From a reader: My husband is great, we have a great time together and we go on vacations and getaways that he plans. We are best friends but thats just it. I feel like we aren’t husband and wife, but friends or roommates. I’m tired of always being the initiator of sex. It’s been this way since we were dating. So I stopped. He said he will try and I wont have to say anything but I’m still waiting. Can a sexless marriage survive?
He does have issues so I know that is why. He is also 11 years older than me and blames that. But I know many men older than him that still want to have sex. He said he’s attracted to me. I know he loves me but has his own way of showing it. I told him I need more attention in that dept. I also feel he doesn’t know my body. I feel just so sexually disconnected with him that he doesn’t turn me on. I have started to drift away and get turned on from other men that are giving me the sexual attention I need and desire.
I do feel guilty and I don’t know what else to do. I am starting to resent him as well and I just don’t care anymore. I just don’t know what to do…
Can a sexless marriage survive?
Here’s the thing with any long-lasting, committed relationship:
There is always something. Always.
What I have learned from my twenty years of marriage and the thousands of hours that I have spent coaching people on relationships is that the grass is not greener on the other side. The answer to any successful relationship comes from continuously working on yourself, acceptance of the other person, and gratitude.
Now, I’m not saying that people should never get divorced or that if they do, they will regret it. What I am saying is that before calling it quits you need to take a reality check to see what your part in this is. And believe me, we always have a part even if it is only 1%.
I can’t help but wonder from what you stated in your question, the pressure your husband is feeling to perform sexually. I am sure he knows on some level that he doesn’t turn you on. As humans we are sexual beings and with your husband being a male, I can promise you that this is a very big deal to him.
Have you tried compassion and taking the pressure off? Instead of making him feel badly for not initiating sex have you shown gratitude and praise for all that he does do? You said it yourself, he plans things, you are best friends. This is a big deal and not everyone has that. What I am hearing is that there is a lot of good left in this relationship. Try focusing on that and taking all of the sex pressure off the table for the next 30-days and see what happens.
If there is no shift, go to counseling with a sex therapist to help you unravel what is really going on. Because sex is not just about getting off (although that is part of it) there is emotion and trust and intimacy and power struggles and self-worth and so much more all wrapped up in it. And it sounds like you two are struggling with some of that. Which by the way, is NORMAL.
He might be older than you by 11 years (my husband is 8 years older than me) and yes, things do change but my guess is he is experiencing emotional and physical changes.
Women go through menopause and our hormones change but what is less talked about is that testosterone level changes for men. He might need to get checked out by a doctor.
He probably feels embarrassed by his lack of desire or ability to perform and my guess is it makes him feel less than and shut down and he is suffocating under the pressure of pleasing you in this way.
Emotionally he himself may be feeling undervalued. That can make men close off sexually. What is your husband’s love language? Is it words of affirmation? Physical touch? Gifts? Quality time? Acts of service? If you don’t know, find out.
So, in answer to your question, “Can a sexless marriage survive?” My guess is if he feels more loved, less judged, and accepted by you, his desire to be vulnerable and to trust you with this most intimate part (where he is more than likely feeling like a failure) will return. But right now, he is under a microscope and that will not help him with his ability to please you in the bedroom.
The good news is, you do have some power over this situation. You can change your perspective and focus on the good in your relationship. You can hug him and be held by him and do other intimate things to lead to connection. You can work on yourself and really ask the hard questions about are you in this or not?
What is the deal breaker? When you put everything on paper that’s important to you (and I suggest that you do) where does sex stack up? Right now it might feel like the number one thing but when it wasn’t, what was? What are the things that really work between you? Focus on that. And in the meantime, get a vibrator and take care of yourself.
You wanting sex is not wrong.
It is a natural part of life. But, from what I am hearing you have a good man and there is still hope. Taking the pressure off, focusing on gratitude, staying away from other men so that you aren’t getting that energetic sexual hit, and going to therapy with a sex specialist are all things that can help.
If you do all of those that and then feel like you need to leave, you can. But you owe it to yourself, to the vows you took, and to your husband to be committed to this process.
I promise you that until death do us part is a long time for anyone in any relationship. At some point you will be the one struggling with something that your partner isn’t happy with and where you will be the one who is figuring it out and is unsure of what to do and failing in some way.
We all take turns in our relationship with growing and changing. The hard times build the foundation of a good marriage that is safe, where there is trust, intimacy, and the beauty of really being known and accepted, warts (not venereal) and all for who you are. Leaving is much easier than staying. And most of the time, staying is worth it.
Gretchen Hydo, PCC, CMC, CBC, CSC, is a professional certified coach, certified mentor coach, keynote speaker, and trainer. Specializing in business, life, career, executive productivity, and relationship coaching she helps people from all walks of life who are ready to make significant and substantial changes. Gretchen has spent the past ten years working hands-on, with individual clients, name brands, and notable companies, providing entrepreneurial tools, public relations acumen, and real-world practical advice to produce unprecedented results. She has an extensive background in PR, marketing, and business strategy. She is also an instructor with the Life Purpose Institute and a mentor coach for the International Coaching Federation. For more information, please visit, www.GretchenHydo.com or reach out by email, Gretchen@GretchenHydo.com