I'm not attracted to my husband: Marriage without chemistry? #Relationships#marriage August 31 2017 | Guest post by Alex Dopamine Molecule Ring JewelerBazaar My husband and I have been together for 11 years, married for five and have two beautiful children whom we adore. We function really well as a family, and have a healthy supportive household. ….However, right from the start I have not been sure about my feelings towards him. Related Post My partner's a catch, why don't I feel relationship satisfaction? When I was proposed to, I questioned it before ultimately saying "yes." When what I thought about saying was "I guess." He is an excellent... Read more I have had a terrible past with abuse and relationships ending in heartbreak. I was really insecure and messed up and quite promiscuous. I always went for the bad boys, or the boys who didn't want me — as the chase is what really turned me on. However, when I met my husband I decided that I wanted to get my life together and that I had had enough of un-healthy relationships. So I denied the feelings of my heart, because I lost trust in my heart, and made a decision based on my head. I did find him really attractive the first night I met him — our eyes locked, and we hit it off straight away. We got on really well and really clicked. He pretty much saved me, and, in a way, I saved him. He has been my rock and I have completely turned my life around. I am now fit, healthy, successful and happy within myself and my achievements. However… I have not been true to my feelings, or honest with him that being with him has always felt wrong. Related Post It's been six months since leaving my husband for another man… It has been six months since I left my husband for another man... Six months that I have been paying for my choice through reduced... Read more Since the first night, my feelings towards him have slowly turned more and more to platonic. When he asked me to marry him I felt in the pit of my gut that it wasn’t right. On our wedding day I almost felt sad, but I listened to my head and not my heart. He became my best friend, my companion, and the perfect father. It's hard to explain, and you may wonder why I married him. I just thought that I could do without the chemistry, even though I'm not attracted to my husband anymore, I though that the love alone would grow. Instead, I find myself more and more disconnected and un-attracted. And now I've gotten to the point where I can't stand his smell, can't stand kissing him, all his little mannerisms annoy the hell out of me, I can't stand him touching me in bed, I put a pillow between us so I can't smell him… The list goes on. And he is NOT getting what he deserves out of a wife. I have not had the guts to tell him properly how I feel for 11 years, and it has been weighing on my mind heavily. Until now…. Related Post Married and celibate: Adjusting my relationship expectations in a sexless marriage We're barely in our thirties, but my husband and I are currently in a “sexless marriage” (defined as a couple who have sex “10 times... Read more I finally told him, and have told him that I need time and space to sort my feelings out and decide if I'm in this for the long haul — if I'm willing to live without chemistry — or whether or not we are going to just be friends. We agreed on an "in-home separation" and, amazingly enough, he is open to both outcomes. He loves me and the kids so much, that he is being completely amicable, and has moved into spare room to give me the time I need. However, I still can't decide what to do! I think the reason why I have been sitting on the fence for SO long is because of how much my husband and I have going for us. We have the same morals, the same goals, the same taste, the same parenting views, and in lots of ways we get on really well. We are open about almost everything (except this topic) and work through things together as a team. However, unfortunately this hasn’t changed how I feel. My husband and I have already talked about the possibility of being apart. We have already agreed on all the co-parenting fundamentals, finances, support, putting children first, sharing duties, bringing the kids up under the same roof, etc. Related Post 7 things I have learned about relationships (since my divorce) It has been interesting, over the last two years or so, to be an outsider in the relationship world. The dust has settled on my... Read more And then I start asking myself the questions… Is it possible to co-parent and still function well as a divorced family? Do I deny my feelings and my heart for the sake of my children? Do I have unrealistic expectations about a marriage? I mean, can you be in love with your husband long-term or is it okay to not have those types of feelings? I have read that marriage is mainly friendship, but surely you need sexual chemistry to survive. Am I asking too much to have the chemistry as well as the friendship? Are you better off being single than with the wrong man, if it means being true to yourself? I am wondering if anyone is in the same situation may be able to give me some words of wisdom or put things into prospective for me from another angle. It's scary to actually like someone again: Dating after divorce I'm a young person who likes the company of other persons for kissing and such, so I didn't waste a lot of time finding people to do that with, once… Read More Second marriage is not a dirty word: finding new love and marriage after divorce Divorce is an ugly and catastrophic personal experience. You have to find a way to let go of the past and move forward, learning from what you have been through.… Read More Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Alex Alex is a proud contributor to Offbeat Home. PREVIOUS How do you make the invasiveness of pregnancy less scary for a rape survivor? NEXT Ridiculous dorm decor no one needs, but you'll want anyway Show/Hide comments [ 113 ] Oh man, that's a tough one! I'm not in the same boat, but what I will tell you is what I ask myself when I wonder if I'm in the right marriage. "Can I live the rest of my life without X?" Do the journaling, therapy, soul searching, whatever it takes to find your real answer. Only you can find the answer you're looking for. For what it's worth, you may want to try couples therapy or a marriage retreat. Maybe just being honest about your lack of feelings will help you work through them. 35 agree Reply Good for you communicating your feelings. My mom did not and was miserable for 44 years of marriage before my parents finally called it quits. Granted, my father was not nearly as much of a partner as your husband so it's not quite the same situation, and therefore take all I say with the proper grain of salt. There's not much co-parenting to do for a 30-year-old, but I can attest that, should you decide to split, staying friends or at least friendly after an amicable split is entirely doable. As for if this happens with small children (I'm now speculating and not speaking from experience) it seems to me, like any other closely intertwined relationship of any type, communication is key. Make sure you remain on the same page. Of course, that's true regardless of if you split or stay together. Make sure the kids are kept on the same page too. Most important: I caution you to complain about your husband to your kids. As a pre-teen (when my parents marriage really started going south) my mom and I would have bash-sessions about my father when he wasn't around. I grew up thinking it was normal for mothers and daughters to compare notes and complain about the husband/father of the family almost like it was an inside joke how inept and obnoxious he was. I still have trouble valuing my father's abilities and not thinking of him as inept to this day. I should also point out, my parents did not have a horribly dysfunctional marriage. My dad wasn't abusive. They didn't have screaming matches or really even fight much at all (that I was aware of). They just weren't right for each other. To sum up, at the end of the day do what makes you happy. Communicate about whatever arrangement you have with your children's father. Don't talk down about him a bunch to your kids. Good luck! 20 agree Reply Just split up with the father of my kids about 5 months ago. We have three small children and are starting to successfully coparent. We had a physical attraction initially but not much else. I have never really had a healthy relationship and have had a past similar to yours. I feel like chemistry is important and you should definitely go with your gut. You kind of always knew it wasn't going to be quite right, we need to learn to trust our instincts. Once I started to feel better about myself, my relationship seemed less and less right for me. I hold hope that I will eventually find the right partner for me, but hopefully someone else can comment about how realistic that is. I am actually now quite happy on my own, much happier than I was in the relationship and the kids seem to be doing much better also. The happier you are the better for your kids. 24 agree Reply hi, i dont know how to start writing my problems .even i dont know how i feel co related to your condition as i am yet single and going to marry soon.there is arrange marriage .everything is so perfect except my inner feelings that strongly recommend me not to get marry.as i feel that not being professionly sucessful yet marriage will bring more obstacles for me.i feel i am going to be tied in any unwanted relations. Reply Hi! So you're having an arranged marriage? I would highly suggest listening to your gut feeling. It doesn't matter how "perfect" the guy is, if you're not truly in love with him and your heart is telling you not to go through with it, then don't. Break it off before you go through with it. Otherwise it sounds like it may lead you to years of unhappiness. Even if you're family is pushing you to do this, you have to ask yourself what is more important; your happiness or theirs? 2 agree Reply Don’t do it. I’m living in a marriage without attraction. It will slowly kill you. Please listen to your heart. Lisa 1 agrees Reply I absolutely second (or third) this sentiment! I too married someone (wonderful man) I wasn't physically or intellectually attracted to and it can lead to lots and lots of issues.. I am living proof… the underlying resentment..little to no desire for sex..and the worst (cheating). It is so so hard… because you want to "do the right thing" and not be shallow… but I will tell you if there is ANY doubt whatsoever, do not go through with it. Something worth looking into, which may or may not affect what you ultimately end up doing, is if you've lost all sexual attraction or just toward your husband. When I was married, I thought I had just lost my libido, but it turned out I was on some medication that was messing with things. The marriage ended anyway, but finding out that I wasn't just uninterested in sex helped me sort out my feelings toward my ex. 29 agree Reply What about exploring alternative relationship models? I've never been a fan of the idea that one person needs to fulfil another persons each and every need. It's a lot to demand of someone, especially if your needs grow and change over the years. What about an open relationship? Or figure out what your priorities are. Can you live without the physical attraction if all your other emotional needs are being met? If you were in another relationship with physical attraction but didn't get one other thing your current partner provides, would that be better? Or worse? 81 agree Reply Good point. 6 agree Reply You are not alone AT ALL. I've been with my husband for 10 years and have an infant. I had a similar experience to you, I felt that we were roommates. It took about 2-3 years to get there. About halfway into our relationship we explored an open relationship and it worked for a few years. I had the healthy, stable life at home and a fulfilling sexual life with another man. Everybody knew and it was consensual. However after a while I realized that I wanted it all in one relationship, I felt it wasn't fair for me to be in a marriage where I wasn't attracted to my husband. The spark that I had with my partner and that he had with his wife 24/7, I wanted that for myself. At home, with my LIFE partner. Though my husband said he didn't mind and was happy and in love with me, I thought it wasn't just about me… he deserved to experience a healthy, relationship with someone who was interested in fun, sexual relationship with him. I was tired of the lack of intimacy in our relationship sexual and eventually emotional. We are still together and I find myself asking them same questions as you: are my expectations for marriage to unrealistic? Is this how things are supposed to be…and am I ok with it? Is this something that we can gain back? I know now that getting married was a mistake but at the time it did feel right…sort of. I still have not decided but know that you are NOT alone. Good luck, whatever you two decide. 58 agree Reply Wow. I am in this same boat as you but just a year or two behind you. Exact same issues. I figured attraction would fade anyway and wasn't that important. I thought my love for him would grow and so would the attraction. I never doubted getting married but on our wedding night, I didn't want to have sex. I've wanted it maybe a handful of times throughout our now 12 year marriage. We opened our marriage over a year and a half ago. He's had a girlfriend for a while but after 6 months she moved away. They still chat but only plan to see each other once or twice a year, in the meantime he's still been looking and hasn't found anything. I struggled at first but finally found someone about 6 months ago. I'm realizing I want that all in one relationship too. But we also have 3 kids together, all still in elementary school. I've been going to therapy trying to sort things out. Then we will go to couples' therapy. But I'm just not sure how we will manage this going forward. Not only am I not attracted, I have realized in the past 3 months or so, that we really have very little interests in common. We share common values and are great raising our family together. But I'm starting to see our retirement and it scares me. I don't know what we'll do together or talk about. While we're still young enough, I wonder if we should separate and each find someone who makes us happy. My husband, crazy as he is, says he is happy and doesn't want to separate or divorce. But I feel he deserves someone who appreciates him as more than a partner for running a household and wants to be intimate with him. 6 agree Reply Hi! Together for 13 years, married for 7 1/2, 2 young children. I am not at the open marriage thing with my husband yet, but have been considering it for about 2 months now and subtly dropping hints. I am finally off all pill/pregnancy/breastfeeding hormones and am getting my libido back BIG time (especially around ovulation) and I find that I am crazy attracted to so many people. I started directed all of this energy towards my husband at first, but he has not reciprocated with the same energy, passion, and emotional intimacy that I have brought to our sex life lately. And even though I've been working on all of this from my personal perspective (trying to change/love/grow myself) and have finally told him all of my feelings that I've been hiding for a while, I now feel zero physical attraction to him. I am attempting to really look him in the eyes and be present with him, but I feel like he only looks back at me objectively and almost pitying (like i'm weak and helpless). But I feel strong and powerful and he's just not seeing that in me. Do I continue just claiming my strength and stop worrying about how he sees me and just go on improving my life from within me or do I give myself the freedom that I feel I deserve? Reply Whoa….wow…what about open marriage. Let him get his u get urs. Not fair to him that ur not into him..thats ur issue not his. U get whatever it is u need.. u were wrong for wasting his time but im sure u liked the bennys of a great guy.. its a shame for both of u…just know u cant have ur cake and eat it too…u want him for the perks…but u want ur bad boy too…u cant help who u are…goodluck with all that. Lol 12 agree Reply This is an asinine remark. 