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Sexual And Emotional Abandonment

"Abandon" has different meanings:
  • To Physically leave, as in leaving behind without the consent of the other party.
  • To Emotionally leave, as in not being present in a marriage, to not share emotional intimacy.
  • To Sexually leave, as in refusing your spouse sex and sexual intimacy; to neglect your spouse's needs.
  • To Financially leave, as in not being responsible with joint money matters.
  • To act without restraint, as in freedom from inhibition.
SEXUAL ABANDONMENT is what happens in a sexless marriage. In legal terms it is called 'Constructive Abandonment' and is considered grounds for divorce, at least in the United States; in other countries it falls under 'Unreasonable Behaviour". It means to unjustly refuse to engage in sexual relations with one's spouse. When a Refuser denies their spouse sex over a significant period of time, they are not fulfilling their understood obligations of their marriage contract; they had vowed to be exclusive sexual partners for life. The act of withholding sex, refusing sex, controlling sexual relations is dysfunctional, cruel, selfish and immature. Not only does it cause severe emotional issues to their spouse, it also forces them to stay celibate which was not part of the marriage contract; they never agreed to a sexless marriage.

EMOTIONAL ABANDONMENT is what happens as a result of a sexless marriage. The Refuser denies their spouse mature, committed love and closeness and denies honesty, communication, commitment and trust which is SEXUAL INTIMACY. By refusing them sexually, they not only deny their spouse their affections but also denies them their need to express their affections. They refuse to give or to receive affection from their spouse. This lack of sexual intimacy rots their relationship not only in the bedroom but it causes all sorts of problems in all other areas of their life; they feel worthless, uncared for, undesired, unattractive, confused, frustrated, sad and hopeless throughout their entire day. This type of burden can cause not only emotional damage such as depression but also physical damage as well, as in high blood pressure, severe anxiety and sexual frustration.

In a sexless marriage, a Refuser either denies there is a problem, or agrees there is a problem but does not care enough to do anything about it. They are complacent. They are selfish. Their self-centered mindset and lack of motivation makes them believe that their spouse will continue to stay with them no matter what state of emotional, sexual and physical misery they cause them. Maybe they have mental issues, maybe they have physical issues, but they still have the knowledge of right from wrong and treating their spouse with so little regard is clearly wrong. If they do not want to deal with their problem because it is too emotionally or physically challenging on them, they should at least TRY if they give a damn about their spouse and their marriage. Having a problem is not the problem; it's not dealing with said problem which causes dysfunction and erodes the relationship.

A healthy, loving, mature relationship does not involve sticking one's head in the sand when issues arise; it means addressing the problem TOGETHER. It does not involve sexual refusal. It does not involve mental anguish. It does not involve neglect. It does not involve indifference to their spouse's feelings. It does not involve causing a constant feeling of hopelessness. It should not be the source of daily sadness and stress. It should be their main source of joy. It should be an emotional and sexual connection which grows every day.

Of course it involves compromises but those compromises shouldn't emotionally drain them.  Of course it involves differences of opinion but those differences should be respected. Of course it should involve hard work but it should be both spouses committed to the work. And it involves desire; the desire not only for sexual intimacy but also the desire to stay faithful, to be honest, to treat each other with respect, and to care enough about their spouse and their marriage to do whatever it takes to make it loving and forever. Marriage shouldn't be taken for granted. Real love should be valued and cherished for the rare, blessed gift that it truly is.

As a side note, I am divorced after an 18 year sexless marriage. I had tried to better my marriage and help my former husband deal with his many issues but he refused to seek any treatment whatsoever. We had 'the talk' many, many times but he never felt motivated to do anything about my suffering or even his own due to depression and other addictions. He thought I would never leave him. It took a lot of inner strength for me to do so and it was not a decision I made lightly. But things were never going to improve and I finally realized the harsh truth. I left a man I loved but had to for my own self perseverance and sanity. His 18 years of refusal and neglect had finally worn me down and caused me to fall out of love with him.

I sometimes feel guilty for leaving him; I left him and by doing so I had turned his world upside down in one conversation one day after he came home from work. Life as he knew it with his wife, his pet, his house, his comfortable way of life would never be the same after that conversation. It broke my heart but I stood my ground with real tears of grief in my eyes. It pained me to have to hurt the man I loved by leaving him; he was visibly shaken, cried uncontrollably, got on his knees and begged forgiveness. But he had never done that during any of our "talks"; not one time over a period of 18 years. Not once had he given me a reason for his refusal, not once did he follow through with seeking professional help. I followed through with handing him the divorce papers and told him that I had to do it. He did not understand then and he still, over a year later, does not understand. He still thinks I gave him no warning whatsoever.

THIS is how I deal with my sense of guilt:  I know for a fact that he had known of my heartache because I had point-blank told him many times. He, however, never cared enough to do anything about it. He said during the divorce and thenafter that I should have "threatened him with divorce", however, I strongly disagree. Had I threatened him he may have done something to improve the marriage, but I firmly believe that countless "talks" should have motivated him to care enough about me and end suffering. I believe that he should have loved me enough to want to make things better because of love for me and not because of a threat to leave him.

Good luck to anyone who is enduring, or had to experience, a sexless marriage. It's a hurt that is so deep and painful and filled with intense sadness and frustration. At times it seems there is no way out; that you are stuck for many reasons. But you do have options and you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness. Please try to realize that you only have one life to live and it is indeed too short to endure such unfair and unnecessary suffering on a daily basis. Please seek knowledge and support and try to keep your sanity. Most of all, please try to love your self enough to not settle for less than what real love offers. Had I stayed in my sexless marriage I would have never found my true soulmate, my best friend and lover and would have never experienced mature, romantic love. Moreover, I would have continued to lose my own sense of self and quite possibly my sense of self love.

