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my wife of 28 years admitted she no longer fancies me

(94 Posts)
Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 08:27:24

Hi. Just feel the need to share. Not sure if it will make me feel better of worse. My wife and I have had a lack lustre sex life for many years but last Tuesday I suggested to her that her reason for not wanting sex with me might be simple- that she just doesnt fancy me. She verbally stomach punched me when she said yes I think thats true to some degree. I have felt like the wind has gone out of my sails since then. I love her and have always fancied her and despite many many chats she has never admitted that before. I am so lost its hard to function. Phil

LadyMacbethWasMisunderstood Sat 24-Nov-12 09:21:30

Attraction does tend to wax and wane over the years. It's not static. Assuming that she used to find you sexually attractive, that she is well and that the relationship is otherwise ok then it should be possible to rekindle a spark.

But you do need to rule things out first. Is there - or has there been anyone else do you think? Is she well? Could she be menopausal and feeling "off sex" rather than "off you"? Are you kind and attentive to her generally? Not just when you want sex. Does she feel loved? Most women in a long term relationship will need to feel they are valued to want sex. And finally, brutally, might you have changed - ie put on weight or drinking too much so that she would be 'turned off?'. Most women will not be turned off by the ageing process alone - after all we are getting older too and we are usually not that shallow.

I think you have to identify the cause if you can. Either by thinking about it or better still asking her in a non confrontational way. Then work on it. Together. Easier said than done I know. But if you are a loving husband it would be a hard woman not to be moved by your distress.

Wishing you well.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 24-Nov-12 10:04:19

I always think it's the most cruel thing to say to someone that you don't fancy them any more, or you're not quite sure if you love them or how you feel about them. It's effectively putting them in their place and letting them know they're only being tolerated. There doesn't seem to be any follow-up to the statment... no suggestion that she'd fancy you more if you did X, Y or Z.... so there's nothing you can work with. The wind going out of your sails is exactly the effect she was going for. Quite horrible

I realise this is a long relationship and that you love your DW but is this how you want to spend the rest of your life? Being tolerated? However much effort you put into the marriage from this point forward you can't change this solo. So see if she's willing to make more of an effort with you and, if not, consider your options.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 10:41:00

I think I am a considerate and loving husband and father. i devote pretty much all my energy to my family. I think my job as a teacher does take a lot out of me so perhaps leaves me tired and sometimes emotionally drained. That said I do most of the cooking and washing up and many jobs around the house to try to alleviate the pressure on my wife. We make love rarely ( her choice not mine) but when we do she seems to enjoy it and yes she does * several times. We have shared a fantasy of other men and this has turned her on but its never been a consideration for real. No neither of us have been unfaithful. I had of course assumed that it was me who was really turning her on but clearly I was off the mark.
I must say that she is not a vindictive woman at all and I she did say that she had never told me before because she knew how upset I would be so it was a deliberate attempt to hurt me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 24-Nov-12 11:17:26

She may not be vindictive -she would probably claim she's just being honest - but, because she has effectively left you dangling, wondering where you've gone wrong, feeling hurt, with no suggestion of how any of this can be resolved... that's the aspect that is cruel.

You're a teacher. If one of your struggling students came to you with a piece of work, desperate for help, and you simply told them 'it's not what I wanted' but with no further explanation why it fell short or how it could be improved.... would that be considered good teaching? Would the student think you were trying to save their feelings or smash their confidence? Motivated to work harder or switch off completely?

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 11:21:26

I admit I do feel it was a cruel thing after all this time particularly but she isn't a cruel person truly. I guess the analogy with my pupils is a good one but because I am an adult I am supposed to be able to deal with it. But, I am actually finding it much harder than I would have as a younger person. I have had zero thoughts of sex or intimacy since Tuesday, and my body feels like the nerve endings have closed off.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 24-Nov-12 11:31:00

Cruelty isn't always intentional or even malicious. 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions' etc. You can experience cruelty through omission or actions as well as through words. So what's your next move?

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 11:34:06

I should add that we have had no discussion or reference to what she said since Tuesday. I have completely stopped sending her texts, sexy or otherwise so I assume she is noticing the difference. Its been very difficult trying to be positive with my students as they know me as a bubbly and funny person so I have had to call on my acting reserves this week.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 11:35:47

I really dont know cogito. I am waiting for her to bring it up again or at least to notice the difference in me.

