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Craving advice from women married 15 years and up. Thanks for reading. Need your perspective.

It's hard for my wife and I to get that loving feeling back. We do a lot for each other. We're compatible. No infidelity, medical issues, depression, substance abuse, or above normal financial stress. I work full-time, she works part-time. We have a cleaner come in. I do lots of housework along with her. We respect what each other brings to the relationship. We parent our 12-year-olds equally and with the same parenting philosophy. We share interests and the same humour and outlook on life. We have friends. No issues with relatives. We know how to give each other space. We care how each other is doing.

But we've been married forever. So there's the stuff ghat creeps in and as far as I can tell from every couple and friend and bit of online advice I've seen, is permanent. She's bored when I talk, I'm bored when she talks, we can both see each other struggling to make an effort to listen. At best. We snipe a lot at each other about daily stresses. Both of us feel the other never listens. We try, and offer compliments, a lot, I can hear it, and do nice things......but it never emotionally lands to the point that it flows into hugging, kissing, physical affection. We just don't...seem much interested. She never says no to sex but won't do much to invite it, neither of us is much motivated to go for it. She seems harsher than when we were younger, more vulgar, easily peeved. But also her same, sweet funny self too often. I know I've changed too course and must seem different to her in less than thrilling ways.

So what to do? Please note! She hates talking about "the relationship" and when I've tried once in a while she gives me a sad look as if to say, "Dude, you don't know me well enough to know I don't do this?" So I don't, and I'm cool with that. I don't need to talk but I'm looking for some real feelings and some touch. I've tried 'being the change I want to see.' She enjoys the spotlight and attention, but again, no sparks really ensue (and I mean married, sleepy, half-sparks, all I'm looking for, I'm no fool who expects fireworks after such a long time).

Online advice is sorely inadequate. 'Get a shared hobby.' (seriously? we have lots, passions actually, hobbies are for lightweights and children) 'Have a date night' (we do, no diff, fun but no close affection ensues from it, sometimes fight because we go out and it's just us staring at each other again). 'Have you really talked about this with her?' (yes, lots, she hates it, never solved anything anyway). 'Have you checked to see if you have intimacy issues?' (um, no, married for a long time, I'm the hugger who misses the connection, etc. so no but yes, still thought about it a lot) 'Have you thought about it spiritually?' (no, and won't because religious traditions are hostile to 'selfish' needs, women, and sex--it's all there in bright lights in the sacred texts and dogmas so no thanks: human connection, women, and sex are beautiful things at the HEART of the life force in my view and ARE the god, not some stern 'ignore the passions and sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice' fellow in the heavens somewhere).

So sadness and a lack of interest or energy is my life these days. Don't care to get out of bed really if a sense of connection to a woman is gone. Makes the other stuff in my life mere consolation prizes. Anybody in a marriage out there have a comeback story? Or do I need to start worrying about the sad faces I sometimes see on long married faces? Is this what finally happens but eventually it stops mattering because age and health issues become more serious problems?

ty and be well
 

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"Hobbies are for lightweights and children "

Well now I think I might have identified a problem with your thinking that could be damaging your marriage.

The statement about Hobbies is glib and deeply patronising and shows a lack of understanding of human nature in general.

I genuinely hope you are not as glib and as patronising as that in your own marriage.

Have you tried counselling?
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Yeah, you were a bit rough on hobbies, and religion.

I get that neither one of them are for you; but still, most of the rest of the human race would disagree with you.

Your post makes it sound like there is absolutely nothing wrong with your life. In fact it sounds like, "when everything you've ever wanted isn't enough".

Perhaps be glad of the "boredom"? Life is good. Savor the small things. You don't have to be religious to "count your blessings". Really, right now, think of ten great things about your life; and be glad of them.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but maybe you are the type of person who needs to try sky-diving or bungee jumping, or rock-climbing on El Capitan; dangerous type things that make you feel alive.

Start a new business? Add a new room to your house? I don't know; I'm plodding through life compared to you.

