My Husband and I Have a Comfortable Marriage Without Sex.

My Husband and I Have a Comfortable Marriage Without Sex

I am married to an honest, loyal and trustworthy man. However, we are not intimate in any way and there is no chemistry. At one point, we went over four years without any sex. It has always been like this and it is me who will eventually bring the subject up. When I didn’t talk about it, that’s when it ended up being such a long time. We are like best friends/brother and sister – living together. It makes for a great family life (we have two children aged 11 and 13) as there is little argumentative tension with regards to day-to-day stuff. My husband loves the family unit. It is me, however, who craves touch, intimacy and to feel desired. We have discussed this at length over the years and have tried to make things better (believe me). Unfortunately, my husband struggles to express himself sexually (so sex would happen only in the bedroom with the lights off). We have never held hands or been like lovers and, in my opinion, we were too young when we met – he was my first proper partner; I am a very different lady in my 40s with regards to confidence. As everyone sees us as the ‘perfect family’ and my husband as a wonderful man (which he is), I find myself more and more anxious feeling that this is not what I want for another 20 years. I am 43 years old and keep fit and young at heart. There are many reasons why we’ve stayed together – our children’s happiness, financial stability, our daughter is deaf and has needed support and it works day to day.

I feel terrible admitting it, but I want to feel loved in the true sense of the word and I don’t think my husband understands what I mean. Even if he did what I wanted now, I’m afraid I don’t feel anything sexual for him at all … is that just terrible? I am attracted to other men (and don’t have a low sex drive) but would sincerely like to change the future without being dishonest or causing too much heartache to everyone around me. I don’t want to talk to friends or family about this as I feel it is not fair by my husband to do so. If you can help me in any way, I would be SO grateful. I love your advice – it is truly brilliant.

Best wishes,
Liv

Dear Liv,

You are speaking the fears of every woman who has ever been in a passionless relationship.

Unfortunately, you are also speaking the fears of every woman who has ever heard me talk about compromising on chemistry. And before I answer your question, I want to address that perception. It bugs me that after all these years of writing, I can’t get people to understand the nuance of the chemistry/compatibility debate.

First of all, I have never said that you should have no chemistry. I have never said you should be with a man you’re not attracted to. I have never said that sex doesn’t matter. I have never said that if you have compatibility that attraction is entirely irrelevant. These are straw man arguments and it’s tiring for me to address things that I’ve never actually said.

What I have said, repeatedly, is that chemistry is a wonderful feeling. It consists of an increase in dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, estrogen, and oxytocin and makes you feel really high. This high – which we call chemistry or attraction – generally lasts from 18-36 months. And while it is a wonderful feeling, it is not the same as love, although most folks call it being “in love”. Additionally, this “in love” feeling is not necessarily a good predictor of your future, because, well, you’ve had it before in relationships that ultimately failed. So what I’ve observed as a dating coach is that people are slaves to chemistry, ignore compatibility (the ability to get along and build a future), and wonder why they’re so unhappy if they’re “in love”.

NO chemistry is just as harmful as no compatibility.

Are we on the same page so far?

So, given these facts (chemistry feels awesome, but 40 year relationships aren’t built on chemistry alone), I have always advocated for smart tradeoffs. Instead of having a 10 in chemistry and a 3 in compatibility, I recommend a 7 in chemistry and a 10 in compatibility.

10 chemistry X 3 compatibility = a relationship that’s a 30.

7 chemistry X 10 compatibility = a relationship that’s a 70.

The math is crude, but I hope you can see that one relationship is superior to the other.

Now one can argue that you’d prefer chemistry OVER compatibility. Say, a 10 chemistry and 7 compatibility. Fair enough. However…

      a) I haven’t seen much evidence of that. Generally 10 chemistry correlates with high passion, and two incompatible people being drawn together like magnets.

b) When you’re planning a 40 year relationship, compatibility – the ability to compromise, make thousands of tiny decisions as a couple, and build a life together – is ultimately more important than white-hot chemistry.

Which brings us back to Liv’s original question and the source of much consternation from the 10 Chemistry people. What if there’s NO chemistry?

Well, the reason that I laid out this case before answering the question was to illustrate that NO chemistry is just as harmful as no compatibility.

Liv said it has “always been like this,” which means she ignored the lack of passion from the get-go, instead of realizing that a sexual connection is a necessary part of any marriage.

That is no different than two people who get married out of passion, only to ignore the fact that they fight all the time – and are then surprised they have a rocky marriage.

All relationships involve tradeoffs, but one should never give up on something as important as sexual chemistry – certainly not from the beginning like Liv did.

As to what you do now? I think it has to be a hard conversation with your husband, in which you figure out your endgame before you talk, and lead him to your desired conclusion.

      1. Compliment him on being a great husband, father and teammate.

2. Tell him that you feel sexually deprived. Tell him that while you love him dearly and have no desire to break up your family, you are starving for affection and don’t want to live the rest of your life without it.

3. Ask him to collaborate with you in coming up with a solution. This is a team effort to preserve your marriage AND make you feel sexually satisfied, and if he values your happiness, he has to help solve it.

What will you come up with? That’s up to you as a couple.

Maybe it’s sanctioned that you go on Ashley Madison to openly find sexual relations with another married man who isn’t going to leave his wife.

Maybe it’s sanctioned that you take a few long weekends each year to go away by yourself. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Maybe you do some research on male escort services and agree on a set amount of time you are allowed to indulge yourself.

Your partner is not upholding his end of the deal, and he needs to take responsibility for that, and do everything in his power to find a solution.

Do all of these things weaken the sanctity of your marriage? Probably. However, your partner is not upholding his end of the deal, and he needs to take responsibility for that, and do everything in his power to find a solution.

If he doesn’t – if he refuses to have sex with you inside the marriage and forbids you from being sexual outside the marriage – you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to keep this status quo for the sake of stability and the children. No one else can answer that except you.

Either way, I wish you well and thank you for illustrating that no sexual chemistry should be a non-starter in relationships, and that good people (men and women alike) will consider cheating if their reasonable sexual needs are not being met.

Best of luck…

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Chance

    I would agree with everything if it wasn’t for this little nugget that was tucked into the LW’s request for advice:

     “Even if he did what I wanted now, I’m afraid I don’t feel anything sexual for him at all … is that just terrible?”

    To me, this fact pretty much limits her options.  While it’s true that he isn’t living up to his end of the deal, the tone of her letter comes across as very self-centered.  Apparently, she wants to remain married to maintain her financial stability and she wants someone to show her romantic/sexual affection and make her feel desired again, but-and correct me if I’m wrong-she doesn’t want it from her husband.  Nice.  She might have better luck in getting permission from her husband to cheat if she was still attracted to him in the first place, and he simply wasn’t interested.  

    As far as the kids are concerned, they often find out when a parent cheats.  How will their happiness be affected by that, I wonder?
     

    1. 1.1
      Adelaide

      Respectfully, Chance, I think that the judgmental tone of this comment is unhelpful and unfair. Liv is obviously a very decent person trying to navigate a difficult, potentially heart breaking situation. 

       

      1. 1.1.1
        ScottH

        Adelaide- I agree with you.  When you’ve been neglected by your spouse, you lose interest in them sexually.  That doesn’t make her selfish.  It makes her human.  Walking away from a marriage is very complicated and Chance obviously can’t relate to the situation at hand.
        And I hate using the term “cheat” to describe this.  It would be cheating if she and her husband had a sex life together and one of them went outside the marriage.  There’s no intimacy between them because of him and that makes him the “cheater.”  She’s just trying to live a joyful life and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.  Stop being so judgmental.  Something as complicated as a marriage has many nuances.

