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'AITA for wanting a divorce from a good marriage because of an unsatisfying intimate life?' UPDATED 3X

'AITA for wanting a divorce from a good marriage because of an unsatisfying intimate life?' UPDATED 3X


Physical intimacy is a major ingredient in a successful relationship.

"AITA for wanting a divorce from a good marriage because of an unsatisfying intimate life?"

Me (F40s) met my husband (M40s) when we were in college. Both from very conservative religious backgrounds. Married super young and had 3 kids relatively quickly. The youngest will be an adult soon. To say I was s#xually repressed would be an understatement. I didn’t even have my first org@sm until I was 22 years old and it was practically by accident.

S#x with my husband has always been satisfactory. In the beginning especially it was more about the intimacy and closeness and less about the act itself or getting off. My husband has, ahem, a hair trigger, and gets excited (and it’s over) easily. Still to this day over 20 years later. I think he’s a premature ej*culator but no official diagnosis or anything. So s#x is often over quickly.

He doesn’t want to leave me hanging so he will then try to get me off manually but over 90% of the time I just fake 0rg*sms to get it over with because I know he can’t get me there. He is not adventurous. He doesn’t want to have or@l s#x (giving or receiving). He’s okay with taking direction but me just constantly telling him what to do turns into a mood k*ller for me.

Any time I discuss working on our s#x life he shuts down. Based on an experience we had about 12 or 13 years ago where we went to therapy for something that happened (not related to our marriage) he will not entertain the thought of therapy. Not sure if it’s because of the s#x, but I’m only sometimes attracted to him. Some days I see him and I’m sure I have hearts in my eyes.

Other times, especially in bed, I feel nothing. I have faked being asleep to avoid s#x with him. Other times I will initiate s#x and basically use him like a s#x t*y, but I no longer feel any emotional connection. Aside from s#x, our marriage is great. We raised wonderful humans. He loves and dotes on me. He still sends flowers to my work

He is patient and thoughtful and listens. He’s affectionate and always wants hugs or cuddles. He has always been good about sharing housework and responsibilities. He’s always been a super hands on dad. My family loves him and his family loves me. We have a lot of shared hobbies and interests. I genuinely enjoy his company.

I don’t know if this is a mid life crisis but I have a constant nagging thought that THIS IS IT and I hate it. I’ve chosen to be married to him which means I will never have a single enjoyable s#xual experience with another human being for the rest of my life. I am not an ultimatum person and even if I gave him one, he’s not going to magically turn into a good s#xual partner.

I have the number of some divorce lawyers and I’m thinking of calling them and just exploring. Sometimes the idea of being single is terrifying and sometimes I think, it’s not so bad. When I told my best friend, she flipped out. She said she would never speak with me again if I did this and that I’d lost my mind. She said it would be horrible and I would ruin a good man’s life. AITA?

Not long after posting, OP shared an update.

Yes, I own a vibrator. He does not want it used during s#x. I have tried introducing porn. He is not open to it. I have been to therapy and will definitely be going again to a counselor. He is not open to it.

I am not a convincing liar and in most cases he knows I’m faking org*sms (he frequently questions whether I just faked it) but he also now sees it as the signal for throwing in the towel and is ok to just stop there and cuddle. I have been blunt and open and honest about it. He shuts down. He will walk away, or cry, or sometimes say he’s open to change but then nothing will actually change.

Commenters had a lot to say.

DearReply wrote:

Look, it sounds like you have 90-95 percent of everything you could ever expect in a marriage. That’s incredible. I think you owe it to yourself and your husband to (1) make it clear that this is a huge issue (2) go to individual therapy (3) get him to agree to individual therapy (3) depending on how 1 and 2 go, get couples counseling.

It sounds like you mostly have a great life, and I think with determination and effort you can find your way through this. Good luck.

