No Bargain

 My wife and I shared many values and formative background experiences. She was a   suitemate of a close cousin,  who arranged a date for us, and we were attracted mentally and physically. After she dated me, she dropped the other guys she had been dating. I attended a different college, and we corresponded and called and pined for each other between dates and weekends when we could arrange times together.  She was not "easy" but in those days when premarital sex was considered "bad" in each of our parents' eyes, she signaled that I could pursue it. We had great sex in her famliy's house when they were on a vacation,  and I had a wonderfully equipped "Hippie van" which made for regular practise and innovation.  We dated for over 2 years, then married ( 1973 ) and lived in student housing my senior year in college. We did not have much, but I was in Navy ROTC and she had excellent accounting skills and worked in the city tax office and we had stability and security and each other. In a big fold-out couch bed, we placed a window fan in the window at the head of the bed at night , and felt great breezes flowing as we heated up each other in ways she liked.

   Our physical attraction level was partially slowed and interupted by the birth of our son 3 years later.  The periodic deployments I served in the Navy were emotionally difficult and drove her to become more independent, but reunions after the ship returned were glorious.

    I resigned as a Navy Lieutenent in 1979, and the employment agency which I signed up with said that Manufacturing Management was the place I would be best suited and paid.  As a man well educated and experienced in personnel management, with military experience,  I was hired by W.R. Grace into a position in management of a plant which ran 3 shifts, 5 and 6 days, had trucks on the road constantly, and had a $7 million annual budget - and to add to the stress  - the regional manager's office was on the site of my plant.  The stress and pressure wore me out, and ran me down. In my 4th year there as Plant Manager,  I spent 9 days in a psychiatric hospital, (diagnosed as depression ) and the regional  manager later decided to "allow" me to leave , providing me a "special projects" position for several months until I found something else.

   The job I found required us to sell our house and move, but was for a position I really liked and for a good salary. We bought a unique, modern unusual house we loved in the new town. One month later, I was fired. I had "enjoyed" the new situation TOO MUCH ! I was having racing thoughts, grandiose ideas,  and telling everyone around me how to do their job better!

I went into a "hypo-manic" episode, and went missing from home for a couple of weeks. My wife was hysterical . She placed a "missing person" report on me,  and the police picked me up and got me to a hospital.  ( diagnosis - manic-depression ,    now it is called Bi-Polar condition, or "chemical imbalance" )  I was put on lithium-carbonate and have to get my blood levels checked every 6 months and meet with a psychiatrist periodically.

    My wife was terribly shaken, as was our whole world.  We had to evacuate our new house, and lived for a year in a house graciously provided to us for minimal rent by a freind of my parents. She hated it, andwas  forced to look for full-time work for the first time in our marriage. I was disorientated and aimless for several months until I decided to go into a technical school for computer repair training - the first class of its kind at the time. She became so disillusioned with marriage during my training, that she left me for 18 months. That was hell, and learned that I could only hang on to hope by keeping close to God.  When I completed the training and got at good job in another state,  ( NC), she came with me.

   You may imagine what the level of our sex life had gone to by this time. I was initiator  for more than she.  And with a child to raise, that was a factor.  She did not work, and made some friends. We always hoped wecould move back to that great house we had bought ( which we had not been able to sell - and rented it to help on the payments) .  I worked long hours and we were able to keep up the payments, while getting a small condominium there in NC.  Miraculously,  we had the "favorite house" for sale, and got a contract to sell it,  yet,  one month later we MOVED BACK into it ! The buyer backed out,  and my company allowed me to move back and work from there.  As our stability improved, so did our sex life. She was wonderful at oral sex.  Although her libido was waning with menopause, she felt enough sense of "duty" to take care of my needs.  I began getting the message, and I asked her if she really wanted to have sex, and she said, "honestly - no ".  I was 48 then.  I tried to be sensitive to her feelings, and asked only for what she begrudgingly would do,  as seldom as I could.

    About 10 years ago,  my work environment was terribly stressful. I had seen 20 of 23 people in my office get laid off in the previous 3 years and the pressure was constant for us to do more. Depression hit again, and I had to be hospitalized.  Two years after that, back trying to "make the numbers", I was working my computer-phone driving down the road, which I had to do in order to save enough time to accomplish the required number of calls per day,   and the next thing I remember was someone pulling me out of my burning car after I had  sideswiped an 18 wheeler !  I spent 3 months in rehab, and became so depressed I was suicidal for a while. ( another time when I learned survival only by faith in God )  I was so injured in that wreck that my company put me on disability at age 57. I can drive, but can't do much physical exertion for over a couple of hours, and my memory is slightly effected ( can't hold dates and times in my short term memory well) .

    My wife now feels that she has gone through more with me than anyone should be expected to , and  she resents having to work so much ( she was very diligent after my wreck in adding two more part time jobs to the one she had then, and now pays both our health insurance)  There is NO physical affection.  She resents that I don't do the housework and cooking to her specifications, although she has not honestly tried to take the patience to tell me exactly what she does like - rejecting most of what I decide to make on my own initiative. She does not attend church with me ( or anywhere ) , she does not attend family holiday gatherings, or want to see any of my freinds in the house. Very few people I know have seen her with me in several years. We share a house and our son who visits for a meal once a week.  I love her,  and I won't be a willing part of a divorce. 

