What Happens Now?

What happens when you've tried everything you can think of?

I made the decision to marry the woman of my dreams because I love her, wanted her both emotionally and physically, and still do - we are both good looking people I think and we take care of ourselves fairly well. We married over 15 years ago. The sex was good before the marriage - not rock star quality, but I liked it and I think she did too. The one thing I didn't see was that she was reserved to some extent about sex. Nothing crazy - no exciting new locations, no different ideas, defined rolls in the bedroom. I didn't care - she was mine, but maybe if I saw this I could have questioned things before they got mundane and a 'chore' for her (she hasn't called it this, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out). Then, after we were married with a son things slowed down. No biggie - I just tried harder. I was patient, but I always wanted her. I would want to hold her, kiss her, etc. all the time (no, not in a smothering sort of way - so don't ask). Then I would sometimes be called 'grabbie' - probably my way of acting out without knowing it when she would just deny me. I stepped back, realized maybe I was trying to be affectionate in the wrong way (which looking back, was not all that wrong, but normal). The fact still remained - I love her and I wanted her. I needed to show it. Unfortunately, she didn't really reciprocate or initiate anything. I trudged forward - trying even harder. I did little things for her constantly - to the point where if I hear another woman say 'I wish my husband would do that for me' one more time I am going to puke. I did big things for her (think ultra-romantic and even a little ridiculous as far as making a point) - same kind of comments came. I would show up to her work once in a while and wouldn't even know the other women there and they would be flocking to meet me because of something I did for her. If she would show just a little of the same kind of attention they gave me I wouldn't be here. It was almost like she was showing me off to them for some kind of bragging/power trip.

Then I started to realize I was getting no where. I started flirting at work with a couple of attractive females - almost like I was testing other women to see if it was me who wasn't worthy or even if I still 'had it'. I was flirted back with almost always. OK - this wasn't it. And, I didn't want anything more than to qualify what I thought in a weird way. I was still attractive, funny, and at least worthy of attention. So, I started keeping track of everything and anything intimate between me and my wife (I know it sounds weird, but when you're told you are getting enough and you know you're not you pay attention). It was easy to keep track - I would simply pull the day sheet off of my desk calendar and throw it in a drawer at work. After 2 years of this I came up with a grand total of 16 times one year and 13 the next. *****Side note: by today's count for me I would kill for this total again.***** But, this was in the first 5 years of marriage. It shouldn't be this way. I had a brief blow-up with her about this and I can still hear her answer to this day 'Maybe once a month is all I need.' I thought she was just pissed and wanted to verbally 'get' me for something, not really knowing why. I was tired of having to take care of 'it' by myself. But, by now we had 2 kids and I loved them dearly. So, I tried harder again all the time thinking it was just about the lack of sex. Sad thing is - it was missing intimacy and I started realizing it was a chore for her and I didn't know what to do about it. I gave her room, I brought on the full-court press, I again did even more creative little things, I tried everything again, second round - still no KO.

*****Another side note: I have and never will be physically/mentally abusive - so this is out of the question as for a reason for anything. Also keep in mind those of you who like to ask 'did you share household/child care/financials equally' - I would say he11 yeah! I am still the cook of the house - clean the kitchen every night - take all 3 kids to school in the morning - feed the dog - get oil changes for both cars - coach the kids' sports teams - fold the laundry - mow the lawn - I even do tons of stuff at the M-I-L's house! - you get the idea. Don't get me wrong she shares too - I just have no idea if she thinks what she is doing is more important than what I do for the family. She is very intelligent and a control freak - she might.



Then it happened… 18 months ago… after topping out around 4-6 times a year for the last 4-5 years. I quit trying. What happens now? Did she notice? I think so. Has she done anything? No. The last time we had sex it was like going through the motions. This was 18 months ago. And the last time I remember her initiating anything sexual was almost 8 years ago - it has always been me. I finally realized we wouldn't have had any sex for years had I not initiated. However, I was tired of just 'get it over with' sex. I have no more gas in the tank to try and be romantic and 'get her in the mood'. Here is where she would throw it back at me today - 'you never try' or 'that's not getting me in the mood' would be what I would hear. She forgets I tried and tried and tried… for years. If I tried wrong - say something - if I tried correctly - again, say something. I learn quickly. I can not begin to describe how angry or rejected I have become. The only thing I can do to battle these feelings is to stay physically fit, have fun with my friends when I can, and enjoy my kids.



