Should she think again before deciding on divorce?(79 Posts)
Here’s my story (I apologise in advance that it’s very long, but if you’re interested in quite a unique and sad story, read on…I would really really appreciate the opinion of other women)
My wife and I have been together for 9.5 years and married for 4 years before we separated in August last year (I’m 34 years old and my wife is 32). Our relationship started off fantastically well, and we had a fantastic sexual relationship for the first 2 years. I really do think my wife is absolutely beautiful, she is in great shape, looks after herself. In terms of our relationship, we were literally like best friends and have huge amounts in common.
We have been fortunate enough to have been blessed with a lot so far. A grand wedding, a dream honeymoon to Bora Bora, great relationship between the two families, a beautiful 4 bedroom house in London, a new car, and a very well paid job. My wife has her own business which I helped her set up 4 years ago, and supported for the first 3 years, which was hard but something I wanted to support her with. We had a fantastic relationship and were blessed with a lot of what couples our age dream off.
However, my wife and I had a very very troubling issue that has plagued our relationship for 6 years (before marriage). After about 2 years of being together, I slowly started to loose physical intimacy for her. This escalated to where we could only have sex once a month, and then even less often. This naturally was very painful for my wife. This escalated to the point where she got depressed and had to go and see a counsellor as she thought there was something wrong with her. I felt confused and didn’t know what to do to fix it. It just didn’t make sense that the only person I couldn’t get an erection for was my wife….i still found females sexually attractive so I knew I wasn’t gay, I still found her hugely attractive so I knew it wasn’t her…and because I was so clueless, I just brushed it under the carpet stupidly thinking it will ‘fix itself somehow’.
Months turned into years and then we thought getting married would be the answer, but it didn’t fix it. We then thought moving out of my parents’ house into our own house would help, this also didn’t fix the issue. We did manage to have sex every few months or so, but it was mundane, not very exciting, and I was just trying to do it to please her. The issue got worse where I started to suffer from erectile dysfunction, but only with her. It was a very upsetting, especially for my wife.
On New Year ’s Day 2014, I finally decided to go and see a therapist and my GP, but neither helped us get closer to the answer. We both tried couples counselling but it felt like a waste of time. And then life continued, we ignored the issue, kept busy with other things….behind the scenes, my wife stopped being upset and angry, stopped mentioning the issue….i should have seen this as a sign that she was slowly giving up on our marriage….i see this now, but couldn’t then. Things were still good in other areas and we still showed each other a lot of affection and care, but it wasn’t how it should have been.
In 2016, last year, the start of the year started ok, we went on a fantastic holiday to Mauritius where we spent time together, had a great time, but we didn’t have sex. However, after May, things deteriorated fast…..Other people noticed things weren’t right. In July we finally addressed the issue, but 4 weeks later she thought that we should separate. I was devastated by knew we had hit rock bottom.
In the 6 weeks of separation I went into ‘action mode’…..i talked to more people about our issue (normally im a very private person), I talked to my wifes family, I went to see the doctor again, I went to see a third therapist (who did help with making sense of my feelings at least), I went to a Chinese doctor for acupuncture which did help with the stress, I seeked solace in God (im a Hindu) and prayed every day, and went to the temple every Monday, I read every article I could find about sexual issue’s in marriage, I made an appointment with a very expensive Harley Street clinic to check that I didn’t have a Testosterone issue, I increased my gym sessions to get fitter in case that helped, I gave her the space she asked for, carried on paying the full mortgage, left her the car. And even after she said she wanted a divorce, my family and I still attended her younger sisters engagement ceremony – it was the hardest day of my life but I didn’t for her. I had made real changes in those 6 weeks and over the last 5 months, which my wife also acknowledges and has commented positively on.
However, after the 6 weeks of separation, she had decided enough was enough, and that she wanted a divorce. She said she still loved me and cared for me as a person, but was no longer in love, and didn’t have any more energy to give. She has been seeing her therapist, but won’t let me come to a joint session. And she isn’t really talking to her friends and family about it. I was obviously devastated. Initially her issues were the lack of intimacy and starting a family, but as time went by she came up with other reasons – I think she was trying to convince herself that she is doing the right thing.
Some of the things that she has said are ‘she loves and cares for me as a person’, ‘she feels broken’, ‘she can’t give anymore’, ‘she wasn’t feeling like herself whilst being married’, ‘she’s doesn’t regret marrying me, but she regrets not resolving our issue before marrying me’, ‘she feels we became best friends, instead of a couple in love’.
