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Sexless marriage. Separate or not?

(62 Posts)
PeanutButter1 Mon 17-Jul-17 11:53:24

Hello. I'm in turmoil.
I've been married to a really good, kind, nice guy for 12 years. We've always had a 'cosy' relationship - not massively sexual, and there were many times when I thought 'I wish I fancied him more.' But I was young, not sexually confident, and thought I should count myself lucky for having such a sweet and decent guy. He's patient and solid - but the flip side of this is that he is immovable, and emotionally distant.

We've never stayed up all night just talking crap... or stayed up all night shagging... despite this; we got married. No big romantic declarations from him - i feel like he made a 'sensible decision' rather than an overwhelming emotional one. And maybe I did too. I think I felt he was nice and caring and maybe that would be enough. There is no passion there, though. For sex, for life... for anything. He is so emotionally dead.

We now have a 5 year old. I had a difficult birth experience and had PTS. However, we haven't had sex since my daughter was conceived. And not really any affection either. I've struggled to feel any intimacy with him. We're now in separate rooms, and I almost recoil at my husbands touch.

He is a nice man, a good hearted man. I do most of the childcare and also work but don't earn loads. My husband earns well and pushed us up the property ladder (I wasn't as bothered, but for him a house is a big status symbol.)

Now I don't know what to do. I've sort of been pushing for separation as I'm 40 and don't want to live the rest of my life without sex. I don't see sex therapy working as essentially I just don't feel any desire for him.

I've been sexually 'awakened' by an online affair that has reminded me what it is to feel turned on, and desired. It won't go anywhere but it has been a powerful catalyst.

Now I stand on the brink of separation and I'm terrified. Scared of ripping up this cosy family unit for what? I have nobody to go to. The wider family is horrified as we look 'perfect'. I am obv v worried for my daughter, too.

I have lots of friends and a decent career... I have been feeling quite strong and empowered but it's all trickled away now it's getting closer...

Any positive stories or thoughts? Am I being a fool?

OP’s posts: |
thegirlupnorth Mon 17-Jul-17 12:09:17

I was in a similar situation when my two DS were young. I stayed married 11 years, tried everything, including relate and I just didn't love him or find him attractive anymore and it wasn't enough for me. I questioned whether I should remain unhappy or separate. In the end I found the strength to separate. I was worried how it would look as to others he was a good husband and father.

I met my now DH 16 years ago and have been happily married and in love with a man I fancy for 13 years. It's not easy, but you only get once chance at life and happiness. You are already living separate lives by the sound of it. Separation is a chance for you both to go your own way and find your soulmate.

PeanutButter1 Mon 17-Jul-17 12:16:19

I should add we've been in couples counselling for six months. In that time he seemed to be in denial for most of it. Despite knowing we're likely to separate, he hasn't made any big emotional declarations, just says that for him, the idea of breaking up the marriage was 'unnaccaptable'. But I feel it's more about the house/family unit status than us

Thanks, good to hear a positive story and I'm happy you found love... x

OP’s posts: |
kingfishergreen Mon 17-Jul-17 12:21:37

Hi there,

I wouldn't consider a lack of sex to be the dealbreaker here - some relationships work without sex and really are about companionship and friendship, especially as time passes (not age related, just the length of the relationship).

I'd be more worried about the lack of affection, intimacy and moreover your lack of satisfaction and happiness with the situation.

You being unhappy is reason-enough to split up, irrespective of the source of the unhappiness. You deserve to be happy (as does he).

PeanutButter1 Mon 17-Jul-17 13:03:32

Thanks. We can be quite 'chummy' but just don't have huge amounts in common. I'm cold to him - I can't help it. I can't pretend I've been showering him in affection either. I think for me the sex is a symptom of this more profound sadness at how we don't have that connection.
I manage to have intense, wonderful connections in most of my other friendships. Doesn't make sense I don't have it with the person I feel I really should have it with.

Of course then I am endlessly plagued with the voices saying 'you're ungrateful... he's kind and pleasant, what more do you want?'

