My marriage: disillusioned from day one


#1

I’m not sure what information to provide or where to begin, so I will return to this thread frequently to answer any follow-up questions.

I can count the number of times my husband and I have fought the past five years on one hand. We’ve always agreed on almost everything–money, scheduling, and plans for our future. The problem we encountered in our marriage was a lack of physical intimacy. This resulted in my feeling disillusioned before we even returned from our honeymoon. I had never enjoyed kissing him and we didn’t seem to “click” sexually. I can also count the number of times we have had sex on one hand.

After several years, I moved out. We are now legally divorced (though we did not seek annulment and are still married in the eyes of the Church). He still loves me and wants a life with me. I’m unsure of what I want, though I know that “on paper” renewing our marriage would be a wise move.

I don’t even know what I’m asking or where I’m going with this, but I certainly would appreciate anyone’s insight, probing questions, suggestions, etc.


#2

It depends on what you want out of life.

You’ve consummated the marriage. The Church doesn’t care if it’s an earth moving experience.

You agree on everything just about.

You don’t have to have sex all the time for a marriage to be valid.

You don’t say how old you are or whether you want children.

Absent any other great conflict in your marriage and him wanting you back, and you not knowing what you want… I would just ask if living with him was better than living without him.

I guess you need to ask yourself why you married someone you didn’t enjoy kissing or click with sexually in the first place.

IF that isn’t a priority in your marriage and you miss him, why not give it another chance. If he loves you and is willing to live in a sexually neutral environment just to have your company, you might want to ask yourself if you love him enough to go back.

It’s hard to tell what’s going on here with the lack of info.

Just saying… if you’ve had sex five times or less with him, you didn’t give it enough chance to get in sync with him. Ignore the movies. It’s not something that comes automatically to every couple. You don’t say if either of you was very experienced. But I’m sure more than one bride returned from her honeymoon slightly disillusioned but kept working at it.

Will you find a better man than him? You don’t say whether you love him or miss him.

That’s another good starting point as you make any decisions.


#3

Why would you be so cruel as to perpetrate such a hoax on a man as to marry him when you felt no sexual chemistry for him, and then hurt him even more by withholding sexual love from him for the vast majority of your marriage?


#4

Augusta Sanas

Ma’am, with all due respect, it seems kind of mean to do this the poor man!

Look, I’m sorry that it didn’t work out, and I want you to be happy, but after reading these last few posters, I just want to give your husband a hug!


#5

Why does this world place such a huge emphasis on sex? why, why? You get along, your respectful to eachother, your friends, I know it takes sex to have babies, but sex is not the most important thing in a marriage, but the secular world wants to tell everyone that. Marriage is based on mutual respect, love for God, kindness and thoughtfulness to eachother, not sex…


#6

Do you love him? I didn’t see that anywhere in your post, perhaps I missed it. While sharing physical love between the two people that are joined as one is a most wonderful thing, I feel that you are looking at things immaturely. You say you felt disillusioned before you even returned from your honeymoon, but did you work on it with him, did you maybe have an unrealistic view of what sex is? What concerns me is that if you are that hung up on sex, would you stay with a man that couldn’t perform because of a physical injury or old age? I’m sorry, but based upon the information you provided in your post, I feel sorry for your husband and I am not normally a judgmental person & try to avoid doing so but you asked for insight. You have my 2 cents worth.

Please do not think that I think I know all; far from it, I make many mistakes, have much to learn & have done much that I pray the Lord will forgive.


#7

Hrm… Well I’ll be honest I really dont’ see a really good reason for Divorouce off hand. I guess that’s easy for me to say not being in the marriage, but you have a marriage, it was consemated and the only reason it sounds like, that you broke it off is because apparently you weren’t “feeling it” sexually. I guess I would suggest seeing a counsoler as a couple about your intamacy problems, perhaps there’s a way to work out a satisfactory sex life. But I’ll be honest, I really feel like this is something you two should be working on together. But then I’m a big believer on the Church’s (i.e. Christ’s) views on marriage.


#8

How long were you married?

A good sexual relationship takes time,* usually years* to cultivate. This is normal and typical.

It also takes communication and a willingness for both to find out what the other requires to fully experience the act.

Maybe this isn’t what you meant but it sounds like you expected him to…‘perform’ for you and you didn’t like his performance.

People have some very lofty ideas about sex and how it ‘should be’. It sounds like maybe you feel into that trap?

The fact that your husband wants to work things out to me, speaks volumes about him. Did you ever attempt any kind of counseling?