The strange part is I actually found out the root of our issue only 2 months ago accidently by randomly typing different searches in Google….what I was suffering from was Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED)….its where you watch porn and your brain rewires itself to become stimulated to that level of sexual exposure….this means that a real partner sexually can no longer stimulate you as your brain expects the variety and intensity that porn provides…..it also has other symptoms such as brain fogging, loss of concentration, loss of appetite for real sex and real partners, reduced emotional intimacy, etc. The issue has only been around for the last 5-10 years due to high speed internet.
The problem I have is that I didn’t know it was the porn that was effecting me….. in my head, I could get an erection when watching porn, or seeing some other sexy female image/real life person on the street, so I assumed that my bodily function was ok and it must be psychological….i never put the porn and the erectile dysfunction (ED) together…my understanding of ED was it either works all of the time, or none of the time…. I never have cheated on my wife so I don’t know if this would have affected me with another real woman. I wasn’t and am not actually addicted to porn, I never have been, however I was doing it because it was a good stress reliever….if I had known that it was this that had caused all our problems and heartache, I would have stopped a long time ago…..the good news is its pretty straight forward to resolve the issue….its called ‘rebooting’ and you basically need to stop watching porn and masturbation totally…..depending on severity, it can take 3 – 12 months….in my case, more likely 3 months. None of my friends had even heard of it…..and after seeing the doctor twice, and 4 different therapists, none of them could diagnose it.
I am very confident that with couples therapy, now that we know what had affected our marriage and im on the road to recovery, I think we can have a very happy marriage together…..however my wife won’t change her mind…she is set on divorce. I really do love her and believe we have a marriage that can be saved...
Do you think she is giving up to early and should try to work things out one more time, or do you think she is making the right decision? I really do believe there is a good marriage that can be saved here….i know I should have tried harder and not left it so late, I punish myself every single day thinking about that….but I can only do something about tomorrow, and not the past….i would love to know what advice women who have been through divorce would give my wife if she was a close friend of yours…appreciate all the feedback.
Many thanks for reading,
Reading your post made me very sad. I think the issue is you waited too long to resolve his. She has moved on emotionally. (Read "Gone with the Wind" a classic description of this. )
Mourn your loss, let her go & move on. You have now learned how destructive porn is. It doesn't just degrade women, which is the number one reason why no honourable man should view it, it also damages the user.
I think you need to listen to what your wife is telling you.
You know your issues now, but she "can't give anymore".
I think the chasm is too wide for her now - lack of intimacy, lack of being able to start a family - the issues do change because initial differences end up opening up to all other sorts of feelings.
The progress over 5 months probably feels too little too late in relation to the 9 years you've been together.
If she decides that a divorce is best, I think you best let her get on with it rather than wasting her time.
Very sad indeed. I'm assuming you have told your wife about your latest discovery?
Tbh I wonder if you can imagine the emotional trauma that you have caused by not being intimate for the best part of 9 years? It must have damaged your ex terribly and she will probably suffer for a few more years yet. She must have known you were choosing porn over her
I'm struggling to see how someone as proactive as yourself could not make the link to watching porn and gob smacked that your therapists didn't either.
You should have posted on MN years ago!
Unique, not really
Let your wife go...you have damaged her enough
Over 9 years you have wrecked your wife, and now you think it's all okay because you've found out it was due to your porn useage... That really isn't going to make anything better at all no matter what name you use for it!
Let her go, she's going to take years already to get past this is she ever really does.
Many many thanks for all your replies - i really do appreciate people taking the time out to read my story.
To be completely honest with you all, i agree with most of what you all have said. I have been very selfish, not considered the way my wife has been feeling all these years nearly as much as i should have, she is a great woman, deserves better and to be happy.
I only decided to put 100% in when i hit rock bottom, but had no regard for that fact that my wife had hit rock bottom and was sitting there on her own alot earlier, and for this, i will probably never ever forgive myself.
As unbelievable as it sounds, i honestly didnt know that the porn was the cause - im not a cruel person, i would have stopped and sorted out the issue a long time ago had i known.
Did i make enough effort to find out the issue? In high-insight, i could have tried harder and much earlier. I know this.
