Unexpected, Unwarranted And Unwanted.

Earlier this year, I made my decision to pursue an affair. This option has since morphed into an exit plan from my marriage, but either way, my goal is the same. Have some sex. To that end, not having been seen naked by another man for over twenty years (for the most part), I thought it might be time to tighten things up, in preparation. And, having had a baby at the age of thirty-nine...well, ladies you know. There was work to be done.
So off I went on my journey of physical fitness, not thinking for one minute that it would cause anything except positive changes in my life. Certainly it has; three months in, two of hard workouts and it's all starting to pay off. My curves are rebounding and things are firming up nicely.
My husband has noticed. I didn't think that he wouldn't, but I also didn't think it would cause any response from him, nor was I hoping for one. It is possible that perhaps my postpartum body turned him off, but give me a break. My demon spawn never slept and I walked around in a hallucinatory state of sleep deprivation for TWO YEARS, living off coffee and whatever food I could find to eat that didn't require cooking. I barely had the energy or the visual dexterity to open a frigging bag of chips at that point, let alone prepare a healthy meal. The state of my body was the least of my concerns, I was more terrified that I would become permanently stuck in a fugue of intellectual impairment, but I digress. Isn't a person that claims to love you supposed to look beyond this sort of thing?
Honestly, I don't think that's it. I think he knows his jig is up, that other men might be looking at me, that he wants to claim my body and my sexuality for himself to feel like a "man", just as he did when we were young. Not unlike a dog ******* on a tree to mark his territory. It makes me sick to my stomach.
The other night he tried to grab my *** twice as he walked through the kitchen. Later, as I was sitting in my cross legged pose on the couch, leg extended, he reached over and ran his hand up the full length of my calf, before I even had time to notice and pull away, which was my strategy for the bum grab. Not only am I infuriated by this unwanted attention, I feel completely violated that he thinks he has the right to touch me after so many years of not doing so. My indignation was apparent after the leg incident and he backed off. But I don't think this is going to stop. He needs to mark me as his property before some other man does. I'm a conquest and nothing more, just as it was all those years ago. He had to be the victorious one.
I've got news for him. His ship has sailed. There will be no victory for him this time.
Don't touch me, in fact, don't even bother to admire me. The very fit business man in the produce section that I caught admiring my legs or the handsome lawyer at traffic court who smiled at me as I leaned against the wall with my hip out? Sure, drink it in, boys. I'm doing this for myself, but I'm also doing it for you. I like to be looked at, to be appreciated as a woman and a sexual being.
But the man I married who has been next to me in bed for twenty years and hasn't bothered to try to satisfy me for at least ten? You've lost your chance.

So gross.
birdie39 birdie39
41-45, F
46 Responses Sep 10, 2013

Your anger comes through very clearly. Probably justified (in your mind, clearly it is), but you should probably think about where this is (or could) lead you. You two have a young child - that's important. This situation you describe will eventually lead to conflict (sooner rather than later). Might want to consider the possibilities of how this could play out.

Hi birdie39. I am too familiar with these feelings myself. My wife never resumed our sex life after the birth of our second child. She left abruptly when I began to wise up that she was not 'too sore' to take an active interest in someone else during the day while I was away and busy earning the family's only income. If you were to marry a future king you may have reason to believe that sex was not his only concern but for most other people it is of fundamental importance. Someone who is not interested in sex at all obviously wants something else from marriage and it is dishonest of them to not be straightforward about it. A sexless marriage may be a happy one IF BOTH PARTIES ARE IN FULL AGREEMENT ABOUT IT being sexless. Anything less than agreement is extortion (in my opinion). It is not considered fashionable or polite to discuss sex in detail even in this modern age but I think it is a mistake to not talk about it at all. People who like to do it usually like to talk about it. I for one am very wary of the 'silent treatment' or anyone who is too 'easily offended' by the facts of life. I think most reasonable people would agree that withholding sex in marriage is blackmail.

Hi Petrushka You're right. It may be any of those things. All that you can know for certain is that your life partner no longer really cares about you for some reason or other, unless they care to tell you the reason and offer to work with you towards achieving a mutually agreeable resolution or outcome with fair and reasonable separation being one of the options on offer. Fair and reasonable separation is possible but not very common. Unfortunately when people separate it is far more common for them to harbor a resentful grudge which is detrimental to both their partner's future and their own. Learning to detach from someone who has already let go of you is harder than it looks but sometimes necessary for the sake of survival.

