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Last legs

Community Member

How do you tell when it's time to cut your losses and move on? We've been married for 34 years. We say we still love each other but I suspect it is a very different interpretation of love that each of us has. I know that love changes as you get older (not yet 60), but I just wasn't expecting the different rates of change. When one person still longs for passion and intimacy whilst the other is happy with a polite peck, and doesn't miss anything more, then it creates problems! How do other people cope? I think I'm normal! I still want to hold hands, snuggle on the couch, kiss hello, goodbye and even make love occasionally!

I seem to ask for constant reassurances that she still loves me and wants to be together. I desperately want to remain together because I love her. I get very frustrated because I can see how it could be but I also get quite despondent and moody at times because I want to feel needed physically in some way. I long to have someone reach out for me; even if it's to hug.

Has anyone else had these issues?

7 Replies 7

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Sexual incompatibility is usually a major issue so please don’t feel any guilt for your feelings.

I am 64yo but in my 30’s my first wife and I were sexually incompatible. 11 years it lasted and 15 years after we divorced I married her ex sister in law. My 2nd and current wife then revealed she had the same non affection, no sex marriage as I had.

During those times I thought of many possible reasons- child birth, post natal depression, even that it was me, but looking back I know that she had zero interest in affection and sex.

No, you do not have high expectations imo based on my knowledge. What you can try is seek out various professionals that can help. Whether they will make changes in her is another matter. Holding hands for example seems such an easy thing to do but it would be a fake transformation if she commenced doing so out of obligation rather than natural desire. Sadly even holding hands can lead to some sexual interest that many don’t realise.

For that reason, a family therapist would be less appropriate than say a professional specialising in affection and sexual matters.

So, at the end of the day your long marriage deserves the effort towards these possible remedies however your judgement eventually will conclude, if nothing works, to remain in the marriage with the looming fact that 10-15 years time this problem will be less of a concern or part ways for the possibility you’ll find affection from another.

A dilemma indeed.

Thankyou for raising this common and important topic, please repost anytime.


Thanks TonyWK, we've both done counselling separately and once as a couple. I think we'll be going again. Despite having 'permission' to seek sex anywhere I like, that isn't what I need and it doesn't solve anything. Very early menopause, depression and drinking too much makes physical intimacy less likely. It's been once in 15 months and I don't even go on about it anymore. I am trying to be understanding and empathetic but the most difficult thing to cope with from my point of view is the total lack of compromising and empathy from my wife. I respect that we are no longer teenagers and that needs and desires change. I just need to hear or feel that I matter in some way. My wife's view is that she shouldn't need to have to say or do anything and that I just need to learn to sooth myself and change my thoughts. Apparently because I have a problem with how things are then it's my problem and I need to fix me. I feel that lonely and resentful here that I get worked up walking through the door. I have no idea what I am going to face each day. It's like we're just relatives living under the same roof sharing expenses.


More interesting information, Thankyou.

re: “My wife's view is that she shouldn't need to have to say or do anything and that I just need to learn to sooth myself and change my thoughts”

I think that is not satisfactory for a partner to remove herself from the personal responsibilities of a marriage.

For this reason alone eg her attitude, further counseling focussing on her attitude is crucial. Such steps is justified in view of the longativity of your marriage.

However in my view, if I was you, I’d be very clinical, logic and brazen with my future processes towards a result, one way or the other. Remaining in a loveless marriage (in terms of intimacy) has its limits. If taken beyond that then you may well have regrets you didn’t seek affection elsewhere.

I too was seen as the one with the problem. I don’t think your wife’s view is malicious, she likely thinks a higher sex desire is unusual. Fobbing it off placing your needs in a drawer is easier for her.

Seeking better counseling the main benefit is removing guilt once separated. The fact you haven’t left tells me you struggle with separation and after 34 years any wonder.

I can’t tell you that you should leave but I think it unlikely you will find enough change of attitude from her to find minimal contentment.

One problem is over thinking it. You are both so different- that’s all. A poor attitude can be seen as significance in terms of fault. But her lack of affection and sex drive is not a fault- it’s how she is unless she can provide a reason eg if she felt that if she gave you affection it might lead to something sexual and the latter is something definitely she doesn’t want.


Some very wise words there TonyWK. Deep down I know it's very broken and unlikely to be mended. I'm weighing up my value of a family unit and financial security with my desire for consummate love rather than just commitment.

Hi LL.

l do know that to say it's your problem and you need to fix it , isn't right. l mean imagine the horror if it was her with that problem and a man answered with that response , he'd be sent to hell and she'd be in an affair in no time and general attitude would be it'd be all your fault because you weren't for filling her "needs" as they call it these days .Or you'd be told you have to start romancing her again.

But from my marriage , it was me that'd lost the interest , but l think underneath deep down it was still in there for me and could've been revived , Things didn't work out later but l've thought many times in this last 7yrs, if we we'd had just reconnected l think we would've made it. For us , even if we'd just started going for walks again, holding hands, talking , sat together more or cuddled more , gone out to lunch or tea a little , start going to bed again early like we use to and talk and play, just taken some us time and refound the simple things like that that we use to do back when and made us as close as we use to be, instead of all bills work life and kids non stop , l think we would've found ourselves again and saved it.

Maybe you could try things like that , just gently ease into some l mean , not like boom that'd probably push her away but maybe just ask if she feels like a walk , say , or something else for a start , go slow, evening maybe , just enjoy, and take it from there. No pressure , never know , little bit of something could build to more and you find yourselves again.

Anyway , good luck and l hope things can be worked out .

THanks random x

I think we tend to worry about other family members too much. People are resilient and after a short time they will accept if you separated.

This decision may need some help and that can and should come from those trained in that field. As a person that received help from a good therapist in 1987 for my anxiety I am eternally grateful for that guidance.

what do you think LL?


Randomx you almost bought me to tears. This is where we are at. I know we can find our way back if my wife really wanted to. Nothing I suggest is taken on board. I would love nothing more than a simple walk or a cup of coffee together. It obviously takes two to want to move forward. Anyway, good luck with your respective relationships people.