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I Give Up.

So, I finally admit defeat. Which is not like me at all. Typically, I am an optimistic man that is willing to take on any challenge. Especially a challenge that evokes passion. But, that passion is depleted, deflated, and non-existent.
My marriage is dead. I’ve been trying to force a heartbeat from a corpse for 4 years.
I have 3 logical choices:
1) Cheat… or outsource, to get my physical needs met.
2) Leave.
3) Stay, and accept the death of a love life.
Option 3 is my choice dujour. based in fear and the acknowledgement that no decision last forever, that is what I decide for this season.
It won’t be easy, but neither will leaving for that matter. And cheating will inevitably complicate things unnecessarily.
So, I will stay and be the best Daddy I can be to my beautiful, wonderful daughter. I will be pleasantly cordial to my wife, and know that this is all our relationship will be for the foreseeable future.
My wife is an incredible woman in many ways. She still inspires me to be a better person. We just have no intimate connection that transcends a common friendship. And that is by HER choice, not for the lack of my effort.
My effort ends now, and consequently, my expectations end as well.
I sincerely value the sound wisdom and advice that many EP members offer. I even appreciate some of the seemingly harsh replies some members offer. I recognize that all replies are offered from a perspective of experience. That is pretty cool, to me.
So, I will isolate and fade a little bit, until I am re-invigorated for the next chapter of my life.
Thanks for your support
deleted deleted 26-30 19 Responses Feb 13, 2013

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I remember reading this as one of my first experiences on EP... I didn't know you at all then. I wonder dear... are you re-invigorated for the next chapter of your life? I don't think we know what the chapters are to look like and we get caught up in an expectation that wasn't supposed to be a part of the story... That is what I'm learning... maybe the story is so unwritten that its more of a choose your own adventure type of thing... what do you want yours to be?

My friend always says "Leave before you deceive" ... though words alone, and where the mind takes us... is already a part of deception I suppose... they say what you think of last at night and what you think of first in the morning is where your heart is at. I know what I'm thinking of, who. And if you need to make a decision but cannot... flip a coin, the thing you hope for suddenly while its in the air is what you really want... and I think you already know what I really want. I flipped that coin and flip it daily and I cannot fool myself into thinking otherwise.
I think my ink is very wet, fresh and raw... I think sometimes I am writing so fast that my hand is smearing the words. And I understand the confusion on the disappointment. I feel it all too. I am not sure if there is an emotion I have not felt lately. Prov.13:12 says "Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but desire fulfilled is the tree of life." I'm not sure if God intended that to be applied to this, right here... but when I read that, I wanted the tree of life... and I knew where it was planted... but so many complications...obstacles...in the way. But there are people who take the heart out of us... and those who put it back... You've been putting it back...
I am learning I cannot wait for everything to be perfect to try to start that new chapter... because that isn't going to happen... whether I stay or go... nothing is perfect. I have to decide for me. I don't want to be selfish, yet I don't want to be so selfless that I lose myself, miss out, and hurt. Where is that balance. WHAT is that balance... I don't know what my chapter is... I keep starting it... and then tearing out the page and wadding it up. I think I know what to write, I just can't accept it yet. Though I cannot write what is expected of me. We walk that fine line of wet ink... that edge... together.

How sad. You speak so highly of your wife your respect and admiration is evident. I know friendship in a marriage is a blessing but feel deeply sad that intimacy is no longer part of your relationship. Your choice to stay and your reasons for doing so are admirable. I hope your future choices (when your daughter is older), although perhaps painful, will allow you to have the kind of relationship both you and your wife deserve - with other people.

4Clive. My heart goes out to you as you have described me from a number of years ago. My experience has been just the same as yours and I also made a decision to stay for the sake of my children, but they eventually grow up - as mine now have. Then you have a whole new decision to make.

Sadly your refusing wife is unlikely to change, if mine is anything to go by. For me I don't regret staying as I was there to see my kids grow up, but it is self sacrificial and does come at a huge personal cost.

