Hi everyone, you might have seen me skulking around on MH; I comment here and there but have never posted before!
I’m a married, UK based female and discovered MH a few months back. I’m not Christian, but was brought up Christian and belong to a similarly minded spiritual community, so hope that it is still OK to be posting and be part of your network!
I have enjoyed reading many of the stories here and been moved by the love people expressed, but I was especially drawn to the posts about surviving abuse, and how couples move beyond it together! I suffered sexual abuse from two educators, from age 11 to nearly 18. It took me many years to understand the full impact of this on my sexual life. I went through many years of chaotic, damaging relationships, both emotionally and sexually. I met my husband in 2008. At that time, I was at rock bottom, and later realised I’d been suffering from PTSD!
He seemed a kind, stable sort of man. I don’t think he even asked me to marry him; it was kind of a given. He seemed interested, and I was shocked that he was interested! But I clung to him with a deep desperation as though he’d be the one to save me—which he was, in a manner of speaking. He helped me keep my feet on the ground, was a reason for me to get up, cook food, clean the house, shower; all things I’d found challenging before we got together.
We married in 2010, but over time, I realised I wasn’t coping. I got help, spent a few years in therapy, and found other support mechanisms. Over about five years, I started to blossom and become someone I’d never been since the abuse!
My husband never asked me questions; he paid for the therapy sessions and would occasionally ask me how they were going, in the way you might ask a colleague how the workday had been for them!
I did, on occasion, ask him to attend sessions with me to try and help him understand how things were going. But he never seemed interested, and I didn’t want to push him. I felt it was my problem and therefore, arguably, mine to fix; and I did!
Only, when I fixed it—as in, got better, recovered, started to regain my confidence—my husband became more and more distant!
Our sex life had not been great during therapy, and I was keen to try and make it better! I suggested we seek therapy for that together, but he was just not interested!
Spirituality has always mattered to me and been a big part of my life; in fact, faith was one of the things that drew us together! Yet he seemed to have lost that too! He had no interest in praying together or attending religious activities with me, things we’d once enjoyed together! I tried to talk to him about things, but he’d close up or just tell me they were OK and I was making an issue where there wasn’t one!
I tried playing down my faith, distancing myself from things that seemed to make him unhappy, but it did me no good. If anything, it added to my isolation and deep sadness! My husband was never a massive conversationalist, but over the past couple of years, communication has dried up even more.
And now, it has been over a year since we had sex! I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he just says its fine, we’re busy, and if I want sex, I should ask for it! I’m not sure what that means or how to do that, or that a marriage should ever become so transactional.
I understand that the many Covid lockdowns in the UK and beyond are impacting on married couples, so I’m reluctant to do anything till some sense of normalcy returns. I’m interested, though, in other perspectives! Is it time to call time? Is our marriage over? Or am I missing something? Is there more I should be doing? I feel powerless to change things alone, especially if he will not talk!
I feel guilty too. I know that abuse and sexual issues hurt partners. Maybe I’m the cause of us falling apart. I’ve never cheated on my husband; my faith wouldn’t let me! But I’ve thought about it, fantasised about it, and I know that is the beginning of the end, in ways! I want to do the right thing, but if I felt that this was all my life would ever mean—no sex, no love, no sensuality, no soul connection with a life partner—I’d feel sad and not sure I’d have the strength to go on! I lose myself in work, in other activities, but even those are starting to add to my anxiety because my heart is hurting.
So tell me: have any of you experienced this? How did you get through it? And do you think I can work it out? Or is it time to be the one to call time and set us both free?
Thank you for reading; and for sharing your thoughts!
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