I have been in a technically sexless marriage for probably five years now. I say technically, because we have sex occasionally, but we're getting to the point that I'm not even shocked by approaching two months with no sex. This is in spite of the fact that I still try to initiate at least four or five times a week.

I think what bothers me the most about the situation is that my wife clearly has made me a low priority. She refuses to even consider sex after 10 PM. She says she loves her sleep and won't sacrifice even 30 minutes if it is after 10. She'll stay up and read a book, or surf Facebook, but even after staying up past her 10 pm bedtime her response is "you should have tried earlier. Earlier opportunities are few and far between. We have three kids and rarely get them all asleep before 10. Wicked catch 22 huh? Even on the nights that all the stars align she "doesn't feel like it".

So please don't misunderstand, I love and adore my wife. She is my best friend, we enjoy each other's company, she is a wonderful mother, and she takes my eccentricities in stride. I don't want to divorce her.

I have tried talking to her about this. I'd like sex three or four times per week, but I'd be more than happy with once a week. I've even suggested having a standard night. Her response is always that she just doesn't feel like sex. I don't want her to just lay there for me, and don't want her to feel pressured. But, as the weeks drag by with no sex I feel myself resenting her more and more. I get more easily frustrated, fight more, snap at her, etc.

So, this is going to lead to divorce eventually if this keeps up. I've never had an affair, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I don't have any issues with the morality of it, I'm a very practical person and this would be a practical solution. What does bother me is how hurt my wife would be if she ever found out.

I've actually met a woman in a very similar situation. She has a husband she loves, but he is older, not interested in sex and she is just as sexually frustrated as I am. She is from out of town but comes here on business 1-3 times a month. While she is here she has flexibility in her daily schedule. I work from a home office and frequently work out of coffee shops, and can make my schedule work with hers with no issues at all. No late nights, no changing patterns, low probability of raising suspicions. If you are going to have an affair, this is about the most ideal setup for an affair you can get.

I think the logical choice is to risk it, have the affair, and address the source of my resentment while keeping my marriage in tact for the foreseeable future. I feel like I've done everything I can short of threatening divorce or asking for an open marriage; neither of which is going to be a pleasant situation and will both likely end in divorce eventually.

Please don't judge me, I didn't come here for that. I have my standards of morality, you have yours. We're different people with different beliefs, and the prospect of an affair does not make me feel guilty.
secretlifewa secretlifewa
36-40, M
11 Responses Aug 20, 2014


I read your stories and comments but don't recall seeing if you've been to counseling yet. Have you?

The points raised in all 3 of your stories / posts so far are amazingly similar to my situation. Thankfully my W and I made a turn around in our SM this year.

My W is not a night owl either. In counseling, the counselor took my side (e.g. sex is extremely important to the marriage, so there's got to be *some* time of day that will work. So *when* is it?) We / she determined that weekends, in the mornings, is the best time for her where she is the most awake, feels the least stress, and the most open for sex. So that's when we have sex most of the time now. Occasionally we sneak in sex some other time, but hey, when you've been in a SM or virtual SM for so long, you're probably open to anything.

Note: it might take an independent person (e.g. counselor) really putting that issue to her before she will respond honestly and "making the time" for sex. That's what happened with us.

Sidenote: W enjoys sex more now too and has even become more flirty. Still not as often as my ideal, but it's progress. Funny how when you're given the *opportunity* to have sex and do it more, you actually get better at it and improve your technique. Funny how that works. That makes so much sense, doesn't it?

All the best. Feel free to separately message me for more info about anything, really.


I appreciate your notes of support and commiserating with me on the situation. I have suggested counseling MANY times. Not just for our marital health, but also so my W could deal with some pent up blame issues I think she has regarding our oldest child who has special needs. Every time I suggest it she gets very emotional and says "I'm not crazy."

She has a massive aversion to our health care system, both medical and psychological. A lovely gift from her crackpot mother who would try to treat Ebola with essential oils and chiropractic adjustments if she ever got it. My wife has grown much saner about those kinds of stigmas she holds as time has gone by, but she will not see a counselor.

I'd have to threaten divorce to coerce her to go to counseling, and attending counseling needs to be something you are ready and willing to do. Her showing up just because I threatened is just ******* money down the drain.

My first choice is not outsourcing, I'd much prefer to have a healthy sex life with my wife.

