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Escape or survive a loveless marriage?

CathyC
Community Member

I'm 45 and my husband is 49. We've been married 11 years, with two kids aged 8 and 6. We haven’t had sex in more than 6 years. We’ve slept in separate beds for at least 5 years. There is zero affection or physical contact. (Before we had kids, no real issues.)
Over the years I have tried to address this many times. My husband was diagnosed with depression and low testosterone, but stopped taking his medication as he insisted it didn’t work. I’m not sure if he is still depressed - he seems content to live in this loveless and sexless marriage.
I begged him to try counselling, which he did for a few sessions about 2 years ago. Then I joined for 2 sessions - before he refused to go back. He didn't tell me - he just didn’t go back, despite me asking him to go several times. In the sessions I attended, he asked me not to nag him about our relationship and give him space. I did this and nothing happened. He has never once in all these years instigated a discussion of these issues.
At least on three occasions, having lost patience, I told him I wanted a divorce. He just says ok, then jumps into action, looking for somewhere to rent, etc. After me venting, he agrees to couples counselling - but never goes through with it. He just carries on as usual until the next time I get angry or upset.

Apart from this, he has not lifted a finger to save our marriage. He just says we should stay together ‘for the kids’. I really don’t matter to him at all. In my darkest moments I feel he also wants to stay together because I brought a lot more into the marriage financially (he had nothing).

I can barely stand to be in the same room as him now and avoid conversation. It’s hard to describe just how humiliating and lonely it’s been. He knows I’m very unhappy, but never asks me about it. Instead, he commonly treats me with disdain, rolling his eyes or dismissing anything I say. The therapist even pulled him up on this, but he doesn’t get it. If I raise I’m unhappy in any way whatsoever, he’ll turn away, raise his hand up to motion me to stop speaking and yell, ‘Get a divorce then.’

I'm being forced to accept this loveless, sexless marriage - or else. I’m heartbroken because I really wanted my kids to have a stable, ‘normal’ family life. I never wanted a divorce, but what choice do I have? How do people stay married just ‘for the kids’?
I’m so very lonely and tired of keeping up appearances. I’ve kept all of this to myself all these years and it has truly become unbearable.

53 Replies 53

Hi Cazza

I just wanted to let you know that I am in a very similar position to you, and I completely understand about the affair. I too have done the same, after so long without any love, attention, physical needs being met, we can't carry on forever in the same position. I'm not proud of it (its over now) but it has actually helped to open my eyes to how unhappy I have been for so long.

Keep us informed of how you are getting on, as it sounds like you, CathyC and I are all very similar!

x

Sophie225
Community Member

Hi Cathy,

I know exactly what you mean about being unable to motivate yourself - even though you know you need to. Its so difficult, but if you chip away at things bit at a time its amazing what you can achieve without even realising it!

I saw a therapist a couple of times but I spent most of the time crying and I'm not sure that I got much out of it, but I do feel like I might try again, so I hope it helps you.

To be honest, I have told my husband that I am not in love with him about 18 months ago, but he just seems to ignore how unhappy I clearly am and carry on regardless. Every so often he says to me 'you know you love me deep down'. So he definitely knows something is not right. If I am honest, and in my experience, its the women who have the balls in any relationship. We're the ones who seem to make the change, and the men seem ok to just plod on. Not sure if you have the same experience?

Keep in touch x

Hi Sophie, thank you so much for your message, much appreciated. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone. The guilt I feel about my affair does get to me though (I’ve actually had a few 🤔). I feel so ashamed & bad about them but I have to somehow forgive myself. I feel so trapped in my marriage - too scared to separate but not happy about staying. It’s a massive decision to make the move especially after being together for SO long.

Feel free to message me anytime I’m all ears & hope I can help you in some way. These forums are so good for venting/talking about our troubles. Thanks again.

Cheers,

Cazza 😊 x

Hi Cazza

actuslly I’ve had a few as well. Don’t seem to be able to stop myself now I know that some men do find me attractive. Honestly I had no clue that anyone rose would be interested but it’s certainly opened my eyes! I have come to the conclusion that after thinking about separating many times over the years I’m only really in a position to now and if I don’t I think I will regret it later. He’s so controlling I am looking forward to being able to make my own decisions. I’m quite a confident person when I’m not with him, but when I’m with him I have to basically do as I’m told. Not the way I want to live that’s for sure.

how will you be for money if you split up? Can u take care of yourself?