But some people truly need constant excitement and challenge in order to feel alive. You sound like you are one of them, and you have fallen into a rut. Maybe your wife is the same???
 

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It sounds like you are both bored to tears.

I've been married for 32 years. We don't run out of things to talk about. We do talk about our relationship often. We talk about the kids. We talk about plans we have. We just watched a Walter Williams video on YouTube and were discussing minimum wage. lol Do you feel like you know each other too well? Aren't either of you learning anything? I feel like we are always learning and growing and sharing that with each other. Life is a journey we are on together. We talk about it along the way.

I guess I just can't really related to what you're saying. It sounds like you don't take an interest in each other. Do you get bored with yourself too or just with your spouse? It doesn't sound like you have a deep appreciation and interest in each other.
 

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If you're trying to figure out why and repair the problem, your wife is going to have to suck it up and talk about the relationship. You need her input.
 

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If you're trying to figure out why and repair the problem, your wife is going to have to suck it up and talk about the relationship. You need her input.
But if he is dismissive and patronising, then how or why would she talk about their marriage with him?

I am not saying that he is glib or patronising, but that's the vibe I got from his first post.
 

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While I'm on TAM for a much different reason than you, I can understand the general idea of your post. My husband & I have been married for over 15 years. You're dealing with the monotony & complacency of your marriage. I think it helps us to NOT spend so much time together. You knocked hobbies down, but having your own hobby is important. Tap into something that you enjoy, but yet, don't let it take over either (moderation). Do things with your friends here & there. The same goes for her. This'll give you both things to talk about when you do come together. You can't miss her if she's never gone and vice versa.
 

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gettingitright - I've been married just shy of 15 years, but I think my input still counts. We've been together almost 20.

I wrote here recently because I was feeling tempted by a male co-worker showing attention. I had a lot of your same questions - a little bored, life is mundane, monotonous, almost too comfortable. Our marriage has definitely had ebbs and flows. You, my friend, are in an ebb. But you can do something about it.

A few pieces of advice from me, for what it is worth:

1. It sounds dorky, but read the Five Love Languages book. If your wife won't agree to read with you, read it on your own and figure out your own primary love language, and try to figure out hers. There is a great story in there where a woman's husband wouldn't participate and she just read the book anyway and started doing things to appeal to her husband's love language(s). Within a few months things improved dramatically. It's a short read.

2. Your kids are 12, definitely old enough to leave with family or a paid sitter. Plan an exciting vacation with your wife. Go to the Caribbean or Hawaii and go ziplining, hiking, kayaking, sailing, or whatever. Or do something even more adventurous. Even if it's a few days.

3. If she's up for it, buy some toys or restraints for the bedroom. Maybe schedule a couple's massage or something, book a night at a hotel. Just do something.
 

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I think it sounds like there are a couple possibilities here, OP.

One, you're the sort of person for whom nothing is ever enough. There are people who simply lack the capacity for contentment. They need novelty and increasing levels of excitement or they get painfully bored. Is it possible that you, and perhaps your wife as well, are wired that way?

Two, you and your wife have stopped growing as individuals. You've said that you guys have "passions". But do you have new interests, either alone or as a couple? Do you try new restaurants or new cuisines? Do you take classes in something you're not already familiar with or good at? How often do you two try a new sport or visit a new place? Just how often are you guys stepping outside of your comfort zone(s)?
 

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So there's the stuff ghat creeps in and as far as I can tell from every couple and friend and bit of online advice I've seen, is permanent.
You would be wrong. Of course it's not permanent. But it does take you actually doing work to change it.

She's bored when I talk, I'm bored when she talks, we can both see each other struggling to make an effort to listen. At best.
What do you talk about? Are you doing anything new, interesting, worth listening about? Or are you just talking about this week's staff meeting or today's lunch at the school? Psychologically you can't expect to care about the same stuff day in and day out for years. So it behooves you to find NEW stuff to talk about.


