Clock is Ticking

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The other side...

I agree with the others who assert that "relationship broken, add more people" formula is a recipe for disaster...

HOWEVER...

The ONLY stress in my marriage with MrS used to be that I have a higher sex drive that him. (In that I have one and he doesn't:p.)

In truth, my relationship with Dude (who is highly sexual) DID end up relieving that pressure for MrS. We can share the "love languages" that we have in common (the most important ones for each of us - Quality Time and Acts of Service) and I can get my "physical affection" needs met elsewhere.

I'm not saying the transition wasn't tough - it was. But it ties into the idea that one person can't be someone else's EVERYTHING...
 
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GreenAcres

New member
The other side...

I agree with the others who assert that "relationship broken, add more people" formula is a recipe for disaster...

HOWEVER...

The ONLY stress in my marriage with MrS used to be that I have a higher sex drive that him. (In that I have one and he doesn't:p.)

In truth, my relationship with Dude (who is highly sexual) DID end up relieving that pressure for MrS. We can share the "love languages" that we have in common (the most important ones for each of us) and I can get my "physical affection" needs met elsewhere.

I'm not saying the transition wasn't tough - it was. But it ties into the idea that one person can't be someone else's EVERYTHING...

I actually totally agree with this, and it may be a possible solution here once some of the other issues are worked out.
 

Nadya

Member
More about the five love languages:
Thanks, Kevin, for filling in the lacking info! You are trustworthy! ;)

The book is good to get not in the least because it includes a test you can take to determine which love language *you* speak. Your wife can take the test too if she wants/is willing, of course.
Actually, the test is available online, too. Search for "five love languages test" and there it is. Anyway, the book is a good read. It really opened up new perspectives for me - and when my husband took the test I was surprised of the result. We can sometimes be blind in our relationships.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Yeah, I was thinking the test was online ... :)
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Hi Ambivulous, welcome.

How many kids do you have? How old are they? How tired is your wife? Does she ever get a break? Are your kids able to be left with sitters yet?

Myself, I had 3 kids in 5 years and I was a stay at home, homeschooling mama. My ex h was in the midst of his career ascent, working overtime, going to school... he was opposed to doing housework when he was home, so basically I never got a break from kid care or housework. At the end of the day I just needed SLEEP. He however, spent the day with adults, and had a desk job, and would be full of energy for sex once the kids were finally asleep. He also took a shower every day, and got to go poop without someone on his lap, unlike me.

We were best friends and shared so much in common, but the exhaustion caused my libido to be non existent. However when our youngest got to be 4ish, weaned, out of diapers, and sleeping at night, and we could afford sitters (thanks to his increase in income from all the work and school) EVERYTHING changed. We also were able to afford a bigger house so everyone had more personal space and weren't bumping into and annoying each other, kids had room for their stuff so their siblings wouldn't mess it up. Etc.

My sex drive came rushing back in, it was incredible. Add to that, for me, hitting perimenopause and having less estrogen in my body also made me much more horny. That doesn't happen for everyone, but it is rather common.

BUT. I am 59 and my ex at the time was old school. Despite being progressive in other ways, it was his lack of interest in cooking and cleaning when he was home that prevented him from getting laid. If he'd have washed dishes, swept the kids' crumbs off the floor, folded and put away wash (even just his own), cooked dinner a couple times a week, went to the grocery store, ever, he would've gotten laid a whole helluva a lot more. We were averaging once a month back then.

I knew he was suffering and I felt sympathy but he was very passive aggressive and snipey about it all instead of pitching in and helping me with the housework. Once the kids became a bit more independent and I had time to care for them, time for all the housework, AND a bit of time for myself, to read, to take a walk or go to the gym, to freekin shave my legs now and then, etc., I suddenly became a tiger in the sack again.

Dunno if that is your wife's issue but thought I'd put it out there.

I remember at one point my h admitted to stopping a strip club on the way home from work now and then, and I wasn't even jealous. I understood how just watching some sexy women was something that made his enforced celibacy a little easier to bear.

If your wife won't even acknowledge all the issues around her low libido, counseling would definitely help.
 

GreenAcres

New member
Hi Ambivulous, welcome.

I remember at one point my h admitted to stopping a strip club on the way home from work now and then, and I wasn't even jealous. I understood how just watching some sexy women was something that made his enforced celibacy a little easier to bear.

