No It My Fault?

 I am 41 and my wife is 37 years old and we have been having sensual and sexual problems for the past 5 years now. It is hard for me to keep track, it could have been happening throughout our entire 12 year marriage. (thing’s just become habit after time.) We dated about two years before that. Maybe I was blind or totally in love to notice but I never saw a problem. 

You could say I woke up recently when helping an old friend survive a recent divorce which had peculiarly similar situations. So this past year I started having honest conversations with my wife about many difficult situations in our relationship including sex. I have been through tough times with her...she has's hard for her to hold down jobs. I worry about that....I had to switch from my high paying police job to a lower paying but wonderful career. She stayed at home to go to school for three years. Normal life stuff. So is it my fault? 

As of last count we have not had real honest to goodness sex for at least a year. (maybe more). I initially thought it was me. I assumed it was a by-product of job (Police officer) and the stress involved with it. We have attempted to make love but with questionable results, the best way to describe it is….awkward. She only would perform one position and there was hardly ever any penetration at all. So in essence I really don't think we had a good sexual encounter since we met each other. We would often have marginal foreplay (where I would perform all the oral and touching) with little or no intercourse or anything that would "take care of my needs."


It would continue like this for a time until....I guess....the stress of my job and the lackluster response I got from her about sex just took its toll on my psychology. I just couldn't get it up anymore. I just didn't look forward to sex with her.  All this added to the things she said made me think it was all me. I went to the doctor and despite elevated blood pressure there was nothing wrong. 


She often states that “I’m not romantic” or “I won’t be treated like a plaything” or “I am not a ****.” She often complains “I am not doing it right” or “This is not a **** movie.” These terms and actions themselves tear at my self-esteem and worth and often produce the effect I think she is looking for after all….no sex. Though is that what she is looking for? 

In our frank conversations she has stated that she can live without sex and if I can’t do it right then “We don’t need it.” I was always assuming that what I was attempting to do was completely normal within a marriage but she thinks differently. (I am not being freaky but quite normal…I am sure what everyone would consider normal.) 


I have had a few past relationships before we met so I guess you could say I am somewhat experience while I am her first. I often thought this was the problem and attempted to learn with her but to no avail. Something just isn’t clicking. She blames it on me. She says I am not romantic enough or I don’t make her feel loved. I take her on expensive cruises (6 to date), romantic getaways to Ocean City and other places, dinner and even cook her breakfast in the morning…with little effect. I asked her to go with me to see a counselor but she believes everything else is more important or say it’s my fault…”I am not emotional enough.”

I have never cheated, my eyes have wondered but I am feeling completely stressed and I am questioning things at this very moment. My emotions are very conflicted. A girl gives me a complement or touches me in a slightly intimate way (hugs and stuff) and I want to fall in love. What is going on? 


Is there such a thing as sexual incompatibility? How far do I have to bend to fix it when she doesn’t believe anything is wrong? Should one stay in a sexless marriage at my age? (or does age really matter in this situation?...cause its been a damn while.) Can people grow apart? Can they become habits?


She is a nice girl and I think she would fall apart without me but I think that is my guilt speaking. I thought about going my own way but she just does not see our marriage as being in trouble....its normal....."My mother goes without sex." or "Sex isn't everything." 
takaris7 takaris7
41-45, M
12 Responses Mar 11, 2010

Your story is very sad, but not all that unusual to those of here on ILIASM. The truth is you won't be able to change her, or coax her, or get her to respond to anything you do. She has to want that for herself. If after all of this time, she is still saying she can live without it, and making excuses, I doubt your life with this woman will ever change.<br />
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You are still young enough to start over and while I don't tell people to leave, especially without giving it every chance to work, I suggest you consider the possibility very strongly.<br />
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You can't save her or fix her. This isn't about you. Remember the definition of insanity? It's doing the same thing over and over and over again.<br />
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I hope you stick around.<br />
Wishing you the best<br />

My sympathy goes to you. I have been in the same situation for ten years (being refused sex by my husband). It is painful and miserable feeling so unloved. The difference in our stories is he goes out and find himself lots of different sex partners.

"...She is a nice girl and I think she would fall apart without me..."<br />
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"...I want to remain friends with her. I don't just want to leave her out in the cold..."<br />
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Hey, Tak; you absolutely MUST NOT feel guilt or responsibility for someone who you can't live with through no fault of your own. My feelings towards my STBX paralleled yours for a short while after I left, but rapidly turned to anger and animosity as she systematically burned bridges between me and the rest of my family. I became a pariah... "what about your poor, poor wife who has been so horribly wronged..." Sorry to sound bitter, just trying to give you a "heads-up". You might be shocked at just how strong she actually is when the gloves come off.<br />
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Best, M

I can appreciate your feelings of guilt. <br />
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I recommend that you consider the fact that millions of children are starving to death this very day. They deserve more compassion than does your wife.