The problems that porn causes, both to relationships and individuals really needs the same level of public exposure as other life wreckers like drugs and alcohol.
I still think i can offer my wife a lot of love and value, and do not believe in giving up no matter how impossible the task looks - the rest is up to God. Why would i do this and not just let her have what she as asked for? Because i truly believe she is making this decision based on emotions, whilst she is not her true self. And emotionally charged decisions are never good - this is a well known fact but something the people fail to understand.
I dont believe in giving up in marriage, no matter how hard problems get (apart from when there is violence/abuse in a marriage etc. which is totally different thing).
Divorce is not easy, its one of the most terrible things anyone would have to go through, and people only realise this after they have been through it or seen someone go through it. My only argument for this whole post is that surely my wife should give it say 2 months of couple counselling to really go through what has happened and find out for sure that the feelings she has and the decision she is making is really what she wants.
If we did that, and at the end she still wanted a divorce, i would still be devastated but i would absolutely give her what she wants in the most straight forward of ways. Why, because i love her and respect her decision knowing that she has thought about it carefully. Some people may not agree, and thats fine, but this decision is about to tear 2 peoples lives up....2 months of couples counselling is not too much to ask...specially as we both still love and care for each other as people.
She's given 9 years to try to resolve the relationship.
It must have felt like a slap in the face every time you were unable/unwilling to be intimate with her but managed to orgasm through using porn or masturbation.
I've been where she is. I felt inadequate, unattractive, unimportant and unloveable for about 10 years post divorce.
If you love her, let her free and stop the emotional blackmail.
I'm sad for you, but sadder for her.
I understand you points and respect your opinion, i dont know what you have been through but respect the fact that it was significant.
With regards to my marriage, to remove any uncertainty, apart from this major issue (not taking it lightly at all) i have been a very good husband in all other areas, which my wife agrees. Im not saying that makes everything ok, not even by a long shot.
Also, its not been 9 years of missing intimacy, its been 6 years, but we have been together for 9 - again im not saying 6 years is not significant, but just clarifying.
Im not intentionally trying to emotionally blackmail my wife, what im saying is my personal opinion (and alot of others also, specially experienced therapists that have seen divorce 100's of times) is that divorce should be a last resort.
My point is that i dont think my wife has fully thought this through, and is making an emotionally charged decision. That might be what others have done, and it may have worked out well for them, but it definitely isnt a rule of thumb. The % of regret in divorced couples is not small. All i am asking is that now we have come to the point where we know what has happened, we owe it to our selves, our marriage and our families to atleast try couples counselling. She is 32 years old - lets assume she lives to at least 70, that means she still has 38 years left....is 2 months of effort with couples counselling too much to ask, considering it could shape the rest of her life, and at the very least allow her to move on knowing she gave it her all with no or minimal regrets. Im not asking her to magically change her mind and give the marriage another go, im not living in lala land, i fully understand the magnitude of this - im asking to get a second opinion from a therapist that she trusts, where im also present so that the full end to end picture of our marriage and what has happened is finally clear.
You don't have to agree that your wife has thought it through, and she doesn't have to jump through any hoops to prove it.
She has made her decision that as far as she is concerned it's over, and you can't do anything about it.
I find it quite frankly unbelievable that you saw numerous doctors and therapists and between them and yourself, none of you made the connection that you were replacing a sexual relationship with your wife, with porn use instead?
I think your wife has wasted more than enough years on you and I wish her a very happy and fulfilling new life.
I agree, she doesnt have to do anything she doesnt want to do.
However, if you think divorce is a good thing, and/or should be executed even though there are other avenues to explore, then thats your opinion and you are entitled to it.
However, myself, i believe divorce should be the last resort once all avenues have been exhausted (apart from in the cases of violence/abuse ofcourse, which is different).
My only point is not all avenues have been exhausted. At least the avenue of a last try at couples counselling. If my family member/friend was going through the same thing, i would honestly advise them to try it - your least likely to regret going in the long term, and more likely to regret not trying in the long term, once the dust settles....be it 6 months or 3 years down the line. This is of course only my opinion, ultimately my wife will do what she feels is right for her, and i will ultimately respect that.
We are both blessed that we have more then what most people we know have, and appreciate that the situation could have been worse (i.e. kids could have been involved), and for that i am grateful. Either way, in the long term we will both recover to some degree and be happy at some stage again, it will take time, but im sure of it. Its just very sad, and especially for her.
