I Married A Man I’m Not Attracted To. Now What?


Hi Evan, I am stuck in a very tricky situation, which came in my life because of my wrong choices. I married a man to whom I am not physically attracted. I don’t like some of his facial features. For me somehow, a certain type of face seems attractive and a certain type does not. When I first started dating him, I just didn’t notice it and I liked him for being a nice guy. 2 months into our dating I realized I am just not attracted to him. 8 months after still dating him, I married him because of what my and his family members would think if I said no. My family likes him very much. As for me, he has a great body and is a genuinely nice person but because of my lack of physical attraction, I am just not in love with him. I did not marry him because of family pressure. There was none. I married him (knowing I wasn’t attracted to him) because I thought that over a period of time, I would start liking him. 3 months into our marriage and now he complains that I am not physically or emotionally close to him. I know I should have had a voice before, but what to do now? We have fights every other day over this issue and just nothing comes out of it. He is frustrated over the lack of intimacy. I am just not courageous enough to leave him and I could not say to him that I don’t love him. Can I change my mindset? Please tell me what you suggest. —Maya

Aw, Jesus, Maya.

You say so many things in your question that are easy to dissect that I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, I’m really sorry you’re in this predicament. I’m not going to make light of the fact that you and your husband are unhappy, which is tragic. I will, however, wonder what exactly is making you tick.

“I just didn’t notice” his FACE?

I’m not even sure how this is possible, but I acknowledge that sometimes one can get into a relationship where passion is lacking. It’s more that your excuse seems to ring a little hollow.

You can prefer tall men and be open to shorter men. You can prefer dark hair and marry light hair. You can prefer small noses and fall for a man with a big nose.

“A certain type of face seems attractive”?

I get that not everyone on earth is equally good looking, but I very much want to caution you to being too attached to a “type”. You can prefer tall men and be open to shorter men. You can prefer dark hair and marry light hair. You can prefer small noses and fall for a man with a big nose.

Unless, of course, you decide that you can’t. Which would be a shame, because there’s a lot more to most people than a face.

Still, unless you were actively turned OFF by his face, I’m not sure how you got this far along in your relationship. Then again…

“2 months into our dating, I realized I am just not attracted to him.”

So you married him after 8 months to make your family happy.

Got it.

My official diagnosis, Maya, is that you’re not a bad person for dating a man with whom your attraction is questionable. People do it all the time. Some find their attraction grows when they start to love the person. Some discover that the spark isn’t enough to continue.

Your ridiculously massive mistake was MARRYING this man, even though you knew how you felt. That’s not his fault (although he was pretty foolish to propose to someone after 8 months) and it’s not your parents’ fault for loving him.

This is your fault, Maya, and only you can make it right.

Stop claiming that you’re not courageous enough to leave him. That’s a convenient excuse that you’re trotting out to avoid looking bad in front of your husband and family.

It’s not my place to tell you to make things work with this nice guy who loves you. Attraction is a very personal thing.

But since you asked me for advice, I’ll give it to you straight.

Stop claiming that you’re not courageous enough to leave him. That’s a convenient excuse that you’re trotting out to avoid looking bad in front of your husband and family.

It’s too late. You already look bad. You married a man who wants affection, you won’t give it to him, and he’s upset. Staying with him is not going to make things better.

Woman up, tell him the truth, and rip off the band aid.

And for god sakes, Maya, don’t repeat any of these mistakes with the next guy, okay?

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  1. 41

    Heather said:
    [You married him. You don’t need to figure out anymore whether or not you like his face — you made that face part of yourself and life till death do you part. You have to find a way to take a deep breath, calm down, and focus back on the things you love about this guy, not on his face]

    Heather, your comment is extremely insensitive. It’s true that she made a big mistake, but it’s a person’s life we’re talking about here. Two, actually. Her feelings are that she does not want to be with this man, that she’s obviously NOT in love with him. She’s not a slave, she has the right to happiness as much as anyone, despite her mistake.

    We also need to hold the man up to some responsibility here. HOW could he not notice that this wasn’t a woman in love?? Come on. This is a grown man, not a little boy. The OP implied that this man is a lot less attractive than she is, so it’s possible that he wanted to ignore her lack of chemistry because he was being shallow.

