In Hindsight

I read about this forum in our national newspaper and wanted to send a story from the other side. The other side of a sexless marriage that is.

I was married for 13 years, and in relationship with that person for almost 17 years when we amicably divorced. Geez, I just gave away the ending didn't I?

Oh well. The basic idea of the story is that we did the usual early dating thing (lots of sex) to the early marriage thing (not tons of sex, but sex) to the "what kid is that inbetween us?" thing (not much sex at all) to the "all you do is watch TV all night and never come to bed anymore" thing (no sex at all).

When we were having no sex at all, and that would include no kissing or hugging or even bumping into one another in the kitchen I was lonely. It was an odd feeling because the rest of my life wasn't lonely at all - I had three young boys and I was in full embrace of motherhood. I had tons of mothering friends, a great relationship with my sisters and was at the centre of most everything. The only place I was lonely was in my bed.

We talked about it, talked more about it, talked more and then made plans and then did nothing. He watched TV late into the night and I know he watched some **** but he kept that part of his life carefully hidden. I was sad but I thought it might get better. There's few places lonelier than a big queen size bed.

It didn't get better and eventually I got more lonely. The night I realized I had been sleeping with a hot water bottle instead of a warm man it hit me. This is stupid. I am married to my good friend and I am not having any sex. Thinking about breaking up the marriage (note how I do not say breaking up a family -- a divorce ends a marriage not a family) -- was hard for me. Many times I would find myself crying uncontrollably at the thought of telling the kids -- even then, in the depths of my despair I realized I wasn't sad for leaving my husband, I was only sad for the impact it would have on our boys. I knew I'd stay friends with my husband - we had friendship down pat, it was the married/sex part we weren't so good at.

Everyone knows what the final straw was right?

I started playing chess on line (I was that bored and lonely when the kids went to bed for god's sake!) and you know the next line right? I started chatting with some guys - these were chess guys, so pretty smart. The sexual innuendo that happened in between "first move" and "check mate" reawakened something in me -- it was called sexual desire -- it had been away for so long I ran for it and hugged it like a long lost friend. But hold on, it wasn't my sexual desire that was back - it was the idea that I could be sexually desired. Big difference.

Within weeks I had a full time chess/chat friend who I was head over heels for. You see? Starve someone long enough and even a chess geek becomes a life perserver. Not that there's anything wrong with chess geeks :)

Long story short, I ended my marriage. But before we actually split my husband became more sexually interested - he started coming to bed - but by that time the ship had sailed. It wasn't so much that the anger and resentment of being left alone in bed for a decade was too much to get over, it was the fact that the only time he came running to bed was when I said I was leaving. Not being desired for years and years was hard, knowing that it took another man to show interest to get his back was brutal.

And so, we parted. I dated frequently and loved having my sexuality back. It was like water for the seriously dehydrated. I had more energy. I was more creative. I was more alive. I felt beautiful and sexy again. I truly truly believe that sex is important and when it goes a whole lot goes with it. (it's okay to rationalize that sex is just sex - I did that for years...but interestingly I never told even my closest friend that I wasn't having sex because deep down I knew, this is just wrong)

You're wondering about the impact on the kids aren't you? (if you're not, you're not a parent) The big question was always "are you a good Mom when you screw up the kids lives just to improve your own?". I mean, put it in the most base and rude of terms "mom needs to get screwed, so she's willing to screw the kids around too?" Not the material that makes you mother of the year now is it?

Of course I wish I was still married, still living with their Dad for the kid's sake. (anyone who hears their kids ask "who's house am i at this weekend?" knows the sick feeling of being divorced, no matter how amicable the split)  But in our case, and I know it's not usual - we're all great friends still. We sit together at hockey, cheer through soccer games side by side, talk on the phone every day about the kids and write emails sharing funny stories of what the other parent missed that weekend. I love his parents and the feeling is mutual so they're still in our lives, still coming over on holidays and laughing it up at the big dinner table. In other words, we ended our marriage but opted to keep our family.

It's not heroic, or even that hard to keep your family while ending your marriage. Don't ask for money, share the kids equally, divide the stuff up as if you were going to get his share instead of yours, take it easy on each other and remind yourself that you loved this person...a lot. The result is kids who experience a change but not a disaster.