UsedToBeAContender Sat 24-Nov-12 11:37:27

Ok, I'm going to come at this from the other side.

I no longer fancy my husband. There are reasons for that, a past history of wildly drunken and infantile behaviour and has been fantastically selfish over the years. He's overweight and did very little to look after himself. I have to throw away clothes with holes and rips in them and frequently have to tell him to make an effort, in the way that I still do for him.

We have talked and he's trying very hard to fix things but I'm scared those feelings may never come back. I don't want to leave, I do love him, we have fun together and he's NOW a good father and husband.

What I'm saying is that she may be just as concerned and worried about her feelings as you are. I know I'm terrified! I don't want someone else, don't want my marriage to end. If I could wave a wand and bring back those feelings I absolutely would. I didn't want my feelings to change, I just couldn't stop it.

Things being what they are I have no intention of stopping trying to fix things. It's a slow process but being honest with each other, and I mean REALLY honest is a good start. It may hurt to hear it in the beginning but burying the feelings or not talking about them is a road to nowhere.

Maybe start by taking the pressure off. Try to pull yourself back together a little. Tell her you appreciate her honesty and that you are hurt. Talk about what you can do to regain that lost intimacy, I don't just mean physical intimacy. Sex should be at the end of this road, don't force it and just start talking.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 24-Nov-12 11:43:03

"I have completely stopped sending her texts, sexy or otherwise so I assume she is noticing the difference."

Withdrawal and assumptions that it is noticed gets you nowhere, really. You need to talk about it head on. UsedToBe could at least give a working list of problems that her DH is now trying to fix. You've probably got to decide if you're prepared to hear a similar list or if you'd rather bow out unchanged.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 11:54:04

Thanks usedtobe. I didnt mean to say that I was avoiding discussion, quite the opposite but it just seems odd that my wife doesnt seem bothered enough to say anything. She is a contented lady who generally does not ask for a lot. I try very hard to make things good for her. She hasnt changed at all since Tuesday, almost as if she had never said anything to be. She seems happy and at ease with everything and seems oblivious that anything is wrong. I have done as you say usedtobe in that i have pulled back to give her space. I wake in the morning and get out of bed straight away and make her a cuppa then I leave her alone to enjoy it. I havent tried to initiate sex for two months so nothing knew since Tuesday in that department.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 12:02:41

Its hard to make the most important salient points here so please accept apologies if some sound a bit out of place. I did send her my last text on Tuesday from wok to tell her that I wwas pleased she had told be how she truly feels even though I was hurt I said it was better I knew the truth.

LadyLapsang Sat 24-Nov-12 12:17:59

They do say you should never ask a question if you are not prepared to hear or deal with the answer. I'm sure only the minority of people who have been married 28 years still 'fancy' their partner most of the time. If you love and care for each other that is valuable too. Not sure what else might be going on in your lives, issues with work, teenagers, health problems, elderly parents etc. and its totally normal for many people to be less interested in sex as they get older. Maybe you just need to spend some time having fun together- holidays, weekends away, nights out etc.- without the pressure to have sex.

BelaLugosisShed Sat 24-Nov-12 12:36:50

I'd be devastated if my DH of almost 30 years told me he no longer fancied me, as would he if I said the same to him.
I think it needs further conversation and real, honest communication, otherwise it will tear you apart, she needs to elaborate on what she actually means.
Is she menopausal / past the menopause? It can be an awful time for some women and it can really affect their sexuality, but I do agree that she was cruel to say what she did.

Kundry Sat 24-Nov-12 13:05:17

The good bit was that you felt able to talk to her and she felt able to answer you, however her answer was obviously devastating.

But withdrawing is only going to make things worse, you need to talk to her again, let her know how devastated you feel and that you want to improve things.

At the moment it sounds like she has checked out and is getting things her way with no concept or care about how unhappy you are or what effect she has on you. This isn't fair on you. She can't just drop a bombshell like that and expect to carry on as before.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 24-Nov-12 13:13:10

"it just seems odd that my wife doesnt seem bothered enough to say anything."

