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Leaving a sexless marriage

(45 Posts)
plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 09:57:22

No it isn't medical (he has had testosterone levels checked) or work/stress related he just has no sex drive. We have been married 15 years and sex has always been very low priority for him and for years I threw myself at him and we managed a pretty normal if not mundane sex life.

The last 5 years it changed where he would reject me if I made any advances until I got the hint and just stopped trying. He says he loves me, our life is pretty good, he works extremely hard as do I, but, it's just not a marriage.

I have recently tried to get him to talk and realise how unhappy I am, I feel ugly, old and now the growing bitterness and resentment towards him is making me feel quite ill at time. He again reassures me that he loves me, sex just isn't important.

I now find myself wondering whether to leave and start again. I do love him and even thinking of leaving fills me with panic, but, can I live the rest of my life without sex? I don't think I can. Am I selfish? If I was a man and left my wife because of lack of sex I would be a twat wouldn't I?

It is a very lonely problem, there is no one in RL that I can talk to, I have stopped going out with a group friends as conversation always turns to how they are sick of their DH groping/pestering/needing sex (lighthearted) I sit with a fixed grin wanting to die or cry or scream at them that they don't know how lucky they are to be wanted. I tried once to speak to a close friend and all she could say was how lucky I was not to be pestered for sex and how she couldn't make a cup of tea without her DH kissing her neck.

Sorry for the ramble I just need to vent, I fell so isolated.sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 10:22:17

I don't think deciding you've had enough after five years of constant rejection makes anyone a twat, regardless of gender. Personally, I think 'sex' (in the clinical sense) is not quite as important as the more general physical affection.. hand-holding, kisses, hugs etc. When sex wanes occasionally, couples can keep going and not feel 'old, ugly and bitter' provided there is affection, but if you're getting neither then it's downright depressing. That you say you feel isolated means it's having a very negative effect and I think something has to give.

There are lots of men in my life that I love dearly and who love me. But we don't have a physical relationship.. they're friends. That's what you've got, a friend and not a husband. You could still be friends even if you weren't married...

hookedonchoc Wed 19-Mar-14 10:25:58

No you are not being selfish. If both of you are healthy there is no reason you should be expected to live without sex. If he won't talk about it or accept it is a problem, he is the selfish one. It is a problem which profoundly affects his dw who he claims to love, why would he not want to get help?

I'm not saying anyone should have sex when they don't want to, simply that to shut down and say never again leaves you only 2 unpleasant choices - go without or go elsewhere. It is a choice he has forced on you, imo you cannot be blamed for taking either option. So sorry for you, 5 years is far too long yiur self esteem must be on the floor

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 10:42:43

I have no self esteem and think this is why I am so scared to leave. I hate who I have become, I used to be so confident now I feel anxious for the most ridiculous of things. It's stupid but I feel I'm been judged by people on how I look, what I'm wearing, what I say. It's far easier to stay in the house and not put myself through it.

madeupstuff Wed 19-Mar-14 10:48:48

Do you know how would he feel if you had sex/intimacy elsewhere?

I'm in a situation a bit like that and my DP suggested that I could/should have sex with someone else. I've started that journey (but nothing has happened yet).

Oddly the mood in the house has lifted - she says that it's like she no longer feels responsible for my sexual wellbeing.

have a read of

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 11:34:00

I think the last thing someone with low self-esteem and low confidence needs is advice to start having affairs... hmm They'll only end up feeing cheap and tacky on top of everything else.

OP do you and your husband have any kind of physical affection or - despite insisting he loves you - do you feel completely unloveable?

madeupstuff Wed 19-Mar-14 11:38:17

That wasn't intended to be advice - sorry.

If something is done openly, with consent and everyone feels good and, most importantly, nobody gets hurt - is that a problem?

Not intending to derail thread - if this isn't the right thing then just ignore

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 11:42:38

It would be a problem to add 'guilt' to the burden of someone who is having severe confidence issues, isolating themselves and feeling anxious and depressed.

breaking2bad Wed 19-Mar-14 11:49:14

Not quite the same but my last year of marriage was sexless (because it turns out he was shagging someone else but that's a different story). I faced the daily feeling of rejection. My husband never held my hand, kissed me or anything. I cried myself to sleep every night as I felt rejected, ugly and my self esteem plummeted. He'd never had much of a sex drive but when it was no sex drive it killed me - that feeling of not being desired broke me. I don't think that sex is a massive factor in relationships but intimacy is. If you don't feel desired as a woman/lover - only seen as a wife/mother it can mess with you. Now single I've realised that sex actually means more to me than I thought it did. You don't need to feel guilty in the slightest. I think in situations like this when both people aren't willing to compromise - as in why should he not have sex because he doesn't want it kind of thing - will always end in resentment

madeupstuff Wed 19-Mar-14 11:54:14

Yes, you'd need to be able to do this guilt-free. Maybe 'consent' wasn't the right word. It would need to be discussed until everyone was happy.