OTOH, him spending that time at home helping at home, and/or the money he spent there on a sitter or an occasional house-keeper, possibly would have also helped his "enforced celibacy," by giving you a break to get some energy to have sex. Just sayin'. I have nothing against strip clubs (and have certainly been known to go!), btw, I am just pointing out that it wasn't his only option.
 

ambivulous

New member
How many kids do you have? How old are they? How tired is your wife? Does she ever get a break? Are your kids able to be left with sitters yet?
We have two kids now 9 and 13. Our oldest had major surgery in 2012, so that wasn't good for sure, and she's taken that on her shoulders a bit more than I. But, I do laundry, cook, wash dishes along with most of the outdoor chores. I work full-time, she is a stay at home Mom plus doing an out of the home jewelry business. I could go into more details, but suffice to say she found time for all sorts of things and yes she was tired, but she never seemed to figure out when/how some of that energy could be spent on us.
 

Seitu

New member
Have you said "hon, it has been x years. It is time to get help" to her? And you made appt and been to a counselor? Ruled out depression, perimenopause, or any other issues that can affect libido?

Esp with depression... It can be hard for the person to help themselves out of the hole. Have you offered to help by making appointments? She has to own it and go of course. But perhaps showing her you are concerned about her well being as a whole and not just looking to get laid helps with the communication? (Not saying you are just looking to get laid... Just lifting up that a depressed person can think/see things through a skewed filter because they ARE depressed.)

Is it possible to let go of some of this busy like the eldercare by hiring caregivers so you and wife catch a break? Exhaustion can kill libido.

How comfortable are you talking about sex with wife? If PIV is difficult from perimenopause tenderness for example... Is she up for sharing outer course? Finding other sexy and sensual ways to share that closeness while working on the health stuff?

If you are past your limit of tolerance, tried all you can try.... then maybe rather than talking "opening up" you talk "divorce." Nobody is entitled to sex from a partner. But lack of communication and lack of participating in a healthy marriage? A partner is not interested in caring for themselves or interested in the marriage? They have just checked out? Going through the motions only? You are surviving but not thriving here?

That might be reason to let the marriage go rather than keep trying to fly a thing that will not fly. So you can be free to coparent only and seek something else more fulfilling romantically and thrive in that area.

Even if she does not want to, you might want to see a counselor on your own to help you organize your thoughts and plan next steps to move toward something healthier. Both plan a (together as a couple) and plan b (apart as a couple.) Then present your thoughts to her.

You can then be more confident then that whichever way it goes, you have thought it out and you will likely be ok in the end. You have support in place (counselor).

I am sorry you deal in this. It sounds difficult. But it has to be dealt with. You do not sound up for waiting another ten years to me.

Galagirl

Just wanted to say I agree with galagirl's post and encourage you to talk with your wife about possible issues holding her back. And there are other ways, as I'm sure you know, of being sensual with her that may bring up her mood and interest.
All the best and I hope you see some progress in your marriage with these issues.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
We have two kids now 9 and 13. Our oldest had major surgery in 2012, so that wasn't good for sure, and she's taken that on her shoulders a bit more than I. But, I do laundry, cook, wash dishes along with most of the outdoor chores. I work full-time, she is a stay at home Mom plus doing an out of the home jewelry business. I could go into more details, but suffice to say she found time for all sorts of things and yes she was tired, but she never seemed to figure out when/how some of that energy could be spent on us.

Hmmm.... do you two go on dates? Mini vacations without the kids? Anything romantic at all?

I'd say your marriage is due for a tweaking for sure. Of course, we are only getting your side, but it's too bad she won't talk things over and try and make things better. Counseling is needed.

There is a chance she has become asexual. Some people are! It can be nothing personal, just a really low or non-existent libido. And that is fine, if that is her preference. But it's not at all fair for you.