The clicheed phrase for that kind of behaviour is 'checking out emotionally'. People in long-term relationships can find their sex-drive wanes but most, once conscious that this was having a negative effect on their partner, would at least acknowledge the problem and/or try to find a way to compensate or remain affectionate. When someone is conscious that their behaviour is hurting their partner, isn't bothered enough to discuss a solution but instead lands the old 'I don't fancy you any more' sock on the jaw ....that is a different class of problem entirely. When one partner is 'contented' and the other is very upset but just expected to suck it up and not make a fuss it smacks of 'I'm all right Jack'.... i.e. not fair at all.

UsedToBeAContender Sat 24-Nov-12 13:16:47

I absolutely agree Kundry. I didn't just tell my husband what I was feeling and then say "anyway, fancy a cuppa?" like nothing had happened. I accepted that he felt hurt, angry and also had a point of view about what my issues with him were. Some of them I accepted and others I didn't.

I wasn't suggesting that you weren't communicating OP, just trying to say that from the other point of view, it can be equally terrifying. She does need to elaborate and you can talk about what has caused this change of feeling.

Then, you MUST try to find a way to move forward from it. My DH and I had got stuck in a cycle of me just being quietly resentful and angry with him and him trying to ignore it. Once it was all out in the open we worked towards me trying to let some of my anger go and start thinking about moving on. Obviously your situation is different OP but same idea.

Charbon Sat 24-Nov-12 13:17:36

A statement like this, when it is not followed up with any explanation or reassurance, conveys that someone has checked out of the relationship and has lost all empathy for a partner and the hurt caused by those words.

It's difficult to advise without knowing the entire context, but there are a few scenarios I can imagine that would have produced this response:

It could be that she is interested in someone else and is either having an affair or wants to. However for it to be this, you would have normally noticed a definite change in behaviour. Less empathy for you generally, preoccupation, irritability - as well as secrecy and an unusually strong attachment to her phone/laptop.

Alternatively it could be that she has given up because there are longstanding issues in your marriage that seem incapable of resolution, even though she has tried to raise them repeatedly. So the disinvestment has been like a dripping tap and when put on the spot, she finally gave herself permission to own her feelings.

What is beyond doubt is that this is a serious watershed moment in your relationship and you need to get to the bottom of it. It needs proper communication - and not hints in the hope that your wife will notice.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 13:48:50

Thank you for all your comments. I admit to finding hard to actually start up a communication with her on this. I guess I do feel bitter and if I could get out of the depression I feel I would also feel angry. I'll try though.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 14:20:26

I am 99.99% certain that there isnt someone else. Some time ago we did discuss her seeing other men or a man to try to spice up our sex life. But, I always thought that she would prefer me and thats why I felt secure in considering that route. In the event she wouldnt consider reality. Perhaps on reflection she was worried she might fall for another man and since neither of us want to split she didn't let it happen. So I think I need to investigate the 'longstanding issues' idea.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 14:29:41

I should add that these discussions were pretty mutual and it was a real turn on for her. I loved that i found a way to increase her pleasure.

Charbon Sat 24-Nov-12 14:44:46

Cuckold fantasies are often rooted in misogyny and complex attitudes and beliefs about male ownership of women's sexuality. It would be good to question your own attitudes about that and what has shaped them.

However what this shows is that there is permission in your relationship for third parties to enter it. The mistake that people often make is believing that this will have no effect on the relationship or the feelings between a couple for eachother. Sometimes it won't but more often it will. It's a risk that couples often take without knowing what the consequences could be and preparing for them.

B1ueberries Sat 24-Nov-12 15:36:49

Resentment turned me off sex I looked at how everything was set up to suit him. HOw every sacrifice for parenthood had been mine. HOw he earned the money and so considered himself the boss. I had to basically ask for money. I had to negotiate for the reasonable things I wanted. The hours I spent looking after the children were considered worthless (or just weren't considered). I looked at him, a tall, lean, handsome man to somebody who didn't know him, and I felt physical revulsion .

Not sayin tthat's relevant but who knows? it could be.

Pandrm Sat 24-Nov-12 16:05:47

Probably no blueberries but thank you anyway. My wife does the accounts and holds the purse strings. Money doesn't really interest me but I do earn a good salary so I think I'm doing my bit there.
I do recall when the idea of another man came into our thoughts. I had read somewhere about a woman who unexpectedly to her and her hubby, got incredible excited every time a film with Alan Alda (I think) in. Her hubby went out and bought every film going with him in it and their sex life improved overnight. I told my wife about it and it stemmed from there. Reality was never really a possibility

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