70 agree Reply Don’t let people shame you with ridiculous comments like this. Must be nice for them that they can’t relate. Millions of women can! Including myself. I mean, how did we all end up on this page? Including the person who wrote this (and the 3 women who clicked “like” on it)? I smell some rats. 63 agree Reply Umm….not sure why u have issue with my comment…would u rather i just being simpathedic towards your situation…hey i get it u arent happy…but ..thats life..if u arent into him then u are also mistreating him also..he deserves to be someone who is in to him..not sleeping in some other room …so im sorry im calling u out dear but its all about u..good luck with all that… 8 agree Reply Not everyone agrees with that (an open relationship) but there are some people it works well for. I am in the same boat and it did not work well for me as I would develop emotional feelings for the person i was intimate with. We (dh and I) have been together 21 years and have 2 children, but it hasnt been without extreme heartache and abuse and distrust. To each their own. I have been in therapy, taken meds for depression and read tons of books…even thought about becoming a sex therapist but that still wont help my relationship with my husband and it sucks to feel this way 24/7. There are reasons to leave and reasons to stay. Either way you have to decide what works and what doesn't and get out of limbo so you can stop feeling guilty about it. 11 agree Reply Why people have an issue with your comment is because of your lack of empathy. Your tone is one of preaching at a woman who has reached out for help in s spirit of honesty. Compassion even if you don’t agree with someone goes a long way. Otherwise you are not helpful, just hurtful because of your own issues. 71 agree Reply No one can tell you what to do, unfortunately there is no easy answer, you have to decide if you can be fulfilled in this relationship. If even his smell is upsetting you, is it because he actually disgusts you, or is it a symptom of resentment that you may have for feeling like you are missing out on something? This post also makes me wonder can 'chemistry' be learned? Have you considered sex therapy? I do believe you can have a successful relationship without chemistry, however, I feel that you would have to be fully at ease without the chemistry in order for it to work, otherwise it will build resentment; as it seems to be doing for you. 21 agree Reply This is exactly where I'm at. Ten years married, no kids…largely sexless marriage…friendship and the fact that he is a wonderful man have kept me what I thought was content all this time. Most of the advice/literature out there is helpful, but really pertains to those who actually had an attraction/passion/feeling of being in love from the start. What about those of us who never went through any of that with our partner? I'm having a terribly difficult time deciding what to do. I married my husband because he is good as gold and I thought it would be shallow/carnal to toss out a good man over a lack of physical/sexual attraction…still sorts feel this way. But I am craving a deeper, richer connection. Part of me wants to try to hang on and "save us"….but then part of me says I'm gonna have to go (or just continue to settle) , as those components were missing from the beginning. He is my best friend, we have traveled, have financial means, and I know he loves me deeply. I just don't know what to do… so tired of agonizing over it. 9 agree Reply Did I write this? Seriously…I could have written this. It is agony. The thought of hurting him is unbearable BUT I need to set him free so he can find someone who can love him in ALL ways. I actually have to say something tonight. 5 agree Reply Sending good vibes your way! It is SO HARD. I have had a preliminary conversation with him, but haven't gone too deeply just yet. I am so petrified of hurting him. But I know I need to sit down with him & have a deeper talk after the holidays. I just don't know that I can hide from my truth much longer and so unsure how to break this to him without absolutely killing him. Good luck tonight with your talk. Xxx 2 agree Reply I’m in a similar situation; mine is different in that my husband hid the fact that he is a sex addict and cheated on me with escorts and massage parlor workers for the majority of our marriage. We’ve only been married for 3 years, & didn’t have sex at all for the first 2. (We’ve only had sex a few times during the entirety of our marriage, although sex before marriage wasn’t bad.) He said it was due to being stressed out and depressed. When I found out the truth, he said it’s something he’d been doing his entire life, & he’d hoped no one would find out. He felt like a monster that was out of control. He’s been to therapy; I can tell he’s truly remorseful. I simply no longer see him the same way anymore. I’m not attracted to him at all. It’s been a year since I found out, & my lack of attraction continues to grow. He’s trying so hard to “fix” this mess. I just no longer believe it can be fixed. I’m 36 & he’s 32; we don’t have children, but we’re heavily financially entwined as I own a small business. I’m tired of going over it my head constantly. I look down at my ring as if it’s some sort of chain keeping me from freedom. Aside from the cheating, he isn’t a terrible person person & I know he cares for me. Finding decent, intelligent, attractive, gainfully employed men isn’t easy. Perhaps being alone again won’t suck as much as I imagine it will in my head. I know I can’t go on this way forever. 1 agrees OMG This is me. I have only been married 2 years, but we've been together for 6. No kids. I don't think I've ever been sexually attracted to him. But he he SUCH a great guy and loves me more than anything. And I love his companionship. I am craving sexual chemistry and intimacy and if the opportunity presented itself, I think I would cheat. Which isn't fair to him, but I also don't want to break his heart with divorce. I don't know what to do. 5 agree Reply Yes this is just so hard. I will say be thankful that you have realized this earlier on into your marriage- not that it make anything any easier. Just harder and more complicated to leave, if that's what you choose to do. And be very careful…because you're right about the cheating if given the right opportunity. Unfortunately that's what happened with me and was the catalyst… the realization that something was seriously amiss for me. Now I'm stuck in the same boat- I am terrified of hurting him if I choose to leave and/or tell him about the affair I had. I feel as though I have to decide if my heart is in even trying to take our relationship from that of a "friendship- based marriage" to something more connected and real. He is such an amazing man, but I am so unsure… I'm trying to just take my time and really think/feel my way through. 1 agrees Reply I am so grateful to hear you're going through a similar experience. I have not physically cheated on him, but I have emotionally which was definitely the catalyst to realizing all my feelings. Idk what to do Yep… I think that's how it starts for many. You know something is not quite there- but can't put your finger on it. Then one day it shows up and it all makes sense. (It did for me at least). My affair began as an emotional connection as well.. we talked for quite a while before spending time together in person. I never had intended on it going any further.. But once we spent some time around each other , I knew I was VERY attracted to him not only emotionally/intellectually but also physically. I knew I was in trouble at that point. Especially hard to turn away from when your physical needs are not being met within the marriage. I know that's why I stepped over the line and cheated. And I will tell you it is so hard to break away once things get physical. Not trying to frighten you here- but something to be mindful of. Sending good vibes & it's comforting to know you're not only one going through this. I've been grateful for a judgement-free zone.. and have found myself far less judgemenal of others marital/relationship situations after experiencing my own struggle. 3 agree Reply I am very grateful for this judgement free zone and knowing others are struggling. I wish someone would just tell me what to do because I am so unsure of what to do. Do I try to stick it out and work on things with my husband who is an amazing man? Or is this something I can't fix because my heart wants something else? Right there with you. I will tell you what my therapist told me (I went a couple of months ago by myself).. she suggested maybe taking a trial separation. Especially if I felt that my heart may not be into working on things with my husband. She mentioned that taking that space might give me more info toward the answers I'm seeking. …which is exactly where I'm at currently. I've been really exhausted with work lately and I know I'm not operating from a calm, centered place at the moment. So I'm going to give it a few more weeks or so and then consider… taking a break or seeing if I am feeling in my heart that I want to start to try to work on things. I hope that helps some! It may or may not, but could be a place for you to start. Xxx! 3 agree Only you can know for sure what to do and you are wisely taking the time to think before acting. Something in your post rang a bell though. I recognise very strongly the "being attracted to people who don’t want me" thing. For a long time I couldn’t understand why I kept having the worst luck of continually falling for unavailable people, people with complex issues who meant they couldn’t commit or just people were with other people. I was totally blind to the way that I utterly discounted anything that didn’t have that drama, that for me it wasn’t love unless there was longing. When I met my wife what was very odd for me was that there was no drama, she was totally available and we could just get on with it and give in to our desires. This makes it utterly unlike any relationship I’ve ever had and therefore it’s continually new ground. I’m nearly 8 years in and I am still adjusting to a lifetimes warped view of what real connection actually is! I think chemistry is very important but I think it’s different every relationship and it’s not even the same throughout a specific relationship which is why using whether or not there is chemistry right now as a decider can be so slippery. You asked for another angle so here is one, I think sexual chemistry is very important to get things going but what keeps things going is emotional intimacy which is fucking hard and which sometimes actively works against sexual chemistry (as does fear). However when things are balanced, when both partners are getting the space they need and life isn’t throwing to many shit bombs (ie an occasional occurrence not everyday service) emotional intimacy actually starts fuelling that sexual chemistry that got things going in the first place. I think this happens in cycles though which can sometimes be very long and that’s when the fear can set in and make it worse/longer. The only person who can know if you are on a cycle or whether it’s stopped completely is you but it may take a bit of debris clearing and attempting to re-start the cycle before you do for sure. Good luck! 94 agree Reply This is very insightful! I think there's definitely a correlation between emotional intimacy and sexual chemistry. It can be hard to balance the two of these things once you start throwing kids into the mix, etc. My husband and I had much more sexual chemistry before we bought a house, got pregnant, and ended up with all these other real "adult" stressors. We have to work at our sexual chemistry, but the emotional intimacy thing is still there. OP, you're not alone. Thanks for sharing your story! 16 agree Reply I agree with all of this, I would only add that it seems like the OP never really had much in terms of sexual chemistry with this partner to begin with, and that seems like a big red flag from the start. Admittedly, she has an unhealthy attraction to unavailable and unstable men, so I don't know if pursuing her heart is necessarily the best decision. I would suggest individual and couples therapy before making any decisions. Sounds like she has a good life, and an amazing family, and it would be shame to disturb that because of destructive impulses, but on the other hand, no one should have to live a lifetime of unhappiness. 35 agree Reply Agreed- if the issue really is that she can only be attracted to "bad boys" then that's something therapy needs to address before she'll be able to find any sort of good, chemistry-ful-and-also-healthy relationship. Might as well do that first just in case this already good one can be saved. 