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I never really understood this type of thinking. In most marriages the wife, especially if she's a SAHM like mine is, does a lot more for the family than the husband. Sure, I work and bring home the money, but she literally does everything else and I can tell you that she works a lot harder than me. If we never had sex ever again, I sure wouldn't think the marriage is one-sided because I provide the "security". What she provides is so much more than security.

Another thing I don't understand is the sex part. I mean if he's not having sex, then neither is she, right? Women like sex as much or more than men, so it's not like she's "getting over on him", or in any better situation than he is. If she doesn't desire him then they're both not having sex, not just him.


And for the "forced celibacy", what is that? No one forces anything on anyone. He always has a choice, everyone has a choice. No, w if he doesn't exercise his options, then it's on him, not her.
These two items could bear further attention, they are described from a tinted view for "all" cases it seems, which isn't quite accurate.
 

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Caught me still here:

1. it was good, passionate, frequent. Until about 3-4 years into relationship, chilled some to be expected I guess. Nothing ever too out of the box. In terms of growth, I would say I have grown more in sexuality--- shared desired to express new things, etc.... Wife has frequently said she liked it when we were younger and she felt like she was leader, etc... Right now, it is maybe, maybe 1 -2 times a month if we're lucky. Most likely 0-1 time. And most often, bland, unconnected. Given that, it doesnt seem too much for me to "give up" and just say f- it. And check out from it all myself.

2. It is a pretty big deal. Been unhappy about it for a long long time. and it coupled with other general issues (which I suspect are just as likely to blame as pure sexuality for our issues), yes, I am now thinking separating might be best case. If it werent for kids, I'd be a whole lot less apprehensive about going the split up route....

3. Wife is more rational now. Early on, very defensive. She has a great deal of shame and baggage from youth, I think. Early on, when I raised the issue about lack of intimacy, she would flip it and point to something I was doing or not doing to be the blame.... Always a revolving and evolving blame game away from her. Therapists have been decent, though never break through moments. It was like it would get her plugged back in fior a few weeks, a month, etc... and the poof, before either of us noticed it, it was back to buisness as usual. THe emotional yoyo ride is half the drain. Definitely has been manipulative.... only time she generally gets what I would call remotely aggressive or pursuing about sex is when I bring up the issue and maybe she senses me pulling away. I read an attachment theory thing the other day that seemed to explain that: one person being needy in one way, the other fearing detachment.... led to spirals of unhealthy interactions....

4. SHe agrees she thinks it could be better, but very reluctant to speak to any specifics on how to improve it.... Early on she would try to deemphasize the sex part (which made sense) and expressed concern that I just wanted sex or a screw and didn't want her..... that's about it, though recently she did agree with me when I said I felt like neither of us really "knew" the other person very deeply on a sexual side of things.

Maybe all that helps.
All common deflecting patterns. And presently she knows you'll stand for it until you give up.

Something deeper is going on or she's gotten complacent knowing you won't rock the boat.

Hang in there.
 

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Caught me still here:
Thanks for responding about intimate details. I know it can feel weird talking about it to strangers across the internet.

1. it was good, passionate, frequent. Until about 3-4 years into relationship, chilled some to be expected I guess. Nothing ever too out of the box. In terms of growth, I would say I have grown more in sexuality--- shared desired to express new things, etc.... Wife has frequently said she liked it when we were younger and she felt like she was leader, etc... Right now, it is maybe, maybe 1 -2 times a month if we're lucky. Most likely 0-1 time. And most often, bland, unconnected. Given that, it doesnt seem too much for me to "give up" and just say f- it. And check out from it all myself.
Interesting. What happened 3-4 years into the relationship? Kids? Something else?

I'm also curious here about your wife's comment about liking to be the leader. Does that mean she likes to be dominant or assertive sexually?

2. It is a pretty big deal. Been unhappy about it for a long long time. and it coupled with other general issues (which I suspect are just as likely to blame as pure sexuality for our issues), yes, I am now thinking separating might be best case. If it werent for kids, I'd be a whole lot less apprehensive about going the split up route....
Gotcha. I'm testing here because you may have to risk your marriage to save it, then. And it still might not work. So I'm trying to gauge your stakes here.