Today… I sleep on the couch. Every night. Self imposed now for the last 18 months. The rejection of the bedroom is not my cup of tea any more. I thought maybe she would see the correlation between me sleeping on the couch vs. sleeping in the bed. I even have the best response I haven't been able to use on her yet - 'does it matter where I get my sleep if all I'm getting is sleep?'. And the sad thing is I don't care. Kind of like being in the refuser's shoes now - I am not asking/looking for intimacy nor am I going to give her any if she asks. Maybe I can turn the control issue around to suit me by not letting her think she has any say over me any more. I have thought of affairs then I think of my 3 beautiful kids. Which takes divorce at this time out of the question - my kids need me. One thing is for sure though… I am tired of having to try and fill the sexual void by myself. Not to sound rude, but I find either hand a little boring these days.

Sorry if this sounded a little disjointed - I have ADD when it comes to writing. And for the record… I feel exactly like most of you.

I get along with my roommate just fine. I know she isn't cheating on me - she wouldn't have time to. But, since I haven't been able to 'crack' the code that is my wife… what happens now?

vectorking23 vectorking23
36-40, M
14 Responses Feb 18, 2010

My God, what I wouldn't give for my husband to show the attention, affection, and desire that you tried for so long to show your wife. It makes me realize that what I am going through is NOT normal, and that there are other passionate people out there. Has your wife given you a clear explanation as to why she's like this?<br />
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I think it's obvious that, after EIGHT YEARS of low-frequency-to-zilch sex, your wife is not going to change. The million dollar question is: can you put up with it? You need to either resign yourself to a life of sexlessness, or GET OUT and find yourself a wonderful woman who will reciprocate! It sounds like you've still "got it," so move the hell out and on with your life! Get some numbers! Get laid! You deserve MUCH better. We all do. <br />
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As for your kids, studies have shown that living in a home environment with parental marital discord is much more harmful to children, in the long run, than divorce. "Staying together for the kids" is a respectable, though outdated attitude. Who wants to grow up in a tense, stress-laden environment? Unless you can become GENUINELY happy with the arrangement you and your wife have, your stress WILL manifest and your children WILL know it. This is not good. Happy parents make happy kids, and kids are much more perceptive than people give them credit for. Dad can't sleep on the couch forever! <br />
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I can tell that you love your wife, but remember that love, first and foremost, comes from within. If you are capable of feeling that kind of love for your wife, you can and will feel it again, only for someone who will actually reciprocate. <br />
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A stranger's opinion? NO NO NO affairs, no more misery, and no more uncomfortable nights on the couch. I know change is scary, but maybe the best thing for EVERYONE is for you to move out, on, and upward while you've still got your 'zing'--life is too short to be miserable! :-)

VK23, no matter what you do, I strongly recommend you get off the couch. Your kids have way too much insight to see this as normal. I too have a very safe, loving, and wonderful (so I think) environment for my children. But, they are way smarter and more perceptive than you can imagine. <br />
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Your wife's parents very likely divorced after 22 yrs marriage because they were waiting for their kids to grown up prior to one pulling the trigger.<br />
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TALK to your wife, you say she is very intelligent and a "control freak." Sounds like she often wins discussions between the two of you or makes you feel some way inadequate regarding whatever point you were trying to make. The Refuser of the relationship is often a master at such art and has learned it from their dysfunctional upbringing. <br />
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The solution may be a mediator that controls the discussion so you don't have to. TALK to your wife, suggest counseling, go on your own if she refuses. It helps to blow off the steam to someone who will not fight back but will give insight to your own behavior.

Sad how common this situation is. I am curious though, what was her sexuality like before she was with you? She is very young to have no drive, (even though having young children can wreak havoc on a lot of womens' libido). Is there a religious influence that has inhibited her? Is there any possibility of depression, past abuse, or a hormonal /health issue? <br />
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How is (was) the rest of your communication, were you emotionally intimate in the past? (I am not blaming you whatsoever -- I am just curious). <br />
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Sometimes reading about these things (and observing in my own family/friends), I think the old world ways of accepting that the marriage is an economic unit for the benefit of the kids/society, and having someone else for an affair of the heart, is not a bad idea.

What happens now? You file for divorce and either joint or sole custody of the kids and try to make your life fun again This woman obviously doesn't care about your needs.

I'm not married, but this is the same way I feel about my current relationship. I've only dated the guy for two years and we only have sex almost once a month. It's usually "get it over with sex" as you mentioned it. I never quite put my finger on why it didn't feel right, but you hit the nail in the head with that one. And it it's that kind of sex, I may as well not have any at all. I can't imagine it being for years. I sometimes fear that my relationship will end that way. We're just a couple in our early twenties. You'd think we'd be at the peak of our sex lives, but no, not at all. I can't even initiate, because before he'd constantly tell me I would "come on too strong"... I wish I had your willpower to not have any sex with him when he finally wants it. Don't you ever give in because of the fact that you've been waiting for so long? It ****** me off that he gets it when he wants it, but whenever I want it, I can never initiate or get any at all...<br />
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I guess I'm not one to give advice. I need it myself, but if you're unhappy with your relationship, don't let the fact that you have children to care for influence your decision on staying or not. Your kids will eventually leave the household and you will still have to live with your wife.