I'd approach it like this with your W. First of all, in a low tone, non-argumentative way, when things in the house have settled down for the evening or on a weekend... Tell her that the SM has gotten to the point where you simply can't live with anymore. Period. She certainly may have some issues with you too. Fine. Say that you've got to fix these issues together if you're going to stay married. It's either you fix them together OR you live together for the rest of your lives 50+ years?) with both of you being seriously frustrated OR you get divorced. Those are the only possible options / outcomes. You'd much rather have the best marriage possible. So, the next question is... HOW are you going to fix it?
You can certainly *mention* the possible divorce, BUT I don't think you should immediately "threaten" it. I think the best method is to mention it as a possible last ditch solution to your serious problems IF you can't fix it after a reasonable time. Therefore, I recommend the following:
First, brainstorm with her as to possible ways you can fix it. That was she has input and she'll feel part of the process. If she refuses after a while, THEN be direct and tell her about the "progression" of how you are going to recommend that you try to fix it.
The progression might be: (1) self help books (read & discuss), (2) marriage retreat / small group (maybe sponsored through a church) (3) talking with a pastor / confidant, (4) couples counseling, (5) separation, (6) divorce. Personally, we tried #1 and it wasn't very effective. We tried #2 and it had limited effectiveness. We didn't try #3. We found #4 very effective because of the independent person involved who should "call you out" (both of you) to follow through on aspects to improve the marriage / work on the issues. We never got to #5 or #6, but my W knew at that point that separation or divorce was on my mind.
When you discuss the progression, assign time limits to each one. For example, if #1 doesn't *substantially* help after 4-6 week, move to #2 (assuming you don't have to wait too long, in my example). And so on. Assigning a time limit to each phase *should* get her to take it seriously. You're not going to let it drag on forever.
Re: her aversion to a counselor, I'd reinforce that you're not asking her to go to a psychiaTRIST... who'll likely prescribe drugs... You're just suggesting going to someone who has *helped hundreds of other couples* work through their marriage issues. Being married isn't easily, as evidenced by the fact the 50% of marriages end in divorce (note: that's another subtle way to weave in that divorce thought without being adversarial). So anyway, it's natural that people have marriage issues. Counselors can help people work through their issues *faster* so you can move on to / return to the good happy times again.
If your W still refuses, then I'd challenge her in a different way and ask: Are you averse to *help*? You don't want someone to *help* you? You don't want someone to *help* US? See what she says. (again, you've already established this is not a medical issue). If she refuses help, then I'd say: (1) Don't help HER with ANYTHING, anymore (e.g. she's averse to help, right? I'd tell her that's the reason why, too), and (2) tell her YOU are going to go to counseling separately, because your marriage is at risk (another nice was to phrase it and address the seriousness without being confrontational).
Having a special needs child must be stressful on her. In addition, given the history you mentioned with her mom, there *may* in fact be a medical issue at play, but I probably wouldn't bring this up. That might be a later step to address, but for right now, I'd just call it a victory if she just goes to any counselor. A few other things I could say but I'm out of time.
Everyone's situation is different. Hope these additional thoughts help.

'Not now, the kids might still be up.'
'Not now, the kids might wake up.'
360º covered. You are screwed.
You start out saying how everything is great aside from sex and go directly to 'it might end in divorce' and 'I get angry, resent, etc.'
Welcome to our group. This is a common theme here. If she can make time for all sorts of irrelevant bullshit, she can make time for you. If she doesn't want to, then there is no love in regards to the welfare of her spouse. She doesn't care. Sure, in a platonic sense she might, but in a married 'I am all yours' sense she doesn't. If you are jumping through every hoop imaginable to make her want you, then what's the point? Seriously. What did you want from her? To give you uninvolved starfish sex to make you shut up for a week or 2? Nope. Didn't think so.

I would suggest having the affair and then re-read your own stories. It may not fix your situation but it will open your eyes so you don't use the term "best friend" to describe someone who taunts you for missing a self imposed "sex window". ha ha missed your chance. Really?

Since you are a practical man, it would be practical to see a lawyer and have an exit plan in place just in case you do get caught cheating. You could have a very messy divorce not initiated by you if you don't have a back up plan.

Hi, and thank you for the advice. I live in Washington state, which is a no-fault divorce state. If my wife were to find out it would make no difference when it came to how a divorce would shake out. "Misconduct" cannot be factored into any of the decisions made by a judge.

However, my wife is staying at home with our children this year, so financially child support and alimony would probably impoverish me until she was able to find a job.

To add something, given all the stories I have read here and how I know my own marriage is not working, it annoys me a bit that outsources is considered misconduct, but withholding sex over the long term is not. Society is still governed by puritan values.

Withholding sex in some states is considered emotional abuse and is grounds for divorce. The problem with filing that way is that most people are too ashamed to admit it and the burden of proof is on the refused. If the refuser has a legitimate reason, then the refused can't claim abuse.

Be careful when outsourcing because if caught, your refuser could seek revenge through divorce and it doesn't sound like it would shake out well for you financially.

Wouldn't shake out well for anyone financially

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One thing I would suggest is making the kids' bedtime a big priority. Change whatever you need to change and commit to getting them to bed by 9.

That might change something. Or it might not. Either way you'll have a piece of information (and so will she, whether she chooses to look it it or not)

My husband used to use time as a method of refusal and justification. If I went to bed early and invited him to come with me, he'd decline-- saying he was not yet tired. If I stayed up later with him, he'd be yawning and groaning and draaaaagging himself upstairs complaining about how TIRED he was. If I went to bed and waited up for him , I'd eventually fall asleep and then inevitably the next day he would say "oh. I came upstairs to be with you, but you were asleep already. Too bad"

I understand the sleep wars, but honestly; try it. Approach her consistently at nine pm and see what happens

Her actions are saying loud and clear that she doesn't love you the way that you love her. She may love you as a co-parent and an ATM, but not as a husband.

