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Wife doesn't want to have sex anymore but wants to stay together

(279 Posts)
Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:17:41

Looking for advice especially if been in similar situation.

Have 2 kids (7 & nearly 2) and wife has told me doesn't want to have sex anymore (I'm 40, she's 37, married 14 years together 19) because hasn't wanted or enjoyed sex for a long time (she does regularly orgasm through foreplay but has relied on her imagination) and it has been a purely physical act she has gone along with.

Her lack of participation, imagination and proactivity have eaten away at me for a long time and periodically led to very frank conversations on the subject as well as sometimes creating an undercurrent as I haven't felt she's made an effort and this has left me feeling undesirable and not wanted and manifested itself generally.

But sex aside, we have a good life and enjoy being with each other. And we have 2 amazing kids. So, she doesn't want anything to change, least not in the short to medium term, just no sex.

So we'll share a bed (sleep naked), cuddle each other and have non sexual physical contact and do all the things couples do like go out just two of us. Basically care and love for each other and enjoy being with each other still.

I can cope with this for a while, truth be told it is huge relief for her to have finally unburdened herself and least I know why she has been the way she has been in this dept. It will be nice to be together for a bit without sex being a consideration.

We've agreed to at least to do this for a few months, maybe taking sex out of the equation can allow us to connect better emotionally and then after that...

In my heart I want to stay close, love her and support her as while I am angry she hasn't been honest with me, she is my wife, I love her and I have played a part in this. But would it be easier on myself NOT to be sleeping naked next to her, NOT to have the non sexual physical contact? Would this make her more likely to miss me? By staying close am I risking this becomes the new norm?

While she has already suggested the arrangement could be longer than just these few months that isn't something I can contemplate. I am happy to spend these few months to not make any hasty decisions and see if we can try and work some things out and see if sex could be an option in the future but it can't drag on.

In the short term she has said she would understand if I sought sex outside the relationship. She says she feels she has deprived me of great sex and that she is asking a lot of me for a few months. I don't want to - although I will miss having sex - as even with her permission I'd be cheating on her, wouldn't I?

Is she just managing me? By saying I can sleep with other people is she trying to show me a future away from her? Perhaps hoping that in a few months it'll make the decision to part easier? I think it would be better to show her that I don't need sex for the sake of it but want it with her and only her and so only consider that when we have ran our course. On the other hand, could it make her jealous and realise what she's going to give up?

I think I can only get through these few months if there is hope we can come through it the other side ultimately stronger for the experience. Is that possible? Otherwise if there's no hope maybe we should just pull off the plaster in one foul swoop?

I am sorry this is so long and convoluted, it reflects my scrambled state of mind.

Thanks for reading, just typing it has some therapeutic benefit.

dlnex Sat 30-Dec-17 19:30:02

she would understand if I sought sex outside the relationship

yes you would be cheating

where does she thinks this sex should come from? A sex worker?
A married woman? An unmarried woman - either could reasonably get complicated - feelings will be involved

You need to go to therapy. Either alone or together.

MaisyPops Sat 30-Dec-17 19:34:46

yes you would be cheating
If the couple agrees to sex outside the relationship then it's not cheating.

OP you are in a difficult situation and I don't envy you at all. Some will come along saying you should put up with a sexless marriage for the good of the kids, out of respext for your wife etc.
To me, the terms of engagement have shifted here and unless you will be genuinely content with a sexless marriage then you will end up filled with resentment and it may affect how you feel about your wife.
I don't know what you should do but I do feel for you.

Therealyellowwiggle Sat 30-Dec-17 19:38:38

She has a one year old. You’ve been together almost 20 years. And yet you say you’re willing to go without sex for a few months, but it can’t drag on? I’m glad you weren’t married to me, we have a good sex life now but I was too touched-out to be interested in til last dc was about 4.

Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:39:23

I definitely won't accept a sexless relationship for an indefinite period, just while we really see where we stand now that the truth is out. I want a full, healthy relationship with one person, ideally with my wife of course and believe this could be a genuine opportunity to put things right but that is only possible if that's the outcome she wants too

Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:42:17

We have a one year old and we genuinely co-parent so don't rush to judge. When someone has just told you they can't imagine sleeping with you ever again, what am I supposèd to do?