Thank you for reading this.
ISELFLOVE ISELFLOVE 41-45, F 26 Responses Mar 25, 2011

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I had high-risk cardio thoracic (heart) surgery Jan 2012. My wife's birthday was the day after surgery. Even though the doctors told her that I was not in the clear and could take a turn for the worst while in ICU, she went out with "the girls" and celebrated her birthday.<br />
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After hospital discharged 2 weeks later, my wife found all types of reasons to leave the house. I was alone for most of the days during my recovery. On average, aside from sleeping, she would spend 2 hrs with me (this included weekends also).<br />
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Eventually I became too disabled to work, and was terminated from my job because of my heart condition. I am now receiving SS disability.<br />
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Three months ago when I could not attend my 7 yr old daughter's back-to-school-night because I was fatigue (I am in the early stages of heart failure). After that my wife stopped having sex with me. Whenever I asked what was wrong she just said she was not in the mood.<br />
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When she started lying to me concerning her whereabouts I became suspicious. Last week I purchased a forensic kit that detects traces of *****. It has been over 90 days since we had sex, and an analysis of her underwear and panty liners tested positive for *****.<br />
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I confronted her about the results. She said only a sick and twisted person would analyze his wife's underwear, and on that basis she said she wanted a divorce. She is moving out with the kids tomorrow.<br />
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I cannot begin to explain the sense of betrayal, desertion, and utter humiliation I feel. Not only has my wife had sex with another man (or men), I am disabled and cannot work. My SS does not nearly cover our mortgage and utilities.<br />
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Other than my in-laws, I have no friends or family to rely on for emotional or financial support. As a matter of fact, her family hired an attorney for her. Now my wife and in-laws are urging me to accept a no-fault/irreconcilable differences divorce.<br />
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I am in such shock that I do not know what to do.

Your second paragraph under emotional abandonment hit the nail on the head. This has been my life for 8 of my 10 year marriage. We are currently seperated and moving on with divorce. It terrifies me to have to think about "Dating" again. But, I deserve to be happy and will take one day at a time. Thanks for this read.

Thank you for writing this. I have threatened my wife with divorce - and it wasn't a threat. I truly was going to leave on three specific occasions. Each time, she got me back by doing the barest of minimums to keep me around and then things quickly got back to the sexless marriage that I loathe. I should have listened to all my friends and family and my gut instead of her. I've been stuck for quite some time and it will be another six or twelve months before I can get out - but I will. On the bright side, she did give me two wonderful boys that are so incredible. BUT this is no way to live and not what I want my boys to think that this is what a marriage is supposed to be like. It's all I can do to maintain my own sense of sanity - try to focus on the good things in life - rather than the bad. Do the things I need to do to improve my current situation - the things that I can control and eventually I will be free to find my soul mate as well. Thanks again for making me feel like my feelings are justified.

I too am in a sexless marriage and have been for 15 of my 17 married years. Your account of your marriage really grabbed me hard as I can relate to so much of your post. It's as though you could see my life happening right before you. I have voiced my pain and anguish more times than can be counted. I have told my wife about what I feel inside and why and have offered counseling for these issues. The counseling she did eventually do with me, on the third attempt, but it only temporarily helped our overall relationship and never did any mending of our sexless and emotionally empty marriage. As soon as the counseling was done, she slid right back into the same pretending that there is no problem attitude. I need real love, and I do not desire just sex. I need the connection and commitment and devotion of an emotionally healthy marriage where sex is mutual and enjoyed by both. I have never been a selfish man, but my Pastor tells me that I'm selfish to want out of my marriage, because it isn't God's plan. I'm a Christian man who is completely frustrated and I refuse to be unfaithful, but it is soooooo hard. I too have had the "talk" , and when I do my wife says I'm lecturing and dismisses it as the rantings of someone screwy. My feelings are dismissed as fast as bird's take flight. Thank you for sharing your experience. While I would wish it on nobody, It does help to know that others know how you feel and what you're going through.

I believe I am going through the same problems. I thought I was being a jerk or insensitive when I complained to my wife about our lack of sex. Her more recent response was "some people go their whole lives without sex". That comment lead me to believe she has no intentions of having a sexual connection anymore. We are married one and half years. Together for four years. We just had our first baby october 2013. We have not had sex since the conception of my daughter in late december 2012. We have awkward fights about stupid things that never tet resolved. We both are at fault for our lack of communication and ability to move past issues like the nothing happened. I know things are different with a kid so I have not made a big case yet but her attitude towards this conversation leads me to believe i am destined for a sexless marriage. It feels good to let this out. I am greatful for all these posts ti compare to and invite conversation from others thank you

All along I've felt so alone, that this was only happening to me because I must have not been "good enough" in some way. I endured many years of pain and blaming myself and kept hoping that one day it would change. Last week I finally realized the only hope for my self-esteem was to walk away from my 17 year relationship. I begged and cried myself to sleep for years but my physical and emotional needs continued to be neglected. Now I can start to heal. Thank you for writing this. The emotional damage is hard to overcome and it helps to know I'm not alone.

Yup! You are most definitely not alone, there is hope, you will survive!

