Marriage Of One

The Last Step

This page completes the history of my marriage, although the blog entries chronicle what happened after this web site was started.
This article shames me a bit, because this is when I turned from a ‘victim’ into a perpetrator.  All I ask is that you read it with an idea of my desperation for my marriage in mind.
The previous article to this is The Later Years.

About a year before we moved I had wondered what my ‘last ditch’ plan would be regarding our marriage – considering that divorce was unacceptable. I had come up with the following three-stages:

  1. Susan had made me live for 6 years (at that time) pretty much totally under her rules. What if we agreed (mutually) that she lived under my rules for just 6 months? During that time she would have the same rights as I had under hers – basically none. I would of course water down this principle in practice because of the type of man I am, but basically she would therefore have to have sex on my terms rather than hers.
  2. If she declined to take up or follow this plan then I would again ask her to get professional help.
  3. If she declined help and/or she failed to improve following this help, I would have to consider something drastic for myself. I seriously considered chemical castration or at least some kind of medication to reduce – even eliminate – my sex drive. It was my last resort.

I told Susan about this plan shortly before we moved or shortly afterward (I can’t remember). I told her that I would wait on implementing ‘The Plan’ until I got the go-ahead from her.

Our youngest was now 6 or 7 months old. Susan and I had not had sex now for 15 months. Susan now broke the silence. “When are we going to start your plan?” she asked. I was surprised she had even remembered. So just to refresh her memory I went through a few rules which almost but not quite mirrored her rules. Some examples:

  • She would have to agree to sex on my terms. She could refuse if she was unwell, but not if she simply “didn’t feel like it”.
  • Susan had to learn how to French kiss.
  • She would have to learn how to perform oral sex. I didn’t expect her to become an expert but wanted her to try to learn to give it and possibly enjoy giving it – for my sake.
  • Use sex toys, food.
  • Experiment and fantasize.
  • I also expected her to start looking her age and dress as a woman in her thirties and get rid of her huge and boring underwear. I wanted her to work on seduction with her clothes on.

We started to refer to it as ‘The Plan’.  I explained the rules to Susan and asked her again if she wanted to put herself through this. I told her that it was going to be difficult and she would have to do things that were uncomfortable and that she did not want to do.

Finally I said that I was not going to set myself up for a fall. If she did not completely dedicate herself to The Plan and what I expected her to do, then I would stop The Plan.

If on the other hand she did work with me after 6 months we would BOTH review the plan and either stop, modify or continue the plan consensually. Susan did ask if she could refuse to do things she didn’t like or wasn’t used to doing. I said no. She would not be allowed to water down the plan.

One reason is that I wanted to see how far I could push her and what she would try and could possibly learn to like. The other was that if she started to meddle with the delivery of the plan then if the plan failed it would be harder to point out where the point of failure had been. So it was a “take it or leave it” plan. I told her to think about it and let me know what she thought and if she still wanted to go ahead.

Susan said there was nothing to think about. She wanted to go ahead.

I don’t really know to this day what she really thought about The Plan. Perhaps she thought she would try it out and quit if it didn’t suit her. Perhaps she genuinely wanted to give it a go and push herself to see what she could find out about herself. Maybe she just didn’t want to be the one who turned down the plan and just agreed without any intention of making it work. For what it is worth, I think it is the first. She wasn’t 100% committed to The Plan, but probably thought she’d put herself through a bit of an ordeal just so she could say “I tried”.

The best laid plans

I had spent over a year thinking about how I was going to deliver the plan, what I was going to do and how. For some reason, and in hindsight it seems pretty stupid, I didn’t ever imagine what I would do to give our sex life a spark.

Let me illustrate a typical situation. Susan and I are watching TV.

Susan is just watching TV. Sex as usual is the last thing on her mind. In my mind I can imagine sitting with a woman in exactly the same situation and some kissing might lead to some heavy petting and then intercourse. It’s a fantasy of course. Now with Susan the past catches up so quickly it’s almost in my mind before I think it. I just know if I try to kiss her she’ll give me a peck and pull away. If I try anything beyond that she squirm, shrug and pull away. That’s how I replay her actions in my mind. So any attraction I have for her is quickly diluted even before trying. Perhaps just this once she’ll respond positively. Maybe not. Should I try? Is it worth the effort? I’m tired. I just know she’s going to knock me back.

This is just an example but illustrates the typical problem I had once the plan started. We had nothing to base our sexual activity on. We weren’t having sex for fun. We weren’t having sex because of lust. We weren’t having sex because either of us wanted the love or attention. What I was trying to do was getting us to perform a sexual activity for its own sake in the hope that it would stimulate interest in ‘real’ sex. It was a nightmare.

I never expected to get Susan aroused, but here I was finding that I was having trouble getting aroused!

The first thing I tried to get Susan to do was get over her aversion to oral sex and food in sex. So I tried to get her to mess with chocolate and to give me fellatio. To her credit she did try in the sense that she did not refuse to do it. In reality she had no idea of what to do, and although I tried to give her feedback on what would feel better for me (as I was the subject of it) she could not/would not respond or cooperate. We stopped quite quickly on the first day. I wasn’t too bothered at that stage because we did have time on our hands now that the plan had started.

But it was a mistake. My kindness in letting her off was perhaps interpreted as a signal that The Plan could be watered down. And in the days that followed she moaned and muttered before making a token effort.