Join the club!<br />
Only difference is that I'm the wife and my dog and I share the couch.

Have you tried spelling all of this out for her? I am a wife who loves sex...my problem was that hubby wasn't into that as much as me, so I strayed. I was careful and never got caught, but he had his suspicions. Before I did get caught though, I looked at my situation and realized that I would never want my hubby to leave because I had been unfaithful. I would never want to break up our family because of my physical needs. He is a great hubby in all other departments, and we are best friends. I ended up buying myself a ***** instead of having an affair and that has really helped in more ways than one. <br />
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It really saddens and surprises me when I hear that women just don't enjoy sex as much as their hubbys do. I've been to parties where I'm told that I'm the exception - I'm the only girl there who loves sex - everyone else is like your wife...they give it up once or twice a year. I gave up trying to change these girls' minds. <br />
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Needless to say, I have several girlfriends who now find themselves separated or divorced because hubby left them for the other woman. And sadly, they are sitting at home, scratching their heads, wondering why the hubby lost interest. <br />
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In my situation, we came really close to separating. Our marriage was hanging on by a thread. It took both of us wanting to fix our situation and improve our relationship. We have been very open and honest with each other about what we desire from our relationship. I have seen some good changes in my hubby after all of this - he now shows more interest and initiates sex more often than I do. I have also made some changes or sacrifices myself to fit his needs and desires. I never thought I would say this, but we are working things out for the sake of our sons - to keep our family together. <br />
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The bottom line is that you have to be able to communicate your needs and desires to your wife and she needs to listen to you; and vice versa. Chances are that you might learn that you've been doing something or behaving in some way that upsets her without even realizing it. I'm just guessing here, but when women withhold sex its usually their way to punish the guy for something he's done. It's not fair, and it's very damaging to behave that way, especially when another person is the one being affected by this neglect. <br />
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From what you've written you don't specifically say that you have confronted your wife about her lack of interest in the bedroom...and that's a conversation that you seriously need to have with her. If things don't change, you always have the option of leaving once the kids turn 18. Whatever you do, please don't let her accuse you of having a sex addiction, or of being too demanding in bed, or just pointing the finger at you for your relationship troubles. It takes two to make a relationship work...be sure you point that out to her, and at this point she isn't putting in any effort that you can see. She is truly being the selfish one by withholding something that is so important to any man, and to any relationship. <br />
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Good luck. ;-)

Thanks for all of the comments. To clear things up - my kids are #1 and always will be. I will be doing what I can for them always. Leaving will not be good right now. End of that part of the story.<br />
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No idea why she isn't interested in general. Sometimes she seems to be somewhat interested, but makes it so damn hard to ever get 'there' - almost like she is appeasing me a little by acting like she wants me without ever having me. This eventually leads to my demise since I am essentially exhausted in trying to get there to no ends. My biggest ***** is… why am I the only one making any effort? She never initiates, however we don't fight hardly ever. We do a pretty good job parenting together. We seem to be good roommates.<br />
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I believe she still loves me. The only thing I potentially see (but can not qualify) is maybe her parents weren't the best at showing affection and she learned it as normal (they got divorced after 22 years of marriage - before we ever got married). This is horrible, since she is in fact forcing me to act this way as well - little to no affection. Keep in mind, as I said before, she is an admitted control freak and intelligent.<br />
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I don't want my daughters thinking it is OK to control their relationships without it being a 2-way street. I do my best in this respect without her help. I also don't want my son to be in the same situation I am. It is harder to explain this to a teenager (my son). I almost wish he was 27 years old for a day so we could have a frank conversation about what I see and what could happen so he could have this insight now and know what I mean - moving forward in his life with his eyes wide open.<br />
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As far as her no longer being attracted - don't know. I would assume she is based on the fact that I am constantly flirted with by even her friends. I take care of myself, work out, and have been told I'm good looking. Tall, not over weight, have my own hair… you get the picture. Not bragging…just confused about what I could do different. Boils down to just wanting to be wanted. Without having to beg, scratch, claw or even ask politely for it.

