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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.
Like so many before me, I have come to TAM for some help. My story is:

I have been with my husband a total of 11 years. We got married 4 years ago. When we initially met, we were both in our early 20's and both dating other people. His was a long distance relationship, and they hadn't seen one another for about half a year. There was an instant attraction between us, and we both ended our other relationships to be together - or so I thought. We spent as much time as we could together. Everything about it felt absolutely right, I was in love. About 5-6 months into our relationship, I found out (when I was using his computer to send off an assignment) that he had been keeping the long distance thing with the other girl going the entire time. Looking at his open chat log (that he must have forgotten to close), I noticed that every time he'd had some alone time, he would apparently chat to her and write her long, loving and sometimes sexually explicit letters. It was apparent from the chat log that she knew nothing about me or his relationship with me. It hurt me a lot, but as we had only been dating for a few months I decided to give him some space to figure out what he wanted. So I confronted him, told him that I knew that he had not ended it with the other girl - and told him that I was bowing out, and he could decide what he wanted to do etc.

I decided not to sit at home moping, desperatly waiting for him to make up his mind. I went out with my friends, had fun (or at least look like I was having fun). I didn't want him to think that I'd just been waiting about for him to make up his mind. Then about 7 or so days later, he was at my door with flowers and tears, telling me that he wanted to be with only me. We had long conversations about trust, lies, exclusivity etc. I insisted that we needed 100% honesty and transparency in our new relationship, and he agreed.

We've been very happy in our general life together, best friends with much the same sense of humour and many of the same interests (of course we also both have our own hobbies etc), but we've always both wanted to spend as much time as we could together. We started living together about a year and a half into our relationship. He has never had as high a sex drive as I have, and it seems that I was always the one to initiate sex.

For the first 2-3 years or so I didn't notice, as he was never reluctant to have sex, and always seemed to love it. However, once we hit year 3 or 4, it started getting me down, especially because he had been turning me down a lot. Eventually I was getting rejected more often than we had sex.

One day I found out that he was using online porn instead of having sex with me. In all fairness, I had noticed evidence of porn sites on our computer, but hadn't thought too much of it. But it only hit me as a huge problem when I walked in on him masturbating to porn, when I had been in the next room the entire time! I got quite upset, and told him how it made me feel, that he would rather watch porn and masturbate, than have sex with me. We discussed that it made me feel ugly, unwanted, gave me low self esteem, etc. I had never had a problem with porn before - I had watched it myself many times in the past, but never as a preferance to sex! It was always something I had viewed as a "tool" if we were away from eachother, or as part of sex (together).

**Just to give you a bit more info, I have always been extremely open about sex - very willing to try and do anything, even suggesting various new techniques and toys, often buying sexy outfits, sex books etc. We've both always kept ourselves fit by jogging and walking, and always dress well and make sure we look the best we can (for eachother and ourselves)**

Anyway, we had a very long talk, I asked him to tell me if anything was bothering him, if I had done anything wrong, if he wanted out of the relationship/if he wasn't attracted to me anymore etc. He said that he loved me, loved the way I looked, loved having sex with me etc etc etc, but that he didn't know what was wrong, and he thought he may be addicted to porn. I said that I had heard it was very difficult to get rid of a porn addiction without getting professional help. He said that he didn't need/want to talk to anyone, and would stop watching it. He also gave me full access to all his passwords, internet history etc by his own free will.

Over the years I have caught him out (every now and then) in various lies, usually about him starting to use/watch porn again, or other trivial matters. We had a couple of heart to heart chats about trust issues. I have always been of the opinion that lies just make things worse. If you do someting that may hurt me or that was wrong- tell me and we'll work it out. He always really seemed to want to work on regaining my trust each time we had to have a talk about lying (about 3-4 times over the years).