3. Wife is more rational now. Early on, very defensive. She has a great deal of shame and baggage from youth, I think. Early on, when I raised the issue about lack of intimacy, she would flip it and point to something I was doing or not doing to be the blame.... Always a revolving and evolving blame game away from her. Therapists have been decent, though never break through moments. It was like it would get her plugged back in fior a few weeks, a month, etc... and the poof, before either of us noticed it, it was back to buisness as usual. THe emotional yoyo ride is half the drain. Definitely has been manipulative.... only time she generally gets what I would call remotely aggressive or pursuing about sex is when I bring up the issue and maybe she senses me pulling away. I read an attachment theory thing the other day that seemed to explain that: one person being needy in one way, the other fearing detachment.... led to spirals of unhealthy interactions....
Interesting.

My interpretation of this behaviour based on what you wrote might be that she wants to be married to you, knows that you expect a good sex life as part of being married, and she wants to want to have a good sex life with you, but doesn't really. This could be:
1. low libido as a change - hormones, diet, exercise, sleep, depression, etc.
2. low libido as her normal - meaning, she was just kind of faking it in the beginning or was caught up in the new relationship energy and once that wore off, she went back to her normal, default sexuality, which is at a lower level than yours.
3. something happened 3-4 years into your relationship that was a crisis point for her heavily impacting how she felt about you, or how she felt about herself, or how she felt about the relationship. This could be something bad you did, something bad she did, or some perceived core failing in the relationship.
4. she feels unattractive.
5. she feels you are unattractive.
6. she was never that into you at the beginning (doesn't sound that way but I'll throw it out there).
7. she's into someone else. (again, doesn't sound that way, but a lot of stuff you're describing here happened in my first marriage when she started sleeping with someone else).

4. SHe agrees she thinks it could be better, but very reluctant to speak to any specifics on how to improve it.... Early on she would try to deemphasize the sex part (which made sense) and expressed concern that I just wanted sex or a screw and didn't want her..... that's about it, though recently she did agree with me when I said I felt like neither of us really "knew" the other person very deeply on a sexual side of things.

Maybe all that helps.
Hmm. When you say "early on" do you mean 3-4 years into the relationship? Or at the beginning of the relationship?

What kinds of things would she say specifically when in therapy? Does she ever throw out reasons or justifications? Or is she exasperated and confused?

How happy is she otherwise in the marriage? Does she say she loves you often? Is she affectionate with you in non-sexual ways? Does she show you appreciation, respect, compassion?
 

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I see mutual sexual attraction and desire as something to be expected in a marriage. Without that, why not be just friends? In my view, the difference between friend or familial love and romantic love is sexual desire.

Would I stay in a marriage where I don't feel desired? No. See: Why not just be friends. That said, I'd at least talk to my spouse and make sure he knows that I don't feel desired and if that doesn't change permanently, I'm out.
Yes, yes, yes... As a man, I quite clearly state and have the desire talk along with the sex talk at the start of every relationship and repeat as necessary.

Women, usually, have no issue telling their man that they want to be desired. Men should be no different, and in a romantic relationship BOTH partners should spend ample time making the other feel desired.

Not picking, but some women seem to think that men do now need this. Why some think that I have no idea.

Women, in my life, need to figure this stuff out pretty quick or they are toast.

This is such a basic thing in life I am dismayed that we get so many questions about it.
 

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this reminder and clarity about the issue of desire. She point blank said that she felt/feels torn at such moments when she "isn't feeling it." Whether to be faithful to her own inclinations (ie, clear lack of desire) or to follow through at the expense of what she is feeling (hope that makes sense).
The bolded part is the issue. She understand expense of terms of herself and not the expense of the relationship. There is an "us" aspect to the relationship that SHE is responsible for, just as YOU are. In short, you are both responsible for the other. In such a situation, the cost of avoiding intimacy with your partner may be either unrecognized or greatly understated.

"When you say "x", it makes me feel badly about our relationship because "y."

Nice people can be surprisingly myopic. It never occurred to my wife to think about how I felt when she'd say something like "I'd be fine with sex once or twice a month, if that." Or, "If sex is so important to you, go find a hooker." People respond to issues sometimes only with a view towards getting what they want.

