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Marriage crumbling - advice needed please

(60 Posts)
DesperateDH Fri 12-Apr-13 13:23:44


I've lurked here for a little while looking for advice but finally plucked up the courage to ask. I have a couple of very close friends to talk to, but their mutual and I would like some objective (and preferably female) guidance.

The situation is this:

I am a 45yr old man. I have been married to my wife for almost 23 years. We have two beautiful children (7 & 5) who mean everything to me.

I find myself becoming ever more sad (and feeling lonely) as the days, weeks and years pass. I feel like I am no longer required in the relationship - just here to provide a home and money.

Before we were married, we had a fabulous relationship. Loving, mutual respect, shared interests and a decent physical side.

After we were married, there was an almost instant stop to the physical part of our relationship (it was 3 weeks before we consummated our marriage). The rest of the relationship remained strong - we laughed together and still deeply loved each other.

Fast-forward to our mid 30s. The relationship is still pretty good but the physical side is almost non-existent. My wife just isn't interested and has never once initiated any intimacy. I try to talk about this as it's creating a strain (on me) - my wife doesn't think it's the most important part of a relationship (for her, fair enough).

Still in our mid-30's, the biological alarm-clock goes off and my wife is terrified of being too old to have children so, when at the correct time of the calendar, we have more sex than we've ever had in our previous 13 years of marriage. For me, though, it's mechanical, functional and not particularly pleasurable. We are successful though and are blessed with a beautiful daughter and a son 18 months later.

We're both now in our 40s and our son is approaching 6 years old - his conception was the last time we had sex. There have been two "fumblings" since, but my wife lost interest. I know this may sound a bit selfish, but in our 23 years of marriage, we've had sex 22 times. I have never forced myself on her or asked her to "lie back and think of England".

I don't know whether it's biological, but I've found myself looking at other women more and more lately. I have never done anything about it and, although I have gone over the scenario again and again in my head, I just could not bring myself to leave my children.

I do love my wife, and I tell her so, but I don't think it's reciprocated.

I just don't know what to do. All I want is a "normal" relationship.


Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 14:12:21

Hi OP i am in a similar situation to you My dh and i have not had sex or affection for 17 years. His choice not mine. I wrote about it anonymously for the moresexdaily website. I will put a link here. I just wanted to say that i know how you feel.

Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 14:14:24

DesperateDH Tue 16-Apr-13 14:37:00

Darkesteyes - thank you for the link. I will have a look when I get home later. I fear the work internet fun police may not like me reading it! smile

MooncupGoddess - You are probably right. I guess I find the thought of life outside of my little family unit absolutely terrifying - as mentioned back at the beginning of this, the thought of not seeing my children every day is unbearable. However, the concept of "'till death do us part" is now becoming more and more frightening. I feel like I'm wasting my life.

TicTacSir Tue 16-Apr-13 17:24:45

And that's exactly the point op. Your life and happiness is just as important - consider these two points:
a) what advice would you give one of your dc's who was locked in a seemingly loveless marriage?
b) you're young enough to leave, meet your soul mate and have a good thirty years of true happiness
I completely, completely understand your reticence to leave your children (as you see it) but it really is no good for any of you to continue in this way. As mentioned earlier (sorry, am on phone, can't scroll up to name poster), your children should see the ins and outs of a happy marriage. The older they get, the more they will realise that it isn't.
I'm hoping you find the courage to ask some of the questions I mentioned earlier.

SeasideStrolls Tue 16-Apr-13 18:36:16


I empathise with you and would like to add to those saying you could well be happier apart.

I was married for 25 years, and our sex life, although no where near as bad as yours, was limited to a handful of times a year and it was very depressing. Like you we met and married young and we were the only partners either of us had had, so v inexperienced. My DW wouldn’t talk about it, didn’t initiate once, or show any interest in understanding any other view points. I was once told I was more like a father than a lover. I am sure all that contributed to the difficulties between us and we separated 3 years ago. The irony was that one thing she said when we separated was that she hadn’t felt ‘desired’. In truth by that time I had given up but because of our limited experience I had never wanted to upset her and had no idea how to turn things around. I suspect you are similar, given your statement that it took 3 weeks to consummate the marriage, which is unusual, at best!

