Sleepless In Columbus

I have a sign hanging over my bedroom door that says "and they lived happily ever after...", but that's not the case. What started out as a fairy tale whirlwind romance has ended in a soul-rotting, empty relationship.

I met my husband when on a whim, I sold everything and moved to Ireland. I was 27, and always dreamed of living overseas, so I went. Four years earlier I had divorced my first husband. He was the physically and verbally abusive type...you know, the Lifetime movie "take a part out of your car so it won't run" kind of guy. After 4 years of living with him, I mustered up the strength to leave. I bought my own house, my own car, started a new job and for the first time in my life, felt in control of my future.

Then I went to Ireland. I met my current husband on my second day there. He's a South African guy with the sexy British accent. On one of our dates, he came over and I made him dinner. I started to take a garbage bag out of the trash can, and he said, "What are you doing?". I said, "Taking out the trash." He said. "No woman of mine takes out the rubbish." It was the best line I'd ever heard. His 1950's traditional values were so endearing considering the hell I had been living in previously. Prior to moving overseas, I had every married, engaged or committed guy asking me out, and I dug in my heels about never marrying again. I wanted to be the wealthy aunt that lived in Europe, and would show my nieces all over the world. Then I met my husband.

After 3 months of dating, my husband asked me to marry him. A few more months passed and my American boss needed me to move back home. My husband filed for the fiance visa and within 1 year of dating he was here in the States and we were married.

What happened next just blows my mind. Once he got here, he became depressed. He wasn't allowed to work, couldn't drive, had no friends, etc. So I'll give him that. He gave up everything he knew to be with me. The problem is he wouldn't do anything to help himself, and now making love to him was like making love to a complete stranger. That first year of marriage we maybe had sex 10 times. Since then it has been more like twice a year. I've been dealing with a down and out, depressed, low sexed husband for almost 5 years. He's had 2 physicals, tried 2 therapists, tried several anti-depressants, tried cyallis....all to no avail.

During one of the few 10-minute love-making sessions, we made my miracle baby. He'll be two in April and he's the most amazing child. I couldn't be happier about being a mom, but having a child complicates this to a whole other level. I never really believed in divorce to begin with. I only left my first husband because I felt like if I didn't, I may not survive it. Now, I'm in the same damn situation again, only I love my husband and want nothing more than to keep my family together.

I don't know what to do. I'm 33 and I LOVE sex. I love the closeness, the connection, the feeling of being as close to someone as you can get. I feel neglected and I like I have no control over my own happiness. I'm angry and bitter, and I've started lashing out at him. The smallest mistake is huge to me. I don't think it would be so bad if I wasn't feeling so taken advantage of. I work and make great money. He stays home with our son and does school full-time. Previously, he said going home or seeing family may help him so who worked 2 jobs to make it happen? Me! I paid for a trip to South Africa, I paid for a trip to England and Ireland...I pay for everything. I wouldn't mind if we were solid, but basically I'm tired of giving and not getting what I need in return.

I'm leaning more and more toward divorce, but I don't want to hurt my son by taking his father away. My husband keeps saying he loves me and wants to work it out, but it's been the same story for 5 years. I'm open to anyone's advice. I need to know what other people in similar situations have done. I've tried church, Christian radio, reading the Bible, praying, going to counseling with him, talking to his family...I feel like I don't have much else to try and maybe I should cut my losses. Why do things have to be so complicated?

sleeplessincbus sleeplessincbus
31-35, F
10 Responses Feb 28, 2010

Draumr - thank you so much for your comment. It made me cry because it is what I want. I'm really happy for you and your wife. You sound like a keeper. :-)<br />
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As for my situation, my husband and I had a good talk a few months ago and ever since then, things have magically gotten better. He actually wants sex again. There still isn't the kind of hot passion that I long for, but we're working on it. Now I'm more of the problem because I'm dealing with this residual "you screwed me over and I wasted my sexual prime on you" bitterness. I'm trying really hard to look at him the way I used to when we were dating, but I still have the fear that some day he'll switch on me again. I don't trust him and it's going to take time to get it back. I guess the good news is I don't feel like I'm unattractive any more. I know that I'm not. I get hit on all the time, but the only person's opinion that has mattered to me is his. I want to look at him and think about all of our good memories. I want those good memories to make me love him even more. Right now I look at him and I see the man who hasn't been strong enough to get through the hard times. The man I have to pick up off the ground. The man I can't trust with my heart. If only, I could go back to the day I left Ireland and I could tell him to stay there. I could have gone back, we could have gotten married, and then we would've been fine. At least that's what I tell myself. I guess in the end, I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that if he ever collapses on me again, I'm strong enough to stay the course with our without him.

Just my two cents, I have been married for over 20 years. My wife gained 50 lbs with the first kid and has never lost it. She has increased another 25 over the years and has yet to reveal the final total. I still want her all the time, it has nothing to do with the physical changes. What I see in her is all that matters to me. So when I read from various people about spouses proclaiming that someone is no longer attractive, it makes me very angry. It is a load of crap, I did not get married to a 150 pound body. I married a soul mate, some one to go through life with, through life, wieght gain depression, moving, job loss, parents passing, taking care of parents, raising children and oh yeah sex. I still want sex every night, do I get it no, but I am realistic. Stop bending over backwards and tell you partner to take some personal responsiblity. Make yourself happy and if they cannot be your partner, find some one who will stand beside you in life.

