Overwhelmed, Sad, And Hurt.

I'm not new to this experience - we've been married for almost 20 years and we didn't have any physical intimacy on our wedding night or even the entire honeymoon. That should have been a sign but I guess I'm dense. I always thought things would get better - I tend to be a "glass half-full" kind of person.

Our sexlife was fine before we got engaged - but after the engagement there was always an excuse. In the beginning it was usually about stress - my wife's family had a lot of issues that were stressful - nephews in prison, siblings on drugs, etc. All of these issues created stress and she said that was affecting her libido. When it wasn't her family, she was stressed about the wedding planning, and she always said she had a lot of "ambivalence" about our marriage but we both thought that was normal. After we got married the sex was intermittent at best. We loved each other and we wanted to have children, so for the first few years sex became a calculated event. Pregnancy the "normal" way alluded us for a couple of years and she ended up pregnant with twins as the resulf of IVF. We haven't had physical contact since she became pregnant - and my daughters were born 14 years ago.

She says she doesn't feel close to me emotionally and because of that she says there is no way she could ever be physically intimate with me. Although I'm not the most effusive person with my feelings and emotions, I think I'm within the range of "normal" - especially for a man.

We worked with a counselor for many years. At first my wife suggested that I had ADD because she didn't feel that I was attentive to her. She consistently felt "distant" and "unseen" by me. She said she didn't think she would ever need sex again and wondered how long I would stay in the marriage without it. She generally blamed me because she said I wasn't open and didn't take an interest in her. I know that I'm not always open, I know that I can be defensive, I know that I'm not the best communicator - I'm a flawed human for sure... but do I have to be perfect before my wife will touch me or allow me to touch her?

In our work with the counselor I generally felt that my desire for physical intimacy was brushed off as unimportant or a distraction. The counselor said she was surprised that I was going to make "sex" the most important thing in my life - that that's where I was going to draw the line. I said many times it wasn't "just sex" - I wanted a sensual, physical, loving, touching relationship - not "just" sex. My wife said no, she just couldn't, period. If she tried, it would be fake - and I wasn't interested in her being fake either - I had no interest in forcing myself on her.

After about 8 years (!!!) of couples counseling the counselor finally said there was no point in any more couples work. My wife still sees her but we no longer go as a couple.

I suggested that we have an open marriage and my wife was very hurt. I'm not the kind of person who can easily hurt another person's feelings - I'd rather snuff myself out than hurt someone else... probably one of my shortfalls - I realize this is basically self abuse. She eventually said "do what you have to do but don't let me or the girls know about it." I've allowed myself to be trapped here. At this point I have no moral objection to an extramarital physical affair, but I hate the idea of having to lie about it... and I've also learned that it's not easy to find a woman who is willing to take part in such a relationship.

I love, LOVE, LOVE my daughters. Our house is calm and generally loving - my wife and I still sleep in the same bed but we never touch. My daughters probably have no idea how much discord there is between their parents. I still find my wife attractive - she is beautiful and takes great care of herself. It just hurts so friggin much... why, oh why, is it so hard to find someone to cuddle with and explore physically? I just want to hold and be held. It hurts. About a month ago I asked my wife if she thought she would EVER have an interest in being physically intimate with me again - she looked at me like I was an alien and to this day has not answered. She was angry that I asked. Despite that, she wants to get together for a lunch date once a week to talk. I have no problem getting together for a lunch date - but if I don't initiate the lunch date she gets upset and says it's a sign that I don't want to be intimate! If I do initiate, we have lunch and talk, that's it. It feels like I'm in a total "can't win" situation - there's nothing I can ever do to prove to her that I'm there for her... which is her other "complaint" - that I'm not "present."

Sorry for the long vent session... but it felt necessary - thanks.
thetwinpop thetwinpop
41-45, M
11 Responses Jan 10, 2013

I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine that.
You seem great and as a 27 year old woman I can tell you that there are girls my age out there who would love to give you all the physical intimacy you crave, every night!
Get a divorce and be with someone who loves you!

WOW! This is a form of abuse you are living with. Maybe personal counseling for yourself would help you see that. Withholding oneself inside of a marriage is just cruel. Trust me on that...I was the one that was also denied any intimacy.

I too am in a marriage which seems to be going the way yours has. From frequent sex to two or three times a year, even then her hearts not in it. I have talked and talked and she always agrees to make more of an effort but as the weeks pass she seems to go back to the ice lady. I try and be romantic, I buy her flowers, write poems and help out as much as I can but to no avail. I have come to the conclusion that some women will blame you for their own shortcomings and try and make you feel like satan for wanting an intimate and close relationship. This is where it all falls down... People fall in love based on sexual and physical attraction. When sex becomes dull or irregular, it's up to the couple both to reignite the passion, try new things. If one of you has no desire at all to make an effort then I think it's time to call it a day. I'm at this point myself i think. If there is no intimacy then there is no connection. If you have a fling, you are then full of guilt, if not for your wife then for your kids. You owe it to yourself to find happiness. We only have one life so why not live it instead of living with somebody else's issues. Anyway that's just my view, hope it helps :)

Why not reflect not on what your daughters do notice but on what they do not? Consider what their perceived norms are by using you and your wife's relationship as a role model. On that basis, what sort of personal and intimate relationship would you expect your daughter's to be able to form when they grow up?

On your own admission, you have behavioural and emotional issues that give you problems and your wife clearly has profound ones of her own. She clearly blames you for hers, do you blame her for yours? I suspect you do not.

