After their disastrous, supposedly romantic getaway to New York, for Lisa the marriage was over but may be not for her husband. He made a last attempt to keep her in the marriage by finally telling her why it was a sexless marriage. Here’s Lisa:
We got back from New York and I called my friend who’s an attorney and said,
“I’m out of here, I can’t do it anymore. There’s something wrong he’s not telling me or something.”
She told me how to download the papers, I served them to him, he wouldn’t leave. Then I got a phone call from his counselor that he actually made an appointment with, who said to me,
“Is there a way you can come in here half an hour before he does?”
I said, “No, I’m done.”
He said, “No, you really need to come in here. I’m begging you. You won’t have to pay for it. I just really need to talk to you.”
So I leave work on my lunch hour, having no clue what I’m walking into. He asks me some questions, I tell him really nonchalant, I’m just so tired of the story. My husband walks in. He’s sitting there, with his feet like a five-year-old, pigeon-toed, with tears falling down his face and he says,
“I was with a man for 15 years before we got married.”
I said, “Excuse me?”
I was looking for the garbage can to puke in, but luckily I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. The shock was as if saying “my parents are brother and sister.” I just couldn’t even fathom it, and it gets worse.
“It was with my cousin. Every time I make love to you, I have to conjure up all sorts of stuff in my mind, just to come.”
I stood up and said, “I’m done.”
The Christian born-again counselor grabs my wrist,
“No please, please stay. Walk through the door of eternity with him, you can’t leave him when he’s sick.”
“I’m sorry, he had twenty-two years, he lied to me, he lied to my children. I have asked, I have begged, I have pleaded, we have gone through medical things. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on medication. Fuck you.”
And I left and I have never looked back.
I haven’t interviewed anyone who didn’t take their marriage vows seriously and for me, Lisa is not an exception. While her husband may have been sick, I do believe that relationships can go past the point where they can be salvaged. If you know you’re done, you’re done and it’s impossible to work on a relationship when your heart isn’t in it. Lisa knew she was at that point and she did what she knew she had to do.
I can see that in some cases, you can be done as husband and wife but depending on the circumstances, you could still provide support for an ex who was sick as Jen did for her husband who had cancer. Those circumstances would almost certainly have to be a mutual agreement and respect and that was definitely not the case for Lisa, as we’ll discover in the next few posts.
As T commented on the sexless marriage post, sex is often withheld in a marriage as a form of control or punishment. I don’t see that being the case here. I don’t know if Lisa’s ex’s former relationship was abusive or consensual but clearly he has some significant psychological issues around having sex. Not being able is different from intentionally choosing not to have sex. It’s similar to Nancy who said her husband would rather mow the grass than have sex – she discovered he was a cross-dresser. Again, not a malicious or intentional withholding of sex but more an inability. But if you know what your sexual preferences are, shouldn’t there be some disclosure before the “I do?” Shouldn’t this be one of the subjects you discuss just like having kids, religion and money?
Photo credit: Richard Masoner