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What do I do - marriage feels dead(9 Posts)
I apologise in advance that there's a lot of back story to share before I get to my question, but it is all relevant. I'm 44, DH is 42. We have DTs aged 6. Both of us work. We struggled for years to have children (including 2 MMCs) and eventually had IVF which was successful and our twins were born 6 years ago. Our marriage was, I would say, absolutely rock solid and born out of being great friends.
During pregnancy and beyond, our sex life tailed off to the point where it only happened maybe monthly. Our conception troubles took it out of us both, undoubtedly, and the strain of a twin pregnancy plus premature birth plus then having twins...it's hard to feel like it. Being truthful, I was 95% responsible for it tailing off.
We last had sex very nearly 5 years ago. Just after then, I discovered that he was having an affair with a woman at work. I gave him an ultimatum and told him I would take him back if he gave her up and worked on things. I was so shocked, it didn't really sink in at that point quite how serious a betrayal I felt it to be. I was then unfortunately blasé in assuming that was the shock he needed, and was blindsided when 6 months later he actually left me for her. At that point our twins were 2.
We lived apart for 4 months and then at some point the scales fell from his eyes and he came back begging to me. He had finished with her and he loved me and realised that he needed me. I was on my knees emotionally at that point and needed the reassurance and support, plus the children needed their father and it felt like the right/best thing to do. It was applauded by our families too who had been aghast at the affair.
We have not had sex since but have been for marriage guidance after he first returned, and I have separately seen a counsellor to tackle what I feel is a lack of emotional feeling and sex drive in me. I just couldn't get anywhere with either of them, in the sense that I haven't been able to reestablish any contact with my former love for him or wish to have sex. I do feel a big part of my emotional self has been locked away inside me as a result of the multiple stresses and shocks, and I simply can't get at it any more.
I am a very loving mum and I experience love and joy with my children, but not with him and rarely with any other part of life. I would describe our relationship now as friendly but effectively quite neutered, he tries to reach out and touch me/hold hands/rub my leg etc but it irritates and I feel no love beyond friendship. I am so far away from wishing to have sex with him that it's unimaginable that it will happen now.
We have been on holiday all together and while lovely I spent most of it feeling like I simply must tell him now how I feel. I know the story reads like he is an enormous shit and shouldn't expect anything from me, but he was always a lovely person and since that affair ended he reverted to being a kind, thoughtful, supportive partner and I do feel warmth towards him as a friend. So I would like him to have the opportunity to find a person who might love him more fully than me, if he wants it. If he still loves me and can stand the lack of sex then I don't think that's a problem for me to carry on as we are - so long as we both know where we stand. To stay together effectively as friends co-parenting would mean financial stability, the children staying in their current home/school which they love, so much less disruption for them, families needn't know anything about it, we could all get on fine. If he decided he did need a partner in the fuller sense, then I think we could divorce amicably and I feel that's doable as well (with a lot more resistance from family and obviously the children would need help understanding).
I just can't broach the subject with him. I tried and tried to start a conversation on holiday but simply couldn't think how to go about it. It is so blunt to say that I will never want sex with you again. Please can anyone help me figure out what the right thing is to do here, and how to start this conversation. I'm so lost and unable to share with anyone in real life. I am miserable in living untruthfully and being expected to get back to having a libido at any point when I know it won't happen.
I have nothing helpful to say but hopefully someone else will come along.
Personally I wouldn't want sex with someone who cheated on me either, so don't blame yourself for that.
Could you actually let him go and eventually see him start a relationship with another women and remain friends with him?
I think you do need to be blunt tbh, it will be a hard conversation but it's one that needs to be had.
5 years without sex is a really long time so there's a good chance he's realised already that it just isn't going to happen. Personally I couldn't stay in a marriage without sex, that's not to say your DH is the same, you wont know until you speak to him.
FWIW I couldn't & wouldn't have taken him back after the cheating, it's just something I wouldn't be able to get past-it seems, unfortunately, that neither can you.
What a difficult time you've had - really feel for you.
I think you are just going to have to be blunt and come out with it - if you are waiting for the "right" moment then that may be a long time coming.
Could you start by asking him what he feels about your relationship?
This makes for quite heartbreaking reading. You deserve so much more than this even if he was willing to remain in the current situation you are depriving yourself of potential love and affection in a romantic sense and you are far too young for that.
As for the children not knowing, trust me when I say in a few years they will notice a lack of physical affection between you both.
It sounds like you've both really tried and it's just not worked out. There doesn't need to be villains of the story which it sounds like you don't want.
Trust your feelings and have the conversation. It could be the making of both of you. Good luck
I so feel for you, I am 55 and son has left home and I feel the same, husband had an EA 11 years ago, I didn't get full evidence till 4 months ago and he didn't tell me, I found stuff, even 11 years ago though something in me died when I no longer felt totally special, I have stuck it out but I simply can't feel the same as before, I wish I could , my libido simply went away and never came back
If you can't ever imagine wanting to have sex with him again and have no interest in changing this then you need to tell him. It's actually entirely possible that he is getting sex elsewhere...are you ok with that? Even if he isn't yet, he will in the end.
If he wants sex and you don't and don't wish to change this then he either needs to agree to a sexless marriage or you agree to an open marriage or you separate and co parent effectively.
OP you've endured so much shock, loss and betrayal, twice over the affair and also the MMC's and IVF. You sound as though the opinion of family members has quite a strong hold on you. And your emotions and wishes are very much buried, only your dtwins bring you joy - that isn't right. You even talk as though you ought to leave him for his benefit.
But what about you, OP? What do you want for yourself? I wonder whether you need to see a good therapist to unpick where your feelings have gone and what you actually do feel, before you can decide what to do about your marriage. You sound lost and I wish I could give you a hug. You've been through a lot and deserve happiness. For you
Thank you all for your replies. I feel more and more confused but sure something has to change; this long weekend is feeling a bit like purgatory being so close together and with MIL visiting on top, both of them constantly trying to solicit input and energy from me when I want to withdraw further away. Again my children keep me holding it together!
Salty noted that family have an influence here, which is true. During our previous separation they took it very hard indeed and really went to pieces. They were unable to provide any practical or emotional support to me and just wrung their hands over it. It damaged my feeling for them and I'm not keen to have similar again. They visibly breathed a sigh of relief when he came back as if thank goodness that bit of unpleasantness is over and we can all go back to normal. I've no idea if they've ever questioned whether it was right or whether it's been possible to get back to normal for real.
The conversation has to happen and soon. I feel sick with nerves over it and so worried about what consequences it will have in every area of life. I'm not over endowed with friends either.
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