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Where Do I Go From Here?

As I read through the stories here, I realize I am not the selfish, sex crazed, petty person I have been made out to be. I want to love and to be loved, to feel passion, and to have a healthy adult relationship with my husband. I too have begged, cried, and pleaded for him to show me romantic love. How stupid of me to think I could convince him to love me a certain way. Why would I want the affection of a man who so obviously doesn't want to give it to me? I feel trapped and isolated. We have a wonderful little boy. I can't bear the idea of leaving my husband and my son growing up without us parenting him together. He is an amazing father. He is a wonderful provider to us. He is kind and softhearted. He has so many positive attributes. If I just had a magic wand that I could wave over him to make him feel the passion for me that I have felt for him for so many years.......but there are no magic wands. He is the way he is. He loves me the way he does. I cannot change the way he feels towards me. For 10 years I have felt like there is something wrong with ME. I have thought "There must be something wrong with the way I look," "I'm unattractive," "I need to lose a few pounds," "I don't dress sexy enough." I can't look in the mirror without picking apart every little flaw, and thinking "If I just did this or that he would find me attractive." I have considered a tummy tuck and a breast job. He assures me that he finds me attractive. He says he wants to have sex with me, but there is just too much emotional baggage, or he's too tired, or too stressed out. There is always an excuse. I have to come to terms with the way things really are. If he really found me attractive....if he really wanted to have sex with me, he would! So now I have a choice. Do I stay married to my best friend, live in our beautiful home, raise our son together, and forever be without the love and passion I so deeply desire? Or do I leave him, go out into the unknown, and learn to love myself and heal the emotional scars that this selfish, one sided "relationship" has caused?
Liziloo31 Liziloo31 31-35, F 13 Responses Jun 14, 2012

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Have you tried a sex therapist since you posted this story? After going to a regular psychologist a while back, my wife went to a sex therapist a few times and did not find her that useful. She initially went herself and the therapist told me to come too. Basically I just vented and wasted time that could've been spent talking to her. We're looking for someone new but there isn't exactly a huge pool to choose from where we are. I found it can be so draining constantly trying to push her to take charge of this and try to fix it on her own. It's always up to me to find someone to go to, make the appointment, and so forth. After going I did finally accept that my wife doesn't know why she isn't attracted to me. If your husband is so unwilling to communicate it might be worth it to try a visit. Even if he won't fix himself you might get closer to figuring out the why, even if doing so is a waste of time.

No, we haven't tried a sex therapist. Like you, I feel drained constantly pushing him to make this a priority. Maybe it would be worth a try, but at this point I am about ready to give up chasing after answers.

Sounds like you've been at it for a long time. I've only been dealing with this for 1-2 years and I already feel like I'm wasting my best years. Has he ever given any real guesses as to why he is not interested? Or is he just holding back still to protect your feelings? I constantly worry my wife is doing that but she swears that's not the case.

We've been together for 12 years. Struggled somewhat with sex for at least 11 of those. The thing is he SAYS he is interested. I think he is holding back a lot to protect my feelings. He also swears that's not the case. He says he finds me attractive, and gives me compliments....but his actions say otherwise. He doesn't seem to see me as a sexual being.

I could've written that myself. My wife says she is still attracted to me but doesn't know why she isn't interested. I tell her that her actions do not fit with what she says. Do you feel strange for having this problem at a younger age? I feel like I must be the only guy my age dealing with this.

I think what I feel more than anything besides loneliness is anger and resentment. I truly love my husband, get along pretty well with him, am attracted to him, and all I'm asking from him is a little sex, romance and passion. I'm angry because I am so young and I feel like I'm wasting the best years of my life, and missing out on something I desperately need and want. If he really loves me, why not try to provide for me what I need out of this relationship? And no, you're definitely not the only guy your age dealing with this. What you do have though, is an advantage. You could still get out while you're young!

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You can chase the "why" he is intimacy averse to you up hill and down dale til you are totally exhausted. Then do it again. And again. And again. He will continue to watch on, bemused, no idea what the fuss is all about, as the relationship 'as is' suits him just fine.<br />
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Your result will be as it has thus far already been. A spouse still as intimacy averse to you as when you started the fruitless "why" chasing.<br />
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The problem is his, and needs to be handed back to him in toto. In full.<br />
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That passes the obligation of choice squarely back on him.<br />
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He either does 'something' or he does 'nothing', and that then passes the obligation of choice back to you. And YOU will need to be able to make an informed choice. To make an informed choice, you need relevant information.<br />
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A divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction would be able to provide said information.<br />
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The landscape of choice is a hard and harsh place. But you don't get a pass on it. No-one does. Not him, not you.<br />
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Tread your own path.

