Love Your Self

I married a man 18 years ago and filed for divorce 7 months ago. He loved me in his own way, did sweet and romantic things for me, but we did not have sexual intimacy. I told him I loved him every single day, initiated hugs, kisses, showers, massages and sexual advances, but he was not interested in any of those things. The 'things' he was more interested in were his huge collections of DVDs, CDs, books, magazines, synthesizers, sequencers and soldering circuit boards and the History Chanel.

We had dated for 1 year and were engaged for another, all the while enjoying a sexual relationship including intimacy, but that suddenly changed the very night we were married. He let one of his groomsmen spend the night with us on our wedding night because the guy had no way home from the reception, and neither one of them seemed to mind at all, in fact, they ordered a pizza while I sat there in my wedding gown. We did not make love on our wedding night. The honeymoon was disappointing, too, because he did not want to make love there either so it was on our honeymoon that we had our first real argument.

Over the next 18 years, he cooked for me, did the dishes, washed my laundry, gave me birthday cakes, took me on dates to the movies and restaurants and took me on weekend getaways, but we rarely had sex; maybe twice a year if I'd begged long enough. I loved him and he loved me, however, we did not have sexual intimacy, and the few times we ever did have sex it was mechanical and without kissing and cuddling.  He confused me because he told me he loved me and did nice things for me, but he had no desire to be touched or to touch.  He  was content  with living without sex and intimacy; he was more interested in reading, watching TV or adding on to his massive keyboard collection he played with as a hobby. He had a lot of hobbies and I was not one of them.

He did not enjoy socializing. He screened every phone call. We could not host family dinners. He refused to attend weddings and funerals and my high school reunion. I could tell that he had depression and I asked him to seek professional help and he said that he would try. Month after month, year after year, I continued to lovingly ask and beg him to seek help and he said that he would try. About 10 years ago I packed a suitcase and left him. I returned the same night only because he promised me he'd finally seek help. He didn't keep his promise. The years passed, the holidays and anniversaries came and went, all the while without sex and intimacy. I kept telling him every single day that I loved him, I kept spooning him and caressing him each night only to hear that my hands or feet were too cold or too dry and he would blow me a kiss and roll over. I cried myself to sleep while he slept like a baby.

I finally realized that he was never going to seek help for his depression and that nothing I could do would bring him happiness.  I wanted to divorce him, but I feared my leaving would devastate him because of his depression and because he had told me, and I knew it, too, that he needed me and depended on me. I didn't want to hurt him. He was a good person throughout our marriage; he just didn't want to have sex or sexual intimacy.  It hurt my feelings by making me feel undesired, unwanted, unappreciated, unattractive and hopeless.  It also made me feel that he had betrayed me by refusing me sex and intimacy.  I would have never married him if I'd known that I was to be doomed to a sexless marriage; this was not anticipated, it hurt and was not deserved.  However, I put up with this and willingly compromised my own happiness in order to try to provide it for him. I wanted to leave but felt too guilty so I stayed a few more years.

I had met a fun, interesting and pleasant person in someone we had met 3 separate times while attending 3 functions (with my husband by my side every time, at functions which I had encouraged him to attend because I thought he would enjoy himself; it had to do with one of his hobbies and I had grown to enjoy this hobby, too) and this person lived in another country and was here to be at these functions.  We liked each other as friends and eventually became Facebook friends about a year ago. We were only friends and we enjoyed emailing each other and made each other laugh. We talked about all kinds of things but had no idea that each of us were in a sexless marriage.  We eventually disclosed our similar sexless situations and gave each other emotional strength to deal with our marriages by either staying or leaving but to weigh the options. He gave me the strength I so desperately needed by encouraging me to love myself and to not settle for less.  Also, I realized how wonderful this man was, even if I couldn't be with him, I realized what I was missing out on in my marriage; someone of his character, strength, compassion, honesty, sense of humor and zest for life.  I decided to leave my husband and file for divorce because I would rather be happy and alone than be miserable and lonely.  I did not know what my future would bring, but I knew that I owed it to myself to become responsible for my own happiness, and I knew that I had exhausted every ounce of love and support for my husband and realized that it was he would never help himself.  

