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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
Sexless Marriage Redux - No Poll!
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Arnold427 posted:
I'll try again though I'm a bit gun shy after my warm welcome.

Barring any sort of physical/mental reason, life threatening or otherwise, what if your spouse just stopped wanting to have sex? We are both healthy and fit nor do I believe we have any physical issues that have surfaced that would bar us from having sex.

That's my situation for the last 3 years with the last 16 months coming after counseling and the committment to work on it. No sex. None. Nothnig. We have kids and I can't imagine us all not living under the same roof. But I also need sex for the closeness and "oneness" of a marriage. We've become roommates and best friends. She says she loves me but nothing changes.

Do I stay together for the kids? Hope that she'll come back around?
Thanks for your Reply!
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cjh1203 responded:
Arnold, I'm sorry you got jumped on your first time here.

Could your wife possibly be depressed?

Does she understand what a big problem this is for you? What does she say about it now, if you're able to discuss it with her? Did anything come up in marriage counseling that might have shed some light on why she doesn't want sex at all?

People do have vastly different libidos but, because sex is such an important part of marriage and because she knows that this is making you so unhappy, she should be making an effort whether or not she's in the mood. Since there's apparently no physical reason for not having sex, she shouldn't get to unilaterally decide that you will no longer have a sexual relationship.

What about going back to counseling?
 
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3point14 responded:
Why is her libido so low? Has she gotten a check-up in the past three years?

If you're asking what I would do in your scenario, I would try to see if she would be open to me seeking a partner elsewhere. If the situation is still "working" in every other area, and she doesn't want to make an effort...I dunno. I don't really advocate that lifestyle, but I also don't advocate a lifetime of celibacy for some unknown reason.

Hate to say it, could she be (sorry fot the crude phase) getting it elsewhere?
...oh, you know me...I love the universe, I love all the listeners, watch it! Here's fifty-thousand watts of goodwill! (thepixies bam!thwok)
 
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Arnold427 replied to cjh1203's response:
No worries about the other thread. My mistake for posting there.

She could be depressed. I've asked, the counselor asked and she said no but maybe she was too shy to admit it. I don't know. Nothing was brought to my attention by other than she doesn't want to have sex. I understand different libido's and such, but we have had none all year. Going back 2 years, maybe 2 or 3 times.

At the end of our last counseling session, the counselor put her in charge if our sex life. As you can imagine, that hasn't done anything.

I asked to go back to counseling but she was very hesitant. I asked her to come up with a plan and I'll follow that. I'm open to anything.. I'll do whatever it takes but after all this time, nothing has changed.
 
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Arnold427 replied to 3point14's response:
Yes. She went to the dr. 2 years ago or saw and nothing came up. I did ask to have a partner elsewhere but she wasnt' for it and I'm not really. I asked more the shock value as I would never cheat.

Outside of sex, we have a great life. We get along well, have fun, great kids and great family time.

I wondered for awhile if she was stepping out. She may have at the time I was wondering but I don't believe so as of now. Perhaps her experiences from that time have caused a constant question in her mind as to whether we are right for each other. At this point, I don't care if she cheated or not. If she has questions, great, ask or ponder but clue me in. I'm tired of silence.

We've had date nights and time alone and whatever we could come up with. At the end, a quick peck and off to bed.

I'm just so frustrated.
 
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cjh1203 replied to Arnold427's response:
I would insist on going back to counseling and seeing a different counselor. It seems completely wacko to put one person in charge of a couple's sex life or any other part of their relationship.

Sex is too important a part of marriage for one person to be able to put a permanent end to it, without a valid reason.

Whether or not your wife feels like having sex, the fact that it's so important to you should make it important to her, too.
 
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Arnold427 replied to cjh1203's response:
Shouldn't there be a reason?? I ask that all the time.. I can take it whatever it is.

We started off with a great sex life so I am totally at a loss. I'm not asking for anything crazy or the sex life of our 20's, just sex once in awhile!

Maybe she's stronger and is willing to stick with this for the kids... Should I be too?
 
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cjh1203 replied to Arnold427's response:
I have gone through periods in my life when I didn't have any sexual desire for an extended period (although not as extended as you're talking about), and I honestly could not have given you a reason for it. Because I knew it was important to my husband, though, I didn't just cut him off. At times, we may not have had sex as often as he would have liked, but I did make an effort to be sure that he didn't suffer too much.

Because a sexual relationship involves two people, I think it's terribly unfair for one of them to decide there will be no more sex. It's an area that requires compromise when there is a big difference in the libidos of the two people involved.

I don't know that you're at the point now where you need to decide if you're going to stay together for the sake of the kids. See if you can convince your wife to go to counseling with you. If she refuses, and is unwilling to meet you part way, then you may have to make a decision.
 
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tmlmtlrl responded:
Again I am very sorry for that! I suppose it caught me off guard and just seemed like an empty statement there for shock value or something. I dunno, I'm just sorry.

As for the real situation here, that's a hard one. I can't imagine how it could not be important to your DW. I know that when a woman goes without sex for a while it becomes easier and easier to go without it. But there should just be a part of her that wants to give herself to you in that way, not just for you but for her too, and for you.

I think honestly for me it would come down to a very serious talk about how this is not acceptable. That she needs to be putting in some kind of effort, that being roommates is not enough. She needs to be thinking long and hard about any possible way things could change. Like what could you do, and what could she do.

I would imagine counseling would have to be a must right now. I just wouldn't go back to the same counselor that basically gave her the green light to withhold sex from you, that's crap!
 
