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OP you need to sit her down and lay I all on the line. Tell her that either the two of you go to MC and hash out what is going on between the two of you, and try to get to the bottom of why she has a bug up her ass, or you will start looking at other more drastic options such as dissolving the marriage.

You didn't marry her in the expectation of being a celibate monk. That is not what marriage is. I doubt she has a basic understanding of what marriage is.

But at the core, it sounds like you married to gain a wife and she married to gain a family. Once those kids are grown... she's not going to need you anymore and she's going to be gone brother. I would make the preemptive strike if I were you.
 

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Discussion Starter #64
A weekend away is not going to fix this. An empty nest will not fix this.

The only chance you have of not enduring a sexless marriage (sex less than ten times per year) is to have those difficult conversations with her.

You're only 44 and I can guarantee that there are plenty of women who would love to have a husband like you. I can also guarantee that very few men are hankering for a wife who puts out 6 times a year.

You need to shake up her world. You need to get serious about fixing this or move along to divorce court. Right now, you're just doing time on Maple Drive.
So I was able to go on a walk with the wife tonight, had some coffee, and told her how hurt I was over what happened on out anniversary night. She looked embarrassed and apologized for her actions. She told me that she would have reacted much worse than I had the situation been reversed. I asked why she reacted the way she did. She said that while she enjoys looking at my body, she didn’t like the “artificial” setting of it all. To me, it was just another excuse, but there have been others who have chimed in and claimed they would have had the same reaction, fair enough, but her loss >:)

I asked her why we are never intimate. I asked her if she was no longer attractive to me. She replied she is always tired, no energy, can’t feel that way when the kids are in the house, all the things she has said before. I told her to go to bed earlier ( she often goes to bed well after midnight and is up at about 5:30), and that the kids won’t hear, know, or care. She did promise me that she would try harder for me, for whatever that’s worth. Last night I was in bed by 10:30, I stayed up as long as I could, waiting for her. She came in well after midnight, but at least she snuggled up with me, she usually just goes straight to sleep. At this point, that was enough for me, I wasn’t about to go any further. I’m looking to make small improvements, take small steps, move forward. Maybe I’m stupid, maybe I’m naive, but I’m just not ready to give up yet. I’ll see how the next couple of weeks are and if they go backwards I’m going to recommend counseling for us. I did bring this up and she said she would be willing to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Self-esteem can very definitely still be an issue, even though she's showing you her body. You are safe, you are the father of her children. Does she wear a bikini at the beach? Does she work out, do yoga, anything? Doing more with her body will make her more aware of her body. It helps a great deal with a person's body image.

As for hormones, they can play a major role in libido issues. Taking hormone contraceptives for much of our lives can have a pretty detrimental effect on some women. It takes a lot of time and effort to get things back to where they should be. I know because I'm on that journey right now.

Another important factor is feeling like your partner thinks you are beautiful. You have to make sure to tell her, make sure when she's walking around in her underwear that she knows you are attracted to her.

Edited to add: I strongly suggest you get the book The 5 Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman and read it. Then give it to your wife to read.
She is somewhat shy about her body, her self esteem isn’t great, it’s not terrible, typical for a 44 year old woman, I guess. She is not in terrible shape, but she doesn’t exercise as she tells me she doesn’t have the energy. She would never wear a bikini, and I think it may be possible that some of her issues stem from me being in good shape. I ask her to go running with me, sometimes she will walk and I’ll run, but it’s not enough to swing her libido around, mine is through the roof because I work out.

And I tell her she looks beautiful all the time, not too much so it just becomes normal and everyday and boring, but enough that she knows I am sincere. IF I see her in the kitchen cooking after work, I give her little kisses on the back of her neck, it used to drive her crazy in a good way. Now, little to no reaction. If I see her in the bathroom with her underwear on, sometimes I give her a playful catcall, other times I am more serious and tell her she looks incredible, and she honestly is to me. When we were talking last night, I told her she was still my dream girl. She gave me a shy look that I haven’t seen in ages. I took it as another small step in the right direction.

