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how to cope in sexless marriage?

(268 Posts)
Jamandcheese Thu 16-Jun-16 03:05:29

Does anyone else have a marriage with no sex? If you do, how do you cope without that intimacy?

We have sex probably once or twice a year. Last June being the last time we had sex. Or kissed properly.

Do you just become used to no sex? Are the hugs and sitting on the couch together enough?

TheNaze73 Thu 16-Jun-16 08:26:31

Once or twice a year, would not be enough in most loving relationships OP. A lot of people, would struggle on that lack of intimacy on a weekly basis.

It's certainly not something I could ever get used to. I'd be questioning it far sooner than that as having sex, is the only thing that is different ultimately in s relationship, that you wouldn't have with a close friend.

Is it just bothering you, or your partner too?

funnylittlefloozie Thu 16-Jun-16 14:13:38

A sexless marriage is horrible. I was in one for 3 years before i bailed. Its really dreadful for both of you, especially if one of you wants sex and the other can't or won't give it. I would walk away.

Mrskeats Thu 16-Jun-16 16:33:39

You don't
It's soul destroying
Why would anyone want to 'cope'?
You get one go at life and it should be better than that

adora1 Thu 16-Jun-16 16:40:15

Cope? Why cope? I sure as hell wouldn't even call it a relationship if there is no intimacy. Fine if both partners are happy without that but you clearly are not, you don't have to stay and suffer OP, you have choices.

puzzledleopard Thu 16-Jun-16 17:01:45

You don't
It's soul destroying
Why would anyone want to 'cope'?
You get one go at life and it should be better than that

Couldn't have said it better than that!

Been on both sides of this and it really is soul destroying and both relationships have been and gone and I am happy in a relationship where we both are on the same page. It wasn't just not having sex but the intimacy on a whole it's about being emotionally close to your partner, saying I love you is easy to say but with intimacy you can show that without words.

SauvignonPlonker Thu 16-Jun-16 18:21:32

By planning your exit.

newtscamander Thu 16-Jun-16 19:09:36

Why don't you try some marriage counselling? Who is the one happy without sex, you or DH?

jerseygal78 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:21:48

I'm struggling with this. Been 18 months. Separate bedrooms. No affection. Got a peck on the cheek xmas eve...apparently it's because I've put on so much weight so it's my fault (I'm a size 14 ffs) I'm considering leaving but terrified of breaking up the family. Considering asking for an open marriage in the interim to see what his response is - not sure how he can refuse and I think it's pretty much doomed anyway...

MeMySonAndl Thu 16-Jun-16 20:23:30

You don't "cope", you acept the marriage is over and prepare to leave.

Boogers Thu 16-Jun-16 20:32:08

In the last 4 years we've had PIV sex about five times, and three of those times have been this year.

I know what our problems are but do you have any underlying issues as to why you haven't had sex? Have you been intimate together (kissing, cuddling, touching, mutual masturbation etc) or is your relationship completely void of intimacy?

Marilynsbigsister Thu 16-Jun-16 21:18:45

It's so difficult. The bottom line is 'are both of you happy that way' ? Plenty of marriages are VERY happy without sex, but it has to be a mutual decision, although those who have celibate marriages through illness or disability don't get much of a 'decision' - more of an understanding.

That said, there is a huge unspoken issue with physical attractiveness that is glossed over when it comes to sex. It's very basic biology that gets ignored in the desperate bid for political correctness.

If you were attracted to your DH because he was slim/clean shaven gym bunny, but over the years became an obese, beardy couch potato, chances are you would not fancy him and would try to avoid sex at all costs.

Same with men. If your DW flicked your switch because she was a curvy size 14/16 who became a macrobiotic vegan obsessed size 8 with hip bones that stuck out at right angles, he may not want to jump your bones with any degree of enthusiasm.

Being physically attractive to your OH is ESSENTIAL to maintaining a good sex life. Looking after ourselves is the best way to keep each other's libidos ticking over long term. Do not, however mistake fancying someone for loving them. It's perfectly possible to love the bones of your OH whilst not fancying them....but as intimacy is the glue that holds it all together, 'love' may not be enough long term. The options then are either to try and recreate what it was about you that your oh fancied originally or accept that it is not possible, end the relationship. ( no one gas to agree to celibacy) and move on, find someone who finds the new you irresistible...

magictorch Thu 16-Jun-16 21:28:12

Watching with interest. 4 and a half years here. Have parcelled away that part of myself as being rejected hurts too much and am too scared to broach the subject and open that can of worms. Are you able to talk to your OH, OP?

cherrypepsimax Thu 16-Jun-16 22:08:08

As pp have said if there's a medical reason I suppose that is different, and Id want to be sure that it has been properly explored by a gp . You've got to talk about it, I know this might be excruciatingly awkward for some couples but otherwise you're bith noticing it and no one is saying anything. If there's no libido from your dh guess you've got to decide if you can live like that or if you want to end things? Even without sex there can still be affection but is that enough for you?

LellyMcKelly Thu 16-Jun-16 22:47:04

I separated after 5 years of no sex. His lack of interest just made me feel so unattractive and that had an impact on so many other parts of my life - how I felt about myself, my confidence, and how I related to other people. I felt like a stereotypical middle aged housewife and mother. When I met someone who was mad about me it made so much difference. I'm happier, more lively and engaged with everything, and life is so much more enjoyable. The simple pleasures of intimacy and sex take the edge off daily stresses and make everything else so much easier to handle. It's so lovely to feel desired and loved.

Pinkerbeller Thu 16-Jun-16 23:03:52

DH has various medical issues that leave us sexless; all fixable but he refuses to see a GP (and actually cheated on a fasting blood test but insists the result is bona fide) so obviously it's all my fault hmm

It's shitty and I'm sick of trying to fix it so I'm looking for an exit which will probably also be sexless but easier on my hard earned self esteem.