Sleepless,<br />
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You may not realize it, but I believe you have made up your mind...I leave you with the words of three inspiration people from the days of past...<br />
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain<br />
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The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. - Charles Dubois<br />
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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller<br />
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Although I barely know you, I consider you a friend. Instincts are rarely wrong. I wish you the best and I am sure you will find happiness. <br />
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Until next time...TAW

Thanks for the advice Enna and Adventure!<br />
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It's 4AM here...yet another sleepless night. My shoulders seem to burn from all of this stress. I can't wait until there is some resolution. I really need some rest.<br />
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I agree with both of your comments. I've been asking him the last few days why I would give up everything I know to follow a depressed man to Africa. He swears to me that he's going to do everything he can to save our marriage. <br />
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As for the 20 lbs., I realize that I was over weight when I got pregnant so he kind of has a point. I'm not happy with my body either. I still don't think I'm repulsive by any means, but I'm making a plan to get myself back to where I need to be. Not for him so much, but for myself and my little guy. That being said, I do still think it's total crap that someone who helped me turn to food and claims to love me could not want to make love to me because of this. I know this isn't all my fault. He says my weight isn't the only reason. It just doesn't help the situation. <br />
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I went to dinner with my mom last week. While we were talking about my husband not wanting me and trying to talk it through, I looked up and saw this older couple being playful. He reached over and touched her face. She rubbed his hand. He grabbed her hand and kissed it. She tickled him. It was so playful and loving. Such small touches, but so powerful. I instantly started crying. They were probably in their 60's. She was on the heavier side, and he had a Midwestern blue collar belly with white hair and a mustache. But just looking at them, I imagined they fell in love as teenagers and the bond between them was so strong nothing could take away their passion. I think all of us deserve that. When I'm 60, I want to look into those old familiar eyes of my best friend, my lover, my everything. I don't want to be resentful and unhappy.<br />
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Adventure - I agree with you about the adventure of going to South Africa. I'm tired of snow. I'm tired of the American rat race where you work hard to retire only to collapse of a heat attack at your retirement party. I miss the pace of Europe/South Africa (I was only in SA for a month, but everything is a little more relaxed). On that basis alone, I think moving would be fun and exciting. <br />
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Since I'm married to an SA citizen, I would be eligible to work. I wouldn't be as trapped as it may have sounded. I spoke to him yesterday and put him on the spot about our son. I point blank asked him if he would try anything custody-wise if we went there. He looked really sad that I would even ask. I know that he has a good heart, and he didn't go into this marriage planning to ruin it. I also know that in his own way, he does love me. If he didn't, he wouldn't be here begging to stay. He said no way would he ever try to hurt our son by taking him from his mom, and he said in SA, just like everywhere else, the moms typically get custody. He said if it came to that, we would handle it amicably. He wants to get his US citizenship before we go just in case things don't work out. He wants to be able to come back if my son and I choose to.<br />
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So with all of that being said, I'm still thinking about going. I'm a contractor at my current job so I wouldn't be leaving a permanent position. They have been trying to hire me on full-time since last fall, and it's been approved to the last level for some time. I'm a strong believer in God's will, and I've been wondering if God knew it would be easier to leave and try to save my marriage if I didn't get hired on. Things happen all the time to turn us in the direction He wishes to send us. That's how I got to Ireland in the first place to find my husband, and I still can't believe this is the destiny He had in mind for us. I think He's going to provide for me as long as I follow my gut. I know this may sound crazy, but I honestly think the devil puts on the full-court press when he sees people doing the right thing. I think he's been pounding me hard to give up and get divorced because he is much happier when families break-up. Then we're more vulnerable to do the things he wants us to do. <br />
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I'll let you guys know what I decide to do. Either way, we probably won't leave for a year. We need to sell the house, the cars, find jobs, get his citizenship, etc.

I agree with Enna30.<br />
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The 20 pounds probably came from being on the defensive. Given the topic of conversation he probably felt like he had to point out something you did...I would feel good that the only thing he could come up with was a slight weight gain.<br />
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As far as South Africa, I have always been one for adventure. And sometimes you have to take risks to grow and move to the next step in life. If it were just you and your husband I would say go for it (provided you had a backup plan if it went south...or north?). Your son adds a lot of complexity to it however. You need to take a long hard look at your husband and decide what he is capable of if things truly went to heck. A move to South Africa would certainly decide the fate of your relationship. If he turned back into the man you married then you may live happily ever after. If not, I would think you would almost surely divorce. This is where is gets scary. What would happen then? If there was a dispute on custody, it would be handled in the South African courts. Your husband could just delay . Since you wouldn't be able to work there you would be forced to move back to the U.S. without your son. You get the idea...a serious mess.<br />
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I definitely like enna30's idea about him moving there first to get set up...we'll help him pack...<br />
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Lastly, don't let him make you feel fragile and tense. After all, you are the strong one. He is the one sitting on the couch depressed and won't do anything. If anything just focus on your life and don't get wrapped up in his drama. I often have the same problem with my wife. I can't always avoid getting wrapped up in her self made drama, but I have gotten much better at walking away and doing something else until she is in a good mood.<br />
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Take care Sleepless....

