19yr marriage. 17yr desire problem

Jgrabc

SF Supporter
#1
Very short abbreviation of what is happening.
My wife and I are best friends. Love each other. Everything is almost perfect except for physical intimacy...

Brief history..
Year 94-97 - First bout of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) for me, I recover.
Year 96-2003 - In college and after, lots of sex between us.
Year 2003 - Child born,
Year 2003-05 - physical intimacy stops (this makes sense, new baby, breastfeeding, etc)
Year 2005-2009 - I chalk it up to parent stress, but have spoken multiple times with wife about being unfulfilled and unhappy
Year 2010 - Couples therapy because of marriage stress. No intimacy part of the conversation.
Wife promises to work on it, claims it's her body that doesn't have any desire (she's 29)
Year 2010 - my second bout of MDD
Year 2013 - MDD recovered from
Year 2010 - 2021 October - Still intimacy problems. She has her hormones and other girl stuff checked. All normal.
We have a discussion and she confirms that she feels bad, but she just doesn't have a desire for sex. hasn't for some time.

Once she is medically cleared as normal, we have another talk. She says that she just doesn't have desire anymore. Really for anyone she says. She wishes she did and she is unhappy that it makes me upset. I suggest couples/sex therapy, she says she doesn't think it was effective last time and she doesn't want to go again.

Physical touch is my love language, and in addition, I'm a guy in my early 40's I like sex and adventurous sex (some hetero kinky stuff within monogamy) and want to have sex!! ;-). My secondary love language is receiving words of affirmation or giving gifts/planning surprises. Her love language is Acts of Service and secondary quality time.

Today around 12pm EST, I've got a moderate migraine going on. I'm on strong pain medication (Rx'd). Strong enough that I can hardly walk, stutter my speech, and would not trust myself driving. I visit the royal thrown and my wife asks how I am doing. This starts the following SMS stream...

Black text is me, red text is my wife....

1:00 PM
Migraine. Bad one. Bad enough I took stadol at 12:30.
It's starting to help. I'm considering having Mir (daughter) take me to urgent care

1:02 PM You guys should leave me for a better father

1:02 PM Oh hunny!

1:03 PM I'm sorry you are hurting so badly.

1:03 PM You are the one we love.

1:03 PM I know your desire is directly my fault (even if it's subliminal to you). Between seeing me feel bad. Having to mother me while taking care of me.

1:03 PM You are the dad and husband we want.

1:04 PM Me not helping with household chores between headache and depressin

1:04 PM Your entire life is being mom

1:04 PM You teach kids all day

1:05 PM You do all of the house work

1:05 PM You take care of me

1:05 PM You take care of and participate with Miranda.

1:05 PM You make the dinners

1:05 PM Then it's bedtime and you're sleeping next to someone that you Mom for.

1:06 PM Stop it!

1:07 PM (Thank you for taking care of me!!!)

1:07 PM I love you. I don't like hearing you do this negative talk!

1:07 PM (But it still makes me see through your eyes like you are a mom) (comment: sleeping next to her)

1:07 PM Would you take care of me if our places were switched?

1:07 PM Let me know if I'm not giving enough money toward shared expenses

1:09 PM At least that way I fell somewhat like a Man of the house

1:10 PM Ugh! STOP IT!!!!

1:10 PM This negative talk helps nothing.
1:10 PM I know when you are in pain it is easier to allow the deprecatory creep in.

1:11 PM Fight it.


1:11 PM But that's not enough to override year's of being the MOM

1:11 PM STOP IT!
(sent with Slam Effect)


1:11 PM You're asking me to fight negatives.
It's no easier than me expecting you to override mother nature and thousands of year's of biology

1:12 PM I'm sorry for pressuring you

1:12 PM It's clearer to me now that your biology is just doing what it's programmed to do (comment:motherhood)

1:13 PM And why it happens when you became mom

1:14 PM I'm sorry for the years that you were kind enough fake things just for my benefit
(clarification - "it" or "fake" or "faking it" or "fake" things means her having fake desire to have sex to start with)

1:15 PM I don't know what you are talking about. Above.

1:15 PM I haven't faked anything!
(comment: desire to be intimate)
1:15 PM So I need to come home?

1:15 PM You fake it more with me than many of the husbands I read about.

1:15 PM Do I need to come home?

1:15 PM You don't need to do that anymore

1:16 PM I'm going to cancel the therapy session with the couples/sex/intimacy whatever coach.

1:16 PM I know you love me and I love you

1:17 PM But it's like living with a sibling and sharing a bed.