Not only are you unhappy, but you have issues of your own that hold you back as a person. Do you think it feasible for you to tackle your issues in the context and circumstances in which you find yourself? Do you want or need to tackle those issues?

How much of your thinking to date on your predicament is justified or is making excuses for yourself, for prevarication? We all prevaricate all the time over all sorts of sundry issues some clearly a lot more profound than others. That is what difficult situations and even difficult decisions are in essence, after all.

How much do you want to push yourself? How much are you prepared to push yourself? Are you even ready to say to yourself "I am going to tackle this problem and I am going to see dealing with the ramifications of this in a positive and 'doable' manner. That is the essence of the predicament.

And sad again- coke just never been there http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Live-In-A-Sexless-Marriage/2717600

She is not bothered about you for nanosecond....

Dear thetwinpop,

I was going to write my story, 21 years of marriage with exactly the same story like yours.

You have said it all so I can't even add a word! I am still gathering courage to put it writing. No one can understand the pain except those who have endured it. What this does to a human soul is an imaginable! The only different is that I am the wife. Kindness can sometimes kills. It is even harder when we finally understand what made them to be like that in the first place. Then humanity takes over and we chose to be the second Jesus. I know it is very hard for other people to understand why any one would stay in such a marriage but each o us has different circumstance. But i think the biggest part is those who truly love unconditionally usually sacrifice their needs hoping that maybe.. maybe one day
the other person will change.. Reality is that depending on what happened to them as children became embedded in their DNA. They never change. I am in the process of finally letting go, and I will exit satisfied that I have done what I was sent to do in this world.
Starting thinking of taking care of your needs..before you die a sad man. I have recovered from the night mare and i know the future looks bright. Tell your wife that if she truly loves you. She has to let you go and have a life for yourself, if she refuses, she is abusing you. You have already given her too much. I know, because I have gone through the same experience.

One thing I have learnt from this experience is that these kind of people are sick and can still love them but we don't have to live with them. Living in such marriage is one of the most challenging life experience any human being can endure. Have courage.

I hope one day I will have courage to write my experience. For now it is too painful to re -live this painful experience. I am trying to get back my old me. People like you, others and me who have experienced such a tragedy should get together and write a book a bout it. Maybe we can help those in the same situation in their marriages so that they can pack their bags and take off before it is too late.

I am positive his will will heal us. Take the leap, shave your beard, make yourself attractive and get a life.. There are many Teddy Bears out there waiting to give you a hug and good sex. After all where do you get a man like you now days....not even in the 18th century! You sound like a real man with a real heart full of love. Get out and give some of that love to the woman who deserves. Time heals.

You were used. That's why she wasn't interested in having wild sex on your wedding night and honeymoon. At the core, the problem isn't you. The real question is are you willing to live in limbo for the next ten years? Your kids surely know, they just don't want to raise an awkward issue.

Skip the lunches and see a lawyer. Restart your life. Your kids will understand.

You'd do well to go and see a lawyer in your jurisdiction to see how a divorce would shake out for you, including custody and allied issues. From that information, you could map out an exit strategy and polish it up to do-able status.

With that in your pocket you have created a viable alternative to staying in this shithole marriage.

Now (with a viable alternative in your pocket) you can turn your full attention to a ruthless examination of the shithole marriage to establish whether it has any ongoing value to you. You will need to severely challenge your thinking in this fearless inventory, and drill down to YOUR core truths.

THEN you will choose.

Another last ditch lap of the dysfunctional track ?
Ditching her.

Your choice has to be as INFORMED as possible.

Tread your own path.

Wow! If I stuck with the couples counseling for another 7 years, I would be you! Fortunately for me, I bailed. I have occasional doubts, but your post makes them all go away.

I don't mean to be unkind, but you are putting up with bullshit.

You won't have trouble finding a MUCH better woman, before or after you decide to divorce. So be prepared for your divorce if you start looking, because either you or your wife will want one as soon as you find someone. Oh, except for the real chance that she gets interested in you again just long enough to get you to end the affair. That seems to happen here a lot also.

Who cares how attractive your wife is if you don't get to touch her? Find someone who is less good looking but who gives you the affection you need and deserve.

Brothertwinpop, you are indeed in a dilemma. Have you ever considered that she might be engaging in a possible affair?

Do not believe the crap that sex does not intrest her. All humans have an intrest in sex and if she is of a similiar age group to you or much younger than she is not being truthful. The truth probably is that she is intrested in sex just not with you.

As for your counsellor you obviously got a real dud there. Sex is a major part of a marriage and if you wanted to remain celebant the monastry would of been a more fitting life.

Have you explored your legal options? If not visit a lawyer find out your rights and start to prepare an exit plan. Even if you are not planning to leave think of it as insurance for when you reach your tipping point.

Personally if it were me i would of cut her off financially by now if you are the bread winner. If she wont be a proper wife you are under no obligation to support her financially.

In the end we all experience consequences for our actions. Some good some bad.

What consequences if any have you offered up for this continued behavour?

Stay Strong & Good Luck

"My daughters probably have no idea how much discord there is between their parents."

Don't count on that. My eldest knew before I did that we'd split up, that something was terribly wrong. And she's 8. Think what you are teaching them - is this the marriage you want them to emulate when they grow up?

"It feels like I'm in a total "can't win" situation"

That's because you ARE in a total "can't win" situation. Your wife will never change - she has it just the way she wants it. Only you are suffering.

Keep reading on here.