CatMoCatMo responded:

I agree. OP, I think the first thing to do is get him in a situation where he is forced to hear you out. Tell him exactly what you’re feeling, that this is a deal breaker for you, and propose a plan (as outlined in the comment above). If he loves you as much as it sounds, I think you telling him that you’re considering leaving over this issue (and not just the s#x, but also his refusal to

1. Talk about it 2. Compromise with you 3. Make ANY change or put forth any effort), might just be the catalyst you need. He needs to know that this is no longer something he can brush off, ignore, and refuse to engage in. He has a choice - agree to work on it, or end the marriage. Ultimatums are not always the best way to go, but in your situation, what choice do you have.

And to be clear, you wouldn’t be leaving him over s#x. Stop thinking about it that way. You would be leaving because he is disregarding your wants and needs in favor of his own. It doesn’t matter that it’s in regard to your s#x life. You have tried and have come up with so many compromises and yet he refused all of them.

The fact he won’t even discuss it with you is not okay. He might be great everywhere else but he is definitely acting selfishly and inconsiderately in this department. And IMO, s#x/intimacy plays a major role in a relationship.

mostawesomemom responded:

I agree! All those other areas he’s been great in, lots of men suck at some or all of them. He seems like he has the potential, but could be feeling a lot of shame around his early triggering. He needs to know that OP is at this point in their marriage. Great comment!

No_thanks9802 wrote:

Did you ever think of going to individual therapy to help get the tools to talk with your husband so he doesn't shut down & maybe he will eventually go to couples counseling with you? I get your frustrations, but maybe getting help as to how to phrase it so he doesn't get defensive about it might work.

OP responded:

I brought this up in therapy a few years back when I used to go (alone). I was given some tools and prompts and I honestly tried but it unfortunately got us nowhere. I’ve tried so many things - literally still use the sandwich method at work because I learned about it in therapy to address this issue. It ended up just causing him and me more frustration.

A little bit later, she jumped on once again with another update.

Thanks everyone for your input. I wanted to hear it, good and bad. I made an appointment with a therapist for the end of this week. I am working on a list of things I would like to see change (working on limiting his alcohol consumption, addressing his health issues/obesity, not avoiding difficult conversations) in addition to the s#xual issues and will work with the therapist to figure out how to address them.

A lot of what is going through my mind right now was the result of having 10 days to myself where he had to travel to Asia for work, and how happy and easy my life felt during that time.

He was texting and calling constantly telling me how much he missed being home, while I was loving “single life” where I cooked whatever meals I wanted and went out where I wanted and went on hikes and had coffee with co-workers and hung out with my youngest just the two of us. I was m*sturbating at least once a day and having amazing orgasms.

If I had thrown casual s#x into the mix in that time, I probably would have been the happiest I’ve been in years. When he got back, he looked like absolute s**t and said “I never want to be apart that long again.” We had s#x within an hour of him coming home, and afterwards he was blissed out and I was numb.

I think that’s when it hit me how much more he gets from our relationship. Whether we stay together or not, something needs to change.

The comments kept coming in.

blueberryxxoo wrote:

NTA. But I think you owe him the honest conversation. Tell him how you feel and that it has you to the point you're considering leaving the marriage. It's a conversation not an ultimatum.

Just4TheSpamandEggs wrote:

It sounds like he is dealing with his own block regarding these issues. You NEED to communicate openly and honestly. Faking org*sms or faking being asleep isn't going to help you. If anything, it is hurtful.

He feels like he is doing a job well done and then finds out after years that he wasn't? That is hurtful. Have you brought up toys before? There are so many options before just giving up on what sounds like a good man.

cyclicalfertility wrote:

NAH. Highly recommend Sheila Wray Gregoire from the bare marriage podcast/website and her book The Great S#x Rescue. She talks lots about the harms purity culture causes while still speaking from a Christian perspective.

Also highly recommend Vanessa Marin from VM therapy and her podcast and resources. Faking *rg*sms wasn't smart, but him rejecting any kind of therapy is also not helpful.

