Living In A Sexless Marriage - Had An Affair - Over Now - Feel Empty What To Do?

I live in a sexless marriage.  Intimacy was once an important part of our lives.  But my wife became less and less interested in it, rejecting me every day I tried to be romantic.  Now we make love maybe once a month if that.  Even then its a hurry up and lets get this over thing with the lights out and even our shirts on.  She tells me that sex makes her feel uncomfortable now - that she never wants to do it anymore.  I miss the intimacy in our lives.  I miss the passion.  I can't even remember the last time, if ever, she initiated intimacy.

But I'm still married to her.  I love her, I guess, but less every day.  I have three kids.  Two are now in college.  One is just starting high school.  My youngest  is a real great kid, but painfully shy, and has had a lot of trouble connecting with others this past year.  I know I need to be home for him.  I feel like even if I want to leave I can't ... not yet.

Last year I had the first affair of my marriage.  I connected with an old girlfriend for a couple of incredible weekends.  We don't live anywhere near each other so we only saw each other a couple of times.  We hardly left the bedroom.  Made me feel so good about myself again, made me feel young.  But I also felt terrible too.  I was so worried I'd lose my kids, my family, my home.  After just a few weekends, she knew I was drifting away.  I couldn't give her what she wanted.  The affair ended.

My wife never had any clue that it occurred.  No change in her behavior before or after.  Maybe I felt a little bad about that.

Now, I feel more empty than ever.  I'm no longer sure what I should do.  Should I stay in a sexless, passionless marriage?  Should I stay until after my son graduates?  Can I survive another four years?  Should sex still be so important to me?  Did I make the mistake of my life letting my affair slip away?  Most the time I try not to think of any of this.  But could use your help.
runswithspirit runswithspirit
46-50, M
5 Responses May 15, 2012

is your wife seeking help for her discomfort? i understand that some women in their 40s go through hormonal imbalance that it results in sexual discomfort, depression, feeling of emptiness... I am 35 years old and i just legally separated from my husband. he is 50. we have not had sex since we conceived our son 3 1/2 years ago. i am not kidding. it only took one trial for me to get pregnant...before that, we had not had sex in a year. we were only married for 61/2 years. anyways, in our relationship, my husband has always initiated sex. i never did so because i am really shy. my husband has been going through extreme stress at work in his firm. so he has been unhappy, depressed for 5 years. When i complained about our sexual life 4 years ago, he said that he is so depressed, he cannot get it up!.He accused me of being inconsiderate and selfish. honestly, the only time i initiated sex was when we talked about having a baby and I knew the right time to try for one. i did not leave my husband for lack of sex, but rather for lack of communication and empathy and because i love myself and i love my son. we were not happy we were livivng in separate bedroom. we never talked or argued for that matter. i know for sure that he never cheated on me but i am human and i need to feel wanted and desired. I was never a sex craved woman but now that i am not getting any, i think about it all the time, however i never cheated and i am still celibate... although, it is because i am completly obsessed with one of my professors and i only want him ( it is a long story!).<br />
so, from my own experience, i think you need to speak to your wife about it. she needs to figure out why she does not like intimacy anymore. just be considerate and kind when you approach her. i do not think you should confess your sins to her. some secrets are better kept as they are, secrets that is. <br />
i hope you can still work it out. the only obstacle i see with your situation is the fact that you have been enduring for so many years. sometimes, when you wait that long to address an issue, it might be too late to fix it.<br />
communication is the key to success. we, humans, can really benefit from the art of communication. talk it out. good luck.

Thank you for your heartfelt response casalilly. Sometimes we men think this is only a problem that men experience, but there's a lot of women out there in relationships that are the same way. Sex isn't everything, but it is so important as it gives us an intimate connection with the one we love. It feels great, but not just physically, mentally as well. No one should be without it. I guess I'm lucky we've never been completely celibate. But once a month isn't enough for me. Whenever I've tried to talk about it, the answer has been now is not the time. There isn't a time to talk about it. But I'm not ready to leave either. I guess we are our own enemies sometimes.