I am a newlywed in a sexless marriage. We are both in our 40's no children and he was a wild man when we were dating, but as soon as we were married, it was like a his "on " switch turned off. I love my husband dearly but her refuses to have sex with me. I'm just heart sick and I don't want to live this way. He says I am making our marriage about sex, because he refuses me, even to just touch me anywhere but my arm and hold my hand and kiss me. I'm just sick. What to do? We have only been married a year. Not what I thought marriage would be at all

Mpowers7,
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Welcome to EP. First, You should post this as your own "story" within the ILIASM (I Live In A Sexless Marriage) group. That will get a lot more people responding to you. ILIASM is a *great* group of people.
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I was in a SM (sexless marriage) for nearly 20 years. I know the pain of a SM more than just about anybody. The *one* thing I would have done differently... from the very beginning... would have been to see a couples / marriage counselor immediately over the SM issue. Sex is an expected part of ANY marriage. The fact that you do not have kids makes your situation so much easier / less complicated than most people who post here. Do you still want to have natural born or adopted children or not? If you want to have natural born children then you definitely can't be married to this guy... that's obvious.
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When you say your H was like a "wild man", do you mean you had a lot of sex before marriage, or was he physical in other ways other than intercourse?
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Is this the first marriage for both of you? Did he have any other ex spouse or prior girlfriend that he was serious about before marrying you? Was he a bit of a player/ ladies' man before marrying you? Is it possible he is having an affair after you got married / getting his needs met elsewhere and therefore hesitant to have sex with you? Is he having physical issues like ED? Is he embarrassed about anything else physical / sexual? Is he scared / seriously concerned about the many aspects of having kids (e.g. time responsibility, financial responsibility, etc.)... and therefore he doesn't want to risk having kids?
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I could keep going, but these are my initial thoughts that come to mind. I have been reading these boards to some extent for 4 years now.... but more actively in the last 2 years. If you post your message as your own story, let me know and I'll re-post this reply, and perhaps some more info, under your new "story".
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Best of luck. You picked a good place to get some advice.
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TL2

Thank you for responding.
I am unable to have children.
This is a first marriage for both of us. After 6 months if marriage sex stopped any kind if sexual touch stopped as well. I asked about a affair I have asked him if he was gay if he wanted a divorce to find some one else he always says no to all of it.
I find my self feeling angry with him a lot. I told him I would do anything for him with him, I would gain weight lose weight. He says no that it's not me. This is just unbearable most days.
Thanks for listening

You're welcome. Seek counseling now... within the next month. It will only get worse if you do not get professional help. A sexless marriage is like marriage cancer.
.
TL2

Hello MPOWERS7. I was touched by your story which seemed particularly sad. You married a wild man because you knew from experience that you like it that way but as soon as you were married the 'wild thing' switched off. Yes you do have every right to expect some kind of sex in your marriage, that is one of the reasons that marriage exists. You love him dearly but one way or another he is cheating you with the ridiculous accusation that you are making your marriage about sex. Denial of your physical needs is a breach of the marriage vow. Personally I would regard a woman who really loves and wants sex as a treasure but that's me! It sounds like you are married to a man who wants something else. That is not an easy lesson to learn. Many people in this group had to learn it the hard way. As this is your only story and it is now eight months old at Sep 2015 I am not sure that you are still among us. If you are I would like to talk some more about this subject either in this blog or privately if you prefer that. So how are you travelling now?

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Good for you. There is nothing like reinventing yourself and becoming the highest version of yourself you can be. And now you realized what was true all along... that you were always way out of his league and you setteled not him. Good luck.

YES GIRL YES!!! Female empowerment!! But seriously, good on you! I feel like clapping!! Congratulations :)

Gross, probably, unsubtle, certainly. But maybe you could hit the reset button. I agree one should look beyond the superficial. Still, maybe you gave out in some way that said you didn't feel sexy, that made it hard for him to believe when you didn't in yourself. Now you have more confidence and self belief, he finds you approachable. Sexual desire is very much about fancying someone, it's instinctual rather than rational.

Frankly I'm not sure if either of you are all that grown up in terms of understanding what sex in marriage is about. I'm sure affairs will provide you with fun, but I guess the novelty will also swiftly pass.

I love your stories Birdie!! I have moved to Opposite Land. It is beautiful over here. Yes, it is difficult some days but there is no amount of money to get me to go back to that place!!

Just because you turned off
He turned off earlier but now tries so now it's like two ships passing in the night not knowing the rules. Why is it that You hate his touch, he's your husband ? Communication is hurting, faults don't stop with a new relationships.