Jamandcheese Thu 16-Jun-16 23:21:52

Magictorch parceling away that part of you sounds familiar. I can bury it for a while but then that feeling rears it head. The hurt and sadness.

We had underlying issues that have caused this. Mainly stuff he has done. And we have been to counseling. But we are still in the same position.

We cuddle and hold hands. But I miss that intimacy that you get.

I've always been overweight. And I was when we met. My weight has fluctuated with the kids but that has never caused a problem.

The only time we have sex is when we aren't in the house. For some reason, being at home, he had trouble maintaining his erection. TMI. I know. But when we aren't here, he's fine.

SandyY2K Thu 16-Jun-16 23:35:40

A lot depends on why it's sexless and whether each party wants intimacy.

lovemycatsanddog Mon 03-Jul-17 23:45:43

I have a question, mainly for any men who live in a sexless marriage
Do you and wife/partner still sleep together, how do you cope if so
I have a friend whose wife doesnt want any exual contact,they still sleep together, and he says it doesnt bother him now,its just go to bed and say goodnight, he has been thinking of having an affair
Is it possible to live like this,
I find it hard to believe

lovemycatsanddog Mon 03-Jul-17 23:49:28

Actually hes more of my partners friend,
My partner doesnt believe anyone could live like this,sleeping together
Why dont they have seperate bedrooms,must be easier on the man

Keepithidden Tue 04-Jul-17 05:32:01

lovemycatsanddog - DW and I are like this, we still share a bed, but I head up at 9ish and she goes to bed around 11ish. I try to go early so I can fall asleep before she gets in, otherwise I find it really difficult, emotionally. It normally works.

Separate rooms would be great, but we live in an expensive area and can't afford to move somewhere bigger. I have thought about sleeping in the garage, but then I wouldn't be able to get up and tend to DCs if they woke up.

Unsurewhattod0 Tue 04-Jul-17 05:40:16

Been in this situation. Eventually it led to the breakup of my marriage. I couldn't cope with the contstant rejection, it's just soul destroying. EX even suggested an open marriage but the idea of that also turned my stomach, so a split was the only way both of us could find happiness.

Unsurewhattod0 Tue 04-Jul-17 05:43:07

Male poster btw.

Iris65 Tue 04-Jul-17 05:44:16

I thought that I could cope in my sexless marriage but after 15 years I met someone else. I didn't have an affair but left as soon as I could. We are now divorced and we are still very good friends. He is a lovely guy and would do anything for me except sort out his libido. It turned out that he was asexual.
The effects of being in a sexless marriage when one partner wants sex are well documented and it was very damaging to me in the long run.
I am sorry that you are in this position OP.

thinkiamgoingcrazy Tue 04-Jul-17 06:03:19

Sex only 3 times last year. No affection either. We are on the brink of divorce and this is one of the reasons. There was no discussing anything either.

thinkiamgoingcrazy Tue 04-Jul-17 06:03:59

And yes it was/is soul destroying.

something2say Tue 04-Jul-17 06:18:21

I'm just out of a long term relationship where we didn't have any sex for the last 3 years.

In the end, I changed job from a women only environment to one that's male dominated...and with weeks was fantasizing about another man I'd met. So I went home and broke things up.

I had no idea how vulnerable lack of sex would leave me. What an impact it would have on me. I will never let that happen again. I was afraid to face up to it because we got along ok and I liked our life more or less.

How did others get on when the drought ended?

lovemycatsanddog Tue 04-Jul-17 08:15:02

Thank you all for your replies, not my problem, but just wondered if people did or could sleep in the same bed in a sexless marriage, and if there was any affection at in in the relationship

lovemycatsanddog Tue 04-Jul-17 08:44:16

This man apparently is thinking of having an affair, and has someone in mind that he is attracted to, and it seems she to him, but doesnt want to leave his home, so up to now has put up with the marriage, for an easy life, [he says]
I dont know all the details, he says he didnt leave because of the kids, but they are grown up now
Is it a case of having his cake etc?

ordinaryman Tue 04-Jul-17 09:47:08

@lovemycatsanddog - "I have a question, mainly for any men who live in a sexless marriage
Do you and wife/partner still sleep together, how do you cope if so
I have a friend whose wife doesnt want any exual contact,they still sleep together, and he says it doesnt bother him now,its just go to bed and say goodnight, he has been thinking of having an affair
Is it possible to live like this,
I find it hard to believe"


I find it come sdown to practicalities. As someone else said, it's a non-starter if you don't have a spare room to start with. Then there's what the kids will think / tell there mates. And what to do when you go to stay at parents / in-laws / go on holiday? There you might be faced with no option but the one bed, or have to embarassingly tell all concerned what the real situation is.

It's a real killer going to bed next to the person who is rejecting you each night, but once you get to the stage of separate beds, it's probably better to take the bull by the horns and call it a day altogether.

BubblesBuddy Tue 04-Jul-17 09:56:37

lovemycats. Sounds like my DH. Men are calculating and devious.

Keepithidden Tue 04-Jul-17 10:25:56

Lovemycats - Could be "cake and eating it" the reason I'm staying is the kids. I'll leave when they do, or when financially we can run two homes of sufficient size. I don't think that's devious, pragmatic and cold maybe, but desperate times...

Contentosposa30s Tue 04-Jul-17 11:05:08

I was in a sexless marriage until last year, all of my own doing, not feeling great about myself etc after piling on weight after the big day & taking him for granted. I started eating better & going to fitness classes and I have now lost 2 stone and feel that my new confidence has given me the boost to show my partner how much he does mean to me. We have been together 7 years and married for 2. The positive change in our relationship this past 6 month is amazing. I now feel like I wasted precious time pushing him away for so long.

If you feel there is anything you can to make changes in yourself to build your confidence and make things better then definitely give them a try. We nearly walked away and now were happier than ever. There is a way back if you both want it enough. Date nights etc, reconnect and remember why you fell in love.