        1. Adelaide

          Plus it is completely legitimate – essential in fact – to think about things like “financial stability”, especially when there are children involved. Liv does not sound at all self-centered to me. She is thinking about herself and trying to work out how to get what she needs, but that is a highly responsible, mature and difficult thing to do.
          I feel for you Liv. You sound strong though. I am sure you will make the right choices, whatever they are. 

        2. Chance

          ScottH and Adelaide,
           
          I will admit that the tone of my comment was judgmental, and I jumped the gun.  I apologize.  However, Adelaide, I don’t agree with your judgment that my comment is unfair, and I’ll explain why in a moment.  Also, ScottH, perhaps your judgment is right, and I cannot relate to the situation at hand.  I was unaware that people lose attraction for their spouses when their spouses no longer want to have sex with them.  I’ll take your word, and I am sympathetic to people who are being sexually deprived within a marriage. 
           
          I would recommend going back and reading the letter carefully.  I could have missed it, but it doesn’t appear that she ever seeks advice on how to improve the sex life between her and her husband.  Fiona is right in that there is no shame in leaving if he isn’t meeting her needs, but it doesn’t appear that she is interested in getting a divorce based on how the letter is written, and she cites financial stability as one of the reasons why they have stayed together.  However, if her husband is as good of a father as she says he is, I don’t see how the kids would be affected from a financial standpoint.  In addition, divorced parents can provide children with a healthy upbringing given that the parents are mature about the situation and get along reasonably well.  To be frank, based on the way the letter is written, it comes across that she – in a roundabout way – is asking for advice on how to bring up the subject of sleeping with other men without getting divorced.  I feel like EMK picked up on this as well, which is why he gave the advice that he gave.  Otherwise, the obvious advice would be for her to simply leave.
           
          The main point I was trying to make in my original comment is this:  I think she would have a much better chance at getting permission to sleep with other men if she actually wanted to have sex with her husband, but he continued to refuse it.  Furthermore, I believe the odds of her husband perceiving her desire to sleep with other men as a desire to cheat are much greater given the fact that she doesn’t have sexual feelings for him.  The way it stands now, it doesn’t appear that he will even have the opportunity to turn her down for sex in the future.

        3. Kay

          touche!

        4. elle

          agree.

      2. 1.1.2
        areena

        I am in the same situation , exactly the same  the difference is only that I belong to a very conservative cultural background and have no family to support  as well. the heartbreak is immense it takes years to walk away from the person who still is your husband and you watch him everyday as a forbidden fruit that people think is yours. In order to survive as a sane person you need to build walls around yourself and its very scary to think to get back to the same place again by following all the advices that usually you get. I am surprised how this person chance called it self centered , for a person who sacrificed her life for her kids and family.

        1. PHowbrook

          I totally agree with you. She is not selfish and is sacrificing herself 24/7. As females, we crave intimacy and like being appreciated by our husband who is meant to fulfill this role.

          Good luck and may your children appreciate all your hard work.

        2. Elizabeth

          I understand completely, I am in exactly the same situation and so far have no answers. And my husbands family have never liked me   As well as having no understanding support of any sort it is certainly a self sacrifice.

      3. 1.1.3
        Lucy

        I fully understand the woman. My advise Stay married. Don’t break the hearts of your children. But go do what you gotta do. Go to Vegas. Live love laugh. Life is short. The husband can go screw himself if he’s not screwing you. And screw the goody two shoes that don’t agree. They just don’t understand the situation!!

        1. Carla

          Lucy, I fully agree with you and your advice. It is very important for womens health to be loved and to make love. I agree that she should stay married as long as the children are still at home and under 18 years old. There are always men available to help her and she should very carefully develop a plan to discretely find and enjoy these men., just make sure that they are on board with being discrete! I had this situation and found that married men tend to keep secrets much better than any single guys. It worked very well in my situation for several years until my husband passed away. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!!!!

        2. Brian

          Lucy, I agree with you , but don’t forget that this solution means that HE ALSO gets to go out and and have casual sex with whoever he chooses.  That’s only fair.

        3. Jessica

          Lucy, I agree with you I am the same situation 14 years no sex I already talk to my husband to go to Dr. but he don’t listen every time I talk to him about sex he told me I am maniac why i am a being a maniac i don’t have sex even one in 14 yrs. its hurt my feeling but I am tired to deal with him about sex My solution is this no one can help me except my self your advice is good but not in my situation because I don’t have privacy in any way because I don’t have family here I by my self no friends no family  but if I have the opportunity I’m gonna do what you said live love laugh and  not breaking my hearts of my children that is the important to me. This is the first time open my self to this topic I realize I am not the only one who have the same problem and to realized only your self can solve your problem its good if you have family and friends but still you still have the last call. Sorry for my grammar I hope you guys understand me.

      4. 1.1.4
        Melissa Johnson

        Adelaide,

        I agree it’s unfair. And in my opinion the sexual relationship is just as important as the intellectual and day to day collaborations. Yes the intensity will dwindle over time, but that’s normal and there are ways to reignite that flame over time. That doesn’t mean u should settle for a passionate-less relationship forever. Communicate your needs and work together to meet both your needs. If yours are still not met, after meeting his.. move on in my opinion. I’ve met my husband’s needs far too long.. I married young and now at 31 I’m married for the second time. My first was abusive and toxic but the spark was very strong.. maybe that’s why it turned abusive I don’t know. Now I’m remarried for 8 yrs now.. we fight but we’re mostly friends.. very little sex.. on his part. So what do u do? Great dad, husband, provider, cute guy, little amount of desire from him, not me… I work in a body shop I get hit on a a lot.. to go home to a man that can take it or leave it.. it’s hard for me and it impacts my self esteem a lot.

    2. 1.2
      starthrower68

      If the tables were turned here, would you be calling the man self-centered?

      1. 1.2.1
        Chance

        Yes, and I invite you to provide an example of where I have ever applied two sets of rules on here for what is acceptable behavior for people 🙂
         

        1. Adrian

               Chance at first I doubted you, so thanks for coming backing a further explaining why you originally answered the way you did.
           
           
                I especially loved the part where you said how you and Even picked up on her wanting advice on how to have sex outside of the marriage, I completely missed that, but after reading what you wrote, and re-reading the letter, now I see it, and you both are right.
           
           
               
                Evan must have noticed it also. Including what you quote about her mentioning she just doesn’t desire to sleep with him anymore even if he tried, I also noticed that she keep mentioning about how they are viewed by others as the perfect couple, and she doesn’t want to change that, so that is why she came to Evan. A divorce would without a doubt let her friends and family know that their marriage isn’t perfect, isn’t something to be envied.
           
           
             
                 Now Chance with all that said, I do disagree with you and the other posters who assume that being selfish or self-centered is “ALWAYS” a bad thing in a relationship. I think it’s the husband who is being selfish, because Liv did mention that she has repeatedly tried.
           
           
                So, Liv, I agree with Evan’s advice, try to get your husband’s blessing to sleep with other man, or leave him. Don’t do it behind his back or when he tries to divorces you for cheating, he will make you seem like the person in the wrong.

