TL;DR: Massive victim puke. My wife isn't attracted to me and never was.
Everybody gets one of these, right?
There's a common optical illusion - I'm sure you've seen it - where the negative space between two faces, looking at one another, creates the image of a vase.
In many ways, that's what my marriage has been like. I saw a marriage - a beautiful woman, a loving husband, a caring relationship - but what I was looking at wasn't there.
I was seeing the negative space - the space between us on the couch, as she sat as far away as possible, head down, scrolling Facebook. The space between us in bed, as she rolled over to the farthest possible point. The space between us when I went in for a hug or a kiss, and she looked away, rolled her eyes, shrugged.
I came to a sudden, shocking realization the other night. Originally, I came to MRP to save my marriage - to improve my sex life after a dry spell of 1.5 years. I wanted nothing more than to re-connect with my wife, the woman I loved more than anything - to love and feel loved by her. I would've done anything to get there.
So I worked out, dieted, dressed up, worked on my frame...all the while, realizing that I was hiding a covert contract: If I do all these things, and become more attractive, my wife will have sex with me. My wife will love me.
That brings us to now.
We've had sex exactly three times since I started coming to MRP. All of those occurred after massive, blow-up fights - mostly about me, and my self improvement. I go to the gym too much, I don't get all the dishes done before I leave for work anymore, etc, etc....little things, inconsequential things.
After each of those fights, we ended up having sex - almost as her way of apologizing. It was good, passionate, loving. After each time, I felt like a million dollars - it's working! I'm becoming more attractive, and she's responding!
Then, the day after one of our fights, my wife mentioned she had a coupon for an online sex toy shop.
Incredible! Our bedroom, dead for so long, was alive! She was becoming more adventurous, more interested in me. We giggled and nervously shopped. It was fun, exciting, like being teenagers again.
We got the box a week later and went through what we'd bought - a dildo, a vibrator, some goofy sex-dice game. But she wasn't feeling sexy that night, so the box went on a shelf and we went to bed.
That was over a month ago. Since then, I've bee trying to flirt, to initiate, etc - always, to get turned down. No problem, I'd think. I'm not there yet, but we're improving. If I just get more attractive, if I just get some more muscles, if I just improve my frame...
Last night, while we were hanging out on the couch after a great day with the family, I leaned over. "Hey - you know what would be fun? We should try out those sex toys tonight! We haven't used them yet!"
My wife rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders: "Absolutely not, ugh," her body language read.
And then she said:
"Well, I've used them."
I froze. She must've seen it on my face, because I think she immediately regretted saying it.
"Oh, well...I didn't write it down, or anything. I don't know."
I returned to folding my laundry.
My mind was racing. When could it have been? During the day? But the kids are always here, and they haven't been napping great, and she's been so stressed out about it....At night? Probably not with me in the room, she's too self conscious for that.
Then it hit me: Once a week, I go to the gym at night, after putting the kids down. That's when.
I went upstairs, ostensibly to put my laundry away.
When I got up there, I lay down on the bed and started hyperventilating. I put my hands over my eyes. I was afraid I would start crying - no woman likes a crying man, MRP said in my head - but I didn't. I just couldn't control my breathing. It felt like my heart would jump out of my chest.
Here is why:
- Our whole marriage, she's told me that I wasn't the problem, it was that she just wasn't feeling sexual. The kids, the pregnancy - she just didn't want to have sex, with anyone.
But she did. She did feel those things. She was horny enough to get herself off, but she felt no need to involve me. Even knowing how important it was to me.
I was away at the gym, getting myself in better shape so I could be more attractive. I left, she got off....and then I got home, and she didn't say anything. If I initiated, I got rejected. Completely oblivious. I'd been working my ass off to save our marriage, and she felt absolutely no need to do anything on her end. And she never would.
She had gotten me excited, thinking we were broadening our sex life and having fun together...but the whole time, I had been shopping for my own replacement. She wanted something that could get her off while she lay there imagining someone other than me.
I was nowhere in this scenario. A non-factor. Like I'd been our whole relationship.
I asked her our multiple times, and got rejected....
Then, after dating for about a year, she broke up with me. "I don't want to fuck you," she told me....
It took me a whole year to get over her - and when I finally did, we got back together...
Sex declined very steadily - and even before the kids, we were maybe having sex 1-2x a month....
She'd been telling me the whole time.
She wasn't attracted to me, and never would be. I am not a sexual being to her. I am expected to provide - support her, support the kids, give her everything, sacrifice everything - and she doesn't have to give anything in return.
I had to leave the house. I made up the lamest excuse imaginable and got in the car. I got maybe half a mile before I started screaming - so many years of guilt, frustration, humiliation, shame. So many years of feeling like I wasn't enough. So many years of rejection from the person closest to me. So much work, so much suffering.
All for someone who never loved me, and never would.
I've never felt so betrayed in my whole life. I saw it - My whole marriage, laid out before me, a diagram.
"If someone took video of us," I said out loud, "and cut out the sound...you'd never be able to tell we were married."
And right then - right then - is when I decided to get a divorce.
I no longer want to save my marriage. My marriage can't be saved.
Right now, all I care about is ensuring I get to see my kids, and that they have a safe and easy transition. That they feel loved and protected and secure.
And that I release, slowly, the anger and shame that's been eating me alive for years now.
When that's gone, I'll have a huge gap in my chest - the negative space where I stored all my fears.
Maybe something else can go there, one day.