Am I really stupid for still wanting to stay?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-1999
Am I really stupid for still wanting to stay?
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 8:11pm

I'm 45, married 10 years, no kids. A few years before I caught my husband contacting a prostitute. Somehow he convinced me he was sorry and that it was a mistake. I stayed, we bought a house together, continued to build our lives together. I think I forgave him but the older I get the more my sex drive is decreasing. I don't find him attractive anymore but I am still very attached to him and feel emotionally and maybe even financially dependant on him. He also still makes me laugh and makes me feel safe in this world.

I still don't trust him. He travels a lot and has a varied sex drive and always asks me for more sex and I try to comply but basically we're only having sex about once a week and it's "vanilla sex" as he used to call it. He says he still loves me but has recently admitted to wanting to have sex with other people (IF, he added, it didnt' compromise the marriage!!! I said NO WAY!)He also admits to using porn a lot more than he should.

Now I'm sure he will cheat on me or has already. I'm not stupid, well maybe I am just blind. He travels a lot for his job and I think he fits the bill for "sex addict". I don't suspect him as having an affair with one women, but I'm pretty sure he would cheat with a prostitute.

I still dont' want to leave. I have no actual proof that he's cheated, and I don't want to look for it, but I have a strong intuition that he has or does or will very soon. But I'm so comfortable in my current life, and house and routine, and scared to start all over again. I can't talk to anyone about it because I'm ashamed of his sexual desires.

I feel stuck. I don't want to leave. I really don't. Everytime I try to look for an apartment, I get scared and start shaking and crying. I know I should stick up for myself. I can't believe I'v sunk this low. But is it really okay if I stay? I'm comfortable in my life, and not always this unhappy with him. It's only his recent request to have sex with other people that has brought this all up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-1999
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 8:14pm
omg i;'m sorry for posting it twice! I didnt' mean to! I thought it didn't post the first time! Ack!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 8:53pm
I am not married so maybe not qualified to reply...but I will anyway. I think every relationship is different, and the agreements and accommodations between the people in it are up to them. I also think relationships change over time...for better and for worse, as they say. If you are essentially happy in your life and getting what you want from the relationship, there is nothing wrong with staying. However, if he isn't getting what he wants, you are in a vulnerable position, because he might leave. But he also might be happy with his life,even if he is. Getting his physical needs met outside the marriage. The two things I would worry about are financial instability if he left could start to prepare for that by getting some money in. Your own name. The other is the risk of STDs. If you were not having any sex, then you would be protected but otherwise you are risking your health if you don't know who he is sleeping with. But only you can judge the decisions you are making. I do know that a lot of people out in the single world would tell you it can be lonely here.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 10:26pm

Well I can tell you from experience that if you are only reluctantly having sex w/ your DH once a week (and it doesn't seem like a lot of fun for either of you) and he has a high sex drive, I don't know how long your DH is going to be willing to stay married.  I am not generally a fan of open marriages but if you like everything else about him and you really want to stay together, maybe you could "look the other way" and tell him that he can do whatever he wants while traveling as long as he practices safe sex and doesn't tell you about it.  I'm not sure I could do that either (as I see you being kind of horrified at that suggestion.)

I was married to my 1st DH for 13 yrs and over the years I'd say that my sex drive really went downhill and it was hard for me to get excited.  It wasn't that I didn't find him attractive.  I think a lot of it was being tired and resentful and keeping all my complaints inside.  I worked full time, had 2 kids and did most of the stuff around the house too.  I felt like sex was just another chore that I had to do to make someone else happy and no one was doing much for me.  My ex worked full time too but in a much less stressful job--he worked the overnight shift so if he got up early, he could go to the gym, he was playing baseball several times a week--I hardly had time to do anything for myself.  But instead of complaining, I think it came out in this way.  He actually did cheat on me but stopped it because he felt too guilty.  We tried to stay married but he eventually decided he wasn't happy & told me he wanted to get divorced.  Other than the sex part, I feel that we got along very well, we didn't fight, we liked to do the same things, etc., so it was pretty sad.  So I think that if you don't want to end up in the same boat, you need to figure out why you don't want to have sex--is it hormonal, medical, or is it that you don't find him attractive?  If it's that, maybe you would be better off with someone else.  It is scary to get divorced mid life, but at least you don't have kids.  You should always be able to support yourself too--what if your DH dies or gets hurt & can't work?