Love is not self serving
Regrettable no place fixes hurt hearts instantly, just sad to hear why do people take out their hurts on each other rather than fix ?

This is sad. I am in the same boat. I am married for 31 years. We have sex no more than twice in a year. She has no need for it while I have to ********** to keep my sanity. I tried but she just does not have interest ... except for those once or twice a year. And she thinks she does me a big favor. I never turned her down but she always turned me down. I am not a hunk, but I am not ugly. It's been sexless for over 20 years now. I am really considering seeing other women for sexual relieve.

Hi hardrocking91. Your story is a bit similar to mine. My last exclusive GF lived in for ten years which is more than the entire number of times we had sex in all that time. She seems to have no need for it either, and my browser history tells the truth about my frustration. I still find it hard to accept that a mature adult can be perfectly happy entirely without sex but it is not completely unheard of. The challenge for me is to accept that I got it so wrong. She seemed agreeable enough before she moved in but began to cool off almost as soon as she did. She's moved on now. I found it difficult to hide my frustration with her and she became painfully aware of this. It was painful for me too, neither of us anticipated this difference to be so great or so troublesome. On a scale of ten my carnal thermostat is set at about 8 or 9 while hers is set on about one or two. It may be possible to negotiate an honest friendship with her but I'm not sure. The mutual disappointment may prove to be too great. After perusing blogs like this one for a number of years I have come to believe that the best we can hope for is an amicable separation accepting our irreconcilable differences without blame or recrimination.

you pissed off bc he not pay attention to u now when he mite be thinking ummm seeing some error in his ways .... you do a 180? plus loops n twists n spirals so neither of ya can figure whats right n whats left ,

Please reply with authenticity, support, nd respect.. mssg here mite b don't have kids ,,,,, *wonders if kids have heard " it was alright b4 u bldy kids came along .. don't think swapping one set o x n y chromosomes gonna fix your prob somehow ,, most o those guys offering sympathies , just lying in wait for an op to get their end in

Too late Mr. Dud, Xhamster and Astroglide for you.

Really good post. Thank you. ;-)

Sorry to hear that.
You caught a business man admiring your legs? Should of started dangling your shoes as well. lol

Fantastic! I love your writing. Absolutely technically correct and such balance and clarity of expression. I wish I'd read you when you wrote this. And besides your writing, I love your clarity of thought and firmness of purpose. What that man is losing!

Funny that I feel I can see both sides here. My own response has been similar for years in that my wife only wants affection without sex. I now feel that sex with her would be like rape, and unwelcome. So the 'territory marking' does not arise for me. I admire your guts in getting a plan, and moving forward.

It’s odd. I revisited this post because nicosma’s comment brought it back into my feed. Your husband came onto you as you have trimmed down post-baby. I am in a similar situation, having gained weight after two knee surgeries, which I will never call my babies. I do miss my knees though. I have lost about 30 lbs in the last 9 months and firmed up. My goal is bringing sexy back. (Queue JT) I want to have as near as I can get to my pre-knee surgery body. My wife has not touched my *** or my thigh. Has she noticed? Yes, she says I look good. She says it in a way that all my friends are saying it. I had always been fit for me. I feel better about myself. I am almost jealous that your rebound has elicited a response, albeit unwelcome. But there was no interest before my weight gain either, so for me it only serves to reinforce my need for change.

Why are you not getting a divorce?!

Great. you did a great job to please yourself rely on your own charming in stead of his attention

good for you! Inspirational for those of us still stuck in the rut! There's life after all this hot mess, eh? ;)

I love this story.

Wow most confident post ever read on here! You go girl

During and after my wife's pregnancies, I tried to go out of my way to let her know she was attractive to me still. She did not want me touching her.

i know many women get to feeling some kinda way, and I'm sorry yours evidently brushed you off. Wish more of our hubs felt the same.

Sorry, my English major is showing. I love the way you worked the word "fugue" into a normal conversation.

But on a more serious note, good for you. As someone who is probably over-obsessed with fitness, and also in a sexless marriage, I do it for me. I want to be healthy and if a random woman happens to notice, that's an added benefit, but my wife doesn't notice, probably never will, and that's ok. It's my thing. It keeps me sane, and all that pent up energy has to go somewhere.

I love the word fugue, because it applies to psychology and music:)
Yes, we do it for us. Not them.
Good for you.

