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My DH doesn't want me & it's killing me inside....can we ever get past this? Long sorry!

(32 Posts)
mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 08:44:48

My DH & I have been together 8 years. When we first started seeing each other we lived 2 hours apart so every other weekend we were "catching up". The sex was fantastic and plentiful wink Fast forward 8 years and I am wondering now what the hell is wrong with me. I guess DH has a very low sex drive but there are other issues as well which I don't want to write incase it identifies me.

The thing is, I love my DH more than anything, he is a wonderful loving husband in every way apart from sexually. He is an amazing father to our 3 kids & a good provider. He is generous in spirit and kind. He says he finds me attractive but that he just doesn't have a desire to make love.

Normally I am ok with this as long as I am not feeling "in the mood" - but the other night I made it clear to DH that I wanted to have sex (in a jokey way because that's the only way I can cope with letting him know these days) and he just said he feels like he is letting me down and went to sleep.

I feel so utterly and completely rejected as a person & as a woman and I cannot understand how he can fancy me yet not want me physically. It doesn't help that my sex drive has gone through the roof since having our 3rd child blush

The worst part is that I started having feelings for a friend some months ago & I stupidly asked him if he would sleep with me - a "confidence boosting shag" if you will! My friend is a good man and as gently as he could explained that he would never get involved with someone who was married. I have now lost the friendship and feel like the woman who hit all the ugly branches of the tree on the way down.

DH and I have spoken numerous times about this, nothing has changed except DH gets very upset and turns it on himself and how bad he feels about "letting me down". I have now had to try and switch off my feelings of attraction for him which cannot be healthy for the marraige but I don't know what else to do. DH has said he would consider counselling but wants to try and work through it himself first, whatever that means. I bought the Esther Perel book about Mating in Captivity which he did start to read but never finished.

I feel like such a freak and a failure. Isn't every other man in the world pestering his partner for sex? Why not mine? Has anyone ever learned to live with this situation or am I stupid to hope that DH will find his mojo again?

Sorry this is so long, but it's killing me and I can't really talk to anyone about it. I just want someone to tell me that I am ok blush

jammydodger Thu 07-Aug-08 08:50:29

Sorry, no real advice but for what it's worth, I'm in a very similar situation - and it's so frustrating - particuarly as it's usually the other way round, as you say, ie men pestering women!
Hope someone comes along with some advice soon!

youcannotbeserious Thu 07-Aug-08 08:51:16


Sorry, I don't have much advice, but I can appreciate how it makes you feel.

My Dh has hardly come near me since DS was born, and it does knock your confidence...

In my case, I know it is because DS was an accident and he doesn't want any more!! (waiting for snip!!!) but it still gets to me...

From what you say, I think your relationship is worth fighting for - not worth losing that or a mindless shag, IMHO... Can you try to get to why he feels like this? Is there anything else you could suggest as a compromise? Toys etc?

I think it's natural to feel like this, but I think it's worth trying to resolve it with your DH.

fluffyanimal Thu 07-Aug-08 08:53:19

You are absolutely OK! I'm sure this is a problem with your dh and not with you. Does he have a stressful job? Are there any money worries? Are the other issues you mention worrying him? Does he have any health problems like being overweight, too much alcohol or other stuff that could be depressing his libido? The first stop for him is to see a GP to rule out any physical cause, and then after that some counselling might help. I'm sure this really really isn't your fault.

NotQuiteCockney Thu 07-Aug-08 08:54:03

Is counselling an option? Is your DH maybe depressed, or have other issues about sex? What was his parents' romantic/sexual life like?

I don't think it matters how it "usually" is, what matters is the situation you're in, and what you can do to fix it.

mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 09:06:51

This has pretty much always been an issue for us after the first year or so, I have just always hoped that things would change.

There are other issues. Just before we met someone very close to DH died. He was drinking heavily to try and cope with his grief (he finally stopped drinking last year when I told him I could take no more and would leave if it didn't stop)

This month would also have been the birthday of the person DH lost and I know he is feeling very sad just now and I feel terrible for even wanting anything from him at all when he is going through this awful time.

DH is AFAIK very happy in his job and atm there are no money worries although we are stretched financially we are managing.

I have been trying to persuade DH to have counselling to help with his grief since I met him really, but he is a man and resists the idea of help smile I do feel that this is at the heart of the matter because he has told me he was a very sexual person (in great detail whilst drinking I might add sigh) before the death.

stirlingmum Thu 07-Aug-08 09:16:41

I am upset for you that your dh knows there is a problem; he knows this is really upsetting you and knocking your self confidence and he cant be arsed to do anything about it!!