8 agree Reply Yes, definitely! I find the times that I'm actually into sex and enjoying it mentally as well as physically are when I am emotionally open and connected to me husband. If not though, it's similar to the OP in that I don't want any of the intimatw kissing or cuddling. Just the physical release and then leave me be. 8 agree Reply I agree with this so much, but I'd never thought about it this way before. I went through a phase of wondering if I should stay with my husband because I had no sexual feelings towards him. I knew that I loved him, but I felt no desire for him. I got into a cycle where I felt angry at him and he didn't understand why. Recently things turned a corner, I managed to let go of the anger and allowed myself to be emotionally intimate with him again. The immediate difference in our relationship was really quite profound, I realised that I had been blaming him for my lack of attraction. After I allowed the emotional intimacy to grow the sexual attraction followed and I am now in a relationship that feels as fresh as it did when we first met. I came so close to throwing that away because I had got myself into a rut and I am so very glad that I didn't. 33 agree Reply It’s a complex relationship between emotional intimacy and sexual chemistry for sure! I think you can lose sexual chemistry when the emotional intimacy lessens but also you can lose it when there is an excess of it too, when the partner you are intensely emotionally bonded is to, is almost over familiar. It’s not as simple as only new things are sexy and exciting but there is no denying that a shiver of lust and shiver of the unexpected often come together. It’s hard to get that spark going when most of your interactions are (unavoidably I know) about daily chores and always take place in the same location too. It’s also not as simple as adding in a date night will solve your problems but changing things a bit can do loads for breaking old habits and working out if they are just habits or real problems. I did once read a great piece of advice about trying to see your partner differently, in different places, like meeting them at their work, if practical, and seeing the whole other side of them you don’t usually have access too. I have to confess I love occasionally meeting my wife at work and seeing her walk across the lobby in her work persona. 13 agree Reply I've found sexual chemistry with my partner of 12 years to ebb and flow. We've gone YEARS where I really wasn't interested in him sexually, as in: we rarely had sex and I didn't enjoy kissing him, and then found myself becoming attracted to him again. We're in a high-attraction phase right now, and we have fabulous, regular sex. Sometimes it is related to medication, or hormonal imbalances, and sometimes it is because we've grown apart psychologically. Also, our tastes evolve over time. I'm changeable when it comes to turn-ons, and I go through phases where my husband's "look" (handsome as he is) just isn't what I want at that time. So we both go without for a while. That's how we've decided to deal with the issue, openly and honestly, and still stay married. The thing is: Marriage is about a lot more than just sex. There's no law that says you have to want to have sex with your spouse. You and your partner have to negotiate what role sex is going to play in the relationship; as long as you agree, everything and anything is possible. Sex with each other, or other people, or no sex at all–these are all fine. They don't mean your marriage doesn't "work" unless you aren't on the same page. Is it okay to be in a completely attraction-less marriage? I have no idea. That's for the individual to decide. Is it realistic to expect yourself to be sexually attracted to your partner consistently for 30+ years? No. Those relationships are unicorns. If you leave the marriage because that's what you want, you will be disappointed. Hopefully, the pair of you can come to an arrangement that suits your family well and makes you both sexually and emotionally satisfied. 90 agree Reply I completely understand. Been there. Done that. So I am thinking maybe you outgrew your relationship or maybe in the beginning it was a stabilizing event in your life and security was perhaps a huge factor. Husband. Home. Career. Savings. Positive credit and reputation. Family. These are treacherous waters to be swimming end. No matter what you chose to do there will be a huge price. I was in a similar situation. We made great roommates and parents but I was not attracted to him any more after 18 years and 4 children. He turned into a monster. The last thing he did from his death bed was to stiff me. He was very industrial practicing PAS therefore I have not had any relatiinships with my children in the past 20 years. So I advise a different approach in your endeavors. Be warned though anger is a secondhand emotion. The original emotion is anger. There is no way to bypass the inevitable. Sorry. I kept myself in a similar prison. Reguardless of the fallout, it was a must for me. I look back today and I realize I was alone and lonely all those years. We were awesome at co parenting, school functions, holidays but under all of that civility was his rage over rejection. Just know research and seek help for what the fallout will be. If he has pensions make sure you are the irrevocable beneficiary and you have an air tight QUADRO in the divorce degree. Things get really hard as one reaches their 60s. Peace and Grace. 8 agree Reply I believe you can have a marriage without intense chemistry. Because for me too, chemistry equals intense head-exploding lust for the wrong kind of guy. I have never had this with my husband, possibly because we grew up in the same circles and he was my friend for several years before he asked me out (while I went through a string of abusive, drug-addicted, or in one memorable case gay (but deeply angsty back then before he figured it out) boyfriends.) So there was never a WOW intense beginning. Just a "let's try this" moment. I am attracted to him, but I do have to fan the fire, if you will. Sex is good and satisfactory, but he definately has a lower libido than me. And he is NOT the very dominant bed-partner I sometimes want (which translated into generally not-good people out of bed). This is not to say he is not a good lover, just that sometimes he's not exactly what I need. But I am quite aware of this, and have an active fantasy life and like was already pointed out, urges ebb and flow. The compromise is well balanced by the rest of our relationship and definately worth it. He is and always has been my partner and friend before we added the benefits. We've been together eighteen years, got married after fifteen. All that said, I don't think what you are expressing is lack of chemistry. If his every move makes your hair raise, that goes beyond lack of chemistry into disgust. I think you need to find the source of why he's bugging you just by existing. Like anon put it, I am getting vibes of resentment too. Is he working too much? Is he not putting full effort into your couple (letting go of your marriage too easily without a fuss) Are you feeling unconsciously less "good" (don't know how to put this) because he's got it all, he's Mr Perfect, successful, a good father and it's still not right for you? There is something therapeutic about being rightfully angry, especially if you have a past seeing yourself as a victim, and he's not giving you that oppurtunity. You will have to put on your bitch-panties and take responsability if you decide to break up your family and that's tough. He's forcing you to make the decisions, and he's being fucking agreeable and reasonable too. (Gosh, Does any of that ramble make sense?) 43 agree Reply I haven't been in the same situation as you,but from what I can tell, yes, you have unrealistic expectations for marriage, to be blunt. By your own admission, your husband is perfect in every way and he is your best friend and co-parents. This is the best thing for a marriage. Don't blow it up just because you want to feel the rush of being in lust again. Lust is often confused for love, but will not make a stable marriage. I am concerned you are starting to fall back into the same old destructive habits. You should definitely explore why you are starting to despise your husband so much. Medical changes, hormonal? Some therapy is undoubtedly in order, both for you yourself and for you as a couple. Hopefully you can pin point those issues and work to counteract them. Then hopefully your marriage counselor can also work with you to better appreciate and possibly love your husband in a way both you and he deserve. 28 agree Reply Have you thought about multiple partners? I myself am not polyamorous but maybe somebody with more experience in this arena can chime in? 2 agree Reply I was in a polyamorous relationship for 5 years. The thing with polyamory is that it isn't for everyone. I've got friends who identify as polyamorous and say that it's the best thing that ever happened for them. I personally felt like a closeted monogamous person in a relationship style that didn't suit me, and I'm very happy to be in a monogamous relationship now. I can see why polyamory would seem like a solution to this situation, but I don't feel like it would be the best idea. What if OP finds someone she has AMAZING chemistry with? What becomes of her husband? Is he going to cope with continuing a relationship with her whilst seeing her be truly fulfilled by someone/s else? Will he fell like an outsider in his own marriage? (This is why my poly relationship failed.) If OP finds other partners that fulfil her sexually, will she feel satisfied enough to reinvest in her relationship with her husband? If her relationship with her husband is already complicated and unfulfilling, adding additional partners will just make it much more complicated. You can't fix an unstable house by building another floor on it. You should only expand a stable house when you (and your present partner) feel ready to welcome more people into your lives. I personally think OP needs to ask herself whether she truly, in her heart of hearts, wants to continue a relationship with her husband, or whether she's allowing logic (he's a good husband/father) override her feelings again. Once she has the answer to this question, if she feels that her desires and needs are as important as the needs of her family, and whether she wants to continue this marriage at all, then she should decide what action can come next. 25 agree Reply I can't imagine splitting a two parent family with children up for anything short of abuse or infidelity. He may not be your dream sex partner, but you have presented him as an ideal father. 7 agree Reply As the child of an extremely dysfunctional couple, filled with anger and resentment and manipulation who stayed together "for the kids" and because of Christian ideology, I can't agree with you. Everyone in my family would have been MUCH much happier if they'd just been honest and split. We were kids, but believe me we knew there was no love between them. 47 agree Reply I totally understand your example here. But there are more kind and gentle ways of couples staying together, in many ways, for the kids that aren't connected to any christian ideology, or any ideology really. Especially while they are young, people can be motivated by the love that their children have for their families, and by putting romance on the back burner for the sake of stability for and commitment to their children. 1 agrees Reply I have no advice, I just want to say that I relate. I almost walked out before my wedding because everything was horrible and some days I wish I had. My husband isn't the perfect partner you make yours out to be and we have no children, and I see a lot of red flags I wish I hadn't ignored because I sometimes think I should never have married him. But I don't have the guts to tell him how I feel. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to see other people and sometimes I even casually mention giving him a "hall pass" because I just hate having sex now. I feel so guilty all the time. It's a mess. 5 agree Reply I urge you to explore your options now. Divorce without kids is usually just a simple splitting up of property. If you are this miserable, you don't deserve to stay this miserable just for your partner. 37 agree Reply I'm 31, have only been in the following relationship 5 years but I do have a psychology degree. Here are some thoughts. What you said about self-esteem problems struck a cord with me. I have had some of the kind that meant my teens and early twenties were mostly spent pining over men I didn't dare give any indication I was attracted to. When my now partner asked me for my number the first time he met me and later claimed to have fallen in love with me at first sight. Asking myself "Do I like him back?" was a baffling new experience. Like you, I can't fault him for personality. I don't have conventional taste in men so I know I can't rely on other people to tell me if he's attractive. In fact why should anybody. He's provided me with support and helped me on the way to a more functional life. That's the most a lover can do for someone with emotional problems. When I'm depressed and anxious I'm a loser who just wants to believe a plain, unexceptional man is an amazing conquest because she has nothing else and he's so going to get fat this year. When I'm happy I have the Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike of my dreams who treats me right and I can face the future with. 4 agree Reply Oof. That bit about the pillow in your bed really wrings my heart — I want to give you a giant internet hug. You say that you're not really sure what you want to do. I would observe that when you're in the habit of thinking that what you don't want sexually doesn't matter — or maybe even more than that, when you're in the habit of thinking that's it's wrong to expect other people to respect and understand what you don't want sexually, figuring out what you DO want in ALL other areas of life is just considerably harder. You have a lot of different options ahead of you – but I suspect that all of them will work better if you expand your vocabulary in boundary setting. I do have a specific book I'd recommend a chapter from – Barbara Carrellas's 'Ecstasy is Necessary' has some explanation of and different exercises for creating and respecting ongoing, evolving sexual boundaries in non-charged ways that I think is great, and I've found extremely helpful. If not that particular book, I'm sure there are other good resources for that out there that probably approach boundary-setting from a more serious therapeutic perspective. If it were me, I'd start there, before anything else. Good luck, and much love to you in your journey! 3 agree Reply Can I ask a weird question? Are you, or were you at the beginning of your relationship, using any sort of hormonal birth control? There's evidence that messing with our hormones can affect the way we read chemical signals from mates. I think that's how I ended up in a mostly-good-but-somewhat-chemistry-less marriage, personally. Once I went off birth control I became less and less drawn to him. 27 agree Reply Wow! This comment here is a actually a profound concept for me. I was on depo shot when I hooked up with my male roommate for the first time. Now we've been together for 16 years. Married with a 7 year old and I have to force myself (wine and weed, plus lube) to feel attracted enough to have sex with him but I'm attracted to other men. I haven't been on birth control for years. 