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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to some comments by @notmyjamie I have decided to post some of the thoughts I have had recently about my marriage. Over the last few months I have learned quite a bit about my wife's sexuality. The most important thing is something that I already knew, but for some reason we have been able to paper over it for the last 6+ years. That is: sexual intimacy is not very important to her and she will put in the least amount of energy possible to have a 'decent' sex life. This is why I mentioned to notmyjamie: "I hate feeling like she is just going through the motions for me. It sucks all of the joy out of it." In the last few weeks I have come to think of it as the emotional equivalent of 'star fish sex'.

To give an example of what I mean. I might mention to my wife; 'I really like seeing you in that sexy lingerie'. Her response is: 'just let me know when you want me to wear it. I'm willing'. We have actually developed into a dom/sub relationship, but it is not because I want to be dominant per say and she does not enjoy being submissive. We have this relationship because anything else would require more from her.

To be fair; in the last few months I have come to understand her much better and she does not see the need to put in more effort. I have come to understand that for her everything is about sexual intercourse (penetration). The build up and foreplay have essentially no role in her sexuality, she is completely focused on the finish. If I ask point blank, do you enjoy the touching or kissing or whatever she will say 'yes'. If I ask if she 'wants' those things, the response is 'I know they mean a lot to you'. Even in her fantasizing these things don't play a role. When she is imagining things; the man and woman both want it and go at it. Nothing else needed. I asked about how the cloths come off and the response was; 'they just disappear, or magically move out of the way'. In my mind, I am thinking; there are about 15 fun ways to removing the clothing.

I have read that men emotionally connect through sex and that has always seemed to be the situation for me. In the last few weeks I have noticed that has changed. As I have come to understand her more I am finding that the emotional connection is not happening because we are not sharing intimacy (as I see it) we are just screwing. There have been a few times recently that after we are done I have the thought; 'this is what a one night stand must feel like. I really don't care if she is in my bed or anything about her, there is just no connection'. The lack of emotional connection is bothering me to the point that I avoided intimacy with my wife this last week and I know that I can easily avoid it again this week.

I am not sure what I want to do from here.

I am not really looking for advice. I am mostly just writing down some of my recent thoughts in a way that helps me organize them.
 

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Well written, Sir!

Maybe when I was a tad more sophomoric, in my academic days, sex was foremostly the end all to everything ~ which in and of itself, seems so unilateral, one-sided, and totally self-serving!

Experience in living and rationalizing one's feelings, along with doing the very same of the one's whom you love, revere, and display empathetic feelings takes precedence, greatly to the point that one learns the axiom that while receiving is nice, that giving in love is just far more nicer!

Perhaps this is conjecture for fantasyland, but over the due passage of time, that is exactly how I feel!

My heart goes out to you, @leftfield ~
I know of what you speak!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Since I am just randomly spewing out thoughts, I'm just going to keep going.

I don't believe it is possible for me to go back and unknow what I currently know so going back to the way things were is out. So that leaves me with several choices that I don't really like.

1. I can bring this up and try and work on it. Ultimately we are two very different people when it comes to this and I don't see a workable option going forward. My wife already thinks I over thinks things, so bringing this up introduces secondary issues.
2. I can try the 'fake it tell you make it' option and keep things how they have been for several years, I just keep my feelings to myself.
3. We can decide to shut down our sex life and essentially have a sexless marriage unless one of use decides we need to get off. This would cause some rather drastic changes to our overall relationship, but on the plus side this is the option that most fits her sexually.
4. We can divorce and look for a better sexual connection in a new relationship. The biggest challenge to this is that she will promise almost anything to avoid it. She seems to think other men will not connect with her either.
5. Some other option that I am not seeing right now.

None of those are appealing to me. The kindest one for my wife would be the second one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How old are you both? How long have you been together? Has she always been like this?
I'm mid 40's she is early 40's. We just celebrated our 19 anniversary. As far as I know, this is who she is. It has taken her a long, long time to open up to me sexually.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Have the two of you ever given thought to considering marital or sexual counseling?
Yes, when I have wanted to do it she has been uninterested. When she has decided that it would be good, I find it pointless. Neither of us have ever brought it up when the other would agree to it.

Counselors often spend much of their time and effort trying to help the two understand each other. (You know the whole woman are from Venus men are from Mars idea) In this case, I think that we both are communicating very clearly and we do understand each other. I am doubtful that counseling is what we need at this time.
 

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Since I am just randomly spewing out thoughts, I'm just going to keep going.

I don't believe it is possible for me to go back and unknow what I currently know so going back to the way things were is out. So that leaves me with several choices that I don't really like.

