How Was The Policy Made ?

Nearly everyone here is in a sexless marriage, bar the odd visiting flamer and/or troll.

I am rather curious about "how" this position was negotiated by you and your spouse.

Theoretically, an event of such seriousness as the minimisation of sexual expression, or cessation of it, was regarded as a matter of some importance to the two spouses, and presumably, as part of the "we" dynamic, one of the spouses raised the prospect of adopting this position, way back when. Like the discussion you had about having children, or other major decision involved in the "we" dynamic.

How did you argue your position on this matter ? How did your spouse argue their position ? How did you negotiate your position ? How did your spouse negotiate their position ? Did you arrive at the policy by consensus ? By mutual co-operation ? By compromise ? How ? How was the policy to minimise or eliminate sexual expression in the "we" dynamic arrived at ?

See, I am betting that there was no such discussion. I am betting that one of the spouses adopted a Nike philosiphy and "Just Did It". I am betting that you were not even consulted, not even invited to have some input into the policy, not even given a vote before the policy was adopted into practice.

If this is pretty much what happened to you, then I defy you to find any semblance of a "we" motivation in the dynamic. And if you ain't got "we" in a marriage, then you ain't got ****.

I'd invite you to look at other suppossed "we" decisions in your marriage. Like where "we" ended up living. Like who controls the money. Like who decides where "we" will eat. Like where "we" go on holiday. Like any aspect of the union that nominally involves a "we".

I'd be betting that there is precious little "we" going on, and instead, plenty of "me".

Further, I would suggest that a marital situation based on a "me" agenda by one of the spouses is not an environment for "you" to thrive in.

Tread your own path.
bazzar bazzar
56-60, M
28 Responses Jan 18, 2013

I'm currently trying to save mine. I told him I'd go to counseling, I'm the one that pointed it out. We never, never fight, which as I'm reading I realize isn't necessarily a badge of pride like we thought it was. The worst is when I admitted to him recently that I don't want to have sex with him, that I don't find him sexually attractive now and want to- he just said we'd figure it out. He said we could live like this. I don't like the idea of wittingly or unwittingly allowing that. So, I guess now I look for the we. How does one plod along believing everything is okay and then realizing it somehow isn't? So confused. And sad. This is a good read.

Ohtheagony, apparently he is perfectly fine with the marriage the way it is. Your disinterest in sex may have been temporary and due to the rape that occured before you married him. Your husband, however, may never have been particularly interested in sex. That's why he's so quick to accept the status quo, and it's why it's the alleged refuser -- you -- who's working hard to bring sex into your marriage.

We used to talk about it sometimes but when one person literally cant do it, and the alternatives just arent appealing to the other it should be no surprise there is no sex at all. and yes, the alternatives would be great if I was mentally attracted to him. At this point it might be his lack of ability is actually good for the marriage. Of course whether the marriage itself is actually "good for" either of us could certainly be debated.

with my first refuser the sex was not that great to begin with, but after 3 months of marriage with nearly no sex I got us a therapist which did nothing to help fix it, and from there sex petered out (no pun intended) at 7 years i out soured, then at 10 years he walked out left me with a dear Jane letter blaming it all on me.

with my second refuser the no sex started the day we moved in together as man and wife, I didn't say anything for 3 months then one day after keeping my mouth shut for way to long.

I YELLED OUT WHAT THE ****, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE SEX??? then for the next 9 months we had sex maybe every 6 weeks, which lead to every 6 months which lead to once a year..... and now there is no sex at all ... we have been together for 4 years,living together as man and wife for 2 and half years..and still together.

and to add to the comment , my first refuser said he wanted to have a healthy sex life do to not having one with his cold fridged x wife.. he lied... it was him who was cold/friged not her

second refuser i told him how i wanted to have a fun sex life do to not having one with my x. he seemed to have no problem with it . and low and behold from day one he avoided me.

It was Nike all the way with the sex. Honestly? Most of the day to day stuff was a balance of "we". Where to eat, what to eat, holidays etc.

The single largest outlier here was her time. She chose to give 95% of her spare time to her job rather than to "us". I'll grant you this is a pretty large bump in the graph of balance :)

You know, it's strange. I often look back at all the "not tonight, I've got planning to do" and "not this weekend, there's research to do" and at the time dismissed them as "ah well, next time" like a dog might after being turned down for a walk for the 15th time in day. It's not until now really that I see that as the total lack of respect for me and for US that it now feels like it was.

