My Decision - Not Bad Enough

I posted this on my blog with quite a few more details, but here it is. My decision.  Not on the fence any more, I have thought it through.  You know those of us on ILIASM who have left their sexless marriages and are happier for it?  I am not likely to be the kind of person who would be happier for it.  I know myself.

Reading the posts of other ILIASMers makes me realize I am not "there" yet.  Many, most I would say, have reached some point where they believe divorce is the only answer.

This is why I think I am not there yet, might never be in fact-

1.  After all those years of near sexlessness I may not desire my husband any more, but I do not HATE having sex with him. 

2.  I still care about him, as a friend at least.

3. The marriage is not so bad that I think the chaos, hassle and poverty thereafter of divorce would be worth it.  I mean, I barely have time to take care of my child, my house, and all the other things I have going on.  Don't tell me divorce is not a time-consuming process.  I won't believe it.  And being a single mom would mean poverty.  I see what it meant for H's first wife.  ....Uh, no thanks.

4.  I do not have the desire to "be with" any other man (am not talking about sex necessarily), anyhow.  What outsourcing taught me is that other men also have traits that will drive me up the wall, even if lack of sex is not one of them. 

So there.  I live in a somewhat dysfunctional marriage.  The solution is to work on myself and things that matter to me and to my little girl.  If the H I married comes back to me, great.  If he doesn't, then I can look back on these years with pride at how I have made the best Engel I could, and did right by my daughter.

That is my solution.  That is my chosen path.  Not everyone is in a tolerable situation, and for them, leaving is the best thing.  For me, better to stay, and find joy in myself and the non-marital aspects of my life.  I can do this.  Yes, I can.
EinEngel EinEngel 46-50, F 12 Responses Feb 3, 2013

Your Response


I can so relate! You explained how I feel about my own marriage very well.
So you can say that at least one other person on this site understands :)

Engel, I understand the need to create some intentionality going forward. I'm not sure that proclamations of the format are any more useful now than they were on any of our wedding days though. We make decisions based on how we feel right now, with the expectation that our external environment remains fixed, and that our personal viewpoint remains fixed, and neither of those are true.

If I can be arrogant enough to propose, I suggest that the meat of your committment be toward personal growth (which I acknowledge that you have commented on), without censoring yourself against growth that challenges your status quo.

The mental game I play with myself in doing this, is I picture myself as a single, recently-divorced or widowered (sp?) man, and fantasize about what that would mean. What changes would I make (big and small) to restore the sense of self, independence, and individuality, and trajectory that I had before things went off the rails. This excersise presents the most surprising fallout, even from small things. I recall taking up extra tasks around the house, acknowledging the blocks I placed on some, such as that for some reason, I was afraid of operating the washing machine myself, or scheduling children's activities myself, and that I was afraid to book time externally to pursue personal interests. I was surprised by what shook out when I started this.

Once you get used to it though, you can use this process WITHIN your marriage to continue growing. Your perspective will likely shift as well. And your growth WILL apply pressure on your partner to choose to grow as well, regardless of whether you choose to confront him openly about it.

Don't commit to staying married. Let that decision sort itself when you get there - whatever happens will be authentic and true, and will seem much more obvious and comfortable as the right answer.

Do commit to personal growth and differentiation, and see what happens.

"If the H I married comes back to me, great"

Consider a personal destination at Engel to arrive at, say, a year from now, where you are the individual you'd want to be, post-divorce. It might include bucket list items you've forgotten because they don't fit with your marriage. It might include necessary activities that you avoid because as a married woman, because you can. It might include things that make you feel better and more interesting as a person.

In that sense, it's not about restoring what went before, of your husband "coming back". It's more about preparing a destination in the future, where HerrEngel is invited to join you if he chooses.

Good ideas Apocrypha. And yes, I am committed to personal growth and differentiation. The point about scheduling time to pursue personal interests is a big one. Difficult, but not insurmountable. (It would mean finding a babysitter so I can go to movies and galleries and the like, but do-able nonetheless).

Hear, hear! Apocrypha, you have pretty much stated my current philosophy.

You have looked at all the options - you chose the one that fits you best. Many here are on the fence -deciding to drop it all on one side or the other is a very tough thing to do. The fence will likely not go away, recognizing that you may choose to jump over later and deciding to stay and live with it take courage too..

The rest of my postings, whether blog entries or stories, will be about my struggle and journey to heal and improve myself, and dealing with the state of my marriage as I go along. The state of my psyche and the state of my marriage impact each other.

There is nothing wrong with your decision. I'm sure things will change and evolve over time - maybe for the better, maybe not. But I understand remaining in a somewhat stable environment for your child(ren).

I can relate, and respect your decision, it's a very difficult one, but you are doing the best you can, and you will do better as you work on YOU, you deserve to be happy but mostly at peace.
Take care of your self first, and you little girl of course.

Thanks Ocean Sun. Who knows, maybe one day I would want to exit, but I sincerely believe until I have addressed issues within myself, anything I do regarding my marriage is only playing around with the margins. The real problem I have is me. The semi-sexless marriage (not totally sexless any more) is a tangential issue.

Engel, I respect your choice because it is a choice and one that you've made through actively seeking to understand your situation better.

One thing I want you to realize though is that you selected your affair partners as a woman still embedded in a dysfunctional marriage. Should you learn to break free from that dysfunctional marriage and find out who you are beyond that marriage your choices for who you will date and mate with will be significantly different. By default, when you grow and change so do your choices about who you keep around you.

I have no doubt about that, but I really would not want to go through the whole process again of being on the market. Some people find it fun and interesting. I did not even enjoy it before I got married. Part of my personality I think.

Ha, I even remember going out with a guy when I was 31. He was cute, great job, very smart, and there we were sitting at a Mexican restaurant (I miss good Mexican food, by the way) and all I could think was, "I wonder if we can hurry this up so I can get back home in time to watch the Sopranos."....Horrible I know. And I was kind of a nice-looking gal, in my humble opinion. I just was, and still am, quite introverted. All relationships are work to me.

Ms. Engel, if it matters one iota I have no doubt you'd do well either way, but of course it's your decision - on a daily basis! Same as the rest of us.

Agree. A solution is only a solution for as long as it works. Then you can choose again. Engel, you may never feel the need to choose again, but if you do, know that it is perfectly OK to make a different choice . . . .

agreeing with the others here. it's your decision to make and your consequences to own.

though it saddens me greatly, both for your sake, and for your daughter's sake. wishing you all the best as you travel this path.

"I may not desire my husband anymore, but I do not hate having sex with him." This saddens me EinEngel. This and the debits and credits model. But, it is a choice you own and in the end, this is most important. All the best on your Life's path. Be well.

Yep, debits and credits. I am after all, an accountant. :-)


Hey, you're making your choice, and that's what counts. I was where you are now a few years ago. Even just a year ago. You'll know when things change.

And maybe they will. But I see my own personal issues and esteem problems as the bigger problem to fix. My marital issues only exacerbated my internal problems, see. And when I am "fixed", who knows how things will play out.

Facts are, most people don't leave their dysfunctional marriage, so your choice is not greatly unique. Slight difference in as much as your ARE making a choice, whereas most "stayers" don't make a choice, just float on (thus actually making a default choice to suffer on).

On a personal note, your choice saddens me as I reckon you are capable, well capable, of constructimg the necessary viable alternative to your present circumstances and moving to a greatly enhanced life.

Travel well Sister EinEngel.

Tread your own path.

Thanks Baz. I think I can enhance my life without leaving my marriage. That is what I shall endeavor to do. I am not going anywhere, though. I will continue to blog my journey here on EP, and update with a story every now and then.