I love my husband and the life he has made possible for us. However, there is a side to our marriage kept hidden–a side almost no one is privy to.
My husband is a lot of things to me: a friend, companion, provider, co-parent, and roommate. He fulfills my need for stability and security. This is a modern-day marriage of convenience, a partnership of collaboration. We wanted to be parents, but being a single parent wasn’t as appealing as coming together to raise a child together. For the most part, we have the same values and belief systems. We share the same enjoyment of parenthood and yet can appreciate the differences each of us contributes to our son’s upbringing. (Not to say we don’t ever fight about it; we disagree on a lot, as two independent-minded people do.) By combining our assets, we are able to make our lifestyle work and create a life that keeps us both comfortable and less stressed. We are gaining financial independence and can afford things that on our own would be out of reach.
While we never sat down and made a mutual decision that this is how it would be, it was an unspoken expectation . . . or so it seemed. I was naïve and thought the rest would fall into place.
Coming home and knowing there will always be someone there meets a most basic human need for connection. I have a stressful job, coming home just to eat, shower, and sleep before doing it over for several nights in a row. Through all this, I have total confidence that he will take care of the rest and keep things humming along in my absence. I extend the same courtesy to him. I give him uninterrupted time after work to watch sports, play on his phone, or run an errand by himself when he needs it.
As introverts, having each other around during family events and social outings takes a huge burden off of both of us. He isn’t the greatest conversationalist; his thoughts and ideas are kept mostly to himself. He is a private person, so pressuring him to talk will backfire. Our conversations are far from deep and I still feel like I hardly scratched the surface of who my husband really is. After 10 years, he has yet to tell me anything about his childhood, his travels abroad, his philosophy on life, where he sees himself in the future, or any other profound insights.
In public, my husband and I hold hands, hug, kiss, and look like most other couples. At home, we show some (more subtle) affection in front of our son. Mostly because we want him to be secure that his parents love each other. There is definitely more affection towards our son than towards each other. In all honesty, we love our son more than we love each other.
Sounds great, right? Not quite.
My husband and I share no romance, no intimacy, and we are not lovers.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t monogamous…we are. This is, and always has been, a lot harder for me than for him. I was always in relationships where the physical aspect was the best and easiest part. Even going back to our dating days, sexuality didn’t seem to be on his radar at all. There always seemed to be some stressful life event to attribute his low libido to. On one occasion, I met him at my door in new lingerie, and his only comment was, “My favorite show is on.” It was (and still is) a tough struggle when other guys showed interest in me. I miss being desired, and it was near impossible not to jump at the chance!
Side note: Anyone want to take a guess at how hard making a baby is when your husband (who is not gay, and claims he is attracted to you) seems disgusted with the act? Near impossible!
There have been a couple of times where it got to be too much, and I got resentful and wanted to explore other options. I gave him several options and ultimatums: separate our sex lives entirely, go to sex therapy, divorce, etc. I couldn’t in good conscience cheat on him without his permission or knowledge. If I was going to admit failure and go that route, then I needed everyone to be comfortable with it. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed something.
I wasn’t happy.
I needed to figure out what I wanted and what was important long-term for me and my soul.
Living in a marriage devoid of romance, passion, and intimacy has been a slow process of acceptance and nuance. I have made a conscious choice every day to stay in this marriage. It could be a lot worse. I rationalize that I would rather have a marriage where I know my son and I are well-provided for and loved by a partner that is always present, supportive, and respectful. Furthermore, it is a lot of pressure to expect one person to fill all the roles of companion, contributor (financial and workload), supporter (emotional and otherwise), lover, involved co-parent, conversationalist, and roommate that happens to share the same values, practices, and ideals as you without being TOO much like you.
But I still miss the passion every day.
My sexless marriage, devoid of passion and romance, has been a very hard adjustment for me to come to terms with. It is far from ideal or what marriage was built-up to be in my mind, and I have been okay with that . . . until now.
Writing these feelings and seeing it in front of me has made me really question:
How did I get here?
Why have I stayed this long?
Life is too short to submit idly to someone else’s comfort while ignoring my own basic needs and what I want for my future. Today, I am taking off my little white gloves and asking for a divorce.