Thank you for this. i know its not a gift or that I'm utilizing your grief to better my self but just simply thank you.
My child's mother and I live together with no sex. Emotionally she thinks she's there for me as well as me there for her but I'm kinda not. I think it's sad that a relationship of such importance is dwindled by such an easy effort. I am sexless and it rules me. I'm defeated in so many ways. I man up and try every angle to manage and deal with out but with every no or failed attempt at romance I am at a loss.
I fear splitting cause of my dedication as a father but does this affect him cause I know he sees it in me and my actions. I don't think that's a question cause I know for a fact it does indeed affect him. I've been married before and it became the same but much worse. There was arguing and etc but this is different. Defeated cause there is no arguing, there's communication with no resolve. I guess it almost becomes selfless to my benefit. To be the best father/roll model I need to be a better person and that person is with out his mother. The time will come and I'm so glad I wrote this. I can see it now.

Thank you for your post and everyone for your stories. I am a 40 y.o. male and am in the process of getting a divorce. We were together for over 5 years and married for over 3 of those 5.

I too experienced emotional and sexual neglect. Threats of leaving encourage short fixes of sex and promises only to be broken again. Once I really picked up on the pattern, I asked for a divorce. She begged and promised to change and I gave her one more shot. It was an amazing lesson to just know the pattern and observe both of our parts in it. For a couple months I had hopes until it all started to fall apart once again.

Sex started to go, she would ignore me when I spoke and get mad at me for small things. It was clear that I could not spend any more of my life with this person who was slowly shattering my self-worth.

We had been in counseling for years and nothing helped. I enlisted friends to hold me accountable and help me put time limits on the promises and help me to realize that the promises were empty. This helped a lot. I loved her and wanted things to work, so I would constantly justify what was happening and have false hopes.

For years she ruined every anniversary, Valentine's Day, or any other special occasion. She cheated on me and lied about it and I am still not sure she was telling the whole truth once confronted. The first time I really asked for divorce was just after a tropical vacation where there was no sex and when I brought it up she completely ignored me. We were away from any of life's stresses and there were no more excuses.

I am now focusing on healing myself. How did I pick this person? What signs did I ignore when we first met? How can I be more careful next time in picking my partner? For now, I will spend time on myself and not worry about finding another partner. If I work on myself I am guaranteed to find someone who will treat me better.

Best to all of you in your journey.

I am 27, married for a mere 10 months. I am experience in every detail what you are describing... I have many, many talks. I crack. Some how he "deflects" and I fall into his words. The problem goes away for a few days and we circle back. I also love him and been with him for almost 5 years and married him thinking he was gorgeous, intelligent, gave me my space (too much space in turns out) where other relationships smothered me, and he is talented musically. He also have a 5 year old son, who I have been a stepmom to half the week... and I am in love with his son. I just feel so alone and so sad intimately... and I do love myself and know I deserve better than to be denied sex. I try and try to have sex and its always an excuse, and usually the excuse is somehow me being not understanding in somehow (he's tired, works hard, I should respect he's not in the mood etc). I am embarrassed for myself, to tell my friends or family. I am not afraid to tell my best friend, or a counselor, but how can I tell my parents who just witness our beautiful not long ago wedding? Did I mention he didn't buy me a birthday present, or a mothers day present, or have sex with me on my honeymoon? To be fair, we had sex once on our honeymoon but I felt alone, and even knew deep down we probably wouldn't. What was I thinking? Well... I do love him for a lot of reasons, and his son. I was raised with parents who cheated, but where able to work it out and still married for 40 years. I think I just thought that marriage is complicated, but I am started to think I am in a really bad place. I need need need... want want want love. I don't feel loved. What's worse, I don't believe him anymore. He can say he'll change, words are meaningless to me. He also loves to kiss in front of my friends and say I love you but it makes me mad because its a sham. I want him to stop. I have been blindsided. But not anymore... If anyone who wants to talk, I would love to share stories and ask questions to help each other through. Thank you for your post!

Hi, Her86....my goodness, I\'m so sorry for all that you\'re enduring. I, like so many of us here at this site, totally understand where you\'re coming from. And there is NO excuse for how he\'s treating you. I need to ask you...do you think he\'s seeing someone else? It\'s a bit odd when a male refuses sex from his wife. Listen, from someone who has lived for 13 years of this type of bologna from her \"husband\", it will not change unless YOU do something to make it better. Don\'t wait because he will become complacent in taking your marriage for granted. I know this is a difficult thing because you don\'t want to risk losing his son, whom you have grown to love as your own. This only demonstrates all the more the heart of great love inside you! You are a patient and loving lady who deserves to be loved. Not one of us is perfect, but neither is the one we love. We are all imperfect people but unless our imperfections are disrespectful or demeaning to our spouse, there is NO reason for anyone to suffer rejection. I think what you may have to do is to give him an ultamatum...either he honor his vows to love, honor and cherrish you, keeping himself for only you or it\'s done. Why not suggest a good, Christian counselor? I suggest a Christian counselor as opposed to a secular one based on experience with having gone to both. The secular one will make excuses for behaviors and attitudes that are not healthy for the marriage...the Christian one will promote Godly characteristics that center around God\'s desire for men to love their wives \"the way Christ loves His church....which He died for.\" Imagine, being loved so much by someone that they would actually die for you...how many people, husbands in particular, actually love their wives as much as Jesus loves us? Not many. I will be praying for your healing and for God to guide you in this very heart breaking situation, my friend. I am so sorry for your pain...but don\'t wait like I have done...the reason I remain with my UNloving husband is for the sake of our son. If not for him, I\'d be planning on changing my residence. Believe me when I tell you, after many years of rejection by your spouse, it makes you feel so completely unattractive and often depressed to the point of longing to die. Don\'t wait till you reach this point. Your husband has broken his covenant with you by deliberately withholding himself from you physically and emotionally. (Makes me sick the way he uses you, in front of people, to give himself a good name!) I think it may be best to give him a untimatum....BUT do it in LOVE....do not be angry! An angry approach to him, even if he deserves it, will only result in driving him away even further! Be gentle and honest and direct...and let him know that it\'s because you love him that you want him.....In my situation, I\'ve reached the point where even if I am not with someone, I\'d prefer to be alone, away from the constant rejection. There is no greater pain. I don\'t want you to get to where I am...not an easy place to be. God bless and guide you, Her86! Take good care! :)