He cant even read a book to help him understand the problem a bit better.

The only other option is that he does know what is wrong and cant do anything about it.

Does he show any affection at all?

Turn this around, if you were him, wouldn't you do anything to sort this problem out? Maybe tell him that?

youcannotbeserious Thu 07-Aug-08 09:16:52

Has he ever spoken to anyone about the death?

My Dh lost a son many years ago (before we met) and the arrival of our son has brought back a lot of painful memories for him...

Even 8 years later, your DH could still be trying to deal with his feelings. Would he talk to someone? have you trid to broach this with him?

ToughDaddy Thu 07-Aug-08 09:21:32

there was a thread recently that suggested this can happen with either sex. Is your DH physically fit? Are you able to try some exercise as a couple?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 07-Aug-08 09:25:50

Hmm, knowing you are letting someone down doesn't exactly make someone feel sexy. Presumably he doesn't think it's fixable?

But yes, counselling for him, given his grief, and drinking habits (yes, he's stopped drinking, but the underlying cause of his drinking hasn't been sorted), sounds like a v good idea.

Couples counselling might help, too - at least, it might help you see his side, and not take his lack of sexual desire personally. If he was married to someone completely different, he would still have this libido problem. (Couples counselling might get him into individual counselling for his grief, too.)

How are you taking care of yourself, in this situation? Do you exercise? Do you pamper yourself? Do you take care of yourself, sexually?

mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 10:52:14

SM, thank you! I am sure he wants to sort this out but I think he finds it very hard to admit that he needs help. He is a very affectionate man, very touchy-feely & loving towards me. I am glad that he can show affection because at least I know he loves me!

YCBS he has never spoken to anyone professional about the death, but I pressed him to at least contact his ex-DW because I figured she would be the only other person who could truly know what he was going through (they lost their son) AFAIK they are still in contact every so often & his DW and I are now friends. I don't know if it has helped him really but at least he has someone who can share his pain. I am helpless really in this respect. I do think he may still need counselling.

TD, DH is a little overweight, little time to exercise but DH is taking steps to get healthy again smile

NQC, I don't know if he thinks it's fixable or you mean that I am making him feel unsexy by pestering him for sex? (not being defensive, genuinely would like other opinions!) Should I back off completely do you think? I am so unsure at this stage what's best!

I hadn't considered that he would be the same with someone else, I have always assumed it was something defective in me! Thank you!

As for me, physically I am better shape than I have been for years, looking after myself as well as I can with 3 smallies but I still feel like crap! I seem to measure my own worth by how men see me IYKWIM?

JD & FA thank you for your support, it all helpssmile

ToughDaddy Thu 07-Aug-08 11:02:55

Great that your DH is taking steps. Exercise can help you both to feel much better but can also help with sex drive, endorphins etc . So worth trying to make sometime for this.

ToughDaddy Thu 07-Aug-08 12:01:04

no magic solutions in article above

Kally Thu 07-Aug-08 12:06:23

Sorry to be intrusive, but if you say he's touchy, feely, affectionate and caring does he just back off when it comes to actual intercourse? Or don't you even get that far? Do you NEVER have actual sex? or just rarely?
The reason I am asking is most men, no matter how much they say they don't want it, can be stimulated enough to follow through, (even if its for a fleeting few seconds, their body takes over) in which case you know theres a problem that is functional, or technique. If its over and done with quickly, maybe he feels he just frustrates you then perhaps he has just decided to back off completely.
Do you guys ever actually have full sex? If he says he loves you dearly and cares etc, then for you to have to go to the lengths you did with other man (which I don't blame you for at all, I would have done the same thing I think)(just a shame it blew up the freindship), well... what sort of love is that? It's a pretty selfish love since sex is such a powerful desire. Just because he doesn't want can't deny your partner this. It is very cruel.
I'm sorry, I wish I could feel more sympathy for him, but somehow I don't. It is you I sympathise with. This is just not on. Its a form of neglect in the worst form.
Everyone should be able to feel desired and wanted sexually. If you can bring yourself to tell, what happens when you DO get together (if you do)... I just can't get my head round this.

mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 12:58:41

Kally not intrusive at all - we do have sex, DH does seem to enjoy it wink but he just doesn't have the desire to very often. I'd say we have made love 10 times this year and I know at least we do have sex but I always feel like I am doing the chasing. Funnily enough, when he is in the mood he gets very turned on, often at odd times, like when I am stood doing the dishes (hope that doesn't mean anything weird lol). He is a very able lover, no worries about technique grin and he looks after my needs very wellblush

I do feel badly that I lost my friend in all of this, I don't blame him for running a mile TBH but I just really needed to feel wanted as a woman. It wasn't a good solution really as it backfired on me terribly! I still think about this other man all the time, I can't help it. If he wanted to sleep with me tomorrow, I'd do it just to feel desired for a short time.

