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Gutted: Is this the begining of the End?

(579 Posts)
Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 14:03:55

I've happened across these pages by accident (looking for a review of something I was buying) but have read with interest the advice that's given.

I'm a mid-thirties (34) male who is married (9 years) with two children (7 and 3). My wife and I have been together for 16 years and have, up until recently I think, always had a pretty solid relationship.

The one area we do seem to struggle with though is sex. Our sex-drives are massively mis-matched. I try to be understanding and of course we always march to the beat of her drum - which I sort of accept (even if I resent it a little) as there's nothing that would turn me off more than knowing she's doing it out of a sense of wifely duty - we fell into that trap (and never really got out of it) after our son was born.

My wife and I both work full time and split domestic duties evenly (honestly we do!). Having recently realised that we were in real danger of going our separate ways, we have decided to make more of an effort. She acknowledged some things - which was great, and I've made a real effort to not pressure her and be more romantic.

The 'problem' now is that it all seems a little 'forced' it doesn't quite feel natural. I sympathise with her becasue she's damned if she doesn't and damned if she does, but it feels like she's making more of an effort in order to protect the lifestyle we have and not disrupt things for the sake of the kids. I apreciate that, but I honestly don't think she'd choose me if we met today.

This is all made harder because I still fancy her rotten and she's such a kind person. Certainly I'd never cheat on her (we've only ever been with each other) but I do sort of wish that she wanted me as much as I want her. She admits she's not a particularly sexual person. We've done some pretty amazing stuff over the years (though I always feel I have to push it) but it's only when she's had a drink - which makes me a little sad if I'm honest.

Sorry for the long whinge off. It's sort of cathartic to get it off my chest. I feel bad becasue she's lovely and we have really made a good life for ourselves. But at what point might you realise that a split is inevitable?

CoffeeandScones Tue 20-Aug-13 14:38:01

Is sex the one factor that would drive you to this position, or is there anything else?

I'm not belittling sexual intimacy as unimportant, just trying to get a clearer picture of your situation.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 15:18:31

Thanks for the response. To be honest, it's not just the sex (though it is the main thing). It's about wanting somebody to want you and the whole.......anticipation (?)

The relationship is (I think) pretty solid otherwise. We have our moments of course, but nothing horrendous - until fairly recently. I don't know the extent to which I've been snooping on these boards has had an impact on the way I feel; or (if I'm honest) my inclination to voice my dissatisfaction.

I guess what I'm trying to say/ask is: Is this what a 16 year relationship with kids is supposed to feel like? We do have patches of getting on really well, but as I've said previously, it just seems a little forced.

Blindsarah Tue 20-Aug-13 15:26:02

You've maybe come to the point. You don't feel she is attracted to you. She doesn't want sex with you but you suspect it's possible she might with someone else. And anyway, your drives are 'massively mismatched', you say.
You feel rejected because she doesn't want to be intimate with you.
No counselling on earth will make someone fancy someone else as a lover if they no longer do.
You are no longer happy living with a woman who doesn't really want you as a partner for sex and is seldom interested anyway.
There is no longer a happy future for your relationship as a politely rejected partner and only really a best friend. Your need for regular sex will start to make you feel like an unwanted pest to her. You'll become bitter and resentful and your pride will be hurt. Lack of sex might tempt you to cheat sooner or later.

Better to give up now and eventually find someone who actually wants you and who also has a more compatible sex drive. Cut your losses now.

ageofgrandillusion Tue 20-Aug-13 15:30:17

Maybe you guys need to go your separate ways if sex is a big deal to you and your drives are so out of sync.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 15:34:48

Blindsarah: You've summed it up perfectly. One of the things that's always bothered me is that I didn't want counselling if it meant that she'd be 'forced' into maintinaning that side of things.

That said, we have two kids, mortgage, etc. etc. We both work hard to give the kids everything they need and the thought of breaking up the family because I felt my wife wasn't sexually attracted to me, seems awful - especially as we otherwise get on.

That's not to say I don't think that I deserve that sort of relationship. I've suggested in the past that we just take sex off the menu altogether, but she said she doesn't want to do that. I think she felt that it was a pre-cursor to my going elsewhere - which wasn't what I was thinking.

