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

(52 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

Anonymousesqueak Sat 06-Apr-13 14:59:55

No no no - it's not selfish AT ALL! I spent such a long time telling myself this. I was so stressed out and unhappy, yet felt that my feeling were ridiculous and selfish. They weren't.

If you don't believe me (and I didn't believe me) check out all of the major religious texts. The Quran, the Bible, the Torah - all place emphasis on the importance of physical love in a marriage. It's clearly important.

There is a strong link between mind and body and being able to express love in a physical way is important. I was so shocked - over the years I had put on quite a bit of excess weight, and when I finally ended the marriage, the weight literally dropped off. My whole sense of myself as a physical being was transformed - somebody might actually desire me, and want to be with me. I was a body as well as a brain.

The only thing I am sorry about is that my XH and I didn't have counselling while we were still together. I wish we'd given it every chance to work, and I think counselling is a very valuable way of having some structured communication (in a safe space) about the issues and the needs that both of you have.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 15:00:52

I wasn't suggesting discussing sex-lives smile But I think young adults are quite capable of processing 'Mum and Dad haven't been happy for some time and are going to split...'

Floralnomad Sat 06-Apr-13 15:02:21

I disagree with not telling the kids ,you don't need to go into detail but they will want to know why you're splitting and are old enough to not be lied to .

Darkesteyes Sat 06-Apr-13 15:05:37

OP i am in a very similar situation to you. I have to go out now so havent got time to write a long post so im linking in an article i wrote about it for another website.
Im really sorry if it upsets anyone. Its not my intention but i was very upset when i wrote it. I can understand the bitterness that you feel.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 15:05:42

I actually have a friend in a similar situation to the OP. One DS at uni, a DD who has just finished A-levels and another doing GCSEs. He and his DW clearly don't get along and his main concerns for not suggesting a split are a) she'll bust his chops financially and b) he won't see the kids. But as the DCs all grow up and move on, he's realising that he doesn't really matter to them and it's just him and DW locked in this death-dance ad infinitum.... he's also pretty miserable.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 06-Apr-13 15:06:22

Thing is and we have been together for 25 years, married for 22, sex is only part of a truly loving relationship and friendship. We have been in a phase where it doesn't happen often but that suits us both - we both have stressful jobs and fall into bed exhausted too often; but we still have a hug and a cuddle every day. I think if the friendship and the love have gone as well as the sex then perhaps the marriage is ending but for as long as there is companionship and mutual respect then surely a compromise can be reached. Also, your DC are in fact almost grown and I don't see why you should be far off both having a flat rather than a family home if the worst comes to the worst.

I couldn't imagine being with anyone but my DH but that doesn't stop me telling him not to even think about getting randy if he doesn't take his socks off and have a quick shave.

Darkesteyes Sat 06-Apr-13 15:07:54

Anonymouse i comfort eat sometimes too. i am looking into starting a salsa class soon if i can find the confidence to go.

Anonymousesqueak Sat 06-Apr-13 15:11:25

Darkesteyes, I love swimming (the feeling of weightlessness is great!) and yoga felt great too.

juneau Sat 06-Apr-13 15:13:15

You are not being unreasonable to want to be in a sexual relationship with your partner. However, it sounds like that is not going to happen while you remain with your DW as she clearly doesn't want to have sex with you. You need to accept that. Have some counselling if you feel you need it, or and see your GP for some anti-depressants, but the facts are what they are. Sorry, that all sounds harsh, but I remember your previous post when you came on here and said the exact same things and nothing has changed. You need to make changes if you want things to improve in your life sex-wise.

So, from what you've said, it sounds like you need to separate. There will be a sensible and happy solution to this, although I understand how hard it is for you to see that at the moment. Please go and see a solicitor, as a starting point. An initial half-hour consultation is usually free. People split up all the time and make new lives for themselves, even when it initially appears impossible. Set yourself free. You're wasting your life in this relationship that doesn't give you what you want and need.

You say you want to have as much access to your DC as possible. As two of them are already adults I suspect that they'll get to decide how much time they spend with each parent and when, so it will be up to all of you to agree about that - but it may well be a flexible arrangement - given their ages.

juneau Sat 06-Apr-13 15:15:43

The other alternatives, of course, are to stay and accept your lot in life or take your DW at her word and find yourself a sex partner. Maybe it will be okay, maybe it will precipitate your separation. But those are your choices.

SybilRamkin Sat 06-Apr-13 15:51:02

OP, I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds very upsetting and difficult to live with.

I disagree with those posters who suggest leaving your wife straight away - presumably you had a healthy sex life at some point? How long has this been going on?

You need to have an honest discussion with your wife about what it is that's made her feel this way. She might not know, but then again there might be a reason. Have either you or she changed a great deal physically? Has there been some major life event (e.g. menopause, emotional trauma)?

I would suggest you get couples' counselling as a matter of urgency. Have a look at Relate:

Finally, I wish you and your wife all the best, I hope you can work this out between you without resorting to splitting up the family.

They're old enough to cope and who wants a miserable parent?

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 09:21:07

Thanks for your thoughts. Sybil yes it was better years ago, probably per children, but was best when we were 'courting' - I suppose like many other couples. I have looked at relate but their charges seem very high and I did ask my wife if she would come but she didn't want to.

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 16:08:45

my h didnt want counselling either. With me its not just the sex itself that i miss. Its the intimacy surrounding it that goes too. Things like somone just kissing the back of your neck while you are washing up.
Or tenderly stroking your face.
Or just a hug. In my case there is no affection either. Its a lonely place to be.

