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This is my first post here, and I'm not really sure where to begin. I apologize in advance because this will probably be kind of all over the place....

There's years worth of pain and neglect in my marriage of eight years. I'm 28 and my husband is 42. We have a 6 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. He works hard at a fairly dead end job to try to make sure that ends meet. I spent three years as a stay at home mom after my son was born, but in May I returned to the workforce as well.

Anyway, the pain and neglect that I mentioned is on both sides. He's had an addiction to pornography since we were dating, but I was young and naive and thought that it was something that would miraculously 'fix itself' because we were getting married. There were a lot of things that I guess I thought I could fix or learn to live with. I realize now that this wasn't exactly fair to either of us.

There are plenty of things in this situation that I'm not proud of. He would talk to other women online along with the pornography, but I was the one who had an affair five years ago. I want to be fully open about this because I know that I have to accept some of the blame here. There's never been open communication about our relationship. I tend to go to great lengths to avoid confrontation, and most of the time, he seems more than happy to do the same. Every time that I have spoken up, things improve for a short time but then go right back to how they were. He probably feels the same about concerns that he has expressed (however rarely). It is just a vicious cycle. It doesn't help that I'm a 'cryer'. I get sad, I'm in tears. I get mad, I'm in tears. He feels that I try to manipulate him with my crying, but I don't feel that I have any active control over it.

Last night he left the bed and went out to sleep on the couch. I didn't initially think too much about this because he has chronic back problems and often resorts to sleeping on the couch or in the armchair. When I woke up this morning, however, I found a text message stating that he was 'tired of feeling like a stranger in my own bed'.

I've long known that neither of us is particularly happy, but I don't know how to voice these concerns to him. I find it very difficult to be intimate with a person who can regularly go a month or more at a time without showering. (This has been a constant issue since we first got together--though it has gotten even worse over the years--but again was one of those things I thought early on that I could fix.) I've never wanted to risk hurting his feelings by bringing it up directly, but I'm not the only one who has noticed at this point. My sister has commented on how the odor clings to the area of the living room that he spends most of his time.

He also has chased off a lot of our friends with what some might call an... abrasive personality. I've actually been told in the past things like "You and the kids are welcome to come, but do you have to bring your husband?" So I don't wind up going out much. I don't actively try to make new friends because it seems pointless. I half avoid the old ones because I'm embarrassed.

I suggested counseling once in the past a few years back, but he just brushed it off. But I feel so... lost. I never wanted to find myself deadlocked into a marriage with no passion. I care for him because he is the father of my children and because we get on well, I suppose, as 'friends' (for a lack of better term). I don't actually remember the last time we had sex because, yes, I have actively avoided it most of the time. This is really the only serious relationship I was ever in, and I know that as a college sophomore at the time we started dating, that I definitely rushed things. (My mother died at the age of 29, and I have always felt that I'm racing the clock trying to accomplish everything that I wanted before I reach that age myself, but I guess that's another matter entirely.)

I know that he can't really be any less miserable than I am, but there are the kids to consider. Also, as previously stated, I've spent my entire adult life with this man, but I feel like we're more like one another's... habit than spouses.

I just don't know where to go from here, but I don't want to just brush off one of his few attempts to communicate. But how do I broach such a sensitive subject--(i.e. his hygiene)--especially when I've let it go this long without comment in attempt to spare his feelings?
 

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Your relationship lacks one of the most important things needed:

Communication.

Everything gets rugswept to keep the peace. His pornography, your affair, his lack of hygiene, your sex life & on & on.

So now you both find yourselves miserable.

You really need to get into marriage counseling yesterday. A good therapist could open the lines of communication again.
 

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I think you both need serious counseling - he sounds depressed and like he has very low self esteem; you don't know know how to express your needs... you both need individual counseling as well as marriage counseling.
 
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