      2. 1.2.2
        Mary

        Exactly! Besides, just because he is a good father doesn’t mean he can or should be the main caretaker of the child. She probably is being a good mother and trying to figure out how to afford independence and being able to care for her child if things don’t work. Statistically it is not as easy for a woman as it is for a man to find stable work, especially when a young child is probably used to having their mother there more frequently. That would probably change if they divorce. She most likely was the home maker ( a very under-appreciated position), and put off her own chance of financial independence because she was trying to count on the marriage working, and maintaining that life partnership. Plus she may not sound as if she wants to fix the sex because it is not about the sex itself. The lack of intimacy stems from problems on both parts, he probably was comfortable and wanted to ignore issues so she feels exhausted and lonely and neglected. Would you really feel like trying, (Chase), if this kept happening to you? I hate to sound sexist, but if she was a man it’s probable “he” would have cheated by then or just ignored “his” husband, since she is trying to be nurturing and feels guilty for not feeling like a wife should feel…otherwise she wouldn’t even be asking about it. Would have just cheated or divorced if she was selfish. If she didn’t care about her child then that also would have been easier. It’s a whole different side of marriage/divorce when a child(ren) is involved. I’m guessing Chase doesn’t know anything about that.

        1. areena

          Yes you understood it, in this situation  a mother who watches her kids happy with their father is torn between love and deprivation.However being a mother do not make her less of a woman you still need that love that every wife deserve, its very humiliating to ask for it and get rejected again and again. Its not only sex that she looks for but love and appreciation its not that she  just want to SLEEP with someone. she knows nothing.

    3. 1.3
      Sayo

      “Even if he did what I wanted now, I’m afraid I don’t feel anything sexual for him at all …”

      No one will understand the feelings behind this one sentence unless and until you have experienced the similar situation in life.

      If you have to always ask or beg for intimacy, your feelings tend to become dead too. This happens gradually. If you get love only after asking ten times, then how the f* will you feel anything in return.

      Same has happened with her. Gradually her feelings are dead too towards him, which is very natural. She should move on. They should end it on friendly terms and remain friends for life (if possible)

      When you end, you don’t have any expectations left and you can be happier.

    4. 1.4
      PHowbrook

      She wants to remain married for the sake of her children and she is making a daily sacrifice. She deserves a lot of RESPECT

    5. 1.5
      Cara Randall

      When your needs are ignored for years and years, Chance, and you’ve been hurt by that, you start to wonder if you even want to have sex with them anymore…even if they did try. Ask me how I know, after 14 celibate years. So you can shove it. I’ve never ever wanted my marriage to break up and I have done everything I can think of to make it work, while he sits back and just acts like he’s a victim and I should just accept our sexless marriage. Years of trying to make it work on your own while your spouse watches you hurt can really make you wonder if you want to be sexual with that person, anyway.

      1. 1.5.1
        Dan

        Amen to that Cara. I’m the husband in a totally sexless marriage and agree with everything you said. We have been married for a year and a half and have not even consummated the marriage. I’m having the same feelings of that I’m still physically turned on by my wife but not sure if I want go there even if she started to try because I can’t understand how she could even love me when things are how they have been

    6. 1.6
      milly

      You clearly did not read properly.do you understand self centeredness?this woman indicated she wants to remain honest and you are busy judging?try read before putting up unhelpful judgement when you have no understanding of people’s troubles man

  2. 2
    Stacy

    I don’t even understand the logic of why one would do this – marry with NO chemistry. What’s the difference between a friendship then? Why would one think this is a good idea? In any event, what is done is done.

    I think I struggle with little chemistry (enough to be able to have sex with him but he doesn’t want me to rip my clothes off nor does he really turn me on visually unless he is touching me ‘there’ and there’) kind of thing. While I am not in the situation now, I dated a guy that seemed to be a 10 in compatibility and the chemistry is there but just a very little flame.lol I think that’s when it gets tricky. In fact, I dare say that I meet a good bit of men I am compatible with except for at least the 7 in chemistry. *sighs*

    In any event, if I were Liz, I could not live like this. Life is way too short and way too long (if you know what I mean) to be married without any passion. That just reeks of torture to me.

    1. 2.1
      Clare

      Agreed. Sex is a big part of why I get into a relationship in the first place. The idea of having non-existent chemistry and/or sex baffles me.

    2. 2.2
      Gabri'el

      Sigh… Stacy, I completely agree. I always end up on those type of dates, with the really nice girl who I just have no sexual attraction to.
       
       
      Stacy has this ever happened to you? You go out with a person whose both chemistry and compatibility is low, but not low enough for you to not go out on a 1st date to meet them; yet this person thinks you are a perfect 10! This happens to me all the time and I HATE IT!
       
       
      When a person thinks you are perfect, they are always so shocked to find out that you are human and have human flaws and simple human desires. A great example of what I’m saying about being human is “Not wanting to date someone just because they are very nice or would treat you very well in a relationship”.
       
       
      Like Liv, what’s the point of being with someone who you have to force yourself to kiss or have sex with. Yet even though this person them self has rejected others and has been rejected by others because of their looks or body, they expect you to not do the same to them. But all the while they find you incredibly hot and sexy.

      1. 2.2.1
        Stacy

        Gabri’el,
        I could have written your post. I understand exactly what you mean.  Frankly, it can be exhausting. And, I sometimes feel bad because I try to argue with myself logically that maybe I could look past it. I mean, physical looks fade right? It’s all about the person right? I also consider myself far from superficial but…

        I realize now that I have the right to like what I like and I need to stop feeling badly about it.  Every single time I have given someone a chance that I was not that attracted to, it always ended up in disaster because my heart could never get completely in it.  I also find that it’s easy to not try as hard and that other person does not deserve that.  So for the new year, I am vowing to not even entertain a date if there is either no attraction or it’s extremely low because someone will end up getting hurt and it is never cool.

        If attraction has to be forced, then it is all for naught – it’s just that simple. Also, I would not want to date someone who only found me mildly attractive. And, that’s okay.

  3. 3
    Stacy

    “he doesnt make me want to rip my clothes off”

  4. 4
    CaliforniaGirl

    I had a sexless marriage for almost 10 years. My ex-husband was a great man, good provider, we had a lot of things in common, same goals in life, you name it, but he never wanted sex. When I wanted it, he just tried to find any reason to get out of it. After years of being miserable, countless tears night after night, I started to flirt with strangers and suddenly it felt so good I wanted more. I imagined sex with other men and would fantasize about different situations and scenarios. I wanted out, I felt like in prison and my mental health was far from being stable. I told him I want a divorce, he promised me to work on that – go to a doctor, exercise, be more romantic and more. He tried but it lasted only few months and then everything was as before. I knew that if I won’t leave, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I was so afraid to be alone, to be less financially stable, to leave my beautiful house, social circles, to explain it to my parents and friends. But life is just empty and meaningless without intimacy and touch and kisses and cuddling and of course sex. After few years of rebound relationships, I met my current boyfriend, who just rocked my world. I never knew how it feels to be completely open with someone, to desire and be desired back, to crave his touch and to have sex every day. It’s being 1.5 years and it’s only getting better. I do miss my previous comfortable life sometimes, but then I look in the mirror and I see a woman who looks 10 years younger and has glowing skin and sparkling eyes and smile on her face and I don’t care anymore about nice vacations and expensive restaurants.

    1. 4.1
      Alexis

      California girl your story inspires me. I’m in the same position with 10 year marriage no sex or intimacy.

