Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Left husband after years of sexless relationship - no children - feeling regret about the marriage

Community Member

I was married for 12 years. In the initial stages of the relationship the sex was reasonable albeit a bit infrequent, but we eventually got married thinking we’d have a family.

I was doing quite well at work; my husband wasn’t - we’re both professionals and looking back, he wasn’t particularly hard working. The week we returned from our honeymoon he was sacked. For the next decade, he was in non permanent roles. I felt pressure to work extremely hard as I was worried he wouldn’t be in employment at some point.

After our marriage (age 35), the sex virtually stopped. In hindsight I think my husband was depressed about his work situation.

In my late 30s I started to get concerned about having a family. I explained to my husband I wanted a child and when I asked him about it, the response was, again, “with you I do”. The problem was, he was completely uninterested in sex. When I broached it with him, in the context of having kids, he shut down. He did go to the doctor to try to address his libido issues at one stage but lost interest not long afterwards.

I distracted myself with work - my husband didn’t mistreat me and I couldn’t see myself starting again with another partner at that age, and so put up with the situation. Within a couple of years we started having arguments about kids and he went from “with you I want to”, to “we can’t afford to” to “well, we’re not going to have children now”. By this time I was 42. I coped by spending time with friends and throwing myself into work. But the grief and resentment eventually boiled over.

I had an affair with the man I’d been with shortly before meeting my husband (the other man hadn’t wanted a relationship with me at that point). I told my husband straight away and left him within a few weeks. At that point he said we could have a baby but after years of his ambivalence I felt numb. My new partner and I tried to conceive for three years. An overseas IVF attempt didn’t work and Covid has prevented me from going back to try again (I can’t do IVF in Australia because of my age). I’ve posted this as I’m feeling I’ve wasted a massive chunk of my life on a relationship that was going nowhere and with irretrievable consequences. My grief and resentment are holding me back and I need to find a good counsellor who can help me work through everything. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi and welcome to beyond blue.

the easy bit first. Depending on whether you want/need to see a counsellor vs pschologist...

the above site should allow you find someone in your area in you area to help you process your thought and feelings.

Your feelings of grief and resentment are normal. You have put all effort into your marriage, your partner and I assume at one stage he wanted children himself. And now, that time seems like a wasted investment. 😞 Please excuse my poor choice of words. How long this period of grief takes is unknown. Talking with someone will hopefully help and please be kind and patient with yourself.

For yourself... (I will refer to things my psych. told me to do about my depression)...

  • find comfort in the small things. like a morning coffee or sunshine on your face.
  • speak with friends or family through this time

Healing can (will) happen. Finding meaning can happen. Listening to you


Community Member

Hi Katherine

Welcome to BB.

In your post you said "My grief and resentment are holding me back", what do you mean by that? Holding you back from what?

The marriage did not hold you back when an old flame came along. You said you left your husband within a few weeks because you wanted a child. Fair enough, that was your decision.

Unfortunately, your new life did not work out the way you had hoped. You now resent your husband for your decision to stay in the marriage; or for leaving the marriage the way you did. Either way, you resent your husband for your life choices.

This may sound harsh, but you have to own your own decisions.

I hope counselling gives you the answers you are looking for.


Community Member

Katherine R.

Welcome to the forum and for reaching out here. It's important that you know you are not a bad person, we all make mistakes and that's how we learn. I must say before we continue, do not look at another man as your way out, this is now the time for you to be focusing on living the rest of your life as happy and as alive as possible.

Community Member
Hi Katherine R,

I'm sorry that I have no advice for you, but I created an account here just to let you know that hearing your story has helped me.

I am in the same situation except that I am still currently in my sexless but otherwise great 7 year relationship (not married), at age 35 and desperately wanting a child. I always have had. I have always been open about this with him, yet I now receive the same ambivalence you speak of. Like you, sex from the beginning was good enough and often enough, but he lost interest fairly quickly and the more I tried to work through our problems the more it's driven a wedge. I feel that he can't get past feeling like a failure, especially now with the pressure of me talking about babies.

