Married Without Intimacy Is Worse Than Being Single

I'll say it right up front. I'm codependent.  I'm a romantic. I feel the best way to enjoy something is to share it with someone else.  Emotional intimacy is like oxygen for me. Some people might see this as a personality flaw or weakness. (especially in a guy) I don't. I know it makes me susceptible emotionally but I don't care. I feel best when I'm with someone else and I've always been this way. That said....

My wife has been cold to me for 2 years and we've lost all intimacy. She won't even hold hands anymore.  We've been married for 9 years. I've written about the situation on other posts.  My point here is that the comfort of intimacy and that emotional anchor of marriage are why I got married in the first place. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my wife but I don't think she does anymore. I'm in a limbo. I lover her so much I feel like throwing up just thinking about us getting a divorce but this lack of intimacy is severely depressing me.

To say "I need Emotional Intimacy"  is an understatement in my situation.
FlauntTheImperfections FlauntTheImperfections
46-50, M
16 Responses Oct 18, 2011

You should check to see if you intentionally or inadvertantly did something or if you have changed in some way that bothers her. It could be about money or if one of you became really fat or got rich but won't share the money. It is possible that the problem is not your fault, most likely it is partly your fault but she is also partly to blame.

If you have the time and energy and money to do so, you should get help to overcome the codependency. If you are truly just interdepedent and not codependent then you need to stop believing the lie that there is anything wrong with you just because you are a marriage type of man.

You should not give up hope. The challenge is how to rekindle intimacy with your wife. I suggest trying small things first, along with considering if something has changed that was important to her and how to fix it. There are other sources of better advice than what I am able to give. I have been married but was not able to stay that way, so I am limited in how I can help you. Good advice is around. I believe in love and hope you solve the problem without losing your marriage.

Unfortunately, I am in the same situation as you my friend.

I have tried every suggestion out there and none have worked. If I even approach the topic now, I am told one of several "go to" lines.

1) if you don't like it, why don't you leave?
2) Why is it all about you?
3) Things will never be the way they were before!
4) it is all about your expectations of me.

I am perplexed, exhausted and at the end of my rope here! I have tried to not care - doesn't work.

I have tried to forget by finding a replacement "date" - doesn't work.

It turns out that I do care and I do believe in commitment.

I am struggling with the next step but, I believe I need to establish some conditions / boundaries and STICK to them.

You may be at that place, as well.

And this is why I'm single...

My situation isn't exactly the same. My wife isn't doing it maliciously. She and I have health issues that complicate things. My problem is, she refuses to consider anything else as an outlet, and to her talking about sex is dirty, so she won't even do that. To make matters worse, I had a female friend that was flirty, Etc... and her stupid friend put the bug in her head that I had cheated ( I never did). I even tried to talk this other chick out of cheating on her husband, but my wife still accused me of having an emotional affair. I just don't understand how you can starve someone emotionally, then accuse them of seeking satisfaction somewhere else. I didn't because I have a strong will, but I won't lie, had a few things gone differently, I might have. I have only ever been with my wife, and I love her for all of her other attributes, but this is driving me crazy. I feel like I waited 30 years for nothing.


I'm in the same boat . I'm starving for emotional stability . God is the only one I can count on and talk to . I'd love to chat with a women . Just talk .

I'm sorry you are going through this. My wife and I eventually worked through what was causing the problems and I estimate that we were honestly within 1 or 2 months of getting a divorce. I had been willing to work on things and was actually going to a family counselor by myself. She was not willing... until after trying everything, I decided in myself to give up. I started laying plans for the rest of my life without her and stopped judging myself through her eyes. (which made me the only one with faults or issues) I believe that once she saw the reality of it all, she changed her mind and opened up to talks.

Quite honestly I tell you that, even if she had not decided to change her mind, I think I am in a better place because I took my life back. With or without her. I stopped thinking of myself as just "her husband" and remembered that I was and am an individual first. We all deserve to be happy.

I don't know your situation but, I'd start the process of talking to her and letting her know you are not happy. Odds are, she isn't either. Then seek family counseling. If she refuses to go, go yourself anyway. It helped me regardless of helping my relationship. Try everything and if she is still unwilling, seek out a new life on your own. Even if you have kids, which I do, I feel it is better that they see happy parents than sad and angry ones.

God bless you and watch over you. Best of luck with this. I'm open to any questions. Just PM me.

