What If I Can't?

I have Sjogrens, Lupus and RA. Between the 3 my sex life has gone from fairly good to ZERO, mainly do to the fact that it is just too painful. My husband always says he understands, but it is ruining our relationship. I used to do "stuff" for him to keep him happy, but in the last couple of years it has gone from an act of love to what is apparently is my duty. I am a laundry doer, house keeper, cook and a roommate at this point and I don't know what to do. If I don't do my "duty" then I seem to be of no use at all beyond that. I don't get any help, any support, or anything else. I love him and there has to be a way of fixing this relationship. I often wonder what my husband would do if the situation was reversed? When I had to have a hysterectomy it seemed like he thought I had robbed him of something in stead of me going through a traumatic event. Then it seemed like he thought this would just open up our sex life up to anytime anywhere! When that didn't happen things started to go bad. The sex continued to get more painful so it went down in stead of up and then eventually to zero. What do I do? How can I make him understand that I still need to feel like he loves me? It just feels like if I can't have sex then I'm useless.
WouldIfICould WouldIfICould
36-40, F
4 Responses Jan 6, 2013

Your other story contains facts that are not in this one. Your lesions in the vaginal area are definitely a reason to avoid penetrative sex -I truly understand that now.

Your relationship is dysfunctional. I hope you will recognise that your religion is NOT a good enough reason to stay married. Yourhusband's understanding of God's laws seems very flexible to me!! What about "honour"? He does not honour you at all it seems.

Please think carefully about the futility of staying in a relationhip that is not meetingany of your needs. Counselling as hl42 suggests may be a great way for you to clarify your position for yourself.

<p>If you had a decent intimate relationship, I reckon you wouldn't be seeing giving him a loving hand as duty, but as a loving moment of connection (I take it you cannot experience any form of arousal yourself without pain, is that right?)</p><p>So, are you able to show any leadership here before it all goes pear-shaped? Sometimes these things are chicken-and-egg, and one of you has to step up to the plate. Do you know what things your husband can do to help you be satisfied intimately, and feel valued? Does he know what that is, and will he oblige?</p><p>Have you considered counselling?</p><p>These days, duty is a dirty word, and by getting your mind in that fr<x>ame, you're setting yourself up for resentment. I can quite understand being underwhelmed to be told: "pucker up baby, the Lord commands it" and his attitude may be crass; yet there is a duty of care implicit in the expectation of fidelity for all of us. If you can't/won't exercise that care, then you have - with love - release him from fidelity.</p><p>And that duty of care works bothways: he must be busting a gut to help you be satisfied intimately, in whatever way works for you.</p>

I tried to "like"your comment hl, and EP wouldn't let me!!
So here it is anyway! LIKE!!!!

You are right in saying duty is a dirty word..... I used that word because, no matter how unloved I feel sometimes, I do feel like he deserves the physical affection that he wants and as his wife that IS part of my role; but I also feel that even though he shouldn't need to earn this affection, there should be something in it for me, even if I don't want it to be sexual. I hate how that sounds but I'm going to leave it in anyway because I am trying to be honest. But I want to be clear that I understand that it is not reasonable to think a man can go without indefinitely especially within a marriage and I have never expected this and that's why I am still trying to find a solution to the situation.

Honest is good! Particularly if shared and mutual, even if unpalatable - that's perhaps one of the recurring themes of this board. I'd also commend you for seeking solutions by taking concrete action - you are showing leadership by doing so.

Personally, I prefer care rather than duty, and if we're trying to be basic here, mutual backscratching is a pretty good idea; even if where/how you need to be scratched is different.

There are many "solutions" to the situation, some of which will not be under your control (or his for that matter, if he gets desperate). But it's better to have the frame of mutual support and compassion, yes? What you cannot guarantee is that it will be mutual, but you can do your part.

Oh, I had another thought, which relates to personal work on beliefs - whether his or yours (which might be facilitated by counselling). People inherit or adopt many rules around sex and intimacy which can actually preclude some worthwhile things happening (particularly in straightened circumstances). For example, if people measure success of sex in terms of simultaneous mind-blowing ******* with orchestras playing - a toxic notion for anyone and clearly not going to happen for you. Yet either or both of you may have that in your mind somewhere. Relax the rules!

