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Escape or survive a loveless marriage?

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

Sorry for delayed response. Still having a nightmare all round! Last week i mentioned to my husband that he was very controlling, and he launched into a tirade of verbal abuse while we were at the pub, I was every name under the sun that you can think of. He told me he is not like other men who control their wives and I am completely wrong (or words to that effect). I was then ignored for a day, and then he seems to be being nice now. No apology, nothing. Just reaffirms to me that I need to get away from him once I have secured another job. The stress of walking on eggshells and work related stress is too much sometimes, and I walked out of having a mammogram the other day and burst into tears. Just needed to release a bit of emotion I think, as I have to pretend and hold it together continuously with no time to myself except when I fall into bed and then I'm either too tired to think or I'm awake for hours thinking. I sure can't remember what its like to wake up and feel refreshed!

Anyway, enough whingeing from me. Hows things with you?

Hi Sophie,

No need to apologise at all, I understand - all good 👍😀 you are not whinging either, it’s totally ok to get things of your chest with me or anyone else, venting is good. Let out your emotions & don’t feel bad if you cry or get upset. Totally normal in our situations !!

I feel for you in your abusive relationship & being on eggshells & you probably feel like screaming with frustration & anger !! Are you seeing anyone professionally? (Sorry if you have already told me 🙄) Try & stay positive but I know it’s very difficult. Have you any family (eg sisters or Mum) you can chat to? I’ve got a fantastic group of supportive friends & I’m seeing a good psychologist.

Things are ok with me - at least my depression has lifted now thank god. I find exercise is so good for my mental state & I try to walk in my lunch break & have joined a really nice outdoor gym group too & do boxing twice a week.

Things are still the same at home, just so scared & in 2 minds whether to leave as it’s easier to stay & it’s security. I have the same issues re eggshells but more with my kids not as much with my husband. I never seem to do the right thing in my kids eyes & husband hardly compliments me or says thanks or sorry for that matter. No wonder I’ve got low self esteem 😪

I have actually taken over payment of the bills so that’s a huge positive step !! 👍

Hope to hear from you soon but in the meantime hang in there, you are doing a great job in difficult circumstances & remember you are not alone.

take care,

Cazza x

Hi Cazza

thanks for your response. No I am not seeing anyone professionally. I did try a few sessions last year but all I got was basically told to practise mindfulness - which I didn't find helpful at all!

I do have family but they are all in the UK, and I can't speak to them about what I am feeling as every facetime or phone call I have with them is monitored 😞 I have a few friends here who know my situation, but I really don't get chance to speak to them much at all as I am always watched. What about you?

Great to hear that you are feeling more positive. I agree that exercise does help and it does make you feel more energised - I am hoping to myself into that mindset very soon as I do enjoy exercising!

Also, well done on taking over the payment of the bills - that will definitely help with your confidence and knowing that you can do anything you set your mind to.

I'm not sure if this will help, but when I emigrated to Australia I looked at it along the lines of, if we don't try it we will regret it for the rest of our lives. I am trying to look at separation in the same way. If you don't separate, and continue the way things are now, will you regret it later down the line? Some soul searching there. Of course, much easier said than done.

Have a great weekend!

Hi Sophie,

Great to hear from you. It might be worthwhile searching around for another psychologist who might be able to help you a bit better rather than just offering ‘mindfulness’ 😏. Even just getting things off your chest with someone ‘outside of your situation’ can help. Just my opinion that’s all 😊 It’s difficult when you don’t have family here I can understand.

Yes, it’s a bit of jump for me to take on the bills! 👍

How have things been this week for you? Hope you are doing ok.

Getting some sunshine fresh air & exercising is so good for the mind. Even just 1/2 hour is better than nothing. Try & make time for yourself 😊

Chat again soon, take care

Kind regards,

Cazza x

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Sophie,

Just checking in on you. Hope you are doing ok. Haven't heard from you in a little while so I was just wondering how you are - no pressure to respond 🙂


Cazza xx

Community Member

Hi Cazza

Thanks for checking in. I hope you're doing ok?

I'm not having a good day today - I had been much more positive for the last few weeks as I am working on finding a new job, losing weight and feeling better about myself, and then I am sure that I can work on my relationship issues, but feeling down today, which is unusual for me. Maybe I'm trying to do too much at once, but I can't see a way out of any of it other than working through it. Maybe I'm tired, maybe its the wrong time of the month lol I don't know.

Anyway how is everyone else doing?

Keep in touch xx

Hi Sophie225;

I'm finding you to be a woman of courage, determination and grit.

Not only are you being bullied at work but you're taking steps to get out of an abusive marriage and I find that inspiring.

Feeling down is so normal in your situation. Please go easy on yourself.

Ive read bits and pieces of this thread but prob need to read more before commenting further but I'm cheering you on from the sidelines.

It makes my heart sing to know that you are making the changes to improve your life and wellbeing. Well done.

Ive left abusive men and it feels really good and freeing to be away from them.

You all only deserve the best.


Hi monkey_magic

I really appreciate your message. I'm not perfect (and haven't been), but some days are easier than others. Most I am feeling a bit happier now as I know that I am taking steps in the right direction, even though they are small steps.

The work bullying is quite strange. I have a very good, well paid job, and am a senior leader in my industry but apparently that doesn't stop underhanded bullying happening! Anyway I'm also working my way out of that...

Thank you to everyone on here for listening, and being non-judgmental, it makes such a difference just knowing that there are others out there in similar situations and who are also walking on eggshells.

I am keen to hear off the others from this thread to see how they are doing too xx

Hi Sophie, sorry for the long delay in my response ! I am actually feeling a lot better & have "come through the dark cloud" of depression thank god 🙂 Haven't taken any steps in separating though 😞 When I am in my depressive state I tend to catastraphise EVERYTHING & need to take action immediately. But when I calm down, things actually don't seem that bad after all. Just not sure anymore whether to separate or not.

Thanks for your message. How are you going?? Hope things are improving slowly for you. Hope you are looking after the number person, YOU

Keep in touch, take care.

Cazza xx

HI Cazza

I hope you are still doing well. I'm having good days and bad days, some days with my husband are ok, but then he goes back to his old self continuously criticising etc. I suppose if I am dreaming of a life without him then my subconscious mind is made up!

I am still applying for other jobs but its a long road when you are a higher level there are less roles to apply for...

On the plus side though we have a date for our citizenship ceremony now, so will be citizens in February - yay!