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And The Same Old Song... We'Re Playing It Again

I met my husband when I was 18. He was the first serious long term relationship I had ever had. We were instantly best friends. Within a month of meeting, we were a couple. He let me know at the beginning of our courtship that he believed in abstinence until marriage. I had never had sex. Personally, I always felt having sex before being married seemed like a logical idea so that you could make sure that you were compatible intimately before being legally bound to one another. In hind sight, I wish I'd stuck with my guns, but as his abstinence was a faith based decision and was important to him, I agreed to respect this.

It took 8 years for him to ask me to marry him. That 8 years was filled with a lot of joy and love, but was also filled with a lot of frustration. We both knew and expressed within the first year that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. When I'd ask him when's this going to happen, he'd always put other goals in front of it. "I want to finish college first." "I want to buy a house first." "I want to just live together for awhile."

Yes, I lived with him for two years before we were married. Sleeping in the same bed. Without sex. I should have seen it back then, but I thought I was respecting his beliefs by being a roommate that keeps to her side of the bed.

Finally, the day came that he popped the question, and I said yes. A year later, we were married. Our wedding day was wonderful, beautiful, and perfect. Our wedding night was a different story. We stayed in a hotel for our honeymoon. On our wedding night, he felt a head cold coming on. I told him I didn't care, but he didn't feel well and didn't want to try. Day two, same story, only the head cold was fully in gear. He was obviously not well by then and I didn't push that night. Day three, I started catching the head cold and told him at that point we might as well go for it because it's not like not having sex was going to make me any better.

We tried. He couldn't perform.

He couldn't perform the next night, the next week, the next month, or the next year.

Right now, we're gaining on 14 years of being in a relationship and almost 5 years of marriage. I'm in my 30's and I've never had sex with my husband or any other man. I love him so much. Our relationship is great on so many other levels, but on this one, the only way I've gotten through it is with the help of double A batteries. The only argument we ever have is the one where I'm so frustrated by our lack of intimacy that I break down in tears and explain to him yet again how not right this is. He says he knows. He says he loves me. He says he's going to change.

And yet...
13yearsandcounting 13yearsandcounting 31-35, F 14 Responses Feb 3, 2013

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I think your husband may be gay and he keeps you just to make family and friends think hes straight

13years, now that you have read all the responses, what is YOUR response? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on what you have read.

*cricket noise*

Since you haven't had sex that means you have no kids so get out now!! you are still young enough to have a normal sex filled regular life with someone new, your current situation will not change or get better. I understand that you love him and he is your best friend so if you don't want to leave you might want to consider getting a friend. Best of luck to you

Hello 13yearsandcounting,

This is my first post. I can certainly identify with what you are going through. Although my story has different twists to it, the results are similar.

I have been married 42 years to a woman I met when we were both 13 years old ( I had a mad crush on her, she didn’t know I existed). After a period of separation we were re-introduced through my sister during my senior year in high school. We married at 19 years of age.

In my case the approach to sex was just the opposite. We engaged in sex at the outset. It was frequent and wonderful. After marriage (1971) however, sex became gradually and increasingly, less frequent, slowly dwindling until in 1989, sex ceased altogether. Over those years I have engaged in two affairs and had tried to satisfy my desire for intimacy through close (without sex) relationships with other women to meet my needs for intimacy.

There were some medical issues my wife faced that impacted her reproductive system in 1989. Being the dutiful husband I felt it best to be patient believing things would get better, they never did. Physically, over the years, my wife has let her appearance become progressively worse to the point I no longer find her unattractive.

Three years ago, I had what I call my Melt Down. I had arrived home after work to find her looking horribly unkept, which had become a routine with her. At that moment I came to the realization that all the years of hoping things would get better were for nothing. It sucked the life out of me. But the weird thing is I didn’t realize what was wrong with me. I mean, I knew it had something to do with my marriage, but I couldn’t put my finger on just what it was that was troubling me. It was as though my whole life had been turned upside down. Suddenly, all the things I believed to be true about life, seemed like a big lie. Immediately I decided to enter therapy to try and discover why I felt so lost and lifeless.