I'm no marriage expert but it's time you confronted her diplomatically and asked what is going on. Any idea of the reason she no longer wants sex? Does she love you anymore? Does it hurt her? Is she no longer attracted whatsoever?This sounds like a bit of a crap situation to me and a reason for divorce. You sound like a loving person and a good Dad from what I can see. <br />
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I hope your situation improves in some way or another. :)

Understand the children are a tough tough issue. However, the role models we demonstrate to them over the years is equally important. I am unsure that my personal marriage has demonstrated the affection and caring that husband and wife should demonstrate to each other in a "normal" relationship. In stead I fear they think our mechanical and roomate status of the past 10 yrs is what they think is "normal." I have hung in there all these yrs for the exact reason Shoreboy does, but in the end and now that they are teenagers I don't know its best.

VK23 - I hear ya' brother. I'm in almost the same boat except I sure as h3ll ain't sleeping on the couch when I have a $4k bed that I paid for sitting in the bedroom. It's the kids guys... that is all it's about for me and it sounds like for VK. What we're not saying because it's so obvious, but also the true issue is that the kids are really the only thing I have to get up each morning for and most definitely about the only thing in my life that brings a smile to my face these days. I'm in a slightly 'worse' (like you're going to lose a leg instead of an arm 'worse') situation in that my children (twin boys) are just about to turn 3 years old. It would literally kill me to not see them nearly every day and in our society if you are a man you lose in divorce court unless the woman is either incarcerated or doesn't want the kids. Other than that you will NOT get 'primary' custody. That is one reason why I simply cannot understand women who put up with this sh!t. Why do you do that? You get the kids... what else could possibly be important enough to stay for? I know that if my wife told me I could have 'primary' custody I would be talking to a divorce attorney within 24 hours. I would be willing to take the kids and get zero child support and give her the house. Just let me 'grow up' with my children.<br />
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I don't think it's more painful for a man to be in a sexless (affection less is probably more accurate because if you are getting affection the sex is a 'given', but not necessarily vice versa... can you say 'pity sex'?) marriage, but I do think men in our society have less options when they are stuck in one, thus I think it's a more difficult situation for a man.

Agree with Chal07. <br />
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I too have gone through the exact same phases which ultimately lead to a whole lot of anger, poor (more like no) communication, and doing my own thing. I did not move to the couch however.<br />
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I have since had the "talk" with my wife, and starting seeing a counselor myself. My wife has reacted positively (she realized I will leave if things don't change). I too have 3 children although they are teenagers. I suffered in quiet protest for years thinking they need me and are too young. Really I think I only modeled parenting by two people whom demonstrate absolutely no affection. Which is better, don't know, but have hit rock bottom and will have change no matter the consequence. My children don't need to see one of their parents semi-depressed all the time and only partially living. <br />
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Whether counseling leads to reconciliation with my wife or not, I do know we are talking more than we have in years. She has initiated sex, however, I have politely thanked her and said not yet. Not until a whole lot of things change ( mostly communication). She is going to start seeing the counselor which will lead to the two of us attending together. <br />
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My attitude has evolved to understanding that in this are we are wired different. Perhaps counseling, better communication, and devotion to each other will help us find happier ground in the middle. <br />
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If we don't find happy enough ground than at least we have a better chance of divorcing as friends that communicate better than we have over the past 10 years of our 20 year marriage.<br />
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Consider what I'm saying, if you are not ready now I expect you will be soon, you can only stand your current situation for a little longer. Is waiting until your kids are older really the best thing to do? <br />
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Good luck, W2K

Oh, your story is so familiar here. Welcome, unfortunately you belong with us. <br />
You say you've tried everything ... maybe I missed it, but have you added couples counseling to the checklist? People here in ILIASM have had mixed results, but it's something to consider.

1 get counseling with or without her.<br />
2 start documenting what she says, what you do to help her the whole nine yards.<br />
3 make a plan of what you want to do if she does not come around some.<br />
4 tell her how you feel the same way you just told us.<br />
5 Find someone who wants you.<br />
Life is too short to go through this kind of crap, Ther are a ton of decent women that want someone like you. <br />
6 start getting your finances in order for the divorce. See a lawyer or start getting information for your state for the courts. In some states this is emotional abandonment but you have to prove it . (Not hard in my state)<br />
7 How much would you be willing to give to get someone that will give you everything you want? <br />
8 make a decision and do not look back.<br />
Best thing that ever happened to me was getting a divorce after 25 years and finding a women that suits me better. I wrote down the top 10 things I would want in one and found one in my area that had all ten traits. ( she did the same thing and I hit all ten or hers) Both lists were different and yet they are the same on some things.<br />
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Hope this helps just remember straight and honest dialog and no sugar coating it. Set up the counseling yourself and make all the arrangements for the kids. At some point she needs to know what the consequences are but you better be able to do what you say otherwise **** or get off the pot. If you decide to stay then shut up about it and move on to ***** and hand jobs. Trust me you can live through anything and you can see the good in any situation too.