Working On It, But Losing Patience...

Well, I've been a member for awhile now, so I guess I should post my story (at least the story up to this point).

Been married nearly 20 years and have 2 kids.  My wife is very passionate when we make love (or have sex, which is all that it is for her), but it was about 10 times a year until a couple years ago.  I finally told myself that I deserved more intimacy and also told my wife so (couldn't get any worse, right?  WRONG!!).  Last year (2008) we only had sex 4 times - partly because I decided that I wasn't going to be the only one who initiated it, but also, I strongly suspect, because she was pissed at me for being so arrogant as to actually express my needs (what was I thinking?!!).  I can't tell you how many times I've been threatened with divorce when I am the one who is unhappy.

Anyway, in the middle of 2008 I decided that either we were going to work on our relationship or I was going to leave.  I am a VERY patient man and, I believe, am very sensitive to her needs and appreciative of everything she does (we both work during the day and although I do try and help out, she definitely does the lion's share of household work - partly because she likes everything done a certain way).  She gets foot rubs, back rubs and I take her out to dinner twice a week on average (plus lunch at least once a week - we work close to each other).  I also sit down with her after dinner every night for about an hour and let her talk (I know it's very important to her).  I also do little things to make things "nice" for her (in other words, I do think about her and want to make her happy - I don't just "demand" sex because I'm the husband and that's how it is supposed to be!).

We've been going to counseling for over 6 months and I know it's gotten better in some ways.  I help out much more (she is learning to let go and just step back).  We are more intimate now (more cuddling at least), but again that's largely because I am initiating it again.  Last year when it became unbearable, I backed away from physical contact and even seeing her in the buff - it was just too painful for me to see her and desire her so much).  That led to accusations that I was withholding my love (you've GOT to be freakin' kidding me!!!).

So, as I see it, she's getting everything she wants and I'm getting - well, not much of what I really need, that's for sure.  I do everything asked of me and more and yet things aren't even back to the way they were before (and even that was unacceptable to me).

Here's where I am at right now: I'm going to continue to go to therapy (it IS good for me - I know I'm growing and I am learning more about my wife).  At the same time, I am getting much more assertive in expressing my feelings (usually during our sessions as that is virtually the only time it doesn't end in shouting).  My wife isn't doing much for the relationship - hasn't asked her doctor if there's a physical explanation, hasn't initiated any intimacy, doesn't really put much into making our relationship grow and succeed.  She goes to therapy only because she doesn't want to be "blamed" if our marriage fails (she has said that - not my words).

I'm devoted to making this work, but I am finally more devoted to making myself happy.  If it isn't with her, then it will be without her (no affairs for me - not my style - but I will end the marriage if it comes to that).  Not sure how much longer I'll continue to beat myself against the wall, but it won't be for years, I can definitely say that: either I see some effort on her part, or I'll start looking in to divorce (unlike her, I don't threaten, I'll just do it).

Sad thing is that she'll turn her back on me in an instant, but it's just her way of dealing with the possibility of losing someone she loves - when the wall comes up, you are on the other side and you can't hurt her (at least not that she'll let you see).

I see a storm coming, but sometimes storms just clean things up.  I'm hopeful - probably because I'm an eternal optimist!

Thanks for listening.



PS Whew that felt good!!

WorkinOnIt WorkinOnIt
46-50, M
7 Responses Feb 23, 2009

I think we have some things in common. I am in a relationship of 10 years with a man who is kind and good, but for most of that time, there has not been much intimacy. I need more and have told him so, but he is jut not getting it. It isn't about sex, but that is part of it. I would love to get a foot rub or a massage, but he is just not interested in that sort of thing. I applaud you for trying so hard and maybe we can talk sometime.

Wow, your story sounds like my life!!! And I have read many other similar stories since I joined a few weeks ago. You are not alone and you are doing a great job in trying do deal with your situation. Its great that you are able to get your wife to go to see a counselor. That's a great step and it sounds like it has helped to some extent. If you can get her to see a medical doctor and test her testoterone level, that might tell you more about why your wife is the way she is. If it shows she has an extremely low testoterone level, then the dilemma will be will she want to do anything about it. The cures don't always work and have side effects.<br />
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My situation is similar to yours in many ways. I too help out a lot around the house and with the kids. I end up initiating any physical contact with my wife. However, she is pretty engaging on all other levels. That's the tough part for me. If she wasn't engaging in other areas than just the physical aspect, I would probably not have stayed in the relationship even with kids (who I love a ton). I can't get her to discuss it ever. I can't get her to counseling (although I've gone a few times for myself). I can't even get her to test her hormone levels to see if it might be a medical issue since even if it were, she says she would not want to take the risks of being on any hormone treatment (I really don't blame her there since the risks are potentially pretty high).<br />
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You are doing a great job trying to fix your relationship with your wife. It is hard and extremely frustrating at times.<br />
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Hang in there and good luck to you!!!

I'm late to the party on this post...but, you sound like a very nice person and a considerate man. Way to go. You have continued to give and be considerate. I hope you find true happiness and we both know that starts within ourselves. Best of luck!

read your story...thinking of you.

Good luck! All you can really control is saving yourself. If she can't see how good you are to her and for her, then she does not deserve a considerate a sweet husband like you.<br />

You're a good man, WorkingOnIt. I truly admire your efforts to make your marriage work. I hope maybe I can find that strength to give a crap. It has been so long being kicked to the curb that I am numb to her and all of her pleasures. How did we all end up in this position? This is truly something I don't understand. I spent years coddling my wife much like yourself. I do not hit her, I don't even yell. I used to crave her. It was like that for the first 12 years of our marriage. Then suddenly...a season of cold rolled in and has never left. Again, hats off to you for your effort. It is really impressive and I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully the good Lord will grant me the strength to work as hard as you are. Thanks for the encouragement.

You are to be congratulated on the time and effort you have put into your marriage. Your story makes me realise how much I have just avoided confroonting the issue instead of proactively dealing with it as you are.<br />
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I don't imagine you wrote your story to spur others into action (!!) but it has just had that precise effect on me. So THANK YOU so much.<br />
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On reading your story it does seem to me that there is very little likelihood at this stage that your marriage will move to a level that is acceptable for you.<br />
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This seems to be the crucial dilemma in our situations - for one partner to be happy, the other must be unhappy . . . and it seems that there is NOTHING that changes that equation. How dismal!!<br />
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I can only say I wish you well in your own search for happiness and I admire your proactive and assertive stance. Well done!