I feel your pain. In addition, my husband is out right mean. I have been married for three years on October 2nd, so we JUST had that anniversary. We have been together a total of 5 years. He was my best friend and everything changed. I feel alone, confused, hurt... How was I so stupid? I finally went and spoke to a JAG attorney but I was afraid the entire time (he is Air Force), I felt awful and guilty being there but I am tired of hurting. I don't want a divorce. I absolutely am against it but he is so cruel at times and I hurt so often and want so bad to be happy, have kids, etc. I feel I have to leave. God help us... I will pray for you, please pray for me too...

Been there, done that...for almost 25 years...I am sorry but it's not going to change...I too felt the leaving of love on our honeymoon (a busy time you know), and it never returned. His first infidelity less than 2 years into our marriage (but somehow he just couldn't find the time, effort or desire to make love with me) and just spiralled since. I thought having kids would help (we have 2 awesome grown up kids now) and I thought a change in geography would help (not...) but there was always something. I tried everything...leaving him be to work it out, I went to counselling (he doesn't believe in it so he never went), marriage encounter classes, frank talks, ultimatums....nothing ever worked until I realized I was starting to run from him whenever he was home(unusual), and thought enough is enough. Our youngest went to university this fall (and yes, I am thankful to have hung on this long) and I have never been happier. Much objections from my (soon to be ex) regarding our settlement (for some reason he doesn't think 25 years of purgatory entitles me to half of our marital assets lol...good luck with that!) but for the first time in a long time I do feel free!

PS...yes...he was the ultimate in attentive loving husband in public...at first I thought it was because he was happy, comfortable...then I realized it was more to do with his acting abilities...

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This is a hard story to read particularly since ISELFLOVE endured a sexless marriage for so long. Thank you for sharing.

I have been in a sexless marriage since January 2013 ( it is now August). What I thought was a happy and healthy relationship of 7 years got turned on its head when my wife said she didn't want to have a baby with me anymore, and loved me but am not attracted to you anymore for petty things that she never argued about with me before.

We always talk, but she says she no longer wants to work on things. She has become much busier now without making any compromise for us (which I think she easily could) to spend more time working on things. She says she doesn't know if she can go on, but we have money issues to wait out a little while - and somehow we both still love each other...

I have read so many negative things about being in a sexless marriage about how they drag on for years. I wonder whether I should just make my best effort this year, and if things don't change leave. Hard to do when there is still love between us ... somewhere. Meanwhile, going on a secret date with someone I met recently and found myself flirting with and thinking how good it felt to have someone respond to me that way... seem to have a lot of time and it is not easy to keep myself happy... don't know exactly what I am doing...

Hi, TPF...I'm sorry for your pain...I think everyone here knows exactly what you are enduring. Rejection from our spouse is always so difficult. But I wanted to caution you, if you don't mind my "butting in". I am concerned that you may be jumping from the pot into the fire in flirting and having a secret date with someone. You are in a dangerous position because you are hurting and lonely. This sets you up for a vulnerable fall in seeing someone behind your wife's back. Due to your loneliness, you might begin to THINK you have real feelings for this other person...it could lead you to actually cheating on your wife. The one thing we need to be cautious about is remaining above reproach....don't give yourself something to regret later. Cheating on your wife could lead to irrepairable damages in your marriage as well as plague you for cheating on her in the first place. The excuse that we often give ourselves, "he/she is ignoring me" will not be your comfort later on when you reflect on how your marriage ended, if it ends due to your infidelity.
If there is still love between you and your wife, then it is worth the effort in seeking counseling...get help! That fire can be rekindled between you two.
Also, if you are seeking a lasting relationship, then you have already chosen the wrong person to find that with....any woman or man who is willing to conspire against someone else's spouse, ie: "secret date", is not going to be someone you can trust in a relationship. And one more point, by your seeking another for this "secret date", you are demonstrating to her that YOU are not trustworthy, either, when the "chips are down". Remember your vows; "for better, for worse".
The reason so many of us here have been in loveless marriages for so long is because there is a committment present...without committment, there can be no hope for your marriage.
My friend, please reconsider what you are doing with this other woman...please don't make the fatal mistake of dating her before you and your wife have actually split up. Seeing someone else will only serve to confuse you all the more...you already said it yourself, "I don't know exactly what I am doing"....take a step back and base your behavior on the truth of your marriage, which still exists...and on your intellect, not your hurt emotions. Our poor hearts can lead us to do desperate and regretable things.
If you can't see where you are going...then don't go there.
Work on your marriage, as much as you can....if your wife won't talk to you about what is going on inside her, try talking to your wife's friends...but make sure you do not complain about her to them, it will only make them defensive. BUT if you present yourself to them as truly CONCERNED for your wife's feelings and tell them how much you love her and want your marriage to work, they will be more compassionate toward you and will likely open up to you about what your wife is thinking....there is always hope, my tender hearted friend.
Take good care...I will be praying for God's guidance and help in your situation. :)

Sounds to me like she has found someone else...dig deeper...