25 agree Reply Companionate marriage? It's basically what you have now, except you both know you both sleep with other people– how much or how little details you share are up to you. You keep everything going well, and outsource what's not. 2 agree Reply I was once in a relationship like this – although we were not together for long. I started dating this woman after being single for a very long time. I was desperate to be in a relationship. Very quickly, I knew we were not compatible. Almost everything she did made me mental. She embarrassed me in public, she dressed slovenly, she odd mannerisms. I even found her dog annoying and I am a DOG person. For me, this dynamic came down to power – I had it all and she had none of it. At one point she asked me when we could move in together. Given that lesbians generally move in after the 2nd date, the fact that she had to ask the question was telling. I said, maybe at a year. I got a card from one day that stated: "only 267 days to go." I threw up and broke up with her. In healthy relationships power ebbs and flows. It seems to me that you have all the power. You say that your husband is fine with either outcome. I doubt that's true. I am sure he's invested. Now, I could be totally wrong about your situation. In the case that I am correct, I don't know if there is any coming back from this kind of situation. How can you be with someone when you can't stand his mannerisms and smell? The other thing is that you and he make think everything is fine on the surface and your kids don't know but they know. I think taking some time figure things out is good. I would also see a counsellor. I wish you good luck and I really hope it all works out in the way that's best for you – because that will be what's best for your kids. 5 agree Reply It is awful to live without chemistry and it is tied to your happiness and the happiness of your kids. I try to sustain myself in other ways while my kids are young. For me, the kids are the glue in marriage. When they are young, I want to give mine an intact family. I want to enjoy the many aspects of family life and give this to my kids. These are their 'wonder years'. Childhood is an experience unmatched by any other phase in life. It is our responsibility to our children to make life as whole and connected as possible. I don't have chemistry with my husband, but I am still going to enjoy my life, have fun with my kids, and as a whole family, even though the romance aspect isn't great. If we can have fun as friends, then I think I can survive it with him until my kids are older, more logical and less innocent. I want to do this for my kids….It is disappointing, it can be sad sometimes, but I don't have some wonderful romantic option in front of me either. Maybe it is just not the season in my life for that. But seasons change, kids grow, and there are different possibilities for the future. And then, in the future, I can look back and know that I gave them some positive understanding of an intact family. I do want them to know the togetherness and warmth of family and their traditions. I do want romance, but mostly, I want to be happy, however I find that. For now. 19 agree Reply I'm you, fast forward 10 years. I had angry parents in a bad marriage and so I was desperate to create a 'wonder years'/ 'this is us' childhood for my kids. I loved my hs/college boyfriend but he didn't want commitment (or me) so DH comes along and he's a nice guy. My now husband says he even knew on our honeymoon that I wasn't happy. NM that, onward with my agenda. MY agenda. Jobs, nice house, kids, dog, great schools, sports. MUST achieve all this. In some weird way, I wanted to one-up my own mother just to show that I could. I got away with friends twice a year and that helped sustain me. Never wanted to go away with dh though. Here's the cautionary tale: 3 kids; 1 in college, one about to go to college and an 8th grader. I don't think we can hang on for much longer. Nearly everyone (Christian/ Catholic circles) hates me for this. Things are bad now and kids DO suffer lack of authenticity, especially on the part of the mother. More PRE marital counseling is needed. It's is the biggest decision and puts weight on EVERY other decision in your life. People live longer. Women have sex drives that really DO rev back up when we're not taking care of little ones 24/7 and we're no longer ashamed to admit it. I ended up having a months-long emotional and one-time physical affair with old BF during separation. The guilt nearly killed me. How I wish just ONE person would have asked me if I was truly and deeply in love before we got married or even if I loved spending time/ traveling with him. That's a flag on the field, too. We need older, wiser women to talk to us, too. 36 agree Reply I think some time has passed since you posted this… But I want you to know that I felt like I was reading my own story. I don't have a history of abuse, but I was raised being told all men were sex addicts… So still a pretty warped view. I've been with Mr. Safe for 17 years. Married for 13. (God. Can it be that long?) Monthly cycles make me go from "able to tolerate" to feeling repulsed and deeply trapped. I knew day one that I was getting married to a man I didn't have chemistry with. I was foolish enough to think that would change. It has only gotten worse. The problem is that we are really both great parents. We are both far too practical to bother living in two houses. Going back and forth for the kids etc… is silly. But I can't stand him. I mean… I can if I really work at it. If I'm meditating and consciously holding my tongue. But really? Everything he says to me, the way he dresses, how he spends his free time, his stupid jokes… All of it makes me feel trapped and depressed. Angry too. I get it. Stay because it doesn't make sense to leave? Or leave and no one will understand why it makes sense. I can tell you that I'm a happy person in every other aspect of my life. But spending time with Mr Safe and I feel like Malificent. I am hiding in the other room right now. I can hear him having the most amazing conversation with our kids. I appreciate him so much as a father. As I provider. I feel like I owe it to him to stay because he (somehow) feels like everything is fine. I feel like I owe it to his parents and even mine. I certainly love the idea of making it easy on the kids, but the reality is that the effort it takes to stay could be used for so many other things. So no. You aren't alone. Thanks for sharing so I could feel a little bit more normal. 85 agree Reply Thank you for this. In many ways this is exactly how I feel and it makes me feel less alone. Why does it have to be so messy and difficult? 22 agree Reply I feel like this is exactly how I feel. I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and married for three and have a three year old with one on the way. To be blunt the attraction is gone and I don’t even want him touching me or breathing around me so much I fake having a stomach ache a lot of the times. Though he is an AMAZING father and a great supporting husband I just don’t think I want it/him anymore (and still not sure how I got pregnant because that department is rarely open). But I feel like his parents and mine would be devistated if we split and I would be blamed for breaking up a home. Although, no one knows how one feels or how one can truly be happy. I know only yourself knows how you truly feel and what will truly make you happy and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I just don’t know what to do. Stay and be miserable in hopes that the attraction will come back? Or leave and try to be happy again? He’s always all over me and always so sweet and to be honest I find it very annoying and I’m in disgust a lot of the times and I don’t know what do to. I feel like I’m being a b**** and so unfair. I do know I want him happy too. It’s not fair for him not to have a sexual relationship with his wife. I want him happy. I just don’t know if it’s with me. I find myself often daydreaming about a life I don’t have. Anyone with tips or advice please share! 23 agree Reply Right there with ya, Taylor… minus the kids. I love my husband…I have and always will think the world of him as a wonderful human being. But there never has been any real chemistry or physical/intellectual attraction. I believe I knew this going in, but had experienced such heartbreak in past relationships, I knew he was a safe, stable partner I could trust. I told myself I would be shallow to leave him over lack of attraction… but fast forward 10 years, I am yearning for more. I would love to say that those passionate feelings/desire for him sexually could be cultivated but I am so unsure that they can be, as they never were there to begin with. Just very confused and wondering if I am wanting too much- I have far more than most and he is a terrific man in so many ways. This is really hard… Reply Joy, I am just like you. But I have been married over 30 years. Kids grown left home, small family, no grandkids etc. I have never said anything to my husband just lived in silence.So much effort to stay but too difficult to leave as I’m a passive person without many friends, Fear of guilt, uncertainty or regrets for the future at my age. There is always the fear of even more loneliness or finding someone with whom maybe there is chemistry but maybe eventual problems in new relationship will kill chemistry. Married 1st man went out with so not experienced in relationships. Sorry I don’t have any answers to the post. You have already discussed with your husband. Lucky for you he seems to accept as some men get aggressive. Wish you luck and happiness. 5 agree Reply This is my life. . 4 agree Reply I also feel like these posts echo my own story. My husband and I have been married for nearly 24 years. We have an 18-year-old daughter, and the last time we had sex was the day she was conceived. There is no attraction between us. Finally, two years ago, I had a one-time affair with a man who lives far away, and whom I only see a couple of times a year. My affair partner broke it off suddenly shortly after because he was overwhelmed at work and had no time for me, but it left me so devastated that I went into a depression, which tipped off my husband, which led to a confession, which led to a year's worth of counselling. It cost a fortune but didn't help much, and now here we are two years later. I have resumed a long-distance relationship with my affair partner, but as his job consumes his life, it's not very satisfactory. He has told me that he will give me what he can, but he has made it clear that he is limited in what he can offer. However, the few times we have been together, the sex and emotional connection has been amazing, and not surprisingly, I find myself fantasizing about him all the time. My husband and I are mostly compatible and we get along pretty well. We have a nice home and there are a lot of benefits to staying together for both of us. For one thing, he makes three times my salary, so I know that if we were to separate, my standard of living would take a huge hit. Also, we are in our mid-50's, so there are a lot of practical reasons to stay together. We are approaching retirement and potential health situations, and that is a scary thing to face alone. So I have the same quandary as everyone else: what to do? Do I stay in a loveless, sexless marriage that functions as a platonic partnership, denying both myself and my husband the full satisfaction that we both would like? Or do I leave the marriage and destroy our life together and our family, striking out on my own for what seems like a trivial reason? Or do I stay in the marriage and continue to sneak around with other sex partners on the side, having to hide this from him? We have had the hard conversation in which I have asked my husband for the freedom to see other people sexually, since we both acknowledge that our relationship does not work sexually. But although he initially agreed to this, he has since back-tracked, and decided that he is not ready to have this sort of agreement, and he is not willing to continue the conversation because he is not ready to have that conversation yet. It's been several months, and we are both going along, pretending that everything is all right. Our daughter just started college, and neither one of us wants to derail her or add anymore stress to her life. So, for the moment, we are just hanging tight in this limbo. 8 agree Reply Do not cheat on him again. If you do you are going do great harm. Take that choice and throw it away, it is not an option if you care at all about him and his well-being. These feelings you have are not your fault and are not evil; from the sounds of it I think you should do him the kindness of leaving on good terms. You've already put him through a lot with your prior affair and he is a decent man for trying to stick it out. He is likely getting less than he needs too and may be sticking in it for you. 1 agrees Reply Man oh man… This entire post……… Im in the same situation. I have 2 kids and a new one on the way. We finally got married In July after being engaged for 4 years. I stalled like crazy bc i knew in my heart that we had no chemistry and it was off. Its so hard bc i want the kids to see a 2 parent home but its killing me…. I am miserable… I try to pretend and fake happy… I try to enjoy US… But my mind wants to be some where else… I think after this baby is born im out… I am just going to step out on faith and stop being so afraid and go.. He is is a wonderful dad and great provider but this "safe choice" life is too difficult. I feel bad because women literally would kill to have a man and be married and have kids.. Im thankful for my family but why should i have to keep this going? Oh and the kids notice.. They are not stupid. Esp my daughter who is 9. I feel like a brat for even complaining bc im not being cheated on or beated on…. Its no chemistry, its bc i have too do it Sex, no attraction, and boring! Maybe we can take a break and this might help… I dont know. All i know is im tired of talking about it and 2018 something has got to change!! Asap…. He is a great dad and i cant imagine them having another dad but as for me… Im just mentally checked out. Any advice?? Bc im so lost.. 27 agree Reply I couldn’t agree with this more if I tried. I recently commented a post before this one but I’m in the same boat. What did you ever do? Because like you we have a toddler and I’m pregnant and he’s been the provider for as long as we’ve been together. I guess I’m scared to go because I wouldn’t have no where to go and wouldn’t be able to work due to kids and having absolutely NO ONE to help me watch them. Stuck is an understatement. 