I Need Your Help And Advice

Hello! I often wonder if I am the only one who thinks life shouldn't be this hard. Reading some of the stories on ILIASM and maybe I'm not alone after all.
I have been married to my wife for 8 years and have 2 beautiful boys. The last time we had sex was when my 4 year old was conceived. I know! So I have effectively been celibate for quite a while. My wife is decent, honest and a good mother. As a person she is great, but that's pretty much where it ends.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, try and live life to the full and have a free spirit. I love meeting people, talking and getting stuck into life. Work-wise, I consider myself successful and enjoy what I do. She is the complete opposite. I get instantly depressed when I leave work to drive home, knowing that I will be subjected to a night of boring monotony. She doesn't really talk much, apart from complaining about stuff. There is no mental stimulation whatsoever. Any conversation I try and have is cut pretty short with a one word answer or a blank look. If we drive somewhere, say a 2 hour drive to see her parents, she will literally not say 1 word for the entire journey. I may as well be on my own. I gave up making conversation a long time ago.
She has not worked during our entire marriage and spends her entire life on facebook. She has no ambition and doesn't do anything. She's fairly attractive and seems to be obsessed with how she looks. Not in an arrogant way, but I constantly have to give my opinion on what she is wearing or how she looks. Dull, dull, dull! I have financially supported her throughout and pay off her credit card bills when they are maxed and arrears letters start arriving.
Friends probably look at us and think we are a perfect family. She is all about outward appearance. Our home is always tidy, but with 2 boys, can get a bit cluttered. If we have people coming around she rushes around in a bad mood to tidy up to impress whoever is coming around. She started smoking about 8 months ago, but refuses to let her mother know as she wants to keep up a non smoker appearance and she is scared of her mother. I just think you are who you are. If someone is coming around then people will see me as I live, end of. If I wanted to smoke, I'll smoke. We're adults, not kids!
So mentally there's not a lot going for us. No arguments, just a lot of frustration on my part. To the sex...
I used to try and maintain a normal sex life, but it just became hard work. There was no passion. I am pretty open-minded and believe sex should be free and exciting. She is mechanical has no sense of adventure. It's not like she has refused to have sex openly and I have never begged for it. She just says she never feels like it. Actually I don't even want to anymore.
I have brought up issues in our marriage quite a few times and even suggested that we go for counseling. All of this was just brushed under the carpet. She just coasts along and would never take the initiative to try and sort things out. I have given up. As far as she is concerned this normal. My self esteem is shot. I'm really unhappy and get depressed about my home life. If we do go out, in conversation, she will make out like we have a fantastic sex life and I think to myself "if only you knew.." She often tells me how lucky I am to have her as a wife as well.
My conundrum is the children. If we didn't have kids we would have been over a long time ago. My justification is that when I had kids I decided that I was responsible for them. They are both very loved and I feel like I should sacrifice myself for the sake of their stability and happiness. As I said, we don't argue and everything is civil. We do a lot of family stuff together and on the outside everything looks fine.
I'm just really not sure that I can carry on like this. I'm finding it really hard. Besides the lack of mental stimulation I never imagined that I would go nearly 5 years without sex! I have never been a cheater, not a great liar and have too much of a conscience to be a bad boy. But I think about sex all of the time. I miss intimacy, touching or just talking. I also imagine it would be hard to start all again. My confidence is low and I'm not even sure I would know how to talk to a woman anymore! But then again I'm so lonely in this marriage, it can't be any worse. Its just the children. I also worry that she wouldn't cope. She is not self reliant at all, but maybe that's what she needs. I don't know...
My head says stay, my heart says go and see what life has to offer. This is so difficult and I don't know what to do.
Has anyone been in a similar situation or can maybe relate to what I am going through? I know that there are 2 sides to every story. I'm not about blame. I just think that we have different expectations. Even if no one reads this, it has been good to get my thoughts down. If you did read this, I appreciate it!
openhonestdecentguy openhonestdecentguy
41-45, M
18 Responses Jan 9, 2013

take up weight lifting! or a hobby. it won't solve the marriage problems, but to help with self-esteem.
dance class has helped my self-esteem, funny though, the better it is the more unhappy HE is