Good Luck star

Toutsain Wed 19-Jul-17 07:35:24

I'm in a similar situation. My partner has always suffered from PE and after being on medication for high blood pressure etc has been less and less interested. Having a high sex drive, this has almost driven me to depression - but I have turned it into righteous indignation! I've tried talking, patience, throwing myself into hobbies, yoga, initiating/ begging for sex (!), masturbation... you name it. He won't go to the doctor for help. In the end, he doesn't care enough to make sure I'm sexually/emotionally fulfilled. That is hurtful, but at least I've realised it! So as I am now on the brink of embarking on an affair with a man who wants sex with me - hooray! (taking my first holiday alone to think about it) and having failed to get my husband to talk about this, I'm carefully composing an email to him! Yes, his primary relationship is with his iPhone, and I was starting to go the same way. I even found myself comfort eating. 'Just friends' is definitely not enough for me, after all you only have one chance at life, and you can't find true intimacy with someone who has closed off to you.

Jellybellyqueen Wed 19-Jul-17 07:53:16

Men are calculating and devious.
Yes, they are. And unlikely to leave unless something else is lined up. We're struggling because of things he's done, my reaction on discovery 'caused' his ED, apparently. So I think we're going the same way as you OP, gradually. V depressing, but difficult to see how to turn it around.

Samwis4 Sun 23-Jul-17 22:03:47

Husband here. 4yrs no sex and prior to 2nd conception was 2yrs. My wife loses all desire after childbirth we share a bed and have a fairly happy family life but I have to wait it out or leave and lose everything else that is good in my life. Parenting is hard if only we were there for each other at the end of those hard days.

OctaveDad Sun 23-Jul-17 23:43:16

2 years, even affection, cuddles etc always feel unwelcome/uncomfortable. Words cannot describe how this has knocked my self esteem and body confidence. I need to lose weight, but find it so hard, stress/anxiety/comfort eating and bad habits.

I've given up smoking, caffiene and porn (!), I just need to work on sugar and chocolate bars.... finding that hardest of all.

Being told off, criticised and shouted at a lot isn't helping.... stressful job too. so maybe it works both ways, hard to fancy someone you're scared of...

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 06:32:09

It is really hard to quit sugar, but that has been the best and most effective strategy. Not only losing weight, but also the elimination of mood swings. My tip would be not to have sweet things in the house. Avoid the biscuit and choc aisle at the supermarket and have 'good' snacks to hand everywhere you go. I have oatcakes, salad in a Tupperware box, sweet potato, avocado, hummus and other dips (eg can of beans whizzed up with olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon). Make your own bread or snacking stuff - I use vegan and sugar free recipes. Drink lots and lots of water - often when you feel really hungry you are actually thirsty. Skin, general mood and weight improves dramatically and you can start to see more clearly. Take up yoga, meditate every day...even 5 mins will help. Put your phone away when you're together, and always hug!

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 06:40:45

Useful reading
However, you are at an earlier stage and the advice to cheat or leave would not be so relevant. If you search 'beautiful advice from a divorced man' that has 'marriage rescue' tips, as does Brad Browning's website. I was right at the end of the process and have 'switched off' completely to my husband whose coldness and avoidance of intimacy (and my own critical comments) have destroyed our relationship slowly but surely.

OctaveDad Mon 24-Jul-17 09:36:49

Thanks for the info and advice Toutsain, really encouraging, feeling a bit more positive about it all today.

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 12:57:46

It's really worth listening to each other early on when it starts to go wrong. Especially when you have children. They notice pretty soon when you're not happy, and you want them to have good relationships later on in life. Mine are grown up now but even when they were 3 or 4 they knew instinctively if something wasn't right. Good luck!

FluffyFerrets Mon 24-Jul-17 13:49:26

My own personal experience is I couldn't and wouldn't force myself to cope with it. It's soul destroying and really messed me up for a while. I endured it for around 5 years but in the end I left the relationship because of it. I'd simply had enough.

coconuttella Mon 24-Jul-17 17:08:28


I'm a bit bemused by the difficulty you have with the idea of sleeping In the same bad and not having sex......I don't have a sexless marriage, but then again it's not especially frequent - we have sex 2-3 times each month on average having been together 14 years now. We can both have periods when one is feeling more up for it than the other, yet we manage to sleep in the same bed! I imagine many couples are quite similar. And if I can manage it for a week or so and not explode (mastubation is a wonderful thing!), I would imagine it's no different when managing a few months once you've managed a week... in fact I know it is as there have been periods when we have gone a couple of months without due to illness/newborns etc. I can't imagine there are many long-term couples who both have sex every night they're in bed together!

Samwis4 Mon 24-Jul-17 17:34:50


I don't know that you truly understand a sexless marriage. Imagine if you can that after your dry spell of 3 months you try and have sex but are declined. Imagine again that every advance you make for a year is declined and now imagine that the one person in your life that you love and are attracted to does not want you anymore. Now in this state of rejection and low confidence whilst becoming desperate for attention you still sleep next to the person that you crave to touch.... I can fully see why sleeping next to your partner can be so difficult.

Jemima1967 Mon 24-Jul-17 18:40:58

Sleeping next to a partner who doesn't want sex is agony! My husband has ED but as my counsellor said - that doesn't affect his hands or his mouth!! He could give me sexual pleasure if he chose to. Hell he could even go to the doctors about his ED. He just doesn't care enough about how I feel to bother. Four years ago he said he would "let me know" when he felt like being intimate again. I'm still waiting.....