  5. 5
    Susan C

    I have a husband who I recently married who is a 9-10 in the chemistry dept and about a 7 in the compatibility dept (w/ a couple of issues that have interfered with our compatibility).
    And I have a male best friend who is a 10 on compatibility and zero on intimacy, which is why he’s my best friend and not my partner.
    If it weren’t for the couple of issues that I’m working through with my spouse at the moment, I’d say that it would be darn near perfect. But even though I love my best friend dearly, it is a different kind of love, that more of a sibling, and I could never envision my life without the passion and chemistry. Life really is too short to miss out on something that is so great. I think that if their (Liv and husband) needs are such on a different level that their needs are not being met that it would cut into the compatibility percentage and lower it significantly. They’re not really that compatible.
    But I would also add that perhaps they should attend some professional counseling together and try to uncover the reasons why this is an issue in the first place. There are so many possibilities of the cause and it could be a health issue, a mental block from a past trauma, low self esteem, low testosterone. I’d explore help with a therapist and a doctor to see what might be an underlying cause. Just because he has been this way since the beginning doesn’t mean that he isn’t adapting to that lifestyle to avoid dealing with an issue that can be causing it in the first place. Like my mom has arthritis pains and instead of getting care and treatment, she acts like she’d rather just stay on her couch and not go anywhere. She is adapting her lifestyle to evolve around her issue instead of dealing with the issue. It’s human nature. Get him checked out! And stand by his side while seeking help. If he outright refuses to do anything about it, then all of Evan’s advice comes into play while you consider your options.

    1. 5.1
      Britt

      I agree 100% on your comment about seeing a therapist and exploring why he is the way he is. Past trauma in any essence of the word can be a major factor in why he isn’t sexual whatsoever. Seeking help in the PsyD/PhD realm would be number one my list of where to begin.
      As an avid Dr. Drew Pinsky follower (along with being a daily reader of EMK’s blog!) this situation sounds like the OP’s husband would really beneft from some outside help. And in turn, OP would benefit too. Best of luck, OP!

  6. 6
    ScottH

    Liv- I was in your situation several years ago and my kids were 11 and 13 when I filed papers.  The last thing I wanted for my kids was to come from a divorced family.  It tore me up inside until I had no choice (and please don’t anybody tell me that I did have a choice because if you believe that, you haven’t walked in my shoes).   I have so much to say that I’m having trouble trying to figure out where to start.  
    I guess, first off, sexless marriages are much more common than many people believe.  There is a great website called the Experience Project and they have a forum topic called “I live in a sexless marriage.”  I suggest you go there and read the stories of other people in your situation.  
    Michelle Weiner Davis also is a good read.  She has a book called the Sex Starved Marriage.  She also has a good talk on Ted Talks.  I saw her talk on the same page as Evan’s.  Both were excellent.
    My prediction- if your husband isn’t engaged in solving this issue, you will become more and more resentful and angry until you reach your breaking point and file and by that point, you will be very angry and bitter.  Yes, an affair will help for a while, but just for a while.  Usually the refusing spouse has no interest in helping the situation and if they do, it’s only for a short while.
    For me, there was nothing more excruciating than to be turned down and pushed away by my “wife.” 
    Good luck to you.  You have a very tough road in front of you.
    And Evan- your last 3 paragraphs are very good.  However, it is my belief that if he doesn’t agree to have sex with Liv, then he doesn’t get to tell her that she can’t get sex anywhere else.  He does not have the right to sentence her to a life without sex.  That can only be her decision and it’s up to her to decide whether to get her needs met outside of the “marriage.”
     

    1. 6.1
      Adrian

      Scott just out of curiosity, did your wife give a reason for not wanting sex and when she discovered why you were divorcing her, did she understand it and try to change?

      1. 6.1.1
        ScottH

        Adrian- the situation is far too complex psychologically for me to understand or try to describe.  I made it clear that our lack of intimacy was really hurting me and she said that she understood and wanted me to get my needs met but that it would not be by her.  She also hinted that she was involved with someone else and I found hard proof that she was indeed sleeping with someone else.  That was when I went to the court house, filled out the papers and then called her to ask her if there was any reason that I shouldn’t file and she said no, so I filed.  Then fast forward 2 years- I found out that they were supposed to spend the rest of their lives together but he dumped her and then she wanted to rekindle with me.  I declined.  Talk about a fvcked up situation.  Divorce is expensive for a reason- it’s worth it… (in my case anyway).  So yes, after living with and having kids with a nutjob for many years who was neglectful of the marriage and her kids, I became very sympathetic to those who could not leave their sham of a marriage and could not live without intimacy.  I learned to withhold judgment of others’ actions in marriage.  They might have good reason for what they did and you just might not have the experiences to be able to understand.  You never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

    2. 6.2
      Cally

      My marriage it was if my husband was allowed sex and a home life the needs of many other people would have been crushed under his heel taking what he wanted in his workplace and with his seniority under a UAW contract. It was a case of give him the first opening the flood would have started with him using the seniority he had to take the shifts, jobs, holidays, weekends and vacation slots he had the time to take. I was the only buffer between him and people with real needs. I was the reward one day if he continued to be cooperative, The First crack in this was 1987, when I was tasked with getting him to stay and work for a couple wanting the vacation slot my husband was authorized with his time. to Go to Rome on A vacation my husband hoped for the last 2 years to Start our marriage. It was something I promised three days after he got off doing under water patrols with the US navy the last three and a half years.

      I had to promise upon our return any time any place and any way he wanted his three weeks that were coming. I would be the wife and travel companion he had wanted since he took back his civilian job 2 years before. I just was not expecting the second my foot Hit US soil off the  plane He was taking his three weeks from someone else when we had a proposal to try for six months from then. any three weeks plus his personal time to make up for the holiday down week after the down week was over till valentines day. I was thinking on the flight back from Rome that how wonderful it would be for a nice Island vacation in the Bahamas, Caymans, Hawaii or Barbadoes Even thought Mexico which at that time was Aca pulco.

      I found he had already research these places and others and found it was far to late to get reservations any of these places. So We started to try and get him not to take off the day we flew in by considering places to drive in the us and he said he was not ice skating across country to go someplace marginally warmer than home.

      Vegas was not even considered,  because he did not want to take the chance of getting stranded in a winter storm, his knees were to bad for a ski resort and they were booked and he was refusing to back off till the next year for his vacation time, I felt like he was using what I had sworn to as a club to beat everyone with just because he wanted some time off, it was even suggested that some how he find joy in his work.

      I ended up sent home to my mothers that same day, with a divorce filing, Told he knew I would never keep a promise. MY mother was super angry at the letter telling he since I was not going to have a family or consumate the marriage, then he was returning me in the same condition Received with a guardianship for my bi polar. to keep my husband to go to work his father contacted a judicial friend that was anti union. who hit my husband with an order that disallowed the union contract in his case for the good of the community as a whole he had to work all hours offered I heard when it was presented the day we got in I was already on my way to my mothers my husband flattened his father with his own luggage then the deputies presented the order, and then had to pile four of them on to get him into work.

      Two years latter we were on the court house steps waiting for my husbands arrival his mother and father where saying how sorry my husband was doing this, he pulled up in a junk heap pickup came up the steps covered in oil, coolant, sweat. and said lets get this rat killing over to let him go and get a life. His father was yelling couldn’t he go get cleaned up first and my husband said the time was 815 am for the court.  He did not get off until eight and had to work through his break to get the time of remember all hours offered he said three minutes to get to the room so lets go, He was denied the petition The place he was living was not fit. and He absolutely hated everyone after the judge would not remove the all hours offered order.