Hopefully counseling will help you two communicate and become closer. If not, it will help you make decisions about meeting your need for sexual intimacy in other ways. Sounds like you two hooked up very young, with little to no prior sexual experience, and now (lack of) sex has become the elephant in the room. It's time for a more mature approach. Adult spouses should be able to talk about sex!
 

ambivulous

New member
Hmmm.... do you two go on dates?
Yes on dates, mini-vacations, no. We spend a lot of time together and talking - but it's all day-to-day mechanics kind of stuff; not feelings, expectations, romance, or sex ... at all. I've tried to bring it up many times, but get little response.
Sounds like you two hooked up very young, with little to no prior sexual experience
That's definitely true for me, at least if you're talking sexual age (I was a virgin until 26 - and lost it with my wife). She had a few more sexual experiences than I, though technically was a virgin also.
I'd say your marriage is due for a tweaking for sure. Of course, we are only getting your side, but it's too bad she won't talk things over and try and make things better. Counseling is needed.
So, this morning I mentioned to my wife that I am going to call a counselor today and schedule something, unless she felt really strongly against it. She said she did, and wanted to try and figure out how to make things better on our own. I said, so what makes you think we can figure that out now, after so much time floundering?

She said, "Because I think I finally understand your perspective."

I guess the way I finally phrased it was that not being physical and her not reciprocating in any way and our sexless relationship made me feel like she doesn't love me - despite her words to the contrary. (Which she does say and does in many other ways to express her love - just not sex/intimacy.) I think that offended her, but also the prospect of professional help might have scared her into recognizing a problem and a need for change.

Anyway, I remain a bit skeptical and have some layers of resentment to peel into a dust bin. What I really want, more than the sex, is for the communication to open up a bit. And if, as you suggest Magdlyn, she's become asexual, how do we manage it, how can we meet our needs and respect each other?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think it is admirable you want to include her and want to work together on this like a "we" kind of team. But you yourself state the communication is the bigger thing. You simply cannot solve anything like a "we" without it. Not the sex problems or even the communication problems themselves.

ambivulous said:
What I really want, more than the sex, is for the communication to open up a bit.

I see that.

At the same time? You cannot solve ANY problems together with a brick wall. She sounds checked out to me at this time. Or like she doesn't know HOW to communicate on some things with you at this time. Which probably feels the same if she's not willing to seek outside sources to help her learn the skills-- brick wall.

Rather than beat head on the wall, could move around it for now and come back to it later.

You cannot MAKE her participate and MAKE her learn how. That is her willingness to do or not do.

At this point it might be more helpful for YOUR wellness to accept that as a block for now that could be addressed later. And for now? Focus on addressing YOUR willingness to try new things. Could help you get less flounder-y on your side, gain clarity, etc.

ambivulous said:
I mentioned to my wife this morning that I'd like to get some help, that I don't think we can just mend this ourselves. She's not interested, but I'm going to schedule it anyway and if she bails, I'll just go by myself.

Go for it! Make you appointment an attend counseling for help getting all your choices mapped out. Could also talk to counselor about your options if she continues checked out like this. One of your choices on the table is to leave the marriage. You might not like it and put it dead last on the list, but you could talk to counselor about it being a choice on the table.



ambivulous said:
I said, "so what makes you think we can figure that out now, after so much time floundering?"

In your shoes, I would wonder this same thing. Her answer of

She said, "Because I think I finally understand your perspective."

I would find unsatisfactory because while that might be nice if true? She can understand something and still not do anything different. It's not changing behaviors.

You have suggested a concrete, doable, measureable behavior to try to help problem solve. An appointment with counselor is either attended or not.

She responds with no alternative suggestion for action or any intention of action in near future.

You could move on to action yourself and get to your appointment.

the prospect of professional help might have scared her into recognizing a problem and a need for change.

I wonder if it was saying whatever to you in the moment to enable her to continue to avoid?

  • To AVOID any changes happening?
  • To AVOID participating in any problem solving actions like counseling so both can be happy enough here?

The need for change is yours. Maybe this works for her how it is? Who knows?

To me all these problems sound beyond anon internet people help. I think you could use a professional to unravel it all. Make your appointment and attend. You can do it!

Hang in there!

Galagirl
 
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ambivulous

New member
I think it is admirable you want to include her and want to work together on this like a "we" kinda of team.

She responds with no alternative suggestion for action or any intention of action in near future.

I first wrote it with "I/me" and felt kind of selfish, so changed it to "we/us".

You are right that her no action response is hollow, she's been very very good at avoiding and delaying in this regard. And, maybe my patience and willingness to put up with it has only enabled/encouraged such behavior.