But back to the sexless married woman (the old me!). Where am I now? I've been with the "new" guy (a chess player, but not from online, go figure) for 6 years. We started living together 4 years ago (another way to keep your ex-husband as your friend, don't rush kids into new living arrangements too soon and never try to replace their dad). Yes we have our ups and downs, blended families are the most challenging work there is. BUT we have a good sex life.

As for my sexless-ex I do believe he is now sexed, or at least I hope he is. He ended up making a new life with a good friend of mine - (if I can stay friends with my ex, anyone can!!) - and I hope, really really hope that he goes to bed instead of watching TV and that he never ends up in a sexless marriage again.

In my case, when life gets stressed, when kids are all over the place, when my new beau's ex-wife is making me crazy, that's the time when sex can dwindle because frustration and angst is rising. The difference is that this time I won't let it. He won't let it. We both came from situations where the sex went by the wayside. I live by the idea that sex is essential to me. Maybe not to everyone. But to me. And my relationship. And to my sense of connectedness. It doesn't have to be wild, crazy sex (although that's appreciated) it just has to be sex. You just can't stay mad or sad when the person you love is that close to you.

Sex is the balm for domestic life -- after the exciting first few years go's the real, normal, that was nice thank you kind of sex that is the glue. Having lived both ways (sexless and sexed) I truly and deeply believe that.

A sexless marriage is in my past. It was a great past, with a great lifelong friend and amazing memories and adventures. But it was sexless. And for me that was not going to work. I encourage anyone in a sexless marriage who is unhappy about it to change it. First try with the person you're married to. If that doesn't work, remain friends but move on. You've got a great chance of having a "good divorce" because after all, as the previous poster mentioned "you're friends who have decided to stop screwing each other". And hey, what a better basis for a healthy divorce than friendship?

I remain, happily living on an eternal learning curve,

"Just a thought"


justathought justathought
2 Responses Feb 26, 2009

Your story is very inspiring. I'm glad everything worked out for you. Did your ex husband ever give you an explanation as to why he didn't want to make love to you?

Hey JAT,<br />
<br />
Great recollection of a situation that sounds ominously familiar to me, and I am sure others on this board. My wife and I have been married, experienced kids wedged between us at nights and spent many solo nights watching bad TV. In fact, that's our situation now. We have sex but we (or at least I) do not have a lot of desire. <br />
<br />
You sound so similar to my wife. In fact, I would say you were her other than the chess and divorce part. The difference being that my wife wants sex but does not participate in growing our sexual experience. Let me explain. Everything else in our relationship evolves, morphs, blooms..etc. Sex, is forever locked in time. Unfortunately it's not the experimental, lets discover each other time. It's the time just before kids when we were having sex as a means to expand our family, not as a means to satisfy each other. I know that once we hit the sack, one of three things will happen. Can you imagine watching a hockey game over and over again, knowing who is going to win, how they are going to win and who is going to score (pardon the pun) every time. <br />
<br />
Dare I say it, we are stale. I have tried everything to make it fresh but it's not to be. If I knew that the ending would be different or that some mind altering thing may happen, we wouldn't even have a TV in the house. Notice I said MAY HAPPEN. That is the key. I know it's not going to be crazy monkey sex every time but going primate on the odd occasion would keep the home fires burning. My wife gets on me about not initiating sex, why would I...the result is predetermined and so is the flow of the game. It's so simple. Here comes a wide sweeping statement, so be prepared. Ladies, be creative. My wife constantly says, "okay what would you like me to do/wear". I tell her, it never happens. That's not the point, you see. If I have to tell, how creative is that? I suppose the act of trying, in itself, is sexy. That she wants to explore sex with me is, or would be, a road to happiness. I'll now go and put on my asbestos suite and hunker down for the flames. As an attempt to win over the female readers I must say this, I have made huge efforts. This included a phase of oral worship with her in an attempt to awaken some type of inner sexual awareness in her. Trust me she loved it and it led to many ***** for her over a long period of time. Alas, she just got used to it and became more docile in bed.<br />
<br />