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Celibate marriage

(101 Posts)
nanabird Thu 20-Apr-17 22:18:45

I've been married to my husband for 23 years. I have 3 daughters from my first marriage and my hubby is a great Dad to them and a good Grandad. I'm 66 and my husband is 68.. My husband worked away at a well known large music festival over several years. He seemed to enjoy the challenge and it did bring in much needed money in the bank. In 2009 he came home unable to string 2 sentences together, I nearly called our GP, in retrospect I wish I had. He seemed a bit better a day later, he had given me a bouquet of flowers, a lovely present and booked us out for dinner on the Saturday night. On the Sunday he asked me to sit down as he wanted to talk to me. He said he wanted to leave me and wanted a divorce. My world fell apart I became hysterical for the first time in my life. I drove my car several villages away and then stopped and phoned him. Over the next weeks I received solicitors letters, I found a solicitor too. I said I didn't want us to part, we talked but he was adamant. He left me alone part of Christmas, he went missing on 2 occasions at night. His elder daughter got married and I wasn't invited. He stayed overnight without telling me, I was supportive to this stepdaughter for many years, as she had lots of problems. I felt so hurt and bewildered. At this time we still shared a bed and sex continued, since I still loved him I saw no reason to turn away. One day my solicitor asked me if H and I were still intimate, I said yes, he had a letter from my H's solicitors to say we had lived apart for 6 months! If ladies you have read this far,thank you. After months of talking trying to make things better, H decided not to leave. I put up with some difficult behaviour fully believing he had suffered some sort of nervous breakdown. Since that time I've had counselling, we have been to Relate together and some of it helped. He says he loves me and I still love him. BUT, from 2009 till now he clearly doesn't want to make love/ have sex with me. We used to be perfect together as lovers and I'm feeling as time goes on more and more upset. I feel so rejected and have tried talking about this with him and get no where. We cuddle, hold hands sometimes kiss. For my 60 Birthday I arranged a lovely trip to Italy, every night he rolled over in bed and said goodnight I hope you sleep well. Romantic settings make no difference. I've asked him to see our GP to have his testosterone levels checked. He hasn't. He did see our GP reluctantly as I made an appointment to check he was not heading for Althziemers like his late Mum. He had a follow up with the mental health nurses, they thought he was suffering from depression linked to bereavement. Then he was sent to see a clinical physiologist, who was useless saw him a few times and that was that. I have invested in the farm diversification to conversions for holiday lets, with the last lump of family money I had put away for my/ our retirement. I now see my retirement stretching out before me as a glorified mrs. mop and housekeeper. I'm at the end of my tether and don't know where to turn. I don't want to just live with him as a friend. Can a lot of his feelings be affected by stress? We have had money problems for years, that's why I invested in the farm hoping that would help. I realise now that in the past he has been economic with the truth about our finances. Might things get better as we now can develop another holiday apartment if he is less stressed about money or am I clutching at straws?

Lisalou Fri 21-Apr-17 06:04:05

Aw Nanabird, it sounds like you have had a rough trip of it over the last few years. Although your post contains a lot of information, without knowing him, it would be impossible for anyone to know. From what you say, it does sound as if he is no longer in love with you, but who knows? Have you asked him? It sounds like he is happy to go along with the marriage, but does not sound as if he is very invested in it.
Hugs and flowers xx

Norah Fri 21-Apr-17 06:13:36

I'm sorry, clutching at housekeeper straws seems to be where you landed. You surely deserve better.

BlueBelle Fri 21-Apr-17 06:53:58

Nanabird reading from the outside and reading only one side of the story it does read as if he fell out of love around 2009 or maybe before but has stayed with you to keep you happy, doesn't have his heart in it but has settled for a friendship as he does I m sure love you in that way

I might be far far from the mark but could he have met someone while he was away at the festival in 2009 had an affair ( the reason he came back so strong telling you he wanted to leave, getting solicitors etc etc looking as if he was very keen to head for a divorce) but maybe the affair fizzled out and as you carried on working at the marriage he settled for the line of least resistance and stayed with you but no longer had his heart in it other than a strong friendship definitely not what you want

You say the psychologist 'was useless' but if he's not mentally ill he couldn't make a diagnosis up could he ? You are desperately trying to make it a health or mental health problem ( he's been very good to go to all these appointments.... relate, GP, mental health nurse and the clinical psychologist seemingly at your insistance) but it's probably much simpler, that he just isn't IN love any more now this is really really hard for you to accept and couldn't come at a worse time of life when you don't need to be fighting for your marriage there also isn't any answers as you can't bring back what is no longer there ... 2009 was a long time ago 8 years of unhappiness and disappointment unless you have a truthful conversation and more importantly accept the answers I can't see any peace for you

BBbevan Fri 21-Apr-17 07:01:54

I agree with Bluebelles sentiments. Something major ,or life-changing happened in 2009. Do you know what it was? And would you or your DH be able to talk openly about it ?

