Marriage Of One

April 5, 2010

‘Expert’ Advice

Filed under: love,marriage,relationships,sex — marriageofone @ 11:06 pm
Tags: , ,
I have to say I smiled just a bit when I read ToppHoggs comment on my last posting…that I had started to ‘blog … as an expert’ on this type of life.  I don’t think I’ve yet been called an expert on, well anything!  Yet I would gladly pass on the privilage of being an expert on this one thing.  Were it up to me.
But it did make me think about everything again, this time with a more holistic view of my situation and I thought it would be a good time to summarise what it is that I have done and am doing and why.  So as concisely as I can, here goes.
Why am I still putting myself through this?
  1. Love – I really do love her and she me.  I don’t believe it is the kind of love that most married couples would recognise however.  Yet it is there and it does mean something to us both.
  2. Friendship – I guess it’s part of the first point but I guess it represents a different angle; we want to be together because we actually like each other’s company.
  3. Children – they are our shared project and provide a focus without which the friendship and love would probably drift.  This is interesting because as the children grow the acute dependency on us both will lessen and that means our joint focus will be needed less and less.
What have I learned in the last 10-ish years and particularly since this site was started?
  1. People disagree on the impact that a separation will have on very young children.  Some say ‘kids adapt’ no matter what.  Other’s (such as I) think that even if they do, it is still ‘better’ to keep a marriage together if at all possible.  In may case it is, so I do.
  2. People disagree on what a marriage should entail. Some people think I’m being a walk-over.  Some think that Susan does not love me and is using me, because no loving wife would put me through what she has.  Some people think I have been a saint and I should hang in there; whilst others think I have been saintly enough and should let go now before more of my life is wasted.
But with my tongue firmly in my cheek as an ‘expert’ here is my advice…to myself (and anyone else who cares to take it).
Of my three reasons I would consider the following as a ‘get out’ condition.  (Substitute ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘her’ for your situation as applicable):
  1. I love her and she loves me, we are good friends but there are no children.  If that were the case I think even Susan would agree that we should shake hands and part amicably, wishing each other the best for future loves and lives.
  2. We have children, but we are not friends (and hence don’t love each other).  The children would pick up on the indifference to each other/animosity sooner of later.  In time they would come to the realisation that the relationship was a charade.  It would be best to be honest to each other and them.
I guess you could argue that we are already being dishonest with the children, by pretending that we are like many other mommies and daddies out there.  But at this stage I think it is a lie of silence – my children don’t even know about sex and certainly wouldn’t know (or indeed care) that we have only a shell of a sexual marriage.  If they were ever to ask a direct question about our sex-life, that would become the first lie in words and we would then be guilty of perpetuating a fabrication and being genuinely dishonest to the children.  I still wonder how I would handle that question.
I suspect however, that initially the question would be directed to Susan and I feel that she will be sorely tempted to lean towards dishonesty.  I say that not out of malice but because I think she will say what she believes will be of most comfort to the children.  If she thinks at that moment that making the kids believe that she and I have a wholesome and fulfilling marriage will give them more confidence and security, then she may well be tempted to give that impression.  And to be honest, depending on the age of the children at the time that may not be a bad idea.
I guess I am resigned to a measure of deception at least until they are old enough and/or mature enough to understand the complexities of sexuality.  That it seems is the price I am asking my children to pay for the security of a combined family as they grow.  If they ever get to know the truth will they accept the price?  Will they agree with the terms of the deception?  If this blog and I are still around in 15 years, I’ll let you know.
And on sex itself?  Well I’ve learnt that Susan is, as far as I can ever conclusively know, asexual.  I’ve learnt that although she knows she has a problem she still wants to ‘fix’ it rather than deal with the underlying issues (nor the issues that have developed over the last 10 years).  That is, she is still looking for that pill she can take 3 times a day for 2 weeks which will ‘clear it up’.  By that reckoning there is no hope and it means I have learnt to accept that this is my lot.  It won’t get better because in short, it can’t.  I’m in this on my own.  I have to rectify it literally on my own and as a marriage is by definition a partnership, it means that this – marriage of one – is set to continue and sexually at least, to fail.
So what of advice for similarly sexually placed individuals? I would leave if:
  1. Sex was overwhelmingly important to me.  No reasonable person would ever say this I think.  Everyone puts love higher – at least on a medium to long term relationship.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that really become more important the less of it you have.
  2. Lack of sex affects seriously affects my health (mental, emotional or physical).
  3. Lack of sex adversely affects my day-to-day capacity to live ‘normally’.  That is, to work competently, think and behave rationally, interact normally with other people.
  4. Lack of sex causes intolerable stress on other aspects of the marriage.
I can’t advise on anything more because I would expect that the overwhelmingly vast majority of people with sexual issues which may resemble what I am living through will have an otherwise normal partner who has for one reason or another lost interest in sex.  Ergo, there is an opportunity that this interest could under some circumstances be revived.  My situation is that Susan hasn’t lost interest – she never had it.  And she doesn’t even know what she is missing.
I can’t of course speak for those who have other relationship issues which have taken a sexual dimension from a predominantly non-sexual problem.
Whenever I write for this blog I feel a need to express the sexual disjunction that lies between Susan and myself (and Susan and most people I should imagine).  And I’ve never been able to quite capture the correct simile.  Is it like two people speaking different languages?  Two people from different cultural backgrounds?  Two different species?  Any ideas?


