RECAP (You can skip this if you're familiar with My marriage: disillusioned from day one
I was relatively promiscuous in college, then "reformed" after college and started attending Catholic services with an interest in converting. I befriended my coworker "Adam" (name changed) who pursued me romantically, though it took me awhile to return romantic interest. As our romance blossomed, I was sexually attracted to him and tried to convince him to push his sexual boundaries with me. During our early romance, we bent the rules, but never did have sex. Within nine months, we felt that we had fallen in love and talked about marriage. He proposed a few months later. Somewhere between falling in love and becoming engaged, we stopped fooling around. Because of my love for him, I didn’t want to tempt him into sin--and because the wedding date was in sight, whenever I longed for sexual intimacy, I reminded myself that in just a few more months, sex would be acceptable. Eventually, I stopped longing for sex entirely.
We threw a large glamorous wedding and spent the day coordinating the details and the night entertaining our guests. I was prepared for exhausted and unsatisfying wedding night sex. Our honeymoon was fun, but it was not romantic. My period started the day after the wedding, so we only had sex once or twice. When we returned home, we fell into comfortable routine that did not include sex. I had lost all interest in sex over our nine-month engagement and had lost my flirtatious edge. Adam resorted to flat-out asking me, "Do you want to have sex tonight?" The answer was always, "Not tonight." Eventually he felt rejected and stopped asking.
We never fought. (Sometimes I would snap at him, but he never escalated it into a fight--he would just give me space until I calmed down and realized I was being irrational.) We planned our future together and lived much of our daily life side-by-side. We watched movies together, date dinner together, commuted to work together--but we were not sexually intimate together. We became best friends who shared a bed.
I began to feel a sense of loneliness, though I was rarely alone. I expressed my "loss of love" feeling, but because I was afraid of hurting him, I tried to phrase it in a way that said, "It’s not you, it’s me." He was quick to agree that it was my problem. We started seeing a Catholic marriage counselor. I expressed that I did not feel "in love" with Adam, and that I feared I would live a life in an emotional vacuum. The counselor was stern. She told me that I had made a vow and that I needed to suck it up and deal with it. I left every session convulsing in tears, feeling that even a marital counselor who had seen "the worst of the worst" marriages, saw no hope for us. Seeing that the marriage counselor increased my sense of hopelessness, Adam suggested we stop seeing her. We searched for a sex therapist in our area, believing that the root of our problems lay in sex, but we couldn’t find one. Several more months passed, and I told him that I wanted a trial separation. He reluctantly agreed, thinking that perhaps some time apart would somehow cure me. I moved out and began to talk about divorce. After nine months, I filled out the joint dissolution of marriage form. He eventually stopped resisting me and agreed to sign papers. We were finally divorced at the beginning of 2009.
I dated someone else and felt that I was in love with him. Our dates were exciting, filled with flirtation and anticipation. The sex was incredible. He was the kind of man who could have any woman he wanted, so his attentions made me feel important. We got along famously when he was sober, but alcohol led to horrific fights and him picking up other women out of spite. I realized that he was an alcoholic--and that if I had trouble sustaining a relationship with a man as perfect as Adam, I could not manage an alcoholic. I broke off the relationship.
It was around this time that I sought out the Catholic Answer Forums and posted My marriage: disillusioned from day one. While many people suggested I stop "torturing" Adam (which contributed to my sense of hopelessness), the majority gave encouragement and advice. I followed up on some of this advice, which leads me to...