Floki Fri 28-Jul-17 23:25:43

I must have been effectively sexless for 10 years if not longer now.
Have great kids and whilst she has moments, I'm still attracted to my wife.
She never wants sex. We will cuddle and kiss in bed but it goes no further. Turns away after a time or tells me she is now thinking about work.
Other times, sex is promised (you do this and you can have sex on Friday...) but never given. Yes I crave sex at times but not sure that is the correct approach - you do a job for me and you can have a few moments of pleasure.
All the advice as to non sexual touch, doing chores (I do stacks and always have done), flowers and trying to listen - they don't work.
Being rejected by the one you have forgone others for just eats away. On one hand, perhaps I'm not missing anything but on other, I think I must be and realise I'll get to 80 and think I missed so much.
I can't see anything ever changing. I'm nothing to look at so have to reconcile myself to this. It's not good but the alternative is, well I'm not sure there is one.
I now believe that if I had a stack of lottery cash say, sex would be a given as I could buy all the designer stuff my wife loves and she'd show appreciation by allowing sex. That's the only way it would change.
That it was not that good in any event - you rarely do something so lack practice - just becomes the vicious circle : on rare occasions sex was given, I'd be that useless she'd get annoyed at fact she got nothing out of it. Nothing would please me more if she did but again, can't see that happening soon.

Keepithidden Sat 29-Jul-17 08:20:01

When its done as a duty, out of pity or transactional its crap. I'd rather be celibate.

Its not easy knocking back the annual offering though, the look of disappointment, followed by even further emotional distancing is par for the course in my case. Doesn't seem to stop us working as a good coparenting unit though. At least I don't think it does. Probably just used to it though...

I so hope I'm not damaging DCs.

Floki Sat 29-Jul-17 11:21:49

On the one hand, so sad to see others empathising with posts here but on the other, reassuring to know it's not just me.
I get so frustrated at times. My wife is and can be very affectionate but that's as far as it goes.
We agreed not to have sex before marriage and I just about coped with that. Never would I tell anyone to do that. Feel at times I've been cheated all round.

Forwardsforwards Sat 29-Jul-17 11:42:08

floki - very sad to read your posts.

i left my sexless marriage 2 years ago. it almost destroyed me and still hangs over me.

confidence and esteem shot to pieces. i used to think i was bad for wanting physical and emotional intimacy. now i know i wasn't selfish/greedy whatever and still am not now. if that is what i want, that's me. If he doesn't want it, fine, that's him.

I cried, begged (deeply unsexy i know) did everything i could. i let his rejection of me affect me. now i see it that it wasn't about me. it was him. i got caught in the crossfire.

Our relationship was shit all round. Maybe that makes the difference between wanting and actually working at a solution for both.

Hope everything works out for you and the others on this thread who are upset, hurt, resigned etc.

Ecadia Sat 29-Jul-17 12:01:38

I'm in a similar situation. My partner doesn't want sex with me but will watch porn everyday. We have spoken about this and he says he just doesn't want sex or even think about it. It is slowly destroying my confidence but I don't want to throw away a 6 year relationship that is otherwise ok. We have 4 dc and I don't want to break up our family. So just hoping that one day he does want it again. I've spoken to him about going to the Drs but he refuses. He's only 28 and myself 25 I don't know how long I can carry on with a sexless relationship. The children sleep well so he's not tired. I'm starting to think it's me

Renarde75 Sat 29-Jul-17 12:09:11

Tough so tough. And no, an absolute deal breaker for me.

I am reminded of a situation where an older couple (no kids) had gone for 6 years without sex - even not consummating their marriage. he had ED issues.

Turns out he didn't really have ED issues. he had two affairs and was messaging other women for more.

Option could be to have an open marriage. I know one couple who do this as he isn't as sexual. They have kids together and the arrangement suits them all very nicely. It can be done.

But flowers cos it sucks.

Renarde75 Sat 29-Jul-17 12:13:39

But what I would say is don't be like the first woman in the sexless marriage and pretend it will all go away/the affairs didn't happen/he has ED etcs Or put on a false front where everyone thinks it's all lovely and sparkly.

It will hurt but be ruthlessly honest with yourself before your self-esteem gets damaged any further.

Blossomdeary Sat 29-Jul-17 12:17:53

A size 14 is NOT overweight - I repeat NOT overweight.

Renarde75 Sat 29-Jul-17 12:18:51

Ohh missed that bit.

No it certainly isn't. Now I am worrying about your self-esteem OP>

Floki Sat 29-Jul-17 12:55:10

That there are women posting here is a real revelation. My wife tells me that women just don't want sex and it's just men. I've come to believe that.
On the occasions we do, I'm often made to feel guilty as if it's simply a duty. That I open my presents rather too soon if you get my euphemism hardly helps but when presents are only handed out every blue moon inevitable that excitement will get the better.
I used to think to myself that I stood a chance now and again if we'd had a good night out. Not any more. My wife says that she is way too old now (in her 50s) and that she just doesn't want to. When I do make any kind of move, it's useless and in arguments, I'm told I simply want sex all the time in return for the things I do round the house. In some respects she's right but it is the ultimate validation I suppose.
My wife is very good at times and tells me I'm attractive (I'm really not) and sexy. She buys me things. Actions can and do speak louder than words.

Forwardsforwards Sat 29-Jul-17 13:06:57

Oh that sounds dreadful. She's talking crap about women and sex.

Maybe she does feel pestered. Still, she's not being truthful to herself or to you. I've never viewed sex as something to earn... Smacks of training someone.

However, having said all that, I know sod all about relationships, so think carefully.

I see so many people in marriages using the 'relationship' to control & manipulate. Maybe I tried to control. Certainly not my intention, ever, but he might have received it that way.

Mind you, calling me an anal psychopath in a discussion about cupboards not long after we met was probably when I should have walked away.

Renarde75 Sat 29-Jul-17 13:41:59

She most certainly is talking a lot of tosh. But I can't help thinking menopause.

Floki Sat 29-Jul-17 14:53:02

The comment as to menopause has some validity but even in early 40s, it was like this but perhaps not as bad.
I think it fair to say that my wife sees sex primarily as procreation as opposed to recreation.
Although I've only posted a handful of times, the responses I've had have been SO supportive and for that, thank you.
And I've been pretty much trained to believe sex is earned which is fairly damaging especially when, on those occasions, I've got her something (Christmas, birthday, anniversary present) and in my own world I think I've done well and she'll show appreciation as it were but then I get nothing.
I remember her saying some years ago that although I'd helped her a lot with something, sex would only be on the agenda if I came up with jewellery. I never did so that was that.
Little wonder I see myself as very messed up and suspect I've a very messed up view of sex. I see it as something of a weapon if honest or a bargaining chip for things that are wanted. It's for other people almost and not me or as my wife has told me in the past, it served its function in creating our (utterly fantastic) kids. It did that it's true but I'm late 40s and think I've still some time to go before sex is just something young people / others and not me do.