My husband and I use to have sex like crazy all the time but now I feel like I don't want the penetration because it is uncomfortable sometimes--I don't know if it is hormonal but I know we have been having issues in our marriage also--but besides that I just feel like leave me alone I don't feel like getting into all the work up of sex because it takes a lot of energy and that sounds crazy because I am only 37 not 77. My husband wants to jump on me way too much and it is annoying. Maybe your wife's feeling for sex is just changing and men are just made up differently than woman--it's like men just have to have it and women get to a certain point in life where we are ok with getting it 1x every couple of weeks

Yes, I believe you are correct - I think men have a greater need for sex than women in general. but for me it is about more than sex. It is about being connected with the one you love, about feeling like two people become one even if it is only for a short while. I think it takes a great deal of courage to make the choices you made.

If you were given everything you wanted in your relationship, what would those things be? Think about what your deal breakers are among those things, and do not compromise them. The most important thing in this situation is to be true to yourself, and be that person *in the relationship*. Live to be true to yourself no matter how many times you get turned down for intimacy, and no matter what your wife says to you. Most importantly, don't back down on your deal breakers - hold her accountable! You are looking at possibly another 30 years or more in this marriage - what do you need it to be? Figure that out and communicate it clearly and firmly to her. (My story "What I Did About It, Part 1 details my own fateful Talk with my husband) <br />
<br />
If you lay down what you need then continue to allow her to not meet your most basic needs for a fulfilling relationship, then it will be *your own fault* for allowing it to continue; your unhappiness will be your own responsibility. I know that sounds harsh, but that's my tough-love opinion (which applies to a lot of ILIASMers here).<br />
<br />
For God's sake, do not tell her about the affair. You are not helping the situation by "coming clean". Bury it, torch the evidence, but hold the lessons you learned with your lover close to your heart, because it can help you on your way as well. Feel free to pm me with any other questions.

Thank you,
I'm going to read your stories. I appreciate your comments. You are right - there are dealbreakers to a marriage. And, if one allows them to occur over and over, then, as you say, it is one's own fault.

Hello<br />
<br />
Your heading could be my story. My youngest son is 14. In my marriage I would consider once a month a good score! - more like once a year recently. My husband has ED and we have grown apart physically over recent months and years. Like your wife, he only wants to try when the lights are low and his shirt and my shirt are on and then he keeps his eyes shut the whole time (quite funny!). I have also had an affair (which has now ended) with amazing and intense sexual feeling. I felt I had to end it as it was going to end my marriage and hurt my kids. I have in fact come clean with my husband over it as I needed him to know what had happened and why it happened. It was a shock for him - made him ill - but we are working on intimacy and are getting somewhere - think he had not realised what was happening to us and especially me. But it is hard when you have suddenly experienced intense desire and physicality after years of not having it. My affair partner was in the same boat - sexless marriage for years - he wanted me to leave my husband and he was ready to leave his wife. It becomes so heady and addictive specially when too people from SM fall for each other. I don't know what advice to give but really sympathise with how you are feeling. My family is hugely important to me and I love my husband but I miss that sense of passion too and feel a bit 'empty'. I think about it all the time but also know that in some ways the whole thing wasn't quite 'real' - not the same as being married and bringing up kids together.

Thank you for your post. How long has your affair been ended? Mine has been ended for about a year. The farther from it, the more I miss it, especially as intimacy remains absent from my marriage. I find myself thinking about leaving much more but just don't want to till my youngest is out of high school. Still is this fair to me? Did you see a change in your marriage after you told your husband?

I feel so bad man.<br />
Make a decision and stick with it.<br />
Sexless marriages don't just turn around. If your not attracted to her, no flowers, candles, or romantic trips will help you out.

Problem is, I am attracted to her just guess she isn't with me anymore. No intimacy at all.