lack of emotional and physical intimacy(27 Posts)
I’ve been with my husband for about 8 years. We had some issues early on with him abandoning me suddenly and ending up in another relationship. Eventually we got back together as he said he had grown up. I don’t think I’ve ever fully got over that and I’m not sure I ever will but it’s not something that comes up day to day, more like 3-4 times a year and we have an argument. I also have low self esteem in general due to my mother. He’s a good guy in the sense that he does his fair share in terms of housework and childcare so there aren’t issues there. We are also fine financially. There aren’t really any of the other common stressors that you often have in relationships.
The early years of our marriage were ok. We were busy building our careers and travelled a lot. I did feel that he wasn’t really into me in the way that other exes had been but when confronted about it he would always assure me that he was, he just didn’t know how to convey it. We had a baby last year. I’m also pregnant again (it was unplanned) and nearing the end of my pregnancy. We have basically had no sex life for almost two years (apart from one night where I conceived) and before that it was very infrequent (once every 2-3 months). My husband would rather spend all evening watching Netflix or looking at stupid videos on social media (often featuring heavily botoxed plastic girls) which makes me feel insecure, particularly now that I’m pregnant and not feeling my best. We rarely talk about anything other than mundane day to day things. It’s strange because he is an extroverted person so I can’t put it down to personality. I just feel like we have no relationship and it’s very lonely. I also don’t know if I care about him any more. I’ve bought these things up numerous times over the years but nothing changes.
I don’t think I could leave him (especially as there are two kids now) but I do feel very depressed that this is how the rest of my life will be.
Are most marriages like this and if so how do people make it work?
Have you spoken about lack of sex? Does he have a low sex drive?
That sounds bloody miserable OP. I think you need to tell him that if things don’t change (accepting that this may require both of you do do some work) you’re going to leave. You can’t spend the rest of your life married to someone who isn’t into you and who you can’t even have a good conversation with.
I think you perhaps need to take the lead here but after you have had the baby. It’s natural not to have/want sex whilst you are pregnant or straight after not because they don’t fancy you but because they don’t want to hurt the baby (however irrational that is), respect your decision, your tiredness, your need to heel. I think you have a discussion after that heeling period that your need for affection and sex is higher than his and speak through how you feel.
I agree with above that you need to start communicating openly about your needs and go from there.
It sounds like you are discontented, disconnected and lonely. I bet he is too.
OP I hope you can both sit down together and work through this. Whether you can find time together to be around each other in a different way to just raising the family etc.
I feel like I don’t really get anywhere by talking to him. I don’t know if has a low sex drive or just isn’t into me. I don’t think he would admit to either if they were true.
As for taking the lead, I just don’t feel anything any more and if I try to be intimate physically or emotionally I feel like I’m forcing him which is really uncomfortable for me.
We talk openly but nothing changes?
I’ve tried for example to have days when we eat at the dining table rather than in front of the tv but the conversations always end up being really mundane. We don’t really have a laugh or have deep conversations about anything. With physical intimacy, I drop hints but they always get ignored.
I'm currently going through something similar....I've just started having therapy and have just read the book Attached by Amir Levine. I would 100% recommend you read it.
It sounds like your husband has an avoidant attachment style. Unfortunately my husband does too and I have a anxious attachment style. My husband displays a lot of the same behaviours as yours (lack of interest in sex, affection, anything to do with emotions...mine or his). They feel suffocated by intimacy and closeness, it literally triggers them.
I think that book will open your eyes. I'm currently trying to work out whether I need to leave and how, because sadly avoidant people will not change unless they have therapy and sadly will see you as the issue and make out that you are needy and unreasonable for seeking closeness.
Have you tried doing new things together instead of talking it out? Maybe some interesting board games a few nights a week, a hobby you can do together like climbing or bowling. It seems like the friendship in your relationship is lacking, try to come up with a solution together that involves you both connecting and laughing. I don't say this often but some form of couples therapy might help you both decide what direction to take next.
@ChopstixM That’s interesting. My husband is actually pretty good with physical affection, but he struggles with everything else. It’s a bit odd.
@ikeepseeingit That’s a good idea. I’m fed up off tv and social media taking over our lives. Getting out is difficult with the baby but we do have a couple of hours every evening where we could play games or something. Especially now that we are both working from home.
