Hope?

"...I feel the whole range of emotions, anger, pain, sadness, pity, love, regret, humiliation..."

^This. Someone posted this in their story and, while I hate plagiarism, I had to steal it because it describes so perfectly how I have spent most of my time in recent months. The only thing missing, in my case anyway, is resentment. For those of you not familiar with my story, my husband has refused sex for most of the last 13 years so that I'd not get pregnant. Despite our numerous discussions before we ever got married, he changed his mind, decided he didn't want a kid with me and essentially shut me off to avoid it without bothering to discuss it with me. He didn't TELL me this was the reason, just left me feeling confused and angry, wondering why he wouldn't have sex with me... It did a number on my already low self-esteem:( When we would have sex, 99.9% of the time he didn't "finish." I think that was even worse sometimes than when he just rolled over and ignored me. He finally admitted it to me about a year and a half ago.

Resentment... when we had the discussions about having a child together, I asked him a LOT if he was sure...because it would do us no good if several years down the road one of us was resenting the other. See, when we were dating, he'd told me he didn't want anymore kids (he has a son, now 21, from a previous relationship who moved in with us at age 9, three months to the day after our wedding - in fact, that was his initial "excuse" for refusing sex..."he might be awake"). That’s why we did a lot of talking about it before we even got married. I didn’t pressure him. It was something we both agreed we had to work out before we went any further in our relationship. And as I said, I was insistent that we both had to be SURE about our decision, no matter what we decided. When it was decided that we would have a child together, he genuinely seemed happy with the decision.

I had a hard time dealing with it when he first admitted to me why he’d shut me off. Conveniently he had waited until my bio-clock had run and his son was no longer a minor. For about a year, I was just numb, walking around like a zombie. I finally understand what people mean when they say they just “go through the motions” because it’s what I’ve been doing for a long time. It’s like my mind and emotions took a little vacation and they’re just now coming home to me.

It’s only been the last six months or so that I have allowed myself to begin to think again, and it hasn’t been an easy ride. I’m seeing things in a whole new light, I’m finally realizing the extent of the wrong that he’s done to me, finally starting to see where my “place” in life has been. My husband is immature and self-centered. I remember his oldest sister telling me when we were dating “the most important person in my brother’s life is my brother” and I really wish I’d listened. But as they say, Love is Blind, and I did love him. I do love him. Just not the same way as I used to.

I see the future. I used to be terrified to think of my life without him in it, but now I’m actually looking forward to starting fresh. We’ve been in separate bedrooms for the last five years, explaining it away as “because of his snoring,” but in reality, I just got tired of facing his back every night, tired of sleeping in the same bed with a man who wouldn’t even touch me, whom I thought was repulsed by me for some reason, tired of crying myself to sleep while he just ignored me. After his admission, I have no desire to have sex with him anymore…not that it ever even comes up these days. I have plenty of it on my own (and by this I mean, my toy drawer and I have become very well-acquainted:)

My plan is this: 1. I’m going to seek counseling…whether he chooses to go with me or not is up to him. I’d asked him a few months ago to go to marriage counseling and he rolled his eyes and said we didn’t need marriage counseling. Then…I thought our marriage salvageable. Now…I no longer think this is so. In hindsight, I don’t think it’s been salvageable for a very long time. I just wasn’t strong enough, emotionally, to look that far ahead. I think I am getting there now. But I will not be the one to say I walked away and didn’t at least TRY. I can’t say that we can “fix” it because I honestly don’t think I can ever get beyond the fact that he made such a life-affecting decision FOR me without having the respect to discuss it with me. I don’t know how he can tell me he “loves” me after doing something like that to me.

2. I’m going to open a separate savings account, in my name alone, and deposit $100/week by direct deposit. My credit, due to his spending habits, is pretty much shot. I’m in a program to rehab a couple of student loans and that should help me a lot. That will take two years. Two years seems like a good timeframe to get my affairs in order – save some money, fix my credit, get our house ready to sell. I don’t really care if he finds out about the bank account or not. And if he does, well then I’ll tell him exactly what it’s for.