Hi Sophie,

Yes, I agree it’s very flattering when another guy finds you sexy & attractive 😊 I’m craving the attention, love, intimacy, compliments. With so many social platforms online it’s quits easy to meet other men. Although, I know it’s not right but we do have our needs 😏

Not sure how I will go on my own as I only work 3 days a week. Haven’t looked into the nitty gritty of finances as I’ve never had to, my husband pays all the bills but I guess I will have to learn! He is in a really good Super scheme so I guess eventually I will get 1/2 of that & our house would sell at a very high price.

I’m just so scared of the unknown & don’t cope well with change & we have been together since I was 17 (I’m now 53). How will you go financially ? My kids will be devastated although they are 26 & 21. Have you any children, couldn’t remember? 

Kind regards,

Cazza x

Hi Cazza

yes I have 2 kids in their early 20s who still live with us.

Its funny but I pay all the bills and do all the paperwork, tax returns, insurances etc in our house, yet I have to get permission to buy anything. Suppose I’ve done it for so long he expects it now. He likes to act like the big man, you should hear some of the things he says to our friends 😤

i can definitely help you with how to manage finances, it’s much easier than you think 😊

I have a good job myself but that’s the other thing that I am worried about and the reason why I haven’t split up with him yet as I need to find another job. My contract will be coming to an end soon and I need to be financially secure to buy another house.

I have regular physio on my neck and top of my back as I get so tense trying to deal with everything, most of which he would never understand so I’ve given up trying to explain now.

Whereabouts are you in Oz?

Hi Sophie,

We are in a very similar situation & our kids seem around the same age. I’m 53. I agree, we have to be financially secure & to separate it takes a bit of planning too. Can you rent for a bit rather than buy? Will you sell the house you are in with your family? My kids live at home too. I really don’t want to work full time & love my part time job so I’m hoping I can somehow afford to rent in my 3 day/week job 🤔

I don’t get any compliments about at all about the way i look at all!! He is so bloody negative too & that really gets me down. He is not a good communicator, I think I can talk to strangers better.

Nice to have this conversation between us. Also I’m in SA where are you?

cheers

Cazza x

HI Cazza

We will have to sell our house, as I can't quite afford it on my own. We should both come out with a decent amount to set us up separately though. I could rent for a while, just depends whats on the market at the time I suppose.

Yes my husband likes to make little comments all the time about how I look. I am a bit overweight again now. I lost 15 kg's around 18 months ago and felt and looked fantastic, he kept saying to the kids that I think I'm a supermodel because I've lost a bit of weight. Not nice. Anyway I've put most of it back on again now as my confidence has been shaken again but once I get into my determined mode I will enjoy the exercise to get it off again!

I am in WA. Love it here, very occasionally I might visit SA so I'll let you know if I do!

Hows your weekend been?

I have now found a lump in one of my breasts which I feel quite sick about, so going to the doctors later today 😞

Hi Sophie,

These husbands know how to strip us of our confidence 🙄 I’ve NEVER received many compliments at all & I get very sad when friends of ours compliment each other when we are out with them or he puts his arm around her, I feel so sad. I have to ask ‘do I look ok in this’ etc etc & it’s not like I don’t compliment him as I do ! I’ve always instigated sex as well. He has a low libido but never wanted to see Dr to try & improve things.

WA is lovely, we went to Perth & Margaret River a few years ago. Yes if you are ever in Adelaide would LOVE to catch up. Feel as though we would get on very well, lots in common already ! Lol

Try not to panic about the lump, I know it’s difficult but it might not be anything to worry about & then you have expended all that energy on worry for nothing! I know it’s easier said than done 😏

Take care & look forward to hearing from you soon.

kind regards,

Cazza

HI Cazza

Thats so funny, my sex life with my husband has been non existent for a while now as well. Doesn't help I suppose that I don't fancy him anymore 😞 And yes I am the same, I look at other couples holding hands and I've never had anything even simple like that to show affection, even though I've tried with him 😞

Yes certainly sounds like we have a lot in common already! Just don't want to hijack Cathy's post as she is also in a similar situation.

I have a scan on Friday for the lump, looks like I might know more next week but I'm not as concerned now that I saw the doctor yesterday 🙂

I've had all sorts of thoughts running through my head, such as OMG I will have to stay with my husband while I fight it, and I will be stuck with him for a long time. But anyway lets see what happens...

So at the moment I have a health issue I am dealing with, I am trying to finish a course to get a qualification but only have until the end of September to complete it, my marriage is falling apart and I am trying to work through a plan to exit, my job is unstable so I am looking for another one urgently as the pressure (and basically bullying) is unbelievable, and I am trying not to let another man distract me while I deal with it all at present! Just an average day for me lol