1:17 PM I'll clean my side of the bedroom tomorrow.

1:17 PM I apologize for it being such a disaster for so long

1:18 PM Let me know if you'd prefer that I take the spare room once Miranda get settled.

1:18 PM AGH!!!!!

1:19 PM I'm not going to hurt myself

1:20 PM I promise

1:20 PM I'm getting things wrapped up here. And I'll come home.

1:20 PM Aside from the damn migraine

1:20 PM No. Stay at work

1:20 PM You are such an awesome teacher

1:20 PM Your kids are lucky to have you

1:20 PM You sitting by yourself, having these thoughts and conversations is not helpful.

1:21 PM Mir (daughter) is home

1:21 PM Burt (golden doodle) is here

1:21 PM Don't make a special early trip home for me. I have a killer migraine. Sound is killing me

1:22 PM Visuals are not so bad

1:22 PM You take care of work and your kids.

1:23 PM Do what you were planning to do today

1:23 PM I've resigned myself to this daily pattern.... [bed-sleep-eat-work-eat-watch tv-bed-sleep]. Throw in some random migraine days.

1:27 PM Give me a little while... I'm sure I will finish completely extinguishing my desire. I've been working on removing my pre-programmed desires. I'm hoping that if I don't desire you to start, we will be able to move past this and maybe my depression will improve. It'll take away much negative self-inflicted pain. Once I finish telling myself I have a family member in bed with me, Then any unfair pressure you've been through should end. And it's been unfair. I'm sorry..
But you are a hell of a good actress for the times you decide to show desire in me or pull me in for intimacy...

1:34 PM We don't need to talk about the intimacy stuff anymore. We can snuggle, hold hands, watch tv just like siblings would. Like we have for years.
I'll make sure I keep the little bit of desire in check

1:36 PM And of course I would take care of you if situations were reversed!!

1:37 PM I love you more than anything.

1:38 PM I'm sorry for sending this through text while you are at work. I will talk with therapist about it tomorrow morning.

1:39 PM I do apologize for not having the guts to say this to your face



1:40 PM I was trying to get through the holiday, but it's been eating away at me.

Enjoy the rest of your day! I promise that I am safe and won't hurt myself.

1:40 PM See you around 4:30 or 5:30

3:28 PM I haven't had a chance to read back through everything above , yet. I will be home after my meeting this afternoon.


----------
There is no question that my wife and I love each other. I exploded like this because it feels like she is not interested in trying to regain her desire or to give in my love language - physical touch (doesn't have to be intercourse). I read books on love languages, intimacy, sex, flirting, etc, etc, etc. She gets upset if I even recommend an article online or ask her to read a book because I have seen something interesting.
In our current relationship, we are monogamous. Aside from a joke about a 3 way, we've never talked about alternatives.


When we discuss this, she honestly feels bad that she has no desire. She feels bad that my needs are not being met.


Not sure what to do. I am going to discuss this with my regular long-term therapist - but she is a depression therapist, not a couples/sex counselor. I have an appointment with a couples/intimacy/sex coach set - I am going to keep it and go alone if I have to.


I am starting to believe that this is one of the roots of my current depression that I cannot get past. One of my past medications eliminated my desire for sex, but also 100% flatlined my emotions. No good ones, No bad ones. I was essentially a robot, so those drugs needed to change. But tension in our marriage was reduced because neither of use had any Desire!


Thanks for reading my epic.
-jgr
 
#4
There might be particular sex acts that in principle your wife might not mind engaging in, even if she is not excited about them. Would that satisfy you, and do you think she might consider that?

There are some treatments that she could try to increase her libido. I'm always going on about traditional Chinese medicine, but that's one of the first ones I'd recommend trying.

A third option might be to do something to try to control your libido. A meditation called the "microcosmic orbit" meditation might be worth trying.
 

BlueGreen

Well-Known Member
#5
That is a long time to be suffering @Jgrabc. Maybe others will have some thoughts re lack of desire but I feel like you, there does need to be physical intimacy and I would feel devastated. On another thread about your migraines it seemed like everything was fine but this seems like a major long term issue.

You are brave to share something so personal. From this one exchange, if it's representative, it seems like she is under a lot of pressure from you. That is understandable but if it's something that is discussed a lot, maybe you both need a break from that. Personally I find it strange that she has no desire but maybe her hormones changed after having a child? Has she had those checked out? Maybe others can give some other thoughts on this but for me this sounds like torture for you.