1 More Response

<p>The situation you describe sounds like a very dysfunctional dynamic..</p><p>If you are the one who wants to resolve this one way or another, then you get my vote.</p><p>Go and see a lawyer in your jurisdiction and establish how a divorce would shake out for you. That's one potential scenario that you need some firsthand knowledge about. It is your safety net in the event of things going guts up at speed.</p><p>With that insurance policy in your pocket, you can front him - without any fear of what events you might be putting in motion.</p><p>Tell him he is a sex fiend. Tell him you feel like a masturbatory aid. Tell him you are sick of his incessant demands for sex. Ask him what he is going to do about it. Listen carefully for the answer. Put a time fr<x>ame on how much longer you are going to tolerate this bullshit. And, be prepared to act on that legal advice you checked out earlier. </p><p>Keep in mind that the divorce thing can cut either way. You might choose to activate it. There is also the possibility that this sex mad spouse might too.</p><p>Tread your own path.</p>

I do not want a divorce and I don't want to hurt him in any way. Because no matter what, I don't think that he intentionally disrespects me. I think he is so wrapped up in what his vision of what our latter years when the kids were grown, would look like, that he can't accept and be thankful for what we do have, or could still have. He seems to think all middle aged men are getting it everyday or more!

You might not WANT a divorce, but you DO need to know how one would shake out for you. He may act on his vision of middle aged blokes getting it every day and give YOU the arse.

Where to begin in answering this one!

Firstly, you need to know that almost everyone who posts here on this forum is the Refused spouse, so you may find sympathy and understanding somewhat thin on the ground.

Secondly, your illnesses are very difficult and unpleasant. I have great sympathy for you. But I find it hard to understand "what" about sex is so painful that you cannot undertake ANY form of sexual expression. If you are still able to be "laundry doer, house keeper, cook" then your illnesses are not restricting you entirely.

Do you suffer pain that cannot be managed at all? Because as a person with osteo-arthritis and an auto-immune disease, I do understand pain being a problem - but not one that cannot EVER be addressed with appropriate medication.

Have you found yourself not wanting sex because of your hysterectomy? If so, have you considered using hormone replacements?

Is your husband expecting you to "swing from the chandeliers" or have sex twice a day? These might be considered unreasonable (in some circles!) But if he is only seeking a regular sex life with you, then it is certainly a reasonable expectation within marriage.

Sex is the "glue" that keeps a couple happily together in a true marriage. Without sex you are just friends, room mates . . . It is extremely unlikely that your marriage will survive if you cannot find ways to be intimate with him.

I agree with what you are saying, I'm just not sure how to go from just being a tool, back to being a supportive spouse in a situation that I know is difficult for him to understand. I have tried to find a middle ground, as I am still attracted to him and would like the sexual part of our relationship to be a two way street. I have tried different ways to take part, but no matter how clear I am, any boundaries I try to establish wherein I can participate end up with him trying to take it a step further than I am able to go and it ending with him being disappointed. I take hormone replacement meds, so it's not that that's lacking, but the medication for the lesions numb everything in that area and if it gets on him it numbs him too and he's not interested in using a condom and without the medication I won't even consider it.
It is only during a flare up that I am physically unable to actively participate due to extreme pain, usually in my hips, knees and hands. It can get so bad that i am bed-bound for days at a time. But mainly it is the lesions that prevent me from penetrative sex. I would love for him to drape his arm over me when we sleep, or have some type of physical contact in our bed that isn't sexual, but loving. I would love for him to be interested in me in a non- sexual way, to want to help me when I am doing something. To ask how I feel or if I've been to the doctor, to be interested in what she said. And I understand that he wants contact with me as well, but I have seen that disappointed look so many times, when I have tried to get close to him and he instantly takes it as a sexual invitation when I just need comfort or support, and it ends up with him explaining to me how he is missing out on the reason he got married in the first place, and this goes on for hours and I cry and end up with a huge headache for the next day or so. Now don't get me wrong, he says it like that but I know he didn't actually marry me just for that, he used show me he loved me in many ways. I just need to find a way for us to connect so that we can rebuild the intimacy in a new way. I have been married to this man for 20 years and this has gotten to this point in the last 4-5 years, last year we had sex twice and I helped him out in other ways, probably twice a week for the rest of the year. I love him and I do not want a separation or divorce. I want to find a compromise that works for both of us, where we can both feel loved emotionally and physically. My "physically" doesn't need to be sexually but his does, but I do need some actual loving physical contact. I don't know if that makes sense to you???

Yes, it all makes sense. But the sad truth is, you are MISmatched. You feel unsupported by him, and that you lack the crucial connection you need. You've tried to convey this to him but he seems unable to hear you and understand.

OTOH, he is missing sex to the pont where he cannot seem to move from his current position into one where he is can actually respond to your needs. And I think many of us on this board have been where he is now . . . .

You may love each other very much, but your are not suited to being each other's spouses in my opinion. I really cannot see how you can get past this, given that you are completely UNABLE to have the sort of sex life he seems to need. I feel deeply sad for you.