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DW - She's just not that in to me.(162 Posts)
Hello, back again for more useful advice from the nest of vipers! I had a previous thread on here whinging about my lack of sex life with DW and got a vast amount of very useful advice from a range of viewpoints. As ever in these situations it’s taken me a few months to process and take heed of that advice (and read all the recommended literature), but now I have I’m back for more.
So, quick potted history. DW and me been married five years, together before that for five. Two DCs ages 2 and 4. Limited sex life since DCs came along so thought I’d come here for advice a few months back. Made an effort to be more appreciative, attentive and physically affectionate (without pressure for anything more) and was happy for a time. DTD a couple of times at DWs instigation, got knocked back a few times and have realised that it was basically pity sex and I feel a bit sh*t now.
I have tried to talk about it a few times but without much success DW is quite reserved and when I suggested counselling last time I broached the subject it ended in tears, she said she didn’t want to lose me and assumed counselling was a precursor to divorce. Looking back I think she may have been thinking about the impacts of a split, rather than losing me personally, I’m confident I can support her and DCs and live elsewhere though so I don’t think that’ll be an issue.
Anyway, all this means I think she probably doesn’t see me as a romantic prospect anymore, we still get on well, good friends even affectionate with hugs and kisses, but sex feels forced and lonely (for me anyway). She deserves better and I’m not happy with the status quo, so I reckon we’ll be heading for a split soon. I don't see why this can’t be amicable and why co-parenting can’t work out well, but I still love her, I still want her as my wife and I want to try and emotionally detach myself from these feelings to enable the split to be amicable and with as little pain as possible. Any words of wisdom/advice/experiences of similar would be welcome.
Not sure I have much practical advice, but didn't want to read and run.
Can you sit down with her and say what you've posted - all of it, but especially the last part?
Hope someone wiser is along soon.
These things are always complex. The problem with reserved people who can't or won't communicate about this kind of thing is that you can't understand their motives or feelings, let alone address them. I can't work out from what you've written here in the past if she's gone off you or gone off sex or is having a personal crisis, has lost confidence or what... and neither can you, clearly. It sounds as though she is very insecure if she equates 'counselling' with 'a split'. OTOH you say you're affectionate with each other.... which suggests something (mental? physical?) is blocking the transition from that to actual sex.
Unfortunately, sex is something that gets worse the more you analyse it. When one person is unhappy about the amount of sex they're getting - even if they say nothing at all - and the other is aware of that unhappiness, it becomes the elephant in the room. Spontaneity is lost, the pressure is on, it's impossible to relax, sex feels contrived and artificial and every bed-time becomes anxiety-making.
I don't really know what to suggest but splitting up when you clearly care about each other seems a shame.
BTW... every time you try to fix this - talking, counselling, whatever - I think all she's hearing is 'If you don't have more sex with me, I'm leaving'.
I posted on your other post with my story.
I think you may have to consider a separation. Your sense of isolation, loneliness and unhappiness emanate through the post. That is no life for you and I'm sure you can't face living like this until the kids grow up.
Better an amicable split with honour, respect and dignity both sides than one or other ends up in an emotional or sexual affair to satisfy a natural human need. You sound like a really decent man and you will take the honorable route.
Does she reach orgasm when you have sex?
Unsatisfying sex is terrible and a real turn off as being left frustrated is .....frustrating.
Do you help out much with the children and around the house?
If your wife is doing all the children's bedtime stuff then she might be peed off by the time it comes to your bedtime and feel sex is just one more evening chore to add to her list.
Is she depressed or low in mood?
Depression has a terrible impact on libido.
The reason she isn't into sex might not be related to how much she does / doesn't love you. You need to establish why she isn't into having sex and work on that. Counselling isn't the answer for everyone, especially if she isn't the open book type.
So have you only been making the effort to be more appreciative of her in the last few months? It's not clear from your OP?
If so then its probably going to take longer.....without her feeling pressured for sex.
My dh spent years ignoring me when dd was little, still does really. Off with his mates, doing his own thing, refuses to come on holiday with me and dd, shows me no affection unless he wants sex, never wines and dines me and is then amazed that we only have sex about once a year.
If dh made more of an effort, if I felt he was more committed to me then I'd be in a better frame of mind to consider having sex with him.
I also followed your other thread, and wish I had the miracle cure for you. You sound very sincere and caring. I have no idea what you should do, but I couldn't imagine staying in a marriage like the one you describe, because my confidence would be eroded in no time. I would feel undesirable and like DH's sister, not wife. Sad for you both.
Unless your DW takes the invitation to open up and talk about this, there's very little you can do other than accept the inevitable - a marriage without sex or separation.
I think if you've reached the stage where you definitely believe that her worries about splitting are more about coping practically and financially than they are about losing you, and if you feel sex is just 'pity sex' , it's over, isn't it. I'm sorry.
There may be deep-rooted issues behind your DW's lack of desire. Something may have happened you are unaware of. It may be something that isn't to do with you at all. But unless she opens up to you and wants to fix it, you can only go on the assumption that she no longer loves you in that way, though I'm sure she loves you in other ways.
It's all terribly sad and I'm really sorry.
Oh dear, I knew I should've explained myself a bit better. Okay, will try to address the points:
'If you don't have more sex with me, I'm leaving'
Yeah, I thought this too, I've tried talking to her about it in as many different ways as possible reassuring her that there is no pressure. Taking any sex out of the agenda. Asking her what she'd like, how my behaviour has impacted on her, what she likes, doesn't like, how she feels etc. But I guess at the back of all of it is "he's only doing this to get laid". I can't seem to get through to her that I don't just want to get laid, I want sex with her and (most importantly) for her to enjoy it as much as me. Anything else is going to cause the problems that we're now facing and which now I don't think can be resolved. Don't know what other approach to try really...
