The Beginning of the End

This is a slight departure from my usual posts… While I wish it was sunnier fodder for the blogosphere (haha, I’m usually not “Little Miss Sunshine”, anyway, on JerkBusters), it is nonetheless something I wanted to give voice to.

I am taking steps to separate from my husband. The first major one I took on Monday, when I moved my bed down to a room in the basement. We’ve spent a lot of our four years of married life sleeping separately, which on its own is not significant, but when you combine that with the fact that we have had what qualifies as a sexless marriage (not by my choice) and a near-complete lack of intimacy otherwise, it will take a miracle to save us.

My husband is not a psychopath or a narcissist. He is, in fact, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. That said, I’ve come to realize that while he is capable of empathy, he is incapable of intimacy, and this has probably been the case since long before we met.

Our first year together, up until we married, was great. We seemed to have plenty in common, we got along very well, we were attracted to each other, we spent lots of time with family and friends, and the sex was regular and satisfying. But as soon as we married, the sex all but stopped. During the first year of marriage alone, we went two or three, two to three month stints, without sex. To my complaints, my husband replied, “I’ve never really been interested in sex with a woman, any woman, so don’t take it personally.” Or, “They say guys are only after sex, you should be happy I’m not one of those guys.” Yeah… Right. Of course, he said that only after I married him, and I didn’t see it coming as the first year with him, the sex was pretty normal.

At the one year mark, which coincides with No Contact with his cousin, Psychopath #2, I finally took notice of the dysfunction in my own marriage… And after some research, and a bit of snooping on my husband’s computer, it became painfully evident that my husband’s interest in bondage porn was not as benign as I thought. At first, I thought it was an addiction, and it certainly has some elements of that, but after more digging, I figured it seemed more like what is termed “paraphilia”. So I arranged counseling for us. The illustrious Dr. WTF totally ignored my observations and what I had to say, and flung us deep into combining our finances, and everything BUT looking at our sexual issues. We (mostly I, unfortunately) enacted her suggestions, but of course, nothing improved.

I did not nag my husband, but every two or three months I did put out the reminder that things had not changed. Two years after going to Dr. WTF (our stint with her was blessedly short-lived), I told my hubby I was reaching the end of my rope with this, and that I would be seeking out my own counseling, and suggested he do the same. This still did not inspire him to seek out help. (The counselor I talked to soon concluded that hubby needed sex therapy.) Finally, in November, after yet another failed attempt at intercourse, I told him he needed to go to a sex therapist. He whined, told me to find a therapist for him to call – to which I responded I had printed the information and left it on the kitchen table a week prior. He did call, and set up a couple of sessions. (Otherwise, my game plan was to initiate separation January 1 this year if he failed to act.)

He went to the first couple of sessions on his own, then I joined in and “filled in the blanks”. The sex therapist confirmed my initial conclusion – that we were likely looking at paraphilia, possibly combined with addiction, as the source of our issues. (My husband is pretty much sexually unresponsive unless bondage is somehow involved.) This has been the case since roughly his mid-teens, long before I entered the scene. And unknown to me (for the frequency, anyway) hubby was engaged in masturbation to bondage porn for thirty minutes daily, seven days a week, all this time.

Fast forward six months: nothing has changed. It has become painfully obvious that not only are we lacking sexual intimacy, but have probably never had much emotional intimacy, either. Hubby was supposed to stop masturbating as part of his “treatment” while we work at trying to build intimacy, but stressful situations easily drive him to it, and I suspect he’s probably back in his old patterns.

Last week, I spent a few days away from here with a couple of old girlfriends that I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with for the past few years. And it was like being a plant, nearly dead from thirst, receiving much needed moisture. After a couple of days, I started to feel like my old self again – I started to feel happy again. I had been without intimacy, even of the strictly emotional variety, for so long I had forgotten what it felt like. I had been yearning for connection all along, and the girls’ weekend revealed that deficit. Almost as soon as I returned home, I felt like I had dissolved, disappeared… The happiness was gone.

So now I am in the process of moving my stuff into the basement. I directly told my husband two months before that if I was to initiate separation, that moving into the basement is how I would start the process, but I believe he is in total denial about it. We have a long-ago planned camping trip this weekend, and I will let him have his weekend of enjoyment, but at the end of the weekend I will be stating my intentions on the trip home.

My husband “doesn’t believe” in divorce. I felt the same way, with a few caveats – infidelity and abuse were still grounds for it. I did not see this coming, though… There may not “technically” be infidelity or abuse, but it is hell nonetheless.

Now, I can honestly say I don’t believe in divorce, because I no longer believe in marriage, either.

4 comments on “The Beginning of the End

  1. You tried. It’s obvious you made every effort to not get divorced. It seems really unfair that his “secret” was kept hidden until AFTER you married him.

    • I think it is unfair, too. He DID reveal his interest in bondage early in the relationship, however, because our sex life was “normal” until we married, I mistakenly thought everything would be okay. I’m all for experimentation in the bedroom, variety in sexual expression is a wonderful thing. But in his own way, he is a sexual prude because his interests as far as sex goes are so incredibly narrow.

      I really think he is incapable of understanding why I find this so distressing. His sexual needs are being met, the same as they always were, and he seems quite happy keeping people at a “safe” emotional distance. He is also nearly illiterate (due to dyslexia and ADHD, which I also did not know the severity of until after marriage), which has also added to the stress of all this. I feel I do too much adult functioning for him in certain respects.

      As far as the sex problems go, I suppose it can be compared to two people of vastly different sexual orientations marrying and trying to eke out a sex life between them. It happens, I’m sure, especially in cultures and/or religions where there is extreme restriction on individuals when it comes to marriage.

      I don’t exactly blame him, though. He, too, is a product of his environment, with childhood traumas that shaped him and his sexuality. This is so hard because I do love him as a person and as a friend, but I have also begun to see myself as a person who should not be hiding her own light to stay in relationship with someone else. I cannot expect him to change for me, though I gave him the opportunity to do so. I have changed for him… I know this because I feel like I am drowning; he cannot meet the basic needs most people expect to get from their spouses in marriage, but my values (fidelity, honesty, respect) preclude me from seeking it in the arms of another. Something’s gotta give.

  2. I’m so very sorry to hear of your situation, but I so admire how gracefully you are handling the situation, and I so admire and respect you as a human being. I imagine this must be so difficult but while sometimes separation or severance is inevitable it is a wonderful thing to witness two people who despite very obvious and deep pain, can still maintain civility and love for one another as human beings. Sure there will be pain but I sense a certain tenderness also which I believe will be so instrumental to both of you being able to heal and move forward. I wish both of you the best. I can understand and empathize and hopefully it will be as clean of a severance as possible given the circumstances…life hey?…

    • Thank you, Betty, for your kind words.

      Hubby has this fantasy of us growing old together, watching sunsets from our porch out in the country. I’d like to think that one day we could share moments like that as lifelong friends who have always wanted the best for each other, but time will tell.

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