Is It An Achivable Goal, Or Is It A Slow Realization Of The Unobtainable?

I stumbled upon this forum seeking answers. Is there a holy grail, a magic formula? Or is it just an unrealistic exercise in endless frustration? I find it surprising, comforting, and a bit disturbing that there are so many living in a SM.  Apparently it is much more common, bordering on epidemic, than I ever imagined.

My story, I'm sure sounds like all too many others. Married for almost 17 years, I have two great daughters, 11 & 16. We used to be passionate and loving, and had frequent great sex. Always made sure I gave more than I received. AK (after kids), things slowed down, after the second one, dramatically. Eroding to now no sex for 27 months. I have done all the "I shoulds", I help with dishes, laundry, cleaning, various honey do's. I have given her thoughtful gifts, never forgetting a holiday. I have managed to get her to go to dinner, flirting and romantic all day, drew her a bubble bath when we got home, scented candles. I've written her love letters. I engage her in conversation, tell her I think she is sexy, and I still do have desire for her. We've had many discussions about how I want us to be romantic again, how much I miss that, how important it is to a happy marriage, if I can  help her feel that way again. Our last conversation about our SM a week ago, I just told her how frustrated I am, that I've tried to be romantic to her for so long, yet she still treats me like a roommate, I just don't understand. She said she just hopes I keep trying. Yeah right, no progress.

No results, and no explanation, at least that makes any sense to me. She has said that she has trust issues, mind you I've never (yet) strayed, never betrayed her in any way, always tried to be supportive emotionally, and financially. Been a good father and good husband. She has said she loves me but does not feel in love with me. I get a quick kiss only in response, when I leave for work, when I get home, and when she goes to sleep, almost always over her shoulder when she faces away from me in bed. A hug that I initiate is mostly responded to with just one arm. Our last time ML, she complained that I spend too much time on foreplay, and then last too long. I never imagined that would be a problem.

I'm in very good shape for my 54 years, she has paid little attention to her looks, yet still attractive to me (and I tell her) for her 44 years. She has in the past verbally and physically attacked me, all of which I forgave her for. I've never raised a hand to her, except to remover her hands from my neck. The past year seems worse, she has stopped wearing her wedding ring, I always wear mine. I don't think she is having or has had an affair, but I might be wrong. It seems like more stories on here end in crash and burn, and only a few have happy endings. It has made me even more resentful and frustrated recanting this story.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Is there a way to find that loving feeling again? 

ThatFeeling ThatFeeling
51-55, M
33 Responses Mar 16, 2010

She hopes you'll keep trying... yeah... I'm sure she does. I expect she is loving the attentiveness, the affection, the help... and on and on...<br />
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Pity she doesn't feel the need to reciprocate...

Isn't it FUNNY how things work out for those who wait? Oh, and thank you, sweetheart~ <br />
Please DO ENJOY, indeed! xoxo

Thanks for your comment Sy...<br />
It does feel like death, and when one stops trying, well for me as I look back, that was the beggining of my realization, of the point of no return.<br />
<br />
So.... 14 months update: We have agreed that we don't meet each others needs (over 4 months ago) and we are amicably divorcing. (so far ~ thank god). Life does go on. I had hoped and prayed for understanding and a solution, but what I found was not what I expected. <br />
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After all this, I have since found the solution, a most amazing woman just wandered into my life. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned much here from all my friends that have traveled this path before me. Sometimes what we thought is meant to be... actually isn't. I feel very fortunate to have found what does very much appear to be, meant to be.<br />
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I hope everyone finds their path to happiness. We all deserve nothing less.

I am sorry for your loss, when a marriage dries up and one of the spouses stops trying, it feels like a death, I really hope your wife is just having emptional issues and not keeping you around to take care of her financial needs.

Well it's been 10 months and here is my update. <br />
<br />
I've stayed for the kids sake. I'm still miserable and lonely. My older daughter is 10 months away from 18. My wife has announced she plans to leave at that point.<br />
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The only thing that keeps me going is dreams of future happiness with someone that wants me, wants to share my dreams, desires, and goals.<br />
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Life is too short as it is. 10 years from now I want to look back and think how much happier I am.