I feel so confused in all of this, because DH does sometimes want to have sex but not often. I wish I knew whether it was just as simple as mismatched libido, at least then I'd know what I was up against, but there are so many other issues which are clouding things.

I did ask DH whether he is trying to control me by being affectionate and touching me all the time but rarely wanting sex and he replied that that was "all he could manage right now" which leads me to think that the problem is a psychological one. I love him so much and he is a good man and dare I say it, a wonderful lover.

TD thank you for the link but I can't for the life of me get it to workblush

thank you all for replying, even writing it down helps and it's good have some albeit anonymous supportsmile

NotQuiteCockney Thu 07-Aug-08 13:16:26

Hmm, to be fair, you know, I think counselling might not be a mistake for you. Asking your friend to have sex with you was really not a very sensible thing to do, for you, for your friendship, or for your marriage. The fact it seemed like a good idea to you, the fact that you needed male attention that much (yet have chosen to marry and stay with someone who doesn't give you that attention) is ringing lots of alarm bells for me.

This isn't to say (again) that his lack of interest in sex is anything to do with you - I really do think it's all down to him. But you might learn some better ways to cope with your feelings around all this, and to not need that affirmation, if you got some professional help.

It doesn't sound like pestering him for sex helps you or him. If you initiating things goes badly, please don't initiate things.

And please don't take your husband's situation personally. I really don't think it's got anything to do with you, I expect the death of his son is part of it, and no doubt deeper childhood things is another part.

Kally Thu 07-Aug-08 13:27:43

I hate to say it but it seems like a control thing.
My daughter who has only been married three years, no kiddies yet, has the same problem. But her partner is a weed smoker and they are trying to sort out this with therapy (they live abroad). Gladly she can talk with me about it and is very open. But it kills me to know that she, young, beautiful and sexy, is not being fulfilled. (I sometimes feel for her so badly I wish she would sneak about and get laid). With her hubby its weed/combined with control. I have told her this butthere are other things I noticed when I stayed over at Xmas with them. She panders to his every whim, she always intiates a cuddle and kiss, she flumps down next to him on the sofa (I know its where she is desperate for his attention)he NEVER abandonly put his arm around her or snuggled or was affectionate to her. My back was continually riled. All his way and her far too 'wanting him'. Other than this he is a lovely guy, very sweet and not violent or abusive, just goes off within his own little world, is sombre and quiet til he has his puff (ugh).
The thing is, if he is so laid back and not fulfilling, it makes you forever be in search of their admiration and love. Have you ever tried just generally laying right off and being like him? Just be so cool. Don't even intiate the day to day affection, see what happens. Maybe he feels claustraphobic. I suggested this to my daughter and she made a concious effort (altho hard for her as she is very warm and tactile)... and there was a temporary change. (They are still working on their problems) (which are different from yours). Some quiet people despise inside without knowing it, the bubblyness and warmth of their partners, their ease at which they socialise, and want to control this, curb it in a way so they feel less inadequate at these skills.. They don't even realise it is something they are doing. My daughter has come to know this through therapy. Could it be something like that? (They were also well matched in the begining)...

Kally Thu 07-Aug-08 13:33:40

Sorry I didn't realise he had lost a child... but his sadness may be magnified if you are a happy go lucky, cheerful warm sort. (which you seem to come across as) but thats positive and probably good for him really, if he would just allow you to work it for him. Perhaps he is hanging on to misery. I think you should also get some therapy to help you feel you can handle it and give you tools to understand until thing improve. Otherwise you'll end up going nuts with frustration and take it all personal. I don't think you deserve to feel like this.

barnsleybelle Thu 07-Aug-08 13:36:29

This happened to my mother and father shortly after i was born. I was the fourth child.

Mum has told me that they were very much in love and had an enormous respect for each other. Although she wanted sex, dad wasn't interested. He assured her there was noone else and that he doesn't didn't have the urge, although he adored her.

Mum said, he never gave her any reason to believe any other and he was a fantastic husband and father. She decided to live with it, as being with him without sex was better than being without him. They remained happy together until his death 15 years ago.

I look back on my parents as being very loving to each other and us, and was very surprised when she told me this some years ago.

