Introduction And Advice - Man Trying To Decide If It Is Time To Look Outside For Intimacy

Long post – Sorry!

I was happy to have finally found a group like this that seems to have a nice balance of all sides of the issues involved with a sexless marriage. I have taken a good look around this group and see lots of different sides and histories, didn’t find a story exactly like mine and am therefore looking for ideas.

The “typical” part of our story – Both in our early 40s, have been married 20 years. She never had a strong sex drive, but did enjoy it. Interest gradually dropped, not due to any particular big event, to the point where she now won’t even touch me and “hides” when getting undressed at night so I won’t even see her naked.

The “different” part of our story – She has a medical condition that meant we could not have biological kids and has had some major surgery that makes sex very difficult. For years we have not “gone all the way”, but I was OK with that. We both still had lots of fun and would both enjoy the sex we had very much. ******’s and such were not an issue and toys worked wonders for her. We adopted three awesome kids along the way who are still quite young ranging from 6 to early teen.

Our lack of sex is therefore not about falling out of love, it seems to be that she has simply reached the point where it is absolutely not of interest to her. Essentially she has the sex-drive of a 70 year old given the age that menopause occurred for her. I can’t blame her for that, and no amount of romance, candle-light dinners, etc. is going to fix that!

When we do take a night off from the kids (date night) it is great fun, we fall into bed exhausted and happy, but a quick peck on the cheek, perhaps some hugging, and then her nose is in a book or she’s asleep, seemingly unaware that I was hoping the night would end the way it used to years ago.

We have both been faithful. We rarely fight (when we do it is not about sex, just usual day-to-day marriage stuff).

So now what?

I have tried for almost a year to suppress my urges, but it is making me crazy, emotional, unpredicatable (but I have not been mean or exerted lots of pressure on her). She does put pressure on herself and when we do talk about sex she feels huge amounts of guilt over not having any interest. The “do nothing’ approach is not really working for either of us, hence my reason to join this board.

Divorce just seems stupid, given that everything else in our life is going well. Leaving “just for sex” seems so wrong. But I worry that it is going to happen eventually anyway given many of the stories on this board. Heck, she might end up leaving me just because she wants the guilt to end.

Or do I look for an outside friend with benefits (FWB). No idea how to find such a person and have read many posts on the pitfalls and horror stories (as well as some shining successes).

I don’t think I can get permission/acceptance from my spouse for the FWB route.

Please don’t post about ways to “fix” her. After 20 years of doctors, therapists, etc. and given the surgeries that have occurred, this is really not a viable option.
back2nature back2nature
41-45, M
9 Responses Nov 11, 2012

Wow back, we have very similar boats.

You have my sympathy, with actual physical problems throwing more hurtles to jump over, this can NOT be easy.

I think you're doing everything right so far. You have a date night, and you seem to be pretty open about the problem with her.

I wouldn't get a divorce for such a reason. You have kids to think about too, and it wouldn't be fair. Also FWB is a REALLY tricky thing to get into. She could give you permission for this, but once she realizes you've had an encounter with someone else... she could end up really disappointed, and feeling betrayed.

Let's not forget the positive side here. She realizes the problem and feels guilt. I'm not saying she's done something wrong, but she not only knows, but FEELS something is amiss. That's a great sign.
She hides herself when undressing, my wife does the same for the same reason... as much as I want to see her body, it would just end up getting me horny so I understand why she does it.

I can only make one suggestion. Something I saw on a documentary about an aging couple with nearly the same problem. The man said he was done and gave his wife the ultimatum... "Put out or I'm out." basically, but not as drastic. He said it much better than that... I think he said "If I can't look forward to making love with you, I'm not going to be able to love you anymore."
His wife said that she loved him, and loved the companionship, but had to dig deep for some sexual spirit, and all was well.

Note that they had children who were already in college, and I would never advise you to give a serious ultimatum. With her condition it seems it would be very hard for her to turn around, but it might put things in perspective if you were strong with it, or hinted at it.

Good luck man, I'm cheering for you.

In a reply to a comment earlier, you allude to looking outside the marriage. By default this means that divorce is also under consideration (at the hands of a cheated on spouse).

It would be a good idea to see a lawyer in your jurisdiction to establish how a divorce would shake out for you. You can then make an informed choice concerning this potential option.

Tread your own path.

I honestly think you are in a tough situation because it doesn't seem like you will be able to get what you want from your spouse. It sounds like you love her and wish that she equally desires you. Do the two of you do any other intimate things like hold hands? kiss? It sounds like your losing a connection with her too. Maybe she can pleasure you in other ways? Would that be enjoyable for you if she wasn't into it? Best of luck to you! Cool points for having such respect and admiration for your wife.