Have been there and back...I am a woman married for 12 years. I love him truly, but this lack of emotional intimacy makes me feel lonely. Sex life is great, thats the only lining in my life. MY husband is a passive aggressive person and a very shy , silent types. he is a kinder soul, but had a bad childhood with both parents, one as passive and another very aggressive.
We never hold hands, never went out, never ever he wished me on imp ocassions..I went to the counsellor first time, after 2 years, as i was unable to cope with his behavior. He will not touch me unless for sex, he will not let me touch him, will push me away if i want to hug him.
My Counsellor asked him to come as well but he never agreed to counselling, he thinks he doesnt have any problems, its me who has all issues, so i should go to the psycologists.
I have tried so many things, so many changes in my personality just to make it work...all in vain.
Lastly i resorted to have a baby, as many people advised that babys change a lot of things in passive aggressive person. God had another plans...we could not concieve..the issue came to be azoospermia, which was a blow to his already low self esteem. He tried to overcome that and was a little supportive during out IVF cycles, finally we concieved after 3rd attempt.
I expected to see some happiness in his face with the news...but no he had same expression throughout...he never even touched my baby bump or tried to feel the baby..or talk to baby ...was in absolute denial was a trying time for me to avoid depression during pregnancy. i felt like i was all alone in this,,
After the baby came first 6 months were a bliss!! may be because i was too busy to notice him or he improved i dunno.
But then the nightmare returned..he is ok with the baby, plays somtimes, somtimes i have to force him... he is the same again with me or even worse...when ever i try to talk to him now he tells me what do you want me to do..."talk to you or talk to the baby, i can only give time to one!!"

The only solution i feel is to walk out with dignity as soon as i can...12 years are enough time of my life to waste on a emotional retard, who does not want to improve and i shall walk out soon.
Sometimes i feel God was sending me subtle messages and i could never Infertility issues,...4 yrs i took to concieve i got many hints....i tried to walk out but then who would let go an educated maid, who can feed you and keep your house just for sex. Everytime i talked to him about divorce he talks about Suicide.
But now i know how to work around this. It is very suffocating for me, i need to walk out because i do not want my daughter to grow up stiffling her emotions for his happiness.

Sometimes you should know when to quit!

I thought I'd throw a little follow up on this...
We did not work through our issues. She played me. She never came with me to family counseling, etc. but I tried to 'do the right thing' for my family and my son and it cost me dearly and just made the situation harder in the long run. We stayed together another 2 years. She used me for expenses and stretched the relationship to the 10 year point so she could try to go after alimony. Since she was already living with someone else, it was denied. We are just finishing an 18 month divorce process that has tripled my debt.

Just a word of caution. If you are that unhappy and your gut is telling you to get out. GET OUT as soon as you can.

I think it takes a lot of courage for you to be so open an honest about your marriage,so many men are unable to do that.I personally think they feel it shows weakness,but that's just not true.Now, I'm not trying to imply that we women are w/out fault,but if more men could learn to be a bit more open and just talk to us,Not at us!,things may not escalate to the avoiding,ignoring,and pushing away.Some may say "I have talked to them",but arguing and saying things in the heat of the moment don't count.I really do wish more men would reach out for help,because we all need help at times,there's no shame there. Best wishes 4 all

I am in the same boat. I just don't understand. To me you can not have a good marriage without talking to the other person or caring about them. My husband doesn't care about what I do. When I try to talk to him, he tells me he doesn't want to hear it. He doesn't want to do anything I feel like his roommate. I am tired of being lonely in this thing called marriage.

Sit him down and ask him if he is happy. If you are not happy, odds are he isn't either. I read your story so I don't know if you actually want to put effort into your marriage anymore but you should. If you have set your mind on NEVER getting a divorce, that's great. But why be unhappy for the rest of your life? Get that fact out in the open and seek family council. It helped me and helped us even though my wife refused to go. You deserve to be happy. Not only that, you DON'T deserve to be unsupported emotionally. Let him know how much that bothers you. Before I had issues with my wife, though at times she didn't think so, my life revolved around her. She was unhappy and didn't tell me for years. I was unhappy with her and expressed it through periodic bouts of anger and frustration which made her more unhappy. Turns out we we both were feeding off of each other and became very negative to one another. Once we talked about all of it and got it out in the open, we understood and got past that. Our relationship healed for the most part. As a consequence of nearly getting a divorce, I am still married to her but my life no longer revolves solely around her. Unlike you, our families couldn't be farther apart. So I'd have to say unhappy or not, 50% of what keeps me married is my son. I do understand why you don't want to leave.

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I'm in a very similar situation. I've tried for years to fix my marriage with no luck. I spent years trying to figure out why she can't or won't be intimate with me. She thinks I mean sex. I've tried to explain that even though sex can be part of an intimate relationship, the fact that you're having sex doesn't mean you're having an intimate relationship. I don't know why she won't or can't be emotionally intimate with me, but I do know there's nothing I can do to change her at this point. You're either going to have to put up with the lack of intimacy, which is crushing for me or get out of the relationship. I'm staying in right now for the sake of my teenage son. We have a stable household and we don't fight, it's like we're roommates and we have sex. I have learned to not overreact to the horrible loneliness I feel at times. I know this is a valid need I I'm feeling, that my wife is never going to fill this need and that in a couple of years when my son is out of high school I will get a divorce and find someone more compatible. Focus on taking care of your needs and quit trying to figure out her behavior.

