"...."must make a change yourself" ...and re-hashing the aggravating moments was, while valuable information (and sometimes in need of repetition) are also needed in this process, but at a certain point was causing more angst and more depression than it was relieving. While the gates- which I have made the choice to allow to be gates- remained closed, the options were limited, and the banter about making a choice seemed forced, and more stressful than the situation that led me to type the search terms that brought me here. I have also found that I can find my own happiness in my own self, and that trying to rely on others (including the rather close and still in process relationship with another woman) was in itself limited and frustrating. It was, and is, highly unlikely that I would find a fully sustaining relationship while trying to make it fit withing the self imposed (but important to me being who I believe myself to be) fences that contain my current life. I have learned to accept that. I also managed to learn that believing myself to be of .....after all else....quite actually my own problem.....and....I alone possess the solution. That is - simply - that if I believe I am valuable within my self - I do not need validation in the terms of another showing that belief to be true. I may simply CHOOSE to believe it directly without there being a requirement for external validation. I can take it on FAITH that I am......and that I am capable.

Sex, and more directly the touch exchanged in a loving relationship are wonderfully important parts of a relationship. They are less important in actually being yourself. This does not lessen the need of them in a relationship, but does not necessarily imply that I am less without them when I am not in a "relationship".

Persons who are not "in a relationship", and not currently dating, are not less than persons.

If they also happen to be married and cannot pull off the "outsourcing" option then they are just persons with limited options. Living well within those confines is my own responsibility. Ceding the power over that to another limits my potential. And, while it certainly feels that our happiness and self-worth has been stolen by someone we loved, it is actually rather that we have given it over to them, and expect that they will do right with it. There is nothing to compel them to do that other than them having the same understanding of "loving". Taking it back means that I no longer expect nor try to compel her to engage in anything that resembles the language of touch. And that like a single person between relationships I do not have and expectation of receiving any.... thus I do not feel cheated out of an expectation.

I am in a marriage that has ceased to be a relationship, and turned into a living arrangement. The various causes of this that are not within my control are quite therefore not my problem. Those that are within my control and are part of my own self, I can work to improve - or explain to another - so that they are not misinterpreted and do not contribute to creating the kinds of feelings present in an SM, should I find the living arrangement to be intolerable and again find myself in a relationship.

2013 will be the year that Wolfy tries not to be anything more than is Wolfy at my best. If gates open.....then I can choose which to walk through ....and when. In the meantime railing against the to rail against myself.....a wholly unproductive process. That which is Change is inevitable. That which is therefore subject to change. Wolfy need do nothing more than be Wolfy, and when change happens....make the best Wolfy choice. Within the time in between.....I need only to find those things in which I find happiness. I make things from wood others would ignore and waste. I play instruments and I sing. I write from time to time with clarity and help others by doing so. I fix stuff. I have value....therefore..... and it is high time I let myself enjoy that. If no one else does....that is their problem.

Nice to "hear" a familiar voice here.....may you also find positive things within your 2013....and may you be positive if choice presents opportunity......enough to grab it.

Wow, Wolfy, this is inspirational. I especially like "I also managed to learn that believing myself to be of .....after all else....quite actually my own problem.....and....I alone possess the solution. "

Being your authentic self is the best aim any of us can have. And as Baz says, that authentic self will naturally attract others to you when the time is right.

May your year of being "Wolfy at my best" bring you the peace, joy and fulfillment that you deserve. It is a GREAT ambition IMO.

Hi Enna30: RE:{{{If you have read widely here, you will know what your chances are of "fixing" your situation - and in most cases, these chances are very low indeed.}}} I'm new to this forum and from reading the posts so far, yes, what you have said seems true. And it's very, very sad. My question is, does anyone know if there have been any research studies done out there that gives such similar, dismal statistics? Or positive statistics for that matter? I know that I need a really BIG reality check with my own situation, and hoping for change seems so futile. But like in other forums or review sites, it seems so often that the negative posts outweigh the positive experiences and so many positive experiences may not even get posted. Hope springs eternal. Be well - long4in2mc

Marriages appearing on this board are truly at the arse end of the "dysfunctional marriage" demographic. For the most part, they are basket cases.