HelenaDove Sat 29-Jul-17 17:09:07

Im 44 and my DH is 23 years my senior and is partially disabled. And he had low libido before that. It has been many years in our case (not since the 90s ) Octave i became very overweight. 21 stone and a size 28. I lost 10 stone.

I find that just focusing on my own health and losing weight for me helped.

Also i find reading the dating threads on here helpful. Expectations in this area are so high now Its not something i would want a part of.

Forwardsforwards Sat 29-Jul-17 18:38:29

helena i want to tell you that i admire you and your depth of character. both in losing all that weight and in making peace with your situation, if i can call it that?

yes expectations are ridiculous which is why i am staying well away from dating. i don't fit into the identikit cookie-cutter mould that appears to be so popular.

41 and fat aint gonna cut it in the dating world - never mind the other stuff which makes me fabulous. it doesn't get a look-in. i'm not afraid to try and have dated, i just don't think i am good enough.

that bothers me a lot.

HelenaDove Sat 29-Jul-17 18:58:07

forwards thanks im not perfect by any stretch. I have some loose skin from the weight loss particularly around the belly area Its not hanging or anything like that. Shaved pubes and anal seem to have become the norm on the dating scene. Fuck that shit No chance. Its also bloody expensive being a woman and i have had to give up leg waxes in favour of a regular haircut. Its more expensive fulfilling the expectations of us as women than it ever was. Dating would x that by 100.
So i doubt it would interest me even if i was single.

Im not perfect though I did have an affair 14 years ago.

With someone who turned out to be tighter than a nats arse. He would break out into a cold sweat over having to buy bog roll or a packet of pasta.

Having been through all that and come out the other side im fairly happy with the way things are. DH is not a bad man. Hes responsible and practical. Just not a touchy feely person.

HelenaDove Sat 29-Jul-17 19:02:41

The affair was pre DHs disability

Forwardsforwards Sat 29-Jul-17 21:02:57

None of my business and certainly not going to judge.
It sounds as though you followed your heart and your head and DH is the man for you.

I hope you're happy flowers

Giraffey1 Sat 29-Jul-17 22:49:13

I am 57 and can't remember the last time my H and I made love. Literally years ago. And yes, it is another big wedge in our relationship which has driven us apart and is a massive part of me telling him I don't want to be with him any more.

For years, all I wanted was for him to desire me, for us to have some fun exploring the physical side of married life. He just wasn't interested. I tried to talk to him about it but all he would say was that we shouldn't want to be 'at it like rabbits',. I couldn't get him to see why physical intimacy for me was inextricably linked with emotional intimacy, respect, and love.

That, added to the fact his has no job, makes little financial contribution to the household and is lazy around the house has combined to make me realise I can't stay in the marriage. He is sucking the life blood from me.

I think, perhaps, if everything else in the relationship was good, mismatched sex drives might be managed and be less of a 'thing'. But for me, the whole thing about love and attraction and sex is all part and parcel of why I would want to be spending my life with someone.

I hope you manage to find a way through this, OP.

Giraffey1 Sat 29-Jul-17 23:04:33

Meant to say, we still sleep in the same bed. I used to find it so hard knowing he was so close, and yet so far away. But for years since, I've been repulsed by the thought of sex with him as we'd just gone beyond that point of no return, we do have a spare room but in spite of him saying he was mowing into it, he hasn't moved. He has been decorating the room ( which didn't need it, of all the rooms in the house!) of about five weeks and has yet to move the mattress he bought up there.

Floki Sun 30-Jul-17 09:29:14

So close and yet so far away. So true. Each and every night, after the tv is turned off and the phone (usually Facebook) is put away, my wife just turns over and tells me she's going to sleep. If I voice unhappiness or the like (which I did last night as it's difficult to keep at bay all the time) it's made very clear I'm in the wrong. She's tired, bed is for sleeping in and just go to sleep. And so I do but with everything spinning around in my head.
If I try to tell her all of this it'll just end up in a row as she'll tell me she's not going to just lie back and think of England as it were and it was never any good anyway.
She is successful in what she does and all who know her consider her pretty much wonderful. She acknowledges from time to time she's a useless wife (not sure she is useless but she certainly has faults) but that doesn't then translate into change. Sex is not the only thing I know but it's a fairly important thing. Have some fun with physical side as last poster put it? We never have done - I think she'd just wonder what was going on if I suggested that and tell me to grow up or the like.
Oh well. This is hardly getting the things done in the house that I do (and am often told off for on the basis I'm not asked to do when I say I've done them).

jeaux90 Sun 30-Jul-17 09:47:33

Floki my partner came out of a marriage like yours. When we met, he has had to learn to see sex differently as an essential part of our relationship, as fun, as a time to bond, as an expression of intimacy. It's taken him a good year. He was conditioned to behave just like you.

I could never stay in a relationship without sex, unless celibacy is mutually agreed it's not right.

Forwardsforwards Sun 30-Jul-17 10:05:03

i had to share a bed with ex for 6 months after we separated. he refused to leave the bedroom - his right i suppose.

all it did was reinforce for me that it was 'his show' and i was part of his 'entourage' - not a person in my own right, hell no.

I fucking hate what he has done to me. I hate that i couldnt get him to see 'me' to hear 'me'

i wouldnt mind but he was and still is nothing special personality, or looks wise. He was punching above his weight, didn't like it and brought me down.

Cant see how ill ever trust any man again - ill always wonder about their intentions, motivations. Ill always wonder if i am good enough.

