Sleeping apart for five years

Submitted by CuriousFellow on
Printer-friendly version

Hello, fellow humans. My wife moved into a separate bedroom and we have had no sex for five years. This blog will probably be mostly about my adventures in trying to get us back together.

Some background: married 20+ years ago. For the first couple weeks of our marriage, Zoe was even more enthusiastic about sex than I was. After that, her interest in sex gradually declined. By the end of the first year, we made love perhaps two or three times a week. For many years, we made love (or had sex... our relationship had cooled down to room temperature) about once a week. During the last few years we slept together, it was more like once a month, then once every three months. Then, she moved permanently into a another room, and there has been no sex at all since then.

Zoe has always been somewhat critical and bossy. I noticed it even before we got married, but it didn't seem like a serious problem at the time. She criticizes everyone - me, her siblings, our kids (we have two perfectly normal kids that I am quite proud of), her coworkers, the management at the places she works... She rarely _asks_ me or the kids for anything - it's almost always a demand. Anything less than immediate obediance is likely to provoke an outburst of anger. My reaction to a demand from her is to comply, if it's not too much trouble for me, or to calmly state why I'm not willing to comply, and then just be silent and weather the storm if she gets angry. There's no way to get a word in edgewise, anyways, once she gets started.

Some of the things she criticizes me about are reasonable - for example, being intermittently employed for the last seven years. Other things are just crazy - like making a fuss because I have a couple of empty cups on my desk. Either way, when she is criticizing me (or the kids), she has an attitude like we are practically criminals.

I had visited a couple times in the last several years. Last year "Janitor" pointed it out to me again. (Sometimes persistence pays...) I spent 20 or 30 hours studying the site, and had some long discussions with Janitor and Marnia. At that time, the temperature of my relationship with Zoe was down around freezing. I was avoiding her as much as I could. Janitor said I could do some things to improve our relationship, and he mentioned the Exchanges. My skeptical reply was "Are there any that don't require us to be in the same room together?"

Actually, there were some things I could do, as I discovered when I read Peace Between the Sheets. One of the instructions in the first Exchange is something like "Do something nice for your partner during the day." Well, fine, I could do that. So one of the first things I did was to clean up the kitchen. (See for more about doing nice things.)

I decided to take the challenge at Just to make it a little more interesting, or challenging perhaps, I decided to give up masturbating for a while as well. It was surprisingly easy. I went for six weeks without masturbating at all, and a couple more weeks with masturbating without orgasm, until I got too close to the edge one day and had an orgasm. Since then, in the last seven months, I've mostly continued the same pattern of no masturbation, or masturbation without seeking orgasm. I've had far fewer orgasms this year than in any similar period of my life since puberty. I began that experiment partly to see whether I could live comfortably without orgasms, in order to get an idea of whether karezza is practical. Based on my experience, I believe it is, or would be, for me. Every time I have an accidental orgasm, I take a few days to decide if I want to continue to avoid orgasms. I've chosen to continue avoiding orgasms because I like being in control of myself. I don't like to let my primitive brain direct my behavior (toward seeking orgasms, for example).

Since I started studying the material on the Reuniting site, things have gotten better between Zoe and me. Our relationship is approaching room temperature, I'd say. Being in the same room with her and talking with her is tolerable, even pleasant sometimes. There are probably several reasons: the web site and discussions gave me hope that I might be able to repair our relationship, which gave me some motivation to try; I sometimes do things to help out around the house; I'm more careful about my own behavior, and I'm less likely to react to things Zoe says in a way that would provoke her; an understanding of the separation mechanism makes me more understanding and tolerant of Zoe's behavior; also, I got a steady, full-time job.

Unfortunately, we are still not sleeping together. Zoe can be in a good mood all day, and we can have a pleasant evening together, but if I suggest that we sleep together, even without sex, she instantly gets angry, questions my ancestry and upbringing, compares me unfavorably with lower life forms, etc.

That's how things stand now. Following will be a letter I wrote to her a few months ago (since it's so hard to have a calm conversation with her where I can get my points across) and which I gave her again today. Last time she didn't respond. I'm not sure she even read it. This time I asked her to _write_ me a reply.



If your wife is digging her heels in, there may be only so much help you can get here. You might have to tap other resources first. I think might be a good place to start. They have a few questionnaires on there that both of you can fill out to help identify what behaviors of each of you annoy the other, and also things you can both do to increase each other's happiness. If there's no willingness to try other things, you have to start somewhere. It's just a thought.