I suggest we form a club... I am positive among us we will find great partners and life will start afresh.! This is insane I often question myself, why did I take this for so long?? where was I? on Mars?? Like is mentioned in my first posting. I have had courage to write my story, but this website has humbled me and made me feel that I an not a lone and I was not a full either to stay. There is time for everything.. and soon our time will come.. But we have to take the first step and run! Marriage is beautiful thing and to love is heavenly, especially loving someone who loves you as much as you love them, someone honest, exciting, loving, royal and kind. I have been thinking of a name we can call our club. ......any suggestion people?? I am serious , let form a club, go out walking, dancing, golfing, camping, skying, jumping, breath fresh air of love. it is not too late....

Get outta there! Divorce isn't that hard on kids if transitioned slowly, in my opinion. When my parents got divorced, they told me my dad would stay in our city and I could visit him each weekend. The slow transition has lessened the pain I felt when he moved away. If your kids love you they'll want the best for you, even if it means seeing other women. Just tell them the truth and don't underestimate their capacity to handle their emotion.

Yeah well I am a woman and I belong to the sexless marriage club too. I also belong to the I have two small kids and don't know what to do club. If you aren't in it, you don't know how it feels to have the person who is supposed to love you reject you over and over again. If they ever try to make the effort it seems forced and unreal. My situation is somewhat different in that I have been given permission to go elsewhere even though he doesn't like it. However, he also just won't leave me or work out something. He traps me with threats of prolonged custody battles over the kids. If you think you could work out something with your wife that will help you, try it. At this point the worst she'll say is no, and you are unfortunately used to that.

1. Go see a lawyer to get FACTS on how custody would work for you! First lawyer visits are often free. FACTS will help you make decisions in your life.

2. Make sure you are in a "no-fault divorce" state/region BEFORE you go outside the marriage - because although he "says" he gave you permission, he could also just be using that to get the upper hand in a divorce situation, which you really don't want to give him the ammunition. If you are NOT in a "no-fault" divorce jurisdiction, having an affair could cause you extreme harm in the event of a divorce.

Thanks - unfortunately, already been there, done that. As the primary income earner the facts are not skewed too well in my direction. As for custody, I would win in the end but at what cost to my children? Where I am, a contested custody battle takes upwards of 5-7 years. By that time, I would be in a position to have their opinion considered in custody, which is what I am kind of hoping for. Btw, I am not having open affairs and am covering my tracks because I don't really trust his permission line. Thank you for taking the time to think of me.

I am sorry you are going through that.

In some ways I am very lucky I was laid off and unemployed when I pulled the plug.

Some day the children will be grown and have their own lives - then will be the time to start a new life .

I have to say I am overwhelmed by your responses and support. There are a lot of valid and helpful comments here. I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment, but will respond in detail later. many thanks.

I would like to humbly suggest that maybe your wife is clinically depressed. It's possible that she's not acting this way, specifically to hurt or reject you-- but rather, because she's battling hopelessness and sadness on a constant basis.

Speaking as a woman who has experienced years of depression, I encourage you to insist that she seek therapy and help. It's important for the spouse of a depressed person to insist on treatment and improvement-- because usually, a depressed person doesn't realize how bad things have gotten, or how much better things could be.

One tool for recognizing depression, is a self-assessment quiz. You can find many online. If she takes the quiz and sees her own struggles in it, she may be in for an eye-opener.

I know it's difficult to live with a spouse who doesn't engage with you on any level-- mentally, emotionally, physically-- but please realize that HER existence is far more dismal than yours. YOU still have a vision of hope and a zest for life; she doesn't. And maybe that's more painful to her than you know.

Life certainly shouldn't be this hard. Here's how it sounded to me:

You and your wife got a 'divorce' about five years ago after she got what she wanted; a second boy. You've been paying maximum child support and alimony since then. She's been gracious enough to permit you to stay in your home, since this helps you financially and gives you the most potential parental visitation. For the sake of the family image, you both keep up the appearance of a good and health family life.

You forgot to submit your divorce paperwork to the courts, but other than that, you're both equally unhappy with the status quo. If you'd like to amend the situation (i.e. you want to be able to date again). You'll need to change your situation and get a full separation, with option for divorce.

