I agree with your take on toxic commitment and the absurdity of divorce not being an option.It’s very common to hear rational such as staying for the kids or “...everything else is good” etc and of course the usual suspects such as fear of not being able to find someone else/being alone and codependency etc.
But when the topic of people that have been living in misery and outright rejection and denial and complete loss of affection for YEARS is something I have called Toxic Commitment in other threads.
This will ruffle some feathers but I think a big contributing factor to people living under misery for years is their own mentality of “... Till death do us part.”
We see lots of people that come here after years of pain and rejection and even outright abuse and one of the first things they say is, “divorce is not an option.”
I call this Toxic Commitment.
Like the Japanese kamikaze pilots of WWII, they are fully committed to a concept that results in their destruction with no personal benefit to them. You could also call it Marital Martyrdom. Only in this case you don’t get 50 vestal virgins when you die... just a life that sucks.
Commitment is fine when both parties are committed to the other’s health, happiness and we’ll being.
But if you’re committed to ‘death do us part” and the other doesn’t give a crap about your wants and needs and well being, you’ve just set yourself up for being used and abused and put away wet.
So one of the common denominator traits that I have seen in these sexless marriages that last years and years is basically a toxic commitment to their own misery and dysfunction.
Right now there is an active thread by a guy who’s wife hasn’t touched him at all for 6 years but yet they are still buying houses and properties and putting on additions to the house etc and he simply doesn’t get it that he doesn’t have to live that way.
His wife even told him to take his penis and get sex elsewhere that she doesn’t want it and yet he keeps coming back here every couple years wondering what he can do.
He is committed to a concept that is causing him harm and despair but he refuses to see beyond the bars of his own jail cell for which he has the key.
Often times it's a control thing. They can't control the state of the marriage by themselves and they can't control their spouse, but they can control the decision to divorce. Sometimes it even becomes a martyr thing where they keep the moral high ground because look at how much poor them put up with. Then they claim victory because they refused to divorce.
There's also an inertia component....it's really hard to blow up your life aa you know it for the unknown and much easier to smoke the hopium pipe (as CL would say). I can appreciate this since I've left 2 marriages, but I'm also not the anxious type and have never been afraid of the unknown.