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Switch to Forum Live View Is there hope or is it just holding on?
7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 9:29PM #1
oceanandtreelover
Posts: 7
I am so much in need of guidance about my marriage, which really does not feel like a marriage at all.  We have been together since 1992, divorced once for a year (at my request), and separated several times.  You could call it a roller-coaster ride emotionally, that is for sure!

A little background:  we both spend our childhood and youth in very dysfunctional, abusive homes...his more neglectful, mine physical and emotional abuse.  We came together pretty broken, and struggled a long time to learn to not argue and last out verbally, and to talk.   Actually it took years to do that...and a lot of damage was done to my daughters by our relationship and  his weeks long silences, when he was angry at me.   He shut them out a lot...even though they were 9, 12 and 13 when we got married.   After our divorce in 1998, a year later, we got back together and it seemed as though we were on a different level of relating...more openness, we began going to an Episcopal Church together...he was more loving to my grandchildren.

Along the way, though, he had 3 heart bypass surgeries and many other health problems, and although he continues to teach full-time, we have had no sexual relationship in 4 years (yes...4 years)...During some of the time since our remarriage in 2000, we have gone on some adventures, and had some wonderful times too.

He has really withdrawn more and more, and often seems very depressed, does not take good care of himself, and after 3 sessions, walked out of marriage counseling and refused to come back.  So I go alone, and keep working hard on my own issues,and healing.   Other people (family, friends) on the outside don't understand why I am still here, but I honestly feel TIED TO HIM by all the life and death experiences we have been through, as well as the wonderful ones.  I love him like a friend, but no longer feel any romantic love toward him.  Actually, I feel responsible for him and sorry for him to some degree.  I am really his only family and I feel that if I leave him, he will have no one.  Yet he is unwilling to work on our problems, unwilling to even talk about ways to be intimate (he has problems with ED because of medications) or what we might do differently.

So...at 53 (and still young at heart and in spirit) I find myself closing up more and more, as it is so SAD to live this way...no emotional closeness, he is sort of "moping" a lot, but won't get help, and he does things for me a lot...to show he loves me.   It is just so hard to think of spending the rest of my married life with him with absolutely no sexual relationship or even a close loving friendship.    Sometimes I feel clearly that I should just try to make peace with "how it is" and sometimes I feel that a part of my spirit will just fade away if I stay...the part that is alive and passionate and creative...

I don't know if I shared enough to give anyone a verbal "picture" of this relationship, but if you have any thoughts, inspirations or advice, please feel free to share.   

Thank you and blessings to you all....
Debra, alias oceanandtreelover
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 11:01PM #2
DesertKat
Posts: 436
It is also not uncommon for men (and for that matter women) who have had serious heart disease, MIs and/or bypasses to fear physical intimacy.  And of course there are other ways to express intimacy, but let's face it- sexual intimacy often drives our feelings of intimacy.  While you can't force him to change his views or frears, have you tried intoducing other forms of physical intimacy?

The hormone that drives that feeling of closeness is oxytocin, which is released during physical contact.  The good thing is, it is not only released during sexual encounters, but also through other forms of physical intimacy- such as cuddling, hugging and simply touching your partner.  From there, perhaps, you can build a closer physical bond if you are willing to put in the time and effort.

One thing you, and only you, are going to have to decide before trying to start this process is if you are really willing to put yourself out on the line for this.  Are you still a part of the relationship or have you emotionally checked out?
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Winston Churchill
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 11:41PM #3
latebloomerat58
Posts: 16
Debra, I can't give advice on what's going on medically, but I just felt a bond with you when I read your post and wanted to let you know that I *do* know how you feel!

I just posted today on this board "when is for better or for worse". While our backgrounds and years together are different from yours, I am battling the same issues with my partner regarding where I stand with him at the present time. I know so well what you mean about feeling tied to him, and that you feel both responsible as well as sorry for him.

I made the unfortunate error of stating that we considered ourselves as "married" since our relationship had been monogamous for 6 years...even long distance!  Since I hardly know how to proceed with my own life, I'm not going to give advice to you, except to say that I surely feel for you and what you are going through.