Of course, it's not just turning down sex... it's also her wishing she didn't have to turn you down. That you were less sexual. Explain the "Be careful what you wish for" bit. You are whom you are. What would happen if you decided to be nice and not bother her for sex because you had outlets elsewhere? Would that be an improvement for her? Obviously you explain that would not happen within the marriage, but it's a powerful motivation for considering exiting a marriage.
 

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Not picking, but some women seem to think that men do now need this. Why some think that I have no idea.
I think it's often a misunderstanding of sorts. I think some women believe that accepting a man's advances, responding to him enthusiastically, is enough to convey their desire for him. This may be especially true for those who are responsive desire and for those who are more passive or shy. So, from the woman's point of view, she's showing him she desires him. The man, however, isn't feeling desired because he believes her passivity means she lacks desire for him.
 

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Thanks for responding about intimate details. I know it can feel weird talking about it to strangers across the internet.



Interesting. What happened 3-4 years into the relationship? Kids? Something else?


----- Got married around then! A major move. Some clear depression on her part. You are smart targetting that as root. She once mentioned in therapy having first weaponized sex (withholding it) back then because of the turmoil of the life upheaval. That was the first time I proposed therapy when I saw the signs.


I'm also curious here about your wife's comment about liking to be the leader. Does that mean she likes to be dominant or assertive sexually?

---- Not at all. Over time, super passive. Occasionally she used to mention how in the past (college, before me) she was very comfortable sexually and there were no issues, and yeah..... that's something you really want your wife to say? TO my ears, that translates basically to: "Why yes, before you, I had no issues with desire. So is must be you that I don't desire" NICE. See my above points about being hurt, self esteem eroded from all this!!

Gotcha. I'm testing here because you may have to risk your marriage to save it, then. And it still might not work. So I'm trying to gauge your stakes here.

---- I understand.

Interesting.

My interpretation of this behaviour based on what you wrote might be that she wants to be married to you, knows that you expect a good sex life as part of being married, and she wants to want to have a good sex life with you, but doesn't really. This could be:
1. low libido as a change - hormones, diet, exercise, sleep, depression, etc.
2. low libido as her normal - meaning, she was just kind of faking it in the beginning or was caught up in the new relationship energy and once that wore off, she went back to her normal, default sexuality, which is at a lower level than yours.
3. something happened 3-4 years into your relationship that was a crisis point for her heavily impacting how she felt about you, or how she felt about herself, or how she felt about the relationship. This could be something bad you did, something bad she did, or some perceived core failing in the relationship.
4. she feels unattractive.
5. she feels you are unattractive.
6. she was never that into you at the beginning (doesn't sound that way but I'll throw it out there).
7. she's into someone else. (again, doesn't sound that way, but a lot of stuff you're describing here happened in my first marriage when she started sleeping with someone else).

------ Yeah, in a way at this point I've stopped wondering about the "why" and more about the okay, so what....? Through the years potential explanations from her, me, therapists.... have included depression, low libido. Part of the journey with this has been reading books and through that she started to feel like "there was something wrong with her" for low desire, low initiation and has said before that she "feels like a disappointment." TO which, over time, I've grown more direct in my response saying that, no, she is not a disappointment, though our lack of intimacy very much IS a disappointment. I suspect this, to her, must sound to her ears about as pleasant as the veiled insult from her I quote above, but it is the truth and not sure how else to put it.

Hmm. When you say "early on" do you mean 3-4 years into the relationship? Or at the beginning of the relationship?

------ Beginning and early on. Yes, 3-4 years.

What kinds of things would she say specifically when in therapy? Does she ever throw out reasons or justifications? Or is she exasperated and confused?

----- See above. Very rarely has therapy focused directly on the sex. But that's where the above comments come from. Then more complex stuff, therapists volunteer about virgin-***** conundrum.....

How happy is she otherwise in the marriage?
---- AS team mates, maybe. But lately, no. Said something to the effect of, she wanted a reset button, that this wasnt the life she had been expecting (haha, again, nice.... you see why I feel like I'm on a railroad track toward divorce! Thus this last ditch desperation plea for wisdom).

Does she say she loves you often?
----nahhhh, not in a meaningful way too often. Moire out of habit. End of phone conversations, going out the door for work. More of actually a habit of mine she reciprocates.

