Of course I’m starting this thread because this is where my mind is. I’ve actually thought this since 9 months into our marriage when he finally admitted to cheating on me and admitted to lying to my face about it for all the months I asked about it.. When he said it wasn’t that big of a deal and that his parents had lived that way, I had the most horrible sinking stuck feeling. And there really hasn’t been enough to change my mind since.
It’s all in my profile but the shortened version is this: Criticism (of performance and physically), narcissism, selfishness, terrible sex life, 1st affair while engaged, 2nd affair 5 years into the marriage followed by 5 years of withholding and TT and ongoing flirting with other women, defensiveness when trying to talk things out
When I think about the positive it’s this: industrious, good job and makes good money, does fair share of house work, takes half of the care of the kids (teens now), is organized and keeps clean house, cooks
Some things have gotten better just in the past 2 years with couples therapy. But if I’m realistic, his positives are things good for a parent partnership. Not for me as a woman and as a wife.
There is so much water under the bridge. My love for him and attraction have been strained beyond belief. I’ve been trying to fake it until I make it.
What prompts me to write this now? We’re on vacation and once again he seems to reject me physically. I’m sick of it. I want to be wanted.
It sounds like at this point you are in R for the kids. It's so hard to know what path is best when we have to take other people's lives into consideration.
Have you considered D? Would you have support if you did? I only ask because I think that your title pretty much answers whether you are in R or not. There has to be a will to be in the marriage and be with your partner, otherwise it's another scenario altogether - commonly called Limbo.
I am in the same situation as you but my kids are younger. My WS is SA and his sexual dysfunction issues are being addressed through IC (he sees a psychiatrist and a SA therapist ). It's gotten better (we had not had sex in 7.5 years before 4 months ago…and before that it was never with great regularity…now that I know about the porn addiction and his issues with objectifying women, I know why things were NOT normal and I have NO idea why I put up with it). I still struggle with the fact that I don't want to be with someone who clearly doesn't want to be with me the way I want to be with them. It's a huge turnoff to hear your husband - who had an affair for 2.5 years with an attractive woman (if you like women who resemble porn stars attractive) 10+ years younger than him that "sex is not that important in a marriage." OH I see…it's only important OUTSIDE OF A MARRIAGE. I get it now. So as long as YOUR needs are being met, mine don't matter at all. That's pretty healthy. Not so much…not so sustainable.
[This message edited by womaninflux at 5:58 PM, February 19th (Wednesday)]
Yes, I've considered D on and off the whole marriage. Most strongly after the affairs.
Yes I'd have support. All my family and close friends know our history and would understand my decision.
We're both doctors I can go it on my own financially. My mom taught me that when my dad left her.
Gosh, I guess I really am in limbo. Hard to believe after all these years.
He would stay. He's not looking to leave. But he's ok with how it is now and I'm the one with the painful memories and the bad sex life. (he'd take the one minute-ers and be content with that)
And your situation is - ugg! But it shows, we all want to be wanted and desired. Why shouldn't we.
Both times my husband cheated it was with taller, slimmer and beautiful. Makes me feel like shit. So I know how you feel.
I often think that he turns me down physically on trips is because that's when we are in bathing suits and doing physical things.
Anyway it's not just that. It's lots of things, pervasive. Just last night at dinner, my 15yo daughter told him to stop being a dickwad. She is old enough to see it and call him out on it. It just highlights what I've been putting up with all these years.
I think a lot about what the kids would think if we split.
I might have offered a kidney to get this response if I had thought of it...
"A tree falls the way it leans.....be careful which way you lean"
There are lots of kinds and levels to R and maybe what I’ve been through barely qualifies.
Let me point out a few things:
First, I always wanted to be married and to have kids and in general I like married, family life.
Also, my kids don’t know about the affairs. My daughter was 5 at the time and my son was 2 1/2 for #2. I’ve never told them or let on in any way and they comment all the time about how great our family is. We do have fun as a family, a lot of it. And my daughter and I get along great. It’s just my husband and I as a couple that is the problem.
And here's a timeline to help understand. I wrote this up in the fall to keep it straight for me and to understand why it might be so hard to get over it all. If you read this all, might you also find it hard to get over it?
