Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
What should I do? Male perspective needed please.(24 Posts)
Married 20 years with dc, youngest 12 eldest 20. DH says there is an emotional reason why he doesn't love me on the same way as he did, but in many ways he still does.
Feels that we are more like friends now and so we sometimes hold hands, cuddle, peck and we have a laugh, successfully co-parent etc.
He's a nice person, great dad, pretty helpful and tidy so no real issues there either. He's very hardworking as I am and we both work, keep fit and are in good health.
I sometimes yearn for passion and I fantasize about it alot. He admits he's just not that sexual and to be truthful he never was even when younger.
I am in my 50s now and am mostly happy with my lot, have a beautiful home, children doing well and I really have nothing else to complain about but this and the fact he doesn't recognise or feel that I support him emotionally even though I feel and know I do.
We have just started having counseling with Relate as he knows I am unhappy with our relationship and is willing to try.
But fundamentally he withdraws from perceived criticism and I think after his 1 to 1 session with the counselor last week he has withdrawn from me even more.
Does counseling make things worse? Admittedly it's early days and my 1 to 1 is this week.
Depends on the counsellor. Don't forget they are also learning with each case they take. They are not invincible, fallible mostly.
Sounds like he is going through a process of questioning himself and working out what he wants. It's a process you have to go with as best you can. Personally I would start to think about the things in life that make you truly happy, or could make you truly happy, and then think how you can achieve them.
A good counsellor would enable you to make some conclusions. What may be perceived to be making things worse might actually be making things better.
The grass is n’t always greener, it might not be ideal, but life rarely is. How many people do you know have passion filled lifes
Actually only one ( on second/ fourth marriages).
When I read on here how awful partners can be I thank my lucky stars for a kind, wonderful in every other way husband ( he is currently making our Sunday roast) .....
Do you mean your sex life is lacking in passion or there is no sex life at all?
He is making your Sunday roast and that is......awesome?
Is that what I am hearing?
He is not awesome for making a roast! Cooking is both partners job in a relationship!!!
Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. Love is important and you should love each other the most.
I don't think you have to have passion to have a loving relationship, particularly not when you get older. However, you can't help the way you feel. It's probably something you have missed all your marriage by the sounds of it and this can lead to resentment.
We have no sex at all as I said, my DH feels there needs to be an emotional connection first. Even the counselor thought it a bit unusual.
I have a rabbit which I use after a friend recommended one. Tbh I am only interested as part of my 'cycle' but then I use it a lot. I have never had such mind-blowing orgasms as when I use it because I only use it when I am relaxed and know no one is about.
I have had orgasms in the past with DH, though never through DTD most recently when he took me away for a long weekend back in the spring. Then it was by hand.
He never gives oral and isn't very sexual. And no affair and he's not gay. We have just come back from the gym where we had a sauna and after took the dogs for a walk hand in hand!
I fantasize about being with a much younger man but because I don't shave off everything like they do nowadays I would be too self conscious to dtd and also my DH doesn't want me to have an affair hence wanting to go to Relate.
Neither of us are very sexually experienced. He was my first. I've missed the boat now haven't I?
Sorry, it wasn't clear that you have absolutely no sex life at all. What does your husband mean about an emotional connection? Surely you have an emotional connection, just not a sexual one.
I personally couldn't be with someone and not have sex, no matter how amazing he is in other ways. Resentment would build up and I would also feel rejected that he didn't want me sexually. I also don't think you have missed the boat at all but going down that road will be mean making massive changes.
It's difficult as I see a similar situation to where I am. We haven't dtd for at least a year, but if anything it's not specifically that, it's that I don't feel wanted at all. Never say comes for a snuggle on sofa, I know we have a DC 4 and things change but just feel like housemates. She works most weekends and in evenings so feels like we passing ships as it is. I mentioned going to relate but she doesn't seem bothered.
What is the emotional issue you mentioned in your first paragraph?
I am not male, but was married for same amount of time as you, and have children similar ages to you too.
I am going through a divorce now, but for very different reasons.
Reading your post, I think that having an affair/ fwb would be a very bad idea. Apart from the emotional sexual issue, you sound to be fairly happy in your marriage. Am I reading this correctly? How old is your dh?
I've missed the boat now haven't I? This part jumped out at me. You say he is the only man you have been with, so I do think it is human nature to want something that you think you have missed out on. But is this worth breaking up for marriage for? I can tell you first hand that divorcing is not a walk in the park. And unless things are truly awful, I don't recommend it for reasons other than it is making your life unbearable.
I think that you could both probably do with having some counselling, if it's just you who goes, it isn't really going to change anything in his current mindset.
I will hand on heart say, if the problems in my marriage were purely due to lack of sex, I don't think I would be divorcing now. The affection etc seems to be there from what I read in your posts, just not the physical act of sex.
Just from my side I would say that yes I did have thoughts that I had missed the boat too, as my ex was my first and only as well, we met when we were teenagers and there was only ever him. Now that I am free to 'get in the boat', I really don't want to! I know that sounds bizarre, but sometimes you get an idea in your head of what could be, but I found it was more a fantasy of what I thought I wanted...... the fact that I was not able to reach out to it, was what made it seem like I wanted it. Not sure if that made sense. As someone upthread said, the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
I wish you the best OP. Feel free to PM me anytime if you wish. I don't think our situations are too dissimilar.
Thank you so much for all your thought provoking replies.
The best thing about us is that there is a love similar to what Manchester described and also we have a lot of laughs, co parent successfully, he loves my cooking and we are complimentary towards each other.