I like the idea of the "10" solution or whatever it's called.<br />
It's what will happen in 10 days or 10 months or 10 years I think.<br />
So, if you go away from this seemingly dismal marriage, what will happen in 10 days?<br />
Maybe looking for an attorney.<br />
What will be going on in 10 months?<br />
The divorce will be going through it's motions and you'll be wondering when it will be finally over.<br />
What will you be like in 10 years and how will your life have changed?<br />
You'll be having a hard time wondering why you stayed as long as you did and what you'll be like will be totally up to you. But the children now small will be young adults and you'll be there to help them out with their concerns problems and issues without the burden of yours from years before. One thing you will be, is without questioning yourself which is very counter productive.<br />
Love yourself enough to care about you.<br />
PS...there is a wonderful email I was just sent called LET IT GO......<br />
It reminded me of you and your situation and possibly how you should handle it.<br />
it's maybe not correct to post here and I don't want to get in trouble but happy to send it to you<br />
if PM form or email if you choose to read it. Certainly opened my eyes......<br />
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^just a thought^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Heed the advice ot the posters---once those words are said--it doesn't change--I wish I had found this site--about 28 years ago--I stayed in an empty marriage for 30 years--whenever I tried to talk--was told "if your that unhappy I'll leave" ---was also told "when the kids are 18--I'm outta here" daughter turned 18 --he asked for divorce--and I couldn't be happier---he was the refuser for years---very empty--sex was when he wanted it--my needs never concerned about--so life goes on and each day it gets better---much better. Life goes on, we grow, we change, we progress and it's good.

"she just hopes I keep trying"... I'll just bet she does... I have a theory on that actually, that there are those who refuse simply to avoid the post-coital dismissal... be it ever so slight, and simply delight in the pre-coital attention... and decide it's better to have that non stop, than to have sex.<br />
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So very sorry for you... and very sorry to welcome you to this group.<br />
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Sorry... no magic answers...

I think you are right about thinking your wife is projecting her guilt. <br />
<br />
I would never trust a refuser who gave " permission " for the other to cheat. At the most benign, it demonstrates that the refuser has absolutely zero respect for marital vows. At the very worst, it could be a vicious trap. Somewhere in between, it could simply be the chaotic lashing out by a crazy, wild and savage beast.

Imseekerofwisdom, I would have to say that I still do adore, cherise and treasure her. But I don't think those are her top three words about me. I'm a great husband and father, and I can hold my head high that I've continued to do the best I can for our relationship. I hurts tremendously that I often feel I'm the last one in love. <br />
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For those of you that might be wondering what the finger pointing back stuff is about, I shared with Imseeker, that my wife has acquised me of having affairs, which I've never, (thought about doesn't count) and I have wondered if it is just her projecting her guilt about something I don't know about, back on me.<br />
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Thanks to all of you for your comments. It does help alot to know I'm not the only one.....

oh.. that comment was direcect at the orignal post, not at your comments on the thread. Is she feel'in guilty because she had an affair? I don't know, and do not care any longer, I wish she would have an affair, maybe she would be more pleasant to be around.