OP responded:

Thanks for these tips. I’ll look into them.

she_who_knits wrote:

Yes. You will regret blowing up a happy long term marriage. Maybe not right away, but in a few years when the damage to your family is obvious and unfixable and time can't be reversed. You haven't been completely honest with your husband about the issue because it's hard and hurtful. But leaving over it will be even more devastating to him. How bewildered and bitter your kids will be.

How will you divide the holidays with the kids and future grandkids? Actions have consequences and you can't even accurately gauge what they will be, so before you pull the trigger you owe it to your husband and kids to really go the ends of the earth to resolve you and your spouse's issue. That means starting a candid discussion with him and individual and couples therapy.

Stop hiding your true self from him. Also, the grass is greener on the other side because that's where all the sewage is. You're going to meet a lot of AH in the modern dating scene.

Jules111317 wrote:

Ok, for God's sake, quit faking it. Faking it doesn't benefit anyone. He thinks he's done a good job when in reality, you're still frustrated. Have an honest conversation with him. Women have a horrible tendency to mentally check out of a relationship, not communicate with their husbands, and then be pissed when he doesn't fix the problem he doesn't know is there.

Men are not mind readers. To him, things have been great the last 20 years. Don't break him over something that is potentially fixable like this. Toys can and will do wonders for that sort of thing.

A few weeks later, OP shared another update.

This is long and rambling so the TL/DR version is: in therapy, and things are the same or maybe worse. I took all of the comments to heart, particularly the critical ones. I met with two divorce lawyers that week to chat through what the divorce could look like. At the time I didn’t expect it to be contentious but I just wanted to know what the process would be.

We have our house and some other assets in trust, and we’ve been together so long that I wasn’t sure how simple it would be tonight unwind. I love the house and I was the one who did most of the design and renovation, so my plan was to offer to buy him out of it if it came to that. Sat husband down and told him that I met with lawyers, and he said “I know.”

Turns out he’s been tracking me on Find My almost nonstop 24/7, and that one of the offices was the only address he didn’t recognize as one of my usual haunts so he drove by it. I didn’t ask about the second one I saw, but it’s next to a big shopping mall we frequent so I think he must have just assumed that’s where I was.

I asked if he thought I was having an affair and he replied with, “No, I know you’re not.” Well yeah, because you’re tracking me. I guess. Anyway, he said he knew this was coming, and wanted to do whatever it took to fix things. I told him I don’t know if that’s going to be possible, but at a minimum I would need:

Couples counseling for us.

At least one visit to a s$x therapist.

Individual therapy for him.

For him to sort out his health (follow the new diet from the endocrinologist, take the meds he’s been prescribed, use the CPAP consistently, etc.).

I told him I would be with him every step of the way and support him in all of it, but nothing was going to happen unless he took initiative.

I also asked what he needed from me and all he said was “No more talk of breaking up or divorce.” I said okay to this, and also told him that I knew he hated administrative tasks like making appointments and getting insurance approvals, I could help with all of those things, even his. At first he agreed with the plan and vehemently insisted that he was on board.

Finding an available LMFT with an appointment was not easy but I managed to find one that was in network and they had an opening two days later. Husband hemmed and hawed about going because it was “so soon”. Then he said “It’s a woman, so you and she will just g*ng up on me.” I canceled that appointment and it wasn’t easy, but I found a male therapist who could squeeze us in for the following week.

I found a different male therapist for him to see alone, but that appointment was 3 weeks out. I also made a follow up endocrinologist appointment for him and that hasn’t happened yet, and he still hasn’t filled his prescriptions or started the diet. On the day of the therapy appointment which was 6 pm on a Thursday.

I'm in the waiting room 10 minutes before the appointment when my husband texts, "emergency at work. Be there a little late." This man has had the same job for 23 years and the only time that there was an emergency that would have required him to stay that late was when someone literally d*ed.

The therapist comes out and introduces himself, I go in, and when I explain the situation he tells me that he's seen a partner get cold feet about therapy many times. I'm embarrassed and self conscious about it but he assures me there's nothing to be upset about, it's not my fault, and would I like to proceed and chat without my husband. I call my husband and put him on speakerphone.