    Also, she’s not some “robot” that can flip the switch and make herself romantically attracted to this man, to want to be intimate with him. Humans can’t do that sweety. Grow a beard? Really? I doubt that’s any type of solution at all.

    Maya, you seem to listen to everyone, your bf/husband’s family, your family and friends, you listen to everybody instead of yourself. This is a huge sign of self-esteem issues, maybe even depression.

    Your lack of self-knowledge and desire to PLEASE others, dangerously, at the expense of your own happiness is seen to an extreme in this issue that you have shared with us. And it’s good that you wrote it here, because it can be a reminder to us all and to women in your situation.

    Maya, you need to be more assertive, honey. Listen to yourself, pay attention to your feelings.

    What happened to you is the result of being REALLY out of touch with your own self. Find yourself again, before being in another relationship. Create some distance with controlling, manipulative family members or friends. You have to become your own best friend.

    I wonder what got your personality to be this way. Sometimes being raised by a very controlling family makes a person grow up to be an adult who really doesn’t know what he/she wants because they weren’t really allowed or encouraged to make their own decisions/choices.

    But you can fix this, so that in the future you are sure about what you like and dislike in relationships/people. I cannot emphasize this enough: — SEEK COUNSELING– you need to work thru a lot of personal issues, and your self-esteem will rise to healthy levels and you’ll become more assertive. You will know what you want for your life. You won’t feel a desperated need to please your family and friends for acceptance. Aside from counseling, not instead of, get books about assertivity. If you’re feeling down, create an exercise/nutrition plan for yourself.

    Take charge of your life, Maya. It’s the only one you have, and it’s precious.

    1. 41.1

      Wow! This was probably the   most compassionate and BEST response I’ve read on this thread. Well said and couldn’t agree more! 🙂 Maya, I hope you have your answer now.

  2. 42

    What an awful woman! Women like this are why women are hesitant about marriage. Why on earth would any woman marry a man to whom she wasn’t attracted? She should divorce him immediately before she ruins his life any more than she already has.

  3. 43

    Gemma, Annie, Androgynous..thank you for your advise. For others who think I married for financial reasons, let me clarify (though I shudnt have to ) that I am a financially independent person with a post graduate degree and a full time job. Me and my husband both have a separate bank account with funds in it. So yes, my husband is from same ethnic background as I am and his income is more or less same as mines. Now, I am not an American citizen who at times have total disregard to their elderly but I am someone, who if inexperienced in things like marriage, would definitely seek advise/help from elders or whosoever is experienced. Moving on, I am completely clueless in certain situations and have been indecisive many times. There have been times when I wanted to say things to my husband and would hold back just so as to avoid arguements that lead to nowhere and he getting angry. Even when I tried to look beyond external looks of my husband, I have been turned off by weakness of this personality. I like strong, decisive men. I dont like when I am being forced to do things just coz they are a part of being a “wife” and if I say no, the other person withdraws himself and goes in his shell. If I see this around me, I (wrongly) don’t communicate and then just let my husband do what he wants. I want to hurt my husband since he already is. For those of you who say that i haven’t told him about this, I would like to tell that I have clearly and honeslty told my husband (knowing its a big blow to a man’s ego) that I am not sexually attracted to you. He expects me to do things for him which I said to him are only possible (passion in bed, greeting him cheerfully when he comes home etc) if I have strong feelings for someone. Its not that I cannot do certain things that they like to make them happy. I have gone at lengths and out of comfort zone for people just because I liked them and accepted them and cherished the frndship that I shared. There was no commitment for doing so. And I hadn’t just done it for my ex bf, have done it for many frnds. I am 27 and had one relationship in past which was more of a friendship than a gf/bf or committed relationship. We both broke up realizing that we weren’t right for each other.

  4. 44

    Maya as a divorce atty, I highly recommend several actions, trial separation with counseling, I like the facial hair and scent suggestions and if that fails a quick divorce. I recently broke up with a guy who was an old friend, we dated for a year and I too realized that no matter how much I enjoyed his company I did not love him. I kept waiting to feel something different and then felt guilty because he clearly loved me. Its very intoxicating to be loved, especially when you sincerely enjoy the other person. But the dark sides, (not looks in my case), but anger issues, negativity, etc. were also enough to make me finally break it off. He no longer speaks to me, which was a sign to me that I made the right decision. It sometimes takes more courage to leave than to stay.