1997 met him abroad and began dating internationally
Fall 1998 he flirted and eventually slept w/his ex b/f we got married (lied about it for the first 9 months of marriage). I found out Spring 1999 (DD1)
5 1/2 years passed without discussing it, him not thinking it was so bad, saying it was how his parents lived anyway, bad sex life, lots of marital problems
Fall 2004 DD2 4 month EA/PA w/married woman my age with kids too, refused to tell me anything about it, said he may never get over her, no transparency
5 1/2 more years passed with him not willing to tell me anything but what he absolutely couldn't deny, me alone with all my suspicions, leaving me with chronic stress, said it was over but I couldn't be sure
Spring 2010 finally coughed it up only under threat of divorce and me hitting rock bottom and not wearing my ring for the first time in my marriage
3 1/2 more years passed with me feeling maybe he hasn't told me everything and that I hate that he only disclosed under threat of divorce
Fall 2013 I realized that after all this I don't love him as much, find him less attractive, it's all worn me out and I'm am so sad, I feel like I wasted what I wanted to be my one marriage. Wasted my youth.
So, June 1998 - Spring 2010 I had such a bad feeling him and didn't trust him. 12 years of my 15 year marriage. The past 3 years haven't been good enough for me to feel better enough.
Is R possible if you wish you’d never met/married your WS?
I think it is. Well I certainly hope it is!
I am fully committed to R, but I truly wish I had never met or (especially) married my fWS. If I'd known then what I know now I would have turned around and run as fast as I can from him.
The reason I am staying is that I have sacrificed my entire adult life to this marriage and I am not about to walk away from it now. After 25 years I feel that my marriage is about a lot more than simply the person I am married to - my marriage is my family, it's my life, it's a very large part of who I am. Take the A (and all the pain/anger etc that goes with that) out of the equation and I have a life I love. I have a lovely united family, a beautiful home, pets, a lifestyle that I so enjoy. If I were to D I would be walking away from all of that. I'm not willing to do that.
I am working HARD at R. But honestly I DO wish I had married someone different - someone who would never dream of being unfaithful to me, someone who would have been the husband I deserve from day one. I would love to have all that I have now PLUS a spouse who had never been unfaithful. The thing is I don't have that, so I am making the best of what I DO have. It's far from easy and it's not always successful right now, but I am HOPING that it will get better as time goes by.
That being said, I am also thinking that my relationship is not EVERYTHING in my life...that maybe I put TOO much of ME into it and thereby neglected other parts of ME. I also am thinking that it is OK if it is not perfect...is it enough? That is another question. And if it is, then perhaps I can look and should look to fulfill other parts of me...he and my relationship is not all there is in life...and this life will end...so what else do I want to say about what I did and had when its all over?
I also believe that it all takes times...lots of time and perseverance. If it is important to have a certain type of relationship and is very important to you, then it is worth giving it your very best try.
For me my relationship does have the potential to fulfill me in a way that other things may not...but I still should not neglect the other things...
[This message edited by morethantrying at 2:22 AM, February 20th (Thursday)]
Do you want more of the same?
Is the trade off worth it?
Stability, knowing what you have, lackluster sex life, and low level of intimacy etc...in exchange for some help around the house, family intact, tidy, good job, helps-with-the-kids though they may dub him a "dickwad" at times.
The situation sounds comfortable in the lifestyle sense, but not very fulfilling on the most important levels for you as a person.
Maybe maintaining the comfort has allowed him to avoid growth. It may be doing the same to you.
Do you ever wonder what today would look like, if you had taken a tough love approach early on? Thrown him out and made him work for the M and work to change himself? As I look at the timeline, I see a great deal of rugsweeping. I don't think a true state of R can exist without the "whole" truth, and desire for change on the part of both WS and BS.
Either way, giving up comfort and entering into the fear of the unknown aren't big motivators to change it up. I think this is something many of us can relate to.
I don't know what your idea of personal fulfillment and R look like. It sounds like you don't feel fulfilled as a wife and a woman, but are comfortable, and if that is enough for you, you have your answer. If it's not enough, you might need to shake things up.
Is your H's vision for your M about the same as yours? It sure doesn't sound like it.
Is his culture one which doesn't value monogamy, at least for the man? I think it would be very hard for him to change his upbringing. (I once tutored a guy in English who got points from his W just for coming home, even if it was after a night of carousing.)
You say you like being M, but your M isn't what you want. At your age and income level, I suspect you could find someone new who wants a real partner.
What are your goals for couples counseling? What are his goals? Do you think your H really can become a full partner? What's keeping you from going all out for what you want? (Or are you?)