#9

It’s not important when it’s there and is good, once it’s not there or is terrible it becomes pretty important in a very negative way.

It’s just human nature. A marriage without sex is just like a same sex friendship. like it or not, sex is a human need. :shrug:


#10

First: wow. Some responders are quick to attack, accuse, and make false assumptions. I guess I expected something more Christlike from a Catholic forum. Those of you who were quick to jump to conclusions–are you really at this forum to help people, or just to remind yourself that you are holier than those of us who are struggling? :frowning:

“You don’t say how old you are or whether you want children.”

I’m 26 and he’s 28. We both want children eventually.

“I guess you need to ask yourself why you married someone you didn’t enjoy kissing or click with sexually in the first place.”

I thought that the sexual chemistry would come after marriage. It was my first adult non-sexual relationship, and I thought that the reason there was no sexual chemistry was because we had taken it off the table by agreeing that sex had to wait until after marriage. (I had premarital sex in previous relationships (prior to converting). I was in the process of converting to Catholicism when we met.)

“Why would you be so cruel as to perpetrate such a hoax on a man as to marry him when you felt no sexual chemistry for him, and then hurt him even more by withholding sexual love from him for the vast majority of your marriage?”

This was not a “hoax.” I told him that I didn’t enjoy kissing him and that I was sexually uninterested. He assured me that marriage would cure those concerns.

I didn’t “withhold” sexual love from him–whenever he pursued me, I accepted him and did my best.

“You don’t say if either of you was very experienced.”

I was very experienced, having been in serious relationships in the past that involved sex. Sex always came easily in those relationships–probably because it was a main component. After I converted, I chose to be chaste.

“Will you find a better man than him? You don’t say whether you love him or miss him.”

No, I won’t find a “better” man than him. He’s the kindest man anyone will ever meet. I do love him, and I do miss him. I guess I fear being “selfish” in going back to him without knowing that our intimacy issues can be resolved.

“Look, I’m sorry that it didn’t work out, and I want you to be happy, but after reading these last few posters, I just want to give your husband a hug!”

Don’t judge my situation based on the false assumptions of others, please. :S

“I guess I would suggest seeing a counsoler as a couple about your intamacy problems”

We say a counselor for a few months. She was a strict Catholic counselor who essentially told me that I made a vow and my duty was to pretend to be happy for the next 70 years. That wasn’t very inspirational. :S

“How long were you married?”

We were married for 1.5 years. (We dated for 2 years before getting married.)

“It also takes communication and a willingness for both to find out what the other requires to fully experience the act.”

I think that this is true and maybe we never got around to this because the sex was so unpleasurable. I’m not sure.

“People have some very lofty ideas about sex and how it ‘should be’. It sounds like maybe you feel into that trap?”

I didn’t necessarily expect him to “perform” (in past sexual relationships, it was a very reciprocal thing) but I guess I did expect it to feel like a powerful loving connection.

“The fact that your husband wants to work things out to me, speaks volumes about him.”

He is an amazing person. He did honestly say that part of why he wants me is because, since we consummated the marriage, he can never marry anyone else until I die, and he wants children, so he’s “stuck with me.” He didn’t say that in a hurtful way–he was just trying to communicate that he would never even look for anyone else because in his mind, it would be morally wrong for him to do so.

“A marriage without sex is just like a same sex friendship.”

Thank you for pointing this out. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has experienced a sexless marriage would feel that sex is an unimportant component.

From reading the more thoughtful responses, I think that maybe the question I am trying to ask is: can you create sexual chemistry out of nothing?


#11

We say a counselor for a few months. She was a strict Catholic counselor who essentially told me that I made a vow and my duty was to pretend to be happy for the next 70 years. That wasn’t very inspirational. :S

Response:
Ok I’m glad you saw a Catholic counsolor and that’s a good start, so why aren’t you seeing a sex counsolor? You know secular counsoling isn’t necessarly a bad thing, and counsoling regarding intamacy seeing someone who speacializes in that subject would be a good idea.

Now listen, if you read my entire post you’ll see that I was never trying to minimize your problems. On the other hand I acknowlege that this is a very real and big problem, but ultimatly you still don’t have a good reason to have been seeking the big ‘D’. Now, if you’re looking for something “Christian”, why not look to scripture?

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PXC.HTM

15

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16

Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”

17

The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, "**You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’

18

For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true**."

Please don’t accept the above as a personal repudiation or judgment. I’m not trying to cast judgment, after all I can’t do that only God can. Please do how ever take the above as an argument supporting Catholic views on marriage, and an argument as to why you should seek reconciliation.