If this is simply (ha!, simply) a sexless marriage where everything is good other than the sex (and re-reading OP makes me think that might not actually be the case) then 'outsourcing' the sex could work.

madeupstuff Wed 19-Mar-14 11:55:45

(Wasn't planning on this conversation on MN today)

cherrytree63 Wed 19-Mar-14 12:08:55

OP...I am in a similar position. In the beginning we were at it constantly, then overnight he lost his libido.
Don't want to clog up your thread with my lifestory but...
After ten years I had a 3 month EA, but at the end of it we had sex, twice.
I ended it, and told my DP, although he had no idea so I could have just kept quiet. But I wanted to be honest to give him the choice, to work on the probldm, or leave.
He has done neither.
My selfish behaviour hurt all three of us, and I can't forgive myself for my behaviour.
Sex outside of the relationship is not a solution IMHO.

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 12:12:31

An affair or open relationship wouldn't work for me or for DH.

I don't feel there is a way back to an intimate relationship now, if anything I think it would feel awkward. He doesn't show my much affection at all, we could go weeks when he would only touch me (brush my arm or touch my leg) by accident then apoligise. I feel that I repulse him, if I'm dressing or in the shower and he comes in the room he would back out or overt his eyes and again apoligise. I am only 9 stone and exercise, my body is squidgy but I know I'm not fat, although I am heavier than when we met, I often wonder if its my body he hates.

cogito that is exactly how I feel, unlovable.

TheOrchardKeeper Wed 19-Mar-14 12:19:42

Oh god that sounds horrid. You know it's not you though, right? I'm sure it feels that way but it really isn't. No affection for months? Even a hand hold or a hand on the shoulder etc?

I bet your self esteem/anxiety/feelings of rejection would greatly improve if you were to leave this relationship behind you. Good luck thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 12:19:51

What you're describing is desperately sad. He sounds incredibly repressed if he averts his eyes and you've been married 15 years! Any background of a religion that is anti 'joys of the flesh?' A repressed family (or conversely a sexually voracious family)? Does he show any kind of sexuality in other aspects of life? Would he ever make a remark about the looks of someone on TV, for example? Any interest in porn? Long shot.... could he be confused about about his sexuality? (I've known three quite ordinary married men who subsequently declared themselves to be gay so nothing surprises me any more)

oldwomaninashoe Wed 19-Mar-14 12:22:25

My first husband wasn't interested in sex, I was young and decided that I must be the ugliest most undesirable grossest woman on the planet, he had indicated to me he was a red blooded male, it was obvious I was not good/attractive enough.
It shattered me, we parted.
You cannot live like this it will destroy your self esteem.
The feeling of amazement the first time a man showed attraction towards me after our separation, was the beginning of my recovery.

Don't underestimate the damage that this relationship is doing to you, get out now and look forward to feeling like a desirable woman again

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 12:29:04

No him family are pretty standard, FIL a bit crued MIL giggles at anything sexual. I have asked him if is gay or even confused in a non accusatory way but he says not. No porn as far as I know, he is rarely on the laptop or alone in the house, he could access it on his phone but again I doubt this as he is around us most of the time. People would find it hard to believe, he is a very blokes bloke, works in a very male bravado environment, I just don't know what to do. Is leaving an option? He is a nice man, I know I would be massively blamed for the breakdown in the relationship from all around us including my DCs, I couldn't tell them the truth.

Boobz Wed 19-Mar-14 12:30:48

Will you be ok if she looks elsewhere too madeupstuff?

TenThousandThings Wed 19-Mar-14 12:34:24

OP. I would focus on whether something had changed at the start of the last five years (assuming you felt reasonably OK before) and think if there was a trigger for the change in behaviour.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 12:39:00

'Is leaving an option?'

Ending a relationship is always an option when there is some fundamental incompatibility that is driving a wedge. He can't be happy with things the way they are. You're clearly miserable. Someone has to have the courage to say it out loud that it's not working, what do we do?

wellies Wed 19-Mar-14 12:39:12

I am sorry to read this as it seems to be where dh and I are heading. We've been married 14 years and go through long periods of time (over a year at a time) with no sex and limited affection. He only has sex with me if I ask for it but this in time becomes rather depressing - I would love him to want me - it's just not something he seems to ever think about or want and I reach a point where I can't bring myself to ask and then have sex which feels reluctant on his part. There's been nothing at all in the way of affection since before Christmas and I am worried we're heading towards another year or more with nothing...
It's a very lonely position to be in. I beat myself up daily for being so boring/ugly/fat that he can't bear to be near me sad

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 12:39:20

Ten I don't think there was a change, I think/know it has always been low priority, I think he just stopped the pretense and my self esteem wasn't up to keep trying anymore.

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 12:45:08

cogito I have had that conversation asking if he is happy. He says he is, but why wouldn't he be, he doesn't want sex, he doesn't have it, he is getting all he wants from this relationship.

We rub along happily in the rest of our lives. He loves his job, our DC's are mostly settled and doing well, we have a nice house, financially secure. All the boxed are ticked for him. But I have an extra box excuse the punn that just isn't been ticked.

Papaluigi Wed 19-Mar-14 12:45:52

Sounds grim primrose. I feel that you need to work on your confidence / self-esteem in the first place which of course is hard if you feel constantly rejected. In the first part of your post, you say you've talked and to him he says sex 'just isn't important'....that right there is where you should zone in on, as it is important for you.

can you maybe get him to open up if not to you to a GP or trained therapist? Might be a physical and or mental issue for him.

plasticprimrose Wed 19-Mar-14 12:46:52

Wellies So sorry to hear your going through this aswell. Yes, it is a very lonely position to be in.

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