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Topic: Sexless Marriage and Depression

  1. Nothappy@uni
    Nothappy@uni avatar
    82 posts
    31 December 2019 in reply to Martyn1945

    Hi Everyone,

    I posted here months ago about sexless marriage. I have now left my partner, (her words) "she was tired of feeling guilty about things" and she started abusing me with hate filled insults and hourly put downs (this drives away a partner, justifying everything when the partner leaves). She had told me to find sex elsewhere. We went for one session with a psychologist who said intimacy is crucial in a relationship. That's funny because all the textbooks I have had to read, say the same thing. They clearly state that when one partner turns cold on the other and refuses conversation, touch, affection- that this person is mentally abusing their partner.

     It is very interesting that a number of women complain about their male partners being withdrawn too, and this being hurtful. Does this mean men are just a piece of meat to those women? I don't think so, not at all. It is natural to want to be with someone you feel for.

    My loveless/sexless relationship has done profound mental damage to me. I won't go into detail, but I can't perform with other women, I was committed to my wife. If she had been in an accident or ill, I could have gone without sex forever without a seconds hesitation. BUT, she was not in an accident, not suffering a physical illness, and was not prepared to talk about it at all.

    What would I know anyway? I have only read a couple of books, several hundred journal articles, attended lectures and practicals for four years. In my humble opinion when a partner suddenly decides sex, affection, and intimacy is out, it is a form of control, and a cruel one at that.

    Relationships/Marriage is a PARTNERSHIP, two people working towards the same goal, supporting one another along the way. Am I a piece of meat if I have to make dinner, wash clothes, mop, clean, do the shopping, pick up/drop off kids or earn money for the family and I don't enjoy every second of it? I did it all because I wanted to be there for my partner...sorry, X-partner now.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Lostsoulonleyheart
    Lostsoulonleyheart avatar
    5 posts
    5 January 2020
    Hello all I’m new here. Sadly I’m not new to living through this soul crushing blackhole that has been draining the life force from my soul. For around 25 of the 30 years together. Within the fist few weeks of meeting my partner I had said to her,upfront that as a result of my childhood traumas I never wanted to have children.and if we were going to be together it was very important to me for us to be able to talk to each other about anything.no faking during sex ,don’t bottle up emotional stuff just try not to yell and scream ect just be up front and talk.to grow together I said I didn’t want to get married and was that something that would be a problem for her .no not at all she’d said.few years later she wanted to get married by this time sex was already down to 1or2 times a month ,in the spirit of growing together (give and take) it’s not what I wanted.but I love my partner so we got married.few years later when she changed her mind about having a child because it was important to the one I love .we had a child but she didn’t want to stay at home with a baby all day and give up work so I agreed to be the (home dad)=the best days of my life .the cooking and cleaning not so much. You are supposed make sacrifices for each other in a relationship. She wakes me up in the middle of the night because she had a horny dream and I’m expected to please her, even though she said it’s ok if you don’t want to.Well I’d finally had enough of that sex on her terms once every few months.so I said I didn’t feel like it and went to sleep.i knew something was up in the morning but she said no everything was fine.she stewed on it all day and ripped into me that arvo about how wrong I was to do that to her . how unfair it was of me to leave her like that. dam she was angry . Not once did she nor has she stopped to think about how I must feel .regardless of me trying to have a conversations with her about it.nope i get shutdown and in a condescending manner. The only reason I’m still on this earth is for my son .if he leaves home at some point unless something changes I’ll be leaving as well. In the meantime my wife is going to have to fix herself up the same way I do .im sick being the one who compromises LOL and dose it her way .sorry for the ranting if I didn’t get it out it was going to eat me alive.
    2 people found this helpful
  3. Lostsoulonleyheart
    Lostsoulonleyheart avatar
    5 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to Marty1972
    re (Marty1972) perspective. It’s a nice sentiment and would work for some.However if your partner doesn’t communicate and tell you ,your not meeting there needs only gets resentful .Just tells you I’m not happy and you are supposed magically know how to fix it from there .because it must be just your fault.Its very tricky.
  4. DonatoRD
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    DonatoRD avatar
    10 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to beingbyrne
    Very good advice Snoods.
  5. DonatoRD
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    DonatoRD avatar
    10 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to Nothappy@uni
    Hello Nothappy@uni, thank you for sharing your struggles in your marriage, it is hard to be in a marriage without intimacy or affection. Have you ever asked your wife the reasons why she feels so emotionally withdrawn from you? Sometimes is caused by the unforgiveness of pasts wrongs in the marriage or with previous relationships. I believe that the question needs to be asked to find out what is causing the relationship to deteriorate. Often we see the symptoms but don't see the cause. The root of bitterness, resentment is unforgiveness between the one who as wronged on self. I hope this will help.
    2 people found this helpful
  6. Nothappy@uni
    Nothappy@uni avatar
    82 posts
    20 January 2020 in reply to DonatoRD