Now if you really feel like you simply can’t do that, then I guess so be it. I would however recommend talking over the situation with your local parish priest at the very least. You will want to make sure you resolve your marital situation satisfactorally in the Churches eyes so you can, truthfully and honorablly receive communion at service. Until you have done this then I would suggest for the sake of being cautious you abstain from receiving communion, for Paul tells us he who receives communion not in a state of grace eats and drinks judgment upon them selves. Again, I can’t tell you whether or not you are actually in a bad place in so far as being in a state of grace. But at least when it comes to my own life, my policy is better safe than sorry and I can only advise the same to others.


#12

First of all, welcome to CAF!

After spending time here, you will realize that you are going to receive a lot of differing opinions from all sides of the spectrum. Take them all with a grain of salt and realize that we are all different people with different life experiences that we use to provide advice to your situation.

Now, having said that, I wanted to say that I am sorry that you are in this situation. I cannot say that I have gone through the same thing with my wife, but I have a few opinions to offer to you.

Sex is not as simple as placing peg P in slot V. In its most simplistic sense, sure, but sex is more than that. Sex is not just an act. Sexual intimacy in marriage is giving completely of ourselves to our spouse. If you cannot do that, if you cannot give all that you have, then sex will be lacking in some way shape or form. The first thing to look at is are you giving of yourself (and your spouse) freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully? You have to hold nothing back for your spouse. Christ held nothing back for his bride, the Church. He gave everything! Having said that, if you are contracepting in any way, this will put up a barrier to this total gift of yourself. I am not accusing you, just stating what I have learned. You have to know and love yourself in order to give that person to someone else. How can you give what you do not know?

Communication is key here. You both have to sit down and talk about this. It will not solve itself. It is not a “practice makes perfect” issue here. True as you experience this intimacy more, you will both learn more about each other and the marital embrace, but you have to communicate.

Learn! Read good books about there about this issue. The first two that come to mind are: “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West and “Holy Sex!” by Dr. Gregory Popcak. Both of you read these. They are important to your married life.


#13

Is the problem matching libidos? If yes, that is a common problem. It is just another problem that couples go through and to which answers and comprises can be reached. If you stay with someone long enough you will find that sex drives change within individuals. Reaching a perfect match is a rare occurrence.

The Catholic counselor was on the right track and I suspect that the phraseology was yours, not hers. I hope that she told you that love is not selfish. In order to love someone, your wants are not an issue. Love is only about giving, never about what you can get. Many people enter relationships without knowing how to love. They think that they love someone because the other is funny, a good provider, attractive, generous, a good cook or whatever. Those are all attributes which signify how the other person can satisfy your wants. Love is about giving. That’s all.


#14

agusta don’t take this as a judgment of your past because it isn’t, but I think your past sexual experiences have a LOT to do with this problem.

I was very experienced, having been in serious relationships in the past that involved sex. Sex always came easily in those relationships–probably because it was a main component.

The fact that sex was a main component in these relationships might have left you with a false sense of what place sex has in a relationship. Sex outside of marriage is usually about acting out of raw lustful feelings.

I think individual Catholic counseling for yourself might be in order so you can sort out the past, leave it there and move on. Not that you haven’t moved on, because you obviously have, and how wonderful that you’ve converted and have taken your faith seriously, a wonderful start. But you know there are probably some lingering mental habits or connections that may be affecting you more than you realize.

You were only married 1.5 yrs and I personally think that is a very short time to cultivate a good sexual relationship, especially if it was so strained the entire time and you only had a sex a handful of times. It would be impossible for any couple to really get to know each other intimately in that amount of time with such infrequency.

A book I’d suggest is Holy Sex by Dr Gregory Popcak and Christopher West’s books on the Theology if the Body.

Also, the Pastoral Solutions Institute has some wonderful resources, and they also offer tele counseling for marriage issues, whether one, or both of you.