This also makes me look back and think of the times I said "no", and there really aren't that many that come to mind. I was truly up for doing anything as long as we spent time together. I mean I make up for it in other ways of course. I've got a lot of faults which would diminish someones love for me for sure :) But spending quality time with my wife, was always something I craved.

With me, it started when I was pregnant. He didn't want to have sex while I was pregnant, because he felt like it would be uncomfortable. (Despite my assurances to the contrary.) Then, he got a hobby--and when he wasn't working, that's what he did. Then I said something. So we did, and the sex wasn't great. Sometimes he couldn't keep it up. He said it was because I had gained weight, didn't fix myself up anymore. Then it was because he was tired, no time to do it, and the little one slept in our room. Then he said it was because of prior sexual abuse. (Which quite honestly, I don't know if it is true or not. I treat it as true, however, he's also the type to make things up to drum up the sympathy vote.) At some point we separated for awhile. When he wanted me back, we had sex often. Then when we were back together, it was back to infrequent to no sex. I bring it up, but now again he's too tired, our son takes up all the energy he has, there's no place to do it. Now I'm just tired of trying, honestly.

I can relate to this.

Life is too short, you have to talk to each other about this, it's the only way to improve your daily live as a partnership. Some of the responses really struck a chord though as previously I have been in a relationship with a guy who was all 'me'...if you have to ask if you're included, then you're clearly not. I felt so stupid afterwards for giving so much and not packing it in straight away. Guess you live and learn! Good luck to all of you on here...honesty and communication in a relationship, or the demise of it usually are the main causes of lack of intimacy.

20 years ago I stopped having sex with my (then) husband because of threatened miscarriage. The baby was very wanted and we did not want anything to cause further problems. Baby was born healthy, thank goodness. However he was very difficult to look after. The care fell to me (and the care of our two older children). I felt resentful that my husband could come and go as he pleased and have a social life (unlike me!) He was unemployed at this time. He would mind the baby while I went grocery shopping, but he'd be furious if I came back later than expected. He would not comfort the baby in the middle of the night because "he wants his mother". So I rarely had more than a couple of hours sleep. Due to the baby's demands I could not even go to the bathroom on my own. Yet my husband could go away fishing for a few days! I had absolutely no sexual desire for him. Eventually we split up.

This is sexlesness brought on by dysfunctionality.

In a good cooperative marriage, both partners look after each other in the ways that are important to them, and they have a duty of care to do so (with the emphasis on care). It doesn't sound like either of you were doing this. Once you get the negative spirals going, it takes some leadership to change.

Of course, a new mother deserves a lot of slack. But I've noticed there's a mindset in hyper-privileged, hyper-entitled, and hyper-victimworthy Western moms, which raises normal difficulties into national emergencies and "justifies" self-absorbed behavior, victimhood, and blaming of that nasty convenient male who happens to be her husband, casting him the villain. And claiming martyrdom for the nominal sake of the kids, ignoring the little fact that it's a really good idea to have two cooperative and happy parents looking after them.

When they switch on the tap (they have a tap), clean water comes out; their kids are not hungry; there's good healthcare; a washing machine; etc.

And so, for example, when you say I stopped having sex with H because of threatened miscarriage, that sounds unilateral. OK, maybe necessary, but did you give him a HJ if he wanted it? After all, the baby was still inside at that point.

I've no idea what the realities were for you, but would encourage a clear view of the situation and a willingness to own your own contribution.

I feel that you have made a lot of assumptions in replying to my story. I mentioned that my husband was unemployed..he worked for less than 2 years of our 13 year marriage. I was the main breadwinner for much of the time. Ours was certainly not a hyper-privileged family (whatever this may mean). There was not a washing machine. Nappies were handwashed by me in a sink. In cold water.
HJ was not suggested.
Two cooperative parents would be great, I imagine, I never experienced that. Perhaps minding the baby once so I could have had lunch with a friend. Doing one night feed once,so I could have had 3 hours sleep in a row might have been nice.
Women/wives need to feel loved in order to want sex. When you provide everything and nothing is given back, you don't feel loved.
I own my own contribution: I provided the finance, cleaned the house, shopped for and cooked the meals and cared for the children.