It's strange though that she (rightly) expects fidelity (and I've been utterly devoted to her) but she acknowledges that she could happily go for weeks without sex.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 15:42:35

ageofgrandillusion: I scares me that you're right. I'd be especially interested in hearing from people that have been in the same situation and whether it did eventually resolve itself or not. There's so much at stake here.

I should point out by the way that I am by no means (in my opinion) an insaitiable pervert - o.k. perhaps a little bit. I'd just like her to initiate sometimes and (from time to time) engage in a little foreplay. She has a very set routine and will rarely counternance oral sex as she's worried that she'll have to return the favour. I've asked her for guidance, but to be honest, she's always stumped. She hasn't once (in her 33 years) masturbated on her own.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 15:43:07

Sorry if that's too much information.

Blindsarah Tue 20-Aug-13 15:53:01

Maybe she likes the status of being a 'normal' married woman and mother as opposed to being a divorcee, a single mother on her own? She's been used to you and her being recognised as a married couple with kids, a complete unit. It could be upsetting for her to think all that could end after all these years but she knows the cause.

Perhaps you should try to have a friendly but frank and honest talk with her, tell her exactly and in detail what you're feeling and ask her to tell you exactly how she feels, discuss it together, ask her to be perfectly honest with you even if it might be hurtful, and take it from there. No accusing of any kind, no arguing, just try to find out what's in her mind exactly. Try to find out if there is any hope or not. Then you'll know how to go forward and what the future seems to hold.

ageofgrandillusion Tue 20-Aug-13 15:54:22

A male friend of mine was in precisely this situation. They also had two kids. The wife shut up shop, so to speak, after she fell pregnent with the second. He was gutted, hung around until the kids were 8 and 4 and then met another woman, started an affair and eventually left - despite his missis begging for him to come back. The whole thing was a mess in the end. If sex is so important to you, maybe you need to let your missis know exactly what is at stake - ie you might leave over this.

CoffeeandScones Tue 20-Aug-13 16:00:44

Contrarian I'm basically in the same place as you on the sex front. Used to be great, then kept tailing off and dwindled to nothing. We talked and had a brief spark, but has dwindled again and even the spark felt a bit awkward. I've never wanted to just 'have my needs serviced', I think sex should be about two people wanting each other. It's a really hard thing to explain to your DP and could be quite hurtful too, but bottling it up means it never gets addressed.

I hoped the awkwardness might just be us getting back into it, but it's gone nowhere much since so maybe it wasn't and it's more fundamental. I hope not.

Can't offer you any comfort sadly. I share your feeling that leaving (esp with kids involved) 'just' because of sex seems so selfish and ridiculous, but it can become pretty crushing inside.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:03:17

In fairness to her, she's sick of this too. We've discussed separating (she's suggested it) but it seems like such a drastic step. We've had the frank discussions and she's set out her position quite clearly (My sex-drive isn't as high as yours, but I will try and make an effort - which sadly isn't sustained).

I hate the thought of having an affair (and would leave the marriage before it got to that) But I can see that I could easily have my head turned - and I feel bad enough about that.

I don't know why, but I feel in the wrong for feeling like this - as if I'm threatening to seriously disrupt the lives of four people (including me) because I'm not satisfied sexually.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:07:42

CoffeeandScones: That resonates exactly. and I mean EXACTLY.

I'm sorry you find yourself in the same situation.

PedantMarina Tue 20-Aug-13 16:19:39

Are there any problems with her in general? Depression, for instance? That can kill a libido stone dead (well, comatose anyway - mine's recently waking up again).

If not, perhaps it's just the overall grind of marriage. And, yeah maybe, an element of thinking it's required of her.

Is there any way you can (given time constraints, children, etc) get back any of your Youthful Dating Days? Long weekend away or something? Perhaps a really good spa day for her (and you)? I'm thinking real relaxation and then a very frank and supportive chat. But try to get her to talk to you. If there's a possibility that she's resenting something (that's another big reason women shut down), you need to get that out in the open and dealt with.

