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How old is the youngest? You can wait till he/she is an adult and part ways.

Your obligation right now is your kids. Once they are adults, I recommend you find someone who shares your “passion bucket”.
 

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Hello all - sorry in advance if this is long winded.

My wife and I are wildly incompatible, sexually. ....... We've been married 18 years and have 3 teenage children together.

There are 2 problems, from what I can tell. The biggest is that she has some medical problems and some issues with depression/anxiety. The medication she takes absolutely kills her libido and causes all kinds of stomach issues. I don't blame her for this, obviously, and don't put any pressure on her - though I do remind her periodically (gently) that I miss having some passion in our lives. I think it's fair to say she's aware of the incompatibility and how it effects me, but when you are in survival mode, it's really hard to get into the mood. I get that.

The second problem, which is 100% on me, is that I cannot break myself away from the idea that I deserve the sex life I had always had in my younger years. I know this probably sounds terrible but I need to be honest. I know it's not right, but I can't help it and have tried everything. I do all of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and pay all the bills, make all the financial decisions (I ALWAYS consult with her though), and am very active with the kids (homework, field trips and so on). I don't know if I'm good looking or not, but I've made a huge effort to keep myself in decent shape (but I only go to the gym when everybody else is sleeping). I send her flowers and leave her little love notes, I don't drink or gamble, I've never raised my voice to her and I think I'm doing things the way they should be done. I know the world is full of men like that, but I want you to understand a little more about me and how things are here.

To me, a passionate, fun, exciting sex life with the woman I married is really important. I want to play games, explore, send each other sexy pictures or texts or snaps or whatever, and keep things spicy in innumerable other ways. I want to try new things and be romantic and spontaneous and inseparable.

I've tried just about everything I can think of, including ways to kill my own libido via medications (which caused cognitive side effects that I couldn't live with) and therapy. A woman who we were both close friends with had suggested (a few times) that I should pack up and leave or file for divorce - but I don't consider than an option. I do love my wife very deeply, and cannot fathom not being there for somebody who needs my support.

I'm grateful to any of you who may have read all that - and I apologize if I sound insensitive in any way. I'm just stuck and don't know how else to communicate it. Any advice or thoughts are most appreciated.

Thank you - and I hope you, whomever you are, have a fantastic day :)
Well it's June and we've fooled around a little twice this year. Sex is like an annual thing for the past few years. When we fool around she has pretty intense <you know> and leaves me pretty scratched up. When we do talk about it, she says she understands that it's hard for me, and she turns it into a discussion about how I deserve more/better/etc. I reminder her that it's no more her fault than it is mine and that we can work through it together. I don't know if that means she's happy with it, but on her list of things to worry about, it's not even in the top 20. I often feel like my needs just don't matter to her, but when I look at the medical issues she faces, where some days she can barely put her feet on the floor without pain, I'm reminded that it's damn near impossible to think of others when you're miserable.
Thanks for the response!
I don't really initiate much because she's often not feeling well. And when she IS feeling okay, and the planets are all in alignment,.....
.....In fact, I've been sleeping on the couch for nearly 4 years now (kids think it's because I snore and don't want to keep the whole house awake). If I asked her to commit to once a week (or once a month) she would probably happily agree, but it I'd say I'm 99.98% confident it wouldn't happen.
Thanks for digging in :)

She has a connective tissue disorder, which causes significant pain in her joints when it flares up. There is no known cure, no surgery, and nothing to do but try to control the symptoms.
I think you have some choices. I was in a sex starved marriage, but not as bad as yours.

I would like to recommend that you read two books and study them. MW Davis, The Sex Starved Marriage and Glover's No More Mr. Nice Guy. Both of those books are about dysfunctional marriages. After reading them, I found that they described may Sex Starved Marriage and from what you say they both describe yours to a certain extent. In many respects for a man in a sex starved marriage with a woman who doesn't want sex, they are really good companion books. In fact Glover comments in one of Davis introductions on her message.

I would also recommend that you and your wife seek marriage counseling with a sex therapist. Sex Therapists are Marriage Counselors with extra training in certain specific sexual problems patients may have. Find one who specializes in sex starved marriages. The Sex Therapist helped save my marriage and now my wife and I have sex twice a week.

An alternate view of your situation is that your wife has a medical problem. The question you and your wife (along with her doctor) need to decide is if there are any solutions to the medical issues.

If it were me I would urge my wife to get a second opinion on alternate medicines that don't destroy her libido. Her doctor may not want to try other things. Your wife may like to excuse her low libido on medications, so she doesn't feel bad about the semi-annual or annual sex she provides to you. I would urge you to discuss with her how important sex is for you and the health of your marriage and that you would like to know that all medical alternatives have been explored.

Similarly, there are lots of ways to deal with chronic pain. Has your wife tried

In some respects, I was lucky as my wife did not have any medical conditions, it was all hang ups and self image issues, along with some anger. The ST asked my wife what she thought would happen if we never had sex again. My wife really didn't want to answer that question. The ST asked my wife, if it would probably result in our divorce at some point in the future. After a lot of avoidance, my wife finally said that it probably would. The ST asked if that was what my wife wanted. That helped clearly put the issue in her mind.

Good luck to you. You don't need to be a martyr, unless you want to. For the sake of your children, I would try to work with an ST to find some forms of intimacy between the two of you that will make you feel sexually desired and cherished and that are within what your wife can provide. A good ST can do that and provide you with a road map to some form of happiness.
 

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You say with regard to her illness, 'when it flares up' so there are times then when its far better. With regards to the depression, how long has she been on antidepressants? Could she cut down or try another one?If she has had depression for 18years then she surely needs to find out why.
I wish that people would realise that they can make a decision to have sex with their spouse whether they feel like it or not. If she isnt in one of her flare up times, then how about agreeing to sex once a week, it sounds as if she enjoys it when you do have sex, and it may well help her general well being as well and reduce her anxiety.
 
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