This is my first posting here, and I suppose like just about everyone else, the reason is that I am considering divorcing my wife.
A bit of context so that everyone can give their two cents: We married fairly young, I was 23 and she was 24 and we are now 37 and 38 respectively. About 18 months after our marriage, we decided that I should join the military and I served for 12 years on active duty; doing multiple combat tours overseas. During that time, I had quite a few "life or death" experiences that certainly change one's perspective on life. I digress, but I suppose this part of the situation is important, because none of the "typical" military marriage things happened. I.E. - she never cheated (to my knowledge), she never emptied our bank account on frivolous things and she was absolutely there for me 110%. That being said, I have this nagging feeling of marital emptiness. At the end of every day, it feels like I have a really reliable roommate or sister instead of a wife.
As I said previously, she has never cheated to my knowledge. In fact, I'd be surprised if she ever did as her sex drive is about as close to absolute zero as one can get. We've gone six months or more in the past without having sex. On my R&R from combat, you would think two people in love with each other would want to share themselves with one another, correct? Well, not so here. I can recall multiple times where we hadn't seen one another for almost a year, and I return home hoping for a passionate reunion...and...nothing. Perhaps a few days before I was scheduled to go back to combat we would have sex. Almost like it was an obligation due to contract. Completely one-sided.
Now, before everyone says I'm just a sex-crazed husband who refuses to accept reality, I have repeatedly expressed my desire for us to seek marriage counseling. "Sure, I suppose we could do that..." is the response, usually followed up with an expression communicating how embarrassing that would be. I've communicated my need for a more passionate and frequent sexual relationship. I've communicated what "turns me on" and tried to see if there was something I could change that would "turn her on" as well. I'm in relatively good shape and am rather confident in my appearance as well. However, I've always wondered if there was something she was ashamed to say was her turn-on. Never been able to get anything out of her in that regard. The lack of intimacy is almost mind-numbing. Once, about two years ago, after yet another argument about our sex life, I broached the topic of divorce and it utterly destroyed her. She turned on the waterworks and I was so heartbroken that I mentioned it that I've never spoken of it since. I don't expect "sex on demand" but I suppose it would be nice to feel like I'm remotely desired in some respect. I love her...but it feels like I'm married to a sister.
Anyhow, I also stated that she's a dead-reliable roommate. She is. She has a fantastic job that brings in more than I make (I have a great job too although I'm considering going back to school for a career change - which she does not support). We pay our bills on time. Both have excellent credit. We own two homes together. NO KIDS. One dog. Binge watch Netflix and Amazon Fire TV. Outwardly, we look like the perfect couple in many ways. We go wine tasting. We go to church (she has her faith, I've lost mine recently - she knows this too). We save for the rainy day. Etc. etc.
My ramblings lead me to this question: Do we as individuals deserve affection and deserve to be desired?
Deep down I want to leave. I know it will result in destroying her self-image. I know it will result in financial hardship - more for me than her (I'll have nowhere to go and our bank account is joint). I know it will result in a large amount of soul-searching on my part. I just know that I've gone 14 years thus far, and that I don't want to go another 14 with the same feelings. At this point they are just building and turning into resentment. I've stopped all the requests for counseling, stopped all the "lets communicate our needs" conversations, stopped all the "how can I change" conversations and I've stopped all the other random B.S. that I've thought would help.
To relate this back to my military service...after seeing the things I've seen, experiencing the things I've experienced and been to the places I've been to - I almost feel like I have been granted second and third chances at life. Almost like I'm entitled to live my life the way I want to regardless of what anyone else says or suggests - to include my wife. Is that selfish?
I suppose I honestly don't even know what I'm asking of everyone here except to be a sounding board for me. These are thoughts that have gone from once every now and then to an almost daily thought in the back of my mind.
I welcome any and all thoughtful perspectives. Thank you in advance.
Thanks for your post and your honesty. I echo the comments on your service - I honour you for your efforts. It must not have been easy.
Firstly, you are well within your rights to feel the way you do in terms of being granted 2nd and 3rd lives. You're the one that has been through those experiences and it's important to honour what you feel here without judgement. Thats what true authentic living is about.
In terms of lack of passion in your life, it's a really important part of a relationship and hence, does need to be addressed. You definitely aren't coming across as a sex-crazed husband IMO.
Now you mentioned in one of your replies the things that you do for her and a lot of them seemed like chores and things around the house. I totally hear what you're saying and as a guy, it's easy to think that what we would want, is what they want. Whilst it's great what you are doing all these things and helping out, i'm wondering whether it's actually giving her what she needs at her core. Personally, I had to learn this the hard way with my ex-wife. We were in a 'dead' relationship and even when I thought I was doing all these wonderful things, the truth was that I wasn't giving her what she needed at her core. I only truly grasped this idea a couple of years later when we had a good chat about everything. Needless to say, it was a huge light bulb moment for me and has ensured that my current marriage is operating at a completely different level.
In short, you have to really make a commitment to it and demonstrate that you're prepared to put the effort in again and again and again so that she feels at the deepest level that you are willing to cherish, adore, love and be present for her in ways that she's never experienced before. As one of the others said, continue to show appreciation for her and work on breaking down the wall that she would have built after the previous divorce talk. Attempt to create an environment for her to speak her truth to you about her needs. If you just go in there to have a 'talk' without the right environment being created, then it might be tricky to get the answers that you are looking for. However, if you can serve her in the ways that she needs regularly, as each emotional layer is peeled, she will become more and more open to talking to you. Listen with love. Listen with presence and truly connect with her. Lots of guys end up taking the comments they hear so personally and the defensiveness sets in which further exacerbates the issues. Not sure if this happens for you but just be mindful of this and avoid this.
If you can then truly say to yourself that you've done everything possible to turn it around and it's not working, then you can then exercise the separation path. Having said that, whichever path you take is your decision and you need to trust in that.
Hope that makes sense.