This has happened to me over and over during the course of my marriage! My husband said before we were married that if I gained a lot of weight, that would be a "deal breaker" for him. Fine, I was warned. But he DIDN'T say that he reserved to right to withold sex/attention whenever I became whatever he deemed "too heavy" and then grab me and expect enthusiastic reciprocation when I became acceptable again. I sometimes think that I'm avoiding losing weight because if I do, he will be all over me again.

Sounds like you need someone on the side to be available to attend to your needs when you need him and only when you need your needs attended to.

Sounds like she needs a different husband who's more welcoming and less controlling.

Sounds like you need a conquest of your own... and that you've got plenty of prospects.

And BTW...
"...as I leaned against the wall with my hip out? "

You ladies have no idea what the female form does to us guys when you stand (or pose) in that position. Drives me absolutely nuts. Not only is it so damn sexy, it illustrates the pure beauty of the human female form and you ladies have no idea how much I appreciate it and you when you take that stance. Thank you for being you.

Yep. refused becoming refuser. I can totally understand that.

So gross

that sums it all. We've had enough, the very person who you desired grosses you out.

Although I find no humor in your situation I smile at the fact that you have finally decided to find yourself again. Yayyy. Best of luck to you beautiful.

Okay, I feel better I'm not the only one that this happens to and that you feel the same way as well. Thanks for sharing. Good for you for working out for yourself.

I hear you!

Oh this really strikes a chord!

After a while, I just gave up trying when every single approach was refused. Of course, the consequence of that was as of now just over four years without sex, as she would never ever initiate.

We recently started talking about this, in the context of discussing divorcing, and she said that I had not been near *her* for four years - so it was just as much my fault as hers. I tried as calmly as possible to explain that, after a while, I just gave up. And the fact that she never, ever, attempted anything told me that she did not really want sex at all.

The other morning she intimated that she wanted sex (of course it was one hour before I had to leave on a foreign business trip and I hadn't yet packed my bag or showered...). This was the first time in FOUR YEARS, and just so happens to be in the middle of discussions about divorce (which she has suddenly decided she does not want). I just said quietly, "what are you doing?". And she started to cry.

"The other morning she intimated that she wanted sex (of course it was one hour before I had to leave on a foreign business trip and I hadn't yet packed my bag or showered...). This was the first time in FOUR YEARS"
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Adeptlinguist, when I was off sex and the issue had been raised, I often proposed sex at times that were not convenient as well.

Your story, though, sounds at least like she cares. If you do as well, perhaps get some help with this? It looks like you both have eyes on the problem, you both have feelings about it, and you both care. Those are better odds than most people here. I'd also warrant that maybe if she did this just before you leave on a trip, she may be thinking that you might be primed to "take your love to town" - a consequence which won't hurt your negotiating position.

I'd love to read a few more successes here that include a relationship with their original partner.

Thanks, Apocrypha.

She cares, at one level, without a doubt.

She just isn't really into sex (and never has been)...

Sounds oh so familiar. Not wanting to accept any responsibility for their actions, or should I say their inactions. I am only with my wife today as she finally in a therapy session admitted that she was the one that didn't want sex anymore. It not that I was seeking justification, it's just that you can't fix something that you don't think is broken.

Wow dido

Birdie,

I can completely relate. My W has been a refuser for so long it just kills me when I think about it and look back on it. It's really over. I just need my exit plan first. Should be getting to that shortly.

QUESTION: As far as exit strategy goes, do you think it's best to pull away like that, and essentially tip your spouse off as to how strongly and negatively you feel about their touch... Or perhaps might it be better to just go along with the show *just enough* so they don't suspect *as much* that you might be preparing to leave? For example, give lame excuses right back at them (as I'm sure H did to you for years), rather than pull away so quickly?

I'm just thinking a bit about my own exit strategy and I kind of feel that I might be in a better position of power if W doesn't see it coming and things happen kind of suddenly. Just a thought. I mean we have been *so* sexless for *so* long that this *really* shouldn't be a surprise to W. But she lives in a world of denial and lacks some street smarts IMHO that maybe she *is* just subconsciously blind to the potential reality that I might *actually* leave, even though almost 20 years ago we too made those *fateful vows* "till death do us part"!

I appreciate your (and anyone else's) thoughts.

Thanks.

TL2

TL2,

Given the fact that we have similar refusers I would offer this advice... Or my take on the situation...

Our spouses are basically asexual, they are not going to change.

They are happy with the status quo, so as long as they aren't held accountable for their actions (that means we do not rock the boat) they continue on in blissful denial.