We also tried to have regular intercourse. My problem with premature ejaculation was quite serious at that stage and in that respect even I was not ready for a sex life. But on the other hand, I was also finding it increasingly difficult staying aroused in the non-sexual environment in which we were having sex.  So I was forcing myself to have sex and the anxiety really got to me.  I couldn’t relax whilst having sex.  It felt unnatural.  And of course, Susan’s grumbling got more and more vociferous as she made it quite clear she didn’t want to be doing what I was making her do.

As the weeks wore on Susan took more and more off the plan. She often point blank refused to have sex, saying that she had the right to say no. Absolutely. But not really in the spirit of The Plan which she had agreed to.

So after about 7 weeks I was exhausted. I felt I was dragging a heavy weight up a hill and the weight was getting heavier all the time. I was feeling the pressure of being in charge of a sexlife neither of us could deliver and only one of us wanted to work on.

I called her in desperation from work. “The Plan is over”, I said. “You’ve won.”

She was quite indignant. “What do you mean I’ve won?”, she demanded. ” I haven’t won anything!”

She was still angry when I got home that evening. “Maybe those weren’t the best chosen words.” I said. “I guess the proper expression of what I felt was ‘I’ve lost’. I’m tired. I just can’t handle the pressure. I can’t do this anymore.”

I think Susan just shrugged.

Susan knew it was my last effort. She knew that apart from counselling it was our last chance to at least show some dedication to the IDEA of a sex life. I had spelt this and more out to her, including my own misgivings and embarrasment on how the plan would be executed. She knew why we needed to do it which is why she agreed to take part in it. And she still allowed it to crumble. She didn’t even object to me stopping the plan. She didn’t ask to try again. She didn’t even offer an alternative plan. It was all okay for her.

In a sense though, she had won.  If she had ever consciously wanted to develop a sex-less marriage she had achieved her goal.  And even if that was not the intention, the battle of wills had unanimously declared her the winner.  Her lifestyle was to be OUR lifestyle.

Even if we had failed (and the plan was bad enough to almost certainly fail) I would like to have at least got to the point where we had both exhausted ourselves with trying to make it work and mutually decided that it wasn’t working. But I guess that would have itself been a success. It would imply cooperation, sacrifice and communication. Which is what we were working for all along.


After the collapse of The Plan I had a mix of feeling running through me.

The first was a feeling of relief and relaxation. The pressure was off. I had done everything I felt I could over the years and this my last stab at salvaging my marriage had failed. There was nothing more I could do.

The second of course was dismay that despite impressing Susan with the seriousness of this plan she had not taken it to heart and pulled out all the stops.

And the third was a sense of demoralisation as I had to come to grips now with the fact that I was in my mid-thirties and realising that saving a very very unlikely illicit sexual affair or even more unlikely an about-face from Susan, I would never enjoy a healthy sex life.

There was nothing more to say, and nothing more to do. I didn’t ask Susan to explain herself nor did she offer to. I didn’t ask her to seek help and (at that stage) she didn’t offer to. I briefly thought again of medicating myself against a sex drive. But now with my children growing and needing me I thought that the side-effects might damage my health to the extent that I would not be able to serve the one great purpose that remained in my life: fatherhood.

So there I left it.

Until in October 2008, 4 months after The Plan ended I felt I needed to share my story. For help, for understanding, for support and for information. I guess there are millions of couples out there who experience Marriage Of One at some point in their lives and relationships. For many I hope it is a passing phase, for some like me it is a permanent lifestyle.



  1. My friend, you are hardly alone. You did what too many of us do – marry a girl who only wants out of Mom’s house, but is too much of a Good Girl to leave before she has a ring on her finger. Only loose women live alone, you know!

    Your situation mirrors mine so much that I’m frightened for you. I ended up giving up on my marriage, keeping only the form and abandoning the function. I wanted much the same from my wife as you expressed you did yours only to discover that attempting to induce such changes doesn’t work. To steal a phrase from a popular chick flick, She Just Isn’t That Into You. She can’t be – she doesn’t know herself, and until she does, she will be reserved and withdrawn from being the sort of woman you desire. When she does discover who she is and what she wants, that list isn’t likely to include you.

    There is no fixing this. You chose the wrong woman to bond with, and now you have kids. Expecting them to fix your personality distances is a terrible reason to have kids. You owe them a good life despite your problems with each other, so channel your lack of intimacy into providing your kids with a good father.

    I wish I had a solution for you, but I’m still looking for my own. All I can offer is to make sure you want to do something before you do it.

    Comment by ToppHogg — July 14, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  2. Thanks you for commenting and congratulations on being the first man to leave a comment.

    I’m not sure that she married just to leave home – although she probably wouldn’t have left permanently unless she married. She had left home for university and also to take jobs elsewhere. However, she always returned home.

    I think one problem is she doesn’t know herself but won’t take the trouble to find herself or get the help she needs to find herself – not even from me. I still don’t know why. Maybe she has trust issues and doesn’t want to expose herself.

    The other problem can be illustrated with a question: When the vast majority of hormone-raging teenagers are questioning their sexuality and experimenting (if not with others, then with themselves) what was Susan doing? Answer: Nothing. That trigger never went off in her brain. Basically on a sexual identity basis she is a pre-pubescent girl in an adult woman’s body.

    Comment by marriageofone — July 16, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

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