One question I can ask myself, is "would I do it over again, knowing what I know now?" (about his sons' schizophrenia and its impact on the entire family) and I'm sorry to say "no". I would like to have it both ways, though, since I learned a lot about me in the process of my relationship with him. He was a much more vibrant 65 year old than he is at 71...but then I was a very excited 58 year old, 6 years out of a 30 yr marriage, and very influenced by his charms. I think I can say now that I would rather have spent a little more time with the possibility of investing my energy into a relationship that had more long-term potential. We were probably doomed to fail from the beginning, since we both had compelling reasons to stay in our own homes.

I hate that this is going to sound like "just move on", but consider that the way you describe his behavior (moping around) could possibly drag you into depression. I would love to be 10 years younger, and starting over. But know that the process could take quite some time and also be draining. I know that may not be what you were looking for, but it's the best I have to offer.

I wish you well in whatever your decision.
Peace,
Latebloomer
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 8:55PM #4
oceanandtreelover
Posts: 7
Thank you for your understanding reply, and for sharing your own situation.  I hear the sadness in your voice, and hope that you find joy in other ways in your life.   Your kindness and loving spirit really come through in your words....

Reading the things people write  on here helps also, and makes me look at things a little differently.  I do not know what I will do right now except continue to go to counseling, pray a lot, and work on being honest with myself.   Talking with him about anything emotional is tough...but I need to do it, and know that I am strong enough to speak my own truth in a loving way.

I wish you good things,
Oceanandtreelover
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 8:55PM #5
oceanandtreelover
Posts: 7
Thank you for your understanding reply, and for sharing your own situation.  I hear the sadness in your voice, and hope that you find joy in other ways in your life.   Your kindness and loving spirit really come through in your words....

Reading the things people write  on here helps also, and makes me look at things a little differently.  I do not know what I will do right now except continue to go to counseling, pray a lot, and work on being honest with myself.   Talking with him about anything emotional is tough...but I need to do it, and know that I am strong enough to speak my own truth in a loving way.

I wish you good things,
Oceanandtreelover
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2008 - 3:53AM #6
Ethelq5
Posts: 56
i know you're facing a very tough situation.it's more of an obligation than love.i know you still love him but in a different level and you're staying out of pity and conscience...but you have to remember that as much as you've obligation to others...you also have obligation to yourself...life is too short...you can't continue living for other people alone, can't be like a living dead as well...you've to live life for yourself ....life is so beautiful...savour it...enjoy it...do what you can do for yourself now..be happy...for tomorrow may never come.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2008 - 10:14PM #7
oceanandtreelover
Posts: 7
Thank you for the reminder that I also have an obligation to myself, and not just to care for others...especially my husband.

Some choices are incredibly difficult, and we hope that there can stil be a connection there, but it is a great unknown.

It sounds like you speak from experience?  If so, are you ok with sharing?

Thanks,
Debra
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2008 - 11:11PM #8
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407
Debra,

You have been through so much in this relationship, and are so torn between both the good memories and the obligation of marriage and the thought that there could be something more fulfilling for you elsewhere.  You are so sexually frustrated, and the thought of living out your days without any physical intimacy whatsoever fills you with sadness and regret.

And you have expressed all of this to your husband.

Blessings,
Arnie
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 7:16AM #9
Ethelq5
Posts: 56
hi debra,

do i really sound like i'm talking based on my experience???

yeah, i guess so....i just learned from that experience that though we can't live by ourselves alone, we can't live for other people alone as well...so, everything should be taken in to consideration.

my dad once told me that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel and i bear that in mind...

it's just a matter of choice if you want to stay in the dark or do something to see the light...
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 7:16AM #10
Ethelq5
Posts: 56
hi debra,

do i really sound like i'm talking based on my experience???

yeah, i guess so....i just learned from that experience that though we can't live by ourselves alone, we can't live for other people alone as well...so, everything should be taken in to consideration.

my dad once told me that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel and i bear that in mind...

it's just a matter of choice if you want to stay in the dark or do something to see the light...
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