He says he can only talk for a few minutes and has to run for this mysterious emergency. I start crying and I hang up on him, and then spend the rest of the time telling the therapist why I am pushing for counseling in the first place. The entire session was basically me vomiting words and crying. I would like to say it was cathartic, but it wasn't. It was just sad to hear it all out loud for the first time.

I come home, and husband is waiting with dinner. I ignore him, pack a bag, and head to middle child's apartment. I end up spending the weekend there while I try to sort out what to do. Husband texts me frequently but mostly leaves me alone. Middle child has a heart to heart with him but they end up arguing and that situation itself gets strained, which unfortunately hasn’t improved.

Husband thinks middle child plays favorites. It is true, but husband hasn’t been helping that situation. On Monday when I'm in the office, I get an email from the therapy practice that a new appointment has been made for the following evening. Husband took the initiative to make the appointment. I go home Monday night, and a long apology letter is written out to me, and he's left me a necklace as a gift.

My husband is a terrible gift giver - he spends money like it's going out of style but none of his gifts are thoughtful or made with the person in mind, but this is a specific necklace that I bookmarked so at first I was pleasantly surprised. Then I realized that the only way he'd know about the necklace was from the bookmark, so yeah, he's also snooping through my Macbook.

The therapy appointment is the following day so I just ignore him when he comes home, sleep in a guest room, and ignore him the following morning. We go to therapy that night, and my husband actually participates and answers questions. This session goes fine, and we have one later in the week which is fine too.

I'm not seeing any immediate changes, but you know, Rome wasn't built in a day, so I'm going to be patient. Meanwhile, the therapist gives us the info for a s#x therapist and highly encourages us to make an appointment, which I do right away.

We see the s#x therapist that weekend, and I'm still in the guest bedroom and nowhere near ready to have s#x, but the therapist encourages me to move forward with the prompts/homework for s#x for that week. I go back into our bedroom that night (just for sleep) and we follow the prompts the following night and have what is without a close second the best s#x we have had ever.

Seriously, over two decades, and it was the most satisfying s#xual experience I have ever had. I was walking on a cloud for days. That bubble popped the following week. We were still going to see the couples therapist twice a week, his individual therapy appointment was next week, and we had another appointment with the s#x therapist the next month.

Not much has changed in the day to day but again, I'm being patient. My husband actually initiates s#x one night, and as we are getting into it, he says, "Can we go back to regular s#x now?" Because for him, "regular" s#x where he gets off and I don't was just peachy. I start to cry, and now he's holding me and I swear he's almost relieved to be off the hook and not have to have s#x at all.

Middle child wanted to go to a concert that was out of town and asked if I'd dogsit the new puppy, so instead of just going over there for a few hours a day like I'd been planning, I packed a bag and ended up spending almost a week there and let middle child have some more time on vacation.

Husband texted, called, and showed up every day but I wouldn't talk to him or let him in, and only saw him at therapy sessions. The therapy sessions end up being a waste of time, with my husband half admitting that he has unaddressed problems, but not really willing to change any behaviors.

The therapist was super patient but I could feel an undercurrent of exasperation, like...what is it you people are trying to save? Husband is a stew of repression, insecurity, health issues, Madonna-Wh*re complexes, and unaddressed childhood trauma. He's so averse to confrontation that he would literally buy his way out of a difficult conversation if given the choice. Nothing will change as long as he's unwilling to work on that.

I move back in, and I even move back into the bedroom. Husband ended up skipping individual therapy because "Isn't two sessions a week enough?" Didn't even cancel, he just didn't go. Went back once to the s#x therapist, but with a borderline catatonic look on his face and didn't say or do much the entire time other than nod. I've been back at home, going through the motions of life.

Husband initiates s#x constantly and I go along with it, but have only gotten off twice in about 12 or 15 times (and I am no longer faking it). Husband is so happy because as far as he's concerned, everything is fine even when I tell him it's not.

I know the right thing to do is to just divorce, but I feel so messed up in the head that I just want to throw a proverbial grenade into my life and like cheat by bringing a guy home or something. That's it. No happy ending (no pun intended), no unhappy unending. Just limbo.

