Sofia from The Unhappy Wife book

unhappy-wifeSofia was the first wife that I’d interviewed. Her story is interesting for two reasons. The first is because I wanted ethnic diversity. She identifies as Latina and her ex-husband is part African. It was great to be able to show that marital challenges are cross-cultural. This story was also interesting because there are not many women who are willing to share details about intimacy with the world.

Concept: At the crux of this narrative is a sexless marriage. Sofia and Leo didn’t have sex for years. What caused the lack of sex was Leo’s infertility. This was the one story where I was able to show the husband’s innermost feelings. Leo’s reaction to his inability to produce sperm affected how he interacted for the remainder of their marriage. He once told Sofia, “If I would’ve found out it was you who was infertile, I would’ve left.” This is a direct quote. Whether it was because of gender or ethnicity, not being able to have sex and procreate was a big deal to Leo. It seemed to be what being a man and marriage was about for him.

But Leo wasn’t the only one who had a view of how marriage was supposed to go. Sofia did too. Another central part of the story was how much she enjoyed taking care of Leo’s needs. Because he was career military, he was always coming and going. Sofia enjoyed this. She helped him pack out to leave, and she helped him unpack when he returned. She cooked and assumed other duties that some of us might deem “old-fashioned.”

Commentary: I wanted to show how both Sofia and Leo had developed a societal stereotype about wives, husbands and marriage, and then lived out those ideas. Leo believed a husband was someone who could give his wife a baby, and if he couldn’t do that, then what was the point of being married, much less having sex? Is this the truth? I’m not a man and I’ve never been infertile, but I suppose if my gender identity was inextricably linked to my fertility, then where would that leave me? What would that make me?

The fact that Sofia stayed with Leo for years, even after his insensitive comment also struck me as odd. She explained that she was fine because she continued to do the part of marriage she liked: taking care of Leo. That was her focus. I suppose that can be marriage, but I’m not sure it’s a relationship. I’m not sure that a husband and wife can sleep separately, have no sex and be 100% happy. This is also why I categorized her experience as part of the “Detached Wife” section. It seemed that she was separated from the reality of her relationship.

unhappy-wifeWhat do you think?

What else stood out for you in this story? Do you think she should’ve been in another category? Is sex important for a marriage and/or relationship? Or am I trippin?

It’s not too late to order The Unhappy Wife here, so you can catch up. Next month, we have to skip Rhadiya, because she also signed a waiver that doesn’t allow me to discuss her story in public. And if you read the book, then you probably understand why! So we’ll move on to everyone’s second favorite wife, Miss Sharlene 😉

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52 thoughts on “Sofia from The Unhappy Wife book

  1. OMG nooo. Rhadiya’s story was one of the best for me! Partly because I could have pictured that chapter in ‘The Coldest Winter Ever’ by Sister Souljah hahaa. Man, it would have been great to discuss her chapter :(.
    With regards to Sofia’s chapter, I was mad at Leo and his comment. He stood out to me as a selfish person and probably not so into Sofia or maybe he was just having a hard time dealing with his infertility issue. Its ridiculous how women will stick by you through thick and thin, yet men usually don’t do the same (esp from his comment). This chapter was sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right? I was a little bothered when I saw that she’d checked that box lol

      Selfish is such an accurate description. I really hadn’t thought of it, but yep, that’s it. He wanted things his way (from the beginning, if you ask me).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. + there were soo many red flags. *sigh* sometimes (unfortunately) you have to go thru the worst things with people before you realize they aren’t the one for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok so when that joker said that she was too loud so they couldn’t have sex on the honeymoon I damn near shut the book! LOL!
    No seriously, that, to me, was an indicator of something much deeper going on.
    Like you said, I am not a man and I don’t know the psychology of male infertility, but I do find it strange that he was not even able to engage in sex for purposes of intimacy and pleasure.
    Very interesting case….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girrrll, me too. I was like “He said what now???” Nope. No ma’am. Negatory. Really though, I kept coming back to that while she was talking like I just don’t get it. And when he said he would’ve left her if it was her that couldn’t conceive. I just didn’t understand why she stayed so much longer, but I’ve learned that people will put up with quite a bit for love.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL!!!! I know you kept coming back to that because it was CRAZY! LOL! but seriously, you are right, people do put up with a lot for ‘love.’
        Was there an issue of financial dependency? I don’t remember reading that there was but I also know that with a military spouse comes certain benefits.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So, I haven’t read the book 😦 but I absolutely have to now! The intricacies of marriage that you bring out are quite intriguing.
    From what you say, I really do admire Sophia’s commitment to her marriage, and I do wish she’d have met someone with a similar mindset.
    Looking forward to reading book!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks my dear! Yes, the book includes a variety of relationship challenges that both men and women face, making a commitment like marriage even more difficult than it already is. I look forward to your reading the book and remember, it’s never too late to comment. If you want to see what the first few wives were about, then just click on The Unhappy Wife and then commentary at the top 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with many of the commenters who say that intimacy is much much more than sex.

