Answer: Jaded Or DysfunctionalThis forum needs a different name, though, many of us find our way because of the name, so I guess it works. So much is going on here, though, and it is much more involved than the name suggests. I appreciate the new, fresh perspectives, sage advise, sharing and friendships.
Enna posted a topic in the forum asking for questions for newbies to explore whether their marriages are simply "jaded" or if they are dysfunctional. Since I am in the midst of this mess, I can't add questions, but I did ask myself what Enna posted so far:
Has this lack of interest or rejection of sex been a constant thoughout the relationship? Or was there a perfectly acceptable sexual relationship for some time before it diminished?
Constant. Since day one.
Why did I stay? I had no clue who I was and I didn't see the neon glaring warning signs for what they were until well "after-the-fact." Sure, looking back it would be easy to call myself all kinds of explicit names for being "so stupid" but I really had no clue what I was doing. I didn't know I had dealbreakers, or SHOULD have dealbreakers. I didn't know what I liked, sexually. I didn't have confidence in myself. Etc.
Neon-glaring Warning Signs:
~ I grabbed his hand at a concert, he didn't squeeze, it was cold. He let me hold it for a few moments and then let go saying, "can I let go now?" This has been the topic of our sexless conversations many times throughout the years. "NOTHING WILL CHANGE. HE IS WHO HE IS," she says, finally getting a clue.
~ Mentioned this one before -- standing on the dock, after a walk around the lake, I rub his back, he kinda arcs from my touch, almost repelled. I noticed it, I don't know why I didn't put more stock in that reaction.
~ Never made a first move -- I made all the first moves... first kiss... first.. everything.
Throughout our marriage, things got worse:
~ The cold hand thing got worse. The man doesn't know how to hold hands.. he doesn't know how to hug. He doesn't "squeeze." I had to literally teach him, but even then, he wouldn't do it. He drapes his big heavy arms on my shoulders, and I have to carry the weight of his whole body, literally feeling suffocated, by his lifeless hugs. There is no.... "squeeze".. that is the only word for it.
~Tell him what I like, for example, "I like when my neck is caressed." He replies, "Well, I can't do that now, you told me you like it and will expect it from me." He thinks it has to be his idea or a "surprise?" I don't know. I don't care anymore.
~ Try to explore anything I like sexually -- excuses. We can't do oily massages because neither of us know how to do it properly. So I bought a book we could explore together, he was offended. (one tiny example of MANY).
~ When I shared my sexual side, desires, he either looked away, looked down or replied, "why do you need that," "that's too much," etc.
Have you REALLY communicated to your spouse how badly this absence of sex and intimacy is affecting you? Or do you shy away from such a talk because you fear the reaction.
See above -- YES!!!!!!
I moved out of the bedroom last winter for a few months. For the first month he communicated to me with a pillow over his face, literally, hiding from me. I heard all his excuses.... "stress, money, stress, weight gain (his), depression," etc. We got into some deeper conversations, finally, around month two. I was able to pull some bigger truths out -- see my own faults in this marriage, what led us to here, etc. The third month he started changing just enough. At this same time I started getting really scared at the whole "uncoupling" thing and retracted. I moved back into the bedroom. I decided to give it another go. I put aside all and tried to give it an honest shot. I really did, to the best of my flawed abilities. But I went back to my old habits REAL quick: over-compensating for his lack of participation, lying to myself about his efforts, pretending all was great, I stopped working out, started watching tv with him all the time, started to slip into depression again. We didn't have sex during the working it out phase.. I haven't had actual sex with my husband in YEARS. (he blames his weight and he isn't even THAT fat... I mean, yes by doctor's standards, but not when you look at him). We did some other things and the communication and affection was better for awhile, but by September we were right back where we were in the winter.
So -- bottom line? My husband does not connect to me on a sexual level. That's a deal breaker for me. Also -- the healthy thing is a deal breaker for me. I woke up with these words ringing in my mind, from out of the blue, the other morning, "Healthy and thriving can't survive here." I can't survive here as my healthy, thriving self -- I feel that truth with every fiber of my being. I have to make a decision for MY life here, as hard as it is to do.
Time to move on. Remorsefully, yes -- but still moving on. We are friends, buddies, I grieve his departure from my life as that friend and buddy. I don't hate him (I often wished he would give me reason to hate him, though). I wish him well. I hate seeing his sadness. I know he is genuinely hurting right now. I see it, feel it. He thinks life is hopeless (he has told me he is a mess and has "no fight" left in him). What do I do with that? I feel like he thinks I am squashing him while he's down. Yes, we are in a financial mess. Before that it was high-stress jobs, before that it was trying to climb the career ladder. There is always a reason for him to be miserable. I can't own it. I HURT for his hurts, but I am pressing through it......