Is she affectionate with you in non-sexual ways?
------- Hell no. And that's as aggravating as the non intimacy. A hand on my back, grabbing my hand while driving.... all long gone in the relationship. Only time she is directly affectionate is when she feels me pulling back. After I shut down the other night after my initiation was refused, she no doubt then felt guilt or some such and as I laid on the bed for a moment, she rubbed my back,. leg, etc... made a flattering comment about my backside (haha) but that is hard to take too seriously. ALl part of what I now tend to see as non-intentional manipulation. She would NEVER have been that affectionate if things hadnt gone the way they had. THrough the years, she has always given our internal clocks as a reason for not matching up with sex. Im a nigfht owl, she prefers it early. To which I have said, she was free to wake me up whenever. Only time she ever took me up on it and woke me up to initiate sex was a month or so ago after a big fight about the same. Wow, that night she desired me, took me up on it and woke me up affectionately and wants..... I stopped her though and said I would only do it (sex) if the advances were for real and not just the same old yoyo ride of manipulation: I pull away, she pulls toward.....

Does she show you appreciation, respect, compassion?
---- yes definitely on all these. And in terms of these emotions they are sincere. There is still love there, I think from these.


Wow, okay, clearly I have a lot to say on all this!!!! Thanks for the good questions.
 

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Realized I didn't do the quote correctly for your questions in my post above, and might not be easily readable. So here goes a second try:

Interesting. What happened 3-4 years into the relationship? Kids? Something else?


----- Got married around then! A major move. Some clear depression on her part. You are smart targetting that as root. She once mentioned in therapy having first weaponized sex (withholding it) back then because of the turmoil of the life upheaval. That was the first time I proposed therapy when I saw the signs.


I'm also curious here about your wife's comment about liking to be the leader. Does that mean she likes to be dominant or assertive sexually?

---- Not at all. Over time, super passive. Occasionally she used to mention how in the past (college, before me) she was very comfortable sexually and there were no issues, and yeah..... that's something you really want your wife to say? TO my ears, that translates basically to: "Why yes, before you, I had no issues with desire. So is must be you that I don't desire" NICE. See my above points about being hurt, self esteem eroded from all this!!

Gotcha. I'm testing here because you may have to risk your marriage to save it, then. And it still might not work. So I'm trying to gauge your stakes here.

---- I understand.

Interesting.

My interpretation of this behaviour based on what you wrote might be that she wants to be married to you, knows that you expect a good sex life as part of being married, and she wants to want to have a good sex life with you, but doesn't really. This could be:
1. low libido as a change - hormones, diet, exercise, sleep, depression, etc.
2. low libido as her normal - meaning, she was just kind of faking it in the beginning or was caught up in the new relationship energy and once that wore off, she went back to her normal, default sexuality, which is at a lower level than yours.
3. something happened 3-4 years into your relationship that was a crisis point for her heavily impacting how she felt about you, or how she felt about herself, or how she felt about the relationship. This could be something bad you did, something bad she did, or some perceived core failing in the relationship.
4. she feels unattractive.
5. she feels you are unattractive.
6. she was never that into you at the beginning (doesn't sound that way but I'll throw it out there).
7. she's into someone else. (again, doesn't sound that way, but a lot of stuff you're describing here happened in my first marriage when she started sleeping with someone else).


------ Yeah, in a way at this point I've stopped wondering about the "why" and more about the okay, so what....? Through the years potential explanations from her, me, therapists.... have included depression, low libido. Part of the journey with this has been reading books and through that she started to feel like "there was something wrong with her" for low desire, low initiation and has said before that she "feels like a disappointment." TO which, over time, I've grown more direct in my response saying that, no, she is not a disappointment, though our lack of intimacy very much IS a disappointment. I suspect this, to her, must sound to her ears about as pleasant as the veiled insult from her I quote above, but it is the truth and not sure how else to put it.

Hmm. When you say "early on" do you mean 3-4 years into the relationship? Or at the beginning of the relationship?

------ Beginning and early on. Yes, 3-4 years.

What kinds of things would she say specifically when in therapy? Does she ever throw out reasons or justifications? Or is she exasperated and confused?

