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It's not normal not to fancy your husband any more is it? Help needed.

(111 Posts)
MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 12:19:54

I'm almost terrified typing these words out, because suddenly it will become real. PLEASE don't flame me for not addressing it sooner...

So, in a nutshell. I've been with DH for 15 years. We have been married for 7. We have 2 DCs, who are 2 and 4. I do remember a time when I fancied him. In the very beginning. For maybe 2 years. But since then, my desire for him has really dwindled. I decided to marry him despite knowing this because he is a really wonderful person, I knew he'd be a great Dad and husband and he is both of those things.

But it's got to the point now where for the last few years I find sex with him either just about tolerable (with alcohol) to unbearable (without alcohol - and here we're talking 'cry in the bathroom afterwards'). in the last month, I just can't bring myself to do it at all, I cannot bear the thought. I can't put it easily in words, I love him but I have absolutely zero desire for him.

I feel absolutely awful, he is a lovely man who deserves a loving wife who wants to sleep with him, for goodness' sake. Until now, I have tried so hard, I have sex regularly with him because I love him, if that makes sense. But now I just can't anymore. Nothing special has happened, it's like I can't force myself through the charade any more.

I don't want to drip feed, but there's nothing else to say. I love him. He's great in every way. He hasn't done anything wrong. There have been no changes in our life. He is putting this current reluctance down to work stress and is not pressurising me. I don't come from an abusive background. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

One last thing. this isn't a lack of libido on my part. I look at other men (never do anything of course), I pleasure myself IYSWIM etc. I am so scared of falling into an affair at some point. But I look at the future and I feel like crying, I can't bear another 40 or 50 years of life like this.

I am terrified of telling him as well. How do I break "I haven't fancied you for years and I can't see every wanting to have sex with you again"?

Please help.

DinahMoHum Tue 20-Mar-12 13:28:36

i think its a shame you married him and that hes been living a lie for so long if you already didnt think of him in that way.
I dont think its normal to not fancy your partner after the first two years no.

nizlopi Tue 20-Mar-12 13:38:12

Its not NOT normal... if that makes sense.

Sometimes once the initial flurry of sex is over, yeah, it does go away and you realise that you love the person, but ... not in that way. Its happened to me, and I did make the same mistake as you of getting too involved in the relationship for the simple fact that the guy was bloody lovely (and actually, very attractive, I even say now that he was, he just didn't do it for me though for some reason). Luckily, I didn't marry this man, I realised just in time that doing that would be a huge mistake for the both of us. We're both now in very happy, separate relationships.

I'm not sure exactly how you would go about bringing up these feelings with your husband without making him feel like a troll, but you do need to. When I broke up with my ex, I told him that I wasn't in love with him in that way, and although he was very upset, he accepted it. I didn't tell him I wasn't attracted to him, just that the spark for me was gone, and I'd tried to get it back, but I couldn't force it. It was horrible, but it needed doing, and in the long run it saved a LOT of heartache.

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 13:47:09

No advice, but loads of sympathy sad

I could waffle on about how I don't think monogamy is particularly natural, but that wouldn't help because I'm sure you want to be faithful.

Helltotheno Tue 20-Mar-12 14:24:21

Its not NOT normal... if that makes sense.

I agree. I think this is a lot more common than people realise so op I would say don't beat yourself up too much about it. Would the two of you be in a position to co-parent in an amicable way? What about the financial situation?

If you love and respect him, I think your best bet is to try and explain things in the least harsh way you can and see if you can salvage the friendship, but go your separate ways.

MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 14:25:35

nizlopi your story has brought tears to my eyes, because I know I shouldn't have married him. I know that, but somehow I loved him, and still do, and I thought that would be enough to get us through it. I wish I had been braver -even now the thought of being without him terrifies me.

fotheringay I don't mind someone telling me that monogamy is not particularly natural! I just need to make some sense of this.

Can anyone help with this - are you in a long term relationship and still fancy your husband? I know this sounds weird but part of me thinks this is maybe just what happens after many years together. Oh, I can't bear the thought of telling him that the 'spark has gone'. It might be the end sad

MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 14:27:17

helltotheno he's such a nice bloke that I'm sure he would be amicable and fair and the financial situation would be OK too. I just want to cry at the thought of leaving him though and it would devastate him. He often says that me and the kids 'are his life' sad

ameliagrey Tue 20-Mar-12 14:30:22

I have been married for centuries and feel like you a lot of the time. We have moments when it's a bit like the early days- maybe after doing something nice together which makes me feel emotionally closer to him, but I am sure that if I met him now I would not fancy the pants off him- or marry him. i know friends who say exacly the same and I don't know what the answer is. From what I have read by "sex experts" the shelf life of lust is 2 years. They say that even if you ditch your DH and start all over the same pattern will occur.