Bazz is our "wise old owl"....(sorry abour the "old" part, Baz!) But he and indeed I have seen enogh to know that if you land here and stay a bit, the "marriage" you are looking to save is likely beyond repair. That IN NO WAY means your life is irredeemable!!! Happiness is entirely achievable---just not with your current partner....
It's a new year. What better time to imagine new beginnings? Pursue them...we are ALL worth the effort at being happy...

Long4, the sad truth is that the statistics ARE dismal and Baz is correct. By the time most people get to the point of joining this forum they have actually tried everything thy can to reinvigorate their marriages, but without success.

There are a few who have success in rebuilding - and we are (as a group) always delighted to read these stories. Unfortunately, these recoveries are sometimes short term and often based on the fear the refuser spouse has of the marriage breaking down. Once the refused spouse is safely "baxck in the marriage" the old problems re-appear within months, or even weeks.

I did this years ago...I just didn't have a plan. However armed with the conviction that something had to change and I was the one that was going to have to do it.

Excellent point! Sometimes the plan exists and our actions go according to plan. . . sometimes we just "do it anyway"! Provided the outcome is positive, it doesn't matter which road you take.

Thank you for encouraging post!
1.Planning the first date of the year with my lover
2. Sent application to further education and expecting interviews
3. Planning to go to swimming pool
4. Should really see a lawyer (just in case)
5. Planning to have a regular massage and beauty treatment
6. Planning to do my yoga and ti chi exercises again
7. Never ask WHY again...

oooh, good #7! Never, ever waste one more second of the precious life I've been given asking "why?".

Moon, you are another inspiration! SOOOO true about the "why"!!!
At the end of the day, the "why" can be any one of a million things, but the options we (the refused) have remain the same.

Thank you! :)

My late Grandmother once remarked, "there is little difference between hope and despair." I've been thinking about it a lot lately; to be tangled in that web. Making a plan creates hope, negates despair. Now to sort that out.

PS - I've only been on EP for a few days, and I really appreciate your "wisdom," level-headedness. Thank you!

Hi Bridget:

Thank you for reminding me of my beloved grandmother. Her favorite was

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

My list:
List my house for sale
Find a financial planner
Soul Search
(Accept that he is not going to change)
Spend Exhorbitant amount of time (if necessary) on EP to alleviate my anger and pain
Soul Search (remember that this is not an easy process, I am not going to manage it perfectly and life will not be perfect

Bridget, a plan is a great start. And remember, no plan is written in stone. If you find your plan isn't working, change it. Baz says about solutions "They only have to work until they don't"! That is worth remembering IMO.

AITCO, your plan is great! This sentence particularly resonates with me: "Soul Search (remember that this is not an easy process, I am not going to manage it perfectly and life will not be perfect".

Enna, LOL. That is the very same advice I give my niece struggling to find her way in this world. I forgot that I could apply it to myself. :)

Amithecrazyone, the Serenity Prayer is a worthy guide for life, and your list. :)

3 More Responses

My resolution to leave begins with calm acceptance. I have so much to be grateful for, so life after 50 can be the beginning of a wondrous new beginning. My actions to start are as follows:

1. Write letters to my children, wife, and parents telling them exactly why I am choosing to leave. I may not ultimately give them the letters since telling them in person may be more appropriate, but the letter will allow me to know exactly what I want to say and how I want to express myself.

2. Tell my therapist I am no longer interested in learning and dealing with my challenges. I have gained all the insight and recovery I need. I need him to help me with the pragmatic aspects such as centering kids in two households, finding a place to live, and understanding the pragmatic consequences of divorce.

3. Deal with the psychological issue I have remaining that I am letting everyone down by not making things work in the marriage, and that I am a failure, selfish, and foolish if I choose the unchartered path.

4. Stop distracting myself. I will not allow my connection with other women to allow me to endure the emptiness I have at home.

5. Continue the path of living authentically.

I think that diving into these actions will give 2013 a good beginning.

What a GREAT plan! Sending you {{{hugs}}} and every best wish for your plan to bear positive fruit.

I love your plan, my friend! This is great. To embrace new, we have to be willing to let go of that which has already been done and that has served us well on our journey but now we wish to experience something new. You are there now! Embrace it!