So…I am now in my second relationship since separating and I can honestly say that in both I felt like I have come alive. Those feelings and experiences I thought I should have been having for all those years have all come together but the most amazing thing is that I can talk to my partner about all of it – good, bad or anything else. We share an approach, an outlook, that was definitely not there before.

I always hoped that my DW would find someone who would make her happy and complete, as I felt I couldn’t, but in the several relationships she has had she has not really experienced this. I know this because we got together again for a while last year (pre current partner) because there was still a lot of love there, and she told me quite a bit, but it served to show me how different we were, and made me realise that we (and probably many others) stayed married because, well, ‘you should because you made the vows’. So although I love her I didn’t feel we were well suited to live together.

So in summary to this epic (sorry!) post although I was unhappy about separating at the time these is no doubt it was the right thing to do. And you can have a life – and in reality I am not just talking about sex. Even though your DCs are younger than mine from what I have seen here you will still have your relationship with them. It is waiting for you, either through your DW choosing to change, or you choosing to end the marriage.

Good luck.

welcometomysillylife Tue 16-Apr-13 18:52:42

She is not going to change is she? You know that. I would say counselling would be a complete waste of money. It won't give her a sex drive. The title of your post says it all. I think the only option you have is to leave and have the chance of happiness with someone else.

Deffodil Tue 16-Apr-13 21:08:20

Stop looking at your relationship with your wife,and look at her relationship with your children. If she's as detached from them as from you,she has to stop taking the anti-depressants. You say that she can be the life and soul at social events. She's living in a fake bubble,and must start to feel real again,before you get to the truth.

Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 21:51:19

Yet during jokey conversations with our friends, full of innuendo and general naughtiness, she's happy to participate and even hints that we have a great sex life. I had to leave the room on one recent occasion, I was so cross.

Op i experienced this years ago. Its extremely manipulative of people to do this and it is done so that people in situations like this wont be believed if they confide in anyone.

Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 22:05:02

My H is on anti depressants and has been since 1969.
We met in 1992 when i was almost 19 and he was 42. We did have a sex life for 4 years (although it was just basic penetration) but it stopped when i was 23.
I comfort ate after that and got up to 21 stone After losing 10 stone in 2002/03 i had an affair which lasted for 4 and a half years.
When that ended in early 2008 i went back to comfort eating. Am now losing weight but its a lot harder this time.
Food is the only pleasure i get out of life. And because the sex i had with DH was so basic pre affair, back then i didnt know what i was missing out on.
Now post affair i know EXACTLY what im missing out on which caused me to comfort eat really badly.
I started to get a grip on this just after Easter. Ive bloody got to for the sake of my health.
Sorry Op Didnt mean to hijack.

forumdonkey Tue 16-Apr-13 23:20:09

hi op
I'm sorry if my post sounded crass, I did say I would be blunt but never intended it to be insensitive - I wanted to speak from my own experience.

Tell your wife how much you desire her, how attractive you find her etc. It's not about different positions or size, it's all:about making her feeling amazing, sexy, desirable & earth thundering climaxes (which can be achieved without penetrative sex even). Make it all about her pleasure and she will respond in return ( if you manage to get intimate).

I am lucky but it has only come to the place we are now by gradually talking openly without judgement or embarrassment.

My point about my Mr Selfish was highlighted by the disappointing sex but showed that he cared little for my feelings ( it was all about him) and I could never feel as close or open or truly myself as with my Mr Amazing.

We're here for a good time not a long time and this is not a dress rehearsal.

My advice to any man - make your lady feel loved, attractive, sexy and amazing inside the bedroom and out.

And I make no apology for my to the point sex talk as we are all adults and it's a natural part of life.

Good luck x

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