      He could not get a lawyer in the county to take his case to sue the county until 2000 12 years later. By that time I was scared to say any thing about I promised to start our life together as soon as he was off the seven days a week 12 hours a day schedual.

      He was just never allowed off, Then the Milinial vacation to Bavaria came up, He was going to defy the order and have it hauled as high as possible even if it meant the supreme court he even had a liberal lawyer lined up to take his case. His father and I found and locked his passport away and had him jailed until we flew out on the 22nd of December. his defiance was causing trouble in the family In Munich his mother hit his father in the head with a ash tray telling him she was tired for 15 years of his being a dictator in his oldest sons life, His father said the day that he learned his place in the community we would see what we could let him have. . He had already with friends decided to ruin that judge with an inadvertent Disclosure about a habit he had. He ended up in The state pen until this year and a judge that sat the bench for 28 years now has to count on living with his oldest son In Oklahoma and see his wife married to someone else, all because he did not allow my husband and others their way.

      In 2001 my husband was really going to defy the social order by him and three of his ex military friends taking over a new department wanted by people socially and politically connected. The day before the bid was coming down I was on my knew begging him to just wait for the next bid list in two months just him and his friend let the four younger seniority have the jobs. please don’t push and cause trouble, He said drop dead with his father and all our friends, I even told him if he backed off the sex and everything he wanted was his without interference. He said let them try to interfere with him they would regret their actions, He used combat arts ways taught in two services and acted like deadly force was authorized. He left four men dying on our porch over that Department, his father knocked to his rear when he arrived crying was a stinking job and seniority worth this and my husband was really snippy when he said they though that it should have been him beaten down. so yes it was. My ankle was broken because I locked him out to hear the four out and he kicked the front door in on top of me.

      In 2000 he was so angry my christtmas gift was a box of dog S***and covered his parents house in it, in 2009 because we canceled his reservations on the orient express getting the refund back. His father even kicked in the 10 percent thinking that was fair he could not say anything and he was getting his passport back from TSA after we were in the air. He dislocated my shoulder getting the check I was going to hold seven months, I was even arranging a five week vacation rental in St Criox as a Christmas surprise for January 2010 as a makeup for his not having any time for himself in 24 years. He also tried strangling his father to death getting his passport back that day. that’s the year I found out a wife does not have the right to stop her husband from what he had earned, I served 2 months in county. his father was home detained and my husband let himself get so depress it allowed a MRSA abscess to set into his spine causing his spinal cord to be crushed and partially severed He lost feeling and nerve impulse fro m the top of his legs down and even more resentments.

      When he came home three years latter I had spent the last 12 mostly crying wondering when the next yelling match was coming. Two other European vacations went by with his passport lock in a safe deposit until 2006 when he got a federal court to issue an order to drill it. We got back from London and he was holding his passport and a restraining order to keep us from touching it I spent 24 years trying to get him to look to needs other than his and the last year after he flattened his father with a bed pan the day before we were to fly to the Mideast he told me He hoped we wend down in the ocean so when he got out of rehab he could tell everyone to drop dead he was not letting us steal any more of his life. its hard to think that somebody that once loved you could be so venomous he wanted me dead. Just because he could not find a joy in a good job. He came home after a stress center stay after rehab. It was a evening I had made other plans an he came home telling me they were canceled because he came first. in all things. Including owing him for 31 years of marriage. He was going to take everything I had said no to him for 31 years hoping one day he would not be so mean about it. He forced the sex issued after I got ready for an event, through a friend of his fathers at his fathers windshield of the porch. and I got off the floor bleeding and hurt asking his mother how come it had to come to this.

  7. 7
    Karl R

    Liv said: (original letter)
    “Even if he did what I wanted now, I’m afraid I don’t feel anything sexual for him at all … is that just terrible?”

    I remember hearing someone discuss sex starved marriages. (It may have been Michelle Weiner Davis, the author mentioned by ScottH.) From what she said, the feelings you mentioned are rather normal under the circumstances.

    Those feelings are also reversible. If you can get a couple back into a normal sexual relationship, their sexual desire for each other will return to its previous level. (This would require that your husband actually agree to participate in a normal sexual relationship. In addition, his previous level of sexual desire may have been very, very low.)

    ScottH,
    I was in a sex-starved long-term relationship. I was fortunate enough to see how destructive it was before we ever considered making the relationship permanent.

    In general, I felt your post was very good advice, but I disagree with you on one point. 

    ScottH said: (#6)
    “However, it is my belief that if he doesn’t agree to have sex with Liv, then he doesn’t get to tell her that she can’t get sex anywhere else.”

    He actually does have the legal right to divorce her if she has extramarital sex (without his consent). Furthermore, this meets the legal burden of “fault” in a divorce. 

    Liv could have extramarital sex anyway, and then just deal with the fallout. But the law would not be on her side. 

    1. 7.1
      Rachel

      Karl R said:
      He actually does have the legal right to divorce her if she has extramarital sex (without his consent). Furthermore, this meets the legal burden of “fault” in a divorce. 
      It depends on where they live. Not that Liv is seeking legal advice here, as this is more of a moral/emotional quandry, but in some states, refusing sexual contact to your spouse is considered constructive abandonment. This requires long-term, non-medically mandated abstinence, so illness, injury, post-partum dry spells wouldn’t fall under this umbrella of course. The point is that even the legal system acknowledges how untenable a situation like this is and how vital sex is to a marriage. She could, depending on the state, possibly divorce him and prove fault.
       
       

      1. 7.1.1
        Joe

        Maybe, maybe not.  In her letter Liv seems to indicate that they never had much of a sexual relationship from the start (though I can’t imagine how they got 2 kids without one at all).  It’s hard to prove fault for not continuing to provide a sexual relationship when there wasn’t really one there to begin with.

      2. 7.1.2
        Clare

        Agreed. According to the laws of my country at least, they would both be at fault legally. She would have just as much right to divorce him for lack of consortium (affection, sex, intimacy) as he would for her cheating on him.

    2. 7.2
      ScottH

      Karl- yes, I believe you and Rachel are both correct and I am in no position to offer legal advice.  I was offering my opinion from a moral/ethical position and I am sure there are plenty of people who would disagree.  It is just cruel/vicious/mean for one spouse to sexually abandon the other and because of that, I believe that the abandoned partner has the right to seek comfort elsewhere.  Again, I’ve had that argument with others who just plain disagree.  So be it.  Do what is right for you.

      1. 7.2.1
        Stacy

        Scott,
        Maybe I am old fashioned but I would get the divorce first before cheating.  Because, if you sing the ‘I can have sex with someone else because I am not getting it from you’, then it becomes messy.  Then, it opens up the door for justifying sex outside of marriage for other reasons as well.  So, it just becomes ugly all around.  So, I would suggest that instead of opting to cheat, to just end it and avoid the possible drama that comes with being unfaithful (other pregnancies, diseases, complications if you have kids etc. and because you married and made vows before God).  But hey, that’s just me. 

  8. 8
    Henriette

    @ScottH – your link doesn’t work.
     

    1. 8.1
      ScottH

      paste the following into google:  open salon this is what a sexless marriage feels like and yet

  9. 9
    Fiona

    I was in a similar positions with my fiance (then BF). We had a terrible sex life for about three years. I resented him, lost desire for him, started flirting with other guys, even considered having an affair. It turned out he had low testosrerone and cialys helped enough that we could start working towards a normal sex life.