You're self-justifying. Maybe he was a selfish louse, and at the same time, you were hyper-privileged - living in a developed country - we all are. What did you do to show leadership, to change the situation? Did you unilaterally impose no-sex during pregnancy (this is rarely medically advised, and in any case, there are alternatives). This kind of unilateral behavior can easily start the negative spirals, which would lead to (but not excuse) his later behavior. Of course I'm making assumptions and I specifically said I didn't really know your situation, you haven't posted your story, and at the same time, it's valuable for anyone to have their cosy self-justifying stories challenged because it allows personal growth. If you want to stay in your story, that's OK, but don't try to promote messages that are harmful to others.

Oh you are such an angry man aren't you? You don't actually listen to anything anyone else says. No wonder no-one wants to have sex with you.

Research does not appear to be one of your strengtha 'madtiger'

Wow, just wow.

Her husband left her to go on fishing trips while she was stuck at home.

I don\'t think she\'s being unreasonable at all.

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Wow. My second wife and same pattern of being nice guy and accepting the no sex clause of the unspoken terms of my surrender. Sex was frequent and great prior to marriage. Then child and her always being tired, etc. ... And me accepting it. Many months at a time without it and without intimacy and respect. This pattern going on for multiple years.

I recently had the talk with her and communicated to her my "me" needs. I said that life is short and I am no longer going to accept situation as it is. Told her I was divorced before and am at the point of walking down that path if need be. I explicitly stated that I am a man, and damn it, I have needs that will be met. It may sound cruel, but so be it. ... I told her that I cannot force her to have sex with me, but she now has the right of first refusal, meaning that I would always go to her for sex, but if she refused, I was going elsewhere for sex (marital consequences be damned!). I also asked her if she wanted me to find someone else just for sex. I also told her I hated the fact that I resented her for not even caring about my needs when I do what I can to meet her needs. She is a stay at home mom who does not have financial worries and we live in a nice house, and I am mostly around for her and our child unless I am at work.

Apparently, it has been a wake up call for her. I am now getting sex every other day. Not the greatest sex, not even good sex, not always intercourse, but at least I am getting relief. Hope it lasts and she comes around to wanting more sex/intimacy in the future.

Another note is that I do everything to please her before I climax, so it is not like I am selfish/lazy when we are having sex. I do give her *******, it is mostly with me orally pleasing her before sex. It is weird that she says she is too tired to ******, but if I orally stimulate her enough, she will ******.

Also, on a non-sexual level, I really try being more attentive to her needs and communicate better and be more affectionate.

I hope this does not all eventually go to worms, but I feel I needed to be in a place where I was willing to lose the marriage to have the situation change. And I am constantly trying to be a better husband.

I hope you find fulfillment and happiness in your path. I agree the "bad sex" is not the best, but I believe it is the best she can give right now. I do believe she is trying. I'll just have to see how I can make it better or see if I can live with it. Be well.

ma28146, I'm with you there. If I was not pleasing husband sexually, I want a blueprint then! And over the years I have gotten over any qualms about saying "Hey, that wasn't really the greatest." or " Could we please do xyz because that felt a little dead to me."
sojourner, I think it's just as important to discuss how the sex is as it is to discuss the lack of. I do mean that both ways. I think the whole point is to have a pretty darn great sex life and I hope your wife gets more involved in the pleasure aspect- and not just the sex part. It does sound like you have a good start, though.

It's a sad fact that they will not wake up until the barbarian sex fiend is ready to decamp.

I'd believe her actions, and continue to reward good behavior.

One thing I would encourage though, is to find out what she really values, because it sounds like you are measuring in your currency (a good session & *******). Believe me, this is not what provides the most important intimacy needs for some, and to make this ecological, sustainable and fun, you are as bound to provide her with the intimacy she wants in her terms as she is to you.

Lohla, Thanks for the reply. I do see that her lack of desire is a symptom, and not the root cause. I have communicated to her that I want her happiness and I want emotional closeness. Her reply, "you are such a chick!" When I do ask her about what I should start doing, stop doing, she tells me, "once I tell you, that's all you'll do"! I respond with, I do not want to be a one trick pony, but if that is the only thing that gives you pleasure, than that is what I will do. I am frustrated! What a whirlwind!

Hl42, I crave emotional intimacy with my wife! I believe that ******* are not on the top list of any woman, and only come after she believes she is truly loved and accepted for who she truly is! With the best of my ability, I try. I spend much time listening to my wife and Internalising her hopes/dreams/struggles. IMO, having an ****** without being understood/loved is at best, a band aid to the human soul. But for right now, that is acceptable for me. I am still working for better and not accepting where I am right now. I would be in heaven physically and emotionally climaxing with my partner and someone I want to be my soul mate!