Three years later I have come to realize a few things I wish to share with you in hopes it may provide you with some insight or direction (yeah, I know, 3 years, I am kinda slow, it takes time for us to heal).

I have come to realize that many of the values I developed during my youth were simply wrong and really bad for me. I desired to be a good, moral man, remaining in the marriage as a way to bolster my moral self image. And while I was trying to be moral, I tried to justify my various affairs, sexual and non-sexual, in my own mind. So while I may have taken a moral stance on keeping to my marriage intact, I was a hypocrite all along thereby trashing the whole notion of being a moral man (talk about a miserable person).

My dedication to keeping the marriage together, no matter what, had become a psychological trap of my own making. With no means of escape, psychologically, I didn’t see a way to help myself. No means of escape from my own predicament. I had trapped myself, boxed myself in.

My marriage may have to end for me to find happiness and fulfillment in my life. That thought terrifies me because I do not want to hurt my wife, I love her. The very last thing I want to do is hurt her. But my happiness may never come unless I am willing that she be hurt in the process. Somehow I have come to have this super-hero concept of myself as being the good guy who takes on everyone else’s pain. That’s okay for a super-hero who can bear such self inflicted pain. But I am not a super-hero, the pain is real and it really, really hurts to my core. I can’t take on all the pain in my relationships. My wife MUST take on her own share of the pain when things are wrong with the relationship. I must stop protecting my wife from the pain she must bear.

I had come to idealize my wife. Blinding myself to her faults and looking to myself as the problem in the marriage. I overlooked her role in this nightmare and kept asking myself what was wrong with me. What could I change about myself to get her to make love with me again, to make her love me the way I wanted her to. What needed to change was my attitude and perspective toward my wife. Idealization is a re-occurring theme in my life when it comes to relationships of all sorts. I had to stop idealizing my life as I wanted it to be, stop imagining what could be “if only” and face the truth of it all. Things are really horrible between us and no amount of wishing, hoping, waiting or praying is going to change that. I must take action.

I was not the only “cheater” in the marriage. There are many ways to “cheat”. Not meeting your spouses intimate needs is one way. My wife, your husband, are not meeting our needs and are definitely “cheating” on the marriage. We are being deprived of a life of fulfilling intimacy they promised to share with us. They are violating their vows to make themselves available to us sexually. But I realize I am complicit, allowing things to stagnate at status quo.

I must stop putting others needs ahead of my own. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that nurtures me. I am the only one who can ensure my own needs are met.

I must stop being a moral person by keeping some law I've made up about keeping my marriage together. I must be a spiritual person instead. It is not moral to permanently sacrifice your own needs so another’s needs may be met. Ensure your own needs are met. Then you will be in a position to give your fully fulfilled self to a reciprocal relationship. I am not advocating you divorce. But first and foremost defend your right to have your needs met inside your relationship. And defend them aggressively when necessary.

Learn to love yourself, nurture yourself, pamper yourself, give yourself the things you need in this life. Life is way too short to meet the needs of others to the exclusion of your own needs. Take very good care of yourself, always. When you do, you will be able to contribute your fulfilled self wholly in your relationships.

Love yourself as you are, warts and all. Your failures and mis-deeds as well as all the wonderful aspects of you. Accept and love yourself as your fully human, flawed and wonderful self.

What does all that have to do with your predicament? TAKE LOVING CARE OF YOURSELF!

The truth is, I still haven’t decided what to do with my marriage. I know we will need marriage counseling and possibly she will need sex therapy. It will be a long haul I imagine and that will come into consideration when I make my decision whether to stick with the marriage or to end it. Before that decision comes I must get fully in touch with myself.