Have I missed anything with this 'view'?

This is a brilliant summation Brother R

Children live what they learn. You are setting the foundations for the type of relationships they will have as adults. No, you don't argue. You exist silently in misery. You look like a perfect couple from the outside, but your children are not on the outside. Mommy and daddy don't touch or kiss, there is no signs of love. When you ask any parent what they want for their children they will say happiness. So you have to ask yourself, do you want your children to repeat this type of marriage?

It sounds like you are just not IN love with each other right now. Maybe you love each other like family, but the passion/romance is gone, which is pretty common I think, unfortunately. Counseling might help, but you both have to be open to it and want things to change, and be willing to try, otherwise it won't work. Have you ever talked to her about all of this? Maybe she is depressed. From your description of her it sounds like she is having her own internal struggle, but is keeping it in. Be supportive and loving, ask her how you can help, and don't be judgmental even if her concerns seem ridiculous to you, and she might reconnect with you again.

I firmly encourage you to NOT follow this advise. You might love this woman, but she very loudly and clearly does not love you. The silence in the car - that is the telling story. She does not even enjoy interacting with you. Being supporting and loving will simply increase her power over you and entrench the current situation. Asking her how you can help will simply extend the situation. If you do feel the need to fix the situation, you might start with "Honey, I'm done with this marriage. You don't talk to me, you don't enjoy spending time with me, and, for ****'s sake, you don't even like having sex with me. Either you hate me and love to watch me silently suffer, or you are too wrapped up in your own mental issues that you don't have the capacity to care. You say I am lucky to have you as a wife...why do you say this? Do you say it to run me down, and make me feel like no one else would love me, when you know for a fact that guys like me are in high demand out there? I am tired of this. I love you, you don't love me. I am who I am. If you do not love me, just say so, and we can just be done with this sham of a marriage. I don't mind the fact that you lie to everyone by making out like we have a sex life, and that we lie to the government for tax purposes, saying we are married when our marriage is actually dead. What I do mind is that you are lying to me and setting our children up to live in cold, emotionless relationships. I cannot change who I am. If you cannot change how you feel about me, I am gone. If you want me, woo me back into your life. If not, I am done, gone, etc..." Something like that may or may not fix the situation, but it will probably get you laid for a month at the very least. If not, then you know she is a total dud as a partner and your decisions get easier from there.

And I strongly encourage you NOT to only listen to one solution. Only YOU know what truly goes on in the marriage, and your wife has HER side too. Anyone who tells you differently doesn't understand what marriage is.

CazzaMom: no stories submitted, no groups joined... "things that make you go hmmmm..."

Is no one allowed to join for the first time? Not sure why that is making you go hmmm. And why is what I said rattling so many chains? There was nothing disrespectful about what I said. Who are you to question me? I am here to help the person who asked for advice, not explain myself to you. And I stand by what I said. His wife sounds depressed. He married her, and if he still loves her, he needs to get through to her and have some compassion. Seek help. There is nothing wrong about that. Now maybe you should be constructive instead of spamming other people's suggestions.

Cazza, I think you need plastic surgery to correct your nose. "WHAT!!???" you say. "You have no idea who I am or what I look like! How can you possibly give such advice?"

You have no idea what a truly sexless marriage looks like (or feels llike) yet you are happy to offer your "advice" . . . . .

2 More Responses

She is at pains to create an illusion that there is a "we" dynamic in play in your relationship - just like in a functional marriage where the individuals primary decision making imperative is "what is good for 'us' ("we") "
This "we" is of course, the exact thing you want. And you want to believe that there is a "we" in existence in your relationship. You want it so badly that your judgement has been clouded and distorted.

Every bit of your story screams "ME" with her doing the screaming.

There is no "we" in your story, and if you continue with your "we" thinking she will continue to selectively adopt only the bits of that that suit "me" (her) just like has been happening in your past.

Your counter to this is to adopt "me" thinking as well. Making informed choices based upon what is in YOUR best interests, not "we". There is no "we" in your picture.

Go and see a lawyer in your jurisdiction and establish how a divorce would shake out for you. See if that situation is do-able, and if it would be a good fit for "me" (you). If it is a good fit for you then it is well worth considering it. At worst, the information would provide a solid base from which you can negotiate your way through this situation - without any worry about "what you'd do if no solution can be found".

