Not Sure Where I Stand

My wife and I have been married for over 5 years.  We have two young children.  When we met it was very clear that my wife's sex drive was extremely low.  From the start we very seldom had sex.  We have a good relationship and we talk a lot and pretty effectively, but we've never been able to find common ground on the issue of sex.  Unfortunately, I had this idea that things might change, but they haven't and never will.  I love her dearly and I am so attracted to her.  The problem is, I don't think she's attracted to me at all.  Any attempts I used to make to initiate intimacy made her very agitated.  There is absolutely no intimacy in our relationship now.  We haven't slept together in over a year.  Early on in our marriage we stopped sleeping in the same room entirely.  I'm feel hurt, but I guess I have no one to blame but myself.  I love her too much to be angry at her or to really take a stand.  It's difficult because she's beautiful and I would never want to be without her.  I still get twitterpated when I look at her and my desire to have her is still really intense.  I so want to express my affection for her more intimately, but she seems so distant and uninterested.  I knew that this was an issue at the start.  My heart feels broken and I feel rejected.  I'm not the type to pursue a divorce.  I've always said I would never have an affair; I don't say that as a value judgment against those who do.  I don't attract enough attention to have an affair, so I don't know how I would react if proposed.  I feel so passion-starved right now that I'd find it hard to refuse.  My children are very important to me, and I think a situation like that would eventually cause pain for them.  My self-esteem is shot.  I'm a pretty withdrawn sort of person and I'm susceptible to depression and anxiety.  This certainly hasn't helped.  I feel like an absolute zero.  I try to focus on what's best for my children.  I want them to have a happy home to remember.  I feel like if I make a big enough issue of the lack of intimacy between my wife and me, I might ruin things completely.  Am I approaching this the wrong way?     

NightLight NightLight
41-45, M
9 Responses Jun 30, 2007

You write this post some time ago......I wondered......did you follow the advice given?
Do you love her still? Have things changed forfir the worseor better?

Thank you for your question. Eight years later and the only thing that has changed is my mindset. We are still married. I'm confused. I am resentful. I went through a period of years of severe anxiety and depression. My children come first, so I'm trying to grin and bare it for their sake. I hope my experience can help someone who reads this to make an informed judgment on how best to proceed in their circumstance. A sexless marriage has left me very bitter. The comments below that suggested it would happen are correct. My options are few. I have to make the best of a bad bargain. My only admonition: Look before you leap. Some mistakes we never stop paying for.

so have you followed the advice of those that remained......the ones that didn't immediately leave that is.

I say push back.She's put up some resistance and you stopped making any advances. As Dr. Phil would say (OK, I like this ONE line), "How's that working for you?"It isn't. She's put you in a place which causes you untold hours of self-examination, self-doubt, etc. This is no good.You are clearly not in your comfort zone. Making this change will not be comfortable either. So, determine what is worse.When I say push back, stop caving in to her resistance. Be factual. "This is non-negotiable. We are married and this is what married people do. I love you and the physical ex<x>pression of my love for you is critical to my well-being." Or something like that.Another thought. Don't talk about what you would like, just do it. She may be a slow starter, but she might also enjoy things once you get started.Saying a prayer. Report back in.

I agree with what everyone here has said & that you may need to escape while you're still young and virile so to speak. However, before that it would be interesting to try an experiment with her. Have you tried taking your focus off sex and make touching of some sort everyday a goal (a hug, kiss, holding hands etc..) and make it clear that you do NOT want it to lead to sex. This is a common exercise that marriage therapists use. Pretend that you're no longer interested in her sexually but just want to cuddle with her--it might drive her crazy (in a good way). She may get really frustrated and try to seduce you, the key is to let the tension build. It can be human nature that we seem to want what we can't have. Take care & good luck.

NightLight: I can so relate. Her eyes, her hair, her stance, the sound of her voice. Sadly, I can't remember the smell of her skin, it's been sooooo long since we've touched. <br />
<br />
Don't be a fool. She cares so little about you that she will allow you to suffer hugely, for some stupid reason she can't even bother to put into words. This is a horrible form of abuse, and you risk teaching your kids that it is ok by putting up with it. Both you and they are better off if you escape with your life.

I will not go through all the good advice but it is clear to me that you 7 your lady are sexually incompatible insofar as tou need it she appears to be dead set against any sexual activity which is just just another form of cruel abuse. If your wife was physically abusing you would you not take action? think you would! I have put up with this from in her mind "loving Wife" for 20yrs & as possibly the oldest member of this group am qualified to say all means talk but if it doesn't bring about change get out fast. for as sure as night follows day you will become embittered & resentful to her for the hurt she is causing.<br />
In a few short years kids grow up, leave home, 7 find their own sexual mates you will be left a man isolated from all sexual pleasure in your own home.<br />
I believe that sex is the glue that binds good marriages together!!<br />
Best of luck!!

Misasja: I think you're missing what's going on here. We're talking about people who's partners are denying them physical intimacy for YEARS. Intentionally destroying their self-confidence and emotional stability. It is a form of abusive, controlling, behavior. The whole "there are more important things than sex" doesn't fly... physically abusive behavior, even when it is sexual in nature, is about power and control, not sex. Just because other aspects of the relationship might be acceptible, it doesn't justify abuse.

I won't repeat much of what others have said. Yes, you should speak to your wife and BE HONEST, regardless of how she takes it (of course be nice and loving). Second, it's understandable that sex is very important part of healthy marriage but there ARE more important things than that, believe me. I'm sensing here that other "advisors" on this page are definitely pushing you to be overly concerned with the sexual satisfaction and scaring you that no sex, no normal life, so go and find yourself another woman who has a higher sex drive. I don't think so. If you do this solely for that reason, I would unfortunately have to include you into the list of total losers who infest our world. I'm not talking about you now, so no offense. What I'm trying to say is that according to your words you really love your wife and your kids (it's a blessing!) and you're very attracted to her. That must not be thrown away just like that.<br />
Of course I don't know your situation in detail, I don't know if she's attracted to you or she just has a low sex drive (those are separate things. From my own experience, I'm very, very attracted to my guy, but I DON'T want sex every day like he does, not even every other day!). I don't know if she loves you or anything of sorts. Therefore all the suggestions may not be quite relevant without this knowledge. <br />
While reading your story, I thought of couple things to ask. What if she has had a painful experience in the past? What if she has too much stress in other areas that affect her hormones, thus affecting her sex drive? What if she's just going through a difficult period that yes, can last for quite a while? Nothing, absolutely nothing can be more helpful than an honest conversation. The topic is very sensitive and it's VERY hard to be brutally honest, but this is your only way out. She MUST know exactly how you feel and as a response to your honesty she will feel apt for more honesty herself. Nothing happens for a reason and she must have one. Don't be too hasty and think that she's not attracted to you, there must be something more profound. On the other hand, me being brutally straight with you, there's a possibility of her being into someone else. But I hope that this is the last resort.<br />
Is there any way you could go to marriage counseling if you haven't done it before? It's a very worthy thing to do!

what´s up with these people?? how they can´t like sex???? I´d love to be desired to be touched and loved passionately, the way you desire your wife..... why couples are sooo mismatched in this world? other mistery and unfairness of life....

Nightlight...I echo jln99's thoughts...listen to him, really think about this. You don't want to be here in 30 yrs. Life is too short and precious