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I am in a sexless marriage and have tried everything but don't want to leave

(55 Posts)
Pandrm Sat 06-Apr-13 11:25:56

Hi. A while back I posted about how my wife of 28 years addmitted she doesn't fancy me anymore. Nothing has changed of course even though I continue to try to do all the right things - including some of the advice given last time ( thank you). However I feel bitter that my wife is witholding sex from me ( actually she would let me her but I don't think it unreasonable to expect her to want me to do it). I have heard people advising women in her situation to 'set their husband free to have a normal loving and sexual partnership. The trouble is this kind of freedom would mean, for me, poverty and misery and the idea of not seeing my children every day tears my heart out. I feel I am heading down into a depression that I am not sure I will get out of, nor will I even want to. I would welcome any helpful thoughts. Phil

liquorice1 Sat 06-Apr-13 12:06:37

I am sorry you are having problems. You're wife may not fancy fancy you but she obviously loves you otherwise she wouldn't still be there have you thought about counselling to help you talk your issues.
Some of my friends have tried dating each other having a bit of fun see how you get on good luck:-)

overmydeadbody Sat 06-Apr-13 12:10:02

That sounds like a really tough situation tbh. Did your DW always feel like this or is it a more recent thing?

Would councelling (for her alone as well as for you both as a couple) be worth considering if you both want to keep the marriage together and love each other?

I'm sorry I have no useful advice.

HellesBelles396 Sat 06-Apr-13 12:12:15

It sounds like you have three choices:

stay in the marriage on your wife's terms, accepting that she doesn't want sex and that this means you will not have sex from now on.

stay in the marriage and continue to hope your wife will change her mind which could result in you resenting each other and souring the home life of your children.

end the marriage and accept the changes in your lifestyle this will bring but have the opportunity to find a new lover who will want you as much as you want her.

Which would result in the highest chance of happiness for you and your family?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 12:13:26

You're miserable because you know it's a mistake to stay with someone who treats you with contempt and has destroyed your self-esteem. You are choosing to remain in a no-win situation and nothing is more depressing than futility. Why would you be in poverty if you split up? Why is it good for your children to see you every day miserable, bitter and rejected...?

dickiedavisthunderthighs Sat 06-Apr-13 12:22:41

You must both be unhappy; from her pov I can't imagine she's happy being married to someone that she no longer fancies.
Perhaps it's time for a long honest look at both of your futures?
I'm sorry, this must be so tough.

Pandrm Sat 06-Apr-13 13:24:00

Thank you for your thoughts. It helps to receive some empathy for both our situations. I feel the word poverty might be too strong but what I meant was that we could not afford another home and I am not prepared to see my children or my wife suffer in terms of their living standards. I have thought of a cheap caravan or canal boat as an option.Cogito I dont actually feel she treats me with contempt exactly. I am sure if she were voicing her views on here her story might sound quite different.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Sat 06-Apr-13 13:28:19

Would she be happy for you to look elsewhere for sex? If I was in a position where I couldn't or wouldn't have sex with my DH I would think it only fair if he needed to fulfill those needs with somebody else

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 14:08:07

I don't understand all this mea culpa sackcloth and ashes thing. Have you done something terrible that you're not owning up to? Do you feel responsible for the situation? Do you feel you deserve to be told that the person who is supposed to love you doesn't fancy you any more?.... Do you think others would agree?

People grow apart for all kinds of reasons and the divorce laws exists to attempt to make the separation process as fair as possible. If your children had to live in two smaller houses... sharing their time between you and their mother, both happily single ... how would they be 'suffering' any more than living under one roof with two people who are unhappy with each other?

Pandrm Sat 06-Apr-13 14:21:14

As far as I can see ' as fair as possible' seems to mean seeing my children once every two weekends. Or at least that is what happened to two men I know and they similarly had done nothing to cause the split toher than growing apart. No I havent done anything terrible at all. In fact I have half a suspicion that if I had been more of a naughty boy I would appear more attractive - at least thats how it seems to be. Maytheodds yes she did suggest that I find someone to fulfill my needs but I have a suspicion it was more of a tes than a heartfelt offer. In truth I think she does feel very guilty that she doesnt want sex.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 06-Apr-13 14:29:58


There is no magic choice for you. All of your choices involve giving something up.

Your DW isn't "withholding" sex if she doesn't want to have it - you say yourself you want her to want you.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 06-Apr-13 14:32:09

Op it is possible to have 50:50 residence. Could you find somewhere to live near enough for a arrangement like this?

AnnieLobeseder Sat 06-Apr-13 14:36:48

That's a very tough situation you're in, and I sympathise. Does you wife work? Because you should both be able to afford a smaller place of your own each if you both have jobs. If the relationship has run its course, there's little point in prolonging the inevitable.

If she doesn't work because she was supporting your career and looking after the children, the situation is a little more complicated.

The only thing I can suggest is that you seek both counselling and the advice of a solicitor, to make sure you are both absolutely aware of each other's expectations and understanding of your relationship, and your future options.

I feel there's little benefit to you, your wife or your children to just carry on in your current situation. It's not fair on you and the children won't be seeing a healthy model of how relationships should be.