1. I can bring this up and try and work on it. Ultimately we are two very different people when it comes to this and I don't see a workable option going forward. My wife already thinks I over thinks things, so bringing this up introduces secondary issues.
2. I can try the 'fake it tell you make it' option and keep things how they have been for several years, I just keep my feelings to myself.
3. We can decide to shut down our sex life and essentially have a sexless marriage unless one of use decides we need to get off. This would cause some rather drastic changes to our overall relationship, but on the plus side this is the option that most fits her sexually.
4. We can divorce and look for a better sexual connection in a new relationship. The biggest challenge to this is that she will promise almost anything to avoid it. She seems to think other men will not connect with her either.
5. Some other option that I am not seeing right now.

None of those are appealing to me. The kindest one for my wife would be the second one. How the heck did I end up here.
Before you get to options, I’d recommend being clear about two things:

1. What precisely is your problem?

2. How badly to you want to solve it?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Before you get to options, I’d recommend being clear about two things:

1. What precisely is your problem?

2. How badly to you want to solve it?
The problem, for me, is that sexual intimacy (not just screwing) is one of the main ways that I emotionally connect. My wife will go through the motions, but there is nothing there on her part. Knowing this destroys the ability to connect through sexual intimacy.

The second question is a lot more complicated. To keep it short; I think I'm looking to accept it for what it is and not solve it.
 

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The problem, for me, is that sexual intimacy (not just screwing) is one of the main ways that I emotionally connect. My wife will go through the motions, but there is nothing there on her part. Knowing this destroys the ability to connect through sexual intimacy.
Hang on. You are trying to solve for emotional intimacy with sex? Isn’t the problem then a lack of emotional intimacy and not sex then?

The second question is a lot more complicated. To keep it short; I think I'm looking to accept it for what it is and not solve it.
Not really an answer. Maybe on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most important thing in your life and 1 being something that just irritates you, where would it be?

If it were possible to improve your emotional connection with your wife in ways that had nothing at all to do with sex, would that hit the mark with you?
 

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Let's turn this inside-out. What's in it for your wife? What does she enjoy, being married to you? What does she think you bring to the table? Why will she promise anything to avoid divorce?

Let's get to here "promising anything" gig. She'll promise anything but? She quickly reverts? Is there a "Groundhog Day" aspect to her where it gets frustrating because the same things, the same promises, occur over and over and over again, lasting a short while before she goes back to her old ways?

Why is it impossible to enforce accountability? Is this an issue with you as well? You mentioned that marriage counseling won't work because at any one time either one of you will nix the idea. Why are you inconsistent in seeing the need?

What about a sex therapist instead? I have no experience in this area, but maybe there's a connection that can be found with a bit of work.

And then there's the elephant in the closet. Some of us here are just amazed that you have a partner who's very willing to have sex with you, with the apparent issue being a lack of desire or passion. And we're surprised that you're projecting forward to a sexless marriage when it seems like you're so much better off than some of us, that you've got something you can work with. And that you've come to this epiphany at a young-enough age to matter.

Just some rambling thoughts from a troubled guy...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hang on. You are trying to solve for emotional intimacy with sex? Isn’t the problem then a lack of emotional intimacy and not sex then?

I have a premonition that you and I are going to end up talking in circles about this. Sex is not the issue and I am not trying to solve something with sex. Being able to share sexual intimacy (this does not even need to include intercourse. Physical intimacy might be a better term) with my partner is very important to me and my ability to connect with her.

Not really an answer. Maybe on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most important thing in your life and 1 being something that just irritates you, where would it be?

If it were possible to improve your emotional connection with your wife in ways that had nothing at all to do with sex, would that hit the mark with you?
It is greater than 1. Having said that, the only person on this planet that I have any control over is myself. Therefor I am looking for ways within myself to make this a 1 or less. That might include me changing or that might include me taking some action, I don't know yet. This is not the answer you are looking for. I will tell you that behind my faith in god, my relationship with my wife is the most important thing in the world to me (maybe that is what I need to change).

My wife and I are able to emotionally connect through other things. Those things do not replace sexual (physical) intimacy. If it helps to make things clear my love languages are quality time and physical touch. Sexual (Physical) intimacy hits both of those in one thing. I can connect with my wife with out physical touch.
 

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So, outside of sex, is there any physical touch happening? Does she hold your hand, rub your back as you walk by, keep her hand on your leg as you're driving, that sort of thing? Are you doing any of those things? If not, start...lead by example. She may learn she likes and start reciprocating without realizing she's doing it. I do those things all the time and a lot of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it. As she gets more and more used to those types of touches, touching during sex might become a more natural thing for her.