     This guy might have a physical problem or an emotional issue keeping him from a sex life. Or he might be asexual and never have a libido. Only he can tell you, and it’s going to be on him to work through this.

    Good luck. There’s no shame in leaving because he isn’t meeting your needs. 

    1. 9.1
      ShivaD

      I want to bring up the possibility that he is a closet homosexual or has some sort of gender issues. Men like that can do the whole family thing but have zero attraction to their partner. Because they don’t feel comfortable living in their truth they silently suffer for years until the kids are grown and they get tired of living a lie or they go to the grave having lived in the closet, unfulfilled. He may also have a secret outlet that she is unaware of. I don’t know if she could ask him or if he would be open to discussing such with her but its another possibility.

  10. 10
    jason

    uh, 4 years?  That’s both people’s fault.  Maybe it could be 60-40 one way or the other.  But 4 years?  No. That’s not a thing that could happen unless they both have problems, and maybe actualy don’t care a sex that much.

  11. 11
    Ginger

    I am in a very similar situation. Two kids, no sex for years, and like Liv I knew when I was marrying that there wasn’t a ton of chemistry. I told myself that passion fades anyway. 

    I also almost always initiated sex. As years went on and I was less and less successful in that endeavor, I gradually stopped. And so did the sex. Like Liv, I’m no longer attracted to him. Being rebuffed year afted year or having a less than enthused partner where you feel like it’s pity sex doesn’t leave one feeling hot for the person. It’s not Liv’s fault she isn’t into him.  It’s not terrible, Liv. 

    I haven’t had sex outside of my marriage, but I considered it. I’ve also considered asking for an open marriage or scenarios like were suggested to Liv, but I know they won’t be sufficient and I have to wonder if they would be for Liv.  Yes I crave sex, daily, but I also crave the intimacy a loving sexual relationship brings. A one night stand or Vegas trip might be fun, but I’m afraid in the end I would feel all the more alone. 

    I dint know now what I’ll do. I feel like I made this (lonely, celibate) bed and I should lie in it. Why break apart my children’s lives because I married a good, smart, funny man who was a good friend…but who had a very low libido that’s only gotten lower? 

    1. 11.1
      Juliet

      “why break apart my children’s lives because I married …. a man who had a very low libido that’s only gotten lower?”

      Ginger, here is the reason:
      Because if you don’t, this is the model of marriage that you will be providing to your children.  They will think this is normal, this is what marriage is.  And they will make the same mistake you did.   Do you want your children to live anguished adult lives without intimacy?  Or do you want to provide them a model for what adult happiness looks like, so they can strive for that in their own adult lives and be happy.  

      The old wisdom is “stay together for the sake of the children” … but if you do, you doom them to the same unhappy life you have.  Leave, find happiness, show your children what happiness looks like and give your children the chance of finding that happiness. 

      I stayed for 16 years in a marriage to man I was totally unattracted to, did not respect, and who was toxically passive aggressive and negative. When I realized I was dooming my children to the same life because that’s what was “normal” to them, I was out the door like a shot.  Now my children see me strong, happy, in a healthy loving relationship with deep intimacy, and I am filled with joy for their own futures … no longer doomed to repeat the mistake that I had made … repeating MY parents own horribly mistaken non-intimate marriage.

      1. 11.1.1
        Kate

        A divorce is way more detrimental to children than a passionless marriage

        1. Italian_Battalion

          You are dead wrong. The undercurrent of resent and strain in the relationship manifest themselves in ways children pick up on.

      2. 11.1.2
        areena

        and how do kids know whats happening in their parents bedrooms if they are not told or the topic is not discussed openly?

        1. Cara Randall

          Believe me, it comes out in a million other ways when there is no sexual intimacy. The resentment and pain and dysfunction are palpable.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          A couple who is not intimate in the bedroom, most likely is not very affectionate outside of the bedroom.  So the kids grow up in a household never or rarely seeing mom and dad sharing a hug, holding hands, cuddling or kissing.  I think kids should see mom and dad showing appropriate displays of affection.  If it’s a case where the couple both have low libido’s and are happy and affectionate with each other anyway then that’s fine.  But if the couple is no longer intimate with each other and there is hostility surrounding this issue, believe me, the kids don’t need a ring side seat in the bedroom to pick up on that.

    2. 11.2
      anna

      exact same story. don’t want to be without him. driven crazy by zero intimacy. maybe a few hugs or a minute cuddle. 25 yr anniv this yr. my parents never showed nor to I believe they had any intimacy or affection. have no idea what to do, what i deserve, if i would find it, or if this is just it for me at age 50. kids are in their 20s. we maybe have sex three times a yr. never really initiated by him.

  12. 12
    A Reader

    How about a compromise?  The letter writer could do what men in sexless marriages have been doing since time began, get a porn subscription (or several) and some sex toys and go to town.  IMHO that would take care of her unmet sexual needs without jeopardizing her marriage by introducing another person or persons into the mix, (unless they have an open marriage, I doubt that would go over too well, especially if she develops feelings for the other guy or vice versa).  And, hey, if hubby saw her having fun, he might just want to join the party. 🙂

    1. 12.1
      Appaxking

      Masturbation and sex are two completely different things. I think it’s more about the closeness that she’s craving. The human touch and intimacy is the best part about sex, which is why it’s so much better with someone you love. My husband and I have sex multiple times per week and I stil enjoy my “solo time” probably just as often. In my opinion, they’re separate needs.

  13. 13
    Jack

    I am amused.  After reading all of the comments, I’d really like to know just one thing… Who came up with the title: “My Husband and I Have a Comfortable Marriage Without Sex.”  The story doesn’t say that, and it looks to be anything but comfortable!  This woman will either have an affair then divorce, or divorce and find the sex she wants. 
     

  14. 14
    polar picnic

    Wonder if the husband is asexual.

  15. 15
    bella

    I understand you completely Liv.
    My marriage and with it the sexual drive changed after approx. 18 years of marriage.
    I have to amazing now grown up children.
    At the very beginning we were sexual active and it felt great.
    Then with the children we were still sexual active yet not that frequent anymore.
    At that time I did not lack it very much since all my energy had been taken by the children,
    the work and more.
    With time we behaved and acted like friends. Excellent friends yet sex has disappeard nor did he show any real interest anymore. It was ok for me since I did not feel sexually attracted to him. Over the years I started to miss the hugs, the soft kisses, the touch and loving part.
    By the time I turned 50 an amazing man showed me that I am a WOMAN with all her heart and desires which changed my life completely. I asked for divorce and am now a happy single dating incredible man and even more since following the advice of Evan changeing my life even more drastically to the better.
    Yes, I am honest with you: I faced many challenges, had to give up my house, money was also a topic, mostly the lack of it. Still I would never want to have my “old” life back.
    I feel so beautiful, accepted, adored and am on the verge of fulfilling my dream which is amazing.
    If I would be you, I would follow the adivse of Evan and have the talk. Maybe your husband is the one of the kind who does not have a sexual drive. Conversations like this can be done no blaming by talking in the me version, what you feel and wish and then ask him what he thinks and listen carefully to him. Men tell you the truth and we have to listen and accept it.
    Good luck to you!

  16. 16
    amelia

    is woman not his type?