This is what I am going through right now. I don't understand it all. People like me. They talk and trust me. Just not him...

Oceanoftears... I did my best to resolve the issues in my relationship. It was a waste of effort. I was the only one trying. We have been in the throws of divorce for months now. Not an easy thing at all. Staying together for the kids is the wrong reason. It helped nothing.

Perhaps you should see a counselor with her. There could be a problem that is causing her to withdraw from you. If all attempts fail then seperation or divorce is the next step. You cannot live with someone who causes you emotional distress. I am like that I crave emotional intimacy. There are so many people who don't understand that this type of intimacy is extremely important. Good luck my friend

Thank you. We have worked on it. I was actually the one who went to a family counselor by myself. She only came once. I think it was after she saw that I figured out I did everything I could and was ready to leave that she finally turned around. We are much better now but still have some issues to work on. But it is quite an improvement. Be well Sowitsky.

Dude, you need to do some house-cleaning in your marriage. Something has caused her to withdraw from the marriage and it may NOT necessarily be YOU. There are two key things that hold a marriage together, 1) Communicaton, and 2) is Intimacy. These two things overlap and cannot exist without the other. So, if the intimacy is gone, the communication is lacking; especially having open and honest discussions about the intimacy. <br />
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I urge you to talk about honest how you feel and ask the same of her. Don't accuse or blame her for her behavior, rather keep the discussion positive and do NOT put her into a defensive posture. Own whatever it is that YOU need to do - step it up and put forth the effort to bring your marriage back into balance. Good luck my friend! :)

I cannot fully understand how you feel, as I have never been married. However, I am captivated by your desc<x>ription of love & intimacy ...<br />
Your idea of marriage, and your complete loyalty to it gives me hope that someday, I could find someone to spend my life with..<br />
I hope that you & your wife connect again, and that you will both be able to nurture the deep intimacy you long for..

I'm sorry you're going through this. Have you tried talking to your wife about it? Is there a chance of getting the emotional intimacy back?

Yeah, it is hard and I'm definately going through a rough point in my LTR. As far as your wife and her son from her first marriage, do the two of you ever sit down and discuss when you aren't in the heat of the moment? When you are both calm and therefore more rational? As far as sticking together for the sake of your son, that can have both it's good and bad points. Your setting an example to the children in the home about what marriage is. If the two of you are really distant, that's hard.

It sounds like you are doing a lot to try and make this marriage work and it sounds like you strongly desire for it to work. I feel like I am in the same boat as you with my LTR - like I try very hard because I need emotional intimacy to breathe. But unfortunately, when in relationships the other person can change and decide that they don't want the relationship. As difficult as that may be to accept, you just may need to accept it and start finding ways to move on. Maybe you are not at the point where you want to leave right now, but maybe you need to start understanding yourself better, what you will and won't accept from you wife, where you draw the line with her. I think the first commentor had some good points too, you need to work on developing your own interests, etc. too.

If you feel the same as I do, I am so sorry you are going through this. You are hitting it on the nose. I am just now getting to the point where I don't know if it is worth all the effort just to go back to how I was being treated. I will require a difference moving forward. My concern is that it will not happen.

An example would be one of our biggest disagreements.. How she handles our oldest son from her first marriage. She lets him walk all over her but does nothing because she is afraid of him running to his father and living there. I have a very hard time watching him talk back to her and ignore her requests for days. When she does ground him, she doesn't follow through so he continues his bad behavior. That triggers arguments and then I'm the bad guy for being too strict or arguing with him or trying to point out that he is taking advantage of her. I don't think she will change on that point ever.

As for moving on, we have a son together also. My family lives in Texas and we live in NH only 15 min. away from her mother's house I might add. That is one of the many concessions I made for this marriage. Divorcing without a support plan would mean I loose my son but if I move to TX to be near my support, the custody battle will be huge and her mother would fund her in court. I have no such luxury and will definitely loose because of it. I have no choice but to stick it out for the sake of my son.

Hm! You said "And though she says she wants to fix things, she is still very cold to me." <br />
Hate to say break it to you, but she may be seeing someone else. You've started "marriage" counselling but are going alone?<br />
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Yea, don't get insecure, just look at the signs and make a move. She does not want to be married anymore.