  5. 45

    Nicola (#38),

    if anything, women notice a lot more than men do. It is simply impossible not to notice a man’s face, and I fail to see any evidence that the LW is not “shallow” (putting the word in quotes here because I don’t believe we are all necessarily shallow for wanting to be only with people we find attractive).  

    Maya’s problems were what some have already mentioned: indecisiveness, weakness of character (which ironically enough are traits she despises in her husband), insecurity, and lack of self-awareness. I would add that there is also no clarity to her thinking. I was unable to understand post 43, for instance.

  6. 46

    Maya is earnestly asking for help. Yes, Maya, it can be torture to stay years on end, with someone you have no sexual chemistry. Talk with him, and both of you decide to end it. You will find true love soon; you are young enough and so must be your husband.
    Good luck!

  7. 47


    I did the same thing! I had to be drunk to have sex with my husband! He is the MOST  boring person on the planet. I am not remotely attracted to him sexually, and can’t even sit across from him when eating! I make him sit next to me so I don’t have to LOOK at him!
      He has no friends and is socially retarded! I don’t like to take him out. I SETTLED for lack of love, as the men I am attracted to are Assholes! I panicked due to age!
    Hindsight!! I will never get married again!! Not worth it!!
    My husband is a wonderful caring person and would never harm me! That is the  trade off! Safety over Attraction!


  8. 48

    I am in a similar boat- and its unbearable. I feel like I’m dying a slow death inside, every day, even as I go about trying to fulfill my obligations as a dutiful person. I live in a non-consummated marriage with no intimacy- we have never kissed, or held hands- forget about sex, and we have been married for 3 years. I have known him for 7.   We tried to be intimate in the first few months- several times, but I would just…’freeze’ mid-way. I am normal btw. He felt rejected-naturally, and I thought time would help. When I reached out, a few months in, he remained cold and said he’d punish me. Then we both focused on our careers and have been pretending for everyone else that we are happy. We are affectionate occasionally-but its like friends. I care about this man deeply- because he has a good heart- but not in that way- and I never have- and I told him so, long before the marriage too. I truly believe that we both deserve better-we are both good, caring people, but we made this mistake. The only time I’ve seen my husband to be selfish was perhaps when he pushed to marry me- knowing fully well, that I was unhappy. That being said, I did end up finally saying yes- so I am most at fault.

      In my case, I got married under extreme parental pressure and emotional blackmail, especially when my mother was having severe health issues, and my single 30-something status did not help. My husband was a friend in my life- who KNEW I was not remotely attracted to him- I never misled him. I said ‘no’ many times- almost for 4 years. Eventually, I got ‘swept’ along by circumstances, crushed my gut instinct, and thought it would be ok because he is a genuine, affectionate person- and everybody was happy- he, his family, my family- everyone except me. Please note- we never ‘dated’ so to speak- not so uncommon in my culture. That being said, we are both highly educated, and come from fairly liberal, yet conservative families. At the time, I thought I was being frivolous about not being ‘attracted’ to him-after all, marriage is about companionship.   Now I know better- attraction is not just physical- thats an important part of it, but its also emotional, intellectual, in the connection;its in the persona, and I was never able to feel it for him- no matter how hard I tried. I don’t think just attraction is enough to sustain a marriage, but I now believe that a complete absence can totally destroy any chance a marriage has.

    Over time, the frustration that we both feel has built up and we fight all the time now. Went for therapy and counselling- and it emerged that the healthiest option for us is divorce/annulment actually.   I am now at the point where I truly don’t want to waste any more years of his or my life. I dream of having a normal, happy marriage- and children, with a man I love, just the way he is, and who loves me. I dream the same for my now separated husband, for he deserves it just as much.  We both want a marriage thats happy- it may not be perfect, it may not be smooth, but at least there would be a relation. Currently, we are living in a marriage that is just a lie.  

    Get out now- don’t waste time. Its not fair to you or him.

  9. 49

    I knew it.A lot of Women really are gold diggers.Disgusting creeps.Would rather be celibate than marry a gold digger.