We snipe a lot at each other about daily stresses. Both of us feel the other never listens.
You're hear, learning. Be the person who stops the dance. Stop participating. Stop what you're doing, put it away, look her in the eyes, and actually PAY ATTENTION to what she's saying. And when she's done try to put yourself in her shoes and imagine how she feels about it. Then ask her how she feels. And then listen again. You start doing that, she'll start doing that.


We try, and offer compliments, a lot, I can hear it, and do nice things......but it never emotionally lands to the point that it flows into hugging, kissing, physical affection. We just don't...seem much interested. She never says no to sex but won't do much to invite it, neither of us is much motivated to go for it.
That's what happens when two people live together that long - you build up resentments over things you aren't resolving, vanilla sex, no fear of losing each other. You have to do something to keep things alive.

She seems harsher than when we were younger, more vulgar, easily peeved. But also her same, sweet funny self too often. I know I've changed too course and must seem different to her in less than thrilling ways. So what to do? Please note! She hates talking about "the relationship" and when I've tried once in a while she gives me a sad look as if to say, "Dude, you don't know me well enough to know I don't do this?"
Well, you're here to learn so you must be smarter than that. What do YOU think you can do about this? How about asking her questions about 'things' that have nothing to do with the relationship but will tell you how she's feeling?

So I don't, and I'm cool with that. I don't need to talk but I'm looking for some real feelings and some touch. I've tried 'being the change I want to see.' She enjoys the spotlight and attention, but again, no sparks really ensue (and I mean married, sleepy, half-sparks, all I'm looking for, I'm no fool who expects fireworks after such a long time).
This is where you can get creative. How did you feel 'in love' in the first place? With PEA chemicals; which come from something new. My H picked me up from work once and had a bag packed and drove me to a place where we got couples massages and then had the house to ourselves for the evening with music and wine and food; what a cool idea! Or I picked him up once from the airport at 1 in the morning wearing nothing but a coat, and stopped somewhere private on the way home...

Such things will stimulate the PEA production in your brains, which makes you feel in love, which makes you want to have crazy sex.

Online advice is sorely inadequate. 'Get a shared hobby.' (seriously? we have lots, passions actually, hobbies are for lightweights and children) 'Have a date night' (we do, no diff, fun but no close affection ensues from it, sometimes fight because we go out and it's just us staring at each other again).
So how do you address these 'passions?' Do you do them together, away from kids, as in a minivacation? Do these passions require activity, action, fear, taking chances, working as a team...things that would get you supporting each other, watching each other, having FUN, real fun, together?

Again, if you're fighting on a date, who's fault is that? YOURS. You don't like the status quo, so change it. Stop participating in fights. LISTEN to her and why she needs to fight. Does she have a legitimate gripe? Can you apologize? Have you?

'Have you really talked about this with her?' (yes, lots, she hates it, never solved anything anyway). 'Have you checked to see if you have intimacy issues?' (um, no, married for a long time, I'm the hugger who misses the connection, etc. so no but yes, still thought about it a lot) 'Have you thought about it spiritually?' (no, and won't because religious traditions are hostile to 'selfish' needs, women, and sex--it's all there in bright lights in the sacred texts and dogmas so no thanks: human connection, women, and sex are beautiful things at the HEART of the life force in my view and ARE the god, not some stern 'ignore the passions and sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice' fellow in the heavens somewhere).
No offense, but you sure seem pleased with yourself to have come up with this grand world view of what 'should be.' And yet you're not getting what you want. Whodathunkit?

So sadness and a lack of interest or energy is my life these days. Don't care to get out of bed really if a sense of connection to a woman is gone.
How did you have a connection when you were dating? Think about it.

I'll leave you with one thought: You cannot change her. You can only change yourself so that you BECOME what she wants to change FOR.
 

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I do feel for you. Date night for us is the one night I can guarantee no sex. I have mating in captivity on my kindle so far it has proved to be a good cure for insomnia. I'm still not sure how it applies to people who want to stay married.
 

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It's very difficult to feelmpassion toward someone who bores you. She bores you. You bore her. At what point did the boredom enter? What was going on when you weren't bored with each other?

You've discussed your need for affection, that you're the hugger. What are her needs?
 
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