" I realize I am not the selfish, sex crazed, petty person I have been made out to be."<br />
"He is kind and softhearted. He has so many positive attributes." "He says he wants to have sex with me, but there is just too much emotional baggage, or he's too tired, or too stressed out." "Do I stay married to my best friend..."<br />
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I am personally confused... <br />
Do we call person our best friend if he brainwash us to feel selfish, sex crazed and petty, while we are just being normal an healthy?<br />
Am I wrong of not seeing this person kind and softhearted,but cruel and manipulative? Am I wrong not believing somebody telling me wanting to have sex with me but not having it for long-long time?

What I hear from what you say, put together, is a conflict avoider. Conflict is a profound phobia to him, because he does not know how to handle it. In fact he fears it, the very thought of it makes his blood run cold. He fears the stress, the anxiety, the pain of conflict. He can anticipate the panic. It is not that he not an emotional person, the very opposite in fact. He just doesn't trust himself. He neither has the confidence or the self-esteem or the skills or the experience that would allow him to let go of his feelings yet at the same try to manage them. He really has no idea what that involves and it scares him, it scares him as to what dark places it might take him. He lives in fear of that. He knows that but yet cannot move beyond it, even with your support. He cannot just let go, even knowing rationally that the one person he needs to be able to let go with is his closest and most intimate partner. Instead, he prefers instinctively to run away.

wow,
profound...
really
clg

Leave him and start looking at other men. <br />
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Call a divorce lawyer.

-----"learn to love myself"<br />
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Since you wrote this, this means you don't love yourself right now.<br />
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You have to learn how to do that REGARDLESS of your relationship status. <br />
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I would recommend you start at that. With YOURSELF.<br />
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After you get the most intimate relationship you will ever have - with yourself - right, then, and only then can you begin to look at the marriage to see what you might be able to contribute.<br />
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Bear in mind that once you start loving yourself more, you will look at ALL your relationships with a different, more aware eye.<br />
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And it doesn't mean those other relationships will continue to remain in your life. Your standards will probably increase and you will be more discriminating in whom you allow into you life. You will start to want to be with people who add value to your life and not subtract value. This include spouses too.<br />
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Changes are coming, be prepared. Learn to love and value yourself first.

Maybe I should have said "relearn" to love myself. I can't place all the blame on him, but the way he has ignored me, pushed me aside, and treated me like a platonic figure instead of a sexual being has certainly played a role in how I feel about myself. You're absolutely right though. I should not rely on him for my self worth. It is very possible that it was my own self loathing that got me into this type of relationship in the first place.

To paraphrase Louis B. Mayer (of MGM): "If he doesn't want to find you attractive, you can't stop him...."

I was struck by several things in your story. First as to: <br />
"There must be something wrong with the way I look" <br />
"I'm unattractive" <br />
"I need to lose a few pounds" <br />
"I don't dress sexy enough." <br />
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I suggest the question to answer in order to answer these questions is – Have you changed markedly from the person he fell in love with and married? Aging and life realities aside, if you have “let yourself go” then that is worth examining.<br />
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He seems to have fallen in love with your breasts as they are (also no hair extensions required) IMO. A breast job will be a band aid on the real issues.<br />
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“I cannot change the way he feels towards me.” – Sure you can - input creates a reactive response in his brain. If you change what you do he will change the way he feels towards you. For example if you hit him in the head with a dead iguana every night when he sleeps – he will look at you differently. Seriously his brain will react to the input – both emotional, visual and aural that you provide. He will not love you for who you are (or have become) – he will gain feelings of love from input that is brain equates to love. Now being up late with a dead iguana may not be worth the effort "that is just not me" - I digress. His needs may not fit who you chose to be ba<x>sed on your world view of being an emotionally and physically healthy person.<br />
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“He says he wants to have sex with me,” [maybe but maybe in the abstract versus the real]<br />
“-but there is just too much emotional baggage,” – RED FLAG -- like what?<br />
“or “he's too tired, or too stressed out.” Well I’d guess he is 1) lying or 2) has a physical problem or 3) “Prefers computers” – or something else.<br />
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With all respect – a one sided "relationship" is a story told by one side. If you choose door number one of your described choices – then you might sit and think what his story would be mustering as much love and care for his opinion as you have. Could he start a time line where you were the refuser? Are his tastes and expectations in bed truly equivalent to yours? Would he talk about control? Nagging? Not being appreciated? -- He may be full of crud by any standard and that is OK for this exercise. But if you elect to stay you would be well ahead to really examine what he is feeling as best you can.<br />
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Best to you.