4Clive, I'm in your very shoes. Read my story when you get a chance. I respect and admire your choice. I've thought about your route in my marriage but have given up. But not without a ferocious fight that lasted since day one of our marriage. Problem was we didn't know each other much, we just attended Church together and thought church would take care of my needs. NO. I arrived to my decision after choosing to recall the main need I had when I decided to look for a life partner. I've realized that I have to reason based on 'need' than on 'want'. People have different needs, but some people want the wrong person to take care of their needs. E.g. Wanting a beautiful girl to take care of my sexual need. Instead, I should need a sexual girl to take care of my sexual need. Beauty becomes secondary as far as my need is concerned. I learnt the hard way that my need was legitimate and that I was not fantasizing about it when I strayed. I also had to accept myself as needful sexually, and not think of it as evil. That's when I acknowledged that I need sex not just wanting it. That's when I recalled the reason I needed a mate, not for money, beauty, status, but sex. I remember feeling bad that I couldn't try it out with her before marriage because we are Christians, but hoped that she needed that too. NO.
This brought me to the conclusion that we all have different but legitimate needs. Some need fame, some money, some sex, some status, some companionship and all these needs are legitimate to the beholder. And if a person does not get what they need, there's a tendency of one to sink into helplessness, which stealthfully leads to depression, however mild. Or, someone will go to 'crazy' heights just to serve their need. I've realized they if I ignore my need, I'll end up cheating again, or even do something crazy I might regret the rest of my life. I've got to do something about it for the sake of myself and my extended family.
However, my need should not make me ignore my responsibility as a parent. Therefore my decision to part ways but continue parenting together from two homes. Better my kids know me as a happy dad who respectfully parted ways with their mother, than a dad who is the source of the strife in their home because I'm not level headed or I've had another affair again. I'm willing to support my wife after parting ways because I'm the one calling off the contract. But I've got to take care of my need with another woman.
I'm not just for parting ways, I think you both need to look for a solution. Don't just sit there. Things will get worse. You don't want that my friend. Try anything you can. Try go for date nights. Massage her body with KY oils. Buy her gifts. Let her know she is the queen, praise her in front of friends. Trust me, these things will wake up the wild girl hiding inside her. If they don't work, then she's outright playing with your efforts. That's what my wife did. It hurt so much.
I wish you well.

I. feel like giving up too, but feel guilty and a failure to my family and kids :( even when he try now I want to feel the affection but I don't I only feel numb! sad and lost :( I admire your courage and confidence, choosing to stay is very hard on us, but seem like the best thing to do for the kids!

My husband as expressed his concerns of lack of sex with me as well. At first I was really angry because I felt that it's more to me than just sex. But I put myself in his shoes, and I also took the time to listen to his issues with me.
My husband and I got married young. I was 18 and he was 20. At 19 I found out I was pregnant with our first child. So being married so young there was alot of things that I didnt think was important until I grew up. We never did the huggy and kissy thing. We barely told each other we loved each other, and over time it coated us alot. Its only by the Grace of God that we ha e recently celebrated 8years of marriage.
Now, we communicate with each other no matter how much the truth hurts. I need to know how i can please my husband and i can only know that by asking him. When he complains about the lack of sex, i tell him "WELL HELP ME WITH THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE" so that i can have more time to cater to your needs. Don't give up on your wife. Talk with her no matter what. When u are married the best tool is communication. Ask her what you can do to please her, how can u help her look at you differently and vice versa. Never be afraid of the truth. It only sets you free.

Finances and children appear to be the overriding reasons for remaining in a relationship that is not intimate or physically fulfilling. The economy in the USA has deteriorated and many of us are feeling the impact of less take home pay and increased expenses. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret the choices I have made to remain in my marriage. My children are grown with children of their own so I no longer stay "for the sake of the children". I have grown to accept the relationship that exists between me and my husband. He is my roommate, nothing more. We try to be amicable to each other and succeed in most situations.

Here comes the "however" ....
However..... we are not intimate and that is fine with him. He continues to wear his wedding ring, while I took mine off because I do not consider myself married to this person, except in the eyes of the law, and the church. I miss having a mate that I can cuddle with, make love with, and feel as one with. I have fooled myself for many years into thinking that I was being wise in my choice to stay, for the sake of all involved. Truthfully, I only have one life to live and I have wasted most of it married to someone who will never be able to join with me in a healthy, intimate, loving, relationship.. My grandchildren see the gap between us and have asked my husband why he doesn't hug me ... his answer was "I am not the kissy, huggy type. They feel sad for me and verbalize it now that they are teenagers. My oldest granddaughter has even confided in me that she feels she will never find someone to truly love her, because she doesn't see or feel any true love between us. I tell her to never stop believing in love and don't be so cynical because of what she sees and feels between her grandparents.

I hear that we do what we have to do ... I was recently asked by my therapist, how much of myself was I still willing to sacrifice. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about this...

reflections3, your response gives me (and I'm sure others) so much to think about. What you said here has really hit home in many ways.

I couldn't agree more! Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom reflections3. A lot to really consider...

The only thing you have given up is beating your dead horse - you've given up the fantasy that there's anything romantic in your marriage.

On "giving up", you actually are facing reality, accepting your choices for what they are, and embracing an AUTHENTIC life.

If you had persisted in your delusional perspective of "romantic marriage" with your current spouse, you would have been "giving up" REALITY.

You have made your choice to stay from a place of power and not victimhood.

Cultivating the habit of making informed choices can only lead to you living a higher qualtity of life - regardless of relationship status!