You'll notice a trend in SM's. The person who is refused tends to be a nurturer and a care taker, at least those that look for a solution by searching for a "cure" for sexless marriage on line. Our very nature keeps us in these marriages long past the time we should have left. I too want to leave friends with my H but I just don't know if it will be possible when it is all said and done. After all I am the one who is leaving "our happy marriage". I just have to keep reminding myself that he is an adult and he had all the opportunities in the world to correct it. I understand all to well the guilt.

I think your's not my fault. I keep looking for a reason (It's my nature) to the problems. Could it have been my job or have we simply fallen out of love with each other? <br />
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I know what I feel like I must do but I want to remain friends with her. I don't just want to leave her out in the cold. I just can't see myself in that place 30 years from now. I can't. <br />
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and that makes me feel guilty.

Tak - Repeat after me. It's not me, it's not me...We are all to ready to take on the blame of what went wrong, if I were only prettier, skinnier, made more money, was more romantic, was a better housekeeper. Please know that it is not you, she would have this issue with anyone.

Your wife does not love you. <br />
The only way to save your sanity is if you split up with her. You have to make plans to leave her.

Quite a few questions in there, takaris7. Bad news is, I think you suspect you know the answers already. Lots of similar stories to your own on this forum (including my own). She is happy because all her needs are being met, yet your needs count for little. If you think you can cope with this, then I am afraid you are in for a rough ride. If my experience is anything to go by, it probably won't make any difference how hard you try, or what you decide you can "live without".<br />
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You need to look hard at yourself. Do you respect the person you are? Have you got issues of self doubt or guilt? Can you carry on like this for 30, 40, 50... years? There is only one person you can change, takaris, and that's YOU. <br />
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I had terrible feelings of guilt when I left my wife and home of 30 years. Now, looking back at my life, I just get pissed at how stupid I was to have taken all that crap for so long. But I did what I thought was right at the time. So now I am getting on with my life, and I haven't been this peaceful for decades.<br />
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Best, M.

vectorking23: That is what I ask her all the time. I am her first...she really has no experience other then me. I ask her..."How do you know if I am doing it right?" ....I would tell her as far as my experience has been it is quite normal...I have never had a complaint in that regard. <br />
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Over the past year I have done tons of research...even went to christian support groups...(I am not christian but I was sure willing to listen) figure out what her problem was....Was her depression the problem? Could have been some physical problem? <br />
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I gave her tons of documentation and reading material to consume so we could talk about it...she took hold of some physical condition i researched and held on to it like a clamp...( fibroids ). I asked her to go see a doctor to confirm this condition and she relented...(her appointment is on Friday.) <br />
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fyayldt: I thought it could be a controlling situation but that kind of thing could backfire on a person. :) I mean I am so close to getting out there and looking for another. She has some control issues....She has quit so many jobs I can't count....She stayed home for 3 years and did nothing but housework. (I often told her I wish I could do that.) We don't have children so I couldn't see the reasoning for her being home. <br />
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When we had no other choice she had to go back to work. She hates it. <br />
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sixand0: She lives in a habit as I like to call it. Everything is comfortable for her. She doesn't need to give me sex..she has everything. I am so wondering if it was something I did...something I said....<br />
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I have been thinking that I have been delusional the entire relationship or just in a fog or something. Was I being too nice? Thing is....I really don't think we ever had pentatrating sex like I am use to in my past relationships.

Tak- Your wife sounds like my H. As long as they are happy there is no problem. I have talked to my H about our lack of sex and he is as full of excuses. We will be having The Talk ™ as we refer to it on this site very soon. I am sure he will be shocked because "we are happy". Don't feel guilty... just keep telling yourself <br />
It's not me.<br />
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You have made your wishes clear and when she says but you did not meet abc.. and then def... just know the list will continue, it is endless.<br />
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Stick around and read others stories and the forum, I am sure you will find something that resonates with you.

The excuses will always be there. If you read enough on here (and there are a couple of good forums that cover them) you will find everyone is given excuses out the ***. They come in all shapes and sizes and extremes. Not emotional enough, etc. - that's just BS thrown at you to ignore the real problem.<br />
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I do have a question: if you were her first, then how does she know 'you're not doing it right'?<br />
And why let her speak for you when she says 'we' don't need it?<br />
It sounds like you've never had a sexual relationship. Never.<br />
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And, I think I speak for a few self-proclaimed specialists here by saying 'HUGE RED FLAG' - 'my mother goes without sex' - HUGE. She thinks it's normal. And no, sex isn't everything, but intimacy and closeness based around sex is the glue for the marriage.