I see what you mean, when I say talking I mean talking with a view to making a plan...things are not going to change just by saying what we are unhappy about. If stuck in a rut we often need to get some new ideas, change how we relate, read up on relationships and attachment, seek therapy or take many other active steps.
@Jadefeather7 interesting. He may still be avoidant, there is a quiz/assessment in the book that can help you understand your own and others attachment styles and how these can clash with each other. These are developed in childhood from our attachments to our parents and can change through life but not always. I found reading it was a lightbulb moment regarding myself and my husband and why it felt like we have been going round in circles. Therapy is also helping me massively...my husband won't agree to any type of therapy, individual or couples and unfortunately that is again a big avoidant trait
@friendsofmine I think that’s what we struggle with- thinking of ideas on how to improve things. For example the only time my husband ever says anything nice to me is if I wear a new outfit he’ll say “you look nice” or once a year in my birthday card he will write that he’s lucky to have me. How do I get him to say more? Maybe he doesn’t really feel anything more than that so I shouldn’t force him? I feel like I need more than that though.
Really sorry to hear you are going through this. It totally zaps your self esteem when you don't have any intimacy in a marriage.
I went through the same thing with an ex. It turned out he had a porn addiction. I'm not saying your DH does but it never even crossed my mind that was the issue until I found out and then it all made sense.
@topsy44 I have thought about things like that. Not sure about porn as I don’t think he has many opportunities to watch it. He spends a lot of time on his work phone on WhatsApp chatting to colleagues. I’ve wondered whether he could be having an emotional affair, sexting etc but I don’t really have any solid reasons for suspecting anything
Op I’m in a similar situation. My dh isn’t really interested in sex. If we do, it’s because he feels like it (rare, less than once a month) there’s no point in me initiating anything because he knocks me back so I’ve stopped. I’m 35 and I feel the same as you, a bit depressed this is it for the rest of my life but we have a dd who is 2 and are quite financially tied atm. So I’m stuck. I mean pretty sure I love him and fancy him still so it’s not like I want to leave as such but hit a brick wall with him. No point me having the same conversations with him because nothing ever changes. So No advice just wanted to let you know there’s some one else who feels the same x
This is honestly so strange, I could have written this myself but felt like I was the only person in the world to feel this way.
I can remember exactly the last time we actually had sex, can count on one hand the amount of times it happened last year. Can tell you the date he last told me I looked nice, it was at the start of 2018.
It's so hard to accept, I'm only in my mid 20s and to commit to a life like this is miserable.
I make sly remarks all the time just a "you just don't like me" but I always get told I'm being silly, asked why I do this to myself. And I can't even bring myself to answer honestly, I just crumble when I say it out loud.
So sorry to hear you ladies are going through this. Do you have any ideas why your other halfs are like this?
@Jadefeather7 he palms it off as "not being very good" at sex, however surely it's better to try. I know I do stuff he wants when it's actually humiliating for me but it's the only thing he enjoys so gives me a slither of affection.
I try with just a cuddle here and there while we're in the kitchen sometimes but he never wraps his arms around me unless I say something sarcastic. I've tried to initiate more, I get knocked back so turn over and cry while he pops his headphones in for his videos or just goes to sleep. I don't think it helps that I've been with him for the past 6 years and only had a brief fling while separated with another man who would say derogatory things to me during intimacy.
I'm off on maternity and he's furloughed at the moment, we're just like passing ships in the night, I rarely see him, we barely speak. But I'm tired of trying when I don't get anything in return.
I hope things get better for you soon. It's so hard to know what to settle for isn't it.
@feelinghopeful2 How is it that you rarely see him if you’re both home? We are both working from home so see a lot of each other. In some ways it’s worse because there’s a constant reminder now of what’s missing. I thought lockdown would give us an opportunity to reconnect a little but sadly not.
This is so sad.
Show them your thread and comments. Be vulnerable. Ask for Relate. At least then you'll be able to say to yourselves you literally did everything you could to improve your relationships?
@Jadefeather7 Yes it's defiantly worse that it's a choice to not spend time together. He's in his "man cave" while I'm anywhere else in the house.
@Friendsofmine I'm going to have to try something different.
I was in a relationship like this for about ten years. It never improved. I feel it's unlikely it will, sorry. If he doesnt bother now then he never will. I felt rubbish by the end, we slept in separate rooms, never had sex, my self esteem was rock bottom.
I left him, restarted my career and am so much happier now. I've dated, met much more compatible men and had a great time. Hope it works out OP, whatever you choose.
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