Good luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 14:39:10

Rather than making assumptions based on what happens with other men (whose situation you probably don't know 100%), why don't you find out what would apply to you specifically? 50/50 care is the aim these days and many people achieve precisely that if they remain amicable and flexible. Similarly with the issues of accommodation and finance. The idea is not that the marriage breaks down, exH lives in a cardboard box panhandling for coppers whilst the exW and DCs are completely unaffected materially. No solicitor would seriously recommend that course of action as it would be palpably unfair... and besides which, if you are living in a cardboard box, your DCs wouldn't have anywhere to sleep when they come to visit.

Just because you have a bad marriage, doesn't mean you couldn't project manage a great split.

Floralnomad Sat 06-Apr-13 14:42:48

If you don't mind me asking how old are your children? In your OP you say your wife of 28 yrs ,or did you mean your wife who is 28 ? if your children are older they may choose to live with you if you separate.

Juniperdewdropofbrandy Sat 06-Apr-13 14:43:15

I split from my exdh for the exact same reason, but he'd never been interested. He's not interested in anyone though but I think he may have other tendencies that he's suppressed? In fact I know. We're still good friends and the dcs are very happy.

How I did it was shared care. We split having them half way. Now I've moved almost 30 miles away he has them every weekend.

I do what's best for the dcs and it's worked out well. They're very happy. DS2 was only about 6 when I left he took it worse but he's now happier than he ever was before.

How old are your dcs?

Pandrm Sat 06-Apr-13 14:46:47

To be honest I think the children - although at 16, 18 and 21 they are more than that- are unaware of our problems in the sex department. We dont argue and have a good relationship generally. Apart from me looking miserable, which I think everyone ( including my wife most of the time) thinks is due to the stress of my job. I have tried to explain how important sex is to me but I really don't think she understands. I guess if you are not really into sex you wouldn't think it that important would you?

Pandrm Sat 06-Apr-13 14:49:14

And also, am I not being selfish to place ssex above everything else?

Floralnomad Sat 06-Apr-13 14:51:58

If I were you and she isn't prepared to change her mind I'd leave ,your kids are old ,they'll see you when they want to or live with you if they choose and TBH with their ages you should be able to reach an amicable financial settlement . If you had small children I could see why you would stay but not with kids that age and also if you do leave make sure the children know why . You've hopefully a long life left ahead of you don't spend it being unhappy .

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 06-Apr-13 14:52:52

Um, if your kids are those ages, then they would be able to see both parents more or less as they want, surely? Do they all still live at home?

Anonymousesqueak Sat 06-Apr-13 14:53:41

I was in the same situation; my DH and I had a sexless marriage for seven years. He is so very lovely and we were so well-suited in other ways that it just seemed so silly to break up over it. Yet in the end the intimacy and close communication of having loving sex with your partner is such an important, human thing to want and need.

DH simply had no libido and didn't fancy me or anyone else. He was loving and kind and such a decent person.

We ended up having an open relationship for a couple of years but it was a bit of a nightmare. Although I met a nice man, to be honest 'sex for the sake of sex' is really not the same as loving sex in a committed relationship (for me anyway) so ultimately it wasn't really satisfying and DH missed the time we could have been spending together.

However I simply could not live in a sexless marriage and eventually I decided it would be better for it to end as we were fundamentally incompatible and I wanted to be free to find a relationship that included a sexual element as well as long-term commitment (I haven't found this yet but I do feel better about being available to meet the right person should they come along). Going without sex and physical love is quite soul-destroying. I know it feels selfish to think 'I want sex', but actually it is really IMPORTANT and human. You have got to address the issue.

Have you considered counselling? You can specifically get sex therapy, but I would recommend having some general relationship counselling first to address the overall situation and think about whether sex therapy would help your situation.

Open relationships do work for some people, although they didn't for us, and at least this is an honest way of addressing the issue. Would your wife consider allowing you to sleep with other people, with certain rules about how this would be managed? Should this work well for you (and I would say that absolute honesty and trust is ESSENTIAL or it isn't worth even considering) it can be a solution of sorts.

My biggest question for you is - what does your wife want from the relationship? Where does she see it going? I'm curious, because she's admitted that she doesn't fancy you, so it sounds like you've had some discussion.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 06-Apr-13 14:55:25

Thing is, Pandrm, she can understand how important it is to you without that giving her the desire to have sex. I might understand that my DH likes eating vindaloo - I wouldn't eat one though as my body (taste buds, stomach) would not let me. Does that make sense?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 14:55:27

It's not selfish to want affection in a marriage. If you don't have affection, all you've got really is a room-mate. Some people are OK with that and others aren't. Some think it's unrealistic to expect sex after 40 and others are normal. I really do think your DCs are old enough to be talked to honestly about the state of play. You don't have to go into gory details but I think if you presented the possibility of a split (or house-move or other adjustment in living standards) they'd be supportive.... unless they're horrendously spoiled, materialistic and selfish that is.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 06-Apr-13 14:57:31

Btw, how long has this been going on?

Lovemynailstoday Sat 06-Apr-13 14:58:30

Lots of good advice here-- but personally I would draw the line at discussing my sex life with my kids. They really don't need to know that.

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