Sexless Marriage by M.Felding: No kids? No regrets.
One in five women are now being inducted into a new but growing list of members called the childless-over-forties club. That statistic is reflected in another vital number, forty-four point five. That’s the percentage of couples destined not to have children by the time they are forty.*
(*Canada, US, UK, Australia)
As a recently divorced forty something male (and childless), I found my world opened up to a whole new bunch of possibilities simply because I didn’t have rugrats by my side. Friends were sad about that, especially the female ones. The ending of a relationship and the possibility of them not having children frightened them immensely. If it were them, their options to have children would’ve been be closing at forty. But not for me. I’ve the potential to go forth, so I did, not because I had the balls to do so (pun intended), it’s just I couldn’t take anymore of that kind of negativity into my world. I had had enough of that already. One journey was ending and this was a great burden to bear. So I headed out and did my own thing and left the poo-poo comments behind.
I had good reason.
Yes, it’s a selfish act to leave those you love most to seek something better but self preservation tends to take precedence at this point. You either dwell in the darkness by surrounding yourself in black goo or go out into the light to find some fresh energy. Part of that darkness lay in old habits and those who helped create them. So I chose to step away awhile, change up and went out to let the sunshine warm my skin. Over time, I rediscovered myself and found out that I wasn’t the bad person I thought I was.
But the questions those friends kept asking returned me to a conundrum I couldn’t resolve. They thought we (my wife and I) were infertile when, in actual fact, we weren’t having sex at all. We hadn’t had sex in eleven years! (No, we aren’t in our eighties!) Don’t ask me why but sex wasn’t allowed. I tried. Heaven knows I tried. We had counselling for it, seven years of it. There was never a reason, plenty of excuses but no real or logical reason.
Where do you go when after revealing that truth to friends? Some don’t believe it at all. Some will but assume the male is the cause of said problem – he’s doing something weird to her and she doesn’t want to do it. Others hate the answer and wish they hadn’t asked in the first place. It’s uncomfortable, especially if all the friends are joint friends. The subject of infertility is safe-place to go. At least most can relate to that. Couples in our age group (30’s) have already navigated the fertility rates. They are comfortable with those issues. Sexlessness is just plain weird. Who doesn’t have sex when you’re young and healthy?
Ironically, my wife and I were in our own family planning year when it all ended. We still didn’t have sex! I know what you’re thinking; It had to. There was no other outcome but to divorce if you’re not having sex.
It’s the way it went down that makes my story unique.
To be fair, we were really sensible and methodical about it – planning it six months out. We’d eaten all the right things. She and I took vitamins and exercised daily. She was ready. I was ready. It was January 1st and the start of making babies for that year. As you can imagine, I was so touch-starved that I was well ready for it – beyond begging for it actually!
But I couldn’t show that to her. I had to be sensible about it. We both had to remain sensible. Baby-making is serious business.
When it came to sex, my wife wasn’t an easy woman to talk to. She didn’t like sexual innuendo, jokes or anything that had that word in it. I could tell you more about her special preferences that way, way more… but that’s more than enough detail to get the story going. You get the idea…
It’d been ten years of eggshell walking, ten years of restraining my urge to hold her close. One word, one whisper, one look of sex would turn her off instantly. She’d then be a silent drone for weeks on end, claiming I was insensitive, perverted for thinking about sex all the time. I’d get short answers in monotones – barely a single oxygen molecule was burnt off to create a key grunt or two. When it came to sex, it had to be at her choosing, time and pace. That time just never came.
January became February and then March.
She came to me in August and noticed I wasn’t happy about something. “What’s eating you?” She asked in her always-naive voice.
I was bursting to say much in return, anything, everything… almost all of it the truth! But I restrained myself again, turning to my sensible side, reducing the clatter in my brain into two short, simple sentences. “It’s been eight months since we planned to make a baby. I need to be honest and ask you: Do you know how to make one?”
Well, that’s what happens when things become that absurd. It’s impossible to say anything without it being offensive in some small way. Going back to basics seemed like a logical thought when it first crystallised in my head. We hadn’t started anything and she held the reigns. I couldn’t make her have sex, right? She just folded her arms, gave me a twisted look of disgust and then walked away. I guess it wasn’t well-received, right?
No matter I thought. I can’t get any less of her. I had nothing before she asked and that reply would ensure I’d have more of the same afterwards. What was the difference? It suited her to be offended anyway. She could use her hostility to keep from lying down… for as long as she wanted. In a way, I had helped her.
In October, I helped myself into the second room. It was better to be alone than beside her; the one I loved, the one I couldn’t have. It took her only a month to decide that she didn’t like this new arrangement. She left our home and never came back. We sold up, divorced a year later and never spoke to each other again.
‘It’s just as well you never had children,’ people say.
‘Are you kidding? How on earth could I possibly have children when we never had any….? Oh, never mind.’
I’ve stopped explaining the stupidity of it all. It hurts to show others how foolish I was. A man needs to retain some dignity.
But being a childless, single male in his forties isn’t so bad. It actually puts me at an advantageous spot in time. Women going through their second phases of life are now ready for action. Tired marriages and old take-me-for-granted routines open their eyes to opening their legs. They have fewer hang-ups, move sooner and make their minds up without all the internal conflict their younger sisters go through. Many have ripening libidos that need feeding and a wish to gorge when the feast is on. What a fantastic thing to encounter after an eleven-year-long sexless marriage!
It was as if I’d been put in a lolly shop and being told I could eat what I wanted and then take the rest in doggy bag!
All is not candy though. Some women in this age-group are those wild-eyed desperate-kinds who are at their reproductive ends and need immediate insemination. It’s sweet that they look at men as nothing more than objects of sex. What about a little chat first ladies? I want to be talked to. Where the hell were you twenty years ago? (I’ve got one lady friend who has planned to be knocked-up by 34. If 35 rolls around and she’s baby-less, she’s to lie down in the street and be taken by the next passer-by!)
They say the baby will be theirs alone and they won’t be chasing the fathers afterwards. Yeah, right! Hormones had me saying all kinds of things to get laid when I was horny too! But a man can control his sex if he chooses to do so. Accidentally pulling out before the flood arrives solves all his problems. A good mop-up afterwards ensures she can’t make it with a turkey baster either!
When the male contraceptive pill comes to be, all that fussing that won’t be necessary. Everyone will have a good time and leave with smiles on their faces! I’m all over that idea! Lol!
I don’t regret not having kids. I do regret not having the kind of relationship I wanted in a marriage and then spending a number of my younger years living in promise, hope, good intentions and then seeing it all go to waste. Nevertheless, I believe good quality children come from good quality relationships. Without one, the other shouldn’t exist. Today, I see so many career couples and career women raising children and losing the battle in instilling the necessary good-qualities in little humans to turn them into beautiful, respectful adults. Feminism appears to have done a number on women… and their men. It’s gone beyond equality and consumed everything connected to it. The expectations to have everything is completely justified in feminism. There is nothing you can’t have do or own,… but a child isn’t property, it’s a person. How the next generation will interpret feminism (masculism for the other side but who cares about equality?) will determine its future.
My former wife won’t be dealing with that problem at all. She left the marriage childless and, as far as I know, is still childless. How she tells the story interests me much. I wonder how she presents it to the curious. Knowing her, the discussion wouldn’t be encouraged and, therefore, doesn’t exist.
In many ways, I believe I got out of it easier. My reproductive time lingers. On paper, I’m eligible, fertile and available. I’m a rare and very sought after breed. That means doors open. Now I’m in control… and in control of the sex in my life… AND IT’S ABOUT BLOODY TIME IT DID!!!!
No kids? No regrets. None at all.