I have started to be more obvious about being supportive of him ie letting him know what I have done/offering to do things for him and it has resulted in him opening up more to me and he actually waited to give me a kiss before going to work this morning!
It's my 1 on 1 session with the counselor this week and I told him I was nervous about telling her my true feelings ( hence getting them out here first!!) as I have never spoken about any of this before.
I would have been too inhibited. Anyway, I don't really understand this 'emotional connection' that he feels we need to improve before having sex again.
He has felt criticised and last time we tried (in the spring) he had ED so couldn't get it up and told me because we haven't had regular sex he had perfected the 'deathgrip' technique through masturbation which he tried to show me but I couldn't quite master it.
Oh dear. And now reading how common this is also the overuse of porn which makes some men unable to perform through pv (penis in vagina) alone. However, my dh is not a avid porn user...he just isn't that sexual as I said. He said masturbation was easier as he can sit on the toilet and do it now and then when he has the urge. Which is not that often.
I guess honesty is also one of our strengths!
Soetimes as part of my cycle when I get extremely horny I get very depressed about my lack of a sex life. The rabbit is fantastic as is my wild imagination. I also have my dc's teenage male friends being very flirty towards me which amuses my dh and actually brightens my day even though of course it will never go anywhere.
I let my imagination run riot though. And then my 'cycle' moves on and I go back to not being fussed at all about it which is 80% of the time.
Sorry you're going through this, and it's good that you are going to relate, just remember that counselling isn't magic, but it is a good way to help you both understand what is wrong from the other persons perspective
This jumped out at me " the fact he doesn't recognise or feel that I support him emotionally even though I feel and know I do. "
That sounds like whatever you're doing, it's the wrong thing. Through no fault of your own.
My DP also needs an emotional connection to want to DTD and 15 years in I still don't always know how to make that connection, but I do know it's less about what I do/don't do than making sure I listen carefully and validate DPs feelings. You need to ask questions (gently at first, this might be a difficult conversation for you both) about why and how your DH feels unsupported.
Your relationship sounds like it's working for both of you in all other areas, so don't give up just yet.
A man's perspective. This may be long winded, but a little background is important. I think I understand how you feel, as I think my wife may have felt a little like you a few years ago. We have 3DC and have always had a regular active sex life. I am a very good father, husband and partner, but she wanted more. She had an EA with her first love a few years back, who had treated her really badly and left her for another woman who he later married, but then she succumbed to cancer. So she never got closure on the her and him thing from 30 years ago. It wasn't that I was doing anything wrong, but just not enough right. I read many books, including the 'not just friends' by Shirley Glass and ' men are from Mars, woman from Venus' as well as the 'no more Mr nice guy'. She wanted more excitement and more different sex. As a man i saw this sex thing as very black and white, she saw it as fifty shades in between. So we started talking. Now you say you can be absolutely honest with each other, that is really good. It took a little while for us both to understand that if we discussed our sex life, and could be honest, and not judgemental at all, we could meet somewhere and explore. I was surprised at how wanton she could be and that fed my own desire. Now, seriously, if we have one day without some form of sex or another, it is very unusual. One thing for sure, make sure he does not watch too much porn, it will kill his desire for you. If you can get him to do a mojo upgrade type test, it may be interesting. But it does not have to be blindfolds and riding crops. Just spend some time alone, with each other, doing non sex, but sensual things. Back massage, with massage oil, bath together, with bubbles. No sex or climax as the goal, but getting used to feeling each others. The is so much more to this than I have time to write. Look up oxytocin based relationships over dopamine.. I do not want to think our relationship is based mainly on sex, but there is a quote which I will paraphrase. 'Men need sex before love, women need love before sex'. It sounds like you and your DH have this the wrong way around. I hope you do not think this if waffling. It is such a complex matter and can only be sorted by research, communication and both trying to be the best you can be for your other half. Lastly, please do not have an affair, you have a few moments to gain and so much more to lose.
One last thing. We went to relate for one session of counseling. It was terrible. I felt immediately that the councillor took her side and I was 'ganged up on'. Counselor gave no advice and when asked about it said she was just there to listen and that we had to sort out our problems on our own...... I've never met anyone less caring, kept looking at her watch. She made me feel that my wife lying to me about everything and having EA, was my fault completely. I would never consider going back. One of the worst times of my life....
My dh loves back massages and we have done this but it's not what interested me. So I went along with giving him back massages (and him me)for years. When I said could we do something that I would love like kissing he said no because that would involve emotional attachment which he didn't feel he wanted to give me.
What!!!!!! He's didn't feel he wanted to give you emotional attachment? The man you've been married to for 20 years!! I'd be finding my fun elsewhere, not a chance I could live like that.
This certainly throws up a great deal more questions. I cannot know what the problem with your marriage, but there are several permutations. For example - You are married to a man who has masked his sexuality, he is terrified of failure, his testosterone levels are critically low and he needs medical intervention, he has a autism spectrum issue like Asperger's and does not have shared empathy for your feelings, cynically, that you are looking to justify sex outside your marriage.
Pressed the post button too soon.... Basically from my point of view I know that our perception (men and women) of life, love and sex are very different a lot of the time, but I signed a legal document saying, 'for better or worse' and the rest when I got married. I know that may be old fashioned in this world of instant gratification. But I would not stay in a desperately unhappy marriage either. So to me you have a choice. Sexual excitement or marriage. I feel for you, but to use an analogy, as much as I fancy a new Ferrari, I could not sell my family home to buy one. Good luck. I hope you sort this out.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.