2 agree Reply Hmmm, I'm in a similar situation but without kids or owning anything. The sex was great for quite a few years until it wasn't. Something changed, something shifted and for me it was not going to come back. I was no longer attracted to him, but it was for various reasons not even about sex. He refused to let go, begged me to try, we spent a few months apart, a month apart, now a month apart and he's still moaning and crying like a baby. I believe sexual attraction and chemistry in a relationship is important! I can barely kiss him anymore, I hate him touching me and resent that he insists sleeping in bed with me because he couldn't sleep in the other bedroom without me. And I caved every time. He wanted to try counselling, but like many women, once you decide something, once you feel something in your gut, that's it. It makes no difference. Why should you force yourself to try be attracted to somebody that you are no longer attracted to? I don't want to hurt him, but it's hurting me. I was angry for awhile, but that passed to tenderness. I do love him, I care about him, he is my kin, he is my best friend, but he's more like family than the love partner I crave. In relationships people grow and change overtime and sometimes end up on different paths. It isn't the end of the world, we know better than to fall for that until death do us part. Why not accept that you are best friends and have an amazing relationship that should last for life? I was told to have kids with someone that if the relationship did fail you would at least remain excellent friends and family and be awesome co parents. 16 agree Reply I am 37 and single, there is no way I can relate to you but honestly this has been my biggest fear, marriage with no chemistry. Just like yourself I am attracted to the bad guys and hence still not married. I have said no to many good men as your husband. Wondering which one is worse, married into this no chemistry or holding out like myself. Thanks for sharing. 8 agree Reply I hope this simple comment helps someone as much as it's always helped me. Years ago when I was in my teen years, I heard this woman on the radio taking about what it was like being married for 50 years and how she made it through happily. Her response was simple but amazing and has kept me going through the tough stuff. She said "It's normal for a spouse to fall in and out of love throughout the many years of a marriage. The key is not having both people fall out of love at the same time." I've always remembered this. 12 years ago I felt my husband drifting out of love with me. I could just feel it, though it's not something he would have owned up to at the time. Years later, he now agrees that he mentally checked out. No cheating occurred, but we simply weren't at connected. It was my love for him that pulled us through and kept us going. About three years ago, it was me who fell out of love. It was a slow process, but things weren't good, communication was horrible and a bunch of life stressers piled on all at once. It was he who kept us going with his love for me. To be clear, I'm not talking about pulling each other through via putting up with b.s. or cheating, I'm talking about simply not leaving the marriage during a bad patch. My advice to the original author is to, 1. End her affair or contact with the person she is clearly chatting with at the very least (I'd put money on this fact) and 2. Go to personal counseling first, and then go to couples counseling after. Ending a marriage without giving counseling a chance is like sitting on a sinking ship whilst you stare a life raft. Makes zero sense not to try. If you don't feel like trying, get out of your emotional affair first; you'll feel like trying afterwards. 12 agree Reply To fall out of love, one had to be love in the first place. Almost all advice is about rekindling marriages, when many of us never felt the spark to begin with. 3 agree Reply Exactly!!! Agreed 110%!! This is where I'm stuck because I never had that chemistry with my husband to begin with. Lots of literature out there that's great for those who had it in the beginning but what about us who never experienced that passion/in love/attraction to start? Reply Hello, After 24 years of marriage, and 27 years of being together, my wife told me she no longer was in love with me. I’m 59 … she’s 49. We have two children whom are now adults, with the youngest being 18. I was sexually abused when I was 3 … not by a parent / relative. It happened only once … and was not discovered by anyone. I “froze” that moment … then 6 years later, when I was 9, I was traumatized again. The effects of both of those events, coupled to growing up in an emotionless home run by a dictator and supported by my mother’s passiveness, my sexual development was warped, and I became very adept at being alone. This lifestyle caused me great shame and guilt and I could never understand why I didn’t fit in – anywhere. So I tried suicide at 23 … and from that failure I ended up getting professional help for the first time – to gain understanding of “why” I was the way I was. That took time, and I was doing ok with the new-found insights … and I left therapy thinking I was mostly ok and that I needed to move on in life. Soon though, I found myself again “alone against the world” and reverted back to what I was doing to prior to the suicide attempt to get pleasure. And I continued living this “lie” – was a real Jekyll and Hyde … until I met my wife – who had / has a heart of kindness I had never experienced before. I was so glad to finally have someone to love … my first and only love … that I stopped my anti-social destructive behaviours and together we were the quintessential happy young couple – we were never great at sex, but for all other aspects of marriage – even communication, we were as happy as could be. And I never told her of my past … until we started to drift apart – sexually – after the birth of our second child, which was 6 years into the marriage. Sex left the building – and life took over. The issue of lack of intimacy would come up every now and again – always from her, and always as to why “how come we never have sex anymore”. I never understood why I could not commit this last bit of my love for her. And, she admits that she has issues of closeness also … so … more time goes by, and we keep "trying" … "working" … yet even after attending marriage counselling together … it never did get resolved. And I knew that deep down inside my psyche I had unresolved issues – or aftereffects – of the early abuse, and the damage to my “self” that had never been repaired. Then 2017 came and both of the kids are on their own, and I decided to try and retire, and my wife and I committed to working on the intimacy / sex issue again … and we even planned a vacation for August – which we took and was the first for us together in over 20 years. We had a great time … but never had sex. Then we came home … talked more … and again neither of us made a move towards the other. I then made the mistake of writing down what had happened to me when I was a child (I had, over the years, told my wife all of this – this was my first time ever writing it down) and from completely out of the blue … my wife’s response was to say that she knows I’m in pain over all of this but that she “no longer is in love with me”, and that she wants a divorce, and that she does not see us ever getting back together. She next said that she thought I’d be better off alone. That was at the end of September. I took this pronouncement very badly … and as I had already “opened” up all that shit in my mind re the abuse, neglect, etc when I wrote it all on paper … I had a breakdown and two days later I woke up to my 3-year old self holding onto an Exacto blade knife in one hand and my penis in the other as I was looking to cut that part off of me. I was so scared … and so alone … and it was all of a sudden. I realized I needed help, again, and I have since been doing that. I was forced to leave my home as there is no available help there at all – and what help that is available is on a “wait list” and is for a facility outside my territory only (and the wait list is between 6-10 months long). My wife’s response was a complete shock – I truly believed she still loved me as much as I have always loved her … she was my only love … I have never loved anyone else and I never once fell out of love with her … and in actuality I was the romantic in our marriage. I never had a clue … and so I could not understand her response. In the month it took for me to pull myself together enough to find the help I need and make the arrangements – she moved out of our home – and withdrew from me even more. Granted, I was pretty screwed up … but I found a new place, was diagnosed with PTSD, arranged therapies, and prepared to leave. Then, while cleaning up our home computer, I found a file of pics. It seems that 3 weeks before my writing her my history and my concerns for us, she had an affair. That discovery changed my fragile mind even more – it made me physically ill – and my immediate thought was that I had caused so much angst with this lovely woman that she had changed her values … and that … that realization … is so fucking PAINFUL. This pain consumed me … it is what drove me – literally – 3700 kilometres to get help. I've now been in intensive therapy – EMDR is a blessing – for three months and have made great progress with insightful linkages and all led by being as brutally honest with myself as possible. It is good. It is also very very lonely. I have too much time to think … and I’m very scared for my future when I think thoughts like “what is the value of doing all this work?” What bothers me the most though is the effect this has had on my wife … I really don't know her anymore – she is that different to me now … and I suspect she has been in pain for a long while and it took her that long while to get up her nerve to leave … and I understand that on an intellectual level. Emotionally, I'm so very lost without her so yeah it's very hard to hear that she's already planning a vacation for next month (February – something we had wanted to do ourselves but never did) … and that she is so so quickly leaving me in the dust. This is so hard on me – trying to work on the issues of my early life which is so deeply tied to my present … and my present has imploded. Too much pain … too alone … and so full of guilt / shame / etc that I let my marriage fail. I had the best and I fucked it up by not dealing with my issues that were born in the childhood abuse … catch-22 at it's finest. 7 agree Reply EMDR is AMAZING!! 1 agrees Reply You’re a wonderful and sensitive man. Nothing is your fault. You didn’t screwed up your marriage, don’t feel guilt or shame. You should be proud of yourself, you’re are a survivor. Sorry for my bad english since isn’t my mother language. Hope you get well 4 agree Reply I'd love to have on update on this. What did you decide, Alex? 6 agree Reply Thank you for sharing your story and wow, does it surprise me that there are so many other women in the same situation! The same situation I am in. I'm not attracted to my husband either, but it's not that I'm frigid, it's because I need to feel an intimate connection first before wanting to have sex. And my husband simply doesn't listen to me, he interrupts me 5 seconds into my "story", and always makes it about him. I try over and over to share myself with him, but he just can't hear me out. I listen to him talk forever and ever, and I know some people who have a wonderful relationship this way. But it's not for me. I'm sad that he's not interested in what I have to say, how I feel, I feel disrespected, belittled and certainly not loved. So, a logical result is that I don't feel like being physically intimate. He accuses me of cheating, calls me a whore when I spark another mans interest and he even hit me when he found out a friend of mine was hitting on me, even though I told him of. I must be getting "it" somewhere if I'm not doing it with him… And of course I can stay with him so that the kids have an intact family, but is this what I want to show my kids? That this is a relationship? Where there is no love, no respect, no cuddling, no fun? Lots of arguing and sadness? And that you have to sacrifice your happiness for others? I am not in the position to leave, but if I could, I would for sure. If it were up to me we would keep this house where the kids have their steady home, and a studio apartment that my husband and I share while we take turns living with the kids. I'd have no problems co parenting or with my husband entering a new relationship. We both deserve better and more then this, everybody does. And no, forever passionate sex is not what I expect, but love and respect and intimacy is. It sounds like you have a wonderful husband who has an open ear and An open mind. But if you feel so opposed to him, there must be something going on and as I've learned in life, you can talk it straight with your brain, but if your heart and gut cringe, something's not right. I wish you clarity and all the best! And send an update if you ever visit again , I'd love to know where you are now. 5 agree Reply Hi, I'm responding to your post because it seems fundamentally different from many of the others and perhaps more fixable. It sounds like you simply need your partner to start doing particular things to make it work for you… and there is a good chance he needs the same from you. I'd recommend the book The Five Love Languages. Here's the coles-notes version – we all have certain needs that, when they are not met make us feel miserable. Often, we have different needs and do not notice when we are not meeting those of our partner. Then we don't meet their needs and it becomes a cycle. The trick is to figure out your partner's love language – compliments/affectionate words, acts of service, touch, quality time, gifts – has he been known to complain about not getting one or two of those things on a regular basis? If so, the book would recommend you make a systematic project of supplying him with that need for X amount of time – maybe a month, while keeping a record of your actions and what you observe. After that, you could start dropping hints about what he could do for you. If he is feeling good as a result of your actions there is a much higher chance of him reciprocating. That's it in a nutshell. I'm no specialist but I'd give it a go if I were you. 1 agrees Reply It sounds like the only real problem is your sexual aversion to your husband. The same thing might happen if you meet and marry someone else. Romance is a temporary neurological sate of mind. Partners in good marriages function as friends after romance dissapears and still enjoy sex. The fact that you can't stand sex with your husband may be due to your unhealthy exposure to abuse and sex in your formative years. If this is so, there is not much you can do about it and you should accept that you are especially challenged in this area. If you look for and find another partner who you enjoy sex with, then the same thing will probably happen again. You may then realize you have torn your true family apart and the regret will be horrible. You have a good life but you may be flawed in an area that will require a lot of therapy to restore. Acknowledging weaknesses and living life with grace and courage is the best approach I think. 