"She refuses to even consider sex after 10 PM. She says she loves her sleep and won't sacrifice even 30 minutes if it is after 10. She'll stay up and read a book, or surf Facebook, but even after staying up past her 10 pm bedtime her response is "you should have tried earlier. "

The problem with an affair is that it will take your focus from the major problems in your marriage, and it will keep you from finally recognizing that if your wife is your best friend and she treats you as you describe then your standards for friendship are very low.

There are some good stories here about the skills and personal qualities you need to carry off an affair successfully. Have a hunt. But sounds to me like you've probably got the right mindset. You're a guy in a flat marriage, the sexlessness is eating away at you, but you get along ok with your wife and you have small kids that you don't want to disrupt. Is that about right?

I've gone the affair route and it's been good for me. You won't get all the sex you want because logistics are always tricky, but the sex you get (with the right partner) can be amazing and remind you of what good sex is like.

You don't need to see a lawyer to have an understanding of what impact a discovered affair would have on your legal position. You just need to find a reliable site outlining the rules in your jurisdiction.

But it would still be wise to think about what a divorce could mean for you in particular and that's what a lawyer can provide. You already think it's inevitable. Finding out what that would look like can't hurt. Just because you know the details doesn't mean you need to leave today.

I see that you are a practical man.
With that in mind, I make this suggestion to you. See a lawyer in your jurisdiction to establish how a divorce would shake out for you, and from that information develop an exit strategy.
You are in a dysfunctional marriage and thus far far more likely to have a divorce in your fairly short term future because of that.
Additionally, you are considering the outsourcing option. That one can spin things off in all sorts of crazy directions too, you meeting the "soulmate" and needing to dump your missus for example. Her catching you, and dumping you for another thing.
The outsourcing scenario has many many uncontrollable aspects to it. Things you can't manage. So you need a fall back position, and you need to know the stakes you are potentially playing for.
If you have that legal information and do-able exit strategy in your pocket, you *might* never need it.
But your present situation, and your planned response to it suggest very strongly that you WILL need it. And, maybe way quicker than you might be thinking.
Tread your own path.

Before engaging in an affair i suggest you visit a Divorce Lawyer find out your rights and how a Divorce will shake out for you.

From there make an exit plan and keep it in your back pocket as an insurance scheme incase your wife ever finds out about any affair you have, because from experience i can tell you her reaction will most likely be Volcanic.

As for the wifes feelings she has bought on your resentment or any future affair you may have on herself.

Have you ever thought about cutting her off finacially since she seems to be happy as a Roomate.

If she wont keep her end of the marital deal why should you support a Roomate.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

I appreciate your input. However, it's a bit more adversarial than I think we currently are. However, a good understanding of the states divorce laws is a good suggestion. Thank you.

Your story been told here thousands times....
Best friends do not ignore their partners...
You have 3 sad choices as everyone else...
1 Stay and accept your sexlessness
2 Ootsource with her knowledge(open marriage) or without (affair)
3 Divorce

She is openly ignoring your needs,the best approach (IMHO) to ask her what you are suppose to do and state firmly if she ignores your needs and technically is braking the rules of marriage you have to change them as well and either outsource or leave the marriage,what she would prefer?

Thank you. You said what I was trying to in a much more concise way. The challenge is with #2. Affair can exist before proposing open marriage. Once you raise the question of open marriage, if it is rejected, your choices are only sexless or divorced. Unhappy either way.

My wife is wonderful, but she has a lot of insecurities. She'd never be comfortable with an open marriage, the very idea would crush her self-esteem. After that can of worms is opened I'd have to check in with her by phone every 15 minutes that I am out of her site.

I may just be rationalizing, and maybe she'd surprise me, but once open marriage is proposed we're as good as divorced.

"She'd never be comfortable with an open marriage, the very idea would crush her self-esteem. "
You are not comfortable with sexless marriage

One effect of having an affair or outsourcing of any kind is that the resentment of quality/quantity of sex in the marriage increases. You are given a taste of how good sex can be and you realize just what your marriage partner is withholding from you.
Once you start the affair your life will become about "burner phones" and lies that you have to keep track of - I know of this first hand. You also must take into account that people sometimes die when one partner or the other discovers the affair.
Advise from a lawyer about how the system adjudicates divorces for adultery vs. irreconcilable differences is powerful knowledge.
The only advise I will give you is think with your big head and not the little one as you set your course of action.

rdinwa, you are not comfortable with a sexless marriage, but that isn't causing your wife to care enough about you to offer sex.

Many people are insecure. They work on their insecurities through therapy and other means to change them. She seems to be using her insecurities to put distance between you and her.

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