Oh and the ironic part of this is that a few years later I married my 2nd DH--a much less attractive guy than the 1st DH but surprisingly we had a great sex life--that was probably the best part of the marriage.  I feel like he awakened something in me that the 1st DH just couldn't.  I became much less inhibited too and did things w/ him that I never did w/ 1st DH or at least never enjoyed it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 10:57pm

Wow this is a tough one and here is what I think.

First off I think you should save some money and get into some therapy.. and also look for work if you dont work now.. If later down the road you do divorce you will have something and you can always look into alimony...

To me marriage is sacred and the two people made vows to love each other and respect each other.. So going somewhere else for sex doesnt fly with me no matter what... I would be worried yes about disease and other things... I would be a wreck thinking when my husband traveled he would be sleeping with other women. The thought of it makes me sick... The intimacy goes right out the window and the marriage breaks up anyway..

I would say protect yourself and go see a lawyer and a therapist and get into some support group to decide what you are going to do......but if it were me I would probably find a way out of the marriage or earn your way out of the marriage and divorce  and let your husband go and do his thing whatever that may be; whether its sleep with women, prostitutes or whatever.. You go off and find what makes you happy and find someone else compatible to you or stay alone and be happy with yourself.

Good Luck

Good luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010
Thu, 02-20-2014 - 11:22pm

My exH traveled a lot with work. He was lacking nothing in our marriage; I took care of everything from farm to kids to house to horses to finances. He certainly wasn't lacking anything as far as sex went.  It was actually the other way around for years; he had a low sex drive and I had a high one.  I was the one who was neglected in every aspect of the marriage. His friends envied him and the easy life he had because of me.  When he went to work in NOLA, he had an A with a skank at a construction site. All his friends stood by me and thought he was absolutely crazy and a jerk for doing this to me and his family.

My point for telling you this is my exH didn't have the excuse of not getting sex to justify having an A. Yours isn't happy with his sex life and has told you point blank he wants to go outside of the marriage for sex, plus having contacted a prostitute in the past.  Chances are he's already cheated. And chances are if you stay married to him, he's going to continue to cheat and you know he's not above having sex with a prostitute, so the chances are also good that you will contract a STD or HIV/AIDS. You said yourself you don't think he will cheat with just one woman but you're pretty sure he'd cheat with a prostitute. Hello???? How can you look the other way and be okay with this?

I would have divorced him when I found out he had contacted a prostitute for sex all those years ago. He showed you then exactly what he was capable of and how little he valued you and your marriage. He's shown you that again with voicing the desire to get sex from someone else. I agree with Freeatlast, marriage vows are sacred. There is no way in hell that I would let money come before my integrity and self worth. Being comfortable in your life is one thing; being dead from some disease he passes on to you is another.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 02-21-2014 - 12:35am

Marriages aren't built on sex.  The reason you've lost interest is because you don't trust him.  It's a vicious circle.  He wants more sex, you want less, he'll look elsewhere, and you'll want even less!  Unless you have a major disability, finances are no reason to stay in an unhappy marriage.  Get out and get a job.  Start saving money.  Maybe if you start feeling empowered and have pride in yourself, and more confidence.....he might look at you differently, too.  Right now you're just "settling" for the easy way.  You think he might be cheating, but you won't try to find out, because then you would HAVE to take some kind of action, and you don't want to do that.  Would you rather be "comfortable" and miserable, or be "pro active" and be happy?   It's your choice. 