I now realize I have been denying my own needs and sacrificing myself for others for so long I have come to alienate myself from me (if that makes sense). I have lost touch with myself. I, me, had become non-existent in the “needs and desires” area of my life. I have come to a point where I have stopped being a consideration in my own life. I came to be a passive aggressive, always trying to find new ways to change myself in order to manipulate my wife into loving me the way I wanted her to. I have given up the things and people I love in this life in exchange for the self-delusion of a better marriage. I have given up my church life to keep the peace and to endear myself to my wife. All in exchange for an intimacy that never materialized. The truth is, my wife may never love me the way I want her to. That’s where I am. I believe that is where you may be as well.

One things for sure 13yearsandwaiting, you don’t want to wait until you’re in your 60’s before you realize everything you believed in was not true (if that's the case for you). In my case I imagined that if I tried to be a moral person, as best I could, God would reward me with a wife that wanted to make sweet love to me again. That never happened. It’s not good to be 60 when you realize you have been living a life full of false assumptions. Get in touch with the truth if you are denying it. Get in touch with yourself and take loving, nurturing, care of yourself.

Warm regards and best wishes for a happy and fulfilling life.

"My dedication to keeping the marriage together, no matter what, had become a psychological trap of my own making."

This is a profound truth that is seen over and over again on these pages. However very few are aware of it. Your self awareness is your ticket to a better life IMO.

I encourage you to repost this as a complete story on its own. ( Of course you would need to remove the references to 13 years.) I also encourage you to read widely here and participate. It seems to me you need the support this forum can offer you in order for you to choose your own happiness at last.

I think enna hit the core problem here.

You have not experienced a full on relationship inclusive of full on sex, thus, you have no clue what you are missing out on, and what you are potentially throwing down the chute.

This is like an adolescent romance that has gone on for all these years. Fine if you personally are still an adolescent and planning on remaining an adolescent, not so good if you are actually an adult woman.

Tread your own path.

There is nothing to be done here.

You have accepted the conditions of the relationship. You can keep explaining how this is not right, but actually, to him, everything is right. You are still with him so that is evidence, at least to him, that all is right in his marital world.

You were deceived "(but as his abstinence was a faith based decision and was important to him, I agreed to respect this.) Next time might want to think twice or three times about giving credence to decisions on their sole standing as "being faith based". As you can see, being "faith based" can be a cover for all sorts of bizzare bahavior.

You are complicit in this sexless dynamic. And until such time as you change your behavior and take responsibility, sexless you will remain.

If you want to break the sexlessness, there will be a price to be paid. That would, more than likely, entail getting out of this relationship.

You don't have to stop loving him. Put simply you're not actually married are you? You're one of the few cases where you don't have to divorce (and all the cr@p that goes with that), you can just annul. Start with a clean slate, and if you both want to work on it you can try again. But without the complication of having to divorce if it doesn't work out.

I wrote my comment before seeing some of your replies. Now it is clear, you "love" your husband and want to stay with him. I don't understand it, but I respect your decision. I hope you are able to be happy with that situation.

Even religion accepts that sexual relations are part of a marriage. Even the catholic church will allow a marriage to be anulled due to non-consumation of the sexual act. Since you are a normal human being with normal sex drive, and your husband is not normal, if you want to be happy you should leave him. I can't see any alternative.

He is a master deceiver if he can pull this off for so long. It is unlikely you will ever consummate the marriage and what is it about the human condition that would keep you hoping this could actually happen. Not dogging on you but all of us here in this group. I would recommend if you are not into a solely platonic relationship to bale before kids. Consider living near one another and being friends and maybe even having sleep overs, but marriage is probably not the right relationship.

Totally agree! Get out!

"I met my husband when I was 18. He was the first serious long term relationship I had ever had." These are the words that cause me the greatest concern in your post. You see, you have NEVER had a "real" relationship. So you cannot really know what you are missing . . .