    Hi DonatoRD

    I left my partner two months ago. The verbal abuse was so bad I attempted things we can't mention. I lived in a hell created by the woman I loved more than life itself. Apparently, when I asked the reason for the abuse it was because I didn't provide enough financial support- but we were wealthy, then sometimes the reason was that I got too much time with the kids and it wasn't fair. My partner had admitted to having been raped by a previous boyfriend but insisted that had nothing to do with anything. As an observation she just gradually grew to hate me.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. SoloDad
    SoloDad avatar
    8 posts
    22 January 2020 in reply to Nothappy@uni
    I honestly feel for you guys that are still in a sexless marriage, it was harder for me to live in one then it was to live as a sexless single. I agree with the above comment that it is often a form of abuse, though one consideration is that for some ladies going through menopause, they go off it entirely, if that’s a factor then maybe seek medical advice with her before pulling the pin on things (in my case my ex-wife was in her prime, so it was more about physical attraction then anything).
  8. Mmmcoffee
    Mmmcoffee avatar
    5 posts
    23 January 2020 in reply to Nothappy@uni
    Read your thread, similar to my thread - Relationship Abandonment - I struggle with the lack of communication that goes with the no intimacy, I too still feel I am not even in the room, I try to do everything right to make sure I am a good husband and partner, but I get nothing in return, and I am not just talking about sex, I would be over the moon even if she talked to me on an adult level one to one. We sleep in different rooms, and the other night I asked if I could give her a good night kiss, she gave me a weird look as to say that was strange request and then offered her cheek only. I feel very degraded. My fear unlike your situation - I cannot see myself leaving this relationship, only because of the impact on my young boys and the financial impact as well. I wish I new what to do as the mental abuse is burdening.
  9. Jsua
    Jsua avatar
    80 posts
    24 January 2020 in reply to Hairboy

    Hi Hairboy.

    I absolutely love your post.

    It's perfect.

    Your are brilliant.

    Keep up the good work


  10. aegidius
    aegidius avatar
    53 posts
    27 January 2020 in reply to Nothappy@uni

    "I was committed to my wife. If she had been in an accident or ill, I
    could have gone without sex forever without a seconds hesitation. BUT,
    she was not in an accident, not suffering a physical illness, and was
    not prepared to talk about it at all."

    I had a first marriage that was like that. I knew I deserved better than that and got up the courage to leave it. Best decision I ever made, and realised it was a big mistake in the first place. Low self-esteem will lead one to make poor choices.

  11. Rosie12345
    Rosie12345 avatar
    1 posts
    1 February 2020

    I found this book very useful: Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski

    Key points I took from it are that for women, desire for sex is very context specific. Also that arousal is not just the process of turning on the ons, it's also turning off the offs. Some of the 'offs' for me were: lack of emotional connection with my partner and stress / carrying almost all of the mental load in the relationship. If you're not sure what mental load is, just search for "mental load".

    2 people found this helpful
  12. Martyn1945
    Martyn1945 avatar
    6 posts
    2 March 2020 in reply to Rosie12345
    Thanks Rosie12345. I will read the book you have suggested. I do find it hard not reacting to being pushed away and extremely difficult not to take it personally! Thanks!😎👍
  13. palmtrees
    palmtrees avatar
    2 posts
    20 April 2020

    I have been in a relationship for about 20 years, and we have two beautiful young children. I, the female, am the one who does not want sex and my partner is hurt and frustrated (understandably).

    Like everyone here, the relationship started out with a honeymoon period but the sex side has deteriorated over time to now, where we haven't has sex in about 6 months. Prior to that it was probably once every two weeks/month - apart from when it was all new and then it might have been about 3 times per week.