  17. 17
    TransientDude

    This is the reverse of the typical story of a woman rejecting her husband every time he wants sex but she always gives some lame excuse. So the guy goes to porn and then an affair. There’s something wrong within the relationship that she isn’t mentioning in the letter. There’s more to it than she’s not attracted to him anymore. That’s an excuse and a deflection mechanism because she doesn’t want to admit that she herself is part of the problem as to why he doesn’t want sex with her anymore. This woman sounds very self centered and I hate how she puts her husband under the bus like he’s an oblivious Homer Simpson and she’s just saintly dignified in her sexual un satisfaction. She’s doesn’t respect her husband and she never has. There’s no way a man is going to turn down his hot looking wife who wants to have sex with him. She’s the problem and she knows it.

    This woman is so arrogant. I feel like I’m going to choke on the arrogance her words exude from her letter. As a man for me to not want to make love to my wife I’m either not attracted to her anymore because she’s gotten fat; lost any sexual desire for her because of constant nagging and disrespect or I’m cheating on her with another woman whose supplying my relational and physical needs.

    He sounds like the typical man who does all of the external things that a man is supposed to do but doesn’t really see the importance in showing physical affection and meeting her need for relational intimacy. Plus it’s obvious he hasn’t held her to any real standard that has any enforceable consequences regarding her action, inaction, or behavior in regards to transgressing those standards.

    1. 17.1
      anony

      Hey TransientDude,

      I agree it’s likely that there’s more story than a short letter has the ability to convey, and that usually deeply rooted problems are two-sided, not one-sided. I understand being upset at her tone and wanting to react to that, but saying it’s likely that she’s 100% at fault is as bad as assuming the husband is 100% at fault without knowing the full story. And I’ve always found it’s good to take someone who is really upset’s ‘disrespect’ with a grain of salt. They probably sound different when they aren’t upset enough to write a letter asking for help to the internet.

      As for saying there’s no way a man would turn down a hot-looking wife – why do you think you represent all of mankind? I have a friend whose husband has low testosterone levels, as do many men in his family. My husband and I have gone through phases where he was less interested in sex than I was for various reasons. And you’re right that respect was key to solving some of those problems. For example, when we were pretty young and first started dating, he was embarrassed he didn’t last very long and was worried about how he compared to others I had dated. I had to be patient and build his confidence rather than tease him about it, and also be creative about getting a longer time to have fun (vibrators are great.)

      Your comment on weight was insulting and uncalled for. Do you actually know anyone who stopped wanting sex because someone else got fat? I don’t! I only know one man who divorced his wife (in part) because she was too thin and he wanted someone more feminine. I don’t understand how two people could get married and expect the other person not to gain weight as they age. Whether or not it’s healthy, it’s pretty common and not surprising. My husband was attracted to me when we met, when I was 9 months pregnant, and after I never lost the pregnancy weight. A bit of extra weight never made a difference to him. I’ve always been curvy, and he of course would never have dated me if he hadn’t liked that. Maybe if two people were both yoga instructors and super fit, and one of them gained a huge amount of weight, I could see that changing one person’s opinion of the other’s attractiveness. But then there would probably be an underlying reason for the dramatic weight gain that needs to be addressed.

      There’s a lot of fat shaming in this world. I just don’t get why you had to bring that in out of the blue.

       

  18. 18
    Kaye

    In regards to Transient dude I completely disagree. I am guessing you have never been in a sex less relationship. I was in a 5 year relationship that turned sex less it was horrible, degrading and downright lonely. I tried everything to fix it. I’m young and fit so looks or my body were not an issue and I looked after my ex well yet the relationship still stayed the same in which I then broke it off . Don’t judge unless you have been in the exact same situation.

  19. 19
    kris

    I have to choose between a sexless marriage to the man I’ve been married to for 29 years, whom I do love, even though we are so different, or get out of the marriage. It’s a lose lose situation. I’m 52, too young to live a celibate life. Prostate cancer “killed” my husband in more ways than expected. As far as he is concerned, he wouldn’t have the surgery if he knew the doctors would have lied to him about whether he would regain sexual function, again. They do lie, they just want their cure rates, they don’t care what the end result is. My husband is dead inside, desperately despaired, and we have no money to “fix” the problem. He prefers a sexless marriage now. So that”s my choice at 52. He was always older in his head, but now, he’s 85 in his head. Prostate cancer kills whether your breathing after it or not.

    1. 19.1
      Amy

      I’m sorry that you are going through this. Surviving after cancer is trying enough. It is possible that there is help for your husband. Your doctor should be able to refer you to a specialist if you have insurance,and if not I’d suggest looking into a study or clinical trial (depending on where you live) where the costs of treatment are covered. I’m not an expert on the subject admittedly but a friend of mine survived late stage ovarian cancer and after having a radical hysterectomy had some of the same issues but she was able to get help and restore her sexual function almost entirely.

  20. 20
    butterflyqueen

    Have you considered that your husband may be “straight by choice” ? This would explain a lot. I have several friends who were married to men that were gay but didn’t know they were, or tried to fight that they were, and remained in sexless marriages for years. In fact the tv show Frankie & Grace describes that situation fairly accurately. Fathering or mothering children does not prove heterosexuality. I also have gay male friends who were once married and loved their wives and the companionship and place in society it provided. For some women that is okay. I could never be happy in a sexless union. My longterm partner was married twice before and his second wife stopped having sex with him 5 years before they divorced. She later told him the marriage was over 2 years before that but she couldn’t make the decision to leave. Anyway I met him and we were 7 chemistry and 10 compatible– we had a lot of passion and we were lucky. When he discovered he was terminally ill the sexual part of our relationship ended and our compatibility and unconditional love for each other kicked in bigtime. He lived for one year beyond his diagnosis and we had no sex during that final year. It was one of several losses that equal the grieving process. Now I am exploring the possibility of becoming involved with a new man and that is what brought me to Evan’s site. I am finding this blog very helpful in understanding myself and what I want for my future. I believe communication and knowing yourself are key. Also being authentic and present. If you are involved with someone that is lying to themselves about who they are then of course the relationship you have with them is not authentic either.

  21. 21
    someone

    God it lookalike I  wrote the question, except for kids age and number of years we I lived in this intimacy less relationship. However its just too boring to listen to same stuff again and again  compliment him , tell him he is such a man and worse was to see “she is self centered”.

    A woman who is living in worthless  marriage for her kids so long can’t be a SELF CENTERED ,but anything.

  22. 22
    DeCaf

    I’ve been married 47 years and sex for us really never happened. Oh we had sex a couple of times but he didn’t like it. To him it was vile disgusting, totally pointless and not worth the effort. Sleep work and his hobby was more  important than me. So I would say we’ve been sexless for 46 years, and we have treated each other as room mates. Property mates is probably a better word cause he lives in his garage and I have the house . We ignore each other and we haven’t talked for probably close to 40 years. He does all the chores and fix it type things but we communicate by sticky notes. he makes sure I’m not home when he fix’s things in the house. I do my own thing he does his, I did find out he isn’t gay or have a little sweetie on the side. I should have left but I’m ashamed that I didn’t and now it’s way to late to fix anything. I’m close to 70 and why bother.

     

    1. 22.1
      MochaGypsy

      My heart goes out to you DeCaf.  Hopefully, you have found another source of joy in your life.  Prayers.

    2. 22.2
      Fading Dreamer

      After reading so many of these posts, yours hit me.  I am 67 years old and have been married to the same man for almost 48 years.  The first 20 plus years were great!

