It's Been A Rough Year... And I'm Not Sure How This Will End.....

Work was terrible, the pressures were beginning to just tear me open.  I had never been in a situation at work where I didn't know how to complete a project... for the first time, my confidence was eroding.  At the same time my wife of 15 years began to become distant.  Stress, life, kids... who knows.  I don't blame her for the distance.  But after two terrible sexual encounters, we are in a sexless marriage.

It's been less than a year, we are seeing a couples counselor and I feel like giving up.  Twice she has mentioned the idea of staying married as 'friends'.  I already know that isn't an option.  Don't get me wrong, I will work with her forever to fix our relationship.  But a sexless, friend only marriage is not something I can do.  I love her, always have. 

Our sexlife has been up and down all through our marriage.  She holds onto this view:  I should love her for who she is, and if sex isn't important to her... that's part of her... and I'm wrong for wanting it.  If your asking yourself, yes, she has some anger issues.

My wife is a beautiful woman.  But for all these years we have been married she really has never invited me into her intimate world.  I don't know what turns her on.  She has some reading that's sexual in nature, but she get's furious if I even discuss it.

We're working on it.  But I am struggling.  I have wondered to myself:  should I just find a woman in the same boat?  Why try for someone who isn't interested and just find one who would like the intimacy I can offer? 

I do struggle with this... would it be better for all involved?
taf0100 taf0100
41-45, M
4 Responses May 14, 2012

15 years and there are kids involved. Tough spot to be in. If she just wants to be friends, then perhaps she would not mind an open marriage? If she does mind then ask why?

I wish it was that simple. If I didn't love her, I would have done just that. But I do love her, always have. It is she that isn't interested.

She has, in the heat of an argument, suggested "I should just find someone else".

We have not been in counseling very long, under 4 sessions. I think there is enough at stake (it will be hard on the kids) to try, and I do love her.

Well 4 sessions is hardly scratching the surface. I would expect 6-12 months at 1 session a week to see real progress. Does she love you back?

I believe she loves me as a person. It's the intimacy that's the issue.

Why?

If there is love, there is hope. If not, then either you must resign yourself to your situation or formulate an exit strategy.

1 More Response

I recently had a bit of a frightening situation...I thought I was having cardio issues. All the classic symptoms...<br />
<br />
It turned out to be anxiety and stress....which will eventually make you really ill for real. <br />
<br />
I don't have an answer for you ...you need to find out what is not only acceptable...but that which you can really LIVE with. As in being alive, aware, still finding wonder, emotionally engaged within yourself, a smile now and then that is simply because.<br />
<br />
Can you do that with a "friend" for the next say 35 years..??<br />
<br />
For each the answer is different. Depending on what she really means by "friends"...many here will tell you that "they" don't change....and they may be correct. Some may say she does not love you and they may also be correct - <br />
Some may offer that you have not tried to "revive" the romance...scented candles and all.... if you have not gone there...you maybe got here early. <br />
Some will suggest counseling ...and yes...that is likely a good idea so YOU may feel like you tried it all and in the end it really came down to one thing.<br />
<br />
You get to decide what you are willing to live with.....and then you have to DO something...or you have decided to simply stay with things as they are. You got here...no doubt because you entered some search terms that led you here. What words did you search....what were you looking for? And now that you are here be honest with yourself - what do you want?

You say you are seeing a couples counsellor. For how long? Has it as yet revealed anything about the dynamics of your relationship that has surprised you? If it has been ongoing for some time and it has not revealed anything useful it probably won't. That will probably because one party or another is with-holding. People go to counselling in the hope, maybe against hope, that it will help them to resolve their difficulties. However, it is difficult to achieve that if you do not fully and correctly understand the issues and dynamics that are going on between you. That may be seen as a statement of the obvious but I suspect that it is often overlooked or glossed over and 'solutions' are 'imposed' on the situation on a guess and try basis.<br />
<br />
Your wife reads romantic novels, articles, essays, etc that are at least partly sexual in nature? Yet she keeps it secret from you. She will not discuss it with you. That doesn't sound like someone who is completely devoid of sexual desire. It sounds like someone who is devoid of sexual desire for you. You mentioned the fact that there were a couple of recent "terrible sexual encounters". Are they all part and parcel of this possible scenario? What does she mean by a "friends only" marriage? An open marriage? Has she effectively decided to cut-and-run from the sexual aspect of your relationship rather than stick it out and try to work on it? If she has, it sounds as if your options are strictly limited as she has already made up her mind how to deal with the situation.

Talking openly about sex and what turns you on is a part of a healthy marriage. <br />
<br />
Sounds like you need a new counselor if you are going for such a long time and with no change for the better.