Thank you for expressing your pain...it must have been both difficult as well as a relief to express all that you had contained for so long. Your story, sadly, speaks to so many of us, who feel trapped in love-less marriages to spouses who refuse to commit to the promises they vowed to keep, before God and man. It's not about perfection as I don't think any of us here posting comments expects what we cannot ouselves deliver. But it IS about commitment to another person. Sometimes it doesn't take "two" to destroy a marriage; sometimes, it only takes one unrepentent and self serving individual who refuses accountability nor the concern to make an effort.
Your honest revelation of all that you endured in your marriage, spoke to my situation exactly! I've endured 13 years of isolation from a man who admitted that he "neglected" me, but who remains unmotivated to make any improvements. He has broken his covenant to me; I live every day with diminished joy, without affection, alone, rejected physically and emotionally.....in a word, broken...so deeply broken.
While it's nice to know that we are not alone in our suffering and rejection, still, it only deepens my saddness to know that there are so very many who suffer the same plight. I feel your pain because I live your pain. The tears I've cried while reading your story, I've cried not only for myself, but for those who must endure this same unbearable situation.
Thank you for posting your story....your words reveal hope and encouragement for those of us who are flandering in an ocean of hurt, not knowing in which direction to turn.
God bless you with the love your most sincere and tender of hearts truly deserves! This is my prayer for all who suffer the pain of rejection from the one who once professed to love them.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit". Psalm 34:18

I feel ya. SInce Oct I worked out, lost 30 lbs, got a boob job, dressed up, showered every night with the hopes to have sex, even tried to have sex with him. Not one "You look good, nice, amazing, sexy." Nothing .Sex once every month or two, maybe longer sometimes. We've been inconsistent on the sex for a while, but I really felt so lonely from Oct. to Feb. In Feb I started talking to someone else. My husband found out. He was upset, but realized that although me talking to someone else is a big problem, it is not THE problem that got me here. Now he wants to try, try, try, but I'm only into the sex part and not him. I feel like he wants me because he's worried that someone else wants me. I'm stuck.

I am so sorry so many women are exposed to this behavior from their men. I am a 53 year old married male 24 yrs with my wife and for the last 17 I have been in a marriage of diminishing intimacy and lackluster corrective emotional effort. I share your pain and am now reaching the end of my marriage as my child prepares to leave for college. I knowingly endured more than I should, but I did so in an effort to afford my children the stability of both parents in the home. I must say I have mixed feelings as to weather that was really in their best interest. I see much of my wife's relationship behavior reflected in my daughter today. I often fear that my staying in as long as I have may have positioned her to suffer a similar future fate. I realize of course that we do the best we can in the absence of known alternatives. That said I encourage anyone experiencing similar dysfunction in their relationship to take a hard look at their lives and measure the value of the limited time we have and act accordingly.

My best wises to all
A husband taking action

This post is my life as well. Married 15 years and have a young child. We met when we were young and in HS. I had my doubts even on my wedding day but coughed it up to jitters. We did pretty good for the first few years but went down hill shortly after.I have never had romance or felt a great true love from my husband. It has always felt like sex was a chore or even that he thought of someone else when we were intimate. We were married 10 years before getting pregnant because that was the one thing he had control over. It took me pretty much begging to have a child and the threat of me moving on to make it happen. He refused to have sex the entire 9 months of pregnancy and seemed to pull away from me even more. Then the day of our child's arrival he went home so he could sleep and left me at the hospital with contractions. After coming home and being expected to cook, clean and take care of a new born child and having no one to talk to about my baby blues I grew to dislike my husband. We tried getting help about 2 years later and after many "talks" it never got better. We now have sex maybe 6 times ayear and only after i cry my eyes out and try for yet another talk to make things better. I have made countless threats to leave but he alway gives me an excuse and promise to change. I am at my wits end and ready to leave but I to feel guilty for not keeping my vow till death do us part.

I am ending a 26 year marriage due to emotional neglect. He too now begs forgiveness and promises to change, but has never seen the need to change when we talked before. I appreciate your experience.

Your story is my story except we have been married for 26 years and it wasn't totally sexless. We have been together for a total of 30 years. He was my first and it was great for the first 3 years. We were so good together in every way. He was a very nice guy but I now know that he came broken but I didn't know it.

When we first met, he was wonderful. I thought i had found my soulmate. We were young and each had our own business. Then we were having less and less sex, it was always i that initiated. He was always giving me the same excuses...too tired, don't really have the urge, it's natural to have less sex the longer we are together and so on. Sex became routine, foreplay was one sided ( I hardly ever got any), it. was always me on top or just sideways on the bed. Soon I realized he was too lazy to get up off his *** for sex.Three years into our marriage, I got pregnant. After that, it got even less frequent. At first I didn't talk about this because I was too afraid and embarassed.

I craved intimacy. When I finally became so desolate and had physically started to hurt myself, I tried to have those dreaded "talks" that went nowhere. He never had much to say, he didn't understand why I was unhappy. Looking back now, I realized that our family life was perfect to him compared to his own growing up. He had a dysfunctional family, his mother was a schzophrenic and his father was emotionally not there. He and his brother were separated with his sister growing up. They were basically left to fend for themselves since they were little.