Many middle aged people I know feel just like you but are too scared of being alone, starting again, and being broke to do anything about it.

MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 14:33:03

That's terrifying Amelia. The thought of leaving him, and then ending up with someone else (who probably wouldn't be as nice) and then ending up in the same position, terrifies me. My poor children. Bollocks and bollocks!

coffeecake Tue 20-Mar-12 14:39:42

Could it be a phase? I mean it happened to me before, and it did freak me out, but it didn't last long when I learnt how to relax about things and not focus on it too much.
Although it only lasted a few weeks.
Anyway, you don't have to be mega attracted to someone to really enjoy having sex with him, if you love him enough, everything about him becomes attractive.
Look at old people, some still do it at 80, are you telling me that their are attracted to each other's sagging skin?
Not necessarily, but their love, the urge to be close to one another and the desire to please each other are so strong, that they enjoy it.
Is something about him disgusting you, as you say you find it "unbearable"?
Also, this is my personal opinion, but I don't think you need to have sex to love someone. Love is much deeper than that.
But obviously, if you say you still have libido, and still don't want sex with him, I can't help thinking that maybe there is something else that puts you off about him (don't mean to be rude here).
My sister had the same problem with her husband, and she said he was the loveliest man, but she loved him like a brother, and towards the end, she couldn't even bear for him to put his hand on her shoulder let alone have sex with him (they hadn't done it for one year when she decided to leave him!!).

They are now divorced and both have partners but they remained very close friends. They didn't have any children together though.

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 14:40:25

When you're crying afterwards (poor you!!), what is it that's making you most sad?

larks35 Tue 20-Mar-12 14:45:13

2 yr shelf-life for lust sounds about right if my previous and current relationships are anything to go by BUT I think love is about how you handle your relationship together when the flame flickers. OP rather than thinking that it is all over have you spoken to your DH about it? Yes, it'll hurt him to know that you don't fancy him at the moment but maybe you can work on ways to re-kindle the spark or do without for a while.

I've not really been into sex for quite a while but with a toddler and being pregnant neither DP or I are too worried about it. I know we'll work together on getting things back on track once we've settled with new DC. I love my DP very much and nothing will change that, he feels the same about me and is very tolerant of my lack of libedo.

Seriously, do talk to DH before thinking about leaving him!

Mumsyblouse Tue 20-Mar-12 14:49:28

There's a difference between a fluctuating interest in them and downright repulsion, unfortunately if your husband repulses you and the thought of sex with him for the next 40 years makes you cry/despair, I don't think this is solvable.

I still fancy my husband a lot, after 10 years, I am not besotted and totally bonkers as in the early love stage, but I think he's fanciable. So, not all candles blow out after 2 years, in fact, surely most people do find their partners attractive?

molly3478 Tue 20-Mar-12 15:17:28

I agree with mumsyblouse I definitely dont think its normal. I very much fancy dh even after nearly 10 years, and have lots of lust for him. I think if you feel that you are crying in the bathroom over it I dont think it is solvable.

MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 15:20:22

Mumsyblouse that's deeply reassuring.

I wouldn't say it is 'revulsion'. It's more like 'I absolutely have no desire to do this, ever' and when I cry it's because I feel a little bit violated. I know that sounds extreme (and I am never actually violated, but very loved) but that's how it feels when you are having sex with someone that you really don't want to. That sounds awful, but it is true.

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 15:25:07

It doesn't sound extreme, there's nothing more personal than sex is there? This is doing you no good at all, I'm really sorry I don't know the answer but it seems like it can't go on.

Mumsyblouse Tue 20-Mar-12 15:25:32

MaybeICan- that's terrible, no wonder you don't want to go on having sex. It doesn't matter why, or whether it's 'right' or whether he's lovely, you must just face this. The fact that you also have to drink to do it is very revealing. None of this is 'normal', but even if it were, it's no way to live (and remember, he would probably be devastated to find out that you feel like this as he thinks you like him, please don't put HIM through any more of this either).

piratecat Tue 20-Mar-12 16:37:49

i think we can have different norms in our relationships, and feel comfortable and happy if we are equally matched in our lust for one another.