We have already expressed our unhappiness and grief enough, no need to repeat it again. They aren't stupid, they just don't care because although we have complained we have never really followed through with doing the actual leaving, so they think we won't.

Let them think what they want, while we prepare ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, so we are strong enough to see things through to the end.

We've have already decided (by their inaction and lack of intimacy and emotion) our relationship is over... the ship has sailed. When the time is right for you (your ducks are in a row), give her the separation or divorce papers and walk away. Don't debate with her, because the refuser has had a death grip on us for long enough and they will try to suck us back in, not for love, lust, or adherence to their vows, but rather because we make their life easier and they have lost control over us.

The race is on TL2... Hope to see you at the finish line (although I seem to be on a marathon, so my exit probably won't be for another 6 months or so).

Best wishes,
UJ

TL2,
My spouse wallows in a state of denial as well. We have had conversations/ confrontations in the past where, despite my above average intellect, I was astounded at his ability to turn everything around and make it my fault. I didn't even see it coming, because my ideas are grounded in rationality and his are not. He's actually told me in all seriousness during the last year (completely sexless) that he is a good lover. It blows my mind, the lengths with which he will go to lead his pretend life.
My point being, there is no talking things out with him. If the SM situation ever does come up again, it will be that I have not approached him or he feels "intimidated" by me. He usually goes with the "why do I always have to initiate" program...because you never want it and have rejected me every single time I have tried, dumbass, that's why...
So I'm going with the go along til I get along that Ein mentioned. I have no more patience for him. It's like trying to reason with a toddler having temper tantrum. Pointless.

hmmm, that's true, the vows dont say what kind of death.....somthing to think about....

Love it!! :)

1 More Response

I totally get this. My wife wants the last twelve sexless years to just magically go away. It's getting to the point where physical affection from her (which, of course, will never lead to anything more) is just annoying and brings up every negative feeling of rejection from the past.

Good for you!! I have personally been out of a sexless relationship for 2 months, and I don't regret leaving it for one second!! Not one single second! After you have dealt with sexless for so long, you know there advances mean nothing. They are pathetic attempts and trying to ensure that you don't leave them, that's all. They don't desire you or truly want to have sex with you, they only are scared of the consequences of not having sex with you (aka their world is turned upside down when you leave them). It is really disgusting. My ex engaged in some overt sexual advances before the end, and I saw them exactly for what they were. It just seemed so fake to me. Fake to the point that it completely disgusted me to my core. Also, don't think the sexlessness has anything to do with your looks. I really don't think that is the reason refusers don't want sex. I think it is so much more complex than that. I found going to the gym made me feel better about myself, but I knew that my looks weren't the real issue.

Yikes, I know how you feel. My husband hadn't made a move on me and rebuffed all my advances for almost 2 decades. Then, when I finally got a clue and wanted to separate, he said, "Whenever you get horny, you can hop on me." Oh, really.

Oh yea that really bites. I felt like telling him it takes more that a pat on my thigh to get the motor running!

I should've just tried it and see what would've happened.

Er - nothing.

"Then, when I finally got a clue and wanted to separate, he said, "Whenever you get horny, you can hop on me." Oh, really."
------------

This statement probably sums up the perception of entitlement and complacency best - the assumption that he holds the sexual power in your relationship, and that he's prepared to dole out his pellets.

While there may be other ways to obliterate such assumptions without separating, this is one place where even the discussion of an open relationship changes the game, especially for women. Because once the decision is made, and it becomes apparent that other men might need to compete for your attention (and some might earn it), suddenly the bar gets higher, without you even nagging.

Apocrypha,

Excellent points and observations... from "doling out pellets" to the open marriage point. Personally I don't think the open marriage thing would last or fit my style long term, but just *mentioning it* would make it *real clear* that other people out there are now in competition. Then it's a matter of the refuser spouse wants to compete / put in an effort to at least meet you half way (preferably more than that to make up for lost years and decades, but that's probably being delusional).

TL2

Oh, they don't WANT to compete. They just realize that the price of your ticket went up and if they want to ride, they have to pay more.

There is the open marriage discussion, and then there is the actual doing it. Those are separate things, and each of those two events has their own challenges, preparation, and recovery.

I'm not sure that an open marriage itself fits my style "long term" - but then I've been saying that for two years now. I think people focus so much on the format, they forget the element of the relationship with the paramour, which takes on its own dimensions. I don't know much about open relationships, but I do know that I enjoy my paramour and I have done so for over a year now. Do I like open relationships? Or, do I just like the benefit it eventually brought me?

