Marriage Without Intimacy

I am in a situation so similar to many of you that it seems as though I could have written your stories myself. I came to this site in search of help, insight, and most importantly, hope. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

Many of the posts center on the lack of sex in the marriage. While that is the case with me as well, what bothers me the most is the lack of intimacy. That hurts the most.

I've been married for 33 years. I haven't had sex for at least three years, and before that maybe 2 or 3 times a year. I made several half-hearted attmpts to get my wife to talk about it, but they never worked. But last night, I had to say what was on my mind. I told her that I was not satisfied with our lack of sex. I told her that I wanted to find a way to make it better. I suggested counseling. She refused. She told me that she was not sexxually attracted to me. When i asked if she thought she could be attracted to someone else, she said possibly. She did not seem to understand why I would want to 'screw up our marriage' over this. She said she was happy. in the end she got very angry and said she was going to find an apartment and move out. She is not willing to change at all.

My take aways from the conversation were:

- She does not want to change
- She expects me to stay with her regardless of how I feel
- I question what passes for love.....
- I question if my desire for intimacy is unrealistic
- I can't spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn't love me enough to at least try to deal with something that hurts me so much.

Ranfar Ranfar 51-55, M 12 Responses May 7, 2012

Your Response


Hi. I've never done this writing/blog thing before.........I too am in a sexless marriage. Its been 20 years of marriage for me and no sex within the past 10 years at least. Prior to that, sex was never good for me. My husband is a great guy, we are friends and I love him like a good friend or brother. Now that I'm 50, I'm craving romance; truth be known, I've been craving it for some time. I want to be faithful but god, I'd love to have a great love affair. Its now getting to the point that I'm living independantly of my husband. I care for him and want the very best for him but mostly, I just want to be physically and emotionally loved. Is there anyone out there with the same situation? Thanks, Bea

You are being taken for a ride. She stated she is not sexually attracted to you. That there indicates your fucke..d.

Secondly she did not outright deny that she is attracted to someone else. She responds with possibly. Take this answer as a yes i am attracted to someone else.

Thirdly on her question of i cant believe you want to stuff up our marriage over this, hell yeah you should. She is just playing the selfish card here. She doesn't want to upset her perfect little world and all the comforts marriage provides her. Knowingly admitting this to you will destroy her little world.

My suggestion on action you should take is this. Seek out a good Divorce Lawyer. Arm yourself with the facts of how you would come out with a Divorce.

Once you have the facts draw up the bill for her actions and present it to her. By this i mean, if you work and support her, stop supporting her, cut off any attempts at emotional attachment, and subsidising any housework, you do for her if this applies etc.

She made a choice to change the agreement/contract of your marriage without any consultation with yourself on this issue. She has taken a line of tough luck like it or lump it and you have no say.

Time for you to change the arrangement on her. Present her with the bill for her actions and demand she pay up. Let whoever else she is attracted to pick up the tab of maintaing her.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

My take on your story.

You are not even close to being ready to take this to resolvement.

If you were, you'd already have a do-able exit strategy in your pocket after consulting a lawyer in your jurisdiction - and when she threatened to **** off and get an apartment, you'd have been all over that utterance like a cheap suit, and had her out of there, then.

But the time is coming when you WILL be ready. See a lawyer, put together a do-able exit strategy. Then, try that same discussion again. Hopefully, she will run off at the mouth again.

Be ready.

Tread your own path.

MVC has pretty much said it all so I'm not going to add to that, except to say that I agree with everything she said, word by word.

As for your questions at the end of your post:

- She does not want to change

- She expects me to stay with her regardless of how I feel

- I question what passes for love.....

- I question if my desire for intimacy is unrealistic

- I can't spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn't love me enough to at least try to deal with something that hurts me so much.

Yes, probably -- you're the one who provides for her bread, cave and bedding right?