Had you been in a few relationships previously, and had sexual experience, then you could compare that with your current situation. You love him and you want to stay with him - but you also say " . . . I want for him to make our relationship what it should be."

Please know that this is NOT going to happen. I suspect he is truly asexual. He is NOT going to change. And even if, by some amazing chance he did, he would be very unhappy . . . Because he does not want sex.

I believe he knew this all along and cheated you. If he had honestly told you "Our marriage will always be celibate" there is a strong chance you would never have married him. So he used the religious "reason" to explain his reluctance. It may be that he truly had religious scruples also - but in fact these worked to his advantage very well!

You may feel now that you can continue to live like this - and maybe you can. But I wish there was some way for you to recognise what you are giving up for this man. I suspect if that were the case, you would immediately realise how short changed you are.
I imagine you might one day succumb to an affair and if (when) that happens, you will discover that you have been seriously cheated of one of life's most important gifts - the gift of intimate sexual connection.

Children seriously complicate ANY marriage. IMO it is rarely a good idea to intoduce children into an already dysfunctional situation - and, sorry, but your marriage IS dysfunctional.

Only YOU can decide on your future. But you are still a young woman with child bearing years ahead of you. Consider VERY carefully if this man, whose honesty is in doubt IMO, is REALLY worth the sacrifice you are making if you remain his wife.

Listen to Enna.

Your spouse has no reason nor impetus to change anything. This marriage is a sweet deal to him. Yu will wait and hope ad infinitum because there are no consequences for his actions. You say you are in love with him. Do you believe he is in love with you? The sound of one hand clapping is.....silence. Simply put, IMHO, your spouse does not or cannot love you the way you want or need to be loved. I believe that you know this and you make the choice to stay with eyes wide open. I feel saddened because we all have one life to live and to live it without passion and intimacy and that soul deep connection is painful and soul destroying. Take care.

I'd suggest that he deliberately hid the truth from you from the get go.

Which, as well as being intimacy averse to you, (reason enough all by itself to be a dealbreaker), would mark him as an outright liar.

He owns that. But you own the fact that you have given him a pass on it for the duration of the relationship.

So, now - - - - -- - - - - - - - ?

Tread your own path.

I missed the part that tells what he is doing to change.

That's the problem. There is no change. There never is. It's just the same song, over and over.

Thus he is actually "saying" he is not going to change.

As actions speak louder... you are correct.

And then enter the question of what am I going to do about it?

Which apparently the answer is whine anonymously on the internet, because I don't want to leave him. I do love him. I know I would be ok on my own, if leaving were something I wanted to do. But it's not. I want to be with him, and I want for him to make our relationship what it should be.

And the stalemate just continues.

You own the fact that the stalemete continues. You can call a halt to it whenever you choose.

When you are in this group, you are not whining because of some inconvenience, you are in real emotional pain and turmoil that nobody should have to suffer.

There a couple of questions to ask. Often it is never just about sex, but here it might be. Is the rest of your relationship about loving you and , do you get to make a majority of the decisions about where you live, what you buy, where you go on holidays, who you socialize with? As baz (one of the great posters here) who say, is this a "We" relationship or a "Me". The second question, is do you both want to have children?

* would say, and might say as he is just posted here

"Is the rest of your relationship about loving you?"

I'm going to try to respond as best as I can because I'm unsure if I understand the question. If I'm not getting it, please feel free to rephrase.

The rest of our relationship is about loving each other, not just focused on me and what I want. I do personally try on a regular basis to express how much I appreciate him in every way I can. Words, Actions, Affection. Doing nice things for him. Telling him how much I appreciate things he does. Thanking him when he does something nice for me. We hug and kiss all the time.

"Do you get to make a majority of the decisions about where you live, what you buy, where you go on holidays, who you socialize with?"

Our decisions are very cooperatively made. I'm the do-er in the relationship, so I make things happen and put plans into motion, but I make sure to talk to him about plans in the development stages, get his input on what he would like and what would be important to him, and then I actively get it done.