  

 

nobed nobed
56-60, M
4 Responses Feb 18, 2009

Don't we deserve the security of the basis of the union we built? She has not asked me for a divorce. (just during the infrequent angry rant - says "Why don't you go find someone crazy like you? !!" She would likely leave if she made/had enough money. But how many marriages are in that state? Marriage is at the core, a financial arrangement.<br />
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Have you seen the new movie, "Fireproof"? I have been doing the "40 Day Challenge" for 4 years. In the movie, his wife finds out that he has been trying so hard in the face of her rejections, by following the "Challenge" . She asks him what day he is on and he says, "43- what says I have to stop ?"<br />
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I was not kidding when I said I found that the only way for me to handle strains with my marriage was to hold on tight to God. Having to deal with marriage trouble has given me a lot of experience at practising my faith, and at loving those who do not want to be loved.<br />
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This forum is about "Sexless Marriage" , right? Not about "Can this marriage be saved?" I offer my experience not as a sad story, but as a victory. We have our family. We have the security that my wife has always sought. We have our son near to both of us. We may actually be closer than people who have not had to climb the mountain of mental illness. We have a heart for people with disabilities. We have an understanding.<br />
<br />
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She was molested as a small child, and instinctively flees from intimacy. I get to have a lifetime of shoothing her anxiety and winning over that wild instinct to flee, and do it by foot rubs, and shoulder rubs, putting on lotion at bed time inthe summer, helping her "cap-streak" her hair.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
She gave me oblique directions on how she thought the kitchen should be cleaned and straightened for 2 years in a way that ensured that I would not "do it right", until I had become so consistent at doing all that I could to please her, that she finally went into the kitchen WITH me and pointed to exactly the spot she likes the table arrangement to sit and where she likes the feet of the chairs to point ! That it the kind of victories I seek.<br />
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I am new to "Experiences". Is this reply something that I should put in the "forum" about my story? (where you put your kind, careful anaylsis? I do thank you for giving me the consideration of your response and advice. It is encouraging , even though you said it is "probably over". I have not fallen back at the estimate of people most of my life. I beleive that people can make relationships work, if they really want to, and if they ask for God's help.<br />
<br />
Don't we deserve the security of the basis of the union we built? She has not asked me for a divorce. (just during the infrequent angry rant - says "Why don't you go find someone crazy like you? !!" She would likely leave if she made/had enough money. But how many marriages are in that state? Marriage is at the core, a financial arrangement.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
Have you seen the new movie, "Fireproof"? I have been doing the "40 Day Challenge" for 4 years. In the movie, his wife finds out that he has been trying so hard in the face of her rejections, by following the "Challenge" . She asks him what day he is on and he says, "43- what says I have to stop ?"<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
I was not kidding when I said I found that the only way for me to handle strains with my marriage was to hold on tight to God. Having to deal with marriage trouble has given me a lot of experience at practising my faith, and at loving those who do not want to be loved.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
This forum is about "Sexless Marriage" , right? Not about "Can this marriage be saved?" I offer my experience not as a sad story, but as a victory. We have our family. We have the security that my wife has always sought. We have our son near to both of us. We may actually be closer than people who have not had to climb the mountain of mental illness. We have a heart for people with disabilities. We have an understanding.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
She was molested as a small child, and instinctively flees from intimacy. I get to have a lifetime of shoothing her anxiety and winning over that wild instinct to flee, and do it by foot rubs, and shoulder rubs, putting on lotion at bed time inthe summer, helping her "cap-streak" her hair.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
She gave me oblique directions on how she thought the kitchen should be cleaned and straightened for 2 years in a way that ensured that I would not "do it right", until I had become so consistent at doing all that I could to please her, that she finally went into the kitchen WITH me and pointed to exactly the spot she likes the table arrangement to sit and where she likes the feet of the chairs to point ! That it the kind of victories I seek.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
I do thank everyone for giving me the consideration of your response and advice. It is encouraging , even though you said it is "probably over". I have not fallen back at the negative estimate of people most of my life. I beleive that people can make relationships work, if they really want to, and if they ask for God's help.

So sad. I really wish I had a miracle answer for you. I do agree with Enna in that you need to tell her how much you love her and don't want to spend the rest of your days without her. She is fragile right now and suffering. So be gentle. She might need some space. She has loved you through thick and thin and that's really all any of us can ever hope for in our lifetime.<br />
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Why is it so complicated? God bless you. May you find the happiness you seek.

There are limits that one partner can be made to bear and I fear that she has reached her limits. She has stayed with you through some very difficult times and was there for you throughout. The life you have described has been one of great difficulty. <br />
I would say if you truly loved her and admired her for her sacrifices for you over the years you might step back and allow her a release from the prison you are now both entrapped . If you truly loved her you would allow her an escape to find some happiness that is beyond her grasp now. <br />
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I can see no way back for you two at this point, too much has gone out of this marriage. It seems out of repair. and cannot be fixed.<br />
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I hate to sound harsh about this but human endurance has its limits. Hers has been reached.

This is such a sad story and illustrates what a terrible toll mental health issues can take on people and their loved ones.<br />
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Sadly I think your marriage is probably finished. From your story it is clear your wife has been a responsible and loving partner, but I think you will have to accept that she cannot take any more.<br />
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This is very sad for both of you.<br />
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If you truly want your marriage to work, I have some suggestions:<br />
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do NOT tell her flat out that you won't be party to a divorce - try telling her you understand how she feels, but you really love her and want to work on your marriage<br />
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ask her to outline for you HOW she'd like certain household tasks done and then follow her instructions to the letter<br />
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give careful attention to the things that might bring her pleasure and give your efforts to providing these - a bunch of flowers? a back rub? a special treat such as chocolates? These don't have to be expensive but are based on what SHE likes.<br />
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If you give it your best efforts and she still wants a divorce you will know you have done everything you can to preserve your marriage.<br />
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I wish you well.