Christinefrance Fri 21-Apr-17 07:08:57

It must be very hard for you Nanabird, I think the time has come to call it a day on this relationship. You have invested so much in it both emotionally and financially with little return. Your husband has made an effort but seems to have settled for the line of least resistance as BlueBelle says.
You are clearly unhappy so maybe you need to have that conversation and then make your choices. Personally I would sooner live alone than in that sort of relationship.
Good luck.

Welshwife Fri 21-Apr-17 07:34:52

Has he had his prostate checked? Problems in that region can cause all sorts of trouble and many men do not like talking about it or seeking advice.

glammanana Fri 21-Apr-17 07:39:26

It certainly looks as though 2009 is the main facture here,you OH would have just passed that age where men realise life is catching up on them (60)ish,and he is trying to recapture his youth specially in the type of job he does,does he still do this every year ?
Have you thought of Relate and talk openly to someone else about the problem it may be worth trying.

NfkDumpling Fri 21-Apr-17 07:54:27

I agree with the others who said that something momentous must have happened at that festival back in 2009 which completely changed his outlook on life - and his relationship with you. He obviously tried to leave you but couldn't bring himself in the end to upset you that much. It certainly sounds as if he's still very fond of you, just not sexually and is happy with companionship. It needs frank discussion.

I do wonder how many men are very happy to just be companions and not have to worry about whether they're 'performing' to the required standard as bad backs/knees/hips/prostate restrict their abilities. I mean, how many of your friends who're couples enjoy weekly romps the way they used? How would you know?

nanabird Fri 21-Apr-17 08:00:25

Thank you all for all your thoughts and kindness. I have much too think about!

Luckygirl Fri 21-Apr-17 08:08:48

TBH I read your first few sentences and immediately thought he had been taking drugs at the festival and that he was coming down from a high - not being able to string sentences together sounds a bit suspicious.

Marriages without sex are not at all uncommon and it does not mean that they are loveless - things change over the years and each couple makes their own decisions about this. Just because you are not having sex it does not follow that you are nothing more than a housekeeper. Do you actually miss the sex per se; or are you basically concerned that he no longer loves you as you see the lack of sex as an expression of that?

No-one can get inside his head; but the plus is that you are still together and that at least gives you something to build on. He says he loves you and that is a good thing. It may be that, since this major upheaval in your lives, you are destined for a different sort of relationship. It may not be such a bad thing as you feel it is if you are able to think about it in a different way. You are together; you love each other; you have weathered a major crisis in your life - all pluses.

Good luck with all this - I hope you can establish some sort of equilibrium that gives you peace. flowers

DanniRae Fri 21-Apr-17 08:39:33

Sorry no advice but I send you my best wishes and some flowers xx

harrigran Fri 21-Apr-17 08:53:06

It does appear that something major happened while your DH was working away. My DH worked away from home for 16 years but was always loving and attentive on his visits home. Celibacy is fine if it is mutual but if there are issues for one partner then it needs sorting.

nanabird Fri 21-Apr-17 09:30:20

Thank you all, and thank you Luckygirl, you are right in that things do change as we get older I realise that. I think I feel a bit more positive today, but am going to sit down and talk to him about my concerns. I have thought that lack of sex means he doesn't love me any more , maybe it doesnt. But I can't be ' strung along' it's just not fair I would rather he was honest with me, so that whatever I decide I have all the facts. Wish me luck!!

bikergran Fri 21-Apr-17 09:44:13

Could it be he found a "man friend" at this festival.

aggie Fri 21-Apr-17 09:46:43

My first thought on reading the OP was ........... let the poor old b....r go . You would be better getting on with your own life not shackled to an unfeeling OH

Riverwalk Fri 21-Apr-17 09:50:19

We don't know for certain what happened in 2009 and the cause of his subsequent behaviour - I'm sure you've made some educated guesses.

As for no sex - maybe he has erectile dysfunction and won't admit to it.