Other than being sexually and emotionally unavailable, he is a good man. However, I need more. Each time after our talks, I would get hopeful even though not much was said and no concrete plans to make things better. This became a pattern. We would have a "talk", then I would be ok for a time. As long as I don't bring it up, then there was no problem. As the years went by, there were even less sex, eventually less "talks".


We had even tried therapy once but as soon as therapy finished, we were back to our old selves. I had seriously contemplated leaving him but our son was so small then. I wanted him to have a normal family plus I loved my husband too much. Later on to compound the problem, he started to have erectile dysfunction. Not able to maintain an erection killed off the chances of having those intimate moments even further and sex became stressful. It wasn't a subject he wanted to talk about or fix even though I tried to be supportive. He just brushed it off to stress, lack of sleep, aging....he said that he was ok with it. He doesn't seem to understand that it is not ok with me. I feel frustrated, lonely, unloved, undesirable and lost.

This problem has persisted and evolved for the last 25 years or so yet I am still here. I just want to hear him say that he will try and really do try, that's all anyone can ask for. I am still waiting. I do love him and don't want to give up on us but hope is fading. Thank you for letting me share.

This is exactly what I have been going through for the past 7 years of my 10 year marriage. It hurts so bad and I still love him so much. But I know it will not change and so I am trying to find the strength to leave now. Thank you for letting me know I am not really alone.

I've never heard someone explain my life so well, thanks for sharing this.

I fell in love seven years ago. We were in love with each other for years. We had sex all the time- I mean almost every day. We were crazy about each other. We never yelled or said mean things to each other, rarely even disagreed about anything important and when we did disagree we were respectful and could talk easily about anything. <br />
We both thought we would be together for the rest of our lives, the first time either of us had thought that. I can't tell you how much joy we took in each others company. <br />
We worked together until two years ago (He builds & restores houses- I paint & do interior finishing). <br />
He took time off to have knee surgery. I didn't get an outside job in time and he had to cover my rent as he is the one whose name is on the lease so if the rent comes up short it's his problem. (his words, not my attitude)<br />
<br />
The first month he was angry that he had to dip into the money he'd set aside for six months of recovery after surgery. He was uncharacteristically harsh but I knew he was feeling vulnerable and I felt guilty so I just swallowed my emotions. The second month he'd been short with me all all month but again, I thought "He's in pain", and I sympathized. <br />
At the end of the month he told me he felt so much anger the only way he could deal with it was to withdraw, but that he loved me, he just had to pull into himself...<br />
<br />
I never saw my lover again. After two years of my sorrow, guilt, confusion and loneliness, he told me he had no more feelings for me, and he dumped me. <br />
<br />
The shock and grief have been unbelievable. I tried for two years to pretend it was going to turn out ok while I felt like I was losing my mind. We had sex four times- always when we were out of town and there were other people in the house (to 'witness' what a loving couple we were). <br />
<br />
For the first time in my life I have insecurity and self esteem issues. Whenever anyone, even long term friends have a problem expressing themselves to me, my mind immediately thinks they want me to leave and can't bring themselves to tell me. I am rarely able to sleep a night without some kind of unhappy or stressful dream, and I don't trust anyone for pretty much anything. <br />
I hate it that I can understand why this is happening but I still feel this way.<br />
<br />
I will never trust myself to be right in thinking that I know who someone is. I have never in my life been so sure of anyone as I was of him, and I never would have believed it was possible for him to withdraw and stay withdrawn until our love was dead.<br />
In retrospect I should have kicked and screamed, not quietly become incapacitated by grief. <br />
If nothing else, I would have saved myself the torture of trying harder and harder to work for something that was already gone. I've been sad for so long it's normal for me now. I used to be strong and happy. Now I just want to survive this.<br />
<br />
I completely agree that having a lover or spouse ask you to play the role without the sustenance provided by actually Having a lover or spouse... it eats your mind and heart and soul.

