“My Husband Let’s Me Support Us and I’m No Longer Attracted to Him”

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    November 27, 2023 at 12:51 pm #1126851

    From a LW:

    “I have been married for 26 years and have two children, age 24 and 16.

    When my husband and I started dating we were both students and struggled financially but we took turns paying and then after we both got jobs we also split all expenses. Later on, after the first child was born, he got a better paying job and he became the one who paid all the bills, paid for holidays and almost everything basically, while I took care of my son and the house, doing all the housework and cooking, while also working but earning much less than he did. I spent my money on books that I needed for my job (I am a teacher), clothes, and cosmetic products.

    This arrangement worked well even after my daughter was born. I was happy taking care of the kids and the house while also working full time. It was hard work, but I thought the arrangement was fair and I didn t mind my husband having the last say in many matters. Since he was the main breadwinner I thought it was normal for him to be the head of the family and I didn’t mind his authority.

    About 8 years ago his business was not doing well and went from bad to worse. He started having debts and was almost bankrupt. I started doing private tutoring on the side so that we could have enough money to live a decent life. I still did all of the housework and continued to take care of the kids, help them with homework, while my husband spent three evenings out every week with his friends “to relieve stress.” I must admit, this is when I started feeling frustrated, as I was doing everything and trying to earn more money while he got more and more angry. He said it was because of his financial problems, and he kept saying “we can’t afford” this or that. It was both the lack of money and his new lifestyle that made me more and more disappointed and frustrated.

    It was at the peak of my frustration that I got the chance to work abroad (2 hours flight away from home) and earn 10 times as much as I did before. We held a family meeting and decided it was the only way we could solve our financial problems and pay off his debts. He refused to come with me, saying that he needs to take care of his (dying) business and his elderly parents, and he also said he couldn’t live without his friends. So I took the leap and left my whole life and moved with my daughter. My son was a student and he stayed at home too.

    I’ve been living abroad alone with my daughter for the last five years, working harder than I ever have, in a very stressful and demanding environment. I wanted to go back home many times but my husband kept saying I shouldn’t waste this great opportunity in these financially insecure times.

    Now I am paying for everything – house repairs and furniture, my son’s tuition and living expenses, my daughter, all the family trips, electronics, car leases, fuel. When we go on holiday or he visits me I pay for the hotel, transportation and restaurants.

    I am happy I can take care of my family, and I do love my husband. Plus, I believe in loyalty and in saving longterm relationships. However, I feel a bit frustrated and wish that at least sometimes he would buy me dinner or something with his own money. I carry on because he supported me financially in the past and I think it is fair for me to do it now when he can’t do it anymore. But I don’t see him trying too hard.

    I feel like I’m growing a pair of balls. I feel like I am the man of the family – living alone, managing on my own and paying for everything, but I am handling it. What I cannot handle or control is sex. I do not want or need or like to have sex with him anymore. I somehow feel disappointed by the man in him and while we still talk about everything and we get along very well, the woman in me feels less and less attracted to him. I’ve always liked strong, financially secure and generous men, and he was that for a long time.

    While I am definitely not considering separation, I am really worried about my body’s refusal to even be touched in a sexual way. We have sex once a month, when he visits or when I go back home, but I do it only because I know he wants it, and it is a duty rather than something pleasant. I am sure he noticed that. We laugh about it, but deep inside me I know this is a big problem.

    I really don’t know how to tell him that I am not attracted to him sexually anymore because in a way he fails to be the strong and financially secure man he used to be and because he lets me handle all the difficulties of living abroad, because he refuses to learn the language of the country I’m living in and to get a well paying job here. I’m sure he doesn’t want to leave his parents and friends behind, but I wish he would make this sacrifice. I wish he would do something to make me admire him and feel attracted to him again.
    Please tell me what you think I should do.”