You are right on both of your statements - We do hold hands, kiss, cuddle, etc. and she has pleasured me in other ways which is basically how I have been getting by the last couple years, but it just doesn't feel right - too much like she sees it as a chore and there is guilt all around. Perhaps I just need to get past that.
All these comments are very helpful, we are going to be having a deep conversation tonight, will be interesting to see where it goes.

Good luck to you! I hope you are able to find a resolution that works for you both.

Mate, basically, you want her to desire you the way you desire her. Do you see that happening? The lack of intimacy weakens the pair bonding, hence the emerging cracks. No one gets a pass on choice. Right now ask yourself which of you is more comfortable in your marriage. She has no need to consider anything different as she is getting everything she needs and wants. You however, are not.

Well said, certainly sums things up and will bear additional thought.

If having a roomate makes you happy so be it. Perhaps you should mention she that she pay half the bills as well.

After all Roomates split expenses up evenly.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

There is a whole lot of "we" in your story, whereas in your actual life there is very little.

There is you. There is her. There is no discernable "we" that I can identify.

No marriage here. A co-habitation is all.

And you might be totally cool with that. But call it what it is.

Tread your own path.

I think that's a tad harsh. Since this is ultimately a topic of sex (or lack thereof) of course that is the subject of my post and it is not going to go into all the other parts of our life which do work so well. There is great give-and-take in our relationship. For example, she knows I like to hunt. This year I spent a solid week up north hunting, and less than a month later I am going to spend a few more days away deer hunting. Not many spouses would look after three young kids with no compaints, but she does since she knows it's important to me. And of course, I do things for her too. Give-and-take for the things we are interested in on our own, plus a long list of things we are interested in together. Taken in whole there is great balance here... except in one area.

I should add though that I do think cracks will form (or are starting to form) due to the lack of intimacy and guilt. Will it make it worse if I look outside our marriage, or will it make it better (I have read stories about sex outside marriage literally saving the relationship, I have read stories going the other way too... this is I guess my struggle).

That "one area" would be the "one area" that differentiates a marital situation to a co-habitational situation.

Harsh Bazar is not. Just giving you some truth. Unfortunately the truth hurts for all of us.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

1 More Response

"Divorce just seems stupid, given that everything else in our life is going well. Leaving “just for sex” seems so wrong."

Almost everyone who joins ILIASM comes here with this "belief". We call it the "everything is great bar the sex" belief. If you truly look hard at your relationship, you may well start to see that there are cracks in other areas. The "no sex" thing looms so large for most of us that it disguises the other issues very effectively for some time.

If your wife truly deeply loves you, then why is she ignoring the fact that you are made so unhappy by her continuing refusal to be intimate? You allude to serious medical issues - has she done everything possible to address these? You also say you were content with not going all the way - so why has she withdrawn from this? Presumably that type of activity was not painful for her?

I know these questions are harsh - but you are like all of us in that you have accepted that HER needs are paramount. In a healthy relationship BOTH partners needs get equal attention. If for some reason you are totally incompatible, then it will not be possible. But as you have had a reasonable sexlife in the past, then it seems she has now made HER needs the only ones to matter in this marriage.

She says she feels "huge amounts of guilt " - but what is she actually DOING to address this issue? If she is hoping it will all magically get better without effort then she is kidding herself -and you. If she genuinely wants to have a loving intimate relationship with her husband, she needs to stop talking and start doing . . . . .

The rest is fairly routine, but this was the significant sentence: "She might end up leaving me just because she wants the guilt to end." If you have enough faith that, left to herself, she will do this eventually, then she must be a fairly nice person notwithstanding the trouble in your marriage. But when do you think that will happen? Can you wait that long? Can you rely on her to end the marriage before you start faking ******* like Cosmo Cramer "because you are tired and need some sleep?"

She just needs to know in as few words as possible. Sexually please me somehow or it may dissolve a good thing we have going on!

Thanks for the good responses. Ali makes an interesting point that may relate to the other posts, the idea that I could say something like "if you are not interested in your pleasure, at least give me some". But this becomes my problem in the sense that having her do stuff to me seems like doing the chores (wash the dishes, fold the clothes, rub up against my partner). Even if she seems to like it I just don't get into it since I ultimately miss returning the favour, in fact, returning the favour is one of my favourite parts of sex. Otherwise I might as well just take matters into my own hands :-)

Now that I have "come out" and posted on this board, I do however find that I am already analysing our relationship more, funny how one post and a couple hours contemplation can do that. Sadly (or happily) I just don't see any other cracks in our relationship, but the cracks WILL form if we can't figure this out.