Our sex life has really only gone from bad to worse. When we first started dating, we'd have sex as often as we could (as in most new relationships), that turned into to 3 times per week, that into once every 10-15 days (that was the time that I first found out about his porn problem, after approx. 3-4 years), I have bought sexy outfits, toys, tried everything, but it carried on getting worse and worse. I stopped initiating, almost a game - waiting for him to initiate, for him to show me that he wanted me (I needed confirmation or affirmation I guess), and sometimes 6 months would go by without us having any sex, until I was going out of my mind and initiated again. Over the past 3 years I think we have had sex a total of 5 times! These 5times have all been initiated by me, but only out of pure desperation! and now we just don't....

I have told him on many occasions that I was not getting enough sex. I would ideally like it every second day, but I also said that I was willing to compromise and lower my needs to once a week (quality over quantity), or even biweekly (desperate times and all that).

I have asked him to go to have a checkup. My guess is that his Testosterone levels are low (or something else is wrong) as he claims to still want me and find me attractive, isn't gay and doesn't know why he doesn't want sex etc. He has promised to get it seen to, yet, he has cancelled 3 doctor's appointments, each time for a different "non-reason". He hasn't made any new appointment and it's now been over 8 months since his last cancellation. It feels like he sees no problem in not having sex or perhaps he feels that I am the one with the problem for thinking that we should be having sex. It cannot be normal to not have sex in our early 30's, can it? He makes me promise after promise that he will make an effort to add sex to our marriage, as he says he doesn't want to lose me. But I am so tired of waiting and hearing the same promises over and over, because it never comes to anything (actions speak louder than words.

Now I have stopped initiating sex, initially because I just couldn't muster enough energy to get rejected again, but lately (for the past 6-7 months or so) because I am no longer sexuallly attracted to him. I have stopped asking him about appointments or anything else, because I am not even sure that I want him anymore (sexually). Maybe if he were to passionately persue me... then I would find that sexual attraction to him again?? I don't know... any thoughts? Any one had any experiences of that happening?

Every now and then I see that he still does look at porn - very infrequently. Of course porn has become his dirty secret now (maybe that makes it more interesting?) and I have got to the stage when I am about to give up on us ever getting our sex life back! and now I don't even know how to find my passion for him. Is all lost? Is this the end of our otherwise great marriage?? I have suggested us having marriage/sex therapy, but that works as well as doctor's appointments. He agrees at first, but then cancels them.

I have contemplated having an affair, as I know that I am still very sexual, and NEED and WANT sex. I am not oblivious to the fact that other men do find me attractive, but I don't want to end our relationship because I know that he is the one I want to be married to. I do really love him as a person. But, I cannot go on without sex either!

The last time I confronted him about porn, I basically told him that I equate it to him being unfaithful to me. In a stupid act of desperation, I gave him an ultimatum: If he watches porn again, then I would go out and find a lover. (I was trying to get him to wake up and see things from my side- it just popped out, and of course I couldn't take the words back.) Now if I do see evidence of more porn, I feel like I must do what I said I'd do, otherwise my word/ultimatums won't mean anything! Although I have thought about finding a lover, actually DOING it something else!

What should I do? I have left it for far too long and it has got way out of hand. To make things worse, my mother keeps bugging me for grandchildren - and I don't want to talk to her about this problem, because I don't have that type of relationship with her.

Thank you for reading this very, very long post! I appreciate any helpful advice you can give me.
 

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I'm so sorry you guys are having this problem.

I am in a sexless marriage right now, and it is my fault. I am diagnosed bipolar, and take medications that completely kill my libido. For many years, I was unresponsive to my wife's sexual needs, to the point that she actually sought out an emotional affair that might have become physical. Thankfully, it did not, and we are reconciling. But in a way, I almost could not have blamed her if she did take it to that level. That in no way, however, justifies her infidelity to me. Most advice you will see here is that, if things are that bad, get out of your marriage and pursue your needs then. But that, of course, is easier said than done, as there are always complications.

Not sure if you are giving us all of the puzzle - is your husband on any kind of medications, or does he have a physical issue that perhaps he's not telling you about? It sounds like the two of you are very honest with one another, but one never knows what skeletons lie in the closet.