What a hatchet job. I just have to suck it up.

Forwardsforwards Sun 30-Jul-17 10:07:30

i was naive, trusting, open, thoughtful, generous with time and heart, i could go on but i feel so wretched.

i dont want to know what he really thought of me. to all intents and purposes it doesnt really matter now.

next step is to make him insignificant in my head and actually believe it.

sorry for the rant. my coping skills are all over the place at the moment

HelenaDove Sun 30-Jul-17 20:17:46

Forwards he is insignificant. He is your past He is not your future.

Im sorry you feel so wretched at the moment. thanks Dont let yourself think that the way he saw you is how you are.

Floki how long have you been married?

Floki Sun 30-Jul-17 22:27:12

20 years. I should be used to things by now some would say but more and more recently, it's really begun to eat away at me. We get on well most times, I have my faults (mainly wanting approval and wanting a medal syndrome) but I try to be affectionate etc as I can be. More so recently due to change in things.
What I would not give for her to say with genuine abandon that she just wants it and wants it now. But instead, and I accept some elements of menopause, each night is just 'I am so tired'. She tells me periodically I'm a disappointment so shouldn't expect anything.
Every night though. Never a hint of anything.

HelenaDove Fri 04-Aug-17 00:06:31

20 years? So quite a while. Ive only just noticed your jewellery comment. Blimey.

PollyPerky Fri 04-Aug-17 08:16:41

I know several long marriages where there is no sex. Both partners have made a deal- they don't want the upset of divorce, so they accept they are good friends and forget about sex.

It can be done.

I'm talking of couples in their 50s and 60s by the way . Nothing to do with libido, just one partner 'gone off' the other but they have nice homes, kids and don't want to upset all of that. They settle for a good friend as a partner and that's enough for them.

Bubwiser Fri 04-Aug-17 09:20:34

Since our 4 year old was born, we've had sex maybe 6 times. I'm not interested, he's not interested. However, we remain affectionate and hug a lot, and we do love each other. I would like to start having more of a sex life again. From my side, I don't feel physically attracted to him anymore because he's put on a lot of weight but he is finally addressing that now. As for him, he feels very tired after work and the weekends are all about our son. If he initiated sex, I would go along with it, but he rarely does, and I never feel an urge to. I do think sex is very important in a marriage but I wouldn't leave my husband for this reason, and if either of us wanted it more than the other, we wouldn't just stand back and cope with it, but make some action. I guess I'm "lucky" that both of our libidos are equally low.

Floki Fri 04-Aug-17 09:23:45

If couples in 50s or 60s have done a deal then that's presumably a mutual agreement. And good luck to them if that's how they can do it. As I've said before, I've become to know sex as a weapon and if you take it out of the equation, then that perhaps that makes for a quieter life.

I can't help but feeling that such an arrangement is quite sad really.

I've not signed up to any deal as such. It's effectively been imposed on me and yes, I'm well aware if I don't like it I should go.
I'm not sure I could cope with all the disruption etc so just put up with it. It's not good hence me posting on here.

And the jewellery comment: that's how it works for women I've been told. You effectively have to 'buy' sex within a relationship. Even on those occasions I have bought things (prompted or told what to get) I've been told that doesn't then mean sex follows as she's not just an object who can be so bought.
I'm coming to realise through this forum that I am fairly dysfunctional when it comes to sex etc and probably have a fairly immature view of it all. Its a real weapon in relationships is the ingrained view I have.

lovemycatsanddog Fri 04-Aug-17 09:49:22

Regarding the jewelly comment, that isnt how it works for most women i can assure you,
If thats how things are,its disgusting, not only refusing sex, but no respect either for the partner never mind no love,
I know someone who is having an affair, because they dont want to disrupt the family, or lose the lovely home
The partner insists they go everywhere with them, not allowed out on their own for too long, so its snatched moments
Not right in my eyes, it must be like being in prison, i couldnt do it,but like you they put up with it, for an easy life while still having a lover,
This person is a senior so maybe too set in their ways now, having put up with this for over 20 years, met someone late in life, both are willing to carry on like this

Floki Fri 04-Aug-17 12:09:58

As a parenting unit, we've done a good job.
I'm probably a better dad than husband though even then, I have flaws.
My wife can be very much centred on herself and has real drive about things (work) and though we hug and I'm affectionate and buy the occasional flowers and send her cards now and again, I genuinely think sex does not cross her mind. She knows I sort of crave it at times and that's perhaps why I think it is weaponised.
I'd always think now that it was just being done to shut me up for a while - not that I talk about it anywhere near to the extent I have done here. I just wouldn't and couldn't as I hate conflict.
I've never had an affair nor come anywhere close to that. Not sure I'd know what to do now to be honest if someone was genuinely interested in me and attracted to me. I've said before I'm nothing at all to look at all and I've hardly set the world on fire in the bedroom. She's told me in the past in arguments that I was rubbish anyway.

I'm not sure I'd leave for this reason alone. There are other issues - control and always making sure I don't upset people/friends - but even then I doubt at times I could cope with the upset of break up etc. I very much have to toe the line and as she's told me on many a time, if I don't like then I know where the door is. It's just so messed up at times that venting helps.

Dindins Fri 04-Aug-17 12:21:41

Having an affair sorted mine out.
Regenerated my marriage, made me nicer, sex now past that ' oh god we really should do it' stage.
I just couldn't carry on with it as it was.

The other option is losing weight, works a treat. Normally one is a result of the other

HelenaDove Sat 05-Aug-17 02:16:53

Floki the jewellry thing is not how it is for most women i can assure you.

Most women like sex just as much as men do.

Most women would much rather have a mutually satisfying sex life with a man who cares enough that the woman actually has an orgasm than a necklace.

A proper connection between two people is much rarer and more priceless than jewellry..

You say you are nothing at all to look at which i bet is complete bollocks. And if she told you you were rubbish anyway that was fucking nasty.