    I would like to highlight what I think is really going on for many of the wives spoken about on here, who appear to be avoiding sex with their husbands and making every excuse possible.

    It really started years ago with our frequency desires being out of kilter. He wanted sex more often than I did. Back then, as the relationship was fairly new (in terms of long term relationships), I was more willing/able to have sex with my husband even though I didn't want to on every occasion. As time went on though, and my interest decreased (only slightly), he would get sooky, upset and makes comments like "we haven't had sex in 10 days". Instantly I would feel guilty and pressured to "keep up", and many of the times I would have sex just to have peace in the relationship. I didn't realise though, this was damaging to my own mental health. Because the sex wasn't on my terms and when I felt like it, the sex became a negative experience for me, and eventually I was conditioned to associate sex with my husband as a chore/negative/something that was not my complete choice. As the issue grew it compounded, sex became less as I was avoiding the negative feeling associated with sex and then anxiety about having sex or the prospect of having sex with my husband developed. For example, I became more worried that if I was affectionate this would indicate to my husband that I was initiating sex. I didn't want him to think that, so I started to avoid affection with him in order to avoid him making a move on me. It turned into me being so anxious I would avoid situations that could result in my husband asking for sex (both to avoid it and to avoid letting him down). And this is how sex avoidance and lack of affection develops. It is my understanding that it is called secondary sex aversion disorder and is a common anxiety disorder that both women and men in marriage suffer from (more females of course).

    2 people found this helpful
  14. Betternow
    Betternow avatar
    198 posts
    20 April 2020 in reply to palmtrees

    Hello palmtrees

    I enjoyed reading your post. It is always valuable to have the women's point of view as this is one of the most common problems posted by men, in my view. It is a tricky topic that has filled thousands of books. I think another key element here, is the age of the couple. I know we read headlines of happily married couples in their late seventies still having satisfactory sex lives, but these articles just seem to be anecdotal in nature.

    One thing I have always struggled with on this topic is that many older men I know would forgo sex with their wives if only they could just receive some affection. It seems when physical intimacy disappears so does the touching, compliments and sensitivity towards the man's feelings. A few years ago I overheard my wife and some of her friends during a Bridge club day at our house, laughing and saying how good it felt to tell their husbands they had "shut up shop". Most older people (men & women) can live without sex, but it is much more difficult to live without touch.

    These overheard comments disappointed me and when I asked my wife later to expand on the conversation, she dismissed it as typical man sooking. Anyway, I'm not looking necessarily for answers but I just wanted to add another layer of complexity to this long thread.

  15. palmtrees
    palmtrees avatar
    2 posts
    20 April 2020 in reply to Betternow

    Yes, it's a difficult and misunderstood topic. Those comments you describe I can imagine are difficult to hear.

    I read that about 1/3 of women suffer from some kind of aversion to sex and I believe that the affection subsides for these women as a defence mechanism. Out of interest, here is a definition: Secondary aversion is the continuous avoidance of sexual activity found pleasurable and desirable at some time in the past. This individual turns away from and avoids any behavior that might lead to sexual activity.

    I think this definition will make sense to a lot of people here.

    I know I want to be affectionate with my husband and I like affection a lot, and I am very affectionate with my children. But the fear that it could lead to sex or that he might feel it's 'on' stops me from giving it to my husband. I imagine the 'shut up shop' comment is about feeling mental relief that is from the pressure to perform or to do something one doesn't want to do anymore.

    In my view it is rarely low libido that is the issue when someone is suffering from some type of sex aversion disorder - as many women might easily and readily be turned on by another man or might happily gratify themselves, but they develop the aversion to their husband because of the cycle/circumstances I have described in my earlier post.

    My husband is perfect in every way, but I have developed this anxiety disorder which I cannot seem to shake. I wish it was different. If it wasn't him, it may have been someone else (Who knows) so while I understand it is devastating for the person being rejected and something noone should expect - it is a mental disorder not something personal towards the person (at least in my case anyway). If anyone has ever suffered from anxiety and gone into flight or fright mode you might better understand what happens at the thought of sex under these circumstances (nausea, heart palpatations, irrational thinking, strong avoidance, freezing etc). Imagine having to have sex when you feel this way - wouldn't you avoid it too? IMO this is why many women in marriage avoid sex at all costs.

