If you are a fan of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” you will know what I I’m referring to in this post. If you haven’t seen the show, the “roommate agreement” is an 80ish page document frequently wielded by the head geek of the show when having disagreements with his roommate about specific protocols going on in the apartment. It is hilariously comprehensive and covers everything from what time each one occupies the bathroom in the morning or the default thermostat setting in the apartment, to what to do during an alien invasion or the duties of a sidekick if one of them suddenly develops super powers.
The agreement stipulates that the other roommate receive a 48 hour warning if the one of them has an overnight guest. They have frequent arguments about this because the more sexually active of the geeks occasionally gets lucky with an impromptu “hook up” and violates the 48 hour advance warning clause.
Technically I call this a marriage adventure blog so I feel a certain obligation to discuss marriage issues even if only occasionally. Where I’m going with this is a conundrum that far too many spouses find themselves in. I know this because I’ve read approximately a bazillion blogs posts and books about this topic. It seems to be the elephant in the room that people are afraid to talk about, The problem being that one partner thought they were signing up for a marriage agreement but somehow a bait and switch happened and instead they got the roommate agreement – minus the overnight guest clause. This recalls the old warning – always, always, always, read the fine print.
The difference is that most people, when entering into a marriage agreement assume that the other partner is able to or at least willing to try to be available to meet the sexual and accompanying emotional needs of the partner. If one of the partners outright refuses, or won’t step up to the plate in a more passive aggressive fashion via poor health habits, unaddressed emotional issues, etc., this creates a huge problem because in the roommate agreement neither partner is expected to participate in gratifying the sexual or physical needs of the other partner whereas the marriage agreement implies that the partners not seek to satisfy basic sexual biological needs outside the marriage agreement, even if these needs are totally unmet within the relationship.
Open marriages aside, going outside the marriage to satisfy unmet sexual needs within the marriage is a huge social taboo. I’m not talking about the need to swing from the ceiling on a mink covered trapeze here either, just plain old garden variety sex. Going outside the marriage never seems to work well and usually damages a shaky relationship severely, if not irrevocably, regardless if it is the husband or wife who strays. Unlike the roommate agreement which does stipulate that the partners may arrange an overnight guest for said needs as long as there is a 48 hour warning. I generally don’t recommend it.
So what happens from here? Good question. The choices seem to be; A) remain in the marriage agreement, never have sex, and grit your teeth because the spouse is “so great” in all other departments (this is the ultimate self-con job by the way), B) Remain in the marriage agreement and meet your needs outside the marriage unit, or C) Take the high road and exit the marriage agreement before arranging to meet ones needs elsewhere.
Ideally the party who is not getting their needs met would prefer another option as in D) the sexually prunified partner lose that nagging little extra 50 pounds, work with a doctor to get off medicines that cause a lack of sexual libido or function, and do whatever it takes to be attractive and healthy enough to rejoin the marriage bedroom tango.
I know there are people who will say “well sex isn’t the only important thing in a marriage.” True BUT, if it’s not happening at all ever, zilch, nada and this is bothering one of the spouses then it is a hugely mission critical problem. In my opinion it is a deal breaker. As in “excuse me Bubba, or Bubbette, I don’t care how much money you have, what a great cook you are, or if you clean the house so thoroughly that I could lick floor, if I’m not getting laid on at least a semi regular basis then all the other stuff means exactly diddly squat! I can hire a maid for that, go find someone else with money, or provide myself with funds.” For a woman with small children in this situation this might be a little tricky to achieve at first, but personally I’d rather be strapped for cash on occasion than watching my soul die slowly in a sexless marriage.
The no sex clause is all well and good and if both parties are aware of this and amenable to that from the beginning. However, it’s not kosher to spring this little surprise on a partner after marriage as in “oh by the way, I don’t intend to have sex with you….like ever.” Whether it is expressed verbally outright or only implied through actions or the lack there of, it’s still dirty pool. The left out partner feels like they got cheated or scammed. And you know what? They did.
Further reading: Take the Red Pill