My husband and I had an exciting, lust-filled courtship, but we’ve had an almost completely sexless marriage for over eight years and it’s killing me.
We went to a sex therapist early in our marriage, but he didn’t even attempt any of the exercises she suggested. Every time I bring up the subject of sex–in the context of intimacy, romance and sharing–he promises to do better, but never does. It’s the only thing we fight about.
He’s in sales and on the road part of every month. He uses that as an excuse. He also cites money worries as a reason, but our sex life was the same when our cash flow was much better. I don’t believe there’s another woman, however, I cannot rule out an obsession with porn, although he denies it. Perhaps he’s homosexual, but it’s so buried that even my sensitive gaydar doesn’t pick up on it.
Whenever I bring up our sex life, he tells me how sorry he is that he’s not doing what he “should,” but he continues to spend every free moment either on Facebook or lying on the couch watching TV.
I’m an attractive, vibrant, intelligent, creative and kind woman who’s well-traveled. I have great friends, many interests, and a successful career. For years I’ve thrown myself into work, school, home, community, family, pets and friends to anesthetize the pain.
But I’ve recently cut back on many non-essential activities and am better able to see the situation. Now what? I love my husband, and I haven’t yet brought myself to leave or violate the sanctity of this relationship. Still, I wonder if I would be better off single since I feel I’m living a single life anyway.
Is it worth starting over at my age to find the happiness that has eluded me? I’m leaning toward a resounding “yes.” I’m yearning for a true, emotionally present partner.
LONELY BUT NOT ALONE
Dear LONELY BUT NOT ALONE,
Before you decide whether or not to leave your husband, you have to make him understand the depth of your unhappiness.
Sit him down and calmly tell him that you’re not going to spend the rest of your life living the way you’ve lived for the past eight years. Tell him it’s not a threat or an ultimatum, it’s a simple statement of fact. Tell him you don’t know if his issue is physical or emotional, but it has to be addressed, now.
Tell him if he’s interested in saving the marriage he needs to schedule a complete physical to see if there’s a physical reason why he has no interest in sex. At the same time, the two of you need to get into therapy. There’s a lot of mistrust, hurt and anger that has to be confronted. At this point, sex alone won’t solve everything.
And then it’s up to him. Either he gets moving or he doesn’t. If he continues to avoid dealing with the issue, you’ll be in a better position to make some hard decisions.