Please don't go to South Africa. Your husband is demonstrating classic Refuser behaviours. By saying it is your weight, he is making it YOUR fault. And this is absurd. Twenty pounds is not enough to turn you into a repulsive partner!! Truly, it is just him finding a way to blame you . . . . <br />
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If you go to SA, you will be truly isolated from your family, your friends, your work and everything in your world EXCEPT for him, and your son. This will allow your husband even more control over you . . . And I seriously doubt it will make any difference to your relationship, except perhaps to make it worse for you . . . . <br />
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I'd encourage him to return to SA without you and to live alone for 6 months. If at the end of that time he can truly say he is "better" and wants to re-establish your relationship, you might consider moving. . . But honestly, I think he is NEVER going to change and he is ALWAYS going to blame you.<br />
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Ask Penelope about weight loss! Her husband said the same thing - and she promptly lost the 20 lbs. It made NO difference at all. This "blaming" is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for his OWN behaviour.

TAW - Thanks! Having kindred spirits to chat with is a blessing! Unless a person has been through this, they can't really give solid advice. <br />
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Speaking of advice, I actually need advice on what happened over the weekend. I was talking with my husband, and of course it lead to a nice argument. I've been feeling very tense and emotionally fragile over the last 6 months or so, and I told him that I can't function properly with all of this on my shoulders. I work in a room with 20 or so people, and I'm constantly interacting with varying personalities. I have to maintain a clear head and handle issues that arise in the appropriate manner. Lately, when I'm getting push-back from our stronger personalities, I've found myself on the edge of tears and people are beginning to notice.<br />
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So long story short, I told him that I can't risk losing my job because of my home-life and I was finally ready to call it quits. I narrowed it down to my son needs a roof over his head more than he needs to see his father every day. So I told him it was over, and he said he didn't want it to be. <br />
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THEN he dropped a bombshell on me...he said that because I gained 20lbs. after our son was born that he's not as attracted to me. He said he's felt this way since last summer, but never wanted to hurt me by telling me. This wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been crying and begging him to tell me if I could do anything to fix this. I've been pleading with him to tell me if anything was wrong with me, and he always said no. He always said I was beautiful and didn't deserve this. So when I finally get strong enough to tell him to leave for good, he turns it on me! I was devastated. I've never felt so low. <br />
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We've had it out over the last few nights. It's come up that he thinks that if we move to South Africa to be closer to his family, he'll be better and everything will come right. At first I thought, you've got to be kidding me!? You want me to leave my support system, my house, my good job just to SEE if you'll be better in Africa??? <br />
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But now, I'm actually considering going. Do you think I'm crazy for wanting to try? I'm hurt, angry and sad, but I still love him. I think I could lose weight easily down there because there's so much to do. I want to lose the weight for myself mainly, but if it makes him happy that's a good side benefit. I also think letting my son spend time getting to know his other grandparents would be a great thing. Am I crazy for weighing this option? Part of me thinks I'm a total fool. The other part of me thinks I'm giving my family one final hope of staying together.

You seem like a kind, dedicated, and patient person. I am sure it will work out...one way or another. And until then, you have other kindred spirits here to hang out with :)

Thank you both for your comments.<br />
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VB - I agree that hanging out in this forum may help. Reading other stories and how people have tried to fix things has helped somewhat. I'm glad you and your fiancee found each other. The thought of being single again excites and terrifies me. I wish you both the best.<br />
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TAW - I am so sorry that your wife would use your daughter against you. As parents, our children should always be our number one priority. Six months ago I did ask my husband to leave, and unfortunately it didn't do much to change his behavior. A few weeks ago, I asked him to leave again. The problem is he doesn't have a job, money or any family here in the States so asking him to leave equals the couch. We spoke about it again last night, and determined that if things could get better we want to save our marriage. So for now, we're going to take things a week at a time until his school is done this quarter and he can go visit his brother in England. I'm praying that 3 weeks or a month without us will open his eyes. I don't have a lot of hope, but I have to do all I can to save us. My son was never meant to be a statistic. He deserves two happy parents and a secure home life. Even typing this I get so angry that I'm in this situation.

I am also in a sexless marriage and the one thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel (for now) is my daughter. I know my wife would turn it into an ugly custody dispute that would hurt everyone. However, your main concern with divorce is taking your son away from his father. The fact that you feel this way and want the boy's father in his life tells me that he would be okay if you divorced. He would still have a strong relationship with his father. The question is, if things stay the same way will you be okay?<br />
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I am not saying divorce is the answer, but you seem very frustrated and your situation needs to improve. Your husband needs to snap out of his funk. If he doesn't know that you are thinking of leaving, then I would sit him down and give him a cold dose of reality. Maybe that will shake some sense into him.