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Penf0ld Mon 17-Jul-17 13:31:19

Hi Peanutbutter... i just read your thread and this could be me! I'm so gutted for you and can totally sympathise... Same story here really... although we've only been together for 7 years and have a 3 year old... my husband never tells me he loves me, has probably mentioned the L word a couple of times in 7 years... we have only had sex once in the last 6 months and that was under obligation as i had planned a weekend away... then probably once or twice in the 6 months before that. Every Friday he chooses to go out drinking instead of coming home to see us, and we argue about that... but I can't force him to come home as that isn't what it's all about, I want him to look forward to seeing us and want to be with us, and start the weekend off on the right footing. I'm so bored of moaning about our relationship that I am giving up, and just accepting that this is it... which is making me quite depressed. Interesting that you sound a step further along the road, having had counselling etc... I have suggested it but he's not keen. Do you have an action plan, i.e. how to cope while you sell the house, what happens financially etc?

I really don't think you are being ungrateful or selfish in any way... everyone has the right to be loved and happy, and it sounds like you have tried. I believe your child will be better off for having a happy mother who make a positive change before the marriage becomes even more acrimonious...

PeanutButter1 Mon 17-Jul-17 14:12:49

I'm sorry you're in a bad place too. It's so so hard.
My husband is not a bad guy at all and in many respects we have an enviable, comfortable life. If only I could flick a switch and feel like I properly love him. I don't think he truly loves me either, but I think he's too emotionally disconnected to realise this yet.
I've switched off the sexual part of me for so long... and feeling it again has reminded me horribly of what our relationship is missing.

I think the house/money thing will be tricky but I suspect he'll do the decent thing and provide for our daughter. I'm prepared to adjust to a change in lifestyle. It's just hard to look at this 'perfect' life and decide to shatter it.

OP’s posts: |
Penf0ld Mon 17-Jul-17 14:40:04

It really is strange, as your situation is so similar to mine... an emotionally detached partner but a good and comfortable life... we are mates now and nothing more really... and as a mate we're moving further apart as he sees me being Mum and probably a bit more boring than I used to be, simply because I have to be there for our son and look after him, and can't be at the pub after work downing pints like we used to! We also have a house in a good area, excellent local school to get our child into, lovely garden, dog etc... I work for my husband in his business which complicates matter further... ending this life we have created seems unjustified and wrong somehow... there are people out there in far worse situations than simply not feeling loved/happy... I do feel for you and please do keep me posted on how things turn out for you....

Ramble Mon 17-Jul-17 21:54:30

Ah this sounds very familiar, the emotional detachment, I'm in an almost identical position and have made the decision to go but keep recoiling from it.
I think it's always hard to leave something that you've put up with for a long time and that could be worse, it provides security in so many ways...but happiness, potentially for the next 30 or 40 or 50 years?

PeanutButter1 Tue 18-Jul-17 20:47:16

Sorry to hear you're in the same boat. For me it's the fear of disrupting what looks like a perfect life. Nice house, kid, nice man, I'm financially supported. We even get along ok. But we don't click. We don't have that intimacy. I don't want to have sex with him again. I don't fancy him. I don't think or believe he has ever really fancied me, judging by how restrained what little sex we ever had was.

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FlyingSoloFlyingFree Tue 18-Jul-17 20:54:09

Don't want to say too much but I was in a very similar situation and am now in the process of separating. It's terrifying and sad but despite that I know I won't go back - I've never had that spark with exH, never felt giddy with excitement to see him and never had anything more than mediocre sex. I know we both deserve more. Like you it means ripping apart our fairly comfortable life but the alternative is never truly being happy. Good luck whatever you decide x

TheOriginalFactoryMum Tue 18-Jul-17 23:59:44

I had so many of the feelings that many of you describe. I put up with it, told myself that it was just how things went when you had kids, both worked etc - we had a nice house, comfortable life and all that - but it wasn't enough. I didn't just want to be reduced to someone who just looked after kids, went to work and never had fun or a sense that we were in it together. However, I would have stuck it out 'for the kids' ( 6 and 9 at the time) but then he had an affair and that was the end of that.

It's now been five years. I'm in a relationship with someone who is everything I would want in a partner - we have fun, on the same wavelength, he tries his best with my kids who aren't the easiest of propositions. For most of the week I am working and sorting out kids stuff and when I get a chance doing my own thing.