MaisyPops Sat 30-Dec-17 19:42:54

Therealyellowwiggle
Maybe i misunderstood but this isn't the wife saying 'I'm not feeling it since having a baby' and more a statement of 'i want a sexless relationship from now until wherever...'

If it's the former then OP is being a knob.
If it's the latter then I think it's understandable that OP might be questioning the relationship future.

Therealyellowwiggle Sat 30-Dec-17 19:44:38

It sounds like she wants to take the pressure off. It must be hard having to have frank conversations and be suitably imaginative and active with you. While it doesn’t happen to all couples the small child years are pretty notorious for reducing libido/opportunity/energy levels. Give her the few more months she wants and then revisit. I suspect that’s what a counsellor would suggest anyway.

Grammarist Sat 30-Dec-17 19:47:21

As someone who also has a one year old (mine is bf), I can honestly relate to your wife.
I don't want sex at the moment. It's absolutely the last thing that I want.

I want sleep! I want to not feel touched-out! I want to go to the toilet in peace! I want to not have a consistent headache!

I felt like this with my last child for a couple of years and then it just got better.
She might change her mind. Her priorities just aren't in that area right now.

ClaryFray Sat 30-Dec-17 19:48:33

It's not cheating if both parties know and consent. It's called a polyamorous arrangement, or more commonly open relationship. There is a book out called the ethical slut which explains it a lot better than I can.

Maybe that needs to be something that's considered if sex is important to you and not to her.

Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:49:09

This has no direct link to us having children and to some extent pre-dates that it seems, so no I'm not a knob

TheNaze73 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:49:15

she would understand if I sought sex outside the relationship

Don’t fall for that old pony. She’s setting you up to cheat & put all the blame on you. Get out, she’s manipulating you

Nchange2017 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:50:30

Hello OP. I have pretty much been in this situation (I was like your wife) in the sense that I never initiated or wanted sex - had 2 kids similar aged. When I did "allow" it which was rare, I would also orgasm but I would only really entertain a quickie, not put in any effort, and sometimes I would generally hate the whole thing. I think.there were two main reasons: one was being constantly in a state of slight annoyance with my partner and the fact that there was a very subtle power struggle going on where we both felt a bit hard done by and our efforts not being recognised by the other person (we were still great friends this was all very subtle most of the time with little arguing). The second issue was actually a lack of confidence on my part with being good at sex and also with my appearance (can't really explain why this was because I didn't really change too much after baby weight came off). So to have sex I would be really having to push myself and it was just easier not to bother.

One day I was reading an article where women were writing about great sex that they were having and it just kinda struck me that I wanted that for me and my DP. Also, he had been amazingly supportive and just a great partner over the previous year and we had come out of that power struggle stage. He also never pressured me about sex but he did suggest it about once a week or less. Oh and he was incredibly giving when we did have sex ifswim and I think that really helped too.
Under no circumstances would I recommend that you sleep with anyone else at this stage. I really don't think it will make her jealous and want you in that way. Definitely tell her you only want her. Then maybe if she decides later that this will be longer term you could discuss open marriage or whatever.
Sorry it's a tricky one. For me, I had to want to push myself in that way to please my partner and improve our relationship. I really hope that helps OP and good luck.

rememberthetime Sat 30-Dec-17 19:53:09

Having sex outside the relationship will complicate things - so don't do that.
Try to build a loving, open and trusting relationship from scratch once more. One where your wife can feel comfortable touching and being intimate with you, safe in the knowledge no sex is expected.
When we have children, the pull on our bodies and our emotions is huge. The thought of sex is just one more chore that is for another person (or it seems that way). In many ways I feel this is a natural feeling designed to allow us to space our children - so for a year or two after each child we lose interest (but that's just a theory).

I've seen this over and over with so many couples and in many cases it destroys the relationship. However, those who stick it out often find they reconnect at some point in the future - when the children are less of a burden. In the meantime, love, caring, support and intimacy can be achieved in lots of other ways.

annandale Sat 30-Dec-17 19:54:04

Horrible situation for you. I think I would ask for you both to have GP checkup and some kind of marriage therapy/ counselling.

