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Feel like I'm being taken for a chump

(68 Posts)
HarmlessChap Sun 17-Jan-16 00:17:12

Hard post to write, partly as being a typical bloke its not easy to talk to others about personal stuff but also because as a male I feel like I'm entering the lion's den here but I want the opinions of women here, so where better than mumsnet.

The background. We've been married for nearly 20 years and I've always been the driving force in affection and intimacy in our relationship. In our early 40's (we are both the same age) my DW decided that sex was finished and we haven't been physically intimate for several years now, but in the last year its become not only sex but hugs, kisses and so on. I still hug her but its not really reciprocated and often she pushes me away. Same with kissing, a peck is OK but anything more is a no no.

Friends have said I should leave her but I love her dearly and also I'm not OK with becoming an every other weekend dad and lets face it unless there is something bizarre the woman always gets custody.

She seems jealous of any life I have beyond the marriage and periodically accuses me (without foundation) of having affairs, her justification for this seems to be that I keep myself fit, like to be well presented and smell nice which she seems to think I'm doing for some other woman but I'm doing it for my own self esteem and have always have done.

Anyway what brought things to a head for me was when I hit the anniversary of my mother's death, which is always a really hard time for me, I was asked what was wrong as I was very introverted and down and when I reminded her I was asked if I "wanted a hug or something" but I feel that if she really cared she would have just given me the hug(s) without needing to ask.

I'm currently feeling needy and unreasonable and when I raise these issue my wife's attitude is that "well that's just what I'm like......you should know by now". Is it normal that as we get to middle age couples stay as friends but stop being lovers or am I just the comfortable, safe option.

Anyway, thanks for getting to here and any opinions welcome, do feel free to be blunt and to everyone else, yeah I know TL;DR

1DAD2KIDS Sun 17-Jan-16 01:03:42

I think we all expect some intimacy in our relationships what ever age and stage. I sounds like you keep trying and getting turned down. That must be really hard for you (I have been there). I don't think your being needy. We all want to feel love and affection. All relationships go through bad stages. Do you think she may be trying to maje you walk away from her? Do you think it could be repaired? And more to the point do you think you wife is willing to put the effort in too? Because unfortunately with all the best will in the world from you, if she's not on board it will do no good.

Just another thought too. I am probably way off the mark. My Ex wife accused me of many afairs without any substance. It hurt me loads as I would never do that to her. I the end it turned out she was the one having afairs. My councilor told me that often them who can't trust them self can't trust other people.

NorthernBird92 Sun 17-Jan-16 01:10:22

Its sounds to me that all affection between you guys has gone. You are more of a routine or habit to your wife than a partner. I know you love your wife dearly but you deserve to feel loved and wanted. As hard as it is you need to think if this is what you are happy to settle with for the rest of your life or if you want to feel wanted and be in a loving affectionate relationship.
It seems that your wife has cut all needs to be intimate or loving towards you.
Have you told her how this is making you feel truly I don't mean making passive comments I mean sat down and explained this is making you question your marriage?

NorthernBird92 Sun 17-Jan-16 01:11:40

Truthfully not truly bloody phone!

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 17-Jan-16 01:27:15

From what you have said it does sound like your relationship lacks closeness. Do you do much together with regards to spending down time doing the same things, evenings/weekends out or shared hobbies? I think a lot of couples suffer with a lack of sex eventually, but would you say that the two of you are at least still good friends?

The reason I ask I suppose, is because I'm with a partner who is also early forties, but we haven't been together as long as you and your wife. Our sex drives aren't matched that well, and often I feel a bit lacking. That said, we are the best of friends and I can always count on a cuddle or a kiss or other kinds of intimacy, fun conversations or kind gestures that remind me that I'm definitely loved. If your wife is not the naturally affectionate kind, I probably wouldn't worry that she asked if you want a hug. If that were me I would've just said yes. The thing that worries me about your post is the accusations of infidelity when there is no reason to doubt you, and the jealousy that you briefly mention. Why do you think she is jealous of the life you have outside of your marriage?

HarmlessChap Sun 17-Jan-16 01:28:42

I've tried but when I do she manages to skirt around it. Trouble is I don't push it as I suspect I know the probable outcome of that conversation and like I said its not simply a case of leaving a wife its a case of leaving a family and I don't know if I could be happy seeing my kids every other weekend.

