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Losing Hope.

My wife and I are both in our mid thirties, have been together for over seven years and have two beautiful little girls. When we first met it was her who initiated most intimacy and who was the more adventurous one. Over the past couple of years things have gradually faded to the point that we are only intimate once a month (if all ten million pieces of the universes puzzle miraculously fall into place). I have in complete frustration and disappointment tried to talk about what has happened to us, and have been given every reason under the sun to try to explain why she has zero libido! sickness and discomfort, having our babies, breast feeding, low energy and tiredness caused by a dozen or so medical issues, stress, lost sensation from surgery.....and the list goes on. She says she loves me and is as attracted to me as when we met, I know she hates her appearance and despite me constantly telling her she is beautiful, sexy and I love her she won't even allow me to see her topless for more than a few seconds. I love her dearly and have no desire to leave or go outside our relationship, but I have needs which are not being satisfied, not by a long shot and I'm running out of patience. I am certain she doesn't want anyone else, she just has no need, want, or desire for any form of intimacy at all any more, she won't kiss me first, sleeps as far from me in bed without falling out, responds with a groan or pulls away if I so much as put my hand on her, and has left me feeling completely unloved undesirable, alone and depressed. My job and life in general are very stressful yet the best free stress releif available isn't there any longer. Has anyone out there had a similar experience, and got any ideas how we can get things back on track?
Zerosd Zerosd 31-35 7 Responses Nov 30, 2012

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You sound just like my husband talking about me to every one else but me...and from that perspective I will tell you that pushing the topic only pushes her farther away. There is something else deeper going on that you need to get to the root of. It sounds like she needs empathy and emotional nourishment and she needs that from you. I will tell you from our own experience, if you are anything like my egotistical, narcissist that I live with then the attitude of you can "fix" every thing will not bring her back to you. If you are attacking her, she will bolt. But if you just hold her and look at her and let her know that you accept HER for everything she is even her imperfections and WITH her come up with ways the two of you can spend time together alone just finding each other again and being best friends with out the expectations of all the other stuff, then she may start to open up to you again. Too often we all get caught up in this rut of marriage where everything is structured and planned and we live by calendars and contacts and events. We lose that spontaneous youthful side that was so attractive in the beginning. We can never lose that. Once lost, it is so hard to get back it becomes an awkward moment to look at. My marriage of 12 years almost came to a close this year. However, we made it to the 12th anniversary. We have made time away from home, jobs, kids, appts, friends, family and even the dogs...just to focus on us. No phones, no schedules, no outside commitments. It was all about us and rekindling what was buried so deep. We are not "fixed", we are growing, growing back together. It is a slow grueling process yes, but if you BOTH want it. It will get there. And counseling sessions does help. Best of luck.

I have read of a few accounts here on EP where people do actually emerge from a lost state of sexuality and revive their relationships. One common thread, as i recall, is that it does not happen without effort..... keep reading.....Also, off EP there are workshops, encounters and retreats where couples go to regain this connection to their spouse....... be careful in selecting one of these... but of course both people need to see the need and have the desire to fix the problem or they would not go... I don't know but I think men want to fix the problem(s) so they can have sex, and women see it differently.... Women want to the fix something else in the relationship that they say is the root of the problem... I can not pretend to think like a woman, but sometimes i think some women would rather have a problem if it meant they could use it as an excuse to not have sex... than to solve the problem and maybe have sex.... ;) Just my 2 cents.... I am still hoping, praying, and working at recovery in my own relationship ...

I too was your wife before I became pregnant with our last child 3 years ago. I was overweight and completely exhausted. For me I lost myself in the midst of working and taking care of everyone else. One day it just hit me; I have no idea who I am anymore!
Your wife maybe depressed and It's not about you or not being in love with you. She cannot please you if she is not pleased with herself.

There is some good news here, and it starts with you. That you have recognised the situation for what it is to an extent, that you are losing hope, that you have taken the huge little step of posting here.

If any Dickensian Christmas story is needed, you can read my account of how this famine can persist and get worse post kids. I waited way too long to confront the issue, to grasp the nettle.

Can we get clear that, while supporting your W and kids is a very good idea, this is not best done by putting your needs and the health of your relationship on hold. The same applies to her. There is a nasty societal meme that the kids come first to the extent that the person neglects themselves and their relationship - and also the possibility of PPD as mentioned below.

I can identify with the planetary alignment thing, it's something I came to call combinatorials (being a maths geek) - the dismal probabalistic calculus that if enough - even moderately likely - things are chained together in order for it to happen, then the chances of sex are remote.

So, can I beg you to take action now, in a positive helpful frame, before more damage is done; and redefine your definition of success to make that decoupled from what she choses to do or not do - that's her call. Help but accountability, and no BS from either of you.

There are two possible interpretations that I can see here:
- she may have depression. I have heard of post-natal depression going on for years for some women. Depression is a funny one in that it can make some people super-horny for a while, but it can also completely turn libido off, make touch damned near unbearable.
- she no longer wants you as a lover. Plain and simple. You're fine as a breadwinner, changer of light bulbs and child minding reliever, comfortable to have around, but not as a lover.

Obviously if the former holds true, then she needs to see a doctor about it.

If the latter holds true, then you can tell her that she makes you feel like you just want to dive off a bridge some place, because your life has become so sad and unbearable.
If she still cares, she will hopefully try to get her arse into gear, get her head sorted out and make an effort (and I mean not just a token effort until the perceived danger to her 'comfortable' existence is over). The WHY doesn't matter here. It may be because her body image has gone down the toilet, it may be gods know what else, but the why does not matter in terms of getting this sorted. If she's not depressed, and she wants to get it sorted, then it has to happen here and now and for REAL.

Harsh realities, I know.

There is no "magic bullet" solution available within this group, and 30,000 members have been searching for said "magic bullet" since the group was founded by 'stinkcat' quite some time ago.

There is however, a huge body of work dealing with alternatives to continued misery. And it is all there for you to tap into if you so choose.

Tread your own path.

Well, to put this politely, No must of us do not know how to put a sexless marriage on track. If we did we probably would not be here. I do not want to depress you but out of the thousands of stories that are on this board, there are extremely few that talk about a reversal or genuine improvement in a sexless marriage. Unfortunately, once a refuser always a refuser seems to be the rule. That is what makes this situation so depressing.
Once our spouses loose their desire for us they seem to never get it back. If someone put a gun to our spouses heads and said have meaningful sex with your spouse or your dead. They would not be able to do it. If you have to ask for it, it is not worth getting.
Good luck.