2&3 are two sides of the same coin: it is not love. Love is a feeling characterized by your heart beating faster when you see that other person (at least after a few days' absence) and a happy glow spreading over your body. It also entails caring deeply about the welfare of the person you love. The fact that she does not give a **** about how you feel clearly signals that there's no love in her. Even in the bad years of my marriage when I was getting next to no affection, just a lot of a/p crap, my wife was deeply concerned about my health and my wellbeing. Which is why we're still together because when I told her that her lack of engagement made me very unhappy she started to try and make me feel better.

I don't think your wanting intimacy (in whatever form shape or size is appropriate for you) is unrealistic at all. That's what all that emotional investment is all about, isn't it?

Some people seem to have a different model in their head, but it's better to leave them to play in their own sandpit, i.m.o.

And no, I think the ship has sailed and you should see to your own sanity and happiness. Getting out of the relationship is probably the best course at this point.

commiserations and my best wishes -P.

I agree with most of the comments here in that as far as intimacy and sex are concerned, your marriage has gone way beyond the point of no return.

When I was faced with this dilemma, I went out and found a FWB that had the same situation. Everyone is now happy, all the way around.

Have you considered an open marriage, if everything else is OK?

Take time to read even more of the stories here. See what even more YEARS of this does to you. Read some of the stories of those of us who are now out of this nightmare. Contrast their happy lives with the misery that comes from being denied all forms of intimacy. It is common with refusers. Most don't like you to touch them period.

Now after you have done all of that, then get on your knees & THANK GOD that she wants her own appartment. As a matter of fact I would start packing for her. I mean it is the gentlemanly thing to do. If she isn't there to help you pack then that makes you even more of a gentleman. Then call 10 of your closest friends & have a party fot the

Bang Away

NSH :-)

Hi Ranfar,

Well we have a lot in common. 33 years spent in something that resembles a marriage. However it is not that at all. If there is no intimacy on a physical, spiritual, mental and emotional level - then there is no marriage. Marriage is a contract between 2 people. If one or both parties have failed to live up to the terms of the contract, the contract is null and void

What you probably have is a working arrangement. Life's chores have been divided up and are most efficiently processed ie: banking, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, writing out the budget, shopping, dishes, cooking, etc...,. It works. Stuff gets done. Life goes on. And we are ever so civil and polite.

But there is no flirting, no touch, no fire, no passion, no sex. Our lives can be likened to a black hole wherein energy dissappears and nothing ever comes back relative to our refuser spouses that even remotely resembles intimacy.

You know nothing is going to change. You have been doing this way too long to believe that anything will ever be different with this person who refuses you and causes you so much hurt. So why do you stay? That is the only question left to answer. Why do you stay?

Do not get me wrong. You can stay, you are an adult, you have the right to make that choice but staying or not staying is the only thing that you do have control over. Once you answer that question and make your choice, then all the other crap about WHY this happened doesn't matter anymore. You know that miserable, never answered question of WHY no longer has the power to destroy you. You don't care about the WHY. You just choose to stay or go for your own reasons.

The funny thing is when you stop asking WHY and you don't care anymore, you can get off the rat wheel of trying to figure the mess out. And yes, you can be happy again and yes you can even be at peace with yourself. Try it, you may like it!

Does she need to draw you a diagram? She's not sexually attracted to you translates to I don't give a **** about you period. She's all fat and happy with the stuff you provide and she wants you to keep doing that while she lives her own life without any interaction with you. So you have become a meal ticket and the maintenance man without any benefits. Ask yourself "what's in this for me?" and the answer is not one thing. You need to park her at the curb and go find someone that will give a **** whether you are alive or not. Or you can hang around and be a doormat for a user that's taking advantage of you and giving nothing in return it's your choice to make.