Damned either way!

HarmlessChap Sun 17-Jan-16 01:48:54

CrazyOldBagLady: I've been into doing some sport or fitness for years, while she is much more sedentary. She has told me that she felt insecure about the fact that there may be women I meet while doing my fitness stuff that who I might be attracted to. I've told her that I wouldn't be interested and I doubt that any women would look twice at me either .

As it is she spends most of her time doing crafting or catching up on TV soaps while I potter around in the computer or go out to some kind of training a couple of times a week. Perhaps its my own fault for trying to keep healthy that I've made her feel insecure.

12purpleapples Sun 17-Jan-16 04:57:21

Is there any way you could try to workout an arrangement for the children that might suit everyone? How old are they? Would it have to be EOW or might it be possible to find something that suited them and involved more of an equal split between parents? The situation that you are in sounds horrible.

babbinocaro Sun 17-Jan-16 05:39:38

She spends most of her time crafting and watching soaps? What about family, work outside and in the home?? Surely the landscape of your lives is more than you describe.

As an alternative view how about this? You both work - who does the domestic work in your home, sorts out the kids (hobbies, homework), arranges family trips and outings? Perhaps while you are on the computer or doing fitness activties. Maybe she is resentful of you - the amount of free time you carve out for yourself? Possible route into an honest conversation?

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sun 17-Jan-16 06:00:41

Hi smile

That's such a sadly familiar opening post. I know men and women of a similar age (I'm 40) who are in similar relationships. I was until he had an affair and I felt I had permission to finally end it.

Sometimes people reject intimacy with their partners because they no longer feel confident in themselves, no longer feel attractive and feel insecure that their partner will be attracted to other people more than them or that other people will be attracted to their partner and that feels threatening to them.

And sometimes it's because they no longer find their partner attractive and can't bring themselves to be intimate on any level.

I think that, as we age, some women feel insecure and threatened by having an attractive, well maintained partner because so many of us feel that our worth is tied up in our youth and looks.

Have you sat down and had a proper conversation about this at all? Or is it all stepping around the issue because it's uncomfortable?

Also, the lack of intimacy is self perpetuating. Some people who have withdrawn from sex feel reminded of that fact/guilty and a fraud when they hug or have other intimacy and so withdraw from that too. If it's not that they are just no longer attracted, that is.

In a nutshell... my guess would be that she is either no longer attracted to you but doesn't want to end it or she is feeling insecure and sad and doesn't know how to make it right and so it's getting bigger and worse.

Also, it's not custody anymore, in settling residency no one gets the children, it's about the children and what best meets their needs. You could work out something reasonable that suits both of you. The chn have a right to a meaningful relationship with both of you.

Having left a loveless and sexless relationship though, I know it's a terrifying thought, but it was the best thing. And everyone I know who has left says the same. It's a terrifying door to walk through but, once you've acclimatised, a much better world to live in.

Sorry this was long!

TooSassy Sun 17-Jan-16 06:23:45

In a nutshell... my guess would be that she is either no longer attracted to you but doesn't want to end it or she is feeling insecure and sad and doesn't know how to make it right and so it's getting bigger and worse.

^^this

So many people are trapped in the same endless vortex of not getting what they need vs keeping their families together. I was in your situation.

I think that the accusations of affairs come from a deep seated fear and knowledge that you're not getting what you need from your marriage and that you will at some point seek that physical and emotional comfort elsewhere. Which is entirely possible, you are human.

OP no one here will have an answer for you. I am recently single after a 10+ year marriage. I went on a date and my date caressed my cheek. It was such a simple touch but it stopped me in my tracks. It bought home how little affection there had been in my marriage for years. It also bought home how much I had missed being touched with such affection. Everyone deserves that. Not helpful for you I know.

The only advice I can give is do not fall into an affair to trigger an end to this situation. That causes so much pain and heartache. Regarding your DC's, courts and family solicitors/ mediators encourage as much shared access as possible. A lot depends on the age of your DC's. Access does not have to be EOW. It can be far more.

HTH. thanks OP.

wallywobbles Sun 17-Jan-16 06:24:04

To be honest this is not normal at all and sounds lonely as hell.

The starting point for kids though would be 50/50 so you would still see them. How old are they?