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Arnold427 replied to tmlmtlrl's response:
I've said over and over how important sex is to me. I'm tired of talking about it as there is never an answer from her.. Just, "I don't know why I don't want to have sex"... Tomorrow I'm going to tell her I think A) She's either cheated on me and is feeling guilty. Is currently cheating or C) She knows she doesn't feel for me that way anymore and is scared of what that means.

It surely can't get any worse.
 
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cjh1203 replied to Arnold427's response:
Arnold, unless you have good evidence that she actually has cheated or is cheating on you, accusing her is a terrible idea. There's a big difference between asking and accusing, and accusing is definitely not going to make her want to have sex with you any time soon. Once you've said it, you can't take it back and it will cause even more damage to your relationship.

If you ask her if she's cheated, that's one thing. If you say, "I know you've cheated on me or you'd want to have sex", that's something else altogether.

Instead of attacking her by telling her how you've decided she feels or what she's done, reiterate how you feel and tell her it's not acceptable any more and that it's time to go back to counseling. If you aren't willing to live in a sexless marriage any more and she isn't willing to make any changes, tell her that.

No matter how unhappy or even angry you are with her over this, a calm, rational discussion is still the only thing that has any chance of getting you anywhere.
 
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tmlmtlrl replied to Arnold427's response:
It's one thing that she doesn't understand why she doesn't want to have sex, it's a whole other thing that she doesn't try to do something about it.

To me this is no longer about 'why' she doesn't want it. Why is it not important to her? Why does she think it is ok to not take care of her husband? Why is any of this just acceptable to her?

I kinda agree with CJH, it just really sucks to have to be nice after all this time. IDK it seems as though you have been nice for a year now. I am NOT big on ultimatums at all, but for me, after all this time, it seems as though that is what is left. You don't need to accuse her of anything just lay it out there. And you don't have to use a crappy tone about it either. You need to be calm and straight forward about it to get it through to her.

I understand wanting to say the things you listed, but unfortunately it will only put her on the defensive and start a fight between you that will not get the end result you are looking for.
 
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a_pugs_person responded:
Does she enjoy sex with you? Has she ever? Is she getting what she needs from you in your sex life? Is she getting what she needs from you in the rest of your lives? Does she feel comfortable exploring her own feelings and talking about them?

Lots of questions. Maybe you don't have the answers. Here's why I ask though:

I lost all interest in my former husband and (I thought) in sex in general. I couldn't really tell him why. Partly because I didn't know - didn't know how to put it into words, didn't want to think about it, didn't think I was supposed to want it anyway, etc. etc.

On looking back though, a lot of it is because I was bored! He'd been my first and only lover. I didn't know any better/differently, so I couldn't suggest or direct him to do different things, but I just wasn't getting anything physically out of the sex. It was repetitious, predictable. Like eating leftovers of someone else's favorite meal. He was getting what he needed/wanted - albeit not as often as he'd like - but he was happy with the quality of sex.

I wasn't happy with the quality and therefore certainly didn't want more quantity.

I was also not happy in many other aspects of our marriage. I didn't feel like I got the support I needed. Didn't feel like I had a true partner. But these were also thoughts and feelings I didn't want to examine and/or didn't know how to explain. And I didn't want to hurt his feelings by letting him know he wasn't living up to what I needed. I can't say my expectations, b/c I don't think they were true expectations that I'd had about marriage or him. Not in the beginning. They were things I found out I needed as we went along. And he just wasn't the right person to be able to provide them.

It's always a difficult situation when there are kids involved. And I still can't imagine how difficult it must be for one person to want/need sex so much and the other not to. That's one area where I haven't been able to see my husband's side. I didn't feel closer to him, I felt ogled and used.

I hope you can work something out with your wife. Perhaps she would be open to keeping a journal or jotting thoughts down. Sometimes it is easier to write out your feelings than to speak them.
 
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Arnold427 replied to a_pugs_person's response:
All great questions and ones I would like answers to as well. I ask questions all the time, probably too much, but I'm interested in her reasonings.

If she's unsatisfied, I would hope she would tell me. I'm open to anything to make this work. I unlearn everything I know and relearn her way! I'm just so at a loss. We've been to counseling where I thought a lot of questions would get answered but left with more questions.

I do think we've improved our communication during this time and are family is doing great. The kids are none the wiser and as a family, we do fun stuff and truly enjoy our time together. That's what makes this so hard. We all laugh and joke and get along so well. I would truly be losing my best friend and what I like to do most(family time) if we were to divorce.

We had a good talk over the weekend. I wasn't as direct or demanding or accusatory as said I would be in m previous post. I know I'm 50% responsible for us being in the state we are in now so I can't put anything on her alone. I basically ended with I'm open to working on this if she can commit to us working towards some semblance of a sex life. She agreed she would try and I agreed to back off being frustrated and go with the flow(something I'm terrible at!)..

I have very little hope that this will change as I feel pretty confident that she loves our family but for whatever reason, she will not allow herself to open up on the sexual front. I sure wish I knew why. So, I'm going with her committment and wishing for the best.
 
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cjh1203 replied to Arnold427's response:
Arnold, it's good that you and she discussed this, but she needs to do more than "try". Sex is important to you, and important to a marriage, so she needs to make it more important to her.

Unless you are prepared to forgo sex indefinitely, I think that the two of you need to come up with a definite compromise, not just a vague promise to try. You can start out agreeing to sex "x" times per month, or whatever she feels she can live with. Maybe once she starts having sex again, she will enjoy it and want it more often.

Setting up a schedule or agreeing to sex a certain number of times a month may not seem romantic, but it's a start. Otherwise, from what you've said, I would guess that she's just going to keep turning you away.

What about trying counseling again?


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