Long Sad Story....

i recently joined this site and have been contemplating and reflecting over "my story" for several days now. it's certainly not an easy one to write... my emotions go from being right there on the edge just waiting to spill out to reaching down to a place deep inside me where i have supressed and buried and silenced them for years and years.

i married young. we were so in love and so happy. the first 10 yrs were full of love and intimacy... we had 3 children in 5 yrs. sex was never an issue then, we were loving our life as partners, parents, and lovers. i knew then i had found my true soulmate and to some extent, i sometimes feel that way even today.

when my husband was close to 30, he was diagnosed with a renal disease.  for the next 10 yrs, he struggled with his illness and pain. his kidneys were 3 times their size, when they finally failed and he started on dialysis. up until that time, he was on medication for his blood pressure and for pain. before long, he was, understandably, addicted to narcotics. because of all this, our sex life dwindled. but honestly, i never really noticed at the time because i was so busy with holding our life together, raising babies and working. i was too exhausted to notice or even care for that matter.

close to his 40th birthday, he recieved a transplant, which was very successful. at this time, i was thinking, "finally, we can get back to normal." i naively thought that we would just pick up where we left off, that we would magically have a relationship as a true husband and wife... and of course, sex would just go back to the way it was... natural and certainly not a problem. but we were different people and we struggled. my husband continued on the pain meds, even though there was no medical need now that he had a transplant. so, emotionally and physically, he was still "checked out".  he entered rehab many times over the next several years and our relationship and sex would wax and wane. i'd get my hopes up, only to have sex taken away from me again.... and each episode would get longer and longer in between, until months and months would go by with no sex at all and no explanation. i was so tired of being rejected that i just stopped asking. about 3 years ago, we began counselling and again, i'd see improvement only to be disappointed all over again. a year and a half ago, the transplanted kidney failed and he returned to dialysis once again. and since that time, our sex life has become non-exhistant.

there is obviously, a medical reason that our marriage is sexless, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. even in those 10 yrs when he felt good, we still struggled with his lack of libido. i can't tell you how many times i've cried myself to sleep (silently of course) and asked myself over and over why. we've talked and talked ad nauseam about wanting and trying to make a change, but things never change. he simply cannot help it... it's an illness that he has no control over. however, i think that it has become a mental issue as well as a physical one for him now. slowly, over the past 10 yrs or so, i've become withdrawn, apathetic, depressed, lost all self-esteem, angry, sad.... you name it, i've felt it. leaving my husband is not an option... what kind of person leaves a sick spouse? aside from all the medical issues and sex, we have some truly happy times. our children are grown and successful and content. we are best friends who love and respect each other and enjoy each others company. but we are without sex and intimacy, the very thing that separates friends from lovers and defines a marriage. it's all very tragic and sad.  the thought of this part of my life being over at 48 is devastating. i'm not ready to close that door. it hurts... it's a deep aching hole inside me... and it finds it's way into every aspect of my life....

jams jams
46-50, F
5 Responses Jun 15, 2007

Hi- I agree with your statement "Who could ever leave a sick spouse?" I know I certainly couldn't. Even though I began with the low sex drive, my husband's illness and narcotic use has been the prime problem for the past five years. He is frustrated, bitter, selfish or comatose and those are his good attributes! Still, I would not leave him, although the verbal abuse is getting tough to take. In spite of how bitter and angry I come off here, I really am a giving person, and want to be thought of with approval by others. I'm just a little tired of having no life outside my caretaking duties. I've really lost touch with who I used to be. And I certainly can't remember what it is like to have a normal relationship. I'm filled with despair when I think about the future, not because of his death--he wishes for that constantly--but because I'm afraid I'll be totally destroyed as a woman by then.

"I know I certainly couldn't"....I think you're speaking to a very narrow audience, and not everyone with a sick spouse. I've witnessed first hand people who have pulled through and who have been fine when they had a sick spouse. I'm sorry for your personal situation, but please realize it's not a reflection on everyone's situation.

I think that my wife and I have ended up in a similar place due to her health issues. When she was pregnant with our first child, she actually became very healthy (for the most part). And, fortunately, that hung on after birth. She has a lot more energy, is happy, has gotten in shape and is generally as well as most people. However, as you put it, she is still "checked out" when it comes to physical intimacy and us. And I've begun to form a theory that, when you go through certain things in life, you don't come through them unchanged. If you spend enough time keeping it together, putting things off and "dealing", it becomes who you are. And finding your way back from that is hard.<br />
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So even though he'd woken up from surgery with a new kidney and a very immediate new health, he woke up in the same state of mind. And, unfortunately, it's easier to change the kidney.<br />
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Hopefully, over time, you will both find your way back to each other. I truly understand what you are going through and hope that you both are able to rebuild some of what has been put aside for so long.

I second Alexandra31's comment...this story nearly brought me to tears too. How strong to carry this weight all these years, and what maturity and commitment. So few people will go to this length. I wish I could show this to my husband, who just wants to check out at the least sign of difficulty.What you said about lack of sex and intimacy being what separates friends from lovers and defines marriage was so very much on the spot. And it hurts me to read this, knowing my own situation, but I see that some have it much worse. God bless you, and I hope somehow something good comes to you yet and you have more than just the memory of those wonderful days. Because sometimes the bad can chip away at the good, and in the end erase all memory of that which was positive and beautiful. May that not happen.to you.

You've carried one hell of a burden all these years. Is there a way for you to get with out leaving your husband?

It sounds as though both you and your husband are experiencing symptoms of depression. And that you are feeling rejected in general, rather than just sexually. Are you still in counseling?