I think you can do what you are doing now and be unhappy or try to get couples counseling with a view to a different future. Even if that is without your wife.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sun 17-Jan-16 07:58:28

I think that the accusations of affairs come from a deep seated fear and knowledge that you're not getting what you need from your marriage and that you will at some point seek that physical and emotional comfort elsewhere. Which is entirely possible, you are human.

Yes.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 17-Jan-16 07:59:31

You won't be able to live like this forever. Tell your wife the truth. Let her understand her family is at risk. That is the fairest you can be to her.

She will then have to have make a decision of her own about whether she can make an effort or not.

You don't need to live in a marriage where there is no intimacy, starved of affection etc

wannabestressfree Sun 17-Jan-16 08:03:57

I agree. Its no way to live and we all need love and affection even if its not sex twice a week. Do you want to live like this until you die?
To back up what others have said you wouldn't have to be a weekend dad. A 50/50 split would be the norm. My boys have as much 'access' as they want or need.

LionHearty Sun 17-Jan-16 08:51:11

Was there a time when your wife was ever enthusiastic about sex?

Some people, once the biological urge has been satisfied no longer have any (or very little) interest in sharing any level of intimacy. Which might be the case in your situation.

. It is not fair to decide unilaterally that sex and affection is over within a marriage or ltr with addressing the needs/feelings the of other person.

From what you have written your wife no longer wants a physical relationship of any kind. That's her choice. What do you intend to do about it?

Regarding how often you would be able to see your children. Get advice. It may be if you are able to live nearby that 50/50 is likely.

LionHearty Sun 17-Jan-16 08:53:36

It sounds like an awful way to live. 😐

Helmetbymidnight Sun 17-Jan-16 08:58:07

You poor thing.
I couldn't live like this.

ThatsNotMyRabbit Sun 17-Jan-16 09:02:43

You sit her down and refuse to be diverted from the following conversation:

I am unhappy with the way our relationship is. It needs to change.

Three options: you explain why we never have sex and we explore that, with me doing all I can to help; if not we explore the option of me going elsewhere for sex; or we split up.

Honestly this woman is being very unfair, however you need to persevere with talking about it otherwise nothing will change.

gamerchick Sun 17-Jan-16 09:04:54

Me neither ^^

I would try one more conversation and a maybe go back to basics, dating, spending fresh time together outside of the home. If things had got so bad that it couldn't be rekindled then it's time to split up. That's no life.

clam Sun 17-Jan-16 09:20:53

Can you live like this for the next 30-40 years? Do you want to?

Blunt question, I know, but that's the bottom line.

donajimena Sun 17-Jan-16 09:45:25

I think you have been given some very good views on here.
intimacy can tail off in relationships and this is absolutely fine if you are BOTH ok with that. You are not and neither would I be (health willing) you cannot live like this.
Many moons ago I was in a LTR with the perfect man. Apart from the fact I didn't fancy him. We plodded on until I met someone I did fancy and I didn't cheat but it gave me the kick to end the relationship.
I should have set him free a lot sooner.
Your wife is being unfair.

LionHearty Sun 17-Jan-16 09:54:59

In my view, the going back to basics approach won't work. Op's wife doesn't happily hug or kiss him. The question is whether she'll be honest about why.

Your wife may be afraid of being honest as by doing that it would probably spell the end of, (what is for her) a comfortable set up.

How she is operating at the moment is dishonest and unfair to you OP.

Gobbolino6 Sun 17-Jan-16 10:00:27

I can be a bit like this with my partner. I try hard to overcome it and have succeeded to a large degree. In my case it's nothing to do with him. It's that I feel very unattractive, even disgusting, compared to before we had children. But intimacy is necessary in a relationship I think. How old are your children?

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sun 17-Jan-16 10:02:27

Is she worried that if she shows some affection that it will automatically lead to you wanting sex? I know with my ex, if I showed him any physical affection he would push it and I didn't want sex, I just wanted to reconnect first.

He was emotionally absent so the idea of having sex with someone who seemed like a stranger was unappealing. I had switched off any desire I had and learned to live without it, because the alternative was having to have sex when I didn't feel like it.

I explained that I needed more kisses and cuddles in order to feel like sex. He countered that if we had more sex he might want to cuddle me more, so why was my way right?!

In the end we split and I have a fantastic sex life and lots of physical affection with my now DP, so I know that it wasn't that I wasn't a sexual person, it just didn't fit with him any more.

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