The situation seems to have greatly affected your self esteem and affected the way you view women and sex. That is not a criticism and im not having a go btw. Just an observation from what you have posted.

HelenaDove Sat 05-Aug-17 02:19:51

Dindins losing weight gave me an enormous amount of confidence.

Floki Sat 05-Aug-17 07:16:20

I hope I've not come across in any way as misogynistic. I adore women and would much rather be around them and work with them as I prefer their company to men. I just don't know many of them well enough to say the sort of things I've said on here.
My view of sex is I'm sure totally wrong but I've been conditioned I suspect like that. I need to change mindet but hard to do so.

Was told off again last night anyway : knew she was tired as she was working all day. Didn't bother her as it were on her coming to bed.
Somehow, and fault here is mine, got to tell her that it'd be nice sometimes, instead of the telly and phone, if she told me to put my book/phone down and to just give her a kiss. Told that I was pestering for sex again.
In a sense, was but in others being honest.
Minor row ensued, pointed turning over and the comments of how she comes to bed to relax and sleep. I just felt utterly rubbish as usual.
I know (or read) that men are v different and turn on at flick of switch. Wife tells me women have to be wooed and romanced before thinking about it and it's not just switch on.
What do I know?
I ended up as usual upset and believing that as always I'm in wrong.

I'm not most positive of people but try. My self esteem is shot through and if honest utterly gone. And kind comments though they were, I'm not imo anything to look at : middle aged, balding, grey and though not overweight, hardly ripped either.

Make up sex perhaps? I've more chance I suspect of winning lottery tonight. Perhaps I need to lighten up, accept my lot, do all the jobs I'll do today (cut grass, washing and ironing and supermarket) as I always do.

I just want to be wanted. Now and again would be enough for starters but feels like I'm not even in pecking order let alone being at bottom of it.

Thanks for all comments. They're helpful.

Floki Sat 05-Aug-17 07:30:04

Wife struggles with her weight. She says no one should be attracted to her and want sex with her. I only want it because I'm desperate she says. She doesn't feel sexy herself so that's another reason she says no sex.
Perhaps she's right and I am just a pest and should back off.
I do love her though and it'd be great if, instead of wanting jewellery and buying stuff and clothes, we had a fulfilling sex life. That's what I'd like anyway.
I'm not much of a positive person to and get depressed about life and work. She may be right in then not wanting anything to do with me bedroom wise.
I've never refused her. I've misinterpreted signals in past but I need to be told.

HelenaDove Sat 05-Aug-17 14:22:08

Floki you come across as unhappy and a bit depressed. Not misogynistic.

14 years ago i had an affair. My OM was slightly overweight and not what some would call conventionally good looking. But he was funny and he made me laugh. And we had sexual chemistry. He was 17 years older than me. (ive tended to go for older men) The sexual chemistry was amazing. It ended after 4 and a half years for other reasons.

It is not your looks that is the problem. It isnt.

MTNest Sat 05-Aug-17 22:47:43

I experienced a 3 year sexless marriage in my 30s. It was an appalling and embarrassing experience that took me a long time to recover from. It had nothing to do with my looks, I was slim and attractive if I may say so myself. We got on very well in many other ways, so publicly he seemed like a great some ways that was the worst part. My memory of that time is one of deep shame and confusion.

It also made me realise what an awful lot of men must feel towards the end of their marriages. So much power can be wielded in the bedroom. How many of these marriages in which men leave their families for someone else have some kind of painful backstory going on.

After that I was alone for 13 years...then met a wonderful man (who had suffered 7 years of sexless marriage). Not only are we each others dearest friend, each others intimate companion too. How it should be.

Floki Sun 06-Aug-17 09:10:25

A huge amount of power is wielded in the bedroom and I suspect it's where the vast majority of arguments begin. Should not of course be like that but the ideal world does not exist.
I'm coming /have come to learn that the thing I can crave most at times is the very thing that can upset me and cause arguments. The craving comes and goes like all cravings I guess but it's there in the background. In my case, I'm still learning to control the craving and am better some times than others. Have not been controlling it too well at present hence posting here.

Ginandpanic Sun 06-Aug-17 12:37:04

Another sexless marriage here. Discussions about seeing a gp, making an effort, but all that has actually happened are excuses. I've explained how it makes me feel and effects me, and that I can't continue like this but if he doesn't want sex, or see it as a problem there's nothing I can do. It then becomes my problem . He actually bought me under wear for Christmas and I could not believe he could be so totally thoughtless and cruel. I certainly don't want a pity fuck. I'm going to remove what must be the ordeal of having sex with a revolting creature like me from the equation .

morkin Sun 06-Aug-17 23:18:30

I needed to read this thread.

Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts and experiences - especially Helena Dove. 'Most women like sex just as much as men do'. While I know that's true I don't believe it any more. I've had too many years of DW looking at me blankly or trying to persuade me that I'm odd because I want a mutually satisfying intimate relationship with someone who desires me.

I've tried my best to fix this but I have to accept that I can't. She'll never change. She won't seek or accept help. Talking makes no difference. She's made and broken countless promises.

She won't initiate intimacy and she rejects me when I do. No matter how long its been its still too soon. She needs some time. She'll let me know when. And meanwhile my life is passing me by.

I've stayed for my children. They're reaching an age where they don't need me like they used to, but even now the thought of breaking up my family fills me with dread. I worry about the emotional and financial effects and I know that I would never be able to be honest with them about the reasons for the split.

To those that have left their dead marriages and had children - how did it effect them? How old were they? How did you explain your reasons for splitting up?

HelenaDove Sun 06-Aug-17 23:38:35

morkin ........this may well get me flamed and its not the answer for everyone in this situation but have you and your DW ever talked about the possibility of an open marriage?