Just an idea.
 

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So, outside of sex, is there any physical touch happening? Does she hold your hand, rub your back as you walk by, keep her hand on your leg as you're driving, that sort of thing? Are you doing any of those things? If not, start...lead by example.
The problem with this is that the OP will be giving his wife emotional support without receiving the intimacy, which is his language of love. On the long run, he will resent it and stop the emotional support, which will make things even worse (although I don't think they can get any worse). Having said that, she might respond, if he is not doing it. If he is already doing it, he is screwed. It's a catch-22 situation and not solvable, unless the OP's wife is prepared to give the OP what he wants, without turning the whole thing into a pity sex charade...

OP: you two are incompatible. If you don't want to divorce, your only option is to suck it up and be happy with what you get (this is coming from someone who hasn't had sex with his wife for 2 years now)... good luck!
 

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I have a premonition that you and I are going to end up talking in circles about this. Sex is not the issue and I am not trying to solve something with sex. Being able to share sexual intimacy (this does not even need to include intercourse. Physical intimacy might be a better term) with my partner is very important to me and my ability to connect with her.
I think you're conflating two things for some reason, and that may be part of the problem. I also very much connect sexually, but there are many, many ways to do that for me - all the way from just sleeping naked and not having sex at all, to having a wild sexy weekend without the kids. But I wonder if you're looking for something here that isn't well-defined. It's sounding something like 'being able to be sexually vulnerable?' Or is your definition of sexual intimacy different?

If you want more sex, then having more sex directly speaks to that, and it sounds like your wife is willing when you initiate, generally.

If you want sexier sex, or better sex, then you're going to have to define for her what that means, and then seek it.

If it's initiation you want her to do, but she just won't do it, then you're either going to have to let that desire go or let her go. Similarly if you're wanting a more sexually expressive/connective person, and she just won't do it, then it's also choice time.

But I think you may find that what you're seeking may be different things at different times, and if you're like me it might take quite a bit of introspection to figure out what it is that you actually want, and why. I can go into what I did there if it's of interest.

It is greater than 1. Having said that, the only person on this planet that I have any control over is myself. Therefor I am looking for ways within myself to make this a 1 or less. That might include me changing or that might include me taking some action, I don't know yet. This is not the answer you are looking for. I will tell you that behind my faith in god, my relationship with my wife is the most important thing in the world to me (maybe that is what I need to change).

My wife and I are able to emotionally connect through other things. Those things do not replace sexual (physical) intimacy. If it helps to make things clear my love languages are quality time and physical touch. Sexual (Physical) intimacy hits both of those in one thing. I can connect with my wife with out physical touch.
This is very, very good. I'm not seeking any particular answer with this question except to test if it's an annoyance or if it's a deal-breaker. If it's a 1 or 2 for me, I probably would just drop it. But those kinds of things are actually 4s or 5s for me, even though sometimes I want them to be 1s.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@notmyjamie, Yes there is a lot of non sexual touch that happens in our relationship. It is very important to her and something that would cause issues if I stopped. It does not lead her to want more, in her mind they are two completely separate things. I initiate a majority of it. She is passive even when it comes to her own needs.
@Inabsentia, Yes I think we are incompatible. For years I have thought it was something we could work on, so I tried. Before I head for divorce I need to answers some questions first. Such as:
1. Are my expectations reasonable? Maybe I am a sex addict and I don't know it.
2. Am I to needy? Is being with me to much work for anyone to put up with?
3. Is there something better? If there is, do I even care to pursue it?
Honestly, my thoughts are running all over the place, so I will stop here for now.
 

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[MENTION=336287]1. Are my expectations reasonable? Maybe I am a sex addict and I don't know it.
2. Am I to needy? Is being with me to much work for anyone to put up with?
3. Is there something better? If there is, do I even care to pursue it?
IMO:
1. Yes, and no.
2. No, and no.
3. Yes, absolutely (but no guarantee you'll find someone), and only you can answer how much you care.

Part of my problems with my first marriage are similar to yours, but at least you can have sex if you initiate - mine was sexless. I decided the lack of intimacy (not just sex) was a deal breaker and left. That was the best decision I ever made re: that relationship.
 

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Perhaps your problem is perusing these forums too often. Try and take a break from the internet forums (dead bedrooms, sex within marriage...etc) and see how you do. I'm about your age and I noticed that the more I look at these forums, the more problems I seem to generate in my head with my wife. Once I stop perusing these forums, my relationship gets a lot better within a few days.

Your situation is not unlike many others and probably a lot better than most. To even think one second about divorcing her over this is bat**** crazy. Go hug your wife and take a break from this.
 
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