My greatest fear is that I end up in my forties without the family that I desire. I have initiated countless conversations with my partner about this over the years, about what we can do to work through it together. He sits there like a sad puppy dog and says 'I'm sorry' over and over. He agrees to try things I suggest, but I give it a go and a few months each time and nothing ever changes.

Your story has helped me see that my time is now. At age 35 I can't do this anymore. I need to finally leave in order to have any kind of chance at the life I want for myself. It is tough because our relationship is otherwise wonderful, and so is he, except for his commitment and desire to try solving our issues. Unfortunately that's a deal breaker.

It is my life choices that got me here (choosing to stay) but my grief from leaving now will be better than regret and grief over my choices to stay later.

So thank you for sharing your story.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Sunny11~

Welcome here, I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma. It looks like you have a relationship with someone who has a low libido and is not particularly keen to have children. This is not a terribly unusual situation, low libido is surprisingly prevalent. May I ask if you have looked into the problem from a medical point of view, from a state induced by medication, a mental health condition or other possible reasons?

There a large range from pornography to lack of good sleep. in my own case depression and PTSD drove all thoughts of intimacy away for quite some time. Much more recently the treatment for a particular condition has had the same result.

I do think the fact you are able to discuss the matter and his willingness to try your suggestions under normal circumstances would be is a most helpful thing.

If after all medical and psychological avenues furn out to be dead ends then you do have a most difficult choice, do you leave and try for children with another, or stay and maybe look to adoption (no, not easy I know) or some other means of having a baby?

After the length of time together you might be surprised as to the length he would consider to keep you and keep you feeling fulfilled.

Their are no guarantees either way. In passing I know from personal experience with that treatment for the conditon I mentioned the resultant lack of intimacy did not mean lack of love.

I sadly have no answers to give you and hope you are granted the wisdom (and luck) to make the best choice.


Community Member

Hi Katherine R & Sunny11,

I'm in a very similar situation. I'm in a sexless marriage and desperately want a child. I'm also 35 and worried I will never have one. My husband has told me it's not me, it's him. It's not that he doesn't want sex, it's just that he can't switch his brain on. He is also overweight so I think that's having an impact, plus he is super busy with work. He is trying to lose around 10 kilos, so hopefully that will improve things.

We are looking at doing IVF in the meantime to try and have a child. It's going to feel awkward speaking to a fertility clinic about IVF when we aren't having sex, and when we don't believe we have an issue with our fertility, it's just we don't have sex.

I have suggested for him to go see a GP but he is really embarrassed to talk about this and would prefer to speak to a fertility specialist.

Thanks to you both for sharing your stories. Hope everything works out for you both.



Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Shorti~

Welcome here, as you can see others have similar problems and getting other's perspectives and simply not being alone facing the problem can help.

I had one of my very close family go though the IVF program, which was ultimately successful. However it was an expensive chancy system that tended as far as I could see to put all the hard parts, indignity, physical discomfort and emotional pressures on the female, much less on than the male.

I was also told despite all this the hardest part was waiting on the results -and them coming back negative time after time with each cycle. This in turn, combined with the female's emotional fragility caused by the process did not improve their relations.

May I suggest you reexamine the physical side of the problem before going to these lengths -it may be under the circumstances the IVF firm could be reluctant to accept you as clients anyway until physical exams are completed.

There are many reasons why intimacy does not occur, both physical and mental and frankly being embarrassed to go to the doctor is not a reason I'd be happy with in my partner. In the end care for your welfare should make your partner try to get a proper medical opinion.

Reassurance that no matter the problem, from a straight physical malfunction to something like porn addiction you would be understanding could perhaps persuade him to take the step.

You of course, if you have not done so already, need an examination too, and this could help as an encouraging example as well.

So what do you think?