I wish you the beat!

Yikes, beat should be best.

Sojourner, I'm trying to get you to think about forms of intimacy that are not sexually expressed but mean a lot for her. This might - as in the case of my W, be nattering and going on walks together. Really. Your emotional intimacy is principally had through physical lovemaking, and that may NOT be hers.

As for the sex part, she may not know herself how she's going to respond at any given moment, and a sure way of squelching any nascent flowers is to trample around. If you can be attentive and in the moment, respond to whatever's happening, that can allow whatever's going to happen to flourish. And that does not have to include *******. Redefine what constitutes success.

This is late in response, but I will rsspond. The ONLY thing my wife wants to do with me is ballroom dancing. So, I am paying $ for all the lessons and doing the dances.

And you know what? During the social dances she pushes me to dance with the older widow women. And she enjoys the attention and dances she gets with the other gentlemen.

At the end of the night she is nowhere closer to me than she was before.

hl42, I understand it is not just sex. I do things like hold her hand. Tell and show her I love her. I try to spend time every day to rub her shoulders and talk about the day she has had and how she feels. She even does not like the talking about her day. I get, You're such a chick!, Do I really have to talk? You are so emotionally high maintenance.

For me, I am not getting emotional or physical. I am trying to give her emotional, but am getting stymied in all my attempts.

It is a sad situation, and I am not quite ready to accept failure, so I do what I can. Thanks for your input.

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I have to be submissive or I get beaten

If you choose this, that is your right. If it is being forced on you, then you are a victim of abuse.

The reason we are all in a SM is beacuse there is no 'we' in these relationships. The refuser is in denail and the refused just keeps on taking the bullshit either because of kids in the relationship, a hope that things would eventually change or just because ending a marriage is a big thing. My H is the only man I had a physicia relationship with and that too after we got married. Initially he kept telling me that my sex drive was more than what normally people have ( we never had sex more than one or twice a week in the initial years and now its about 3 to 4 times a year), then the excuse was he was too tired because of the work, kids etc. Meanwhile I am the one who has longer working hours, longer commute..He had me almost convinced that after marriage sex dies down.. All he had to was to admit that he does not have any drive or maybe some medical condition that he would like to address...he is still in denial and after 11 years of marriage I am angry, bitter and resentful!!!
Thanks to all those who share their stories...for their experiences have given me strength, hope to start thinking of a future without my H...

I've not heard of so much direct and meaningful conversation in a relationship before... :P

from what i've seen and heard, and my understanding of the sexes, its either wife always saying no, or husband not making effort to initiate. in either case i'm pretty sure its a unilateral decision...

your advice is sound though - on both sides its common to leave talking about the problems as a last resort... men shouldn't complain because that is not 'manly' and women don't normally have to do anything so proactive in a relationship.

I'm pretty certain that H has negotiated his ED with himself as a trade-off for being a nice guy. Nice guys don't get mad. Nice guys always find a way to be positive at all costs (this is the "fiddling while Rome burns" syndrome). Nice guys let irritations roll off their backs. Nice guys always smile. Nice guys are good boys and don't cause trouble. When we got married, I was essentially a child who very much needed a good boy. Children don't have physical intimacy beyond cuddling and touching. We were like puppies, always rolling around together. It was pretty good. I figured we would grow into a fuller ex<x>pression of physical intimacy together. The plan was to grow up, after all. And, may I say, we were both older when we married.The price of ignoring our darker and very human side is emasculation (for both women and men). Even nice guys get mad. Even nice guys have to recognize when a situation needs adjustment. Even nice guys have to deal with irritations. Even nice guys get blue from time to time. My H will maintain his nice-guy image at all costs and deeply lie to himself. When he started working full time, the stress of being a nice guy at work meant I began to see the underbelly of the Nice Guy. I began to see the lies. And how easy it is for a man to present the lie of an unresponsive body and expect to have his partner believe it (i.e., have me believe it): Gee, I want to, but just can't!

yep i want to belive too, but like you, i cant...