Thanks for the book recommendation! Will be sure to check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
If my husband would have done this after 18 years marriage I would have done the same as your wife quite honestly. The focus for men seems to be sex, we see and don't appreciate it as there is alot more to us and life as a married couple. I am assuming your wife was turned off because there is not enough out of the bedroom connection, whether that is emotional support or just the occasional hug and kiss that does not lead to anything else. We need to know that we are appreciated and wanted for more than sex.
I acted as I did out of desperation, stupid as it may have been in retrospect, my idea was sincere. I have tried romance. I try to go out of my way to be understanding. I tell her she’s beautiful. I’ve gone back to the peck on the cheek before I leave for work that I used to do years ago, tell her I love her, have a good day. I tried a cheesy striptease, yeah so I’m an idiot. I am sincere when I do these things, but none of it has worked. My (more than) occasional hugs and kisses never have lead to anything, and 99% of the time I know they won’t and and sex isn’t even on my mind when I do these things. I wonder if she’s just not interested at all in sex, not just with me, but anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter #67
I suggest you do some reading and start with Reddit “deadbedrooms “. Also deadbedted has a wealth of info for men and women who definitely don’t want to be where they are...where you are. And, you are not alone. Here’s a summary: it won’t get better. It will get worse.
Just reading this message board, and doing some internet reading, it’s amazing the amount of men or women who are in the same situation as me, which is unfortunate but at the same time gives me some comfort that I’m not alone. I wonder what the percentage of sexless marriages are?
 

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Discussion Starter #69
I think that you made the classic mistake that so many make, and that is assuming that your wife wants the gestures that you would like. So maybe your thought process went like this. I would love my wife to take some sexy pictures of herself to send me, and that she would do a striptease. So, I will do the same. It rarely works because men and women ate different in what they like and what turns them on. Hence why she loved the flowers but laughed at the rest.

Having said that, I think its sad that your wife won't make an effort for you. Maybe some good MC may help, but I do think she needs to know that for you this cant go on. That the marriage is at serious risk.
You’re probably right, as I mentioned previously if my wife sent me pictures or did a striptease for me I’d die of a heart attack on the spot, though I’d die very happily :wink2:

But the fact that she just laughed it off and left the room hurt...but, as someone else posted, perhaps it was for the best, and at least it was honest.
 

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So I was able to go on a walk with the wife tonight, had some coffee, and told her how hurt I was over what happened on out anniversary night. She looked embarrassed and apologized for her actions. She told me that she would have reacted much worse than I had the situation been reversed. I asked why she reacted the way she did. She said that while she enjoys looking at my body, she didn’t like the “artificial” setting of it all. To me, it was just another excuse, but there have been others who have chimed in and claimed they would have had the same reaction, fair enough, but her loss >:)

I asked her why we are never intimate. I asked her if she was no longer attractive to me. She replied she is always tired, no energy, can’t feel that way when the kids are in the house, all the things she has said before. I told her to go to bed earlier ( she often goes to bed well after midnight and is up at about 5:30), and that the kids won’t hear, know, or care. She did promise me that she would try harder for me, for whatever that’s worth. Last night I was in bed by 10:30, I stayed up as long as I could, waiting for her. She came in well after midnight, but at least she snuggled up with me, she usually just goes straight to sleep. At this point, that was enough for me, I wasn’t about to go any further. I’m looking to make small improvements, take small steps, move forward. Maybe I’m stupid, maybe I’m naive, but I’m just not ready to give up yet. I’ll see how the next couple of weeks are and if they go backwards I’m going to recommend counseling for us. I did bring this up and she said she would be willing to do that.
I think you did great in bringing this up. It's so hard to have these discussions. Her willingness to talk about it is a great sign.

I see her making the same mistake so many women do though. She is burning the candle at both ends. Her body and mind is suffering. What is she doing up until midnight? Does she go to bed so late because she has trouble falling asleep and/or wakes up during the night a lot? Does she get PMS and problems around her period? If so, I can suggest a book I've used: How To Heal Your Metabolism By Kate Deering

You are taking the time to look after your health. Unfortunately your wife is not and she'll never get better until she starts putting her health first. I've tried hard to get a friend of mine to do this but she refuses to even try, BUT, if her husband encouraged her, I think it'd be a different story.
 

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Your wife doesn't have an issue with you seeing her undressed so you can nix the body issue excuse.

You need to figure out what she is doing while staying up past midnight. Time management is a hallmark of being an adult and she is failing. As it is, she is choosing her private time over time with her husband. The 'I'm tired' excuse is a no go.

Have you checked the history on her computer and devices? Peeked at her phone?
 

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She goes to bed late to avoid you. You need to find out what she is doing even if it’s watching tv. Check the phone bill.

You did not answer if you still take her out. Does she go out with the girls for girls night out?
 

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She goes to bed late to avoid you. You need to find out what she is doing even if it’s watching tv. Check the phone bill.

You did not answer if you still take her out. Does she go out with the girls for girls night out?
Back when my son was was a toddler, I would put him to bed and then wait for 10:30 when my husband would go to bed.

