When you’re dissatisfied with your own marriage, it’s easy to look enviously at other couples and think they have the perfect life – great house, great lifestyle, great relationship. The truth however is that you never know what someone else’s relationship is really like.
In the first post of a new series with my guest, Lucy, she shares how she and her husband had the perfect marriage to the outside world but inside it was deeply troubled. They were married for seven years and during that time rarely had sex. Lucy explains how that made her feel:
I met my ex husband in college when I was 19 and we got married a year after college and it was the perfect—seemingly, the perfect couple-hood, the perfect marriage. We got married because we were in love and we thought that’s what you do. It never really occurred to me to live on my own and become an adult before I got married.
There we were in our early 20’s and neither one of us really knew what we were doing, but it wasn’t like I was unhappy, I just was oblivious. It went okay, but as we were married for a longer time, it became clear that it was more of a friendship, more of a roommate thing. I was rejected a lot. It was just like no romance, no loving, nothing. It just became more and more empty and I just thought, “This is what marriage is.”
He was really my first serious relationship also. So, it went from being really great, like a normal, I would say, college relationship to just more of this weird friendship. Our chemistry just did not match and I didn’t have the maturity at the time to realize like, “Wow, this was kind of a huge mistake.” Like Dr. Phil says, “If your sex life is fine, it’s 20 percent of your marriage, but if it’s bad, it’s 80 percent,” and that’s pretty much what it became.
Everybody else was seeing how great we were together, because we really were good. We never fought, which actually I don’t think is good anymore. I think that’s abnormal. He was a CPA. I was a teacher, so we were making a decent income. We were going on trips, we bought a house, got a different house. It would seem great from the outside, but it was really lonely in our marriage.
We rarely had sex and for somebody in their mid-20s, it was ridiculous. I’m like, “Really, this is it?”
It was very strange. When we were dating it was fine and it was normal and then it seems like the minute we got engaged, everything changed. He said, “I want to wait until we’re married.”
I thought, “That’s kind of weird.” If I would have been the person I am now, I would’ve said, “This is ridiculous. What is the deal?” but at the time I went along with it. I thought, “Oh yeah, what if I would get pregnant? That would be horrible to ruin our wedding.” Intuitively, I just knew but didn’t want to admit that that was not right.
It was a cycle. Maybe we would have sex and then it would be fine and then we wouldn’t and wouldn’t and then I would start crying and say, “What’s wrong, why is this happening?” He would say, “When you cry I feel pressured.” It was like it never got above water to a normal thing. It’s like “We had sex. Great,” and then the cycle would repeat itself.
I think we just were not a chemical match. It worked when we did but he was weird about it. I still don’t know to this day, what the deal was there.
Because my ex husband’s sister is gay I thought it could be genetic. I thought maybe he was gay. He’s remarried now and he doesn’t seem like he’s a cross-dresser or anything like that, which would make me feel better if he was.
It was horrible and I’m an attractive person. I don’t feel bad about myself. I’m not a super model or anything, but I feel like, “Hey, what’s your deal here?” But you feel bad, no matter what. It’s like, “Why don’t you want to be with me,” and it was hard.
I went through these phrases where I went from feeling bad to realizing I didn’t need to feel this bad. That’s when it became clear that we needed counseling and divorce.
He felt bad. He didn’t want to hurt me. It was not just sexually. We both were trying to be something we weren’t and it didn’t work for either one of us. And it just didn’t change, which made me feel worse, it made me try harder. It’s was a vicious cycle of rejection and faking it for the outside world.
We were both the youngest in our families and our older siblings didn’t have ideal marriages. They were good people but I think we were like the star of our families, because we got married out of college and I think we were both just trying to just maintain that image. In addition to feeling lonely, we felt like we were letting everyone down, including each other. That was part of the pressure and the burden of everything.
Barring a medical/physical issue, a disinterest in sex is a pretty good indicator of a deeper issue and it takes courage and honesty to confront it.
I lost interest in sex long before I was willing to see that our marriage was in serious trouble. I know that was very frustrating for my husband – he’d ask and I’d make excuses. I wasn’t equipped to handle the confrontation. It’s a long time ago now – I vaguely remember skirting the issue during some therapy sessions but it was never confronted head on. I think deep inside I knew it was because I no longer loved him but I couldn’t bring myself to say it or admit it. I was in my “divorce isn’t an option” mindset.
I’ve interviewed other ladies who’ve dealt with lack of sexual interest from their husbands. IronSpineSally said she kidded herself about her husband’s sexual problems for the bulk of her marriage and was too inexperienced to realize there even was a problem at first.
Lisa Wynn struggled with a sexless marriage for twenty years. It wasn’t until after they’d separated that her husband shared that he’d been with a man for fifteen years before marrying her.
And then there’s Nancy, who discovered her husband was a cross-dresser. She even signed up as an adult model on the Internet in the vain attempt to win him over.
I like the quote from Dr. Phil. Another popular quote is that sex is always the first thing to go in a troubled marriage. Do you think that’s true?
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