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Living in a non intimate marriage
I have been with my partner for 10 years, we met young and fell in love young. We are still in love have an amazing connection, the only thing is we are not intimate. I first thought that it could be because he has a porn addiction which started when we were 20, I have spoken to him about it making me feel uncomfortable he said he would give up and over the years every time I brought it up, just ask if he was still doing it he kept defending it. I'm a strong believer in not forcing people to change they have to do things on their own will, so I know this is something that will never change because we've been over it many times it's not negotiable. I have stopped asking him to change years ago. So me still loving my husband stays with him and fights the pain of it everyday. 3 years ago I noticed he completely withdrew from sex from every week to once every 1 or 2 months, and when he did it felt like pity sex because he never finished the deed, chuckedme off him and never seemed satisfied. This hurt me so much that I don't even want to think about sex with him anymore, but still love him. I got pregnant with him on purpose for the sake of having the child we had always wanted and for the whole pregnancy he didn't even touch me and used it as an excuse to not have sex. He also completely withdrew from doing all the intimate things like hugging me, kissing became a chore for him, saying I love you just anything intimate he withdrew. I asked him why, but he believes that i should be the one asking for attention if i want it. I have tried asking but his attention is still not there and he treats it like a chore which has discouraged me to even have any intimate feelings for him. I saw this coming and look I have always loved myself, I don't need a man to tell me I'm beautiful I know I am, I can see so many men gawk at me even when I was pregnant I felt even more beautiful because my body was actually being put to good use, not wasted in the closet like it was for so long, I felt I had a purpose. Just seeking some advice.
Dear Celia Akeisey~
I'm sorry you are in this position, it is incredibly worrying and hurtful when intimacy is withdrawn, and probably even worse when affection goes too. Saying you love a person would not seem to be the sort of thing that drives a person away, however see below.
I'm sure you have asked, what does he say is happening?
I guess there are a number of alternatives, I would expect you have turned them all over in your mind, however I'll list them anyway:
There might be a physical problem resulting in reduced libido, something that could maybe be checked out by a doctor.
He may have an condition such as anxiety which may lead to no contact, again medical opinion would be needed. When I became very ill with PTSD, depression and anxiety this happened to me -no desire for contact.
The porn habit may have taken over to the extent where anything else other than that fantasy world has no appeal. Such an addiction would require specialist treatment just as gambling or alcohol, should he recognize the problem and want to address it.
Sadly he may have fallen out of love, however you do say in other areas you have an amazing connection. Then again that might be a comfortable habit, I do not know, you might have a better idea.
I'm not sure it is always straightforward, when I was ill it did mean no desire for contact, as that might lead to a desire by my partner for intimacy which I could not at the time provide.
So do you think you may be able at least to have the first couple of possibilities looked at - with your husband's cooperation of course?
Do you have a family member or friend to lean on in this? It does make a difference talking with another, getting support and a different perspective.
Do you have a particular view of what might be happening?
Thank you for getting back to me and for the advice.
They are things that I have looked at as what triggers my husband to act in such ways. It's almost like he doesn't want to put much effort in to our relationship anymore so much that it's starting to become just companionship and not marriage anymore. I am considering if he has fallen out of love with me he just doesn't want to admit it perhaps.
I have talked to him about it from many angles, I've been very careful treading about each issue as he acts very sensitive to all of it. At first I approached him about porn he said he would stop and said he was happy to stop, but kept sneaking it behind my back. I lost that argument years ago when he said he has a gambling addiction and just uses porn to vent. Or uses it to unload because I'm stressful. I told him ok I will concentrate in being less stressful, now it's up to the point where I can't even talk to him like I used to. So to keep the lines of communication open i have stopped talking about work and anything negative in my day, i for a long time stopped bringing up porn it seems to me that it's non negotiable and what he prefers to replace sex. I dress nice for him, excercised wore nice outfits, everyone compliments me except him. Even when I ask his response is always vague like yeah.. or nice.. or often just changes the topic.
I talked to him about us not being intimate, he thinks we still are but I fail to see how we are, we don't even touch. He says he still loves me, he uses examples of driving me to work and cooking as an action of love and I do agree with him there, but there is no sexual contact.
I have tried the switching it up in the bedroom thing, he doesn't even bat an eye. He literally pretends to not look at me and plays a game or goes to the bathroom. So I've given up wasting money.
I am now looking at our relationship values. I feel so awkward about the whole sex and intimacy thing with him that I avoid it now. But me and him are still very close. We still talk about anything and everything just not sex. It actually feels like a brother and sister relationship maybe this is why he is having troubles looking at me sexually?
I know he has told me he feels bad about how he treats me and wishes he was a better man. It's usually about the gambling addiction he has which I've been by his side through it. I've done things to boost his confidence which he seems to be happy. He has stopped gambling for a long time, but I honestly think porn has taken over our relationship.
He says he still loves me and sees nothing wrong.
Should I shut him out emotionally until he figures how much damage the non intimacy is actually doing to us?
I'm sorry to hear you're going through this Celia, but I really admire your strength and that you're not letting it shake your confidence and sense of self worth.
Have you heard of Dan Savage? He is an American columnist I read sometimes online, and he specialises in sexual behaviour/relationships. Some of the reader letters he responds to are definitely on the more extreme side of the spectrum, but he says by far the most common letters he receives are from couples who have different libidos or cannot agree on what is a satisfactory frequency for sexual contact. That is to say, you're not alone in this situation. It's really common for couples not to share the exact same needs in the bedroom. I've been there too.
