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A look at the sexually unsatisfied marriage, continued

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Anonymous: Re: Guy Resenting His Wife (continued from Monday): I don't blame her for his being in a sexually unsatisfying marriage. He knew the deal when he married her, and married her anyway, who knows why?

She's not changing, so he needs to figure out what he really wants. Good sex or his wife as-is. If she really means it that he can fool around, that will only fix the problem until he falls in love with another woman, and then what? If the sex is that important, get divorced.

Carolyn: I'm with you on most of this, but there seems to have been wishful thinking on both sides in their decision to marry.

Someone else wrote in incensed about his seeming lack of concern for the miscarriages, and though I don't agree that he was dismissive, I do think a long, emotionally draining ordeal like that can certainly lead to the kind of estrangement here.

I'd like to repeat my plug: that they at least try to see why they both wanted this marriage badly enough to, basically, lie to themselves and each other to get it. Those feelings are essential to understand before anyone does anything drastic.

I don't think rekindling those feelings is realistic — ever, really. However, understanding them can help them trace what changed, and knowing what changed can be really helpful in figuring out what they have now, and whether there's enough to build on.

Speaking of resentment: Guy Here . . . Again: The miscarriages were a horrendous time for both of us. I was simply trying to include all the relevant facts without writing a novel.

As far as why she's a good wife? She's my best friend. She's funny, smart, thinks I'm the world's funniest guy (except in bed), and we share the same values.

She is an excellent mom and our discussions are after hours, and out of earshot. We present a united front to the kids. And I'm proud of her career success as well. With the glaring exception of the sex, she's an excellent wife. (Did I say glaring?)

But you're right. I did buy a bill of goods. I guess I talked myself into believing her.

I still don't think that means I should be sentenced to 40 years of bad sex. But, right now, the kids come first so either this improves or I wait till the kids are older.

Carolyn: I swear I'm not being punitive, naive or prudish. I just can't help but think of how many people — somewhere between most of them and all of them — are making good lives out of less than they had hoped they would get. Many people are doing without something they had thought was absolutely essential — right up to the time they didn't get it, but instead got something else they value, and realized they weren't willing to trade the new great thing for the erstwhile-essential thing.

What you're saying here puts you on a course to surrender your best friend (and your home life) for sex. I'm not saying you shouldn't, just that if you do, please be sure you know exactly what you're doing.

A look at the sexually unsatisfied marriage, continued 11/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:30am]
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