    1. 49.1

      John x,
      Sorry to burst your bubble but most men are gold diggers too. I remember the grin of pride on my husbands face when I paid for every outing and entertainment .
      Be celibate, I’m with ya!

  10. 50

    Maya I have just read your situation and would like to know the decision you came to after all? Did things work out by you looking at him from a different light?

  11. 51

    Same situation!!!   I always complain over there not being any good Men! So know I chosen to stay With Someone I’m not attracted to: ( I’m trying to looking beyond his face but my body is not responding  

  12. 52

    Maya, you are younger and I think you should divorce him – you have much time still to find someone who fulfills you more completely.
    I’m also in the same sort of situation, but I’m a lot older. I married a kind, gentle man who proposed after knowing me for 6 weeks. I was somewhat attracted to him for those 6 weeks, but I know now that it was infatuation. We got married 6 months later and have now been married for two years. I had been with violent, alcoholic, and dishonest men in the past (including my previous husband), so I decided to go against my self-destructive instincts, to try to do something mature and “healthy” for a change, and married a predictable, kind, insecure, effeminate, and pretty boring man (he’s physically and behaviorally very feminine – very far from the type of man to whom I’m usually attracted). But it has gotten to the point, now, where I don’t like him to touch, let alone kiss, me. And it’s torturous, because I love him as a friend and I know he is likely the most kind-hearted man I’ll ever meet. We were in counseling for over a year of our two-year marriage, and now live separately in stressful limbo. He doesn’t want to get divorced, and I keep hoping that something will change with time and I’ll become attracted to him. I don’t plan on having kids or any sort of great romance any more, and my libido seems to have dropped with age. I wouldn’t even care if I didn’t have sex again, but my husband is constantly hurt by my lack of attraction and desire for him.

  13. 53

    I somehow understand what Maya is going through. There are many reasons why a person marries a person whom they don’t love. I am in the midst of a divorce with a man who does not want to divorce me. I am married for 2 years now and I am not in love with him even before we were married. I am now 34 years old and regret getting married for all the wrong reasons. Physical attraction is extremely important. I want to be a good wife but I turn into a horrible person when I am with him. I do not respect him, I use really really harsh words when I speak to him, and I am depressed as divorce is very expensive. In a culture where men are superior and divorce is easy if a man wants it, but horribly difficult when a woman wants out of the marriage, it is really tough. Especially now that I have met a man that I can love and who loves me, but I am still a married woman.

  14. 54

    Evan I agree with you 90% of the time but this time I only agree to half of your advice. Women NEED to feel attracted to a man to give him love and sex. Sorry many men do not like to hear this because the less attractive man always wants to feel he can get the babe. Most 100% of the time the babe is using him or she got out of a bad relationship. Also its not a bad thing to marry someone in 8 months, my ex proposed to me in 3 months!
    When you get older, over 35 yrs you do not have much time to date forever and eight months is a long time to me. I would not do this but many many women get married to men they are not attracted to. if you are a man and your wife is hotter than you there often is an ulterior motive. Sorry men but this is true.

    1. 54.1

      Evan is this a true statement ?

      my ex cheated and then left me for an older (11 more than her) ,obese,unattractive much wealthier man    ( she didn’t think much of him when she was with me ) ..in comparison she would be classed as a hottie as described in Tracy’s post…I do find it difficult to understand how she finds him sexually attractive and wonder if perhaps it’s just the security..she said I wasn’t worth the financial convienience and couldn’t believe she had to contribute financially to our RS ..thing is she was never materialistic and the complaints about money didn’t start till after she started cheating in our final year.

      luckily she ended our RS without taking anything from me..this is my second go and both did the same so at 51 I’m fearful of being financially raped and having to rebuild should the third when and if I find her does the same.

  15. 55
    I am in the same boat!