I'm going to respect her at face value for now, but I think it's a good idea to get specifics on what it means to "try harder", or whatever. For example, I'd like to ...

  1. Set aside ~ 20 min/night to talk about intimacy, romance, or sex
  2. Commit to 1/week sex (I'd love more, but let's start modestly) and intimacy (cuddling, touching, massaging ...) if sex isn't possible/practical
  3. Try some different things in the bedroom (might be most difficult, she's quite timid sexually)

I guess there could be more, but that seems simple and reasonable. If she really continues to ignore the problem I will move on to getting a pro. Of course, I might do that anyway depending on how it goes and how I'm feeling about it all.

Thank you tremendously for all the weighing in - it has helped me a lot explore and define where I am and, more importantly, where I want to go (and yes, I mean "we" too, if she's willing ;) ).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I first wrote it with "I/me" and felt kind of selfish, so changed it to "we/us"

That tendency might be something to talk to counselor about.

Thinking about what you need is not selfish. It is necessary. Who else but you would know? Your need to eat? Need to use the bathroom? Other needs? YOU would know first before anyone. You are your first responder.

There's a spectrum.

Selfish <----> self-full <---> selfless

The ends are the tilted, unbalanced, unhealthy places.

  • Selfish = "All about me. Screw tending to others."
  • Selfless = "All about others. Screw tending to me."

The balanced middle place is Self-Full.

  • Self-Full = "I attend to my needs first so I don't run dry or spread myself too thin. Then I am free to gift others my help with their stuff."

No loving partner wants you to run dry, spread too thin, or hurt you in service to them!

I think you could take her at face value. And could also ask when you can expect to receive her suggestions for problem solving actions. She might need time to think about them, which is fine. But what's her time frame? A week? A month? That's fair to ask. She gets to pick her time frame. And knowing it stops you from being strung along forever. You can know when to expect her to check in.

I strongly suggest you go to counselor anyway.

Best two irons in the fire for problem solving ideas -- counselor input by appointment date X, her input by check in date Y.

Good with one for sure-- counselor input by appointment date X. That can happen even if she flakes out.

Poor if you make it so there's NO irons at all coming down the pipe to aid you. Staying stuck would not serve you well.

I'm going to schedule it anyway and if she bails, I'll just go by myself.

Was this an agreement you made with yourself? Because based on that statement, you'd have already made the appointment and would be going. Instead you change your agreement? How does this serve you well?

If she really continues to ignore the problem I will move on to getting a pro.

Is this the NEW agreement with yourself? Fair enough. People can change their minds.

But if so, how do you measure that? In weeks? Just so you can hold yourself accountable this time and not change it again?

Anyway, I remain a bit skeptical and have some layers of resentment to peel into a dust bin.

I wonder if some of the resentment you feel is because you are not holding you accountable? Or because you are not operating out of "self full" place?

she's been very very good at avoiding and delaying in this regard. And, maybe my patience and willingness to put up with it has only enabled/encouraged such behavior.

Are you able to apply this to your own behaviors as well as to her behaviors?

You could hold YOU accountable to the agreements you make with yourself. Not avoid or delay. You seem to want to end floundering and recognize the need for outside help here. So... could go get it for you then.

Galagirl
 
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GreenAcres

New member
  1. Set aside ~ 20 min/night to talk about intimacy, romance, or sex
  2. Commit to 1/week sex (I'd love more, but let's start modestly) and intimacy (cuddling, touching, massaging ...) if sex isn't possible/practical
  3. Try some different things in the bedroom (might be most difficult, she's quite timid sexually)

I get where you're going with this list, but it's not going to address the underlying issue of she doesn't want sex. It's not finding out why she's not interested in sex, and I can pretty much gaurantee that if she's not interested in sex, period, #2 and expecially #3 aren't going to work. She may agree, she may even "go along with it" for a while, but is that really going to be satisfying for anyone involved? Reluctant participation by her in order to keep you happy?

Essentially, you're saying "put out or get out," though you're doing in far more nicely than that. And, I don't at all disagree that you deserve to have your needs met, as well. But, just expecting to do those things even if she's completely uninterested is going to build resentment, and is honestly likely to withdraw her from sex even more than she already is. If you really dislike tuna casserole but are forced to eat it weekly, are you going to like it more just because you're forced to eat it? No.

