First post – found this site online while soul searching for guidance on how I want to proceed in my marriage. Reading some of these other posts makes me realize I have an overall good situation, but an ongoing lack of affection and sex has pushed me to the point where I find myself asking, “with only one life to live, is it really worth staying?”
Been married for over twenty years – I have a high libido, she has a low one. It’s been a constant (and really only) source of stress on our relationship. We’re both in our late 40’s, she hasn’t started menopause but her overall interest in sex continues to decline. After years of hearing “not tonight,” it’s hard not to take it personally.
My main frustration is that she won’t follow-through on the agreements we make together. We’ll have tense conversations - aka “the sex talk,” and try to come to some agreements – and in doing so I’ve made major concessions. We’re down to maybe a little more than once a month, but she won’t have sex at night (too tired) or when our teenage kids are in the house. But, there are times when she’ll say, “how about tomorrow night?” and then when I’m looking forward to it, she’ll just go to bed without even acknowledging we were supposed to be together. I cannot understate how years of this behavior have been enormously hurtful, I could not feel like a lower priority to her.
One of her complaints is that she feels gross because she’s gained 20-30 pounds since we married, but I’m never critical of her appearance, the only thing I ever say is how beautiful or sexy I find her, which is true. Even after all out time together I think she’s the hottest woman on the planet, I love those curves! I’m basically the same weight I was when we got married and am in pretty decent shape, I exercise regularly.
She was a stay at home Mom for most of the kid raising, for which I am deeply appreciative – she’s gone back to work part time and it’s been a stressful situation so I’ve offered for her to quit and find something else. I have a well paying job and we’re financially secure – my job is stressful for sure but things have calmed down on that front. I’ve gone so far to suggest that if she wants she can quit and spend time on things she needs for herself – hitting the gym etc.
I try to be a good partner at home. I cook dinners, help clean up, and have always been involved in our kid’s activities – I understand the idea of being a good partner and I appreciate the concept of long form seduction. I spend time talking with her about her day etc. because I’m genuinely interested in spending time with her. She’s a great partner in most things but has never taken any initiative to try and improve things in the bedroom – very little energy or interest. And, she’s never taken any steps to try and improve the situation, medically, therapy etc. Nor has she made any requests of me – I would literally do anything she wanted to help improve things.
But I’m also at the point where lack of sex and affection is really dragging down my overall life satisfaction, and I only have one life to live. Part of my frustration is my belief that she views the situation as low risk, she knows I won’t disrespect her or our marriage by cheating – I’ve had opportunities through work for sure but would never act on them, and if I were to end up leaving I would want to do so honorably for the sake of all involved.
I’m not a yeller, don’t break things, don’t play video games all night, I’m not an alcoholic etc. – looking at some of these other posts seems like I have things pretty good, even volume wise by comparison. But, I don’t want a roommate, I want a lover, and her complete lack of interest in working on this space, and her continued lack of follow-through on the commitments she makes truly makes me feel disrespected and deeply hurt. The idea of being with somebody who is affectionate and actually into sex seems like mind-blowing opportunity to improve my overall satisfaction in life. My wife has said she has no fantasies, so the opportunity of being with somebody who says, “would you be willing to do XXXX” sounds so exciting, because whatever XXXX is, you can damn well bet I’d be willing to do it - the idea of being asked to fulfill a fantasy is actually a fantasy itself.
This sucks – tough situation when overall things are really good but there’s a significant problem in one area, and that area is really only important for one of you. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve genuinely started to question my resolve to stay married, even though I’d probably be a disaster on the dating front, being that I’m close to thirty years out of practice.
Ongoing rejection really hurts, and it’s been enough to degrade what is otherwise a great relationship. If you are the low drive spouse or otherwise worked through this situation, any advice would be appreciated, including how you know when it’s time to cut and run.