Where we live: Our last move, he specifically wanted a stand-alone single family home. I would have been willing to move anywhere that wasn't the three story walk up that we were living in at the time and was amenable to his requests. I looked up the info for available homes in our price range, let him see the options, and we came to a decision together of what we'd like and I contacted the Realtor.

What we buy: Beyond bills, we have an agreement that any single purchase over $50 should be cleared with the other party. This was something that he suggested, but goes both ways. We both check with each other before larger purchases. There's never really been any big issue that's occurred. Most of our large purchases, again, I go out and buy, but not without getting his input and compromising about what we want to get.

Where we go on holidays: Usually that's a mutually agreed upon thing. The only "holiday" that I didn't ask his input for, nor did he give me grief about, was a trip back to my hometown to say Goodbye to my dying Grandmother, which my parents paid for.

Who we socialize with: We each have our own group of friends. My friends love him and he's always welcome to things I'm invited to, and we do plenty of double/triple dates. He likes the people I hang out with and he has expressed on many occasions that he's glad these people are here for me. He knows if he doesn't want to hang out with my friends he can say no, and stay home, and he does and I don't give him grief. His friends, he is welcome to go and hang out with any time he wants. Which he does usually at least once or twice a week. I used to hang out with his friends more, but haven't so much in recent years. This mostly has to do with drama within that group of friends that I'd rather not be a part of. If he invites friends over, I'll be the dutiful hostess, and make them feel welcome. If there's a party to which we're both invited, I'll go. But most of the time I stay home during his weekly visitations and he's ok with that.

I don't personally feel that our marriage is "one sided" or that one of us makes it about us.

"do you both want to have children?"

This is the big question that looms over my head.

The short answer to this is yes. We've had conversations about having children for years and we're both totally on board with having children. We even have names picked out if we were to have a boy or a girl.

The "looming over my head" version of the question of course becomes how is this ever going to possibly happen if he is not putting in the physical work of procreation. He knows babies don't come from cabbage patches or storks. We've had conversations in which I've pointed out my shelf life as far as being able to conceive is concerned. I've asked him to talk to his doctor about his issues, with the thought that if this is medically based, perhaps modern medicine could help him out. These conversations have not yielded any sort of life changing result.

So. Two key things that define a marriage as being something other than a platonic friendship ( sexual expression and procreation ) are BOTH matters where there is a fundamental disgreement.

He sounds like a great room mate.
You sound like a great room mate.

That's it. That's all you've got.

I do understand this. Please understand, though, that in posting all of this, all I really wanted was to share with a group where other people understand and are dealing with this same sort of an issue in their own ways, and feel less alone, and maybe help some other poor woman feel less alone as well if she identifies with what I've been dealing with.

Even with all the emotional turmoil and frustration, I'm still in love with my husband. I know, logically, if I wanted to get out and be on my own and call it a day, I would be ok.

But, again, at this juncture, leaving my husband is not what I want.

I love him. I want to be with him. I'm not with him out of convenience, or because of fear that no one else will ever love me, or out of some misguided notion that I couldn't survive without him.

Even through all of my frustration, I still have so much love for him.

Then that is your choice, and the consequence is a sexless and childless future for you. And you own that choice. Don't blame him as the years unfold.

You don't have a stalemate, you have a checkmate, in that he has won a marriage without sex, and you have lost. It's okay to accept that.

The key is here is action, not words. If he had an infected hand, what would he do, nothing or go to the doctor? Would the doctor run tests if necessary? If the problem continued would he see a specialist? Would the two of you discuss the medical progress and what to do next? What has he done about it in almost five years?

If the answer is close to nothing, then checkmate, and you are here not to find out how to fix a sexless marriage, but how to live in one. The stories and discussions can help you. The first step is to admit that you choose to live in a sexless marriage, one that seems to have all the trappings of a good marriage, without the physical bond and children.

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