Sparklefizz Fri 21-Apr-17 10:27:32

nanabird I am so sorry for what you've been going through, and my first thought was that he had taken drugs at the festival in 2009. Your description sounded as if he was "coming down" from a high as someone else has said. Clearly something major happened at that festival, perhaps while he was under the influence of drugs, which really shook him up and maybe you need to get to the bottom of it .... or maybe, as 8 years have passed, you might prefer to let sleeping dogs lie, as possibly he is very ashamed and would not want to share it. Maybe this is why he has gone along with the theory of a breakdown as it is more acceptable to you. Why not see if you can introduce some affection into your marriage in some cuddling and perhaps massages, even if you don't actually have full sex. He has said that he loves you, and if you are still good friends and can be affectionate with each other, that may be the best you can hope for, as he may not be able to get an erection after years of no sex (use it or lose it.) My heart goes out to you .....

Sparklefizz Fri 21-Apr-17 10:34:25

As bikergran said, (and I don't want to cause offence or upset you), but perhaps he had a sexual experience with a man at the festival whilst under the influence of drugs, and this has made him view himself and his sexuality totally differently. In his confusion he made hasty decisions, eg. divorce, but later had time to think, and realised he loved you.

I think you can get through this as the grass isn't greener elsewhere and, as you say, you have money invested and a long marriage behind you.

ajanela Fri 21-Apr-17 13:15:32

It could have been at the festival something happened but wasn't he in contact with others who worked there during the year. There maybe something happening but you didn't pick up any clues. You seem to want this to be a health problem, either physical or mental and you haven't been listening to what he has been saying as it is very hurtful but it is the truth as he sees it.

He has been economical with the truth re money and may have been about other things. Again you are trying to fix it all by investing in another apartment as a you think it maybe stress. You arranged a romantic holiday as you thought that would fix it. Maybe it is as he has told you. People say sit down and talk to him, I suggest you write down what he is saying as he says it and then that will make you both take responsibility for the conversation. He can't say he didn't say something if it is written down and vice versa.

You don't want to live with him as a friend, but you can't make him be the husband you had. You have to stop and decide what is best for you. If you decide living with him as a friend is your only option due to finances, then do that but start having your own life separate from his. All very hard but what is happening now is very hard for you.

acanthus Fri 21-Apr-17 14:33:29

As someone has said before, sexless doesn't necessarily mean loveless. You say he says he loves you, and you kiss and cuddle; I assume that you are also comfortable in each other's company. have happy times together and don't row all the time. For me that would be enough to continue with the marriage - for many couples in later life sex just doesn't matter very much. But if the lack of sexual activity is really making you miserable then you should try to establish what is causing it. Your husband owes it to you to explain why - either a medical or emotional condition. It could well be that he is gay and has been hiding it all these years. Perhaps an ultimatum is necessary to make him see how strongly you feel about this.

nanabird Fri 21-Apr-17 14:33:39

Gosh lots of different and interesting views thank you. Just to be clear, I thought he may have' taken something's at the festival. He would never knowingly take anything. Also no probs with anything physical I know everything is in working order so to speak! ! Yes I've heard use it or loose it. I suppose that's why I feel its in his head, today going to chat with him about things. I'm most grateful for all your imput and ideas/ thoughts..

ajanela Fri 21-Apr-17 18:00:57

"He would never knowingly take anything" . How do you know that? He has done lots of things knowingly you would not have expected him to do,

Biut all this was 8 years ago and you have been repeating all this in your head for 8 years. Each time reliving the hurt, wanting an explanation which will make it better. Move on, while you keep reliving this you are stuck in a bad place with no hope of the relationship coming right. Yes talk to him, but with an open mind put what happened behind you and see if you can make a fresh start with the real person who is your husband excepting who he is not what you want him to be, He loves you, he stayed with you, he has sort help for you, lots of positives to build on if you both want it to work. Very hard and Good Luck.

Sorry to sound hard but I am trying to be helpful and tell you what I hear when I read your post. I have been married nearly 50 years and sometimes I think do I really know this man.

stillaliveandkicking Fri 21-Apr-17 18:35:44

I think he loves you but is no longer "in love" with you. Maybe had an affair and gave it up to stay put but resents this?

Good luck OP but it's probably up to you to make the decision to either stay with him in a sexless marriage or leave.

Starlady Sat 22-Apr-17 05:33:00

Oh honey, I'm so sorry about this. But if dh asked me for a divorce and was "adamant' about it, Id give him one. Wouldn't spend "months" trying to hold onto him. What has it gotten you? Years of continued marriage to someone who's lukewarm towards you. Is that enough for you?

Oddly enough, he went on having sex with you while you were still working/fighting it out. But once it was all settled, he stopped. Very strange that.

You won't want to hear this, but could it be he's having an affair? Have you ever come out and asked him? What did he say?