----- See above. Very rarely has therapy focused directly on the sex. But that's where the above comments come from. Then more complex stuff, therapists volunteer about virgin-***** conundrum.....

How happy is she otherwise in the marriage?

---- AS team mates, maybe. But lately, no. Said something to the effect of, she wanted a reset button, that this wasnt the life she had been expecting (haha, again, nice.... you see why I feel like I'm on a railroad track toward divorce! Thus this last ditch desperation plea for wisdom).

Does she say she loves you often?

----nahhhh, not in a meaningful way too often. More out of habit. End of phone conversations, going out the door for work, etc... But often those are more of actually a habit of mine she reciprocates.

Is she affectionate with you in non-sexual ways?

------- Hell no. And that's as aggravating as the non intimacy. A hand on my back, grabbing my hand while driving.... all long gone in the relationship. Only time she is directly affectionate is when she feels me pulling back. After I shut down the other night after my initiation was refused, she no doubt then felt guilt or some such and as I laid on the bed for a moment, she rubbed my back,. leg, etc... made a flattering comment about my backside (haha) but that is hard to take too seriously. ALl part of what I now tend to see as non-intentional manipulation. She would NEVER have been that affectionate if things hadnt gone the way they had. THrough the years, she has always given our internal clocks as a reason for not matching up with sex. Im a nigfht owl, she prefers it early. To which I have said, she was free to wake me up whenever. Only time she ever took me up on it and woke me up to initiate sex was a month or so ago after a big fight about the same. Wow, that night she desired me, took me up on it and woke me up affectionately and wants..... I stopped her though and said I would only do it (sex) if the advances were for real and not just the same old yoyo ride of manipulation: I pull away, she pulls toward.....

Does she show you appreciation, respect, compassion?

---- yes definitely on all these. And in terms of these emotions they are/seem sincere. There is still love there, I think from these.


Wow, okay, clearly I have a lot to say on all this!!!! Thanks for the good questions.

Any more advice on how to proceed? I have been away from the house for a few days for work and family, and the absence has dug me in in dark ways and not too excited to go back!
 

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Occasionally she used to mention how in the past (college, before me) she was very comfortable sexually and there were no issues, and yeah..... that's something you really want your wife to say? TO my ears, that translates basically to: "Why yes, before you, I had no issues with desire. So is must be you that I don't desire" NICE. See my above points about being hurt, self esteem eroded from all this!!
What kinds of things would she say specifically when in therapy? Does she ever throw out reasons or justifications? Or is she exasperated and confused?

----- See above. Very rarely has therapy focused directly on the sex. But that's where the above comments come from. Then more complex stuff, therapists volunteer about virgin-***** conundrum.....
First off, some women have no clue whatsoever how it comes across when they volunteer information about their past that puts their current partner in a bad light, in terms of sexual prowess or compatibility. It is so strange. If your partner was significantly overweight and you made a reference to past girlfriends with gorgeous bodies that were more appealing than yours, well, you just wouldn't do that, would you? Of course not. Both are just simply stating facts, right?

By the way, what's that "vigin-***** conundrum thing?
 

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By the way, what's that "vigin-***** conundrum thing?


I tried to paste a link, but maybe that doesn't work... I'm a newbie here.

I actually mis-named it. It's generally Madonna-Wh*** Complex. Essentially, as we talked about it, affection and sexuality desires are at odds with one another in seeing the partner. Bad explanation, but easy enough to find a good one googling the right terms. sorry!
 

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To make a very long story short. After 25 is years, my now ex-wife told me she has always had a platonic love for me.

I spent the majority of that time jumping through hoops to earn her love and for her to desire me. after all, that what all the books told me to do. I even went to marriage counseling by myself because my ex had no desire to go. We did have sex, but it felt like rape. She just wanted it over. I don't know how we survived so long.

Bottom line... she didn't desire me one bit no matter how often I took her out to dinner, no matter how often I cooked breakfast and dinner, washed clothes, cleaned the toilets, vacuumed, or did laundry. She had no desire for me. Nothing I did changed that.


BTW... she was a 25 year old virgin when we met.