I'm sorry for you that you're [SexlessInTampa]. I am not sure what you're comment means but somehow think it's directed @ me. How is your reading? Once again I'm sorry you seem to be confused this morning. But I'm not. My comment means that [to me] it sounds as if she's guilty of something [what?] I don't know, I wasn't there. Perhaps he is too. I'm not either of them. So yes, as he asked, if it's something he's dismissed until now, perhaps it's something he does need to consider.<br />
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My comment asking for 3 words that describe [what she is to him] was quite possibly not written correctly, you're not in my head I can't expect you to understand where I was going. Here's where I was going. I've been married all my life. I am often asked why my marriage works. It's easy to give the same answers over and over again. Many factors play a part, many, but here are my 3 necessity words if it's going have a fighting change in horrorville.<br />
Adore<br />
Cherish<br />
Treasure<br />
If those 3 words aren't your top 3 describing how your true feelings are about your spouse, they never will be. They have to be there from the get go because a strong foundation has to be there from day one which includes those 3 words. That's what you have to fall back on when times are hard, the fact that you still and always will adore cherish and treasure the person you've promised to stay with forever. Now that may sound like words from ancient times in the past, but to me, they're vital.<br />
When I look at the man I'm married to, believe it or don't believe it, doesn't matter to me, but it's factual, those 3 words continue to apply.<br />
Now I'll expect to be attacked but I'm ready, my amore is on.<br />
<br />
Best of all things good are wished for the one who's original post this is.

hmm are you sure your not me?

You know the old saying about when someone is pointing an accusitory finger at someone else...... "you did this" " you said that" "I heard you tell ...on the phone" "someone told me you..." "you don't expect me to believe that do you?" point is.....how many fingers are pointing back at them? < all the rest of the fingers, so.....they're pointing blame away from themselves which = GUILT!<br />
I didn't want to bring that up but it's the first thing I thought of. She's doin things elsewhere and this is her way of making you the fall gaul. Yes I meant that the way it says. She's got some kinds gaul to make you the one to fall.<br />
Let me ask you something...... give me 3 words that describe how you feel about her. I'll give you a hint "I love her" or "I like her" aren't any of the 3.

Someone mentioned to me that is sounds like she might be cheating, I had dismissed the thought, perhaps I'm in denial. Thoughts......?

There are medications that help to regulate hormones and chemicals so that normal sexual and emotional desire return. The lack of desire can be due to a physical problem. It would be worth getting checked out anyway. My best friend and her husband went through the same thing for a long while and after medication and a little therapy, they have a great marriage and have had for a long time. I know because I have been around them nearly every day for the past 5 years.

ThatFeeling, <br />
Your wife needs an exorcist. <br />
<br />
Godness gracious! For the safety of your children, you have to put a huge distance between your wife and civilization.

"She Hopes You Keep Trying"??? Why? Is her lack of sexual desire your fault?<br />
<br />
What an odd statement to make, like one day you'll just find the key and unlock her desire.

Thanks to all of you for your concern and comments. To Imseekerofwisdom, and some others who thought there may be more to my story, sure there is. This is of course my side, and you have to know that my wife’s story is probably a bit different, but it is factual, and really understated.<br />
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To clarify, I am not and have never been physically abusive, and I believe that is inexcusably wrong for a husband. She has quite a temper, but I not afraid of her. If she looses it in the heat of an argument, it is a major problem, but obviously not a total deal breaker. Nor have I been psychologically abusive. I do try to make her feel good about herself and life in general. To clarify, she has called me every name in the book, thrown a heavy crystal candy dish at my head, ripped a smoke detector off the wall and thrown it at me, kicked me in the crotch, punched me in the chest, and the aforementioned slammed me into the wall strangulation incident. That was really scary, and her being almost my height, and outweighs me by 50-80 lbs, not easy to repel. Fortunately I've had martial arts training, and quite possibly avoided a tragedy.<br />
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The more I tell, the more it becomes apparent to me that the odds of repair at this point are very slim. Does she have "issues", I think so, is there anything I or a professional can do for her, probably not.<br />
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It is important for me, and all of us, to keep our self esteem up, we are good people, trying to do the right thing. I can hold my head high that I've done my best in this situation. I will not let her distract me from my business (although I am typing this from work), allow myself to wallow in misery, and neither should any of you.<br />
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Thanks to all of you for your support. It feels good to share with sympathetic ears, as I've never told this story before.

