My Story

 It is similar to many of the others I have read. It wasn't always like this-- at first our love life was very good. She was passionate, adventurous, playful, affectionate. But things changed, starting with when we had our first child.

The way it would start was with her spending hours- literally hours, rocking our son to sleep every night. She would not let him cry for even a minute before picking him up, and rocking, rocking, rocking. Of course, he came to expect this, and it got later and later before she would put him down. All of this while I was working a job that had me needing to be up at 4AM. 

Then I noticed that when I would kiss her, they were different. Less passionate, less overtly sexual. Eventually she said she just didn't like kissing very much.

Our sex life became exemplified by this pattern: she did not want sex at night because she said she found it hard to sleep afterwards, but then would stay up watching TV or doing chores that easily could have been done earlier (and with my help! And if I did them by myself earlier it would not change the pattern). Then in the morning, she would sleep in because of how late she stayed up.

I started to become concerned with the trends I was noticing. We talked. Talks became arguments, and fights. Sometimes we would have what seemed to be emotional breakthroughs, including one where we agreed to go on a cruise to try to recapture some of the fading spark. This resulted in our second child, but the pattern continued.

Things got bad in our marriage after that. It got to the point where we sought marriage counselling. Yet that was not helping, and she was withdrawing from me more and more. I could no longer use my mouth on her. Then, I could not use my hands 'down there'. The only time we hugged was when I would give her one. The only time we kissed was when I kissed her, with it becoming clear from the way she was kissing that she really preferred if we didn't.

Things got nasty between us. We were both mean to each other. Home was like a constant war zone. After a particularly bad argument, we separated and started divorce proceedings. After giving all of our money to attorneys, and seeing what it was doing to our kids, we got back together (three years after separation). We actually get along a lot better than we used to now. 

But the downward trend of our love life continued, unabated. There were times where it seemed like there were breakthroughs, where she would say she understood how I felt and that I was right, and that she wanted things to be different, and that I just needed to be patient while she worked things out. But she never actually would work on things- no more counselling, no reading books, no talking about whatever was holding her back, no discernable effort at actually doing anything differently. 

When I would ask her what was keeping her from putting an effort in, she said she felt 'pressured'. That was four years ago.

I suspected there may be a medical reason. I still think there might be. One time, some tests hinted that there might be a thyroid problem. Followup tests were inconclusive, and then later negative. But it sure did seem like she had a never-ending series of symptoms. She seemed to feel poorly all the time. I kept wondering- are these just more ways of keeping her distance from me, or is it real? What is right for me to feel? If it is a physical condition, then what kind of *** would I be for being mad at her? But she didn't seem to be very interested in getting to the bottom of it, either, which made it hard to not be angry and frustrated.

By now, there was almost no affection outside of the bedroom, and very infrequent action in it. I caught glimpses of the old her every once in a while-- she rarely drinks but on some occasions she would get drunk on wine and a tigress would emerge. But that stopped- how often she would get drunk became almost never and when she does, that passion does not come out anymore.

Last year, our frequency of lovemaking was sparse enough to where it was what most people would call 'sexless'. But not my wife- she said that it was completely normal, that many people have sex less than once a month or two (or three). Besides, she said, it is completely natural for there to be absolutely no passionate feelings after 15 years of marriage.

Then about a half a year ago, I thought again there might be a medical breakthrough in that she had to have an ovary removed due to cysts, and her doctor discovered a really bad case of endometriosis, to where she said she was amazed that my wife had ever wanted sex. When the doctor told me that and that it had been removed, I was extremely hopeful that finally, maybe, it had been the reason all along and that things would finally get better. 

It didn't. 

Several months ago, I decided that maybe what was happening was that she was getting out of our love life what she needed, and as such there was no reason for her to try to meet my needs-- that by me participating in our love life (as it was), I was showing that the things I was missing were not really needs but just wants. That if they really were needs that I was not getting, then I would not be accepting what was being offered. That by acting like a beggar grateful for any scraps, I was validating her approach to our love life and consenting to it.

So I stopped. Completely. And I wondered if she would notice. She didn't, until very recently. She wasn't happy when I told her what my attitude was now. In fact, divorce was threatened. Then an admission, once again, that things needed to change and that she wants them to be different. It sounded so familiar. I asked her, did she think our love life was good? She said no, but that she thought it was 'ok'.

A day later I made the mistake of asking her, if she thought it was just 'ok', and didn't seem to be enthusiastic that it was even that, why she never worked on it with me? What was holding her back?

She said, she felt 'pressured'. This despite for the fact that in the last four years, I had consciously tried to avoid pressuring her at all. I realized that nothing had changed for the better in that time, the downward trend had continued, and that things just kept repeating.

I don't know what will happen. If things don't eventually improve, this isn't viable long-term. I can probably hold out until both kids are in college. Probably.


FayettevilleDad FayettevilleDad
4 Responses Mar 13, 2009

Thanks for your comments, lawmom. I am sorry for what you are going through, as well.<br><br><br />
As for the depression, no she has not been so evaluated. I've made the suggestion before and found it was not helpful.<br />
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<i>"I am not so sure staying for the kids is always the best choice. However, I do understand a decision of that magnitude is more complex than can be expressed here. I just get concerned when I read that a person is not only living without sex/affection but may have to do so for many years to come. "</i><br><br />
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It may not be the best idea. However, given that we don't live near family, if we split odds are she would go to where her family is, which would make seeing the kids as much as I would want impossible (and/or lead to a painful and contentious custody battle). Further, I am the child of a broken marriage. It was over before I remember, and my mom remarried into a wonderful relationship. My older brothers (quite a bit older, actually) saw the whole breakup and the prelude to it, and it affected them greatly. Seeing that fallout, I'll stick with this for a few more years, if need be, if I can.

Strangeling, thanks. You are right that she isn't telling me her reasons. <br />
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That said, I know what some of them may be. She blames me for nearly all of the strife earlier in our marriage. Also, before I met her, she had been engaged when a heart problem was discovered; her boyfriend cheated on her while she was in the hospital recovering from having a pacemaker implanted. And possibly the big one, she was molested by an uncle when she was a child. Any or all of these undoubtedly contribute. Plus there are the recurring health issues, which either are real and that means (scarily) that she has not been diagnosed (we have had a doctor convinced she has Graves, while another possibility is Lupus) or they aren't which would to me be a sign of clinical depression. To the extent that I don't know the actual root cause, or if there are many causes, then I don't have a fairly clear idea of what my situation is.<br />
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However, I do know that I am running out of things to try. I love my wife, and I love my family. I just don't know if I will be able to keep this up once the kids are gone.

Wow, thank you for sharing that. You've really been through the mill on this one. Most of those on here haven't stuck it out nearly that long, while others gave up hope much earlier. I think you've really done everything you can. Your wife obviously knows what this means to you, but apparently your sexual needs aren't as important to her as whatever is discouraging her from sex. <br />
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She is obviously making a lot of excuses that have little to do with the world outside of her head. There may be a solid reason behind it, but what she's telling you aren't her reasons so much as her saying that she doesn't want to tell you her reasons (or possibly that she doesn't know her reasons).<br />
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In most cases, I try to give advice on how the situation might be resolved. In your case, though, I think you have a fairly clear idea of what your situation is and what your options are. I can only hope that you run into the insight and opportunities that you need.<br />
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Good luck my youngest daughter moved out . I thought 1 more 2 go . Next thing I know the married 1 moves back in with hubby and new born . If that was not enough she has won custody of his 6 year old . Lost 1 gained 4 . I hope U make out better than I have !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!