    Honestly the husband sounds like a homosexual, a cheater or his downstairs is turned off indefinitely. The infertility thing reeks of a coverup. And I don’t think I could stay after hearing those hurtful words. I wonder what kind of husband he’d be if they had children?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree Tikeetha! Seems like you’d have to find another way to be intimate. In this case, though the husband could perform, he just couldn’t produce sperm, so I’m guessing there was some other issue in his mind about sex, sperm, and reproduction.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep, but they could have done adoption, sperm donation, etc. Men have to let go of some of their preconceived notions about marriage and reproducing. Sometimes God sends you children that weren’t biologically yours to love and raise. We sometimes take for granted the blessings God himself is giving us and say “Nope, I don’t want it God”. I’m still reading your book so I can’t offer more on that, but wait until I finish. I’m going to write about them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. This is sooooo true!!! Sometimes we’re so focused on what we want and how it should look that we overlook what’s been given 😉 Girl I cannot wait for you to finish it. I know you’re gonna have some words of wisdom!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This chapter was so rich to me. The fact that Leo withdrew from the relationship said a lot about how he viewed women to begin with. It seems as if relationships were simply the context for procreative sex, and women’s bodies are simply the incubators for babies. He seemed incapable of having recreational sex with her. It felt as if Sofia was a mere surrogate for him, someone without any needs of her own worthy of recognition. I think of all the men in this book, I identified with this one the least.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You posted it a week and a half before I read it and my review. It wasnt real for me yet. The summary is more abstract than the text, if that makes sense. When I read it I was like ohhhhhh wow this is fire. And I have been silently waiting to comment on that story only to find out I missed my chance! Lol, well onto the other thread I go

        Liked by 1 person

  6. There can be so many reasons why people stay together when sex is no longer a part of the relationship. To me, not sex but intimacy is far more important. Sex is not the only way to be intimate. However, in this story, the decision to have no sex felt not as a mutual decision and that is always wrong in a relationship.

    As you noticed by know, I am back, hihi.
    Big hug! XxX

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true Patty! I do wished I would’ve asked more follow-up questions specifically about intimacy so that I could get a better sense of if it was just sex, but I was so in awe at how infrequent their sex life was that I ended up stuck right there lol Totally agree about it not being a mutual decision, which really is a big issue itself.

      WELCOME BACK!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I want to think that someone who thinks sex is only about procreation is missing the boat – but then I’d be judging someone for what’s in their heart. If procreation is such a must for them, then ok, all crumbles. On the other hand, seems like people who are able to appreciate sex for more than just are bound to have an easier time in enjoying life & other people.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Totally agree da-AL! There’s more to sex than just having a baby; our bodies tell us so 😉 And I do think it must be hard to realize you cannot have a baby, but maybe because of societal pressures about what makes a woman and man?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. for me, the probs of trying to figure these things out has to do with the fact that generalizing generally doesn’t work – that said, its best to move onto next person in order to find the right one for us, rather than fuss over why the wrong one is wrong — easier said than done, of course!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ironically, I just had this conversation about another couple. I literally just told him that it’s difficult to just leave someone, especially when you fear the unknown. You don’t know that there might be someone better, or even still, maybe you’ll enjoy your own company 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. so true – different things work for different folks – for me, however, I was able to appreciate true respectful wonderful love when I came to appreciate my own company & the fact that loneliest for me is to be with wrong person, even if they’re only sorta wrong…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. “What else stood out for you in this story? Do you think she should’ve been in another category? Is sex important for a marriage and/or relationship? Or am I trippin?”

    I love all your points of Sofia’s story, Doc. What halted my heart was her acceptance of his “unlove.” It blew my mind that not being touched, held…the simple yet most intimate part of a relationship is being wanted, being made to feel wantable. I believe the category you have our Sofia in is correct, couldn’t get no righter. You are not tripping at all. Sexual intimacy is the glue of a marriage and monogamous relationship. Human touch is the greatest gift we can give one another…her husband didn’t know her and chose not to know her. What she knew of herself was just surface as well, she accepted his treatment/ mistreatment of her, their marriage, her soul, her definition of love is/was mindbogglingly tainted. I think it depends on the culture and the upbringing of a man when it comes to his definition of virility. There are men more virile than most yet have no idea how to father.

    I love Sofia…I wan her happy! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Michelle! Yes, I agree that intimacy, not necessarily sex is most definitely an important part of a relationship. Neither had that. And then the relationship became more about how can we become pregnant, as opposed to how can we continue to grow and know one another, which you aptly point out neither really did…hadn’t thought about that part, but it seems true for them.