<p>It took me years and years to realise that my Ex was a master at letting me "think" I made some decisions. (I've acknowledged before that I'm a slow learner!) I finally realised that in ALL the important things of life, HE made the decisions. In minor things, he "allowed" me to make the decisions. For example: Where we live - not up for negotiation. What fabric we used to recover the sofa - my choice!</p><p>He would be reasonable about any decisions I made provided (a) they were minor in nature and (b) they did not contravene what he wanted! Because I am by nature someone who seeks cooperation and mutual approval, even the decisions I was "allowed" to make hinged on his final approval!! I own this - I did that to myself.</p><p>And he could be completely unreasonable if anything I wanted was NOT what he wanted. On a trip to the UK, he set out our daily itinerary. One day I wanted to go to an attraction that was only five miles out of the way. We could have easily fitted it in with all the rest of his plans - no need for him to surrender anything! But did we go? No!</p><p>I came close to HATING him that day. Then my "rational mind" told me it was "silly" to over-react about such a minor thing. If I had really listened to what my mind was trying to say, I might have realised I was HATING the fact that he had so litle respect for my wants. </p><p>For those of you who continually rationalise your spouse's behaviour, find excuses for their lack of attention to "we" and seek to live cooperatively by acquiescing to their "rules", consider this. Each time you do so, your life together as "we" or "us" is further diminished . . . . . .</p>

omg! You're over-reacting, you're over-reacting. I have heard this so many times. Both from him and internally.

Over-reacting would be setting of a small thermonuclear device. And maybe, not even then.

hl42, you crack me up!!!

Absolutely! And "Don't exagerate"!!

Lao pointed to an "excellent" list of put-downs and nasty invalidations people did, I'll try to dig it out. It's useful as the price of freedom is eternal vigilence.

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Great much food for thought, doesn't it?? I am married, but it is not a sexless spite of our differences, and many ups and downs (excuse the pun!!), that aspect has been, thankfully, relatively unfettered...

I think you have hit the nail on the head with that line, though...."a marital situation based on a "me" agenda by one of the spouses is not an environment for "you" to thrive in"

Great words to ponder...thanks!!

Hindsight is 20/20. It's funny how I didn't notice that the ONLY place we traveled to in 10 years was to visit his family. I didn't realize how I was given responsibility for all the finances, meaning I got blamed for lack of funds even when he spent money without thinking about it. I even go blamed when his speeding ticked didn't get paid. I am a vegetarian and the ONLY restaurant he likes doesn't have a single vegetarian option. Apparently a side salad and a baked potato are all I should want. How he could make plans with his friends, even last minute, without a problem because I would be with the kids but me trying to do anything fun was just too big of an inconvenience.

Well, We was appreently never we. I let it happen some how. when I let him tell ME when we would move in together, when we would marry when we would have children. When We would or wouldnt have sex. I am in a sexless marriage cause my husband is so focused on himself that he will not allow me the pleasure of a roll in the sack. Now we have reached an impass. Ive reached the end of my WE phase and entered dramatically into the ME phase and im setting some **** on fire.

Although I am not married, I like this story. Not only does it show the slow death of communication, but also of marriage.

With any relationship, I find that communication is very important and without it peoples needs begin getting neglected.

Also, I am enjoying some of these responses. Good luck y'all-- I know I wouldn't be able to give 'it' up.

There was a breakdown in communication. But good luck. I hope it works itself out.

I understand what you're saying but it doesn't make much sense. Once your wife won't have sex with you...for whatever reason...she won't and there's not much you can do about it. She pretty much doesn't consider your needs and that marriage implies meeting each other's needs. There's no "we" it's only "she".

I think that's very point bazzar was making. There really is no "we" in these situations. That's the entire issue. But there is something we can do, individually, about that. Only we can say what that may be.

jb, there are MANY women in this foru. You appear to see this as a "male only"
problem. WRONG! That might be your experience but it is certainly not the "only" one.

ifoundme - exactly, and it really pees me off when judgemental twerps castigate people here for leaving marriages lightly. Sheesh. Usually, the sane ones are the ones who've given it 6 months and called it how it is.

Judgemental twerp...hmmm. It makes me mad when a guy marries a woman and she decides not to hold her end of the marriage, call it quits and collects the guys money the rest of her life. To me that's an attrocity that needs to be fixed.

1 More Response

bazzar, wonderful points! In fact, I have brought this up to my husband. I asked him why he thought it was okay to make such an important decision (SM) without consulting me. What gave him the right to decide, all by himself, to take sex and love and affection from what is a two person relationship.
Well, as you know, I'm trying to make my relationship work so I will try to be positive here- yet,realistic. In other aspects of our marriage, my husband does make the decisions. I have overall been happy with his choices. Your post, though, gives me pause for thought. It might be time in my journey to start speaking up more.

