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I can't stop crying today...
I’m 68 and have been with my ex-fiancée since 1980. We were both divorcees and the first thing we said to each other was “Ain’t never going to get married again!” We married in 1984.
My wife is a bit of a control freak; mostly fine by me. I refer to her as She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO). People ask me how come we’ve managed to stay happily married for 35 years and I respond “Just find someone worth obeying and do so.”
When we first met SWMBO told me how she used to cheat on her husband and race home at lunch-times to have sex with other men. Rather offputting, I found this exciting and adventurous. I have a healthy appetite for sex and thought we might have an interesting sex life together. At first it was. We were in lust. Gradually though SWMBO diminished the amount of sex I am allowed and it trickled down to nil about a decade ago.
It’s not just sex; I crave affection. I really like to be hugged. I can only have a (brief) hug from SWMBO if I ask. She says she doesn’t spontaneously hug me as I always take it as an invitation for sex. When the spontaneous hug from someone who inspires lust only happens twice a year...
During the last crisis I persuaded her that we should go to marriage counselling. The marriage councillor told us there was nothing wrong with our marriage and we should be grateful for what we had.
SWMBO says she doesn’t want sex because she doesn’t enjoy it. When tasked with my observation she says she doesn’t enjoy it.
I am partially crippled; I have a chronic lower back problem. For a couple of years I was incapable of sex, but have gained control of my chronic health problems and my libido returned. Being crippled means I don’t get out much. I live in a rural area and my closest friends are dead. I am a gourmet home cook and invites to my dinner table is deemed a privilege I’m told. On Saturday I was expecting two friends as dinner guests. SWMBO was to confirm the time as she has a busy social life. She didn’t tell me until the meal was in an advanced state of preparation that she hadn’t bothered to let our friends know it wasn’t happening.
I try to explain how I feel, but she misinterprets what I say.
☺ hi jonathan and all 🖐
Welcome to bb matey and good on you sharing your story which sadly I think many can relate to.
I'm for now tagging this so I can come back and chat with you ☺
At times replies might have a delay. If you're interested you might like to squiz and join in any threads that catch your eye.
There's also the social zone for lighter banter if you like.
Catch ya later on.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. It must be so hard to watch your relationship that was very fulfilling and loving, turn into something very isolating and lonely. I can hear that you’re feeling sad that you wife is no longer affectionate or wanting to have sex with you. It is clear that she is your main support, as your disability prevents you from going out much, and most of your friends have passed away.
It sounds like your gourmet home dinners are a hit, and something you are very proud of. I’m sorry that it didn’t end up happening last Saturday as planned. Hopefully you can organise another one again soon.
You mentioned not being able to talk to your wife, because everything you say gets misinterpreted. You also said that seeing a marriage counsellor wasn’t very helpful. I was wondering if you would be open to the idea of seeing another counsellor? Perhaps the last one wasn’t a good fit for you both? Anther option could be to see someone by yourself if your wife doesn’t want to go again. It is important that you take care of your mental health, and have some other supports in your life.
Please let us know how we can best help you here in the forums.
My first post had to be edited somewhat by the mods (not complaining) so there's some essential bits missing. Last night we were conversing quite well (I thought) and I left her an email explaining *how I feel* (lonely in her company) when I awoke in the wee hours (pun intended). She took that as "something meant to wound". My armour's back on.
Worth mentioning that I'm mild Aspergers. SWMBO borrowed a book from the library quite a few years ago "Aspergers in Love" by Maxine Aston. I always knew I viewed the world differently, but didn't know it was in the DSM (not my field). When I mentioned it to my best friend he said look at all your close friends! SWMBO's neurotypical. I have always tried very hard to be the man she wants me to be, but nit vbery successfully it would seem.
Apropos counselling, I recently watched a TEDx talk where a woman explained how she had successfully overcome her aversion to sex by conversing with her female peers. She gave her opinion that discussion groups are far more effective than professional help. That's at least part of why I posted here today. Thanks for being there.
I have just read your post and I am so sorry to hear that this is happening to you and your wife. All credit to you for seeking some help and chatting here, I have found it so great and I am hoping I can help you a little.
The fact that you have done what you said "and found someone worth obeying and do so" is so very special and wonderful and you obviously have a very strong bond even though it may not feel like it atm.
I am no expert in the whole relationship thing all I can go off is my experience and I am 4 years out of a 17 year marriage. While it was full of sex and excitement at the start, it sure did not end that way. Why? hmm..the only thing I can put it down to is change, the only thing that is certain in this world. When we got together there were no kids, no financial burdens, we were young ..in the end we were tired, less tolerant of each other, craving our own space, all the stuff that steers you away from each other.
I hear so loudly what you are saying about a hug, not even sex, the power of human touch is so important and that is what I missed too..to the point where I started to feel scared that noone was ever going to hug me again and noone was ever going to kiss me again. That is a terrifying thought so I can so relate to your craving that human contact.
I was thinking that maybe there are some things that you like to do together, whether it be a board game or some cooking or something that you can do to try to reconnect, with out her feeling the pressure of "you wanting sex". Even just being able to laugh together, in an environment that is not the bedroom might reassure her you are not just after one thing and you want to care for her and hug her, and you would like the same in return.