7 agree Reply I googled “when you are no longer attracted to your husband” and came across this thread. I’ve read all the comments and got some insightful thoughts from others. I’ll take some time to process and think about it all. I am in the exact same boat as the original writer. I met my husband a couple years ago. We started dating and things were going amazing! He asked me to marry him right off the bat. Seeing that I was nearly 30, and had been a single mom since 21, and had never been married, I quickly jumped on board. 4 months after meeting, we were sitting outside the court house waiting to be called in to say our “ I do’s” I had this gut feeling that I shouldn’t go through with it, but I’d feel terrible as a person leaving him there, so I went through with it. We got married, and a couple months into the marriage I found out he had “fluffed” the truth about a handful of things about himself. I felt lied to and tricked. I started pulling away. We got pregnant and here we are two years later. Our sex life came to a screeching halt after I had found out about the lies, and after we had a fight where he was drunk and lashed out. I don’t know how else to explain it other than the “light switch turned off”. I have since then checked out sexually. I don’t find him sexually attractive and it’s very hard for me to muster up desire to have sex with him since he wants sex every couple of days or so. It’s gotten to the point to where I cant stand his smell, I don’t like kissing him, I don’t want him touching me. I just want to be left alone sexually. Every other aspect of our marriage is great. Amazing actually. He helps out, cleans, is great with the kids, takes turns letting each other sleep in, works hard, and brings home good income for our family. We share a lot of the same goals. He leaves for work 3 months at a time. So he’s home for three months and gone for three months. I find myself looking forward to when he is gone because I won’t need to fulfill the sexual part of our relationship and I start dreading the time that he’s home because I know what is expected of me. He has never pushed himself onto me, but he doesn’t have a problem voicing that he wants sex. If we go a few days without it, he’ll start complaining again. I literally feel like a dead fish sometimes just laying there with no emotion just hoping for it to be over. I avoid kissing him, I just am 100% not sexually attracted to the guy anymore. It’s been nearly two years since that went out the door….and I’m just holding on hoping that someday it’ll come back. I toddle with the idea of leaving him but we have a 1 year old together and my 9 year old loves him dearly. How long can I keep this going? If we were to split I know we would co parent amicably. We are both incredibly easy going people so I don’t see too many issues with coming to terms from a co-parenting standpoint. I’d be interested to hear what you decide to do. Best of luck with it all 4 agree Reply Wow. It's amazing that so many wives are feeling this way. Unfortunately it appears that my wife is in the same boat. I think she still loves me and I do love her too. But she isn't attracted to me sexually anymore. We have a kid who would be totally hurt if we split. I really don't understand how you could be so unattracted to someone that you couldn't muster up sex with them though.I mean haven't we all had sex with people who weren't exactly hot before? I'm a pretty good looking guy, in pretty good shape, and i get looks from women. I'm also a pretty good dad and husband. I work hard, help around the house, and with the kid. I don't know, but I don't really feel like I did anything wrong. She agrees, and says it wasn't me, but her…. so after her affair, we decided to try and work it out for kiddo… she's still not feeling me like that anymore. Honestly, I really do believe many of you women are suffering. I can't imagine how it must feel to hurt someone who 's only crime is that they love you too much. It really hurts me that she feels that way because I've always loved her more than anything. I imagine my wife feels bad because she isn't giving me what I need. While i would love sex i don't want to force her to do it and i really don't want mercy sex either. Even when she does do it, it's pretty bad now. No passion, no new stuff, just …nothing…. i'm pretty sure many of your loving husbands feel the same way, but are probably either afraid to say anything in fear that you'll completely stop or they might hurt your feelings. Just keeping it real. I'm honestly considering an affair myself. The weird thing is that even though i have a TON of things i don't really like about her, i do love her in spite of them. I love my family and I don't want to lose them, but if it makes her miserable to stay, I don't want her to feel obligated either. I just don't know what i did wrong Maybe i'm too perfect in her eyes? (I know i'm not perfect, but maybe i'm to GOOD in her opinion) Maybe if she gets a sense that i'm out with someone else or that someone else appreciates my efforts, love, and sex, maybe she'll value me again. Maybe it will backfire. Dunno. Serious question for you ladies, How would you feel if your husbands started an affair with someone else? Would you be angry or hurt? Would you be ok with it? 5 agree Reply You did nothing wrong. It's just chemistry, nothing either of you can really help. I stay in my relationship because I don't want to hurt my boyfriend. It may sound strange, but I would love it if he would find a sexual partner other than me. It would be good for him, quite possibly make him a much happier man, and, since you ask, sure, it may eventually make me realise what I'm missing out on. He and I met when I was 18, he was just a few years older. Now, more than fifteen years later, it may not be strange that we've grown apart in some ways and grown completely siamese in others. I don't feel any sexual attraction to him anymore, but can't bring myself to leave. So. Yeah, I'd be perfectly fine with him having an affair. 8 agree Reply You need to realize that this is the exception. I know tons of relationships that last for many years or decades, where the woman never cheats or feels the need to cheat. And the issue isn't that women don't like good men, but most women want to be dominated when it comes to sex. So a guy can be good and sweet and loveable, but still be a "bad boy" in bed. It's the men who can't or won't do this that often become unattractive to women. Young girls are often into cute, nice boys, and don't really care for rough sex. But as we get older, that often changes, which some men don't seem to realize. This isn't a criticism of men, just my explanation of things. And regardless of whether a man can be dominant in bed or not – in the end it's really and actually just pheromones and hormones controlling us. When the pheromones of two people don't (or no longer) match, the attraction will suffer greatly. When this happens, there's usually not much (good) that you can do about it. Again, this has got nothing to do with guys being nice or not. Hope this helped. 6 agree Reply This is such a great explanation for what's going on in my marriage. I tried to explain this to my husband but he just doesn't get it. I feel like at this point, if he tried to be dominant in bed, it would just make me laugh. *Sigh* 7 agree Reply In many ways, my husband is a lot like you. One major difference is that he lied about being a sex addict, and cheated on me for the majority of our marriage. (Our marriage has been predominantly sexless; only a handful of times in 3 years, & completely nonexistent in the first 2 years- not even on our honeymoon. He blamed this on stress and depression, but a year ago I found out it was due to the sex addiction.) He too endured sexual abuse as a child, and it completely warped his concept of sex and intimacy. I wish I had known this prior to marrying him. He isn’t into music; I sing and play guitar and I’m an artist. I’ve no clue how I ended up with someone I share so little in common with. He can look at a screen for hours; an entire day if allowed. Probably longer. Reading, eating, playing video games; he would much rather stay at home doing one of those activities instead of going out and living life. He doesn’t really have any friends, and he seems to be fine with that. He epitomizes antisocial behavior. Aside from the cheating, he is helpful around the house, kind, caring… He is also a bit of a pushover. He doesn’t take charge of anything in life really; (least of all sex,) he’s content believing that he takes charge without actually doing so. That’s even more unappealing. I have a thing for Jason Momoa. I share this in common with thousands of other women. (My husband hates him with a passion.) He (and I think other men think the same,) seems to believe that my thing for JM is solely about looks. Now, there’s no denying that he’s an attractive man. But other men seem to miss out on the concept that JM has found a balance between geeky & masculinity. (At least this is the persona that he exudes; this is what those of us who don’t “know” him see.) He comes across as a complete goober sometimes, but he’s able to reel that in and still be masculine. He’s creative, artsy, intelligent (enough.) He also seems to be in touch with his emotions. He seems to be a genuinely kind and compassionate person. He apologizes when he screws up. He seems to be able to make a decision and ride with it and lead his family; his “pride of gypsies” as he refers to it. That’s what women want in a man. You don’t have to be “super hot.” But masculinity is a must. The ability to lead is a must. Being yourself confidently and unapologetically is a must. Taking care of yourself to some capacity is a must. Balance in all things is a must. The other stuff is extra and unnecessary. It’s nice that he’s super hot, but if JM’s personality were the same and he wasn’t super ugly, I’d still find him just as attractive. Ed Sheeran is a lovely example of that. I find him just as appealing and they couldn’t be more polar opposites physically. It kills me when men say that women don’t want a “nice guy.” Of course we want a nice guy. He just has to have other things going for him as well. Nice never has been, nor will it ever be enough. We need balance. No one wants to be attached to a one dimensional character; especially when that one dimension is mostly wussy & boring. 1 agrees Reply I meant that he’s a lot like Darrell above. Reply If I could like this a hundred times, I would. Jason Momoa is a manly beast who puts on a tutu because his daughter asks him to. That is an intoxicating combination. I'm married to a pushover too, and it's a slow death. On the plus side he's kind, works hard and is very practical so anything broken gets fixed and we're never out of milk… But he is very negative, doesn't take care of himself, no ambition, no drive, no life outside the home, refers to me before making the smallest of decisions. Someone, somewhere misinterpreted that "happy wife, happy life" means the wife calls all the shots. I am tired of making all the decisions. 2 agree Reply Lord, me too. I don’t want to be the man; in any capacity. It makes me sad that other women are experiencing this, but it’s also kind of comforting to not be completely alone. I think my plan is to save up for the next year or so and part ways with my husband. The thought doesn’t really scare me so much as it saddens me. I’m sad that he didn’t come to me in the beginning before he decided to cheat. I’m sad that he didn’t feel he could trust me enough to talk to me. I’m sad that this broke our marriage. I’m especially sad to be losing my friend, and he has no clue that it’s happening. Unfortunately, they can’t all be Jason. Which is kind of a good thing because we aren’t all Lisa. 1 agrees Reply Helps to see a thread where others can relate and googled the same issue. I'm only one year married and don't enjoy sex much. But married at 40 with a long history of lust with men who don't commit and left me heartbroken. Husband is handsome but I've never felt the intense drama and passion which I'd come to equate with good sex. In fact, I always assumed sex was mind blowing passionate because that was the norm in my relationships! So is it even possible when conditioned for 2 decades to suddenly find a loving and caring family man as passionately sexy? Hmmm I sort of doubt it. But is abandoning caring and stable love to experience hot romp in the hay really wise? Sounds like more self-abuse on the way. It is sad, but obviously the reality for many of us. 3 agree Reply Reading your story tripped me out SO MUCH! I felt like I was reading my exact story, married 10 years and together for 11. We have 3 beautiful kids and your story is truly mine! Can I ask you where you’re at with this as of right now? 5 agree Reply Hi Adri, Still just swinging between tolerating and being repulsed. I'm trying everything I possibly can to work on myself both physically and mentally. Once I feel completely comfortable that I have worked through or at least accepted my issues, I'll look into next steps again. How are you going?? Love to hear where your at and so nice to know we are not alone! 