Floki Mon 07-Aug-17 07:18:15

I've never raised open marriage with DW. She herself, many years ago, and in an argument I think suggested prostitutes to me if I needed to get it out of my system. Out of system were not exactly the words but the gist. I never did that and wouldn't.
Reading the post from morkin is like my own life - save I've never had promises made. Years ago DW told me, again in argument (we can never talk sex without conflict) that I should realise that was that : sex had done its job of creating our kids (all of whom are great and I could not cope without them) and it would never happen again. I was told to get used to that.
Things changed though and we have had sex since albeit at most 5-6 times a year.
Can't help but keep count but this year I think it's been twice with the last time being earlier this year. It's reserved for such occasions now (or that's how I see it in the world I live in in my head)

My posts outline the way it seems in my life at least sex is transactional and has to be part of going away / a gift / something out of ordinary given. How do others initiate? Through similar ways or does it happen without transaction? I can reach out in the night but if I'm not told that I'm touching as I'm pestering then it's all but platonic. I don't think I could initiate at home and without having done something special at all these days.

How messed up my life can be : DW and I were out over weekend and she bought me something that was very nice and I didn't need. It was to remind me that someone (DW) loved me. It was lovely but I felt like saying that I'd have loved even more her initiating sex earlier in the day. But I didn't say that as I can't be doing with rows.
I spent yesterday helping her with something. I need to forget my transactional view but it's hard to do so.
For what it's worth, you're not alone morkin in what you go through. I've effectively sacrificed myself for my kids. They are great but I just want someone to want me - DW loves me but sex comes down the pecking order if it's in the order at all.

morkin Mon 07-Aug-17 10:03:35


I cant imagine how an open relationship could be anything other than a bridge to divorce.

OTOH I suppose thats all my marriage is anyway.

Perhaps we could agree a transitional period where we agree to formalise our current implicit 'housemate parents' status while starting to build new lives for ourselves. That would enable us to start moving on while mitigating impact on DC for a while.

In practice even if DW was ok with the idea then it might be more damaging than a clean break.

This is so messed up. Everything else in the marriage is there. Of course we could improve sone things but most people probably think we have a good and happy life. But I cant go on like this and I cant get traction trying to work this out. Ive tried for years and I need an end to this now.

HelenaDove Wed 09-Aug-17 23:36:58

morkin im sorry if i upset you

Floki The fact that she suggested prostitutes to you is quite telling in itself. But (feel free to say if im wrong) its not the act itself you are missing.......its the intimacy closeness and connection. The sex act itself is a small part of that.

xxdriftwoodxx Thu 10-Aug-17 07:28:17

For me being Ina sexless relationship is a minefield for my mind!
Together 4 years, first two years partner feigned ED, I found out he'd been meeting strangers for oral sex on him. We broke up, then tried again with promises, 2 years on were the same. I'm now the broken one, I feel I shouldn't base our relationship on what we don't have , he is outwardly happy and bouncy, doesn't affect him....... then as I'm so low inside I feel I am the issue with not dealing with this,
I need the intimacy to feel closer , to feel this is more than a friendship , then I worry I am being shallow?
If I was the one holding back I'd hope he'd hold on I guess but I'd expect him to leave me too ,

morkin Thu 10-Aug-17 10:04:15

Helena Dove. You didnt upset me please dont apologise for trying to help. Ive been anxious and down about this for a long time. I came looking for a thread like this to help give me a push and your post in particular gave me what I needed.

Floki and Driftwood Im sorry youre in the same boat as me. What you want is normal and desirable. I think if we've tried to fix things then we've done our bit and its on our partners now not us. Good luck.

xxdriftwoodxx Thu 10-Aug-17 14:30:54

I think it's a long haul of self discovery and sometimes when we stand up for ourselves it's empowering .
It's a journey too, which is soul destroying as many have pointed out.
It's good for you to see others views as in my case I was worried thinking of bailing out made the bully in our relationship .
Seeing your thoughts are normal and right hopefully will erase any guilty feelings you may have. It's true we only have one life, one chance, this isn't a rehearsal . Xx

HelenaDove Fri 11-Aug-17 01:11:36

Morkin Good luck with whatever you decide thanks

something2say Fri 11-Aug-17 06:38:01

I was in a sexless relationship....none for the last three years. I always was upset because as happy as I was day to day, on the whole, it remained in the back of my mind. My partner was a session musician and I used to think, what if we sell our houses and move in and create this amazing scene with a studio and what not....but never any day some hot hunky guitar player is going to turn my head and then I will have to tear down all we made. So I could never settle.

What happened in the end is I got a new job and my boss was hot....and I had a crush on him ...spent one entire weekend fantasising about sex with him....and broke up with my partner on the Monday. It was dead. He let it die. His refusal. He didn't even look at me if I walked past him naked. I'm too young for that.

Th other thing is, coming out of that...I was really worried about sex with a new man. Luckily whom I did it with was lovely and I can't believe the two got turned off for so long, but was soooo very capable of being turned right back on.

Good luck to all. It's not you, it's them.

something2say Fri 11-Aug-17 06:39:11

...the tap got turned off, that should say.

Floki Sun 13-Aug-17 17:14:24

Kind comments from those posting recently. I've come to view nothing will now ever change though and this is my lot. Too afraid to walk out (and not sure want to or could). I envy others who may be 'normal' but just got to get to grips with fact that though married, sex life as it were, is something other people have.

Dadaist Sun 13-Aug-17 17:56:09

Floki - I think you come across as something of a downtrodden and accepting DH - and I think that could be part of what is killing intimacy for your DW. Not to put too fine a point on it - you are not giving off sexy vibes by being totally available and without any sense of doubt that you are just going to hang around -- clinging on invites a desire to repel! You might need some degree of separation- because it may be your DW has just stopped seeing you as another person first? Sooo - I think you should take yourself off on a journey of discovery and find out what you want from your life and your marriage. Focus on your own self improvement- get fit, read for knowledge, involve yourself in a charitable cause - define yourself more clearly. And find the self confidence to talk with your DW about your relationship - you're life in the friend-zone and your options.

Dadaist Sun 13-Aug-17 17:57:47

And this...

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