Praying for your success!

In areas other than sex we are a very participatory and talkative household. Within the context of the sex-starved marriage, the initial years, when I knew and she did not (that we have a problematic marriage) were the hardest. My wife has this pattern of refuting a perception of mine for a while until I stop mentioning it, and, much later, admit to me that she realized I was right a long time back. Once we were past that point, there was again plenty of conversation and collective analysis (largely between 2008 and 2010). You might in fact blame me for being unilaterial (not that the polarity matters to you!), because I decided to shut down shop completely in 2005. The interesting point is that serious bilateral discussion happened only after the show had conclusively ended, never to resume again. Anyway, the upshot of the discussion was that I am physiologically a normal male and she is a likewise female, but we are not sexually compatible. I imagine I could have played nicer and negotiated for an outcome that would be judged better by most people when it comes to the occasional root. But I am terrible at amicable negotiation, especially with parties I feel are not pulling their weight. So I did not bother to negotiate. After I implemented Mutually Assured Refusal she did try to negotiate a bit (she is a far better negotiator than I am) but it was way too late. By that time I had begun to get grossed out by human sexuality.

By stealth and slow boiling. Which I acquiesced in, not confronting or rocking the boat (too much).

In my instance, the attitudes and patterns were all in place, hiding, waiting for the disaster to happen. We had had a very good sex life for a long time 10+ years, but these had been low stress in a sense. Then came the kids. And there were a huge number of familial and societal beliefs and patterns around them that "justified" the huge change without any proper negotiation.

The situation when the kids were young, breastfeeding, poor sleepers, in our bed etc. were exacerbated by her familial patterns of huge and sometimes inappropriate or creepy focus on the kids - at the expense of herself and our relationship. Improper boundaries, priorities and time management = disaster for all.

And I swallowed it, being nice and all New Age about it. I expected a drought post-partum and sure got it.

What I didn't expect, was that it would carry on. But these things are insidious and boiled-frog. When you emerge from the post-partum nightmare, there isn't really a moment when you realise you've had a night's sleep (although that took many years!). And you are used to the excuses that she is tired, harassed etc. And you are trying to be nice and understanding, and the last thing you want is to impose sex on an unwilling victim. But she was sure in the victim mode and everything was about her - me me me.

But carry on it did, and fuelled by some really nasty and toxic patterns on W's part - which were mighty convenient for her. Apart from the "kids-come-first", she had a big dose of the "perfect-moment-sex-orchestras-playing-and-if-that-wasn't-going-to-happen-you-shouldn't-do-it". And the noxious and immoral fvckwit 80s Cosmo feminist stance of "I-only-have-sex-when-I-want-it-(desire-it)-you-can-go-hang-and-don't-dare-stray" & "it's my body" blah. Autonomy-extremism (her ME) works if you're a single hermit, but is incompatible with a worthwhile marriage (and not only for sex).

There was a fake "we" because W had the opinion that she was putting this immense priority on the kids partly for my benefit, that was her expression of love for me. And I bought the lie that she was a great partner because of her (bizarre) focus on the kids - despite the sex.

But by no means was there consensus on this, I was deeply unhappy and expressed that many times, and got brutally refused and told to stop going on about it. Empathy level -20.

I would never in a million years have agreed to the arrangement she seemed to think was acceptable.

And when I came to realise that, and to own my own needs and what I wanted as good, that's when it changed forever.

It became me at last. And, eventually, it became a proper "we". Through decent adult negotiation, once the toxic beliefs and ideology had been banished.

And I've learned: it's not smart to be "nice" if you're letting yourself be harmed. Being selfish can be very good, and good for those around you. If you both attend to a healthy "me", then you have a decent foundation for a "we".

Brilliantly articulated Brother H.

My blunt story is below, a sound bite, an Oprah kind of scribble. As your story so clearly describes, it is all about so much more. The self scarifying wife for the kids that's tangled up in 'it's for me', if I asked or not, the family dynamic, blah blah... good post. Mine would be similar if I took the time to write...

Superb. And a seeming success story. Solid advice. Hope for the future.

Again, wonderful wording.
We have talked about these very things.

She's got the reins and I've got the bridle.

I used to run free, but those days are over.

She's the "husband-whisperer" and has taken total control.