5 agree Reply My husband and I have been together for 14 years, married for 11, and have two children under the age of 10. We've had a rocky relationship from day 1. He was very opinionated, controlling, everything was his way, etc. The past few years he was always angry, yelling at the kids, arguing with me, griping about the house, not taking my side on anything, etc. For example, we went out to eat and I had 2 beers. I remembered because I had one before he got there an one after. I didn't order one in between so we could order one together when he got there. I got charged for 3 at the end of dinner. When I mentioned it, he told me that the waitresses there didn't usually make those kinds of mistakes and I was probably wrong and really had 3. He said it right in front of the waitress. Okay, so the waitresses are less likely to make a mistake than your own wife. He never has my back like we're a team. This is just one incident of many. He came how griping about the house yelling at the kids to put their stuff away. I was cooking dinner and hand-washing some dishes. He kept interrupting me to ask me where stuff goes. I told him I was busy and I would help when dinner was done. He kept griping about the way the house looked, talking about how embarrassing it was, etc. Mind you, he did NOTHING around the house except cooking a few night a week. He didn't clean anything, do any laundry, bath the kids, drive them to sporting stuff, didn't go to their school functions. He did NOTHING to help out. He sat in his chair and watched TV all the time. I started crying and said that I couldn't do it all myself and I needed help around there. Working full time (teachers work more than 8 hours a day), cleaning, and taking care of the kids 100%. His response was, "Why not?! Single moms do it all the time?" I was in shock. This is one of the mild incidents. This had been going on for 8+ years. I ended up in what you could possibly say was an emotional affair. It was a guy I had dated for a couple of years in HS; first love, first boyfriend, first kiss, etc. We only talked like 5-6 times in a 1 1/2 year period, but he made it very clear that IF I left my husband that he wanted me and my kids to live with him and he wanted planned on the 2nd chance for us that he'd always wanted. A few months ago he had just told me he was moving back to town and wanted to see me every chance I got when his house was ready. He helped my husband and I negotiate a deal on a new car while he was in town this trip, he used to be the finance manager at this car lot so he knew all the people and what they could do for us. He met my husband for the 2nd time ever. My husband did not know we'd been speaking up to this point. My friend died in a horrible accident the next day. After the accident and I was mentally able to speak his name days later, my husband confessed that seeing me with this guy at the car lot that day made him decide that he finally wanted to work on our marriage. I had asked him almost 2 years before and on a couple of other occasions to go to marriage counseling with me. He told me he could fix it on his own. He now wanted to do it because he said he knew that I was going to leave him for this guy when he moved back to town. He saw the way he looked at me, never took his eyes off me. It scared him to think he was fixing to lose me. He's been super husband and dad since then. He's gone to counseling, he rarely yells, helps around the house an with the kids. Although, the last few days I've seen the old grump come back out several times and it felt just like the old him. It's happened several times lately. He's changed so much, but I feel nothing towards him. I don't want him to touch me (even innocently), kiss him, we haven't had sex in 2 years and I have desire to do so, etc. I even had a physical affair recently. Why? Is there something wrong with me? Are his changes too little too late? I've been emotionally numb for so long. I don't know how to turn it back on, if that's even possible. We've been like roommates for so long that anything more doesn't feel right or good. Am I emotionally blocking it or is it just gone? He told me that I chose to turn my feelings off and I can turn them back on if I just try. 3 agree Reply I'm no longer attracted to my husband and mildly repulsed by him. We have 2 kids under 5 and he's the one who stays home with them and I support the family. I keep coming back to divorce but I can't see how it would work. I have asked him to get a job, he as a PHD and is a stay at home parent?! I keep thinking if he had a job I would stress less but I don't know. Reply Glad is the wrong word, but It’s definitely a relief to see I’m not alone in this! Fortunately not married, but huge commitment has been made in that i have emigrated with my daughter to be with my partner…who was an ex I always remained friendly with, relied on each other in times of need. He has always maintained his love for me where as I fell out of love with him mid 20s and moved on. We stayed in touch sporadically, long distance and as we are great friends, and both attractive, I start to wonder whether maybe it was immaturity on my part why we broke up. He’s such a good guy, share the same quirky edgy humour, same level of intelligence, our friends are interlinked and families get on better than well – perfect!! He’s also so good with my little daughter, taken him on as her own. What’s chemistry anyway, other than a wild child’s ticket to a bad boy and heartache?! Surely it is something we can work on, not like he’s a drinker or a beater…Until I made the leap, moved to Australia from the UK…and quickly start to remember the things that turned me off. Pretty much everything bar conversation from a different couch turns me off him. Do anything to avoid sex. He’s a handsome bloke but all I see is frog like limbs and a panting terrier trying to hump me. Bitchy I know but this is anonymous so I’m letting loose… I have tortured myself for months with guilt over this, how I will break his heart again, he has become attached to my daughter (who is thankfully only 2 so will not recall anything) how foolish I will look to return, how shallow I am that I can’t MAKE myself love him like that. But, after a lot of soul searching, working on developing my intuition and meditating for clarity; I realise it’s not going to get better, just worse. And we all deserve better, him, me and my daughter. Some things cannot be forced. We enter with no malice and best intentions, but there is a ‘higher self’ beyond logic we can’t control. It’s a great thing to tap into and a foolish thing to ignore, I understand that now. I wish u the best with it, all of you. But my advice, from my experience – it is what it is, accept and deal with it. Don’t complicate it looking for answers that aren’t there <3 6 agree Reply I agree with you. Also, you've got a way with words – are you a pro writer? Reply Hi, Thank you to everyone for sharing, I’ve taken advice from a few of you & the insight shared really helped me. I felt like I was reading my own story, except I don’t have kids. The closest thing I can relate is my two dogs, which I cherish & have had for the past 9 years with my husband. I got married at 18 only after knowing him for about 3 months, he was 20 years old. We had amazing sex for about a year and half, after that the sex had fallen out, most likely because the passion “puppy love” stage was over. I continued to work on this & even blamed myself for believing I had a low libido. We went to Counseling, etc. & it helped for a little but not in sex area. We got better at communicating & stuff, but I never really want to have sex with him. He’s a great guy, in great shape (in the Marines), kind & loving to me. He tells me he knew he wanted to marry me when he met me, and he asks me the same question & I gently tell him that it wasn’t the same for me. My husband is normally gone a lot since he’s active in the military & every time he is gone, I think about being sexually intimate with someone else but I never muster up the courage to do so because I don’t want to hurt him. He has asked me if I’m still attracted to him, since the sex is lacking (we have sex about once every 1.5-2 months) & I lie and tell him of course. I believe and see he is handsome but I can’t stand kissing or having sex with him. I feel like a shitty person for lying to him and just “doing it to do it” and make him happy—I also don’t want to hurt him. I’m also afraid that what if we get a divorce and this is the ongoing cycle for me with future guys… passionate at first then zero passion later even when my husband and I have tried new things. 🙁 anyways, sorry about my venting being so long. I do want to hear any advice or what you’ve done, Alex, as story is similar to mines. Good luck & hope to hear and update soon! 4 agree Reply Wow. In a way it's a relief to see I'm not the only one feeling this way, but on the other hand it hurts to see so many people in pain like this. So, here's my story: Married for less than a year, but we've been together for more than 8 years, and I've known him half my life and had a huge crush on him at school for years. We don't have kids yet, but we do have a dog who used to be a stray and is extremely attached to both of us. We never had too much sexual attraction to begin with, and even acknowledged this at the beginning of our relationship, but back then I was on hormonal birth control, so my sex drive wasn't that big anyway and neither him nor me seemed to mind much. We did have sex, and it was always okay/good, but never great. I just thought I'm not a person who really enjoys or needs sex. We had some dry spells too, and spent many years of our relationship in different countries, but we didn't mind much, because we weren't in it for the sex, and we're extremely compatible overall. Now, about a year ago I stopped using my birth control pills, since we'd been thinking of trying to have kids in the near future. A few months after this, I started to have very hightened libido, which at first was good, because we had more sex and were both enjoying it more. But then I started thinking about sex with other men more and more, probably sensing that while our sex was nice and all, it wasn't exactly the best there could be. I started fantasizing about tons of men I would see on the street, etc, and I even began writing porn and masturbating almost daily to deal with my excess sexual energy. Then around Christmas, we had a fight which ended with him hitting me in the face. He says it was an impulse reaction and he didn't mean to hurt me, and I do believe him. But somehow something broke inside me then, I don't know. We made up though, but a couple of days later I asked him if I could maybe sleep with other guys, should the possibility arise. After expressing a lot of doubt, he eventually agreed. A few months later, I began an affair with one of his friends, which my husband is aware of. The sex is mind-blowingly amazing, like I've never experienced before with anyone (maybe also because I had been on the pill since before I had become sexually active). But leaving my husband for my affair guy is definitely not an option, not least because this guy has told me repeatedly that he wouldn't want that and has no feelings for me whatsoever. I love my husband dearly, I think he'd make an excellent father, we share the same values, sense of humor, lifestyle, etc, and aside from him punching me around Christmas and once before a few years ago in another high-stress situation, I feel very safe with him. Plus, he has supported me through both physical and mental problems in the past, for which I am eternally grateful to him, and I don't have a job right now and will likely never have one that pays well, whereas he makes good money. It was (or is?) our dream to build a house together, raise a family and rescue dogs. He's incredibly smart, funny and kind, and I've never been able to have conversations as good as the ones we're having with anyone else. He's almost perfect in every way except that my attraction to him is waning fast. We have sex about twice a week, but it hardly leaves me more satisfied than masturbation. I'm not disgusted by him per se, but he has terrible breath a lot of the time and I do need him to shower, shave and brush his teeth before sex, which I didn't need in the past (while still on the pill). I just don't know what to do. I don't want to lose my best friend and practically perfect life partner just to be alone or date one stupid, mediocre guy after another, and get rejected and have to reject people all the time. Dating life is not for me, I need stability and security due to my family never having giving me either of those things. I've been in individual therapy twice, but for different reasons (anxiety mostly). So, logically, it makes absolutely no sense to leave him whatsoever. And yet for months now I've been waking up every morning with this gut-wrenching feeling that something just isn't right. I don't know what it is, if it's my personal issues or I'm trying to self-sabotage, or if the hormonal effects of going off my birth control (which have been observed in studies) are really enough to drive me away from the ideal husband. I feel like I'm just going insane by making the same decision over and over and over again every single day. I know that if I left him I would miss him forever. I've built my life around our relationship, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without him, perhaps I'd even be dead. How can I even consider throwing all of this away just because the sexual attraction is lacking? I feel so horribly stupid. 2 agree Reply From what I gather you sound like a very conflicted person and your use your partner to "anchor" yourself. This is not really what most of us want for our sexlife though where we want things to be exciting and new. Now that your hormones have changed you probably don't want your partner to be the boring "compatible" type that he is. I think you should definitely try to get a grip on your emotions first and talk to your partner. Sleeping with other people while having such conflicts definitely isn't going to help you. There are many opportunities in life to find excitement, but only very few that make you happy in the long run. 1 agrees Reply I have read several of the comments. Please allow me to share my story. I was married for 15 years. We dated for two. We have two children. Our marriage and home life was great…mostly. He is a hard worker and a wonderful father. We had date nights and were best friends. Somewhere along the way our sex life fizzled. We became more like roommates. We still got along great. However, I got a wondering eye….started crushing on various men. Then I started chatting and the next thing you know I had an emotional affair. Yes he found out. My marriage is over! I am 42 and having to start over. Let me tell you it is awful!! I don’t want to go on most days. My children’s lives are forever changed. They go back and forth between two parents. Different rules and homes. I have a ton of responsibilities that I never had before! Oh and trying to find someone else….not a worthy man out there. Those divorced men out there are divorced for a reason!! They usually only want sex. They have been married and don’t want to do it again. And of course if you are older with kids then forget it. They can date the younger women with no kids and baggage. Oh and the older men don’t want you because you have young children. They are way past that in their lives. The grass is not always greener. Let me tell you that a stable home environment with a great man is way more important than any kind of great sex life!! Married life changes and the once butterflies in the stomach days are over. But you move to different phases. One of communication, commitment and unconditional love. If you have a wonderful man who loves you and your children you better hold on tight!! I didn’t and I lost everything that was so dear to me. I would give anything to have my life back. My marriage and family…torn! 