@CanarySong Funny how you mention that the doctors, 4 therapists (one of them being my wife's personal therapist who knows in detail about our situation) and I didnt make the connection (which you are correct to suggest) but dont include my wife in that group.
She could have just as easily researched the issue - a marriage is a partnership, where problems are shared. Not blaming my wife in anyway, or reducing any responsibility on my part, i fully take responsibility for my errors and mistakes. Just be a little more unbiased about the situation.
I don't know how I'd feel about being told that my husband was only sexually interested in porn women during our marriage and preferred virtual relations with them to the extent that he wasn't interested in me but marriage is important to him so I should just get over it and forgive him.
Would you not find that a bit insulting and hurtful, OP?
Your absolutely right, i would agree with you.
My only point is that i wasn't intentionally doing this to hut my wife or my marriage - i know its hard to believe, but i honestly didnt have a clue....i was thinking about it too mechanically...."it works down there, but just not with my wife, it doesnt make sense, so ill go and ask someone who might be able to tell me"....but between 4 therapists, we still coundnt work it out.
Im not a cruel heartless person, i would never do something intentional to hurt my wife....but regardless the end result is she is hugely hurt and broken, so whether i intended to or not, does it make it any less worse....i guess everyone will have their opinion.
The main thing to come out of this is that the awareness of this issue really needs to be improved....im sure there are 1,000s of couples in this situation, specially with the younger internet generation coming through.
Why were you so interested in porn though, apparently to the detriment of your real life (potential) lover? How could it not strike you that pulling up your pants, switching off the laptop and spending time with someone you profess to love might improve something, even if just your day?
* Not blaming my wife in anyway, or reducing any responsibility on my part*
Yep, you really are trying to do that. You just suggested that she wasnt fulfilling her part of the "partnership" by researching hard enough why you couldnt have sex with her. Wow.
Your wife stayed with you for many years while you used porn and were not intimate with her. Now she has moved on, suddenly you have found the solution and want to try again. That's nice for you. For her it is too little too late. She explored every avenue, now she,s on a different journey. She doesn't belong to you. Let her go.
OP, rightly or wrongly, I suspect your wife is now of the belief that she has been so horribly hurt and emotionally damaged that the only way to see any sort of recovery is to protect herself from further hurt, or the risk of further hurt.
Divorce is a last resort to you. But maybe she has different priorities such as preserving her self respect and self esteem.
All the while you have been using pornography while spurning your wife. Surely you can understand that for some people that is unforgivable?
I wasnt neglecting her from the perspective of spending time with her, i spent lots of time and showed her a lot of care and attention (not in the bedroom agreed). Hense it wasnt obvious to me that porn was the problem....i know it seems obvious now, as i have the answer, but when you dont know, you dont know.
i didnt mean for my comment to be interpreted that way, apologies, what i meant was that there is no reason why she also couldnt have attempted to find the issue, even if it turned to be something that was my error. The fact that she didnt doesnt make her at fault, or make her any less of a great human being, just that she was also a partner in the marriage and was really only the one other person that could have, other then the therapists. however, it primarily was up to me, and i failed and take responsibility for that, trust me, only i know how sad i feel that i have hurt her in this way.
And supposing she had done this research. How would you have reacted to the findings, basically being told to knock the porn on the head? If you are so reliant on porn that you can't have normal relations, I can't imagine you would have said "what a thoughtful suggestion. Let me try that!"
OP, did your wife ever ask you to reduce your use of porn? Or ask you to cease? Was she aware how often you were using it and/or masturbating? Did you ever use porn together?
@gazelda - i fully agree with you. my only grain of salt is that i wasnt doing anything intentionally to hurt our marriage or my wife, i honestly didnt know. whether that makes my crime any more forgivable, i guess it doesnt really matter. whats done is done and i must deal with the consequences.
if i was drinking a bottle of whiskey everyday, and then came home and violently abused my wife for 2 years, the reason would be obvious and clear where the fault was (not that i would ever do that, but just drawing an example).....this was not so obvious by a long shot MN people!
doesnt mean my wife is any less hurt or broken, which is ultimately what is most important, her well being, and inside i know that. just trying whatever i can to try and save the marriage, some people may view that as selfish, and thats fine, people are fully entitled to their opinion. people will only really understand if they have walked the path, as with anything in life i guess.
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