It all happened bit by bit

Exactly.... least for my situation.

Actually I will ask all of these from my hb. (Besides asking myself of course)
I do like your pure logic and fair approach, and very much appreciate this post.
Thank you.

Unilaterally decided for me. I was not consulted. She also justified it (after the kids), has no remorse and just gets angry with me (but really herself).

Basic timeline:

Good for many years (but 'something' not right), I was too young to spot it.
Child 1
Excuses due to child (I did not know what was normal, I was a new parent etc)
Boiled frog stage starts, aka - 'This is what happens to intimacy with an infant'
Boiling continues - Internal questions - When does the libido return.... 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? ... When does basic touch return?
Child 2 - intimacy (not just sex) returns for a brief period to conceive.
Pregnancy test positive - all stop.
Boiled frog returns
1 year
2 years - conversations, excuses, anger, denial blah blah
All intimacy (not sex) is gone
Her reason? 'needs space...'
Her respect for me goes (if it really was there in the 1st place), her control techniques start in earnest
Year 5 of SM comes and goes
My Fear, Obligation and Guilt (The FOG) carry me another 5 years - 'for the family'.
In the meantime I enter 'fix it' stage - I research personality disorders - she refuses to accept many things are not right.
I realise I am isolated, see a shrink who lays it on the line - It is not me! - I have been boiled. She refuses to come to see the shrink - her terror!!!

A decade - I snap, I search for me, I find me, I grow.
The Talk (The big one - with the word 'Divorce' in it)

I grieve the loss of my marriage, loss of my hopes to grow old together etc.
I heal
Counter refusal begins
Separate (personal) life begins
Separate beds

For the 1st time in a decade I am actually in control of my life and destiny
My actions are now based upon 'My' choices and 'child' choices but not 'her' choices.

The 'We' dynamic has left.

And the irony:

'I' unilaterally decided this. 'She' was not consulted. 'I' also justified it, 'I' have no remorse. (But yes, regret).

Exit strategy begins. Panic ensues as she sees I am out of the FOG and 'fog hoover' techniques have failed.
She is back in college getting a 'proper' profession as she waits for the end. Her Co-Dependency has come back to bite her, her refusal has come back to bite her.
Her future is now dictated by my choices.
She is not part of my circle of friends, old or new, my hobbies, interests or privy to my thoughts.

I am looking at houses, I am patient and I am at peace.
I know so much, I have grown so much, I would not change any of it

Wow! I read your response on the edge of my seat, because it is very similar to my SM history and I wondered how it turned out for you. I see that I'm right behind you... Separation is next step for me. I hope one day I can say, "I am at peace. I know so much, have grown so much and would not change any of it!"

Peace is a state of mind, so that one is down to you. Take the good memories with you and leave the bad behind, but learn from them. That's all I try to do in this, then see what the world delivers next. Good luck to you.

You seem ready to divorce and move on. Don't wait. Your life is on hold until the papers are signed and the judge pounds the gavel. You are ready for the life you deserve. She's made her bed and must lie in it. Don't wait for her to finish college! Do It Now!

This is the beauty of the epiphanies born from my SM. My life is not 'on hold', for from it, it is rich and full. My 'marriage is ending', these two comments are different. Marriage is taking up less and less space in my mind. The shift in thinking was organic and unplanned, the angst and worry dropped away and today I live my life. The marriage will come to its natural end, this is now fact.

Wow. It is amazing how one greedy decision can lead to a whole slew of reactionary ones. Good luck.

Etg, our stories are very similar both in symptoms and eloquent expression.

And what really pees me off is that the basis for these attitudes is sown in cultural messages about what's acceptable. They sow as they reap, and it's great to hear about how well your attitude is serving you and enriching your life - without her.

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No Nike Philosophy in my marriage. More like Just Won't Do it! Starts with can't do it (impotence), followed by apathy, since it doesn't matter to him, it just doesn't matter period..same result though. I am going to go home, brand my chest with a scarlet "A" and have an affair; may be then, I can stop crying incessantly

Damn. Excellent approach to the 'I didn't sign up for this bullshit' chat we've all stumbled and shouted our way through.

Then you, as usual, had to 'invite' us to step back and see the larger picture. Helpful, yes, but rather less satisfying and easy than just bitching and feeling angry. Well done.

Sometimes EP has a way of making me not want to get married.

If I could live again, I'd certainly not get married.