Don't think I'd be as happy with it if my wife hadn't stepped up though.

If you do talk about it, be very clear on the terms of engagement - what is and what isn't going on, and for how long - when things start and end. Don't allow the option to slip into a half open/ half "don't ask don't tell" on your part or hers. If you end up hiding tracks rather than pointing them out, you miss the benefit on your own relationship and expose yourself to more significant risk.

That's definitely true.

He's now trying to find a woman not really to love, but he actually said, "So he can feel good about himself."

He wants to be a bachelor and have a ton of sex now, but when he was with another partner he said they basically watched TV anymore. I definitely believe that.

3 More Responses

I understand how you feel, but is this just about a physical need? What about the years you have invested in this relationship? Do you believe that it is worth discarding? The #1 question would be, have you talked open and honestly with your husband about your feelings & thoughts? I've been where you are, felt the same way. The ideal that it could not get better was all I seen, until we had a true bare all conversation about where the gaps existed in our relationship. All I'm saying is what do you have to lose by simply opening the door wide for repair!

"Do you believe that it is worth discarding?"
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It sounds to me, that it was discarded years ago.

In my case, I was able to re-establish a relationship with my wife, but I suspect if we BOTH had reached a point of sustained repulsion to each other simultaneously, it would have been a different ballgame.

It's a game of inches, the gradual exsanguination of a relationship. There is a point where you realize, simultaneously, that you are angry with your partner for not expressing desire for you, while also not desiring them yourself any longer. It's one of the purest expressions of the dysfunctional dance - being more invested in the fight and the rituals of conflict, even when the object of that conflict has long since disappeared. Eventually, all you have left is the fight -- and it's enough to remain emotionally invested.

Hmm. Do my stories read as someone that is still emotionally invested in this relationship, A? There is no fighting, but there are certainly "rituals of conflict." I haven't thought of myself as vested in quite some time, rather trying to survive until I can leave, but maybe I am. I'll have to think on it.

Based on what I've read, I think you are discovering or exploring new feelings (or the absence of them), and realizations and are noting or moving through a transition.

Did you feel surprised by your own reaction to your husband when he touched you?

I would agree that I am discovering new feelings. And yes, I was quite shocked at the level of rage I felt when he touched me. I felt molested. He no longer has any right.

Let him have his way with uou

Right? Surely that just be the answer, just let him violate me. Idiot.

It takes two to make things work, if you are willing to give him all the love you have left to see if a spark could be found in the relationship it will remove doubt later. I wish you the best, just don't let a root of bitterness form that grows into a monster that follows you into the future. If your leaving, don't wait.

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The assignment of motivations to another is uncertain business, even when there IS reasonably active communication between the parties. The "marking territory" might be more likely if there are other people around, like at the beach or a movie theater, but less so in your own home.

Whether you are working on differentiating again to prepare for your single life, a side effect of that differentiation is that you become more interesting and desirable person again - you need distance for the spark to jump. Whether you appreciate that admiration or not is another thing.

Apocrypha, I have *always* been interesting and desirable;)
But of course, yes, a journey of self-growth can have that effect on a partner. I would like to think that he is seeing changes in me other than the physical, which are apparent as well, not because I desire to repair the relationship, but because for once it would be stunning were he to appreciate the entire package, rather than just my body.
While he bares no interest in my mind, he knows that other men do and so I think the marking of territory comes from how he realizes I might be attracting attention now that I've turned my sexuality back on. There would be no opportunity to test your theory in public, as he never leaves his chair.

Of course you have always been interesting and desirable - and it's to your credit that you have been able to preserve that esteem under your present situation. By the time I signed on here, I'd thought I was the homeliest, most boring and awful lover in the world.

"rather than just my body"
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Again, hard to know from what's written where his expression of desire (touching you) originates with the physical or with the whole package (and it doesn't matter either, at this point). The idea of "attracting attention" can be about a realization that a relationship is a choice, and there are other choices - and that flake of personal investment (the realization that a relationship might not be a trap, and that it might not be "a sure thing") can sometimes wake people up.

You, birdie39, are obviously a sexual person. The language here though, about the dismissal of physical expression as being unimportant, is similar to that used by any refuser, which does go to a general point I return to from time to time on this forum - which is my hunch and personal experience that the dance played out in this forum typically isn't the result of an aesexual partner, but rather the result of unresolved dysfunction and anger.