3. I may or may not sit him down and tell him what’s coming. Already living as “roommates,” not much would change. Neither of us can afford to leave right now and our house is not in sales-ready condition. Not to mention that the real estate market isn’t the greatest right now and we’d have to sell for less than we paid in 2003. He just needs to know that he hurt me terribly and that we can’t get past this. I’m not going to stay in a marriage where I resent my spouse. It’s not fair to him nor myself.

4. When the two years are up, I’m filing for divorce, putting the house on the market, and getting the hell outta Dodge. I will grieve – the loss of my adopted family (my husband’s parents, whom I love DEARLY), my blood family (who all think my husband is a saint…because I’ve never aired my dirty laundry and they only see the happy picture we’ve always painted), my home (because for many years, I was the main breadwinner while he was off having fun with his hobbies, and I worked damn hard to get to a point where we could afford a house).

5. When the divorce is final and the house is sold, I will find a new home in a new place, I will take my two dogs (my “kids”) and start fresh someplace new. This is what keeps me sane right now… My family has lived in New England since the Pilgrims and I think I’m going to move several states away, give myself a real new life, and start over. I’ve been checking out rental houses in various states – Virginia, upstate New York, Kentucky, Tennessee. It keeps me going, seeing the possibilities.

I know it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but I think I’m finally ready for it. Life is too short for me to hesitate any longer, to stay in this sexless, loveless, “respectless” marriage. It’s time for me to put myself in the #1 spot instead of putting myself second as I have. This last Christmas was interesting…he didn’t buy me anything (which is as it has been for several years) and this year, I did the same for him. Then I went out with my holiday bonus from my boss and bought myself a nice big LCD TV for my room:)

Reading the stories here has given me fresh insight. Life is too short to spend it this way. I’m terrified of what the next few years will bring, but at least at this moment, I’m feeling hopeful too.

stargazer43 stargazer43
41-45, F
6 Responses Feb 9, 2010

Yes, it IS the right thing to do. You handled the situation with great courage, grace and compassion. Effectively he has denied a basic human right and this is against the law in almost every country in the world.<br />
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Can you rent somewhere to live? I understand you cannot sell the house immediately but it would be much easier on you if you did not have to coninue to share with him.<br />
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I understand about his parents. I never told my in-laws that their son (my first husband) was a chronic womaniser - had an affair whilst we were on our honeymoon!! They always blamed me for the break down of our marriage and I wish I HAD told them. But in your case their age would prevent me from saying anything. This is yet another example of what a fine human being you are . . . Kudos to you!