I have to say, you;re husband sounds like a very good man, and he obviously knows you’re a good woman. If it were me, I would do everything possible to mend this marriage.:twocents: I hope you can, many prayers for you both.:gopray2::crossrc:


#15

My OPINION (for what it’s worth) is that you should think like marriage tribunals, and look at the conditions that brought you into the marriage. Was the relationship basically loving, honest, and voluntary? If one of those things wasn’t present (especially the voluntary part) then you need to dig deeper. But if your main problem (which is the impression I’m getting) is that physical intimacy has been bad, I don’t think that is a just reason to stay apart. I don’t mean to say that a bad sexual relationship is a trivial thing - quite the contrary, it should be a priority that you work on that aspect of your marriage. But I am saying that the Catholic understanding of marriage is that it is a sacrament, one of the holiest things a man and woman can do. A less than fulfilling sex life may be a cross that one or both of you has to bear, but compared to the abandonment of this sacrament and the vocation that you have entered into, it is small. A “typical” sex life (whatever that is - frequency and enjoyability) is not a requirement of marriage in the Church. Fact is, we can’t get through life without various crosses, so when a difficult one comes along (and I’m sure this one IS very difficult), it is not our place to give up on the sacrament of marriage.

I also agree that 1.5 years is not necessarily indicative of how you will be forever. It’s also possible that if you spent years prior to your converstion using sex in a wrong way, it may take a good long time to get over that enough to be able to enjoy it when it’s done in a moral way.

Prayers for you.


#16

I’m with ShannyK on this. He sounds like a very good man. They are rare. Don’t be so quick to throw him away.

Yes, sex is important, but like she said, your past relationships were ALL about sex. So you are looking at marriage in a skewed way and that is affecting things.

It’s like sex is the icing on the cake. Before, you were on a diet of just icing. Now you have cake, not so much icing. The cake is the thing! You have lost sight of that.

I can’t imagine the hit his ego has taken that his experienced wife has found him so unsatisfactory. Many men wouldn’t be so intent on making it work after that insult. And it is, I hate to say. You’re trying to build a relationship on a very flimsy base if it’s all about sex. And I understand its importance.

I think there is a lot to work with in this marriage. Building better emotional intimacy will make the physical intimacy better. Good luck.

(And praying together is the best way to build emotional intimacy. Do you do that? I’d suggest you meet him once a week for a holy hour. Just kneeling together in front of the Blessed Sacrament and praying, sharing your intentions. You’d be surprised how connected you will feel to him if God is the glue.)

:thumbsup:


#17

Welcome to CAF, IMHO yes, you should reconcile. Sexual chemistry takes a long time to work out - especially if you have been active before. My dh and I were booth active before and we abstained prior to marriage. It has been difficult because it has not been the same and there are other issues but here is the good news. There are many other things that make us whole and that bring us together. If we work on those things and give to each other for the joy of giving than things get better. I once was seeking advice because my libido dropped due to meds and a deacon told me - if you start the act - you will get in the mood. And he was right - I gave for the joy of giving and not for what I could get. Please, I am not saying you are not - but you have to take you out of the equation which is hard when coming together with someone for the first few times. And if at first you don’t suceed…Try over and over and over… that will also take care of the child thing.


#18

This is powerful. I just had to emphasize this point!

**

.**

Thanks for sharing this!


#19

Sex is often over emphasized, it is for sure an integral part of marriage but it is not and should not be to sole purpose of marriage. A “good” sex life is not the most important thing in a marriage. Praying together, attending church and following its teachings, communication, raising children are all more important in my opinion.

That being said true marital relations are about giving not receiving. Take pleasure in the act of sharing each other and don’t focus on your own physical pleasure.

OP if you do get back together with your husband it should be forever. It sounds like he is a good man and that you respect him. That is a hard thing to find, there are plenty of women who would trade good sex for their husband becoming a good man in a heartbeat. Given that you have limited experience together and that he is young, I would expect that the experience will improve for the both of you with regular practice. The whole thing has likely effected his self esteem and for a young, moral man that has a big impact.


#20

I’m at work so I can’t respond thoroughly, but I felt compelled to respond to this one:

“it is for sure an integral part of marriage but it is not and should not be to sole purpose of marriage.”

If this is in response to me, I fear I may have communicated the situation very poorly. We seem to agree that sex is an integral part of marriage–at least a young marriage in which both partners are physically capable. I never meant to imply I wanted a marriage where sex was the “sole purpose.” In fact, I stayed in a relationship for 3 years in which sex played NO role at all.

I just don’t want to drag my husband back down the marriage road only to find out that we can’t create sexual chemistry where there is none. I could pretend to be happy without sex for the next 75 years, but that’s not fair to either of us.

Also, my past relationships were not “ALL about sex” anymore than a happily married couple’s relationship is “ALL about sex.” It may shock cradle-Catholics to hear that relationships can be warm, supportive, and loving without the Church’s stamp of approval. It doesn’t make it morally “right,” but it doesn’t reduce that connection to NOTHING but sex.


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