One thing I will advise you on, and again, it will be echoed by others: DO NOT treat your problem with infidelity. It doesn't matter what ultimatum you may have issued - going outside your marriage for sex would just be wrong, unless your husband agrees to that, and then what you would have is an open marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it.

My husband is not on any medication and has no physical illnesses. We're both in tip top shape.

I am not sure if his porn of choice (which happens to be older women - so called 'milfs') is anything to add. I have wondered and asked him whether perhaps he doesn't feel sexual attraction to me because he prefers much older women than I am. But always tells me that he finds me extremely attractive and sexually alluring. I don't know what his fascination with older women is - but I have read that people who are abused as children sometimes have strange fetishes. I have (very very gently) enquired about his youth and issues of abuse, but he is absolutely open about his youth and there doesn't seem to be anything hidden there... So I don't know :-/

I agree with you that having an affair is not going to help me, or my situation, and an open marriage is not what I want.

How does your wife cope with no sex? (I am sort of hoping for some inside info from the other side - to try to understand not wanting/needing sex)
How does it make you feel and do you try to give her other types of intimacy? (sorry, I hope the questions aren't too personal).

Thanks again!
 

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How does your wife cope with no sex? (I am sort of hoping for some inside info from the other side - to try to understand not wanting/needing sex)
How does it make you feel and do you try to give her other types of intimacy? (sorry, I hope the questions aren't too personal).
I think that only she could answer how she's coping with no sex. I have been adjusting my meds to see if that might help, but she is still not ready to get fully intimate with me for fear of rejection, which is what she felt for many years. She doesn't want to feel that again.

Since her affair, I have been showing her affection, attention and intimacy in other ways that she also said she was missing. Just things like hugs, sitting on the couch together holding hands, cuddling in bed, etc. She seems to be happy for now, but I know that this cannot go on indefinitely. There has to be some movement at some point.

I imagine that there are marriages out there where there is no sex. There are many facets to the institution that is marriage, but there is also an expectation of sex. Some people can make adjustments, and some can't. Right now we are doing the best we can to restore intimacy, and it is moving slowly, but well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your answer. I hope you manage to get your meds sorted. I think I am in the same boat as your wife, regards not wanting intimacy right now. I have spoken to my husband about the issue, but he isn't doing anything towards working forwards, getting out of our situation.
Did your wife talk to you about this before she had her emotional affair or only afterwards? Did you do anything before her affair to work on your problems or was it only after you found out that you realised that you needed make strides to fix it?

I guess, until my husband wants to act on his problem, there isn't much I can do, other than stay in a sexless marriage or get out. I suppose that is what I have to figure out...
 

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Did your wife talk to you about this before she had her emotional affair or only afterwards? Did you do anything before her affair to work on your problems or was it only after you found out that you realised that you needed make strides to fix it?
My wife had made it abundantly clear that she was feeling rejected - even brought it up in family therapy years ago, where it was suggested that I "pursue" my wife. I just did not do it. Couldn't bring myself to. Had I known she would seek outside attention and possibly leave me over this, I may have reacted differently, but looking back, I don't know that for sure. I obviously have other issues with intimacy. It can't just be the meds.

As far as her affair, it was different, in that she had this involvement right out in the open - she did not hide it from me, was not sneaky about it or anything. She was falling for a friend who was giving her attention and making her feel desired. When we discussed what this was about, of course the sex thing came up - the whole affair started, I think, when she complained to HIM about our problem. Obviously, like any red-blooded man, he was willing to "fix" the problem.

I keep trying to determine if, as has been brought up in other places on this board, I have some deep-seated resentment for her that I just cannot get over, but I'm not really able to get in touch with that, so I don't think this is an issue. We just can't really tell what all is under the surface sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your honesty and suggestions.

I can't think of a way out of my own situation... makes me feel depressed to think that I am in a sexless marriage and don't know how to change it.
 
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