      We had 3 beautiful children and I was very active with community, with education and with my own development during that time I never noticed… He worked out of town and we had our weekends together, full of  intimacy, passion and love.  As time moved forward, lots changed, financial stress, caregiving of parents, children moving on, and then in our early 50’s we left the city and life we made and moved away.  He retired from his work, and I thought we would enjoy our old age happily.  But then it all changed.  He became more and more isolated, he did not want to do much, he raged often and I felt that my life was like walking on eggshells.  Our kids didn’t notice, they were all off to college, finding their paths, their mates and enjoying their own lives.  My husband lost interest in any intimacy and our marriage has been sexless and unaffectionate now for the past 12 to 15 years.

      I attributed it to PTSD from Vietnam.  I read about it and he exhibited so many of the symptoms.  He becomes obsessive in behaviors that seem to rotate; for instance, for several years he began and continued to ‘dip’ which I found repulsive.  I lost respect for him as a person as he continued with his isolation ( would not initiate making friends, or going with friends when asked, and blamed it on me)

      I tried to get him to go to the VA, or to talk to a doctor, but he just says that I am the blame.  I made him like this.  I have tried to reach him but he  now plops himself in front of the tv and watched black and white movies.  He seems to deprive himself of ANY pleasures!  I love to dance, to listen to music, to be with people, and he just sulks.  I often go places alone.  I have had other men show interest in me and their hugs were heavenly, but I would never consider cheating.   I have fantasies of going on exotic trips and meeting someone and having fun.

      Instead, I keep myself super busy, but as I am aging, and I am not heavy and I look pretty good, nevertheless, he sleeps as far away from me in our king size bed as can be.  He is a wonderful Grandpa, the kids all love him!  We have several  but I am so sad and feel so deprived of appreciation, of being loved and I’m lonely.  Its not the sex, its the lack of feeling loved that hurts the most.  And he has projected this perfect couple scenario to the public via Facebook, etc.  Financially we are bound after all these years and I am the one keeping the money flowing.  He resents that, but someone has to do since we lost so much over the past years. ( which added to his withdrawal)  Its just that reading these, I see there are others out there living the same story.  It helps, just a little.  I really would love to have someone appreciate and love me in a physical way.

       

       

       

       

  23. 23
    Robert

    My wife and I haven’t had sex for 12 years.

    Since the birth of our little boy she has complained that intercourse is painful. I have tried so many times to make her go and get it checked out but she flatly refuses, well what she actually says is yes she’ll see a doctor but then never does.

    It’s not the lack of sex that upsets me it’s the thought that she no longer finds me attractive or wants me anymore. Although I am considered quite good looking and keep myself fit, I am also 17 years her senior and I now worry that this age difference is embarrassing her.

    Prior to the birth of our boy we had a very passionate and exciting sex life instigated mainly by her, which is also confusing me.

    Although I feel lonely and insecure I have never thought about being with anyone else. I love her too much. And in every other way she loves me too.

  24. 24
    Viscount

    My advice is simple, pls get a divorce, it can only get worse by cheating, though a lot of married women do it successfully but imagine someone finds out, you’d have a bad name all over, everyone would blame you and not know the choices you had and how difficult it was for you. Lack of intimacy for such long time is both your fault in a way but make sure to sit him down and let him know why you are tired of the marriage and he either allows you to have an open relationship or he agrees to the divorce cos honestly, you seem to have gotten a point where no matter what he does to make it right, it isn’t gonna work.

  25. 25
    Decaf

    We haven’t  had sex in 48 years and that’s how long we’ve been married or together is better word. My husband has always hated sex and could never understand why people had the urge to have sex. He always work the midnight shift and all weekends and holidays so he wouldn’t have to be home with me. For years he lived in our basment then he built a out building with a garage and apartment thing in the far corner of our property. Yes  I was lonely  and depressed but pills and my shrink helped alot. Now to old to really care about him, I care only about me . I made a horrible mistake by not leaving but I have survived.  He isn’t gay or have something  on the  side just hates me and sex, has no friends and wants to be alone.

    1. 25.1
      Fading dreamer

      Dear decaf,

      I thought I replied to your post.  Ours was different that in the first years things were such different and then they turned.   My husband, too, lives as a longer and does not have much interest in many things.  I, too, wish that I had the courage to leave some time ago, but stayed because of the  family and shame.  I still sometimes think about it.  For the most part, we are compatible.  We share our history, our family and our work, but its like living with a brother.  I tell him we are roommates, and he just says its all my fault from years ago when we did fight a lot about ambition.  I had much and he had little.  I never realized that he was just incapable of the things I kept thinking he could do but wouldn’t.  His reaction to my expectations was rage, huge rage!  He never hurt me, but he destroyed things.  He was explosive.  Whenever anyone asked things of him, he would get angry towards me.  In public he was a whole different being.  Everyone loves him and can’t understand why I get angry at him.  So, from the age of 50 to 58 I was angry and deprived of any affection.  I came to terms with the fact that he has mental issues that he won’t address and that I had to just accept him with his self imposed limitations.   I then stopped expecting anything much from him and stopped asking or nagging in any way.  He sleeps a lot and is still very negative.   This is the first time I have ever written anything on the internet in a forum.  I guess I want to see if anyone else has had similar experiences in this regard.

  26. 26
    April

    Honestly, I’ve read articles written by women in marriages like this. They end up discovering the husband is gay and doing his own thing on the side. I think she needs to explore this potential scenario.

  27. 27
    MaryAnn Turner

    I have been married x20 years , and have been seeing a psychiatrist for the entire time. After 2 years , my husband began coming with me as well. My physician treats me for PTSD, so my husband does not he has any problems? He has not been intimate for over x20 years! I have talked about it and the reply I get, start by holding hands? I née cuddling and feeling loved. So alone! I never cheated, but time is passing

  28. 28
    Stephanie

    Hi,

    Well I’ff learnt that my expectations of love and romance were much too high.  I am a Gemini and thus I have taken the romantic side of life much to ceriously, I’s not that I expected the preverbial “Prince on a White horse” but my prince was just a normal guy who had a tough life like mine.  There were never moments of great fireworks though I tried, but we expected nothing, were both stupid virgins till we got married, thus dumm and clumsy, it took us a month to break the Ice.

    We did not have a steemy love life and there were no time.  Then 6 years after we got married I suffered a severe breakdown and my husband stood by me for 4 years.  Then just as I got better he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, he went for Brachytherapy and later for radiation, somewhere something went wrong and now he does not have any feeling and is very shy.

    I’m not even 40 and sees no Sexual future for me and my husband.

    Thank goodness we don’t have children.  But we still enjoy each other.  We love one another, but how long will that last?

    1. 28.1
      sas

      How are you doing now? So so hard xx

  29. 29
    kathleen smith

    get a divorce-

  30. 30
    James

    Nothing wrong . I’ve dated by gf for 9yrs not once had sex or made love , yes there is a difference  . Wonderfull life without it . We both agree us a waste of time and effort.  Doesn’t stop us from being  in love.  Were both catholic so we can’t cause of our religion . We talk about having kids by adoption .

    1. 30.1
      Sau

      James, I wish your parents had thought that making love is waste of time. Lol! There is no religion that does not allow sex. I hope you will make love after marriage. Or no! :O

      1. 30.1.1
        James

        I didn’t ask for my life but i fight to keep it .

        Marriage is not on my schedule.  Don’t need to be married to be in love

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