I guess absolutely anything is possible in the end of the day. It does seem that she finds her relationship with you as mediocre but she is willing to tolerate it for the interim for whatever motivation, maybe more than one motivation. I am not sure why her having an affair is the first assumption to be made. It doesn't take something as dramatic as that for people to go off one another very quickly

Something I noted about what you say, and you are not the first to voice matters in that way. You say you miss not only the sex but the intimacy, but then you immediately refer to discussing the missing sex with her. Most people would regard sex as being part of intimacy but that there is intimacy without sex even if the boundaries are sometimes blurred, that sex is the ultimate expression of intimacy but that it is not the only expression of intimacy. So, if intimacy in general has gone with no or little prospect of resurrecting it, what realistic prospect is there of resurrecting sexual intimacy? Some people talk about a loss of respect being an issue. My take on respect is that it is a two-way process. In other words if you don't show respect you do not get respect in response. If respect has gone, can there be any intimacy and if there is no intimacy can there ever be any sex? That is looking at things in a rather simplistic manner but if the fundamentals are out of kilter are the details and nuances just further complications?

Your wife no longer loves you. It is possible that she believes and feels you do not really love her and that you are both in a marriage of convenience. Maybe she just stays because there is nothing grossly wrong in the way you treat her and she takes her vows seriously at face value. Do any of these possibilities bother you other than not getting sex?

Thanks for your response. And I understand your thoughts. Perhaps I didn't express it well, but the real issue for me is the lack of intimacy, I guess the lack of sex is secondary to that. But what really does bother me is that I do believe that she no longer loves me. And, that she just feels comfortable with the companionship and lifestyle. Maybe that is enough for her. But she does not want to consider that it is a problem for me, and she would rather leave than try to work on it with me.

Get her to tell you that she no longer loves you to remove any lingering doubt and act accordingly? Hard undoubtedly but what else do you do? Is there any point in you both looking at a figurative corpse and wondering what to do and who is going to do it first? When is time of death going to be given? I feel sorry for you both. Sometimes it just needs to be kept as simple as that.

-----" She told me that she was not sexxually attracted to me. "

Intrepretation: We aren't going to be intimate, ever again. Stop asking.

-----"When i asked if she thought she could be attracted to someone else, she said possibly."

Interpretation: That means YES but I won't come right out and notify you in words, but my behavior will be the tell.

-----"She did not seem to understand why I would want to 'screw up our marriage' over this."

Intrepretation: I want the material comforts of marriage that we have built together to remain, but you are thusly relegated to "friend" status. I am getting my needs met somewhere else so I am happy, why can't you be? STOP rocking the boat.

-----" in the end she got very angry and said she was going to find an apartment and move out. She is not willing to change at all."

Intrepretation: I was enjoying the best of both worlds. Being strickly platonic with you, enjoying the comforts of marriage while getting some action on the side. I didn't bother to tell you that I had unilaterally changed the rules to allow you informed consent, but now I have been busted. Let me see if I can reel you back in by threatening to move out. That might shape you up and get this thing back to where we were before.

You might want to make the assumption that you have been replaced by something (fill in blank here) and make any future plans on that reality.

I recommend you seek legal counsel, as she may already have.

You need to protect yourself. Change is happening at this moment.

This is all you need to know. The challenge is to believe it. Then to act on it.

Oh, and see a lawyer.

Ranfar, are you taking notes??? MVC is nailing it with this post.

MVC has summarised it perfectly -sadly, this is exactly what is going on in your marriage.

I think a lot of us invest so much of our time and effort in just one person. We hope that with this person we can fulfill our life's dreams. In a lot of cases, this does not happen. We get disappointed and keep complaining about it. However, we do not act to change the situation. It is like surgery. People undergo surgery because there is a pressing and urgent need to do so. It involves risks as well. However, if successful, it would be a risk worth taking. I guess relationships are the same as well. Once we know in our heart and mind (remember the heart and mind will not always agree!) what needs to be done, we have to execute the plan. That is the only way out.

You are in for a rough road. If she is talking about getting an apartment...I suspect she is seeing someone else. Find out, she may be messing around.

But if she did move out...she is doing you a giant favor. She does not desire you because she does not like who you are. She will not change her opinion of you, she's had a long time to form this opinion. The world is full of wonderful people who also like sex, and will like it with you. Trying to make it work with someone who does not love you (as she obviously does not) is a waste of time.