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Where Did The Magic Go?

I've been happily married for 30 years. My wife and I have raised 3 wonderful kids that are all happy and successful. Our love life was great through most of those years but that came to a screeching halt about 10 years ago. It may have had something to do with her father dying, which she struggled with for months. She has never had the passion since. I got online and read all the advice and stories I could in an effort to bring back the magic, but nothing has worked. We have sex an average of once a month now, but it feels more like "mercy sex." She just wants to get it over with as quickly as possible. I'm living in a constant state of frustration, in between the brief releases afforded by going solo. Numerous conversations on the matter have not led to any improvement.

I love my wife dearly, and she loves me too. She has just completely lost her libido. I have no intention of straying, although that fantasy rears itself periodically. I even had a dream recently that I had an affair, with her knowledge, and that she condoned it. I woke up in a cold sweat feeling intense guilt, but never shared the dream with her. There is nothing I would do to make her sad, and there is nothing that I wouldn't do to make her happy. Life goes on.

Thanks for listening.
ThirtyYearsLater ThirtyYearsLater 56-60, M 3 Responses Nov 23, 2012

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I don't buy into this. I am a woman who is 50 and in menopause. I also lost my mother this past year. AND I left my husband for good due to being in a sexless marriage. Losing my parent has caused me to desire intimacy even more as I realize that we are not here forever. It has caused me great grief to realize that I have been in a sexless marriage all these years. Menopause has caused me to realize that I do not ever have to worry about getting pregnant again and that is a libido booster as well. Just thought I would share.

Not saying that menopause causes loss of libido....just that for some it can , or can be another contributing factor in low libido .Good to know that it is not having that effect on you ( I hope to be able to say the same , when it's my turn )

I'm listening and i feel for you. It's a painful place to be.
Is your wife going through menopause...It would be having a huge effect on her libido, as well as changing how sex feels for her .
Grief is something that changes us all and we will no longer be the same person we once were.But it shouldn't be the thing that destroys our ability to go on enjoying life.
When you fall out of the habit of wanting sex , for whatever reason ( and it's not likely to be only one )it can be very hard to get back into the game. No amount of pushing them to change will help, they only move further away.
The more one partner does something , the less the other one does .....As in, if you do all the initiating she won't have to. Have you tried to resist the urge to do so , while still being your happy self? Given time , she may notice that you no longer pursue her and may come to you in an attempt to regain some intimacy and to bond with you again..when she thinks you are no longer going to do that.
Read an article the other day about how women believe that they are the ones who bring on the attention of the males , but putting out signals that they are interested in sex. If that woman gets attention from a man , without having put out the signals , she runs. ( if she didn't ask for the attention, she is not likely to respond well to any advances ) This is all pretty simple , but it ties in with this subject to a certain degree. What i has said here is not aimed at just men . This problem works both ways......I have been on both sides of this situation.....and it is hell being on both sides!!!

Thank you for your wise words. My wife is currently going through menopause, and I'm sure that is part of it. She also works many hours at her extremely stressful job. As you say, it is not only one. After 30 years we know each other pretty well, and she does still send out clear "signals." Trouble is, they are mostly the "don't touch me tonight" variety. :)

Being in your wifes position wouldn't be easy....and to add to that i am sure she hates how it effects you too. It's not easy for her to just let go of all the things that are dragging her down and allow herself to get lost in the wonderul intimacy she could be having with you....It's a cruel situation to be in ,when the one thing that would help you to shut out the world (sex with your mate ) and lose yourself to passion, is the very thing that you can't get yourself to do!
It's the best way to boost your good mood hormones and if you have read up on the biological benefits of sex ( even just those for women ) you would see how important sex is for our wellbeing...It's the thing that refuels me and gives me the energy and strength to handle what life throws at me.( the usual stuff, kids, housework, family dramas, financial dramas, etc )I too, was in a place that prevented me from being able to let myself let go and be happy.I was angry with myself and angry with my mate and much of the world around me.It wasn't depression...if it was, then the entire world would be classed as depressed. I could not explain to my husband exactly why i felt this way ( we did however have kids, build a house , and lose 2 parents during this time too )but i was unable to change how i felt.. "You are normal ", "It happens all the time ", my doctor told me when i discussed my lack of libido...Life gets in the way and sex is the thing we tend to drop to "lighten "our load....Not a conscious decision however..
I knew that i would enjoy sex with my husband ...I just couldn't get myself in the mood to start.When i did allow myself to let go , i enjoyed it and couldn't understand why i didn't do it more often..I could laugh with my husband and chat and cuddle for hours after this.....But by morning ...i was back where i started....And it was killing my husband . You wife going through menopause may be making it so much harder for her, as her hormones are changing as well as the changes to her body.I'm not looking forward to that either...not after i have just found myself ( and sexual self ) again.....
The one thing i would suggest is ask your wife to do her own research on what sex can do for her wellbeing.....She probably knows much of it ( i did ) but it reminded me of what i was missing....Reading about sexless marriages also helps both of you to understand the pain it causes to both partners, and shows you where you are going around in circles , hense not getting anywhere.
Forums like this ,came after i helped myself...but i'm still learning so much from other peoples stories.I do need to mention that the thing that pushed me over the edge and "snapped "me out of my "fog " was my husband breaking down and telling me he was moving out ( for a new job away from home ). But if our relationship had been stronger ( due to the sexlessness and issues around that )he would not have gone down that path the way he did, and would not have delivered the news to me the way he did either....I brought it on myself....This was my turning point...What the **** am i doing ????I then was able to climb out of the hole i was in , bit by bit . It was not easy , but i'm back. Our marriage is strong ...the problem now is that the field of work my husband is in requires him to work away about half the month....So ironic , that i'm now always in the mood , and he is 2 states away !!!What a kick up the ****!
Just don't quit trying to find an answer....Love will find a way ..Good luck...

Thank you.

Theres nothing you would do to make her sad. There's nothing you wouldn't do to make her happy.

On the other hand, there is what she is (and isn't) prepared to do in respect to your happiness / sadness.

It is a very unbalanced equation. But you are going to be there come hell or high water, so there is no necessity for her to even consider modifying her behaviour.

Enjoy (?) the next 25 years of this.

Tread your own path.

Thanks for the reply bazzar. You are correct on the balance thing, at least when it comes to sex. The rest of our lives are more balanced, and we will be together till death, come hell or high water. That's just the way it is.

Try offering touch to her without it culminating in sex for you. Tell her YOU need to touch HER. Should you get aroused, just let it hang there without requiring her to do anything. Let her know that being touched is "safe" and does not have to lead to sex, but it still makes you happy. Then, relieve yourself in a different room, and go back and cuddle her. Just an idea....