      I think Sofia was the one you were most touched by, right?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes ma’am, she was/is. Intimacy is a requirement. I have experienced infertility…believe it or not it drew us together. Totally depends on the individual’s definition and interpretation of love and marriage.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Guuuurl! You are not trippin’! Lol Sex is a huge part. Sadly, it sometimes takes over and before you know it you think you’re in love, but you’re really in lust. 😛 To know the difference, I choose to abstain while dating. Let’s be frank 😉, everybody wants to be loved and someone to love. We all want those indescribable feelings, right? And, that’s marriage. Sex, being sexually active AND sexually attractive is huge! That’s marriage.
    I can’t wait to order my copy and read more!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. lol – I knew you’d agree 😉 Now, that is the truth. I’ve often reminded people that good sex can feel a lot like love. But…it…is…not lol Abstinence is a great idea. I can see how it would cloud a situation. Looking forward to your thoughts girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been sitting here, thinking about what I just read. I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that the husband’s stated reasons for choosing celibacy are way outside my experience and so find it difficult to comment. I feel, though, that there are things that he has not said that contribute to his decision. There are multiple reasons to have sex – not just procreation. I would like to know whether he is an intensely religious person. If he is, then this could be one reason for choosing to abstain. If he is not. then why not opt for sex for experiencing pleasure, intimacy, shared experience, giving pleasure, satisfying a bodily urge, fitness, or any other reason you could think of? Like I say, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. How is he otherwise with his wife. Is he warm, loving and tactile or is there a coldness and distance in their emotional and physical relationship?
    I find that you have a warm and interesting way of writing, Dr. Garland – enjoyable for me to read.
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful response Robert. Yes, I agree that there are other reasons to have sex, aside from procreation. In fact, I don’t know many people (in the 21st century) who have sex simply for procreating. That’s why this baffled me a bit.

      To answer your question, no he is not intensely religious. I honestly think (and this is purely speculation) that he associated having sex with procreating and associated procreating with being a man. When that couldn’t happen, things changed. Now, of course, I don’t really know. I’m just using my limited knowledge to deduce. I will say that he was a bit emotionally unavailable, if that helps add a dimension. I would add that there seemed to have been some other issues with sex early on, like not having sex on his wedding night because the walls were too thin…Robert, you’ll have to get the book and read the whole story, then let me know what you think 😉

      Thanks for your compliment at the end. I appreciate it and I’m glad you stopped by to read and comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I was annoyed by Leo’s attitude and that he couldn’t separate his infertility from his wife’s need for sex. And his statement that if situations had been reversed he would have left Sofia. I can realize the importance of someone wanting (needing?) a child, but was his intent only to have sex to procreate?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Me too! I think, essentially, that’s what it was. And when I tie his not wanting to have sex at the beginning and them ending up having a sexless marriage, I think you’re right. I don’t think he saw sex as something intimate that two people do to show love, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. This is an interesting story. Sexless marriages are probably commoner than most people think.The media portrayal of relationships makes women think that males have a constant high level of sexual desire. On the contrary, many women struggle in sexless marriages.
    Perhaps it can happen to people in a relationship rather than couples who are just merely married. I say that because liibido often dips with age and also with life stressors — juggling multiple jobs, kids, family, home and self care. That said, In the case of Sofia and Leo where several months have passed with no sex and it’s troubling , the matter needs to be addressed.
    Heart-to-heart communication may be all that is required if there is love. But there may be deeper issues – physical, psychological or marital issues that require work. If it turns out there is a physical issue — as it tends to occur in middle-aged men or with some health issues, especially when there is actual difficulty achieving or maintaining erections, for instance — a trip to the doctor can. be necessary. Men are reluctant to be open.about this. It takes a woman of understanding to encourage the man and convince him to seek help.. However if the
    issue is decreased physical attraction, it may not usually have anything to do with appearance and more to do with unexpressed and unresolved unhappiness in the relationship or marriage. I say that because, let’s get real. In the dark of a room behind closed doors, most men just need a willing party to quench their thirst in the heat of the moment. It is often only the morning Or in the moments of sobriety(post-orgasm) that they want to see a beautiful face and a dashing body- the tiger in the bedroom and the lady in the street combination.
    The excerpt you have chosen from “The Unhappy Wife” has stimulated my curiosity. I will check it out. Thanks for sharing.
    G.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much Gbolabo! I look forward to hearing what you think. Also, I agree with everything you’ve mentioned here. Clearly there’s a problem and also most of the time men don’t want to find out what that is or how to rectify it, especially when it’s them.

      Like

  13. One thing I found interesting about Sophia’s story is that they started out with a healthy sex life. Maybe the cumulative affect of the pain, disappointment, hiding, lying, and sacrificing associated with trying to bring a child into the mix ate await their intimacy?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, I’m not so sure it was healthy, but you know this is merely my opinion. As soon as she told me they didn’t have sex on their wedding night because he felt the walls were too thin, I was a bit suspicious. I do agree with the rest of what you’ve said though Leslie. All of those secrets can weigh on a person’s energy physically and mentally.

      Liked by 2 people

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