I have defo had 'in love' relationships with a few men, but different sexual chemistry with each.

I also wouldn't say there is a 2 yr rule i think you still fancy someone after that.

Yet you don't, and havent and have said you know you shouldn't have married him based on it not being right for you.

it's very sad for you both. sounds like you went for safety when you married him, and hoped it would be enough to like him and get on with him.

There are very few couples who have that glint in their eyes for one another forever, those who do are lucky imo.

You are going to have to make some tough decisions op, but it doesn't have to be the end of either of your lives, or the dc's. if you can parent amicably and hopefully one day you can both be happy with other people. Life is too short, and resentment will build and your poor dh will need to know why.

MaybeICan Tue 20-Mar-12 16:47:12

Oh, I knew you'd all say that I need to face it, and that's probably why I decided to post. I think that I am going to have to - but I don't feel like I can even try. and yet part of me knows that my DCs are young enough to cope if we parted now, and that if I continue to stay silent I am being unfair to him as well as myself. Oh I cannot believe that I am going to have to have this conversation with my lovely DH.

I did go for safety. I wanted to have children and knew he'd be a great Dad. I was scared I wouldn't meet someone better... Pathetic, eh? and I can't really imagine ever meeting anyone else.

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 17:08:03

Maybe it would help prepare you to talk it through with a (good) counsellor first?

ameliagrey Tue 20-Mar-12 18:14:11

Def. 2nd that.

Do you know why you have gone off him?

have you tried all the usual advice like having a break without DCs and trying to recapture the magic of when you first met?

The other thing is- you don't HAVE to have sex in any relationship. If you were both happy to tootle along sex-free as some couples are, then that's one option. I did read that by the ageof 45, 20% of relationships are celibate. some people will forgo the sex in favour of companionship, a shared home, DCs and common interests.

I think you might be throwing the baby out with the bath water TBH because you could end up with a man who was a bastard yet who you fancied like mad.

I think you should only ditch this marriage if you are 100% sure it cannot be improved and after you have got to the bottom of why the chemistry has died- and if it has indeed gone for good or just got buried under the wear and tear of daily life.

But don't have sex out of duty- I think you owe it to your DH to tell him how you feel and say it might be a phase- and support you while you work through it,

donotsquandertime Tue 20-Mar-12 18:24:59

Hi I am new to mumsnet, but on reading your post MaybeIcan, i felt compelled to reply to you. I feel exactly the same I love my husband but not in the way a woman should love a man, I love him like a brother, I feel awful about this especially as he is kind, a great dad and still handsome ( I can still look at him and think you are a very handsome man but have no desire at all) I say still as we have been married over 20 years. We have a good life with 2 daughters and many friends and I wish I could wave a wand and fancy him again but I sadly feel it is too late now and have to accept this situation. I am too embarrassed to say how long it is since we had sex but it's awhile.

Hattytown Tue 20-Mar-12 18:37:48

If your internal script of why you married your husband and chose to parent with him is because he was 'safe' and constituted you 'settling' for someone who wasn't ideal for you, then this has become a self-fulfilling prophesy and there was nothing he could have done to reverse the situation. Safety and settling are sure-fire passion killers and are right up there with resentment in the slow death of a sexual relationship.

It isn't my experience to lose sexual attraction in even a very long-term relationship, but what matters is that this isn't good for either of you if sex is equally important to you. You both deserve good sex lives and this marriage is denying you both that opportunity isn't it?

Sexual desire is often a psychological issue, especially if you're able to rule out physiological isses such as hormonal imbalances, illness or fatigue but I think what's causing this in you is the 'script' you've settled on. All the while that is playing and re-playing in your head, there is no chance that your husband can generate desire in you. I endorse the recommendation to see a counsellor on your own to see whether this script can be re-written somehow, or alternatively validated, before coming to what seems like the obvious decision. Sometimes though it is far kinder to the other person to set them free rather than staying for selfish reasons, or in the mistaken belief that a relationship like this is better for children.

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 19:26:40

I wonder if/how the script can be re-written... It would be amazing for everyone in this situation (must be a lot of people) if that's possible. The problem, I think, is that sexual desire and safe cosy love seem to be at odds with each other somehow.

The way I look at it sometimes is, how can you want what you've already got. Does that make sense?

fotheringhay Tue 20-Mar-12 19:29:27

Ooo, I've just discovered a book on this very issue, called Mating in Captivity. Might be worth a look.

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