I'm not disagreeing with you about "marking territory". My initial read was that it was about establishing a presence vs other suitors, but I see that it needn't be the case. It sounds like he is probing a bit, testing. I expect the panic soon to follow - a market correction with most folks. Addicts though are somewhat inscrutable in their reactions to real danger.

"the dance played out in this forum typically isn't the result of an aesexual partner, but rather the result of unresolved dysfunction and anger."

This, I agree with completely. Despite his disinterest in sex with me, I have never considered my husband to be asexual. I know beyond doubt that he harbors resentment towards me for any number of reasons, not all of them invalid. He has admitted in years past to not wanting to have sex with me because he was too angry.
The problem for us, is that we are inherently different people. Truly, he has stated numerous times that he "loves me but doesn't like me." What the hell does that mean? That means he doesn't love me at all, because my personality annoys him. So where our individual dysfunctions may have been resolvable within a more mutually satisfying companionate relationship, we have no foundation from which to build. Based on your stories, it seems you and your wife did, which made the pain of tearing down and rebuilding worth it. That's a beautiful thing.

So, to speak to "rather than just my body" of course I do want to be desired for my body. If I was confident that my partner *liked* me and had some appreciation for my mind, this would not be an issue.

"The problem for us, is that we are inherently different people. "
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When some of my friends (whom I respect a great deal), chalked it to "You want different things..." I had a hard time accounting for my choice to stay. Perhaps that was one reason why I kept those people close - to ensure that I continued to have to struggle to account for such a choice. I also noted, with one in particular, that she knows full well, she always has left her relationships after a few years, and that's what her parents did to her.

I think the thing I'm getting at is that ANY two people should want different things, and they should be different people. Our counsellor noted that some relationships (of a sort) are started and carried on when one person (a murderer) is in prison, and another is outside writing to them - and there couldn't be a wider variance in cirumstance or futures available to them, and yet - they happen. Sex drops out the bottom when two people become *fused* emotionally - with little differentiation between them in terms of what they *do* with their lives, as opposed to what they aspire to do. Over the years, well-intended compromise ends up smoothing off the differences that are worth discovering, especially after kids, when a subsequent level of compromise is added, along with additional costs (babysitting) to seek it. The trick is to keep "tension on the rope", while still tethered on both ends.

The notion of eliminating difference rather than re-introducing it is common here on ILIASM among people who are still stuck in their rut and not moving to the exit on their dysfunctional deal. It's a POWERFUL impetus, and largely invisible, even to people who are quick and happy to offer advice here. I can recall one or two instances where my "test flight" advice - which was to go out to a coffee shop alone on a Friday rather than watch the tube with a dud spouse - was posed as if I was putting the woman at a risk of being assaulted by her husband, (with no history of such abuse documented). Really? Going out to a coffee when hubby says no, is assumed to be cause for punching someone out? Dangerous advice? Perhaps dangerous to the status quo, but what's so good about the status quo?

""loves me but doesn't like me." What the hell does that mean? That means he doesn't love me at all, because my personality annoys him."
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Well, on the face of it - you are assigning his motivation, and you are even overwriting his own stated motivation. You might be right, but in this case, his original motivation might be close enough. He said he was angry with you. Angry sex can be fun, but it's not that fun to have sex with someone who you are truly and deeply disdainful of - someone you haven't forgiven. If the conflict isn't resolved directly, it will be expressed through other means, or avoided entirely. Some people withdraw and others, I find, pickle themselves in a drunken stupor.

"Really? Going out to a coffee when hubby says no, is assumed to be cause for punching someone out? Dangerous advice? Perhaps dangerous to the status quo, but what's so good about the status quo?"
To this, I will say, that not all men are like you, A. You have gone to great lengths to repair your marriage, not with no benefit to yourself, I'm sure, but clearly you are more liberally minded than many of the neanderthals some of us are married to. I have been guilty of the "wearing down" that I think some of these women are speaking of myself. It came to the point where the fight and the sulking that would ensue upon any act of my own independence just broke my spirit, yes often something as simple as wanting to go out and have coffee with a friend. It's embarrassing to admit, but it just became easier to stay the hell home, which is exactly what he wanted, of course.

As for differences, I value diversity in a relationship and complete freedom for each partner to pursue their own interests. I feel very strongly about the impact of two people continually growing and nurturing each other with new ideas. Now that I think about it...the values are what matters most, not interests. He and I don't share the same values at all.
But as usual, you have given me much to think about. My head hurts now...

Yes, this would be one of those values I was speaking of. For example, I value being sober, oh, 95% of the time, he values being stoned for most of it.
Mismatch. Lol
Forgiven me for anything? Never. Grudges abound!