Sorry if this is not advise but i just thought i would share it as the way you have described your husband and situ is very similar to the story mum told me.

yousaidit Thu 07-Aug-08 13:59:09

Do you think it's the worries he has? You say money isn't an issue but your 'managing': that sopunds like us: with dh's wage and my p/t wage we can pay the bills and get weekly (bare essentials!) shops in but i'm conscious of shopping for clothes in supermarkets when sales are on rather than just walking into a highstreet store and treating us! Dh often says he always worries about how we would pay the mortgage if anything happened and finds that even with just one dc wher i do majority of care due to dh's hours at work he is physically knackered: is your dh possibly habouring many (not neccesarily justifiable?) worries? Like if i lost my job how would we manage, what if anything happened to dc.... dh often says his worries increased beyond belief when dc was born and can't help it! Not a fix it sugggestion, but could be that your dh is partially worn out and shouldering worries amnd responsibilities that are always preyinging on his mind which shouldn't be? And while wanting sex is not wrong of you, he's rob v conscious that he's whacked, but feels guilty that he doesn't want to / too tired, so not wanting to initate what he hasn't got the energy for, then f you mention it, he worries... feels guilty.... on and on goes a bit of a vicious circle?

girlnextdoor Thu 07-Aug-08 14:15:38

Is he impotent perhaps?

I am really sorry for you- I don't know what to say.

here, the boot is on the other foot- I feel like your DH does about my DH! I care about him in a sisterly way but no longer fancy him- but we have bee together over 20 years. I am seriously thinking of ending my marriage as I don't feel current sit. is fair on him.

For you-it is NOT you - there is nothing wrong with you at all- maybe his feelings have just changed- you need to talk more openly.

OrmIrian Thu 07-Aug-08 14:20:41

Ditto, girlnextdoor sad

mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 14:21:05

NQC wow lots to think about - you have a point, I do think that the way I view myself with respect to men is askew, I'd love to feel ok in my own skin whatver the circumstances but I do seem to need male attention. I'd never thought that I chose to stay with DH despite the lack of sex, rather I chose to marry him in the hope that things wouldn't always be this way. But you are right because I could never be sure things would change (which they haven't)

Kally It sounds as though your daughter is having a really tough time and it must be awful for you to see her in a situation in which she is unfulfilled. You sound like a lovely mum smile I have a hard time thinking of DH as being controlling because the man I know is so caring and loving in every other way. I find it hard to believe that he would knowingly do anything to hurt me. But you may be right that perhaps he is with-holding sex for some deeper reason - funnily enough, with other people DH is the happy-go-lucky one, but in the house he is very quiet and almost introspective. He tells me I am the only person he is comfy enough where he doesn't have to be the life and soul of the party. I have decided to take this as a complimentsmile

I certainly do need some help in coming to terms with our situation. We both want to stay in the marriage because we love each other very much and have a good partnership.

BB that is amazing that your parents had a wonderful happy & fulfilling life together - thank you for sharing that with me, it's good to know that a lack of sex doesn't have to mean the death knell to the marriage.

I still have feelings of self-doubt from my first marriage (life is not simple is it!) where my ex-DH called me fat very shortly after we started going out and didn't stop till I left him 6 years later. I still married him even though he treated me abominably. I think this says more about me than it does him.

I wonder if every relationship has a pile of baggage from both peopleblush

mrsshapelybottom Thu 07-Aug-08 14:28:11

YSI gosh I really hadn't thought of thatblush He is the breadwinner, I am a SAHM but he honestly seems happy with the arrangement.

GND he's definately not impotent. I am sorry that you are thinking of ending things with your DH, it's such a difficult thing to live with isn't it? When feelings change I mean - I hope things work out happily for you whatever you decide.

OI thank you, the support is really helpful.

It seems that we do need to talk more honestly about this - it feels like such a mess having let it drag on so many years. With 3 small kids we have more to consider than just our own needs I suppose.

solidgoldbrass Thu 07-Aug-08 14:31:18

Firstly, a partner who knows that his/her partner is bitterly unhappy about one or more aspects of the couple relationship and yet blocks all attempts to resolve the problem is not actually that 'wonderful'. He/she is being lazy and selfish by expecting the partner simply to put up with a lack of sex, attention, money, freedom or whatever the specific problem is.
Depression can make people very selfish and self-obsessed and it is a bitch to live with as you cannot force the other person to get professional help if he/she doesn;t want to BUT you don't actually have to put up with it forever.
Have you tried any of the techniques for dealing with mismatched libidos? One good one is the 'days of the week' where you agree that on at least 3 days of the week sex will not happen unless it is initiated by the less-enthusiastic partner. If someone with a low libido knows that on certain days he/she is not going to be pestered or begged for sex no matter how physically affectionate he or she feels like being, then this can sometimes work wonders simply by taking away the pressure.

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