I am really sad for you that the dinner party didn't work out, that is really shitty and you went to so much trouble to start to prepare and get ready for a great evening. That must have really hurt your feelings that she didn't consider how much effort you were going to for her and your friends.
However we do live busy lives but maybe you could ask her what you can put in place for her to help her perhaps remind her when you have made plans, maybe a calendar or something visual so she can see she needs to address something. That might mean too that you schedule some time together too as she does sound like a busy lady.
I am not sure if I have been of any help JonathanP but I am thinking of you.
Hello there Jonathon
It seems you have attracted some good advice and support from several respondents. Believe it or not, I don’t think your situation is all that uncommon. A marriage that lasts 35 years is an achievement.
A couple of things struck about your post. First of all, you say your wife enjoys a very busy social life. Where does she go? What does she do? Are you interested in joining her in these social events?
Secondly, I’m sensing that the lack of sex may not necessarily be your real problem. As they say, sex is only 10% of a happy marriage but 90% of an unhappy marriage. Is it possible that it is your wife’s rejection of your emotional needs, the lack of sincerity and understanding that is the real problem? Could you be happy without sex if your wife treated you with kindness, which in turn will lift your self esteem and self respect. If the answer is yes, let us know and I will try and provide more support.
Forgive me if I’m on the wrong track Jonathon but I too went through something very similar.
Hi Johnathan and everyone ☺
It's great seeing you have so much support here matey and a variety of excellent replies. What lovely people bb attracts.
I hear your sadness and feel for you budz it's never easy is it not having affection. I too love and crave touch and a good hug so do understand and can relate.
A couple of thoughts that maybe of some help
First though I'd like to congratulate you managing your severe back troubles. Assuming pain and loss of function with back probs. It takes incredible determination and strength to get where you have Kudos.
Same goes for you getting through previous depression which I believe you'll be able to again.
Sorry but I felt the marriage counsellor saying thats normal which ok in many cases it is common for sex to decrease in time but to me it sounded dismissive " be happy with a good marriage" which yes certainly is a great thing but thats not the issue.
I was wondering do you think a sex therapist could be worth a go.
Your wife was into by the sounds the excitement the variety and adrenalin rush is what I'm thinking.
I wonder if it might be worth looking into ways of introducing something different or new to stimulate desire. It could be and I'm not saying for sure cause I don't know that she's needing change. I don't mean partner change but its easy after long periods of time to be in the same routine.
Also I wonder if she's going through some mental health issues that can contribute to lack of interest. Maybe not feeling as good in herself.
Being a control person approaching her would be tricky as you're aware but at the same time you certainly have valid reasons to feel insecure and rejected which is important for her to know that its hurting you. I wonder if theres a way of her understanding thats doesnt make her control issues feel threatened.
Aaronsis I think made a valid point about finding other ways to enjoy and rekindle I guess without wanting sex.
Maybe for now you could ask her to hug and touch you without sex to follow. At this stage anyway the more you ask for sex the more she'll resist by the sounds.
That was a shame about your meal poor guy.
I really do feel for you.
I hope in time you can find a compromise it sounds like otherwise for the most it works for you both.
Peace wished for you and everyone 🕊
Yes, I believe a sex therapist would be of very great assistance, but SWMBO is not interested. Nor is she interested in the idea of discussing it with her peers as was advised by Pam Costa: Reclaiming Female Sexual Desire | TEDxPaloAlto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sn_UhcXZm4
"Maybe for now you could ask her to hug and touch you without sex to follow." I do that every day. I get sexually excited when she caresses/hugs me without being asked. Perhaps 3-4 times a year. It's my being excited by this that she resents. I'm not speculating about the resentment; she tells me she does.
While I have asked to have my friends come for a meal twice this year and she has just not issued the invite (her prerogative) she has asked me to cook for her friends which I did and full willing.
Apropos talking to her, we have had two very excellent conversations this week. Unfortunately she refuses to budge; it's up to me to put up with the situation. I told her that was no longer possible; I have run out of steam.
Many long years ago, my creativity dried up/ground to a halt. A friend who was an "animal behaviorist" was also a counsellor for humans. He showed me that what I needed to do was "get naked", that is remove the armour that I was defending myself with. See The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TEDxHouston for an explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0
This was several years before discovering the underlying cause of many of my problems. As an Aspie, I process emotional stuff in a single area of my brain that's also the area that lights up when we do mathematics, logical reasoning etc. Neuro typicals' brains light up in two areas, one in each hemisphere IIRC. While it's commonly believed that we don't experience emotions, we do so very much. We just find it very difficult to communicate them. Many aspies deal with complex social situations by consuming alcohol and I have done this in the past. I didn't become an alcoholic; my father was an excellent demonstration of why that was a Very Bad Idea. When SWMBO told me she resented my using alcohol to deal with socialising, I managed to reduce that to where it can't possibly be perceived as a problem. Nevertheless SWMBO stated night before last that she still resents what I was doing more than a decade ago.
FWIW I believe my mental health is reasonable. My depression earlier this week was the first for about a decade. Much to my surprise, the black dog's teeth appear to have fallen out. It was the briefest I ever experience. By the afternoon I was merely sad.