"yes often something as simple as wanting to go out and have coffee with a friend."
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It IS easier just not to have that fight about going out for the coffee.

You rationalize, it's just a coffee, not worth the fight.

But then, it isn't just a coffee. It's the friggin' Beach of Normandy on D-Day. If an hour of indulgent recreation without your dud spouse (who wouldn't go with you anyway) is either too hard to consider either bringing up, or too hard to consider because of the consequence - then you are either in a bona fide abusive situation or a bona fide emotionally fused relationship.

See, I think this is one of those "stealth" symptoms that lurks in dark corners. Most of us come in here complaining about the sex. But we turn the lights up a bit and discover there's no touching at all, and no kissing. And no looking at each other, nor comfort of any sort.

Turn them up a bit more, and we start to see our own complicity in the dance, the spot where we put our own feet, all marked out on the floor, where we dutifully put them. This is where we cooperate with our roles: where we cover for our spouse who makes ribald jokes in mixed company, or where we don't make a fuss about going out for a simple coffee because it's going to be WW3.

why would you want to be affectionate to a person who refuses? I cant see rewarding them for depriving me....

It's hard to tell what an addict's values are, because at any point, their biological imperative can trump them and cause them to make choices counter to their interest.

Yep - I have enormous sympathy for anyone dealing with the heartbreaking situation of dealing with an addict. My own relationship has fought and still struggles with occassional addictive behavior - more apt to be triggered with certain stresses that I can identify now. I am lucky enough, I think, that I got my fight in early, and that I over-clubbed it with very severe, and very real consequences, and that I'm known by my wife and friends for a slavish addiction to "duty" and "the right thing". When I posed those consequences as "the right thing" to my wife when she was struggling with a drinking problem (as a way of conflict avoidance), she was smart enough to realize that I meant business, and that a world of pain - much worse than what she was hiding from - was mustering.

Addiction. How I loathe it. My entire life with this man has been centered around how "we" should deal with "his" addictions. I would give you both credit, that you clubbed it early and that she actually considered the grave consequences and stopped. Many addicts will not, under any circumstances.
In my case, it took me leaving him (previously) for him to end a drug addiction, before that it was a years long drinking habit (the booze seemed to be less of a lure than the drugs, he quit with just my very sincere threat to leave, finally), but nevertheless he remains an addict. Now he is addicted to his prescriptions, smoking and Red Bull. If eating **** was pleasurable, the man would become addicted. And he perceives himself as "strong and recovered" because he quit drinking.
You have my empathies on this one, A. I ******* cannot tolerate addiction. I will surely be on the keen lookout for any problematic behaviors with my next potential mate, I can tell you that. Never, ever again.

10 More Responses

Reads like you are well into "crossover" stage - the bit where even if a root was on offer (the very thing you thought you wanted for oh so long), the idea now fills you with indifference or even repugnance.

There is no surer sign that your deal is d . o . n . e .

Tread your own path.

Repugnance is a good choice of words. Done like dinner, Baz.

You are F@@ing awesome!!! I noticed that too after I had my daughter, when she turned 2 I changed my appearance got a upper enhancement and worked everything off! I am 5'2 110lbs and have more suitors then I can deal with. I also have a husband I plan to leave when I get my career and a boyfriend to pass the time. OWN IT, get out there and do you!!!! Message me anytime!!!

Good for you, Sweet. I am all for women and men alike doing whatever it takes to bring the confidence back. Well, within reason. I thought Joan Rivers looked just fine 10 facelifts ago...
But yes, we have to OWN it!

Yes , it's amazing how quickly they stand up and take notice when you have one foot out the door isn't it? I'm like you, Birdie, too little too late, too bad, so sad ( for them )!

Amen, GEL! Yep, it's a last ditch effort. Pathetic.
In other matters... I think you and I might need some anger management classes. Hahaaaa
Kidding;)

Yeah, we probably do ;)

Zusz and Jim, done! Deleted your comments as well though. Woops.

I'm fine with it!

I guess my only question is why prolong the relationship any longer. Give yourself and him a break if you've made up your mind.

Sounds like you need to urgently give this one up now ...

I m so glad to see a strong woman like u...I really very very happy for u...kick him...live ur life to fullest. .such husbands hardly deserve anything. .

You are past the point of no return. Glad to see your reestablishing your confidence!

Good for you !!

hehe. You make my whole day. That is all. :)

Seconded. Hearty round of applause!

I love you, Lohla;)