I’m not attracted to my husband: Marriage without chemistry?

Guest post by Alex
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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.

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.

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….

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.

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.

Want to read the update to this post? 

Six years later, here it is:

Comments on I’m not attracted to my husband: Marriage without chemistry?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  3. 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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*

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • Oh my… I am with you ladies on the masculinity/polarity part also. At first I thought the main issue was lack of physical and intellectual attraction…but also rather recently came to this realization as well. He is a wonderful person..really the best.. but quite the pushover and has never really had much motivation outside of his job-At least not in the nearly 15 years we have been together. He has always let me make all of the decisions (some of which I don’t mind-but eventually it got tired). I’m just feeling the real desire more more strong male presence & leadership in my life. He is also not the LEAST bit handy…can’t boil water (cook) or fix a thing. I think I just turned a blind eye to it for years (because he is so kind) but now it really bugs me. Admitting all of this makes me really sad and depressed. He is one of my best friends. And he loves me dearly. I know that me leaving would crush him. It would break my heart too. We’ve been together for a long time and I am quite attached, as distinct from attracted to him. I too wonder if this is as good as it can get for me… and wonder if I would regret leaving down the road. I only wish we had been one of those couples who had the romance and attraction to begin with. Then at least I’d feel like I’d have some small shred of hope.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

    • 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

    • 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.

  15. 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!

    • 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?!

    • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

    • 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

    • 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

    • 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    • 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.

      • Completely agreed and couldn’t have said it better. This is the ONLY way I’m able to even somewhat have intercourse with my husband. And it just isn’t enjoyable at all. A disaster for us both. Sex has never been our thing. But unlike me, he would rather just remain in a sexless marriage than divorce. I try to convince myself I can do the same…in moments of desperation/clinging to the glimmer of hope it might work. But I can’t kid myself. I don’t want to act out again (have another affair). While I’m not in love or attracted to my husband, I do respect him as a human being.

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