My ex-husband did not handle the divorce well and begged me to take him back; he said that he hadn't't seen this coming, that he had "no inkling" at all.  I had told him for 18 years that I was unhappy, that he kept hurting my feelings and that I didn't't want to live in a sexless marriage and I had even left him once.  He was so depressed that he couldn't see how his treatment of me had given me the right and the reason to divorce him.  He informed me that he was finally in therapy but that it was pointless if I would not take him back. I told him that I was genuinely proud of him for seeking help, but that it now had to be done for his own good and for only himself. His lack of desire for me, the lack of sexual intimacy and his refusal to seek help for 18 years had made me fall out of love with him. It had taken me a long time to make my decision to leave and when I finally made it I stuck to it. I have no regret.

Unfortunately, 5 days ago he attempted suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning in my bathroom (he still had a key and was feeding our cat while I was away). I came home that night to find a scene of horror and his suicide note. He wasn't there and I had no idea if he was alive or dead.  I called his father and he said that he had been rescued and was alive...and then yelled at me and told me if was my fault, but I'm strong enough to know it wasn't me and that it was his untreated depression.  Luckily he's alive and is physically ok. Now he has the opportunity to get serious professional help with his depression. I wish him all the best and hope that he finds happiness and love within himself one day.

I left my husband 7 months ago because I finally realized that I had to be true to myself, see the situation as it was and accept the fact that he was never going to help himself. I loved my self enough to become responsible for my own happiness.  I unexpectedly fell in love with my friend who lives in another country, and he fell in love with me, too.  I'm in the process of moving to his country to be with him, the man I love; a good, strong, loving, responsible man who loves me in return. I would have been ok on my own, but I got very lucky and found my true soul mate in a friend and we're going to spend our lives together in a loving, happy, sexually fulfilled relationship.  If anyone reads my experience who is undecided about staying in or leaving an unhappy relationship/marriage without sex and intimacy, just please remember to love your self. If you don't love your self then you cannot truly love anyone else.  Every human being deserves to be loved and to have sex and intimacy, and if only one partner has the desire to make an effort to cultivate this type of closeness then that person deserves better.  And if anyone who reads this is in a relationship with an untreated depressed person, please do everything you can to get them to a therapist or medical doctor. Beg them or have a family/friend intervention. The decision to seek help will be their responsibility. But keep in mind that you cannot help someone if they will not help themselves.  In my case, it was my husband's depression which made him not desire me in a sexual way.  It was not my fault.  I had suspected that either I had caused it, that he was seeing someone outside the marriage, and even wondered if he was gay and didn't know it.  It didn't seem normal that a husband would not want to have sex with his loving wife.  There's got to be a reason for refusing sex, and it may not have to do with us at all.  Good luck and a big hug to anyone who's in pain because they are refused and feel hopeless and betrayed.  Just try to love your self and things will get better; one way or another, with or without your partner. 

Thanks for reading my experience. It's way too long, but  it was therapeutic for me to write it down. Any comments are welcome. Thanks and good luck on your personal journey. 
41-45, F
8 Responses Jul 18, 2010

Your story is very touching. The message you send is so crystal-clear and yet, many of us live our lives making compromise upon compromise in our relationships and elsewhere. You made it out and deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life. Wish you all the best. Thank you for sharing!!!

Very similar to my story. Thank you for sharing it. I would be honored to have you as a friend.

I'm so happy for you and reading positive outcomes helps to give me strentgh everyday as I prepare to leave my sexless marriage and put it all behind me. I am truly hoping I can finally file the divorvce papers next week. He keeps trying to delay things, but I know I have to keep moving things along. Thank you.<br />
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Please everyone share your stories. I love reading them!

Thanks, LLnL. I'll do it right now. : )

Select and copy it... then open the post a story in ILIASM, and right click and choose Paste..<br />
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A box will come up telling you to use Ctrl V, but you can simply right click in the box and click Paste again, and it will paste it with the original formatting. Ctrl V runs it all together...<br />
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Good luck

Dear LiveLaughnLove and Morph, thank you both for reading my story : ) I want to post it in I Live In A Sexless Marriage but can't figure out how to post it there. Any suggestions? Good luck to both of you on your personal journeys.

I agree, LLnL. <br />
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Although this wonderful story 'belongs' here, it is simply a fact that most people who will benefit from reading it just wont bother looking here. I'm not normally a fan of 'cross-posting', but I must make an exception here- this deserves to be read by a wider audience.<br />
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Excellent.<br />
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It has parallels with my own (and several other people here) experiences. Keep strong and live your life well.<br />
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Thank you for sharing this... <br />
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Please also post this story in I Live In A Sexless Marriage, where it will be read by people who are stuck, and can be an inspiration. I too have left my sexless marriage, but I still read and post there... in part to support, and in part to continue to heal from the effects...