I am going back in history a bit here' circa 2005 or thereabouts. At that time I knew my marriage was a dead duck, but there was no compelling reason to end it at that point, it was still a pretty solid "Financial Partnership" and we were reasonable room mates. So, I chose to stay. But, I had accepted the reality of what our deal was capable of emotionally and sexually (very little) and as such my ego etc was not under any great pressure like it had previously been. I had figured out that it wasn't personal on my missus part, it was just "what it was". That left me free to concentrate on my own shit and start working my way out of the hole I had managed to dig myself in.
I think that once you accept that your deal is a dead duck, the damage to your self esteem etc pretty much stops and you can start your re-build.
Of course, whilst you are still wriggling on the "hope" hook, your self esteem, emotional health and often physical health is going to take a beating. That comes with the ILIASM territory.
Footnote - later on, my missus started engaging in behaviours that put the Financial Partnership at risk. That change in the dynamic forced a review of my choice to stay. And after much introspection and angst, I chose to leave. By then, I had almost 4 years of repair work on my self esteem etc under my belt (dating back to when I realised my deal was a dead duck)
I have a friend on another forum that I have invited here, but I do not believe she has come over, yet. She is still in her sexless marriage, but it is officially open. Both she and her husband have a LDR partner that they see periodically. Oddly, both are intimate with their other partners. They seem happy with it.
It was a very interesting arrangement. I would not mind having one like it until the kids are raised.
I was in your age bracket (31-35) and still newly married when I realised that things were never going to be as I would wish in my, theoretically - as it turned out, life long relationship.
But I could hack it, I was going to be a grown up and fix things - or at least make them better. And, hey, you never miss what you've never had; I can get through this - right?
The corrosion of your soul and spirit is slow at first, you make concessions and try to get through but it gets harder. The darkness encroaches closer and closer. Eventually, you find yourself in a hellish place. All you can do is focus on your misery and coping with that it absorbs all of your energies and you retreat from life - just trying to keep that little last core of you intact.
I'm in a different age bracket now. I left my wife nearly six months ago. I am happy content with my new life. Nevertheless, right now, I feel that it will take a substantial chunk of the life remaining to me just to repair the damage. Personally, I just wish that I'd listened to that little voice inside my head all those years ago and left three decades ago not six months ago.
Potential benefit of staying: Not having to tell certain Christian people who have been married 30 years that you are getting the big D. Especially when you have a startup business and these millionaire clients could feed you for years.
I don't believe as yet that it can't be fixed (as opposed to getting back to where we were 20 years ago) I don't want to lose a friend I don't want to sink into fiscal chaos I don't want to leave my pets behind