You guys *need* to address the other issues. Your list above is another band-aid approach. If she is unwilling to address the other issues, such as her loss of sex drive (or, if she ever really had one), communicating directly about sex and the marriage, etc., then the list above is going to do nothing but drive a deeper wedge.

As GalaGirl said, go to counseling on your own, and invite your wife. If she doesn't go, then use the opportunity to talk to the counselor about realistic outcomes, ideas for opening dialogue, etc. You will get much farther with those than with this list, unfortunately.
 

ambivulous

New member
I can pretty much guarantee that if she's not interested in sex, period, #2 and expecially #3 aren't going to work. She may agree, she may even "go along with it" for a while, but is that really going to be satisfying for anyone involved? Reluctant participation by her in order to keep you happy?
I see your point - and if we're get into #1 and she really doesn't have a desire and is honest and open about that ... then yes, #2 and #3 are pointless. And to come full circle, is kind of why I came to the idea of polyamory. I'd rather be monogamish than throw away a good relationship and split a family ... and of course it doesn't happen overnight and these issues have to be dealt with first; yes, it will be many months, years maybe, for that to really transition happily - if it happens at all (wife might be totally opposed). But, one step at a time.

I'm making the call to a counselor now ... as GalaGirl says, to have another iron in the fire.

Again - Thanks!
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Your issue is reminding me of my sister and her husband, their 2 children are grown. They've been together a long time. She lost her sex drive along the way. I notice they never cuddle either. She cuddles her cat, well, they both take turns cuddling the cat!

So different from me.

At one point they negotiated a way for him to get sex. She said, she needs to be taken out to dinner X amount of times a week, he gets sex twice on the weekend. She is non orgasmic. As far as I know he just climbs on and pumps away and it's all over in 10 minutes. Works for them! Yuck.

I hope the counseling helps. You've been very polite and long suffering but like Gala Girl said, it's time to be self-full and see about getting your needs met!

Best case scenario, your wife, motivated by your determination, enters a whole new world of intimacy, cuddling, touching and sex. Middle ground, she agrees to you seeking sex, intimacy, even love, with another or others, while keeping the house and family together. Bottom line, you break up and start on a whole new adventure as a single guy!

I broke up with my husband after 30 years, when we were no longer meeting each others' needs. Even though we still had good sex, there were so many other areas of disconnect. I am proud of my choice. It was empowering. I am having the time of my life now, with a new long term polyamorous partner and other people in my life as well. Transitions are hard, but the rewards can be great if you just make the decision you are worth it!
 

wildflowers

New member
I agree with GreenAcres; #2 and #3 will make things worse.

I wonder a bit about #1 as well. Instead of talking ABOUT sex and intimacy, could you maybe strive to talk WITH intimacy? Talk about things that are important to you, built comfort, safety, a feeling of being loved and heard? That seems less pressuring and more relationship building.

One possibility that occurred to me you both reading something relationship-oriented and discussing your reactions to it. Is there anything that has particularly resonated for you that you'd like her to read? I think it was in this thread that Kevin mentioned love languages; that could be something to explore. John Gottesman has some interesting writing on marriage as well. You might learn something about how you each think and feel about relationships that could prove useful,

Good luck! And I agree with everyone else that counseling for you is worthwhile even if she won't go.
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
ambivulous, my experience in these tightly wound situations is that it's almost always best to take the focus off of the seemingly enormous problem and put it on efforts to find my own peace. Some days have been so overwhelming that just taking a walk in the sun serves to move things in a way that struggling yet again with The Issue cannot. Some days the sun is behind a layer of cloud cover, and the outside temp is below freezing, but I know the sun is there and I walk. Just go outside and focus on how much well being surrounds you. We so often think our way into tight corners and the more we wrestle with The Issue, the more bound up we get.

Several people have suggested you speak with a therapist on your own and that is a good move. I sense you're resistant to the solo idea, assuming that if your wife doesn't also go, nothing will "get done" about The Issue - and that is just not so. A good therapist will assist you in unwinding and finding different ways to approach your marriage. My guess is that a good therapist will help you uncover many other aspects of your life that could use a bit of a makeover, as well. Seek a counselor for you right now so that your life improves. When you feel more peaceful and balanced, you will be amazed at the changes in your outer life, including your marriage.
 
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