While walking up the stairs in our home one February evening almost eight years ago, I thought, "Well, it's been a while. We should have sex."
I crawled into bed exhausted, as always, after putting my kids to bed. At the time they were 3, 5 and 7, and it took everything I had to get through the day alone while my husband worked long hours. I was thankful his job afforded me to stay at home and so was he. But it was a big commitment and by the time he got home most nights, I felt I had nothing left. My husband and I didn't end up connecting that night—or the next.
Before I knew it, three months had passed with zero sex—then four, then five. I'm not even sure we kissed in those months or how many times we embraced.
I was tired and had zero sex drive. He was resentful and felt neglected.
It was the following fall when he told me about the affair he'd had that summer. "It's over now but you hadn't touched me for almost six months," he said.
When you hear the person you love and trust—and have had three kids with—is capable of that kind of betrayal, you are numb at first. You sit and wait for the pain to come, kind of like when you stub your toe and there's a second when you feel nothing, then you feel it all. The rush takes your breath away and you wait for it to pass through your entire body.
Only the pain of your spouse cheating doesn't go away like a the pain of a stubbed toe—it stays with you. And, in most cases, it gets worse.
We aren't married any longer, but it wasn't because we didn't try. We tried for over six years.
I think not feeling like I wanted to have sex was exacerbated by the fact he kept pointing it out to me.
He'd told me that I'd 'tricked' him, since I was more sexual when we first started dating and falling in love.
If we were having sex, he didn't give me a hard time about buying myself a new shirt.
If we were having sex, he did things around the house willingly.
If we were having sex, he acted like he liked me more.
If we were having sex, he complimented me, the way I looked and how I mothered.
If we weren't having sex, that all went away. He said it was because he felt neglected, unhappy and ignored.
It didn't matter that I did his laundry, put it away for him, made him dinner every night and baked his favorite pie or cookies.
It didn't matter that I kept the house clean, and took care of all the kids' appointments and schedules, so he didn't have to worry about it.
He once told me that he'd rather have the house a mess and no food in the house and a disorganized life, if we were having more sex. Twice a month wasn't enough for him.
He'd told me that I'd "tricked" him, since I was more sexual when we first started dating and falling in love.
I realized after some time, having sex made him feel more like a man. My "withholding" made him feel less like a man, so he had to go get it from someone else.
He never asked if anything was wrong, or if we could do anything to help me feel more sexual. Or if maybe I just needed some time without sex or a few months without pressure to get my libido back. He never suggested helping out a bit more and working a bit less.
He just wanted to feel like a man. But it wasn't my job to make him feel like a man.
If he couldn't look at me and see a wife who loved him, birthed his three kids, cared for him, and felt fulfilled and thankful, but who just needed to not feel pressured to give him an orgasm every other night, then I couldn't make him see all he had.
A woman's worth goes way beyond how much sex she's having with her husband. Whether he sees that or not is up to him.