  1. My what a tangled web I prompted you to weave!

    To answer your last conundrum, how about two people performing two different dances simultaneously?

    My friend, sometimes one has to settle for what little one can get. I’m not totally convinced that Susan is quite as hopeless as you have described her based on her recent behavior toward you. I see signs that she is trying to be what you want her to be even as I concede your point that she might not know how to do this. It is similar in my own relationship. I understand how frustrating this can be.

    Because you have chosen to remain in a relationship with Susan, you have to make a marriage with the wife you have and not the one you wish you had (Sorry! I couldn’t resist!) You both have conflicting personality characteristics which get in the way of coming to an easy accommodation. Because you are actually having sex lately, Susan has had to set some of these aside to participate. You have had to do so as well. Look at the results and ask yourself if this wasn’t worth the effort.

    One last thing before I have to retire for the moment. You have no obligation to be so honest about your sex life with your kids considering that you and Susan have troubles. It’s my suggestion that you not go into details, but instead just reply that relationships take a lot of work and that both of you are working on it as hard as you can. Kids really don’t want to know that their parents are sexual beings. That connection is just a bit too u comfortable for them.

    I may have more thoughts later and will reply again if I do.

    By the way: the different login is due to visiting our Seattle friend’s special project site and not logging out before I linked here. Talk to you soon.

    Comment by 1topphogg — April 7, 2010 @ 3:10 am

  2. I think I need now to explain what I meant by you being an expert. I didn’t intend to imply that you were now trained in the sense that you have studied what your life has become. You are only sharing your experiences to those of us who have no direct knowledge. I have never met you or Susan, and can only relate to you both through your words. I have to trust that your experiences are as you see them (not that anyone I know would ever make up such a relationship on purpose) as long as I don’t find them too fantastic (and I don’t).

    I await your next installment.

    Comment by ToppHogg — April 21, 2010 @ 9:42 am

  3. My only question is when you are away from the reality of the day-to-day life, is she more in tune with her sexuality, not just physically, but mentally?

    Comment by Looking4answers — May 4, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  4. The answer to your question is ‘no’. In my experience “getting away from it all” in terms of holidays, short breaks, does not appear to make a difference either during the holiday or in the aftermath.

    If anything, I’ve found that she is just as likely to become less sexually attuned – its like she sees sex as a chore and since she is on holiday she doesn’t feel inclined to do any chores – or no more than what she feels is necessary.

    Comment by marriageofone — May 28, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

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