Frustration, But Laced With HopeIt's been some time since I wrote my original story here -- that was back in June 2010. At that time my marriage had been sexless since Autumn of 2008, nearly two years. I wish I could tell you that it didn't go longer than two years, but the reality is that we've only been intimate once since then... a few months ago. For those who don't feel like doing math, that's four years without.
So what's happened since I wrote my last story?
We've held off on having children, and we didn't build that dream home we had planned. Two big things have happened: One, we did decide about a year ago to leave the gray skies of the upper midwest for warmer climes in the southern US; and two, we've both changed our eating habits and lost considerable weight (65 pounds for me, 85 for her, in a year).
Are we happier? In most ways, yes. But in one key way, not so much... our marriage is still sexless. Am I still frustrated about that? Of course. But I've learned a few things, and they have brought me hope.
One of the best things about our move is that my wife found a doctor where we now live who practices integrative medicine. He ordered a slew of lab tests, and we learned some things about my wife that traditional medicine may have dismissed. She was suffering from low thyroid, low adrenal, low testosterone, and low progesterone (or estrogen dominance if you prefer, the net effect is the same). Traditional medicine does recognize most or all of these to varying degrees, but what many doctors don't tell you about lab tests is that even if you fall in the "normal" ranges, that doesn't mean you're healthy... for example, her thyroid function was on the lower end of "normal"... in the case of this particular test, 95th percentile was considered "normal". Her doctor says that the incidence of low thyroid function is much higher than 5%. So while traditional medicine dismissed her as "normal", this doctor began treating all four of these issues.
And she's getting better.
If I look at the issues...
- One symptom of low thyroid: decreased sex drive.
- One symptom of low adrenal: severe fatigue.
- One symptom of low testosterone: decreased sex drive.
- One symptom of estrogen dominance: severe PMS.
So when she refused because she "wasn't in the mood"... she really WASN'T in the mood. Being tired and bitchy (in addition to not having much of a libido in the first place) will do that. And although I didn't know it at the time, she is as frustrated with that as I am.
I've also taken a serious look at myself and my actions, and see my contribution to the problem, which I take responsibility for. I did not communicate my needs as clearly as I thought I did. In trying to avoid putting more stress on her I often buried my frustration and let it build up inside. Like a lot of guys, talking about my feelings is not my strength... it's a skill I've had to acquire, and one that I confess I'm still working on. Also, because the rejection hurt so badly, at some point I stopped trying. And that was definitely not the right thing to do -- I have to put in the effort too if I want things to improve.
Like I said above, I have hope. Her energy and PMS are much better. No huge improvement on the libido yet -- it's hard to get all of these hormones adjusted just right -- but there have been small improvements. Progress is slow, but I see that she is trying. Progress is slow, but I am trying. Will things get better? I don't know... but at least for now, I'm willing to be patient and find out. And if things don't get better, am I willing to live like this for the rest of my life? As long as there is progress (however slow) I don't feel that I have to answer that. But I do understand that there may come a time when I do have to answer that.
One last thing before I close... I have not been actively participating (i.e. writing stories or posting in the forums) in ILIASM since my initial story, but I still have to thank everyone here. I have read most of your stories and comments, and getting so many perspectives is very valuable. Just knowing that I am not alone is very valuable. And I am thinking of each of you as I struggle with my own SM. May each of us find that path that works best for us, and follow it with conviction.