Thank you for all the comments. I appreciate the concern and the suggestions. I am in touch with a lawyer (I was a paralegal for 15 years and still have connections). I am not worried about his taking me for a ride in the divorce or, for that matter, how he might try to blame our problems on me. The few times we have talked about what he did, I've asked him, "What would your mother think of you if she knew you did this?" One thing my husband has told me throughout the years is that his mother loves me so much (it's something I lack from my own mother) that if we were to ever split up, he'd be on the outside looking in on his own family. <br />
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I do still feel love for my husband - if nothing else, he is still my friend - despite what we are dealing with in our marriage, we have still been through so many many things together - loss of my father, loss of his grandmother, loss of a young nephew - and he will always have a place in my heart. We just cannot be married because he's done something no husband should do to someone he claims to love as a wife. His parents are elderly, and there is no way I could think of alienating him from his family and I truly don't think he would separate me from them either. <br />
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We talked last night. I came home from work to find that we had no heat. It was like a catalyst and it was either explode or sit and talk. I told him, "When you're done taking care of that, we need to sit down and talk." <br />
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So we did. And I told him some of what I posted in my story. I did some crying initially, getting the words out, expressing everything, but luckily I'd taken an anti-anxiety pill before our talk, and by the time that kicked in, it was his turn. He cried a lot, and yes, it was genuine and sincere. He kept saying, "I can't fix this" and I said, "No. You can't. It's too late for fixing." He said, "I've failed you, I've failed everyone." I said, "Yes, you have." He said he doesn't want to lose me. I told him he already has. <br />
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We've agreed to go for counseling. He knows that we're done, that the counseling is really just a means to an end, something to help us get through this amicably. Neither one of us wants to hurt the other. A part of me understands why he did what he did - it's a long story, involving his son's mother and what she did to him...deliberately stopping birth control without his knowledge and essentially "making" him a father when he didn't want to be one... I told him last night that he did pretty much the same thing to me, only in reverse - taking parenthood away from me without having the human decency or respect to discuss it with me.<br />
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I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, but it is so hard sometimes to describe or explain everything about a person or a situation in an online forum. It's hard to present both sides when you're on one of those sides. I cannot forgive my husband for what he did, and he knows that. I told him last night that I can't forgive him. <br />
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I also told him to grow up, to grow some balls and be a man, that our marriage may have been salvageable if he had been man enough to TALK to me when I was begging him for sex, pleading with him to tell me why he didn't want sex with me, to tell me what was wrong with me. And I told him, "but none of that really matters anymore, because sex...? I don't WANT that with you anymore. I don't want you." He looked like I'd punched him in the stomach at that point, and (I admit this with a touch of guilt), it felt good to see him feel that way for a change, to know what it feels like to not be wanted.<br />
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I think I indicated somehow in my first story that lack of sex was the only thing wrong with my marriage. That's not true, it's not true in any of our situations because it's not just "sex." It's so much more - sex, desire, human decency, respect, self-esteem...and so many other things. And for that matter, there's much more to a marriage than just sex as well. This is not the only part of my marriage, it's just the biggest "broken" part, a part that can't be fixed. Our talk last night left me feeling as though a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. It's like we've been living together in the same house, but (as the cliche goes) avoiding the elephant in the middle of the room. Last night changed that.<br />
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I asked him at dinner afterwards if there are things I've done that we need to talk about. He said no. He said, "There's nothing you could have possibly done that would come anywhere close to the pain and hurt I've caused you." We have a house that we bought in 2003 that we could sell for a loss right now and neither of us has the means to afford that. That's the biggest reason why we can't just end our marriage today. With both of our names on it, we both have a lot of risk, so that's why staying together has to happen for now. We agreed last night that we'll take this process one step at a time, we have some unfinished things to do (finish the laundry room, clean out the basement, and a few other things) before we can even entertain thoughts of putting the house on the market, we'll go to counseling to sort through feelings and issues, and basically use the next couple of years to get our crap together, straighten out our lives enough to where we can both be "okay" and move on. <br />
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I know he's hurt me, I know he's failed me, I know what he did is unforgiveable. But this feels like the right thing to do right now. : I hope.

Such courage and strength. Stay strong - you'll get there. You have a plan and will be a success stories. My best to you.

My heart goes out to you. The root reasons are different, but otherwise our stories have a lot in common. I just recently left; I'll be rooting for you.

Stargazer, your story is one of the most heart-wrenching I've read on the site. As someone who was denied motherhood due to biology, to have someone willfully deny it to you...is unspeakable.<br />
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I agree with everything CDVA says above; absolutely make sure you get yourself a good counselor and a good lawyer and do it now to protect your carefully laid plans.<br />
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You are a heroine, for sure.<br />
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-MR

This story raised my blood pressure as much as your original one did a few weeks ago. Please forget about going to counselling together. This piece of **** is not worth it. You are not walking away from a relationship, you are running away from a prison filled with betrayal and deceit. <br />
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Spend a couple of hundred bucks and talk to a lawyer about the bank account and other things. That bank account may not be safe in a divorce even if it is only under your name. It is worth knowing exactly what to do now rather than regretting it later.<br />
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Don't worry about your family. They will fall in line when things go down. You are their family and he is not. As long as residence go, norther VA (DC suburbs) is not a bad area to live in and the job market is pretty good. PM me if you would like more info.<br />
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I wish you the best.