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 02-21-2014 - 1:59pm

There's no one size fits all for marriage, so I don't think anyone here can say exactly what you should do or why.  People have their own biases ("sex is essential in a marriage," "fidelity is essential in a marriage," etc.) that may not apply to your situation, which is really only about you and your husband, and what is best for each of you individually and as a couple.

I think it is possible under certain circumstances for a couple to not have sex and be perfectly happy, even if it means that the spouse who wants sex gets it elsewhere.  I have to admit however that I find it hard to envision those circumstances in a childless marriage between a couple in their mid-40s who didn't marry until their mid-30s.  I would *think* that sex would play a more significant role in a marriage where there are no kids, but that's a generalization.

What does concern me is that as a midlife adult you see to be afraid to go out on your own.  You didn't marry until you were 35, so you must have been capable of being independent before you married.  You say you are comfortable, but I suspect "afraid" might be more apt.  It's not a positive sign that at 45yo you're willing to sign up for 40 more years with a marriage that doesn't seem to fully satisfy either of you.  Being comfortable in your home is not a reason to stay married.  It's like you're afraid to rock the boat so you're willing to float along until something comes.  But when it does, you're not going to be prepared for it.

I think you need to start talking to a professional therapist about yourself, if not your marriage, because you need to find some inner strength to grasp real happiness instead of this attachment.  I am *not* saying you have to be happy with yourself before you can have a happy marriage - my husband makes me a far better and happier version of myself than I could ever be on my own - but you seem to be clinging to marriage because you need emotional security, not because it is right for both of you.

Incidentally, it doesn't sound from what you've said that there is anything "shameful" about your H's sexual desires.  He wants sex.  You don't know that he's an addict by any definition of that word.  If he's paying prostitutes, he may just need a physical sensation or to do things he knows you won't do but that many other people would consider perfectly normal, and he might not want to have to find a new relationship to have that satisfaction, either because he doesn't want to upset your apple cart or because he doesn't have the energy for the emotional aspect of it.  There is nothing at all shameful about talking together with a therapist about what you two want from that aspect of your relationship.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 02-21-2014 - 2:51pm

Hi Birdee,

Okay, I have read the thread and here are my thoughts.  

First, a lot of good stuff has already been said for you to take into consideration.  Without getting into alot of details of my history, I think I can appreciate the situation you are in.  

So, this is what I have done and still continue to do.  First, talk to my DH about what his desire are, and what in all honesty my capability or willingness to fulfull those.  Some things are "no way in heck" and others are things we can take into serious consideration.  Like Music sharing how her and her second DH had a very different sex life.  

I don't know what your belief system is, but the bottom line for me was to pray, pray and pray for help and guidance in this area.  And you know what, it really does work.  I still don't want it every day like my DH, but at least now I am not just "grin and bear" it and can actually enjoy it, even if it is not as often and DH wishes.  

We are on the Betrayed Spouses Board, so I want to be clear that I understand this is a touchy subject and for some infidelity it is a deal breaker, and for others marriage is a comitment regardless and want help moving forward.  

So to answer your original question, no, I don't think you are stupid for wanting to stay.  But I do think that although your sexual desire is diminishing, we need to find a way to be the kind of wife God would want us to be.  Of course, there are some limitations and boundries here, but I have talked to several gals in real life and this seems to be the common thread.  

I would never condone cheating and the topic of open marriage is a very personal one, but your DH has shared his thoughts (as has mine) and I want to make love to my DH because I love him, not have sex with him because I am afraid he is going to cheat on me if he doesn't.  

I hope that makes sense.  Take care and keep up posted!  Hugs...

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2014
Wed, 03-26-2014 - 10:48am
Birdee you have 3 options. 1-Either you remain with your H and live with the uncertainty of him being faithful to you. 2-Ask him to join you for counseling and reach a happy medium for you both to try and meet each others wants & needs or 3-leave him and move on. What's more important to you.... living comfortably with a lying H or moving on with peace of mind that your being true to you?