Norude - She orgasms most times, occassionally not. Yes, I help out with the children and around the house, although "helping" out is not a term I like to use after being a frequent visitor here! I do my share in all aspects (I explained a bit more in my prvious thread about housework/childcare arrangements, was recommended Wifework and took heed of more advice from there).
Depressed, not sure. Low mood, occassionally. Small DCs tend to make life a bit of an emotional rollercoaster anyway.
Viva - Yes, more appreciative. Though the keyword is "more". We were both guilty of being parents and neglecting DH/DW relations, we have both been trying to work on this. She has not been pressured for sex for years, I've made that mistake in the past and learnt from it. Of course this does mean that the marriage had no sex for years, which is the cause of my current feelings.
Your DH sounds a bit of an arse. I go to the pub with a friend once every couple of months. I don't go on holiday alone. I don't show affection then expect sex.
Most of this stuff has been raised in my previous thread so I'm sorry if I haven't replied in more detail.
Dahlen, MissTickles - Thanks for your condolences. I'm starting the grieving process I think. Just wondered if anyone had any ideas how to make it easier, and for the fallout to not affect us (DW and DCs) too badly.
Also on how to explain it to DW. Though I think she must know. It's not going to be a good conversation to have.
"I guess at the back of all of it is "he's only doing this to get laid". "
But it's true. Your very next words are 'I want sex with her'. When sex is the objective and you have an 'approach' ... no matter how gently or thoughtfully you dress it up ... it becomes the elephant in the room I mentioned earlier. It's an impasse that, as Dahlen said earlier, means you either accept a sexless marriage or it's over.
"Also on how to explain it to DW. "
"More in sorrow than in anger". You say you love and respect her but that you've come to realise that you're incompatible sexually and, whilst you originally thought it was something you could ignore and live with, you can't carry on the same way because it's causing you so much unhappiness and her so much distress. Make sure she realises this is not some type of ultimatum and that there's no-one else in the picture. Have some ideas about where you're going to live and how you'll be continuing to support the family.
There's a difference between 'selfish' and 'self-preservation'. Selfish would be to go out tomorrow, fix yourself up with a flat and an OW, argue the toss over maintaining your children, blame the DW for everything and generally act like a twat.... Self-preservation sometimes means making tough decisions.
I reckon you have done enough. You have tried every avenue. She seems unwilling to open up, very frustrating. I'd probably start looking to a different future. You deserve a better relationship than this. Aleast you tried. Good luck
As someone in the same boat as your DW I’m sad to hear you decided to call it a day.
I read you previous thread, as well as this one, and it is still difficult to tell whether the problem lies with your DW being unresponsive to your needs or your expectations being utterly unrealistic. You mentioned in your earlier thread that you spent a weekend away and it worked wonders. Could this mean that under the right circumstances and without the usual pressures of a family life, you are actually doing well? Could it be that your desire to have frequent sex is not incompatible with your DW as a person, but rather incompatible with having a young family, and being at a different lifestage than you were 5 years ago?
Have you considered exploring whether you could be depressed yourself? You don’t sound happy. It could be that you’re unhappy because of your relationship issues, or it could be the other way around – that you are unhappy generally, with not getting what you want from life, and the relationship suffers as a result.
You said your DW wouldn't go to Relate, but you can still benefit from counseling by going on your own. One of the areas Relate deals with on a daily basis is amicable separation. Why not ask a professional how to go about it sensibly, rather than (or in addition to) us MN-netters?
you are doing the right thing to split because the sex means much more to you than the marriage and clearly she isn't able to live up to the expectations you have. Good for you for doing the right thing.
Ouch Duelling... Sex may mean more to the OP than the marriage and he may have certain expectations but the DW has surely decided something similar.. her own priorities and expectations?
Maybe your dw needs some space to help her get clarity. If she suspects everything you're trying is just for sex then she's still right fighting with you, despite your best intentions.
On the other hand some people (not just women ), quite enjoy the control the constant "need to please" the other person in the relationship has. I'm not saying your wife is doing this deliberately, but if she won't go to counselling and you've done all you say then i don't see you have any option other than leaving.
Do not leave on the hope that it will change her feelings for you and she will magically feel differently. Leave because you deserve more as does she.
You have to be prepared for the fact that once you leave and she may realise (once her fears aleviate), that she can go on and that she just didn't love you enough to work on it.
Either way something needs to change for you.
"sex means more than the marriage" sounds a little harsh. I doubt the OP would be happy to 'exchange' all the other things in his marriage for nothing other than sex (in and of itself). Isn't it that he might wish for a meaningful relationship WITH sex, not either/or?
Until now she has probably had no motivation to seek help or self-help to rekindle her libido. Why would she, when she doesn't miss sex?
So the conversation might be her motivation. The very real threat of losing you, thereby leaving you free to find someone else, might be enough.
Would you be happy with that outcome?
You can't threaten someone into sex casacastille. Imagine if the OP says 'I'm going' and the DW were to desperately offer him a night of passion to get him to stay. He'd feel like a total shit.
Sex is a huge part of marriage though, part of my decision to split was that I couldn't bear to have sex with him but couldn't bear not to have sex again so it's a no brainer isn't it ?
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