    Miss MJ
    November 27, 2023 at 4:51 pm #1126861

    Well, you need to have a conversation. Several, actually. Because while your lack of sexual attraction to your problem is a problem, it’s not The Problem; it’s a side effect of what’s really eating at you: resentment and feeling taken advantage of. So, that’s where I’d start the discussion, preferably with a marriage counselor. And, I’d also encourage you to think about what needs to change for you to let go of some of that resentment. Is it time for you to switch jobs again to a less demanding, albeit maybe less lucrative, field? Is it time for him to find a new line of work to have more input into your financial situation? Do you both need to recalibrate your lifestyle? You’re not stuck – you have options. And you’re not wrong to be frustrated if you feel you’re being used or he’s not contributing to your relationship equally. But if you really don’t want a divorce, you need to start talking about what has to change because it is clear from your letter that this situation is no longer sustainable for you or your marriage.

    Miss MJ
    November 27, 2023 at 4:52 pm #1126862

    *lack of attraction to your husband is a problem….

    November 27, 2023 at 5:18 pm #1126864

    I’ll say a few things.

    It is very, very likely he has been cheating for many years. Does it not ring alarm bells for you that:

    One, he spends three evenings every week (half the week!) “de-stressing” with his friends;

    Two, refuses to move with in with his WIFE and CHILD 2 hours away because he can’t “live without his friends”;

    And please remember that three, the rates of abuse and infidelity skyrocket when a woman outearns her partner. This is a statistical fact.

    I suggest you tell him that xes is going to be off the table until he starts to meet you halfway in supporting the family. Just be honest and tell him that you’ve been doing it for his happiness, but you’ve come to a point where you realize that you’re losing the desire for xes because you’re always tired and you feel like he’s doing more taking out of you than pouring back into you – and you’re NOT willing to try and fix the problem by having better xes or trying new things in bed, you want the real root of the problem to be addressed by him showing you that you’re still partners in this marriage and not a boss and his assistant type of dynamic.

    I understand you still have love for him (which might be unearned and very much outgrown by now), but is this how you pictured your middle years? Slaving for an entire family in a miserable marriage away from any support systems? If the above does not work, divorce.

    November 27, 2023 at 6:18 pm #1126866

    I’mThinking: I doubt he’d care much if she took sex off the table. You are correct that the solution is divorce. The situation she describes seems unfixable and if she is no longer attracted to him, why even bother?

    November 28, 2023 at 5:48 am #1126868

    I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Like the other commenter said, the lack of attraction is a symptom. The bigger issue is that you two are not operating as a team and not communicating. You’ve lost respect and trust and that’s made the sex go.

    I don’t know what your husband has been doing for the past 5 years, but, hold on, I’m going to submit before the page refreshes…

    November 28, 2023 at 5:54 am #1126869

    … I think there’s been a “major betrayal” as they call it, on his part. For him to let you go to another country for FIVE YEARS with one of your children and not have found another job in all that time so you can live as a family again? Something is very wrong. He seems perfectly content to have you live two hours away and isn’t trying to remedy the situation? I could absolutely believe he’s been cheating for a long time, or, best case, has reverted back to teenage crap and enjoying the free ride.

    What’s the solution? Tell him how you’re feeling and what you need him to do to change things. Set a timeline in your head for when you need to see progress. Be prepared to leave him. I think at this point your marriage has been broken for quite a while and you’re living on outdated love, “loyalty,” and desire to make it work, but not seeing the reality that it’s already over. You should talk to a counselor individually to get some perspective.

    November 28, 2023 at 6:13 am #1126870

    I think you should also consult with a divorce attorney in your home country. Just to have an understanding of your situation and your options.

    Seriously, you need to talk to some objective professionals. I think you’ve been sustaining yourself with some beliefs about your marriage that aren’t reality. If it’s not already dead, the only way to revive it is going to be like a defibrillation, a huge shock to the system.

    November 28, 2023 at 8:51 am #1126872

    He couldn’t live without his friends. That one struck me. So he can live without you and his daughter? Ouch.

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    November 28, 2023 at 9:41 am #1126873

    I agree with everything that’s been said. It seems highly likely the husband has been cheating on you for a while, LW. I also think it’s very telling that he can’t leave his “friends” (girlfriends?) but is fine with being apart from you. I’m not sure why you are adamantly opposed to divorce, but from the outside, there doesn’t look to be a path for you two back to each other in a loving, healthy way. I agree that talking to a therapist would be beneficial for you.

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