I moved out about two years ago and officially divorced for about a year. Been dating a woman for over a year now and we've had more sex in our first few months than my entire 25 years with my ex. I don't have to do anything and I feel she desires me. That's a whole other happy story though. It's not just the sex, it the affection, the hugging, kissing, the hand holding, it's waking up in the morning with her wrapped in my arms . Morning sex? OMG! never had that in 25 years.


I became a bitter angry person and after all these years, my true happy self has emerged.
 

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To make a very long story short. After 25 is years, my now ex-wife told me she has always had a platonic love for me.
A quick note of thanks as I have returned home and very shortly plan to address a lot of the issues raised here, directly with my spouse. As I should have expected, sometimes when we ask questions, seeking answers from others, we are forced and challenged to find answers within ourselves. That's entirely been the case here, as everyone's comments have made me think, made me argue with them and myself, and at least for now I feel some clarity. I will not, however, delude myself into thinking that I have found THE answers, but rather AN answer for now that I hope will lead my wife and I to ask new questions about our relationship, and then, we will see where those take us......

Thank you!
 

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When I hear about desire I immediately think Esther Perel. She’s done a lot of work on desire in long term relationships and how’s it’s really difficult. Watch this 20min video it’s worth it.


 

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To make a very long story short. After 25 is years, my now ex-wife told me she has always had a platonic love for me.

I spent the majority of that time jumping through hoops to earn her love and for her to desire me. after all, that what all the books told me to do. I even went to marriage counseling by myself because my ex had no desire to go. We did have sex, but it felt like rape. She just wanted it over. I don't know how we survived so long.

Bottom line... she didn't desire me one bit no matter how often I took her out to dinner, no matter how often I cooked breakfast and dinner, washed clothes, cleaned the toilets, vacuumed, or did laundry. She had no desire for me. Nothing I did changed that.

BTW... she was a 25 year old virgin when we met.

I moved out about two years ago and officially divorced for about a year. Been dating a woman for over a year now and we've had more sex in our first few months than my entire 25 years with my ex. I don't have to do anything and I feel she desires me. That's a whole other happy story though. It's not just the sex, it the affection, the hugging, kissing, the hand holding, it's waking up in the morning with her wrapped in my arms . Morning sex? OMG! never had that in 25 years.

I became a bitter angry person and after all these years, my true happy self has emerged.
This is in fact what MOST of us say to do in these situations. At least I always do.

You can jump through as many hoops as you want, what you learn is that 1) "IT", however you define it, is either there or it is not. And 2) There is NOTHING that you can do to create it, NOTHING.

So the reasoning is it is best to divorce, get yourself healthy mentally and physically, and start over...
 

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Realized I didn't do the quote correctly for your questions in my post above, and might not be easily readable. So here goes a second try:

Interesting. What happened 3-4 years into the relationship? Kids? Something else?


----- Got married around then! A major move. Some clear depression on her part. You are smart targetting that as root. She once mentioned in therapy having first weaponized sex (withholding it) back then because of the turmoil of the life upheaval. That was the first time I proposed therapy when I saw the signs.
Check. On what, I'll say below.


I'm also curious here about your wife's comment about liking to be the leader. Does that mean she likes to be dominant or assertive sexually?

---- Not at all. Over time, super passive. Occasionally she used to mention how in the past (college, before me) she was very comfortable sexually and there were no issues, and yeah..... that's something you really want your wife to say? TO my ears, that translates basically to: "Why yes, before you, I had no issues with desire. So is must be you that I don't desire" NICE. See my above points about being hurt, self esteem eroded from all this!!
Check.

Gotcha. I'm testing here because you may have to risk your marriage to save it, then. And it still might not work. So I'm trying to gauge your stakes here.

---- I understand.

Interesting.

My interpretation of this behaviour based on what you wrote might be that she wants to be married to you, knows that you expect a good sex life as part of being married, and she wants to want to have a good sex life with you, but doesn't really. This could be:
1. low libido as a change - hormones, diet, exercise, sleep, depression, etc.
2. low libido as her normal - meaning, she was just kind of faking it in the beginning or was caught up in the new relationship energy and once that wore off, she went back to her normal, default sexuality, which is at a lower level than yours.
3. something happened 3-4 years into your relationship that was a crisis point for her heavily impacting how she felt about you, or how she felt about herself, or how she felt about the relationship. This could be something bad you did, something bad she did, or some perceived core failing in the relationship.
4. she feels unattractive.
5. she feels you are unattractive.
6. she was never that into you at the beginning (doesn't sound that way but I'll throw it out there).
7. she's into someone else. (again, doesn't sound that way, but a lot of stuff you're describing here happened in my first marriage when she started sleeping with someone else).