I am in this marriage as well. I have recently had a very good friend leave her husband and have to move into a battered wife shelter with their 3 children. We will be there for anything with her, but it just made me think how lucky I was that I wasn't beat up, yet wondered where my "friend" had gone after all these years.<br />
<br />
A few friends got together over Christmas and had a girls dinner out, and the topic came to "having to have sex with our husbands". I didn't say anything. I didn't want to admit that mine wouldn"t have sex with me, and makes me feel unwanted. Those poor women, having to have sex every other day...... what a dream that would be. Once a week would be great!<br />
<br />
After 5 years not trying to get pregnant, and 5 years of my trying to get pregnant, and 5 years with a horrible Adoption Agency... hello Bethany Christian Services.... and a LOT of hesitation from him. I moved forward with adopting 2 beautiful little boys that I love with all my heart. It hurts me so much when my husband instults himself by "wondering why" we couldn't have children.... I agreed to not go get extensive tests on us, but he agreed to help me get pregnant. Why didn't I get pregnant? NO SEX is why.... After many years, I got the lame excuse that he didn't want me dying in childbirth.... what is this 1492? <br />
<br />
His sister is a psychologist, and she knows everything about everybody, or at least talks about everybody behind their backs. She would blow up if she knew that it was his fault that we didn't have biological children. She told several relatives that she knew that I must be frigid. I heard later, that his parents agreed with her. I have always been nice to them, but I don't take getting walked all over.<br />
<br />
I have always been the instigator of any sex that wasn't started right in bed, at the correct time, the correct day, and when the moon was in the correct part of the sky. When my advances weren"t paid any attention to over and over, I stopped trying. It gets a little frustratiing getting pushed off all the time, then you want to see how long until he tries anything. Not a pretty sight. Lets just say that if I could have given birth to our 9 month old baby, that it wouldn't have happened with him.... over 24 months and counting.<br />
<br />
I really like sex with him, but without having any at all for over 2 years recently, it is sexless. And it makes me so mad, because when we met and dated in College for years, he couldn't keep his hands off me, and the sex we have had is very good. <br />
<br />
It has been over 20 years of marriage, and the sex has been a very pitiful amount. Most years less than 20 times a year some years nothing. We used to have a friend that made "your late because you were having sex " jokes all the time. No... No sex here. Now I barely get a kiss or hug, and he gets so mad when I don't jump right up and say "I love you" as soon as he does. I don't know if I do at this point. The man I love slowly went away. He tells me that I look beautiful, but how can you tell, if it's just words? Any type of personal attention would be nice. He thinks it's romantic bringing a pizza home for supper.... <br />
<br />
If I didn't have the little ones, I would consider leaving, but not with them here. I promised them a family, and I promised the Lord that I would stick with him, and if that's my cross to bear for life, then I will do it. Maybe I should have moved on sooner, but this time he says he's really listening, and really going to change. For some reason, this is lucky time number 12432, and THIS TIME he will make an attempt to change. I told him that if he didn't show some improvement in just being nicer to me (at this point I don't know if I want sex), that we were going to have to talk to someone. I also told him that he needed to spend a few minutes every day showing me some attention.

I am in this marriage as well. I have recently had a very good friend leave her husband and have to move into a battered wife shelter with their 3 children. We will be there for anything with her, but it just made me think how lucky I was that I wasn't beat up, yet wondered where my "friend" had gone after all these years.<br />
<br />
A few friends got together over Christmas and had a girls dinner out, and the topic came to "having to have sex with our husbands". I didn't say anything. I didn't want to admit that mine wouldn"t have sex with me, and makes me feel unwanted. Those poor women, having to have sex every other day...... what a dream that would be. Once a week would be great!<br />
<br />
After 5 years not trying to get pregnant, and 5 years of my trying to get pregnant, and 5 years with a horrible Adoption Agency... hello Bethany Christian Services.... and a LOT of hesitation from him. I moved forward with adopting 2 beautiful little boys that I love with all my heart. It hurts me so much when my husband instults himself by "wondering why" we couldn't have children.... I agreed to not go get extensive tests on us, but he agreed to help me get pregnant. Why didn't I get pregnant? NO SEX is why.... After many years, I got the lame excuse that he didn't want me dying in childbirth.... what is this 1492? <br />
<br />
His sister is a psychologist, and she knows everything about everybody, or at least talks about everybody behind their backs. She would blow up if she knew that it was his fault that we didn't have biological children. She told several relatives that she knew that I must be frigid. I heard later, that his parents agreed with her. I have always been nice to them, but I don't take getting walked all over.<br />
<br />
I have always been the instigator of any sex that wasn't started right in bed, at the correct time, the correct day, and when the moon was in the correct part of the sky. When my advances weren"t paid any attention to over and over, I stopped trying. It gets a little frustratiing getting pushed off all the time, then you want to see how long until he tries anything. Not a pretty sight. Lets just say that if I could have given birth to our 9 month old baby, that it wouldn't have happened with him.... over 24 months and counting.<br />
<br />
I really like sex with him, but without having any at all for over 2 years recently, it is sexless. And it makes me so mad, because when we met and dated in College for years, he couldn't keep his hands off me, and the sex we have had is very good. <br />
<br />
It has been over 20 years of marriage, and the sex has been a very pitiful amount. Most years less than 20 times a year some years nothing. We used to have a friend that made "your late because you were having sex " jokes all the time. No... No sex here. Now I barely get a kiss or hug, and he gets so mad when I don't jump right up and say "I love you" as soon as he does. I don't know if I do at this point. The man I love slowly went away. He tells me that I look beautiful, but how can you tell, if it's just words? Any type of personal attention would be nice. He thinks it's romantic bringing a pizza home for supper.... <br />
<br />
If I didn't have the little ones, I would consider leaving, but not with them here. I promised them a family, and I promised the Lord that I would stick with him, and if that's my cross to bear for life, then I will do it. Maybe I should have moved on sooner, but this time he says he's really listening, and really going to change. For some reason, this is lucky time number 12432, and THIS TIME he will make an attempt to change. I told him that if he didn't show some improvement in just being nicer to me (at this point I don't know if I want sex), that we were going to have to talk to someone. I also told him that he needed to spend a few minutes every day showing me some attention.