Thank you for the sincere response. Without going off topic too much, I don't think she's cheating on me but I also don't think she wants to fix things either. She is 'forgetting' her wedding ring almost daily now. This is her 2nd marriage and she has a wealthy mother that has remarried 4 times. I don't doubt for a moment that the two of them already have plans for her to move in. BUT I am still being hopeful for the sake of our marriage, for the sake of the son we have together and my step son that has seen enough instability. As you said in one of your posts. It takes a lot of work to maintain a marriage. I want her to see that I am still putting in 100% effort until she actually tells me she wants a divorce or we both agree we've grown too distant after trying all options. Quitting would be easier, yes. My heart is so heavy and I would very much enjoy a woman's company right now but I still wish that woman to be my wife.

I have a question from your story. Except for the romantic part, (I am the romantic one, my husband is not) my husband could have written this story. In my relationship, my husband expresses his love to me time and time again, which is great. He's an amazing father and provider for our family. With that said, he also can be rude and very mean. He's never abusive, he just has a very sharp tongue. What my question to you is, is even though you say you want that in your relationship, are you always loving? Do you have a mean streak? <br />
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If you do, as being the "wife," it's so much easier to remember all the harsh words that are said and all the nice, loving, and laughter tends to fade away. It ends up being a crazy circle of him getting mad that I'm not showing affection, and I don't want to give any affection because I can't be called a rude name one moment and then lay in bed and love you the next.

That's the other posts that I was talking about. We have had arguments over the years. What made things this bad is that she didn't tell me when something was bothering her. Instead, she just started behaving inconsiderately, cruel or making family decisions without me. Several involving our kids. I wouldn't snap at her. It was more like the same situation would happen over and over, I'd talk to her about it and nothing would change, then I'd get upset and we would eventually argue.

After about 2 years of this I confronted her and asked if she was doing it on purpose to make me want to talk 'divorce' and she finally started talking about other issues that were bothering her. It is a shame she waited so long. Some as simple as asking her for suggestions for Christmas presents hurt her feelings. She never told me or I would have stopped. Lack of communication is devastating to a relationship and we both knew this and talked about it but something fell through the cracks.

Anyway, now that I know the reason behind her actions I've changed or stopped doing the things she complained about and I suggested marriage counseling to work on our communication. I have started to go. She has not yet. And though she says she wants to fix things, she is still very cold to me. I have always expressed myself to her good and bad. I wish she had done the same.

I didn't want to get into it here because this group is about intimacy so I wanted to focus on that part of the situation. The lack of it is why I can't sleep at night.

I agree, lack of communication is devastating in any relationship. My mother is on her 5th marraige, twice to the same man. Both of my grandparents were divorced. Divorce is something I try to avoid at all costs. I know you said she is on her second marriage with you. Perhaps she feels the same way I do that she doesn't want to become her mother. The fact that she had one relationship fail, but still believed in love and marriage enough to be with you is a positive thing. I know you say you are romantic. Are you as romantic as you were at the beginning of the relationship? Do you treat her like you did when you were trying to get to know her and impress her? Life gets carried away sometimes with work, children, and day-to-day household responsibilites. Is there ever any time set aside for just the two of you to go out on a date and reconnect and remember why the two of you fell in love with each other? I know there are two sides to every story. So I hope it doesn't sound like I'm attacking you, that you need to make all the effort. A marriage at times is work and you both need to be willing to work at it. She has to do her part as well.

Actually yes, I have set up date night, I take her out for us-time and I go out of my way to take time off from work when she has time off so we can share lunch. The problem is when I make that time, she only wants to go out and eat. She never wants to go to a movie or anything else more interesting unless the kids are with us. And our kids are still immature so we can't leave them alone for an extended amount of time for a bigger event like riverboat dinner dance or something. You are right. life with kids does get in the way but I have been trying. Despite it all I still buy her flowers and chocolates and send her love songs and make dinner for her and do the dishes or shopping so she doesn't have to all the time, etc.

I'm not as affectionate anymore though because she isn't responding to me. I have to ask her to sit on the same sofa with me to watch tv, I have to get in her way to say goodbye and I love you, she falls asleep on the sofa EVERY night. Never go to bed at the same time. When we got married, we used to fall asleep with our fingers interlocked.

rban68, it's sounds as though you have given 100%+ at making it work. I'm truly sorry. I hope this can turn around for you and you can once again be with the woman whom you fell in love with and married.

Oh my just took the words right out of my mouth!!!!!!!my husband is also mean and has a sharp tongue ,and I am also going through the same circle,any advice?

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Stop tormenting yourself with questions to why she does not respond and ignore her for a while, be with your inner conscience and search for that inner peace within you that does not depend on any one. Tell her how you feel bout the whole thing calmly without showing anger then move on with your life, get creative, do the things that you enjoy the most, befriend other females without cheating on her and hang out with them. But remember to also pray about it!