I don't think your sex life sounds unusual - loads of people don't have orgasms during PIV sex and need fantasies to get there. But if that's a big change for her, she may feel like it will never end. I know that sex was miserable for me for quite a long time when ds was small. Physically it was actually better than before, but then I started the minipill which killed my libido so completely I could not imagine ever wanting sex again, I was beyond knackered, terrified of pregnancy and hugely angry about the changes in my life. We rode it out and things are much better, though we will never be sexual partners of the year. Ds being at school helped a lot.

I think you have clearly taken what she says seriously which is good. But I would say that you want to explore possible improvement in your relationship before anything else.

Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:55:26

Thank you Nchange2017 for sharing your experience, it is greatly appreciated and helps to validate my instincts

Nchange2017 Sat 30-Dec-17 19:56:05

Oh and similar to above, youngest was about 3.5 when I got back into sex.

Worriedrose Sat 30-Dec-17 19:57:26

Well I would try for a few months. Take the pressure off sex.
See how it goes. Get to therapy.
There might be a corralation between having a new baby and sex.

But I would be highly suspicious of someone who said it was ok for me to fuck other people. I would suspect they didn't give a shit about me anymore. Or it's some passive aggressive behaviour

Lanaorana2 Sat 30-Dec-17 20:00:56

Withdrawing sex from a marriage is a deal-breaker. Whether it's your deal breaker is up to you.

Do what feels comfortable for you - so no sleeping naked, cuddling, etc if that gets you upset and frustrated. She's talked about her feelings - more than talked, she's set them as the agenda - now it's your turn. Really think about how to make the next few months easier for you, as she's getting what she wants already. Set your conditions too.

You don't sound like you want to have an affair, so don't.

ClaudiaFringe Sat 30-Dec-17 20:03:59

She doesn't want sex anymore which means she did in the past, and who knows whether she might again under different circumstances.

Having young children is exhausting and maybe she just feels run ragged. Do you think she may also be harbouring some resentment towards you for anything? This can definitely affect it. Counselling would help get to the root of any issues.

My first thought is don't panic - she might not feel this way forever. Maybe it might be an idea to get some distance physically for a bit (i.e. not cuddle in the bed etc) - tell her you want to take all pressure off for a few weeks and once she has experienced that complete lack of any physical connection she may feel different.

It's a hard one. I definitely think counselling would be the best starting point.

Graphista Sat 30-Dec-17 20:07:02

Genuinely co-parent? Do you work? Does she? There's a lot of research that shows that men who THINK they contribute equally to housework/childcare are actually doing nearer to only 30%. Do you REALLY do at least 50% of night wakings, early mornings (inc weekends and holidays), sick childcare, planning and organisation, housework, time with DC inc just being the one they're cuddled up with?

Aside from the single dads I know I don't know any dads who really pull their weight, they're not necessarily bad husbands/fathers they're just unaware of how much needs done inc the mental load. In addition if your youngest isn't even 1 yet her hormones are still out of wack from having them especially if she is/was bf.

And please don't withdraw non-sexual affection because you're not getting sex, that's punishing her for not having sex.

TitsalinaBumSqoosh Sat 30-Dec-17 20:08:37

OP is your wife on a hormonal contraceptive? I have found that when I am on them the first thing that happens is my libido takes a dramatic nosedive.
I have the implant in at the moment and it's been months since DH and I were intimate because I feel so detached from life in general that the thought of ring physically and mentally that close makes me cold.
It's being removed as soon as I can arrange it. This happened time before on the pill but I never realised that's what it was.

Worriedrose Sat 30-Dec-17 20:10:47

I wouldn't want to sleep naked and cuddle with someone who didn't want to have sex with me anymore. I would think it was cruel of them to expect it.
Sex isn't just about sex, is it, it's about wanting to be intimate with someone in a way that you aren't intimate with anyone else.
Withdrawing that speaks volumes about how you feel about that person.
Kids or no kids.

MaisyPops Sat 30-Dec-17 20:10:49

Valdo77
That's what i thought. I get why you feel how you do.
I just wanted to check i hadn't misunderstood (because if it was 'wife had baby and is off sex so i might leave' that would be quite knobbish).

Valdo77 Sat 30-Dec-17 20:11:55

Yes I do all of those parenting things, majority of school runs, all the shopping, over 50% of cooking, a lot of the cleaning and equally share the night wake ups and early morning as we both work.

My wife has genuinely not cited our kids as a factor or my lack of parenting involvement and this partially goes back to before we even had kids

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