After they were both in bed and it was just me, that was my favorite time of the day. That was my 'me' time and I loved it. For a couple of hours, I got to enjoy the peace and quiet without someone always wanting something and I could catch up with my soap operas that I'd taped (LOL...this was back in the 80's).

Time management may not be the OPs problem. A desire for some 'me' time and to be left alone without everyone wanting something from her is a very likely possibility.
 

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She replied she is always tired, no energy, can’t feel that way when the kids are in the house, all the things she has said before.
Has she has a physical lately? At her age, I developed a thyroid problem. It leaves you extremely fatigued and moody, you start to gain weight. It can be detected in a simple blood test and treated with a daily pill.
 

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CW:

You are still trying to push a rope.

Do you really think giving her larger helpings of what her actions clearly show she does not want is going to work?

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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She replied she is always tired, no energy, can’t feel that way when the kids are in the house, all the things she has said before.
Has she has a physical lately? At her age, I developed a thyroid problem. It leaves you extremely fatigued and moody, you start to gain weight. It can be detected in a simple blood test and treated with a daily pill.
She stays up until midnight. She can't be that tired, right?
 

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there is a pretty good chance that she sees anything that you do as an attempt to get more sex and she is so used to resisting that any perceived attempt annoys her. The only way I know to fix this is to do as I have repeatedly advised and choose activities that don't involve her. If she isn't invited, it cant be trying to get sex. It adds mystery and creates interest. It seems backwards but she is blocking forwards.

She is doing something between 10:30 and 12:30. I know what my wife is doing when she is avoiding me. And I hate it, but at least I know what it is. Whatever it is your wife is doing for those hours (14 hours a week) is replacing the quality time that your relationship needs. Her selfish "me time" is killing your marriage.
 

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there is a pretty good chance that she sees anything that you do as an attempt to get more sex and she is so used to resisting that any perceived attempt annoys her. The only way I know to fix this is to do as I have repeatedly advised and choose activities that don't involve her. If she isn't invited, it cant be trying to get sex. It adds mystery and creates interest. It seems backwards but she is blocking forwards.

She is doing something between 10:30 and 12:30. I know what my wife is doing when she is avoiding me. And I hate it, but at least I know what it is. Whatever it is your wife is doing for those hours (14 hours a week) is replacing the quality time that your relationship needs. Her selfish "me time" is killing your marriage.
This.

She tells you she's too tired to have sex, but then goes to bed HOURS after you EVERY NIGHT. How are you not talking about this with her?

Your kids aren't toddlers. You say they are preteen and midteen in age. She only works part time. If she were AT ALL interested in sex with you, she would come to bed earlier, at a normal bedtime, at least a couple of times a week, thus eliminating the "tired" excuse. And she'd still have those extra alone hours the other 5 nights a week.

What DOES she do after you go to bed???!
 

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If my husband would have done this after 18 years marriage I would have done the same as your wife quite honestly. The focus for men seems to be sex, we see and don't appreciate it as there is alot more to us and life as a married couple. I am assuming your wife was turned off because there is not enough out of the bedroom connection, whether that is emotional support or just the occasional hug and kiss that does not lead to anything else. We need to know that we are appreciated and wanted for more than sex.
I acted as I did out of desperation, stupid as it may have been in retrospect, my idea was sincere. I have tried romance. I try to go out of my way to be understanding. I tell her she’s beautiful. I’ve gone back to the peck on the cheek before I leave for work that I used to do years ago, tell her I love her, have a good day. I tried a cheesy striptease, yeah so I’m an idiot. I am sincere when I do these things, but none of it has worked. My (more than) occasional hugs and kisses never have lead to anything, and 99% of the time I know they won’t and and sex isn’t even on my mind when I do these things. I wonder if she’s just not interested at all in sex, not just with me, but anyone?
I'm about the same age/kids/marriage length as you and partly I agree with the other poster I quoted, in that if my husband did the same dinner/flowers/pictures/strip tease I would totally laugh, too - I think many women just aren't turned on by that kind of blatantly sexual visual stuff.

However, and to me this is a big however, he would realize it was silly and would also laugh and then we'd immediately have sex. Because I like him. Because he went to all that trouble, even if the execution was not exactly what I'd have wanted. Because he's my wonderful husband who works so hard for our family and it's our anniversary. Because we have a strong relationship and part of that is the sexual part, but it's also so much more. Something seems off here. Could just be a lack of closeness between you, could be something else. Marriage counseling might be a good idea.
 
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