I have come to terms with the fact that it is NOT the way I look. These are questions I have asked myself, but the reality is, I AM attractive. Other people seem to find me attractive, and tell me more often than my husband does. I have tried wearing lingerie, ****, going to a ***** club with him, buying fun toys, trying new things, being the constant initiator. He does have different tastes than mine and I have been open and willing to try ANYTHING to make this better. What he considers emotional baggage is me saying "I would really like to have sex." for ten years. Nagging? Again, if you consider me telling my husband how much I love him and how important sex is to me, how much I miss him...then yes I suppose I am a nag.

As far as what I meant by "I cannot change the way he feels about me," I have tried from so many different angles to get him to feel passionately towards me, I just don't feel that it is possible. If it isn't there, it just isn't there.

Yes I hear you - I really do. I am in the same group and been failing miserably for 25 years LOL I know the thoughts seemed blunt but his view will likely will be worse. He can demure or blame himself or blame you - I know how that goes in my M. I know for my wife and me -- there are circles upon circles that lead to no intimacy or sex. I have also come to terms that she is just not very sexual. I have tried from positions of trust, love, anger, childishness - everything I could try both positive and negative, nothing worked. - but since I stay I try to limit the other circles as I am willing to to make things a bit better. Best to you - sounds like you have really tried hard.

I agree. You cannot change how he feels about you. You can only be true to yourself, by expressing your feelings, needs, and desires, and insisting on continuing to try for a happy marriage. You can learn to improve yourself, on the inside, too. But it's up to HIM, to choose how he feels and expresses himself.

I see what you're saying. If my husband did express his beefs, feelings, thoughts, desires, there would probably be some very hard pills for me to swallow. He thinks he is saving me by NOT expressing his frustrations and not hurting my feelings, but really it just makes everything worse. I have to imagine what he is thinking and feeling and internalize so much myself. Wouldn't it be better, even if it did cause fights, to just get all the **** out in the open? At least that's my thought. Thanks for your input and best of luck to you too!

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I feel so much for your situation, and have been living in a sexless or near sexless marriage for the last 7 years. I am so happy to hear that he is open to counseling and divorce and leave him were not your only replies. I too choose to stay. My hubby isn't going to counseling, but at my insistence did at least see a doctor to rule out a physical illness. The situation with me unfortunately, has not improved.<br />
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I wish you the best and that you and your mate find the happiness and satisfaction you deserve. :)

Thank you! I wish you the best too.

Oh, and one more comment: you can be kind, but still insistent. Tell him that sex and intimacy will NEVER stop being important to you. Tell him that you will not live this way forever. He needs to know that it's unacceptable for him to avoid dealing with the emotional baggage. He needs to know that you are dedicated to your own happiness-- and if he refuses to rebuild his connection with you, then you will do whatever it takes to stand on your own two feet and create a happy life for yourself.<br />
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He can choose to stick with you and grow, or he can freak out and refuse to change. But either way, you'll be true to yourself.<br />
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Do this NOW... Don't wait for years, the way some of us have mistakenly done!! Live without regrets!!!

Thanks so much for your support. So glad I found this site.

I encourage you to keep searching for the way to improve your marriage. Many members of this group will come along and insist, "He does not love you," and "Get a divorce, before you waste too many years," etc. But I say: if this man really is your best friend, kind and softhearted, then it's worth the effort to fix the dynamic between you.<br />
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He is probably being truthful when he says there's too much "emotional baggage." He is likely withdrawing, and feeling sexually blocked, because he has negative feelings that he will not openly express. This is not about how attractive you are, or how much he loves you. This is about an unhealthy relationship dynamic that is fixable, if you are both willing to learn and change.<br />
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Don't let him get away with sabotaging your marriage. He is taking the easy way out, by denying that sex and romance are important, so he doesn't have to deal with the "emotional baggage."<br />
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Find a qualified marriage counselor, and if possible, go together-- but even one partner getting counseling, can help. Or find a good book about rekindling sexual intimacy in marriage. Or both. Also, you may have to take a good, hard look at your own habits and behaviors that aren't optimal.<br />
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It is NOT your fault that he has chosen this path. But it is your responsibility to stand up for the happy life that you want.