CrispyHedgeHog Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:38

Can I ask you something? does she have a mirena coil?

The reason for that is because I had one for years, thought it was the best thing ever then had a year off from it when my sex drive went through the roof and now I've got a mirena back in I just have no interest again.. could it be something like that?

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 17:21:13

No Crispy she doesnt. Goes a long time this. I told her I had posted on here to get thoughts and there is something I havent mentioned that she asked whether I had. She thinks it is wrong not to give you the full picture. I agree but actually dont think its relevant as the problem existed many years before what i am about to tell you.
About three years ago we jsut happened to be chatting during a rare lovemaking session about other men. I asked her whether she fancied any of them. The long and short was that she ended up having 6 or 7 orgasms. Since then this has been a particular theme for msot of our sex sessions and always with the same result for her. In the last two years I have talked to her about the idea of making this real and we have joined a swingers site to find out more. So far nothing has happened and she says she doesnt want another man for real, but the other man, or men, thing is still part of our lovemaking. After sex she always says never for real.
When I mentioned mumsnet she seemed to imply that she has withdrawn from sex because of this but i know for a fact that our sex life was very infrequent for years before this fantasy arrived. She says its more my fantasy than hers - I laughed and said I only cum once you cum 6 times !!! Anyway I thought I would fill you in on this part of our relationship.

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 17:37:28

In your latest post you have put that the other men fantasy is still part of your lovemaking but you have called the thread "i am in a sexless marriage and have tried everything but i dont want to leave"

I dont mean to be nasty but me and others like me who actually are in this situation for real and have been for many years would say that you are NOT in a sexless marriage OP.
You have no idea. I think your OP has been very misleading.

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 17:45:47

I understand sexless to be 'defined'as less frequently than 10 times per year. We have had sex no more than 12 times in the last two years. Sorry if the ideas seem in conflict. I was persuing the 'other man' idea to try to find a way to help my wife become more sexually active. Thats all, a means to what could have been a good end for her and me

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 17:53:52

when I referred to ' still part of our lovemaking' that is NOT to say that we have a regular lovemaking pattern because we definatelydo not. Apart from that, as in your previous post, its not just the sex is it. It is the ongoing intimacy and touching that says in a continuous way , ' I love you and want you'

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 17:58:13

TBH OP once every 2 months for sex with 3 teens in the house (I assume) isn't that bad. I've been married 29 years and our rate is not much better than that- due to illness and work etc over the last year.

Not sure how old your wife is but after 28 years with you she must be 50-ish. Is the menopause and physical symptoms such as dryness affecting her enthusiasm? Her libido may have gone crashing through the floor with a drop in hormones.

If she can only have an orgasm while thinking of other men, then it appears to show she doesn't get turned on by you- but again you may find this is par for the course with lots of 50-somethings. Just like men sometimes need more visual and physical stimulation as they get older, women might need more fantasy.

or are you saying she doesn't rate/want sex unless she has an orgasm?

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 18:31:14

Thanks Lazy. Perhaps I am making too much of it and we are perfectly normal. If thats the case its me that has the problem I guess. I did once ask the doc for something to reduce my libido. He said ," I can give you both something to raise your libidos, but there isnt anything to reduce it!". Ah well, maybe I should put up and shut up. Thanks for all your input and best wishes to you all.

BIWI Sun 07-Apr-13 18:33:43

Well, to me the word 'sexless' implies that you aren't having any sex at all, so your OP was a tad misleading.

Do you actually talk to your wife about this, and about how it makes you feel? Or are you just silently brooding and seething?

Spero Sun 07-Apr-13 18:36:34

Given the ages of your children, the alternate weekend contact scenario has no relevance to you - the court is highly unlikely to make any orders relating to children over 16. Your children will make their own decisions about how and when they see you.

If it were me, I would rather be living on my own in a boat or bedsit than with someone who didn't love me in the way I needed and wanted to be loved. Otherwise I know the bitterness and resentment would sooner or later eat me alive.

But that's me. I don't know what you value more in life. If you like the lifestyle you have together and don't want to lose it, then you may have a different view.

Pandrm Sun 07-Apr-13 18:38:10

I have read on numerous sites a 'definition' of sexless and the general consensus is that less than 10 times per year is regarded as sexless, though particularly when one partner has a significantly differing need for sexual fulfilment. It was on this premise that the thread was posted. Yes of course we talk about it and my wife is aware how it makes me feel. At the same time I have no desire to load her with guilt so I do try to take some of the resposibility.

lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 18:46:04

I've read the definition of sexless which is just someone's definition- it's meaningless I think really. I know couples who have sex once a month and they are both happy- and would not say their marriages were sexless. ( 12 times a year rather than this 10 times which is quoted.)
I have a friend where they have not had sex for 11 years- nothing- nada. That IS sexless and they are on the way to divorce.

There is no such thing as normal- it's what works for you and your OH. That might be once a year or once a day. But for people your/our age I doubt if many are much more active than once a week or once a fortnight from what I have heard.

You haven't replied to my suggestion about your wife's hormones- is this something she shares with you? Is she post menopause? How old is she?

Yours is not really a sexless marriage as one where you have mis matched libidos. it's up to you to work out with her whether this is down to psychological reasons- she resents something you do or don't do- or simply the physical chemistry has gone and will never- for her- come back.

have you had this type of conversation rather than just one about 'I want sex and you don't'?

You could try counselling alone- give you the chance to talk.

If there is NO hope and your wife cannot see your hurt- you must feel rejected- then either you shut up and put up- or you separate.

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