More Than Caregiving

The new truth about life with aging parents

Sexuality and Sex, And Caregiving

"Caregiving roles vary – household, as family caretaker, and, also rarely discussed, sexual." Read More

courageous truth

Thank you for your post. I believe it to be a silent truth of most women. I lived in a mostly sexless marriage for 20 years. The little sex we had was on his terms, for his pleasure. He even told me once that he did not like me to initiate sex, that it made him feel feminine. I don't think most men are like that, but I do think that we are so throughly socialized to be the "care takers" of our family, of each person we love, including our boyfriends or husbands that we often forget (or don't give voice) to consider what we need. The question that forms is what does HE need. And while we hope that he will reciprocate the same consideration, most do not. And most of us accept it without even awareness. I confess that I came to a point when I could no longer accept it. The lack of voice or consideration in our sex life was actually a metaphor for my whole marriage. It was all about him, and I guess I was complicit. Until I was not. After two decades, we discussed the issue and he saw no reason to change. He explained that he felt "uncomfortable" with his sexual skills toward me and so he preferred not to "practice' or "develop" them. I could not imagine a safer context to practice than a decades long marriage. And eventually, I could not get past this and the other areas he was "uncomfortable" giving or helping so that we had more of a partnership. We divorced a year ago. I filed because I had no partner, because of the lack of reciprocity, in sex and everything else. And now, I can say that while I am lonely some of the time it is not as much as I expected. I feel more secure than ever in my life, with who I am, what I want, what I don't want. I know I would rather be alone than be in another relationship where I have no voice, or that my voice is not considered equally important, or where I take care of him but he does not take care of me. As I continue raising my children, three upper teen/young adults I am thoughtful as to what conversations I might have with my daughters so that they do not repeat the cycle of caretaker of all (except themselves) and what I might say to my son so that he grows to be a more considerate and giving man. Thank you for sharing your insights on this delicate subject.

I like that question.

I like that question, "Mom, are you ever sad?" And when she said all the time or often, "What would make you happier?", and she answered. There was a definite thing she wanted. Maybe our spouses haven't been asked that enough. It also applies to other relationships. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glenn

To nhk

Dear nhk:

Thank you for the thoughtful post. I totally hear where you're coming from. Congratulations on being brave enough to strike out on your own - I know it isn't easy! Good luck to you.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Meredith Resnick, L.C.S.W., is a health writer and licensed social worker. She is also the mother of two adopted daughters.

more...

Subscribe to More Than Caregiving

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?