We are looking into a marriage counselor. I would ideally like to fix this relationship. I love my husband dearly, and the thought of leaving him is terrifying....but at the same time, we have been at this for over 10 years. I have asked simple little things of him that he has refused me. How can he say he loves me so much, but let me sleep on the couch, alone, knowing what it is that I need from him?

I have just been asking similar questions about my own husband. He is in therapy with a relationship / sex therapist now. And through talking with him, I have finally realized that he was not ignoring me for the express purpose of hurting and punishing me. He was simply being self-centered and refusing to deal with his negative feelings and resentments. He was so resistant to change, that he didn't allow himself to fully recognize that this was torture to me, and it was wrong. And when he did realize that, he resisted the idea that he could change course.

It is not easy to deal with these problems. But this is truly not a measure of how much he loves you. If he says he loves you, then most likely he does. But you know what they say-- "Love is not enough." It takes a lot of growth to develop new relationship skills.

Thanks LovelyAlone. Sometimes I feel like it is just hopeless, and the idea that he could change gives me some hope. I don't think my husband is hurting me on purpose either, but he is naturally a little self centered. Has your husband made any positive changes?

Yes, he really has! We are still going through a lot of tough stuff, but he has finally begun opening up to me about his past resentments-- even the ones that aren't "rational." And the more we talk, the closer we feel. He's finally able to argue with me, which is something he has avoided as much as possible. As he becomes more willing to take these emotional risks, he develops more sexual feelings. He is starting to get back in touch with his desire for me-- and he's starting to show it!

That is great! I think arguing can actually be a good sign. My husband stopped arguing a long time ago too. So is he going to a therapist alone? Is that what you would suggest, or do you think that counseling together is more beneficial?

In our case, him going to therapy alone has been great. He says he feels more comfortable this way, because he can say things that might hurt me, away from my ears. He can decide, on his own, what he wants to bring up when we're together. Also, I think it's been good for him to talk about his experiences of sex without me around. This has given him the chance to take responsibility for how he chooses to relate to me.

I guess the thought of just one of us going to a sex therapist without the other never occurred to me. My husband and I have both been hesitant to go together for different reasons. I think I will talk to him about this and see if he might be willing. I do get the feeling that there are a lot of things my husband would like to say, but doesn't want to hurt me. Thanks again for your input :)

You are very welcome! I hope you both find your path back toward each other. :-)

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Out.<br />
<br />
Get out.<br />
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I still, no matter how many state or allude to this idea of staying "for the kids" might never understand it.<br />
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Even though my folks hugged, I knew and I sensed that something was amiss. I knew their marriage was (and is) dead. I knew it was all for show, an act. Being too young, back then, I had to idea as to why they stuck together, only that it taught me that: Once you marry, no matter if he slaps you or ignores you or cheats on you or emotionally wholly ignores you -- you *stay with him* (or her hehe).<br />
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Where, in there, is the good idea? <br />
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I might never understand this staying for the kids idea, which it seems you've alluded to in here.<br />
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And, in my experience, it's not just a matter of "he's so nice save for lack of sex/passion/etc". You mean he's nice, save for the fact that he knows you're tortured about this and does nothing about it?<br />
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He's nice, save for the fact that he knows your soul cries out, is anguished, that you're longing for some kind of reciprocated love and affection, all of which he could provide, *if* (mighty if) he sought some kind of remedy, but doesn't?<br />
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He's nice, though you sometimes cry yourself to sleep - and likely he knows this - yet does nothing to help the situation?<br />
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Where, in that image of your torturer, is a nice person? I don't see it.

Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. Almost verbatim I have expressed to him what you said to me. Yes, I cry myself to sleep a lot. I sleep on the couch a lot. No, he never actually does anything about it, and I know that if it were me in his position I would do something. You're right.

Like to the tenth power.

We recently had a poster here who said she could here her husband crying himself to sleep but she kept silent and trhe next morning acted as if nothing had happened. Think about this - because I bet you would feel the same as I did that this woman was HORRIBLE to her husband. Is not your husband doing the same thing to you . . . ???

Yes, exactly the same thing.

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Could have been me writing this. Do you talk about it with him?

To no end.........

Has he ever admitted he has a problem?

Yes, he has. But in the end, it always seems to get turned back around and become my problem. I don't think he is willing to admit or face his true feelings and therefore has to constantly come up with excuses.