Best of luck.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:20:57

CoffeeandScones: Can I ask, how do you cope with it on a day to day basis? Is it something you've decided you can live with?

Blindsarah Tue 20-Aug-13 16:22:44

Would she answer honestly if you asked her if she still loves you or not? If she still finds you attractive? If she still wants to live with you and why? If she understands and accepts that lack of sex is a huge problem to you? If she realises you don't know how to solve it but it won't go away?
Ask her what she honestly thinks would be best. If she suggests separation again, then maybe that would be best for you both.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:26:17

We have a long weekend away this weekend. We had the very frank and supportive chat last week. It was great and I felt we really made some progress; however (and I know I need to give it a little longer) things have just felt a little forced. If I think about it (and I have quite a bit) She's actually quite a selfish lover - which is at odds with every other facet of her personality.

Part of me wants her to be with someone who either:
a - she wants to be with; or
b - isn't constantly perstering her for sex.

I'm under no illusion that this isn't fun for her either.

KellyHopter Tue 20-Aug-13 16:33:42

I've talked about this previously, but being rejected sexually by the person you love is soul destroying.

It eats away at your confidence, I spent my 20s with someone who had a very low sex drive. I ended up utterly paranoid and it got to the point where we were both scared to even hug as he thought I'd expect sex and I thought he'd be disgusted by the contact and fear that I might want more.

I left eventually and although its very sad as we have a child together the relationship really had a huge impact on my perception of my own worth. This was despite him being an utterly good person.

I wouldn't want to advise you to leave, but I certainly sympathise with your position.

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:52:02

I've asked her those exact questions and she maintains that she does. She's suggested separation out of sheer exapseration - but when it actually comes to it we both resolve to knuckle down and work on it.

I'm not sure that this is something that you can work on though to be honest.

Op I was your wife a few years back though exh was not as patient and caring and loyal as you sound. If you as a pp has suggested tell her you are likely to leave or whatever ultimatum it will be forced effort however you look at it.
I had no drive and the more I was nagged the worse things got. For me I realise in hindsight I didn't fancy exh (still don't) and didn't enjoy sex with him. He would say I wax a selfish lover that really resonated with me but the truth was if I wasn't being stimulated constantly my mind start disengaging from the event and I couldn't cope with the intimacy. I too found any suggestion that I reciprocate oral just repulsive.
After our marriage broke down my sex drive appeared out of nowhere and was there instantly with new partners. I thought having dc killed my sex drive - it didn't!

KellyHopter Tue 20-Aug-13 17:11:13

Well that's nice hamwidge. I'm sure op hadn't considered it may be his own physicality which is killing his wife's sex drive hmm

Contrarian78 Tue 20-Aug-13 17:19:08

Oh don't worry. I had considered it. She maintains that it isn't. I try my best to stay in some sort of shape, but she complains if I lose too much weight.

In fairness to my wife, she's never had a huge sex drive. It certainly tailed off after our son was born a few years ago. She didn't mention anything at the time (though I remember argusing about it) but has finally acknowledged it. For me though, the gripe is about quality, and mutual satisfaction.

My wife would like another child, but to be honest, in all consciousness, we couldn't bring another child into an already strained marriage - even though we'd envisaged having more than two kids. Plus we're getting too old! :-)

That's not what I meant Kelly - but thanks for shitting on me anyway grin

ARealDame Tue 20-Aug-13 17:27:27

We've done some pretty amazing stuff over the years (though I always feel I have to push it) but it's only when she's had a drink - which makes me a little sad if I'm honest

None of that sounds esp. romantic or relaxed or even personal, tbh. She never had a high sex drive, but quelle surprise, it is tailing off after long relationship...

Though be fair to yourself, I agree that you should not bring a child into this strained marriage. I have no idea what planet your wife is on to want this.

I hope you sort it out, OP. Perhaps consider what your issues are with sex, as well as your wife's.

Blindsarah Tue 20-Aug-13 17:36:56

It seems that his only issue with sex is simply that he loves it and can hardly get any! At least, not with someone who wants it too, and with him.
Also, in particular, he wants a bj but his wife refuses. But then so would many a wife probably? AFAIK some do it and some just don't.

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