I am in this marriage as well. I have recently had a very good friend leave her husband and have to move into a battered wife shelter with their 3 children. We will be there for anything with her, but it just made me think how lucky I was that I wasn't beat up, yet wondered where my "friend" had gone after all these years.<br />
<br />
A few friends got together over Christmas and had a girls dinner out, and the topic came to "having to have sex with our husbands". I didn't say anything. I didn't want to admit that mine wouldn"t have sex with me, and makes me feel unwanted. Those poor women, having to have sex every other day...... what a dream that would be. Once a week would be great!<br />
<br />
After 5 years not trying to get pregnant, and 5 years of my trying to get pregnant, and 5 years with a horrible Adoption Agency... hello Bethany Christian Services.... and a LOT of hesitation from him. I moved forward with adopting 2 beautiful little boys that I love with all my heart. It hurts me so much when my husband instults himself by "wondering why" we couldn't have children.... I agreed to not go get extensive tests on us, but he agreed to help me get pregnant. Why didn't I get pregnant? NO SEX is why.... After many years, I got the lame excuse that he didn't want me dying in childbirth.... what is this 1492? <br />
<br />
His sister is a psychologist, and she knows everything about everybody, or at least talks about everybody behind their backs. She would blow up if she knew that it was his fault that we didn't have biological children. She told several relatives that she knew that I must be frigid. I heard later, that his parents agreed with her. I have always been nice to them, but I don't take getting walked all over.<br />
<br />
I have always been the instigator of any sex that wasn't started right in bed, at the correct time, the correct day, and when the moon was in the correct part of the sky. When my advances weren"t paid any attention to over and over, I stopped trying. It gets a little frustratiing getting pushed off all the time, then you want to see how long until he tries anything. Not a pretty sight. Lets just say that if I could have given birth to our 9 month old baby, that it wouldn't have happened with him.... over 24 months and counting.<br />
<br />
I really like sex with him, but without having any at all for over 2 years recently, it is sexless. And it makes me so mad, because when we met and dated in College for years, he couldn't keep his hands off me, and the sex we have had is very good. <br />
<br />
It has been over 20 years of marriage, and the sex has been a very pitiful amount. Most years less than 20 times a year some years nothing. We used to have a friend that made "your late because you were having sex " jokes all the time. No... No sex here. Now I barely get a kiss or hug, and he gets so mad when I don't jump right up and say "I love you" as soon as he does. I don't know if I do at this point. The man I love slowly went away. He tells me that I look beautiful, but how can you tell, if it's just words? Any type of personal attention would be nice. He thinks it's romantic bringing a pizza home for supper.... <br />
<br />
If I didn't have the little ones, I would consider leaving, but not with them here. I promised them a family, and I promised the Lord that I would stick with him, and if that's my cross to bear for life, then I will do it. Maybe I should have moved on sooner, but this time he says he's really listening, and really going to change. For some reason, this is lucky time number 12432, and THIS TIME he will make an attempt to change. I told him that if he didn't show some improvement in just being nicer to me (at this point I don't know if I want sex), that we were going to have to talk to someone. I also told him that he needed to spend a few minutes every day showing me some attention.

Wow, what an amazing post. I admire your strength and courage. I can only hope to take away some of your inspiring strength and courage to be able to do what I know is inevitable for me. I also love my husband, but realize in my rational mind that the end, for us, happened long ago. I have also had "the talk" many, many, many times and have heard all the excuses and reasons why he acts the way he does. On this, the first day of the brand new year, I feel like reading your post was a sign for me. I am starting to plan my exit....I'm planning to save the one life I have to live....Thank you for your words and your incredible understanding of everyone's situation...I. for one, appreciate your candor...

Dear Sweetie64, I'm so sorry to hear that you're in this situation. All I can say is that real love offers so much more than a relationship without sexual intimacy. True love is an amazing gift and one should not settle for less that what it truly offers. It makes life worth living. It makes everything else make sense. It's pure joy. Sure, one can exist in a sexless marriage, but one cannot really live if they are miserable and not giving and receiving love the way it should/could be.

A mature, loving, respectful, committed relationship takes TWO to make it work. Unfortunately, some spouses take everything in marriage for granted (love, fidelity, house, financial security, companionship, marital benefits) and they don't view sexlessness as a problem...there is something very wrong with them...they are either in denial, lazy, selfish or simply complacent, or have serious intimacy issues, or have serious mental health problems. All we can do is try to help them, to bring the elephant in the room to their attention because we care enough to save the marriage, but if they continually show no sign of care, committment and real love for us by trying to sort the problem out, well, then, it's up to us to either stay and accept it or move on with our own lives which we as human beings are entitled to do. We deserve to be happy, to be loved and to give love and to have it appreciated and valued and cherished. If they truly loved us they would seek some type of solution to the problem. But they don't; instead they blame us, they make excuses, they make us think we're asking for too much, and somehow they believe that we will simply give in to them and give up our basic human need to have sexual intimacy. That is not normal and it's not acceptable. What it is, in fact, is toxic, controlling, selfish, immature behaviour and we do not have to live under those dysfunctional, loveless, disrespectful conditions.

Good luck to you however your situation turns out. It will be far from easy, but you can do it. Find your inner strength and know that you're doing what needs to be done in order to save yourself. Learn from this relationship and you will heal with time . Take good care of yourself and get back into life : )

This is so well written, and so sad to read. Thank you.

This is an absolutely fantastic post. You could have been describing my story, except I am still on "the other side". Thankyou.

!8 years. I can't even imagine. I am pregnant with my second child. However, I feel emotionally disconnected from my husband, he does not touch me. Is one month a long time to not have had sex even though I am pregnant? Even when we did a month ago, it was just oral and he only did it for me because I mentioned it had been a long time. We did not have intercourse. Could it be because I am pregnant? Am I being too hard on him? He just gets frustrated a lot with me it seems lately. When I try to tell him how I feel, he argues, that I did not use the words "I feel" first and then he manipulates how I said it instead of just really listiening to the point. Then when I try to reword it in a way he would understand and use "I feel", he gets mad because I did not do that in the first place and now I am trying to retrak my words. He doesn't listen or get it. I am depressed and frustrated.