This is a big Whoa. I feel for your pain but also think there's sumpin mighty strange goin on here.<br />
Many many red flags if I may say. She's hit you and abused you in other ways too?<br />
Is there anything, you can and should be honest here, that you're not telling us about you?<br />
You say you keep up your appearance but she hasn't. That could be for a variety of reasons.<br />
Postpartum depression or feeling of lack of self worth, only being able to ink out a couple a kids but what's her worth really about...with us/we women, it could be any number of things.<br />
I must read and think more on this but for now, I have to get ready for work. My husband just called and said, "honey, get on the road, it's vicious out there today." So, I will.<br />
I hope you continue with your story, again, no time to check now if there's more or not.<br />
Have a blessed day..........

Affair

I think, and this is only a personal opinion, that people find / fluke their way into EP and then this ILIASM group AFTER the problem has become entrenched. The search for a "solution" or "fix" has become desperate. By the time one gets here the marriage is in deep ****. Probably (personal opinion only) irrecoverable.<br />
No harm in trying assorted "solutions" bur sooner or later it comes down to two things.<br />
You stay, either subjegating your needs and aspirations - or fulfilling them independant of the marriage.<br />
You go. Working on your personal growth as an individual, and holding yourself open to the possibility that a fulfilling relationship may yet fall your way.<br />
There is no time fr<x>ame into which what you do has to be decided, go at your own pace.<br />
Good luck.

No, sorry, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You should work out how soon you can leave (that depends on when you morally feel you can break up the family without inflicting too much damage on your children), and then check out.<br />
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You only have one life. You have obligations to your children, to stick it out for as long as is reasonable; but you have no obligations to your wife if she is not prepared to meet you half way. Get out of there, as soon as you feasibly can.<br />
<br />
Good luck!

thatfeeling,<br />
<br />
You ask whether there is any light at the end of the tunnel. I honestly used to be much more hopeful of a compromise in my increasingly sexless marriage but I fear that the situation is sliding into sexual and tactile oblivion. <br />
<br />
I asked my wife, whom I have always loved and adored to distraction, whether she could give me an analogy of something which she disliked as much as sex when she wasn't in the mood. I said for my part that I would never be able to have sexual relations with a man so asked her whether she thought that her not wanting to have sex with me was akin to me being forced into having sex with a man.<br />
She said that it wasn't the same because I have never been attracted to a man but she used to be attracted to them but isn't now. I received an ear bashing for bringing the subject up again but she eventually asked me if I could imagine having sex with someone who I didn't fancy. I said well I probably could have an ****** inside someone I didn't really fancy but would rather not have to kiss them because that was rather more intimate. I would still be capable of having sexual release even if I did not fancy them. She told me that she doesn't fancy anyone so for her to have to have sex would be as bad as me having sex with someone I didn't fancy or have any sexual feeling for. <br />
<br />
I have always thought that there was a remote possibility that I could survive unhappily without sex but now it also seems that touching is becoming an issue also. I have said before that if I am not allowed to touch, hug or caress my partner then I really would soon be heading for the lunatic asylum. Without the sensation of touch I feel that I will soon be reduced to the status of a screaming gibbering idiot. Being tactily deprived is my worst nightmare and this on its own will surely drive me to desperate measures.<br />
<br />
Forgive me for going on about my situation but I just wanted to suggest to you that even an eternal optimist like me is being forced into accepting what is rapidly becoming a hopeless scenario. Just when we think things cannot get any worse it suddenly does.<br />
<br />
Richard.

Off-the-cuff reaction... she needs to "**** or get off the pot".<br />
<br />
As they say, there are always 3 sides to a story (his, hers, and the truth), but from what you describe she is in limbo emotionally and refuses to decide her fate. This situation seems entirely dependent on her resolve to improve her attitude toward you - it is within her ability to become re-energized if she chooses to.<br />
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For some reason she has become complacent or disenchanted with her marriage, perhaps because she's allowed herself to become emotionally vested elsewhere (the grass is always greener). She needs to decide to make the effort, and she needs to realize that inaction is also a making a choice - choosing to end the life she enjoys today.

ThatFeeling, <br />
I have a question for you: If ten years from now, your wife develops senile dementia, would you find it easier to dismiss her current nutty and aggressive behavior?

