Lost Hearts: But when will I get the happy ending?: In his new book, Danny Danziger interviews a number of well-known people who talk anonymously about separation and divorce. Here is one of them

I WAS at school with Hugh, so I had known him all my life. We had interests together, we painted together, and became very good friends.

And when he asked me to marry him, I was 19 or 20 and I'd never been out with anybody else. I was totally devoted to him, and so we got married.

We spent a month on Lake Geneva for our honeymoon, but things were just not right, and the marriage was not consummated: he wouldn't sleep with me, and we had no sexual relationship at all. And the whole relationship began to deteriorate straight after we got back.

We moved to his parents' house and we lived with his parents. He would never listen to me, it was always what his mother said, I never felt I was his wife because he only paid attention to her.

He hated his father, probably motivated by his mother who at that time was in her late fifties; my father-in-law was a good 20 years older than her, but extremely virile, and sometimes she would come to the breakfast table, and she would scream and cry: 'He crawled over me all last night, he crawled all over me . . .'

His sister was extremely intelligent, but suffered from manic depression. One day the most appalling scene took place. I don't know why, but she came over and screamed: 'You're a bitch, I hate you . . . he's my brother,' as if she was having an incestuous relationship with her own brother. She once cut her wrists after one of these outbursts.

I painted the guest bedroom pink, and thought: hopefully we will have a baby in there . . . but nothing was said about children.

I wondered why two single beds were going upstairs, surely if we're married we must have a double bed, but two single beds were put into the house.

He then started to masturbate on his own - he wouldn't allow me to touch him - once, twice, three times or four times a week, sometimes in front of me, sometimes in the bathroom, and that upset me so much I went to the doctor. I didn't understand what was happening. I asked the doctor: 'Is there something wrong with me?'

I thought I liked sex, but I didn't know much about it, I was a virgin.

I started to run 14 miles a week; they say when you're sexually frustrated that is what you do.

And then I thought: this is foolishness, I'll have to find out about things, so I went to New York with my husband on a business trip, and I had an affair, in a very calculated way, to find out exactly what sex was like. Of course, I had never had an orgasm before . . . and it was wonderful, the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and I found out that I was a normal woman.

Please do not misunderstand me, I'm not a nymphomaniac, but sex is very important in a relationship, and if you don't have it, it's soul-destroying.

Meanwhile, I had to go back and deal with living in this relationship, being terribly unhappy and frustrated.

I went to doctors, I went to the church, I tried every avenue to make the relationship work because I loved him very much; but it wasn't enough, I obviously didn't do enough.

When I went to see a psychiatrist, she said: 'You should call a divorce lawyer now.' But I said: 'No, I'm not ready to hand in the towel yet.' I had gone through all this pain and agony, and I would not give up because I loved him very much - and I was not going to let the mother-in-law have the better of the situation.

I took a lover. I couldn't stand it any more, and then a proper relationship started with a wonderful man who was a proper man, who was a helicopter pilot in the air force, the most macho man that you could find, the complete opposite to Hugh, and he hauled me out of that appalling situation and gave me the will to live. And I was very happy with him.

I have cried and had much remorse. Hugh has seen the pain I had because our relationship didn't work, because I loved him, I loved him very deeply.

But I have now been told by friends that Hugh is a homosexual . . . that he likes little boys. He is dying of leukaemia, they say; maybe he has Aids.

In a funny way I still love him, but I have put him out of my mind now.

I'm very much happier now I'm 40, I'm my own woman. With my husband I gave my soul, my body, the whole of me. But when you're 40, you realise you don't have to give the whole shop away; you may have a liaison with a man, but you don't give him everything.

The man who pulled me out of my marriage was divine, I was crazy about him, I loved him. Sadly, he is now going blind with diabetes, and sexual relations for the past two years have started to diminish - and he won't marry me. I respect him enormously for not marrying me and putting me through another ordeal in my life.

But when will I get the happy ending?

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