It can help to figure out with your husband why this is happening. It might be a physical issue on his side, such as the side effect of medication. It might be a mental or emotional issue, as stress or anxiety can definitely have an impact on desire. It's good to rule out some of those things before going straight to it being a relationship issue. It's not very spontaneous or sexy to talk about these things, but sex (like so many aspects of a relationship) can require negotiation. Communicating what is the bare minimum of needs for each of you and working out a compromise to achieve a reasonable balance. A relationship therapist can help you navigate this if you don't seem to be getting much progress on your own.
Dear Celia A
Should I shut him out emotionally until he figures how much damage the non intimacy is actually doing to us?
While BlueBelle's suggestions about the effects of medication and the possibility of taking in front of a councilor are good ones I'm not sure how anyone shuts another out emotionally. Being near a person and feeling the lack of closeness is a constant wound.
I would think that by now he would have been given every opportunity to realise the damage lack of affection and intimacy cause.
Talking in terms of cooking or ferrying you somewhere may in a different situation show care and concern, here however they may simply be signs of being a responsible housemate.
It believe is entirely possible to make a person feel loved, cherished and needed without sex. I do not think this is ideal by any means, however if for some reason it is simply not possible, for example after a physical injury, then it may not preclude a deep relationship. Love is shown in many ways, the big thing being both parties feel loved and valued.
You are an articulate person and have shown flexibility , support and sensitivity, however this is simply not being returned.
Once any straight physical or psychological problems have been ruled out by all means try counseling together. If this does not resolve matters I think you have reached the stage where you have to ask yourself what you want and need long-term in life. A brother-sister relationship that is 'comfortable' as far as living arraignments are concerned or something more loving.
Sorry if this is a little blunt
I will have a read and see if it's something to do with that.
As for the physical part I have asked me and him are very close and always open. He says nothing is physically wrong, I know he isn't under any medication either. But it could be something mentally challenging him.
He always tells me that he feels guilty for not being able to give me the best of things, keeping up with finances and gambling putting us in quite a hole. Nonetheless my love and support has always been there for him, but I can see he is slowly shutting me out.
It could be a contributor, but every time I show him affection it's like constant rejection. I've stopped putting in so much attention now as I feel it might be working against us.
It could be a different sex drive too. We used to have sex once a week and pretty into it, but for 5 years it's like he is not satisfied with me anymore or has lost desire for me, but the friendship and security is still there. Its a weird relationship we are living in..
Thanks for giving me the blunt advice, it's the hard fact and questions that I am now contemplating at the moment because I have tried to negotiate and discuss the above with him. I've even tried to get us to see a counsillor or someone who can help us, he says he doesn't see anything wrong with us at all and is upset that I think there is.
I have been open with him as to why I think so, but he shrugs it off and says he still loves me and that sex isn't everything. It's so confusing, to me it feels like he is comfortable living like we are but places value on porn more than me.
I know he isn't under any medication and I'm not sure if he is experiencing libido issues, it would be the only secret he has from me. I do know he watches porn very frequently tho, almost once or twice everyday which was normal when sexual encounters were still alive in our relationship.
I really am still thinking it's because he can't see me as a sexual partner anymore. Is this crazy?
Dear Celia A~
he says he doesn't see anything wrong with us at all and is upset that I think there is.
I think it would be obvious to anyone who looked at the situation clearly there there is something wrong with your relationship and anyone that cared and empathized with you would feel for you being upset. The fact that your husband does not acknowledge this may be because it is the 'easy way out' to simply deny or belittle the problem
As to why, well I'm guessing of course, there may be a psychological or other reason not mentioned so far, and I'm being unkind. I'm afraid however I do wonder about the role porn is playing and if that 'fantasy' world has superseded all else. If that is the case then addiction is a very real problem.
So no it is not crazy to wonder if he sees you as a sexual partner anymore, though frankly for me in your position I think I'd feel even more upset about the fact he did not acknowledge - and do something about - you permanently being hurt.
How anyone can be comfortable living as you are together when you are in a state of constant distress and rejection does not seem to me to be a partnership based on love.
I agree my comments are somewhat negative and just reflect my own views on what you have said, I'm not trying to make suggestions as to what you might want to do long-term.
lt's getting sad the way we Aussies use terms like sex now and seem to be going just all American in the way we talk about things now. l've noticed it a lot last few years , there's no more intimacy or making love , it's just turned into sex , such a shame l feel . Why we would wanna turn passion into that kind of attitude is beyond me, But op , sadly l feel that's kinda the problem here. He loves you but he doesn't feel that intimacy, it's just sex, and he doesn't feel like it. He can see plenty of just sex all over porn.
l'm sorry but l'm not sure what the answer is . l do know with my marriage , if we found our intimacy and love again , l think that would've saved it . We needed to go out together , tea and stuff, we needed to go to bed early again and talk and play all night again like we use to, we needed to touch and hold hands and cuddle again , to feel each other again. That would've worked with us but we realized or l did too late. But maybe you two can bring the real love together back again and from that will come the rest. Get him outa there, go out somewhere, cuddle, talk , hold hands. Easier said than done l know
All the best.
Thank you for the advice, where it does seem blunt, I appreciate it. I posted on this forum to try receive some insight a 3rd perspective on the issue and clarity so the blunt advice is expected but has given me a bit more of a clear perspective on things, thanks heaps.