------ Yeah, in a way at this point I've stopped wondering about the "why" and more about the okay, so what....? Through the years potential explanations from her, me, therapists.... have included depression, low libido. Part of the journey with this has been reading books and through that she started to feel like "there was something wrong with her" for low desire, low initiation and has said before that she "feels like a disappointment." TO which, over time, I've grown more direct in my response saying that, no, she is not a disappointment, though our lack of intimacy very much IS a disappointment. I suspect this, to her, must sound to her ears about as pleasant as the veiled insult from her I quote above, but it is the truth and not sure how else to put it.
Big fat check in red marker here.

Hmm. When you say "early on" do you mean 3-4 years into the relationship? Or at the beginning of the relationship?

------ Beginning and early on. Yes, 3-4 years.

What kinds of things would she say specifically when in therapy? Does she ever throw out reasons or justifications? Or is she exasperated and confused?

----- See above. Very rarely has therapy focused directly on the sex. But that's where the above comments come from. Then more complex stuff, therapists volunteer about virgin-***** conundrum.....
****ing MCs. Often focus on the wrong things, and let people off the hook. Check.

How happy is she otherwise in the marriage?

---- AS team mates, maybe. But lately, no. Said something to the effect of, she wanted a reset button, that this wasnt the life she had been expecting (haha, again, nice.... you see why I feel like I'm on a railroad track toward divorce! Thus this last ditch desperation plea for wisdom).

Does she say she loves you often?

----nahhhh, not in a meaningful way too often. More out of habit. End of phone conversations, going out the door for work, etc... But often those are more of actually a habit of mine she reciprocates.
Sigh. Check.

Is she affectionate with you in non-sexual ways?

------- Hell no. And that's as aggravating as the non intimacy. A hand on my back, grabbing my hand while driving.... all long gone in the relationship. Only time she is directly affectionate is when she feels me pulling back. After I shut down the other night after my initiation was refused, she no doubt then felt guilt or some such and as I laid on the bed for a moment, she rubbed my back,. leg, etc... made a flattering comment about my backside (haha) but that is hard to take too seriously. ALl part of what I now tend to see as non-intentional manipulation. She would NEVER have been that affectionate if things hadnt gone the way they had. THrough the years, she has always given our internal clocks as a reason for not matching up with sex. Im a nigfht owl, she prefers it early. To which I have said, she was free to wake me up whenever. Only time she ever took me up on it and woke me up to initiate sex was a month or so ago after a big fight about the same. Wow, that night she desired me, took me up on it and woke me up affectionately and wants..... I stopped her though and said I would only do it (sex) if the advances were for real and not just the same old yoyo ride of manipulation: I pull away, she pulls toward.....
Check. Oh, the stories I could tell.
Does she show you appreciation, respect, compassion?

---- yes definitely on all these. And in terms of these emotions they are/seem sincere. There is still love there, I think from these.
Ah, ok. Our first non-check mark.

Wow, okay, clearly I have a lot to say on all this!!!! Thanks for the good questions.

Any more advice on how to proceed? I have been away from the house for a few days for work and family, and the absence has dug me in in dark ways and not too excited to go back!
OK. All those check marks above are extreme similarities to my first marriage. My ex wife was (and still is) extremely beautiful and intelligent, but also very calculating with many sexual hangups. She hid many of these from me until we got married. We got to this point where you're at - and continued.

We ended up totally sexless, with an increasing amount of head-****ery and infidelity and straight out emotional abuse. I'll skip past that, because there's one big difference here, and that is that she still seems to respect you. My ex didn't.

What I came to understand is that my ex saw sex differently than I did. For her, from what I've gathered in her relationships since, it's something to use to get what you want. And when she wants it, she gets bored and moves on, often without breaking up with the other guy first. That was her solution to the whole madonna/***** complex - to leverage and use sex, because good girls shouldn't directly want it. I'm bringing that up because it was very much a component of the whole deal here - that she shouldn't (and maybe couldn't) just have sex be a normal part of a relationship.