I am so glad now he that he had affair and that ended what was a horribly mediocre and soul-destroying situation.

PeanutButter1 Wed 19-Jul-17 19:38:34

I'm worried my silly online infatuation could make me throw everything away. Or on the other hand, maybe something like this was going to happen anyway when my marriage has been so lonely.

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BabyG2015 Wed 19-Jul-17 21:26:57

Im in very much the same situation only, mine was a physical infactuation where i have actually cheated on my husband... i may add, we only married last month! I met the other man a few weeks before i wed, but he ended it as he wanted to make his marriage work. But we ended up in bed together again on friday! I love my husband but.... like a best friend. He is a fantastic man, loyal, hard working, a good dad to our 2yr old miracle son and he worships the ground we both walk on... he is 20 years older than me. I just dont want to have sex with him or for him to even touch me. Im so confused on what to do, stay and 'settle' or risk it and leave in hope for happiness. Im not a bad person but what i am doing is making me a bad person. I feel undeserving as a mother and im totally confused!
Sorry to jump on your post, i just dont know what to do, it was just when u said that something was always going to happen, got me thinking if this was my case as well xx

MoreProseccoNow Wed 19-Jul-17 22:24:57

Another one in a sexless relationship here; I can relate to the emotional distance, lack of affection & sense of hopelessness. It's soul-destroying & I can't remember what it felt like to love, or be loved. We used to have a really good sex life, when we first met, then he lost interest when we moved in together. He then had an affair, which I didn't find out about till later, by which point I 2 young kids & no support.

I can't see a way back from it, but the thought of splitting up is horrendous. We don't have a comfort life - constantly in overdraft, drive an old car, no holidays (unless paid for by parents), despite us both working. Is a life as a single parent in poverty any improvement on my current situation?

So I'm not sure what to say, really. Sorry that's not much help. I just wanted to empathise & say that I understand.

Luncharmstrong Wed 19-Jul-17 22:45:06

Please hesitate before you split up.
There is a very real possibility you will end up in the same situation with your next partner

Luncharmstrong Wed 19-Jul-17 22:45:27

All partners become dull after a while

PeanutButter1 Wed 19-Jul-17 23:30:20

I'm so sorry. Thank you for writing and empathising, I appreciate it. I don't know what single life will be like. The idea of having no extra support is tough.

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PeanutButter1 Wed 19-Jul-17 23:31:26

I know we all get dull. I've never been wildly over-romantic or unrealistic. In fact I'd argue I've been too far the other way - not trusting my gut feelings over my 'sensible' brain telling myself to be rational.

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Luncharmstrong Sat 22-Jul-17 19:32:04

I find it very difficult to talk about but I left my first husband for exactly these reasons.
I regret it.
I have had three long term relationships since each lasting several years.
The dull " is this it?" feeling always crept back in.
I think the problem
Is me confused

PeanutButter1 Sat 22-Jul-17 22:26:57

Sorry to hear it. Did you also have years of no sex/touching/affection?

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BabyG2015 Sun 23-Jul-17 09:20:33

This is the main worry (apart from the affect it will have on the children).
Is this part and parcel if a 'normal' relationship.... do we live to regret it when the same thing happens with another partner...

Ramble Sun 23-Jul-17 09:50:46

I'm so totally understanding this right now. Feel like I'm on the cliff edge and that last step is the scariest

Luncharmstrong Sun 23-Jul-17 16:22:22

Pb yes but my point is it dwindled to less / no sex affection in every relationship. sad

NotMyPenguin Sun 23-Jul-17 17:23:24

I was in a marriage like this -- but without children, which was both a source of sadness in the marriage and also perhaps a blessing as it made the decision easier. I decided to leave. I am much happier. I think a full, loving relationship does include sex as part of the mix (unless both people are asexual, in which case I am sure it could be different -- but most of us aren't).

I have to admit that my relationships since haven't been ideal, and I have been a single mother for a number of years, but I still don't regret ending the marriage. It was the right thing to do for both of us, and I am psychologically much happier. He is ok too and we separated very amicably and are still very good friends (he's even my daughter's godfather and we holiday together sometimes).

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