  16. Martyn1945
    Martyn1945 avatar
    6 posts
    2 May 2020 in reply to palmtrees
    Thanks for your clear and honest description of your reactions to your husband’s desire for sexual relations. I can see my wife’s behaviours in your description. I do find it hard to put myself into her position but your description does match what I see in her behaviour. I’m starting, belatedly, to recognise that we all have different appetites and different enthusiasms. No one wants to be “the bad one” and, I can see, in this whole sexual misalignment issue, no one IS all bad or all good. In fact, I suspect, it is all about how we feel rather than an issue of right and wrong. Thanks!
  17. BeautifulBrokenGirl
    BeautifulBrokenGirl avatar
    1 posts
    2 May 2020 in reply to WhatGoesHere?
    I am in a similar situation with my partner. He has had major pain issues, and until that can be alleviated through surgery (which has been put off because of the pandemic) he isn’t able to have sex. He’s still affectionate with me, but not having that level of intimacy makes me feel undesired, unwanted and like a burden. It taps into feelings of worthlessness for me and I feel incredibly alone.
  18. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    2233 posts
    2 May 2020 in reply to BeautifulBrokenGirl
    Hi BeautifulBrokenGirl,

    Welcome to our friendly online community. We are so glad that you reached out this morning. We can hear that you're feeling alone and we are so sorry to hear about what you are going through with your partner. Please know that this community is here for you. We would recommend that you start a new thread in this same 'Relationship and family issues' section to best receive support from the community.

    If you'd like to talk these feelings through please feel free to contact the Beyond Blue Support Service anytime on 1300 22 4636 or get in touch with us on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST here: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport

    We in the community are all here for you during this time. Please feel free to reach out whenever you feel up to it.

  19. Cleveland11
    Cleveland11 avatar
    2 posts
    7 May 2020
    If nothing else reading through this forum has been good for me to realise i am not alone and not being a selfish tool.
    I have been with my wife for 12 years and we have 2 kids.
    My wife is an exeptional mother and would do anything for our children.
    Sex was great for the first few years but its almost like every year we have been together has added an extra week to how long between sex.
    It has now been 6 months and counting with things only getting worse.
    For years it has been a chore for her and my attempts at sex less and less successful.
    Ending with her rolling her eyes and flat out saying i dont feel like it but if we must only to look like she is counting the time until i get off and she can go to sleep. We both were fit when we met and couldnt keep our hands of each other. Since then we had both become overweight and not so happy with our appearence.
    I have always found my wife attractive and never cared about the weight gain, after kids i can only imagine how hard it would be to get back into shape.
    After reading a few books and forums on dealing with a sexless marrige i decided to get fit again, thinking that if she was attracted to me again it would work itslelf out.
    This is the first of many attempts to follow advice that have failed.
    I am now in the best shape of my life and all this did was make her feel worse about how she looked, and on multiple occasions accuse me of having an affair.
    These accusations made me the angriest i have ever been.
    I have never even flirted with another woman since the day i met my wife.
    I am by no means the best husband but do make an effort with things at home.
    Another piece of advice was that she may just be tired so i stepped up the amount of chores i do in order for her relax more.
    All this did is lead me to doing most if not all of the cleaning/chores at home.
    We have had long important talks about it in the past, almost always ending with me saying sorry for being pushy or feeling like a creep for daring to ask for more sex.
    Another piece of advice was to not mention that i am unhappy and focus on the little things, in turn she will want to be intimate more.
    After 12 months of this and sex 3 times it started to make me resent her.
    I was trying so hard but getting nowhere.
    Over the last few years she has at times said that she knows she had been withholding and will make more of an effort. After the 4th time she has promised this i now take it with a grain of salt.
    The last 6 months have been tough and i now find myself feeling helpless.
    Multiple massive fights on the subject have lead to a tipping point.
    I know she hates how she looks so after she asked for help to lose weight i offered to start giving her time without kids around every day to exercise.
    This lasted 3 days with excuses like
    -i cant exercise now i just ate
    -i dont like exercising in the afternoon
    -its too early to exercise.
    And so on.
    Recently she said its not that she doesnt want sex and wake up wanting sex often (bullshit), its she hates how she looks.
    She asked for me to be patient with her and let her initiate sex in her own time.
    That was 6 weeks ago.
    Last week was our anniversary i surprised her by taking the afternoon off work so we could have some time together.
    The day was great and that night we tried to get the kids to bed early so we could watch a movie and snuggle (her suggestion).
    All was going great until we got to bed and she rolled over and just said goodnight.
    I was pissed and she could tell so she apoligised again and said i need to be patien (pretty sure ive ticked that box) and went straight to sleep.
    The next day i couldnt look at her without being flooded with resentment.
    This lead to the fight of all fights and me almost leaving.
    It ended with her asking if we should start just kissing more without the pressure of sex.
    Great idea i said. Next day we had geat long kiss. Day after i tried again and it was rejection all over again.
    Its now been 11 days and we have kissed 3 time and i am now scared of trying to kiss her let alone have sex with her.
    She refuses to go to therapy and says she is trying as hard as she can and things are going too slow i should think about leaving.
    If it wasnt for our awsome kids i would have left a long time ago.