    This situation is EXACTLY my situation, but I am the husband.   As our relationship moved forward in time, I felt increasingly trapped by outside pressures since we moved in together.   Both families pressured us to marry.
    To this day, she is just not my type and my eyes wander constantly to women who have the physical attributes I find attractive.
    Google “the magnetic law of romantic attraction” to begin understanding how you ended up here.   We are both weak in that we just went with the path of least resistance instead of fixing ourselves into someone who has fully detached from the family unity we were born into.
    Now, I still feel stuck due to children, I am considering a mistress in order to fill the painful hole in my life.
    For some, physical appearance in a mate is number one on the list, it is truly remarkable how I, and obviously you managed to overlook this fundamental fact.
    Feel better knowing there are men out there in just the same circumstances, maybe you could be my mistress, lol.

  16. 56

    Henriette 6 – I’m not American, and although I did not take this remark personally, “foreign women” are still WOMEN and human beings.   It is just not on to make racist remarks like this.
    I am in the same boat – 55:   While I sympathise with you, when you say you feel stuck to your children, how about thinking about what your children will sense about their parents? So have a mistress if you have to – who am I to judge.   Maybe you’ll fall in love with the mistress and move on and divorce.   Don’t forget the consequences – the children will have two women in their lives – and the first one may become bitter and hateful.   The second may not love your children. Think carefully about the decisions you make.

  17. 57

    @judy 56: I am not American, either.   I at no point brought the issue of race into my post but you jumped to the conclusion that I must be writing about a woman and man of different races and accused me based on your own racist assumptions.   Next time you decide to attack a post, please read it carefully and examine your own biases, first.  

  18. 58

    My mother is a smart woman. She said “never date or go out with  a man you would not want to marry” My mom is right, you could have avoided this entire situation if you did not go out with the persons in the first place. Only allow people whom you can marry to occupy your romantic space.

  19. 59

    Simple rule if you are thinking of marrying a man you don’t find sexually attractive:  tell him.   Tell him you intend to make yourself available sexually, but it will likely always be a case of you “doing your duty” and never a case of you actually wanting to be with him.   Tell him that you are giving up “tingles” for affection and commitment and support.   Do not allow him to live in denial.   Forcibly remove his blinders.   Do not give him the hope that perhaps you will learn to desire him later.   Demand to marry on the basis of honesty, and inform him that there is a strong chance your feelings  will never change.   No guarantee that the lack of desire won’t destroy your marriage.   But at least you can live with yourself that you were honest and he can’t subsequently accuse you of misleading him.   Yes, there is a risk that honesty will result in him breaking up with you.   Still, in most cases that is a better result for you than getting married, both of you being miserable,  and then getting divorced several years later.

  20. 60

    Hi Maya, I can totally relate. My husband and I (both 40)have been married 11 years now and we have two children together.   He is a good man but I’ve never been attracted to him physically and emotionally. Because of fear of getting hurt, I made my decision based on logic rather than my heart. I felt obligated to be with him because he was good to me. Even though he knew my heart was not in it, he continued to plan and pay for the wedding. He told me I can say ” no” at the alter but I couldn’t do it in front of 200 of his family, friends, and relatives. His mom even told me ” You can’t back out now”. I was in my late twenties, a submissive pleaser. A person who doesn’t know herself nor what she wants to do in life. Only thing I knew for certain was to get married and have kids. It’s what we are socialize to do. My dad used to tell me its better marry someone who loves you so you will be happy. He said I will eventually grow to love him. Being an obedient daughter like I’ve always been, I thought he has lived through life and know whats best for me, so I’ve always approached men like I am buying a husband. Unlike men, we as woman have a biological clock to worry about too.   After two years of marriage my mother in-law wonders why we don’t have kids yet. So that’s when I told her sex is not part of our marriage. Her immediate response was to get a divorce. I took it as her reacting to her disapproval and divorce did cross my mind. However, I did not have the courage to walk out and be on my own. I was also afraid to be labeled a divorcee. Anyhow, when one day, my mother-in-law listened in to a call from my doctor, she made an assumption that there is something wrong with me that why I couldn’t have kids. To prove her wrong, I got pregnant immediately. And before I made the decision to get pregnant, I was crying, knowing that this the beginning of the end to my life. I focused my energy on my baby and the rest of my life was of my kids. I live for them but there is always that emptiness inside me. Two years ago, I crossed path with this man…..

    1. 60.1
      Sally Plummer

      Wow I feel your pain
      i now have 2 special needs kids so getting a divorce is out of the question
      i feel like we are living a lie
      se don’t have a real marriage

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