If that's where your wife is at, then she must choose to change or she must choose to respect you enough to wish you well on your journey forward without her.

Alternatively, it's very possible or even probable that she was never that into you to begin with. Many a guy here has posted just to discover that he was the husband his wife wanted to want... but just didn't want. In this scenario, surprisingly, all might not be lost depending on what triggers her. Do you know what guys she was into before she met you? Do you know why she picked you instead of those other guys? Are you the stable one that she was expected to marry?

Some of the other alternatives still stand, for example depression. However you first and foremost need to find a new therapist, one that will hold her feet to the fire. She needs to understand that you are at a decision point. She needs to understand that you took an oath of monogamy when you married her, not an oath of celibacy. And she needs to understand - like my ex wife refused to - that you can't tick sex off like check box on your to-do list to get your spouse off your back. Like the rest of the relationship, you need to be in or out.

And quite frankly, she sounds like a friend that you have children with, not a wife.
 

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A quick note of thanks as I have returned home and very shortly plan to address a lot of the issues raised here, directly with my spouse. As I should have expected, sometimes when we ask questions, seeking answers from others, we are forced and challenged to find answers within ourselves. That's entirely been the case here, as everyone's comments have made me think, made me argue with them and myself, and at least for now I feel some clarity. I will not, however, delude myself into thinking that I have found THE answers, but rather AN answer for now that I hope will lead my wife and I to ask new questions about our relationship, and then, we will see where those take us......

Thank you!

When I left my marriage, I felt like an ogre. I left thinking that I would never find the type of love I was looking for. I felt I would never know what it would feel like to be desired. Leaving still seemed like the best option. During that time, to put it nicely, I became a butthead. Like I wanted to punish her for not loving me...Stupid, I know. I had so much resentment I felt justified to treat her like crap and I regret doing that!

My ex-wife and I get along better than ever now. We have a platonic relationship, which is something she wanted all along. I don't have anymore anger like before.

If I could offer you any advise, it would be to let go of any resentments, anger, and expectations. Look for a way to make everybody happy.
 

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Re: So what about "desire"?

Speaking As A Moderator:

The thread jacks stop now.

If you want to discuss religion in marriage, Esther Perel, or any number of other things that seem to have derailed this thread, start your own thread.

First and final warning (more names to be added as I clean this up):
@Marduk @MJJEAN @Cletus @BluesPower @Diana7 @3Xnocharm @Girl_power @Livvie

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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What you're missing here is not all women want sex. Some rarely want sex. Some want sex, but chose husbands they aren't sexually attracted to because they prioritized other attributes in mate selection. So, the low/no libido wife hums along just fine getting her needs met while the high libido husband goes without.
I don't think i'm missing anything. Are you saying "not all women want sex", or "not all women want sex with their husband". If it's the former, then I would say you're wrong as only 1% of the entire population of the world identify as "asexual". Now, if it's the latter, you're correct and it happens a lot. With that said, I stand by my post where I mentioned "she's not getting sex either". The woman wants sex but with "who" is the question. I know my wife wouldn't "hum along" with anyone without intimacy, doesn't matter what kind of security they provide. I think you are the same way.
 

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I don't think i'm missing anything. Are you saying "not all women want sex", or "not all women want sex with their husband". If it's the former, then I would say you're wrong as only 1% of the entire population of the world identify as "asexual". Now, if it's the latter, you're correct and it happens a lot. With that said, I stand by my post where I mentioned "she's not getting sex either". The woman wants sex but with "who" is the question. I know my wife wouldn't "hum along" with anyone without intimacy, doesn't matter what kind of security they provide. I think you are the same way.
Regarding the bolded, both. I know women who have decent sex drives, but not for the men they are/were married to. I know others who simply think sex is either kind of stupid/pointless/silly/meh and are quite happy to have sex as infrequently as possible.

Most people aren't going to identify as asexual. That doesn't mean they have a healthy libido or long for and crave sex.

"I'm not asexual! I just don't feel the need for it more than a couple times a year."

"I'm not asexual! I just prefer getting my sexual needs met through masturbation rather than partnered sex."
 
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