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Betternow
    Betternow avatar
    198 posts
    8 May 2020 in reply to Cleveland11

    Hi Cleveland

    So sorry to read about your sad situation. For such a common problem in marriages, its amazing there is no obvious solution.

    You wrote a very full account of your struggles, self improvements and love for your wife and children. You've obviously read all the books and professional advice and I know how hard it hits you when despite adhering to the advice, nothing changes.

    You wouldn't be normal if you didn't feel the resentment that you describe. Unfortunately, that resentful bubbles over into other areas of the marriage, which is a shame as you describe your wife as a caring and conscious mother.

    Every marriage goes through flat periods with physical intimacy especially as the marriage gets well into the second or third decade. It my experience it can be recovered to some extent but is unlikely to return to the lusty early courtship days (not that you said you were looking for that).

    Your wife is being truthful with you at least the extent that she is no longer desirous of sex because she no longer has the urge. If you think about it logically, if she wanted to be physically intimate, she would. She doesn't so she doesn't. You can't persuade or push her into having sex, she wouldn't enjoy it and I suspect neither would you.

    So where does that leave us. It's decision time. She refuses to go to therapy. If nothing changes you will become a broken, empty, angry man. You need to set up a conversation with your wife. Give her advance notice. Select a time when there will be no interruptions or rushing out the door. Tell her it's important. You need to explain to her that the lack of intimacy is not your problem or her problem - It's OUR problem.

    Explain that you are dying slowly internally. The man she married is declining into a sad empty shell which she will no longer enjoy being married. Ask her again to attend appropriate counselling together. If she refuses, she needs to be shocked into seeing the reality of the situation.

    That reality may involve ending the marriage. From your post I sense your wife doesn't see the gravity of how you are feeling. Ultimately, it's up to the two of you to make it work. If only person is making the changes, the marriage can't survive. That is a very sad outcome but your mental health is at stake here. Good luck.

  21. Cleveland11
    Cleveland11 avatar
    2 posts
    8 May 2020 in reply to Betternow
    Thank you Bettrnow,
    The thing that makes this issue all the harder to deal with is not being able to discuss my situation with others in my life.

    You are right in that the problem is effecting other areas of our marrige, i know it effects the kids to see us arguing and me being stressed and grumpy.
    My wife isnt responible for all the issues we are facing and i am sure there are factors i am blind to that have an impact on her.
    I agree that she hasnt realised how much this is hurting me and how often she is overlooking my emotional health. I have started a diary of all our intimate interactions and will keep it factual and do my best show both good and bad parts.
    I will do this for 1 month and in that time put all my energy into the kids and the marrige and not let resentment show at all.
    After the month if things havnt improved i will sit down with her and go through how what she promises doesnt match reality and propose a trial separation.
    I dont want my beutiful kids growing up in a house full of bitterness and resentment.
    Hopefully this will make her realise whats at stake.
  22. Betternow
    Betternow avatar
    198 posts
    9 May 2020 in reply to Cleveland11

    Okay that sounds like a plan Cleveland.

    A trial separation (if it comes to that) is a sensible mid way step. It has the advantage of preserving the family structure and assets while allowing both spouses an opportunity to get a taste of a potential new reality.

    If you feel a need to come back here when you arrive at that point, please don't hesitate.

    Wishing you all the best.

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