"Staying" is the choice - albeit usually the default choice - of most people here.

You are ahead of the game in as much as you have made it a concious choice. That's important, because it carries with it concept that if new evidence emerges into the dynamic, that you recognise that you could choose differently in the future.

Most "stayers" don't do that. They adopt a victim stance.

Tread your own path.

The main thing here is that you are making your choice with eyes wide open and taking responsibillity for it. IMO this is one of the sometimes misunderstood aspect of this forum. The differing opinions and challenges are about helping us to take an active part in our life path, which means taking responsibilitry for it and its consequences. Once one starts to engage, then one can decide to choose, not what is a predetermined right or wrong, but what is right for oneself in the moment. This is not to say that a choice cannot be changed becauuse moments pass and one simply chooses again. Be well.

I'm glad I found you. You are the only other man I've seen who admits no animosity in the relationship yet anguishes over the lack of passion. I'm with you, buddy, and I think I'll keep an eye out for more of us. Maybe we can put together a group that will help us all figure out what to do.

aww... honey! This makes me sad & all so famliar. I too, am staying for the kids at this point & only for them. I'll try if he does, but he doesn't- so I don't anymore. I've poured my heart out and it didn't do a damn thing.

My heart breaks for others in similiar situations... because we want to do right by our family and yet, we are sacrificing our own happiness for our children and at the end of the day, is it right or wrong?

Ugh. Hugs to you!!

4clive, a decision is a decision. and nothing is written in stone. right now, this is what you've decided. tomorrow, or next month, or 6 months from now, or later....you are perfectly free to make a new/different decision.

rather than opt to stay and suffer tho: how about opting to stay and work on doing what makes you happy within the parameters you've set yourself?

for example: decide how you want to improve yourself and/or your life. new school course? learn another language? start running, playing tennis, art appreciation, play the piano, darts, etc? then...DO IT. if there's something you think you can do with your daughter (skiing, tennis, movies, soccer, whatever fits both of you) then so THAT, too.

change what you *can* change that will add pleasure and joy and bring value. and again whatever you can include your daughter in, so much the better. the point here is to work on *you*.

and in the meantime, you could also work on hatching an escape plan. on a long term basis, without undue pressure or stress, it could be beneficial down the road a piece. even if you never act on it.

but definitely do the work on adding joy & value to your daily life.

and hey hang around. we will all still listen and offer support as needed.

good luck.

This is really excellent advice!

You are making a reasoned choice and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I'm in the same boat, except that it's been nearly 20 years for me. I still have a strong desire for an intimate, physical and affectionate relationship. I'm no longer expecting that this marriage will ever provide that. But I stay for a number of reasons and I try to focus day by day on those reasons. My wife is a wonderful person. She is supportive in many ways. I don't blame her for our situation - she feels much the same way I do. She would like to have an intimate, physical and affectionate relationship - but the chemistry isn't there. We've both tried in our own ways. She doesn't feel a physical attraction to me - and I don't want her to force herself - that would be awful. We have two beautiful daughters who love their home and their parents. I absolutely love and adore being able to tuck them in EVERY night and seeing them at breakfast EVERY morning. The thought of having only half of that is unbearable. So life isn't perfect - I try to focus on what I do have and what I value, while acknowleging my desires for more and realizing that it's ok to want more, even if I don't have it now. I think a key is to understand suffering and decide whether or not you are going to "suffer" or "accept." I try to accept my situation without inflicting the suffering on myself... but it isn't easy!

There is nothing wrong with your choice at all. Many of us come to the realization that you have and make the decision to "stay for a season," however long that season is. You have your reasons, as do the rest of us. We do what works for the time being until it no longer works, then we make a different plan. I see nothing wrong with that.

Its ok to say this is what you need to do for a season. Inevitably something will change your course of action for one reason or another, life is fluid like that. Maybe there is some sort of numbing acceptance that comes with giving up... because that is where I am too. Nothing is perfect. He isn't outright mean to me. He wants to make things work, we are just so out of sync emotionally... and after 15 years I fail to see how to fix this properly. But I also do not see ripping apart my 4 kids' lives as the answer either. And no, outsourcing should be avoided at all costs...
And every time I decided option 3... and I muster up all the resolve within me.. let it go ... let it be... this is your lot in life, it could be worse honestly... etc... this tiny corner of my heart seizes up and I hear within me, "NEVER SAY DIE!" And the ache begins again... maybe, maybe this can be fixed. Must keep on trying. So, I think I'm have given up and half moving forward trying to fix things.

I always thought of stay as having two options:
1a) Stay and suffer
1b) Stay and accept

1b is the hardest to do of all options (1a, 1b, 2*, 3) but you are making it as your own choice, and we all hope for the best

* 2 has two options as well, often not discussed, affair or $