Tread your own path.

"My wife is decent, honest and a good mother"

Um, perhaps you could question these statements. She's a **** mother because she's exposing the whole family to break up - whether you want to or not - through her complacent self-serving attitude. She's a liar because she's not helping you be satisfied in a sexually exclusive relationship. And she's only decent to herself and some status building bullshit about you being a sexual couple.

And you may start to make progress when you confront that unpleasant reality.

You're lying to yourself and have allowed yourself to come to harm. Stop it.

"The last time we had sex was when my 4 year old was conceived. "

Wow, didn't realize there was a club of us out there... same here!

Oh, I also have 2 kids, and last year I said, that's it. We are now separated. I urge you to really think about how long you want to put up with this sort of crap. But it WILL continue until you decide to grow a backbone and set some boundaries - or leave.

My complete sympathies.

As harsh as this sounds you have only but yourself to blame for this behavour. I would even say you have encoraged it by your actions or inactions in condoning it with no consequences to her of whatsoever.

No sex for 5 years you say, she sits on Facebook and you financially support her and her credit card payments as well. I think its about time you pulled the pin on financially supporting her. My wife went threw a phase where she was not participating in any sexual activity for 3 months. I pulled her financial pin then and there. Cancelled her joint credit cards access to my account etc. I can tell you her attitude change was significant.

Brother do the same she wont like it but deep down she will start respecting you more for not being such a push over.

Brother Openhonesty you hold all the cards here. She has made her position perfectly clear over time. It is now up to you whether you choose to continue tolerating this behavour or seek legal advice and start planning change.

Either way read up here you are definately not alone and will find plenty of support here.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

What your wife is doing is not ok. It also wont change unless you make it change. Insist on counseling. If she won't go, start without her. Get your head around the mess that your relationship has become, and eventually, you will need to end it. Sad for your kids that they won't come from a 2 parent household, but it is not you doing this - it is your wife, who isn't treating you like a spouse, but instead like a slave. That isn't what you signed up for. If you put your head into it, you can make life for your kids pretty good, even with separate homes.<br />
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And to answer your original question, no, life shouldn't be that hard.

I object to the comment about it being SAD that the kids will not be from from a 2 parent home...sometimes, and I am a case in point, the kids are HAPPIER when the parents are apart but happier themselves. Staying together "for the kids" would have been counter productive not just for us parents, but for the children we both love, as well.

Gbg, I think of myself as a similar case in point, and have written a story saying just that. But no question (for me), particularly as a dad, it is harder to be a good parent when separate. Things can still be great, but you can still mourn the fact that your spouse screwed things up.

Seems you don't need advice, you need support. You know the score and what the future looks like if nothing changes. You will find plenty of support on this site. Stay strong.

OHD Guy,

I feel your pain. We all have unique situations, but also tend to have several things in common as well. Several lines are being crossed by your wife, but the worst 2 sentences I read are these: "If we do go out, in conversation, she will make out like we have a fantastic sex life and I think to myself "if only you knew.." She often tells me how lucky I am to have her as a wife as well." As much as you may otherwise get along, think she's a decent mother, etc... she is abusing you and controlling you and your marriage... by refusing to have sex, have you provide for her, and having the nerve to tell (and get away with telling) these lies about your sex life. It sounds like she "wants it all" but wants to coast on your hard work / financial success but doesn't want to provide for your needs in return.

I recommend initially going to counseling (find a way somehow) and have an honest heart to heart chat with her, and make her understand that things HAVE to change this year for your marriage, or you're going to have to seriously consider moving on. Marriage is a wedded partnership and both spouses have to work at it and have obligations to the other. If only one spouse has obligations, then it isn't a wedded partnership. Probably not the best choice of words but you get the idea. I told my wife essentially the same thing on New Years' Day... This year HAS to be a defining year for our marriage, and it has to change for the better. Unless she sees the urgency, she won't change.

I've only made a few posts so far, but you can probably look up my other similar comments to a few others as well.

Good luck to you.


I have been in a similar situation and I can relate to what you're going through. And that goes for a lot of us on here. Have a read.