Thanks for sharing your tale

With respect to Zoe, it's amazing how much we undervalue the connection between mates, and how strong the biological aversion factor can get. We're so used to trusting our guts...and our brains are so under-informed about what really helps our wellbeing.

I very much admire your willingness to reach out in such a one-sided situation. Understand that her reaction is "nothing personal," even though it feels like that. (Sounds like what I tell the wives whose husbands have slipped into the porn pit, doesn't it? Wink )

Are there any of the other behaviors from this list that you can use? Bonding cues have the advantage of being indirect - and bypassing the conscious mind entirely.

Wishing you the very best!

Bonding Magic - wonderful article!

I'll pass it on to Zoe at the next opportune moment.

Yes, there is at least one other bonding behavior that I can use. I like it when Zoe invites me to eat something she has made. So I can certainly do the same for her. Thanks for the suggestion.

By the way, what is that cute creature in the picture at the top of the article?

Greetings CF as in a Nutshell

your story has many parallel paths to me that are helpfull, so thanks for your sharing.

I have used the marriagebuilders info from Dr. Harley for years and it is very practical and insightful.

I am smiling and encouraged as your simple approach to kindess and abstinance is warming up your marriage - keep up the good work and please, keep us posted on your progress.


I read an eBook on getting

I read an eBook on getting rich recently. It has a much wider message than just making money. The ideas apply to relationships just as effectively. I've used many of these ideas in my life and so, for me, they have worked. Here are some quotes from the eBook---

[quote]The more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme when good things come to us, the more good things we will receive, and the more rapidly they will come; and the reason simply is that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch with the source from which the blessings come.

The law of gratitude is the natural principle that action and reaction are always equal, and in opposite directions.

Also, faith is born of gratitude. The grateful mind continually expects good things, and expectation becomes faith. The reaction of gratitude upon one's own mind produces faith; and every outgoing wave of grateful thanksgiving increases faith. He who has no feeling of gratitude cannot long retain a living faith; and without a living faith you cannot get rich by the creative method, as we shall see in the following chapters.
You must form a clear and definite mental picture of what you want; you cannot transmit an idea unless you have it yourself.

The more clear and definite you make your picture then, and the more you dwell upon it, bringing out all its delightful details, the stronger your desire will be; and the stronger your desire, the easier it will be to hold your mind fixed upon the picture of what you want.

Behind your clear vision must be the purpose to realize it; to bring it out in tangible expression.

And behind this purpose must be an invincible and unwavering FAITH that the thing is already yours; that it is "at hand" and you have only to take possession of it.

A man's way of doing things is the direct result of the way he thinks about things.
To do things in a way you want to do them, you will have to acquire the ability to think the way you want to think; this is the first step toward getting rich.

Every man has the natural and inherent power to think what he wants to think, but it requires far more effort to do so than it does to think the thoughts which are suggested by appearances. To think according to appearance is easy; to think truth regardless of appearances is laborious, and requires the expenditure of more power than any other work man is called upon to perform.


Also, I have benefited greatly from studying the Five Love Languages. See

The idea is that if one partner is speaking one language and the other is speaking a different one, they may not even recognize the love shown by their partner as love. For instance, my wife's love language is service. Mine is touch and quality time. Knowing this helps remind me to do acts of service for her even if I don't feel any particular zing when she gives me service, like making breakfast for me. It's nice, but I don't feel like she's showing me love. She feels loved when I do service for her. When she massages my back, on the other hand, or takes the time to go on a weekend trip with me, I feel loved.

Your wife seems to have some bad programming that is the real cause of your difficulties. Perhaps there is something about her childhood that is screaming at her from deep in the subconscious. Healing the mind of such difficulties is not impossible. But she would have to be honest enough to herself to admit that there is a problem to be solved. Many are not that brave and so they live out their lives in pain.

My heart goes out to you.

Love, Sam

You have no balls. I would

You have no balls.

I would have thrown the bitch away the next day I suspected such behaviour. She's too messed up to deal with and you'll have one hell of a ride trying to figure out all the the things that bug her. If you persist unto the end, however you'll often know it was something very simple.

Help those that have the desire to be helped, those with the desire to change. That's the message of this site to begin with, isn't that right, Marnia?

The message of the site

is that biology is causing alienation between the sexes. We try to see with compassion the ways this phenomenon manifests itself, and try to support people in finding the right solutions for them over the longer term.

In any case, this post is old, and the situation has moved on. Smile