"It does sound pretty bad as I re-read this. " <br />
Yes, sadly, it does sound bad, even for this group. I encourage you to read lots more here, and to share more if you think it helpful. Check the forum too, there are some recent threads that you may find relevant.

Thanks for your comments. It does sound pretty bad as I re-read this. I have learned so far that I am now in charge of my own happiness. I've hoped for too long that she would contribute to our happiness together. Bottom line is I am going to strive to make a happy life for myself, for my kids who have been substantially sheltered from all this. And even my wife, as undeserving as she may be. I just don't understand why someone would intentionally do this to their spouse. I guess time will tell what "make myself happy" exactly means.

I understand actually how that could not be a typo, sometimes I wish there was a clear cut leave symbol in my marriage, If he ever laid a finger on me out of anger I would be gone.... Honestly it sounds like your wife's brain has been fried by hormones postpartum or whatever it isn't working has she tried meds?

nomomisery- "I give her credit for telling you she "isn't in love with you," for not wearing her wedding ring and for physically attacking you."<br />
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"Physically attacking him" ??? Surely that has to be a type-o. No one ever, ever, ever...should be attacked.<br />
<br />
I'm sorry if that one was a type-o, but if not, I just had to say something.

I am so sad. Sad for you, sad for me, sad for all of us that find ourselves in simular situations.<br />
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Are we gluttons for punishment? It sure seems that way. Here YOU are trying to do everything possible that you can think of to make HER feel happy and special and great and WANTED...and then to just be knocked down over and over again? Where is the kindness? Even that whole "Not IN love crap", still...you can be kind and respectful to your spouse or significant other.<br />
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I don't know. I guess it comes down to what you are willing to accept. I know I have fallen into that trap. Accepting the **** I never, ever, thought I would. If it was someone else I would tell them to run far and fast if they were dealing with this in their relation-"****". We are the GIVERS and they are the TAKERS...and it sucks!<br />
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I am on a rant today, but the jist is...I understand! As you look around you will see you are far from alone...which is just awful in itself, but does give comfort in knowing that we are not the only ones. Please, be good to yourself and LOVE YOURSELF (I am trying to practice what I preach, lol)- no matter what the other is doing. You're great! Now, if we can all nut up and accept that our spouses don't DESERVE this greatness anymore...WE can begin a new life and journey and write about our happiness and joy instead of saying, "What do I do now?"<br />
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My Best Wishes and Warm Thoughts~

"She said she just hopes I keep trying. Yeah right, no progress."<br />
<br />
I'm very sorry that you are in this sad situation with so many of us. Welcome to the group no-one wants to belong to.<br />
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Your wife is even more distant than some other Refuser spouses! Most say "I'm trying" altho' there is little or no evidence of this 'trying'. Your wife goes one step furtjher and wants YOU to keep trying. . . !!! WTF?<br />
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There is NO holy grail. A very (VERY!) few people recover from this position - usually if the problems are not long term and only if BOTH partners are equally desirous of a recovery . . . <br />
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I think others will probably agree with me that, sadly, your statement <br />
"is it just an unrealistic exercise in endless frustration?" sums up exactly what it is . . . .

2 HUGE issues I see here that will only be reiterated by the masses:<br />
1. she says she loves you, but ISN'T IN LOVE WITH YOU<br />
2. she isn't wearing her wedding ring<br />
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I'd say she has trust issues with herself. Oddly, it can't be you assuming everything you've spilled out is factual (and we have no reason to believe it isn't truth). I would say (as I channel AC - you'll meet him) - she's insane. Mental.<br />
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You will find stupid excuses like the ones you've given to be a direct link to a huge problem for you. It's the ever-moving excuse target that you can never hit to kill because it moves every time you think you've got the excuses covered. There are always new ones that will crop up.<br />
<br />
Sorry to hear about your situation. Stay a while and read some. Some initial comments may seem harsh, but after a week or 2 you will see they might be truthful.