6 agree Reply Thanks HB, I'm sorry to hear what a rough road you sound like you've had. Bloody tough. It must be s heart breaking for you having your kids involved. So you believe that having a companionship without the chemistry and emotional connection is better than divorce by the sounds of it? My husband has become extremely negative and pessimistic now (he always was but has gotten worse) and refuses to seek help or work with me with a marriage councillor. So I'm not sure that we could save things even if I wanted to, as wouldn't it need to be both of us?! 1 agrees Reply Sorry to hear how things turned out for you. I do hope that you will eventually find that it happened for a reason and you are happy again, whatever life brings your way. I have decided that I will not be leaving unless I know I would be happier alone. Because once I leave, that is the only guarantee. I have an open marriage so I have been out dating for the past year and a half and I will agree that there are slim pickins out there! But I am currently dating a really awesome (married and not open) man. I have no idea if we have any future together. His kids are almost out of the house (youngest has 3 years) and once he's done with that, I think he will want a different life than I could fully participate in. My youngest kids have 11 years left at home so I can't run off to hawaii or traveling around the world for a long time. So, hence why I say, if I leave, I have to be ready and ok with living alone forever. I also have the added benefit of being able to get my needs met elsewhere. So I'm not as trapped as most others in this thread. Reply I am a middle aged female and I, too, was attracted to unattainable men my entire life. I assume this stems from having a real jerk for a father. I tried very very hard to date good men but I could never feel the spark. In some cases, I fell in love with their personalities completely, but could not sleep with them. It was like I was sabotaging myself; I could only become attracted to men who didn't want to be faithful or were emotionally aloof, unavailable. To make things even worse, I am the type of person who gets attached quickly, feels insecure, and needs validation: a recipe for disaster. Nothing I seemed to do would change it. Despite psychiatrists saying that once you realize why you are doing something, you can stop, I could never change who I was attracted to….so I decided to stop dating. Dating a$$holes took such a toll on my emotional and physical well being, I developed a chronic, serious, autoimmune condition. I have been celibate for 14 yrs. I have just given up on having a family and children, and have just accepted my fate of being alone. 2 agree Reply Thank you so much for all your comments, advice and words, They mean so much to me! Some extremely insightful views. So sorry its taken me so long to get back to you, I didn't get any notifications of these replies?? I am still in the same boat unfortunately and haven't left yet. I have had years of therapy for past abuse and have no reason not to have a libido, being so passionate about health, I eat extremely well, am I am perusing my passions and keeping fit. I do have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome though, but have had this my whole life and had no sexual issues with previous partners. I think its just a matter of "when" now, rather than "what". I need to do it for everyone. Once both kids in school I am hoping to have the chat. Sending hugs to you all and please keep in touch! Love to hear what you all ended up doing too? 4 agree Reply Hi Alex, I replied to someone else's comment above with more details of my story. Your story sounds so much like mine in many ways, including me thinking there was something wrong with my libido. When it finally all got to be too much, I finally asked my OB/GYN. He said there was nothing wrong with me. That was a blow. I was hoping I just had some hormones off or something. After catching someone staring at me in a meeting and it helped me realize that I'm still attractive, I started fantasizing about him a lot. In a series of events, my husband and I opened our marriage almost 2 years ago. So I have been able to get out and date. I can tell you, my dead libido was all in my head, or related to not being attracted to my husband. I'm currently in a relationship with a boyfriend of almost 6 months and I can't get enough. Unfortunately it hasn't changed anything for my husband and I. Even when I stopped dating for 5 months (I was over the online apps and others in the 'poly' or 'open' community so I just took a break.) I still had no interest in my husband. What I don't know and what I am currently working on is, is this a pattern for me. Am I interested so long as I don't "have" someone? Is it about the chase? My desire for my boyfriend has dropped, but not my interest, if that makes sense? In other words, It's no longer that I'm obsessed with thinking about the when is the next time we can rip each other's clothes off. But I do still enjoy being sexual with him. I love connecting with him on that level. When we do have sex, I often want it again soon after. When we go away together (which is only every few months) We often end up having sex 2-3 times a day. We see each other once or twice a week and often have sex during those weekly meetups too. But if we were to be together more exclusively, available to spend time together or living together, would I be less interested? Would my interest wane because he'd be fully available to me rather than so intermittent? I have no idea. Also, I strongly recommend the work of Esther Perel. She has two books, and I recommend her first called "Mating in Captivity" She talks a lot about reconciling our need for security with our need for adventure and how it's the adventure that creates more passion/attraction and once a relationship has the security that the passion often fades. 1 agrees Reply That is so sad Linda and I'm extremely sorry to hear. It's so frustrating feeling like you have no options!!! I hope that possibly meeting someone who you REALLY connect with will break this cycle x Reply Hi ladies, Its interesting to read all your threads & to get an insight on how my life could be..i’m 30 years of age. After a 4 year failed relationship I had a break for around 6 months to heal myself (well partially) I met a fantastic guy last summer where we both currently work. Hit it off right off the bat, lots of physical attraction, lots of chemistry, loads in common, treated me like a princess, a very very nice guy. I was SO excited! We went on a few dates, they went really well. I was so in to him like you wouldn’t believe I even said to my mum that I thought he would be my husband! Anyway, fast forward a fab summer in 2017 to now. Since the end of last year, early 2018 my feelings have changed dramatically. Like you ladies I’ve lost a lot of the physical attraction to him, which I cannot for the life of me understand!! Is it that I just wasn’t in to him as much as I first thought? After a failed relationship I kinda jumped in to the arms of another guy quite soon? He’s not ugly, he’s just not really my type but to begin with he was. Maybe it wasn’t right from the beginning but my heart told me otherwise. My partner would marry me tomorrow, however I’m having doubts because the chemistry is lacking & I would hate to be in a similar position to you all, feeling trapped, wandering eye etc. I wouldn’t cheat by any means but I don’t want to settle.. should I stay or should I go that is the current situation I’m in. We are still together but he has said he needs ALL of me like he had before with no doubts in order to carry on our relationship, so we are currently on a break. What do you ladies suggest? Should we break it off or should I stay & hope that it’ll get better? My fear is if I settle i’ll be terribly unhappy. Naturally I’m so confused with changes in feelings. 🙁 He’d make a great husband, fabulous dad I’m sure I’m just not sure if you need that X factor??! I guess from what you’ve all been saying you do otherwise it becomes mundane & stagnant. I’m just so upset about it all. To top it off we found a few weeks ago that my dad has cancer so I’m a bit of an emotional mess at the moment. Any suggestions, advice would be amazing! Thank you lovely ladies. P.s I hope everything works out for all of you in future! Be happy 🙂 Belle x 2 agree Reply Honestly, I would seriously consider ending it. If you feel this way now, think of 10+ years down the road. Everything about him will probably annoy you. You can try individual therapy and see if you can uncover something. My struggle with my husband is that I want to go places with someone I feel proud and excited to be with. That's just not how I feel when I'm with my husband. With my husband and I, there is not only an attraction issue on my end, I also realized we just don't have any interests in common, besides our kids. I love to compete in sports and he likes going to the theater. I'm having trouble imagining our retirement. We even opened our marriage so we can stay together (we like each other and get along and have 3 kids) but get our other needs met elsewhere. But I'm now realizing that being with someone who I'm excited to be with out and about is important to me. 1 agrees Reply Hi all. I've posted here a few months ago. Just wanted to give you an update. I'm divorcing my husband now. It just didn't work out anymore, I couldn't imagine going back to having a closed marriage with him, so he decided to call it quits. Right now, it feels really awful. He made the decision less than a month ago. I have to look for a job and a room now, and I won't get to see my dog very often anymore, which is honestly the most painful part about all of this. I still love my husband dearly and I wish it had worked out between us. Unfortunately he hates me now and insults me all the time. Still I'm hesitant to move out because I'm going to miss my doggie so terribly. It's very sad and confusing and scary. I definitely miss our life, all the good things we had, him, our shared time, all of it. It pains me to think about all that I've lost. On the other hand I suppose I would never have been truly happy in the situation the way it was, so now at least there's a small chance of that happening at some point (far) in the future. I just wanted to let you guys know. I wish you all the best of luck in making your own personal decision for your individual situation! 2 agree Reply I came across this thread looking for help. However I am the husband, from the very first month after our marriage I realized my wife was not truly into me. She came from a partying/clubbing background, a string of boyfriends in her early 20’s, ended up pregnant at age 23, then after the birth of her child she started to slow down realizing she wanted more in life. She got married at 26 but it lasted 6 months. I came from a more reserved background, never partied hard, I married once for 6 years but we separated because my ex no longer wanted to be stuck at home. My EX left me and our 2 children to go party for several years. I met my wife when I was 33, 2 years divorced. She had been divorced 4 years. Apparently I was everything she wanted… Except sexually. We’ve been together 10 yr now. I’m done. I can’t live like this with a wife who says she loves me but hates to hold hands, cuddle, kiss, she wears shirts during sex because she’s creeped out if I check her out naked, and routinely asks me if I’m finished so she can get back to her activities. I’m telling her I’m thinking of divorce and she’s adamant we stay together and try. But I can’t change how she feels about me… I have tried.. for 10 years… And I’m tired of feeling like I will Always be second place to men she is sexually attracted to. 2 agree Reply Have you tried counseling? I think we (women) feel guilty and horrible to feel how we feel. I personally have that horrible feeling in your gut that you get when someone dies. My husband is great and I'll probably never find someone that loves me as much as he does but i'm also guilt ridden bc i feel like he deserves better. Reply This is my life at the moment. Married for 3 years together for almost 10. My husband and I had a nice sex in the beginning. I moved to another country for him and we have one child together under 5. He is an amazing father and he is very smart, helpful partner. He has his bad sides too and our relationship was always far from perfect. He is over communicating everything where I hate taking, he loves analysing where I just want to complete a task. Very different people. He tries to ‘teach’ me things all the time which drives me crazy. He was also abusive to me in the past, but hasn’t been now for a year and says that he has changed and will never be again. I am not attracted to him. He is a VERY good looking guy. All my friends are drooling for him and I just keep making jokes to them- have him so I don’t have to do it tonigh. Last year we went to visit family and since I am having an emotional and physical affair with someone who was always inlove with me and we always had the best sex and chemistry. I tried to stop it, but keep coming back to it which signals to me that something is not right. I am imagining if this affair person would have lived in this country, I would have left my husband already, but because he is 24 hour flight away and I can’t take my child to another country (and will never do it even if I could because everyone need their daddy) this affair is likely to end up nowhere. After reading all the comments, I am thinking to talk to him about how I feel about him and maybe ask to try an open relationship. Doubt he will agree to this but that’s better than getting divorce perhaps? Although we don’t get along in relationship level either other than being great parents to our child. Hope we keep getting comments on this thread because I felt happy today for the first time after reading those comments. I felt normal and so glad this post exists. 1 agrees Reply Hi Alex, did you end up speaking to your husband? Reply The difference between a man who isn't attracted to his wife and a woman who isn't attracted to her husband is that she, if she chooses to, can still have intercourse. A man (like me) who cannot function sexually without sexual desire and attraction cannot get an erection or ejaculate. Yes there are other ways to please a woman but I have to say that without erection or orgasm sex is simply stressful and not at all an enjoyable experience. Reply Yes, the woman can physically have intercourse if she uses tons of lube. However, it is ultimately the same as for you because she doesn’t get aroused at all and she doesn’t have an orgasm. Therefore, it is just as stressful and unenjoyable for us. 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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