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Can it be saved? Should it?

Community Member

I've been with my husband for nearly 20 yrs, married for almost 12. We have 3 young kids, a house, pets, investments, mutual friends, a whole life.

He's a good man. Works hard, loyal, pulls his weight around the house, is a great dad to the kids, has same ideas re parenting & money.

But I just don't feel any romantic love for him. At all. I don't want him to touch or kiss me & I really don't want to have sex with him ever.

We've had our ups & downs, but there have been more downs than ups for me in the last few years. The more I try to have a little space, the more needy he becomes. And it goes in circles.

We've just been on a family holiday (with his best mates family too) & it all deteriorated over the last few days. I was hoping for time to relax/read/enjoy my own company, but he just wanted to follow me around like a shadow. After a few days, I asked him to give me some space, but he became quite petty with snide comments about what he was doing 'so you can have time to yourself'. On the 2nd last night away, he said he was tired, but I wanted to go for a walk. I declined his offer to join me, so he went to bed. Later, on my way back to the room, I got distracted watching a movie on a common area tv (only for about 1/2 hour). When I saw the time, I went back to the room & it was empty. I thought he went for a walk or to get food. So I went to bed. Maybe 15 mins later, he storms back into the room, eyes wild, demanding to know where I'd been & if I was cheating on him. He accused me of sleeping with someone else (I have NEVER cheated). I said I'd gone for a walk, then watched a bit of movie, then came back to the room. He didn't believe me, saying that he'd looked everywhere & had been to the common area & I was not there. He demanded to know exactly what had happened in a certain scene of the movie to prove I was not lying.

I was insulted. And livid. He started crying and said he was sorry & asked if our marriage was in trouble. I said yes. He asked if it was over. I said maybe.

To cut a long story short, he has asked for couple counselling, but I am not sure I want to go. I'm not sure it will make any difference. Will it?

I really don't know what to do. I don't want to hurt the kids & break up the family & I'm selfishly not wanting to lose my comfortable life. Has anyone been at this point and made it work? I know things won't ever be the same & right now, I can't imagine being intimate with him again. Can this marriage be salvaged?

4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi BlueBlueBlue

First up, I was in your shoes some five or so years ago. In my instance the marriage ended up failing anyway, so what I have to say may or may not be of any value.

Irrespective of whether he asked for a counselor or not doesn't matter, I recommend that you have a go at counselling for your children's sake. Sure children are resilient, but they will always think that it was there fault that you split up. Heck my youngest was 16 and she still thought that; as did my 22 y/o that wasn't even living at home at the time.

To me, a good marriage does not requisite a romantic relationship; it's about friendship and trust.

A marriage can only be salvaged if both parties want it to be salvaged. And in order for that to happen, you need open lines of honest communication between the two of you. A counselor is a mediator that enables you to speak more openly and restrains the other party from interrupting, interjecting and talking over the top of you. A counselor guides the conversation so that the root problems are realized by both parties, as well as previously interpretations of events from skewed perspectives become clearer.

If counselling doesn't work, at least then you will know that you made an honest attempt to salvage your marriage before you throw in the towel.


Hi BBB, I'm actually in a very similar situation to yourself, only the male version having been given the 'it's not me, it's you speech', and a few arguments past the point of no return. I agree with SB in that you both need to be behind a repair otherwise it can't be salvaged, too many things have possibly changed to be able to go back to the 'good old days'. I understand exactly where you're at in your last paragraph and am really not looking forward to initiating the separation process in my own situation, but my outlook on it is what's the point of dragging out a less than loveless marriage, everyone involved will be made miserable by it the more it drags on.

Attraction is not a choice. And you can't make yourself be intimate with him. If I knew him I would give him a copy of Athol Kay's Married Man Sex Life Primer.

I feel really sorry for him because he doesn't understand what he needs to do to restore the balance. He needs to read this book.

At least give him the opportunity to turn things around before you call it quits. Give him a chance. Saying that there's not enough information provided to say much more

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi Blue, thanks for posting your comment.
Love and affection in a marriage changes so much over time, it's never the same as when you first get married, because so much happens over 20 years, children, house, renovations, paying bills and negotiating contracts such as utilities, phone and loans, so you have so many discussions, arguments etc. so the honeymoon period can never last, which means the sex life has to change, it can't be the same even though the two of you will pull their weight with chores and obligations.
When having sex is declined on a continual basis and someone is not where they were supposed to be, then thoughts of having an affair will always be raised, but this only happens when this person is feeling insecure or there doesn't seem to be any love shown back to them, but it can be done in many other ways rather than having sex, although sometimes sex between the two people may happen but only for the physical pleasures and not because of their love.
You don't have to go to couple counselling, but maybe individual counselling may suit you better, because you won't have any fears or problems with your husband being there, who in turn may exaggerate circumstances that didn't actually happen.
That's when my wife (ex) and I went to couple counselling, where I was put to blame for almost everything because back then I had an alcohol problem, until my wife mentioned that I had a clot on my brain, then it was all reversed around, so that's the only session we had.
Your marriage can be saved but the two of you need to sit down and have a talk, and if this can't happen then you have to make a decision. Geoff. x