Commenters kept it real.

Katululu wrote:

He believes everything is fine even when you tell him it’s not because everything IS fine- for him. That’s it. That’s his goal. He will only put in enough effort to ensure things are fine for him. It’s time to enforce the boundary you set and divorce.

Usual-Archer-916 wrote:

If I were you I would come right out and ask him why he didn't give a damn about your pleasure. And make him actually answer the question.

OP responded:

This was something raised during therapy. According to him, he’s insecure about disappointing me because I’m so f#$king precious that he doesn’t even want to try and be a let down. Like - no s#xual experience is good enough for me. I wish I was making that up, but it’s almost verbatim his answer.

GroundbreakingWing48 wrote:

First and foremost change every password to every device. Turn off Find My access to him. Turn on two factor authentication and change your Apple ID password. Finally, do a factory reset on your phone and tablet (if you have one) and re-set it up manually. Shut down the stalking/invasion of privacy immediately. Do NOT wait until you file for divorce.

OP responded:

Will it make any difference though? I honestly don’t know if I care if he sees anything. I have been journaling for years and transitioned to typed journals many years ago, and I found out he’s been reading them. I don’t think there’s a corner of my life and brain that he hasn’t been in. It feels too late and too unimportant to care.

Giguelas wrote:

I don't usually message somebody or comment on this posts, but sorry to say this, you look so numb on your post, in a way that not even sadness it’s coming out. I'm not a therapist nether a grown adult, I'm only a 24m, and don’t have to much experience in love life, just like you im with my high school sweetheart.

Well I don't know if you gotta read this or anything, but seems you have a closer relationship with your middle child, why don't you move with him for a month you know, give some space to you, because everyday you try to resolve things and ends up the night sad and unhappy.

Try take a break for 1 month, I'm not talking about divorce or legal separation our anything, because i can see in yous post that you really wanted to save your marriage.

Maybe in this time apart you can calm down yourself and relax a little, because I can't imagine the turmoil of emotions you feel every single day.

In this time a part talk to your husband that you really need SOME SPACE you know, try not contacting him our let him come to your middle child house.

Don’t let him persuade you to come back to the house. And I don't want to sound rude, but another thing that keeps pushing your husband to not change the s#x life, its that you keep giving in to s#x with him. Multiple times in your post you say that you don’t feel good with the s#x so why do you keep giving to s#x with him.

Maybe in this 1 month apart he realizes you are dead serious about the matter.

I'm really think that this time a part will help you to understand what you want and to show your husband that you are serious you know, because doesn't seem he was impacted by the divorce talks with our therapist.

And well another thing you can do in this time, is trying to discover yourself. You said in yous post that you have a vibrator and have suggested porn, why don't you try doing more things alone to see what you like. Sorry if this sounds a bit intrusive. I'm really hope you can solve your marriage and yourself because you sound like a wonderful person.

OP when told she shouldn't vent to the kids:

I never vent to my kids. They’ve heard nothing from me other than “I just need a little space, ok with you if I hang here?” Middle child and my husband got into it mostly because of the constant surveillance, which husband does with two of the three kids also (and probably would for the third given the chance).

Magdovus wrote:

So let's review what he did for you:

He turned up to a couple of appointments. He listened enough to show you he can be a good lover. He decided that's too much like hard work and he'd rather be a two pump chump.

And he admitted to stalking you. Also, he probably has shares in EverReady and Duracell, because your Rabbit must be getting through them putting up with this. The bit that really upset me was that he CAN make you feel good, but he doesn't **want** to. I can't claim to be a Casanova or anything, but I'd like to think that my partners are happy with my efforts.

Maybe it's an ego thing, but surely it's only fair. **He isn't even trying**

I read your previous post and I thought there was hope that all it would take is a little mutual effort. He's a disappointment. Can you move in with middle child? I think puppy cuddles may help while you dump the dead weight.

Sources: Reddit
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