OK, that was my first response, but then I was thinking more about this last night because it seems so extreme to me and the difference between the person writing about his migraines and then this reality behind the doors, so to speak, is quite shocking. You said you don't have any trauma but this does sound like, if not trauma, an extreme chronic stress. If @may71 is "always going on about" Chinese medicine :))) then I'm the one always going on about narcissism and this post has got some red flags IMHO. The dynamic looks (just from this) that you are doing the begging, she is granting you her time and soothing you. She is rescuing you. You have those migraines, you have that sexual need, you are apologizing, you need to be good enough, to show her you are a good person, deserving of her love and patience. Well, I've been married to a 'covert narcissist', my mother was a covert narc, and that dynamic seems familiar to me. I'll post a couple of links and if you have time, see if any of what they are saying rings any bells. If not just ignore everything I'm going to say. But if it does explain anything, you need to educate yourself fast and I would bet any money on this being the reason or a major part of why you have those migraines.

I've been married over 30 years and it started our really quick, really intense (the love bombing stage), he was perfect. But a few years later, I'm walking on eggshells, nothing pleases him and I'm getting chronic, severe migraines. A few years ago, I discovered what narcissism really means and I realise I've been part of this charade for years, being the victim, trying to please but you know what, 'we are a great team, we love each other and (most of the time) I think we have a great relationship'. It's just that behind closed doors, he's a different person. Not all the time, but it's not a side anyone else but me sees. You have a withholding of sex, I had kind of the opposite. Which is fantastic but I still get this nagging feeling I'm being controlled. That was then.

So, just to the basics - it starts out as 'love bombing'. It's perfect, they are perfect, everything is great. Then little by little, things are getting a bit strange. This dynamic needs the narc and you, who will no doubt be the 'empath'. (Your first post on migraines is I'm guessing the real you, the one who is a great husband, loving father, doing all he can to please his wife. Then this one shows how things have changed between you as a result of what she is doing - and she is a 'victim' of her body so it's not her fault.)

My mother was a covert narc and SO far under the radar of what you think narcissism is that I didn't even put two and two together until recently. She was sweet, kind, gentle, ladylike, someone to confide in and joke with. But I knew she didn't love me, or anyone except my youngest brother. If I needed anything from her, advice, a sounding board, a compliment, there was nothing, zero. Under that sweet exterior was someone who only ever thought of herself. She had a victim mentality, she was the constant martyr. Realising this was narcissism made complete sense of what was to me a mystery all my life. Even if they are not demanding, loud, vain, they can still show the signs. Funny thing about narcissism is that it's like a stereotype. They can be very different personalities but they have those same core traits which is why I'm saying if any of this rings any bells or makes sense of something, then you need to learn more about it. Ultimately it is all about control, no matter how it looks, or what they do, they are controlling or altering your behaviour in some way.

So often in these relationships, the 'empath' will get ill. Because the stress of what is happening and the disconnect in your mind and probably gaslighting, is so great and so chronic. If your wife is a narcissist, then I'm really sorry, this is going to hurt and you have a lot to take in. On the positive side, you can reclaim your self, your dignity, your health. I hope I haven't overstepped the line here, and even more so I hope I'm wrong, but your illness is so painful and life altering that IF this helps at all, and you are driven to suicidal feelings, I feel I need to put it out there. Finally I should say, they NEVER change. You have to alter your expectations, possibly need to ask some tough questions about your future but you will be wiser.



 

Jgrabc

SF Supporter
#6
Thanks for the long reply!

I hope she's not under a lot of pressure. I go out of my way to try not to cause pressure!
She had her bloodwork and hormones checked last month. All normal.

I'm not sure narcissism fits, but thanks for going to the work of explaining. I would have had no idea what it was. I say this because when I do things, they are complimented. When I have an accomplishment, it's celebrated. She's not self-centered or out of control.
From video 1...
1. She's not in constant state of unfulfilment. She's not saying all my choices are wrong. She accepts help
2. She's not always disagreeable. She accepts things I offer.
3. I'm not always wrong. It's not always my fault. My wife sits on my side when things like my crappy boss happens.
4. Fantasies of another partner. She says she does not have them and doesn't bring up other people.
5. My needs aren't met,,, this happens

Those are some examples.
She is a loving supportive wife. But just has this lack of desire problem....

I hope this helps...
 

BlueGreen

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for the long reply!

I hope she's not under a lot of pressure. I go out of my way to try not to cause pressure!
She had her bloodwork and hormones checked last month. All normal.

I'm not sure narcissism fits, but thanks for going to the work of explaining. I would have had no idea what it was. I say this because when I do things, they are complimented. When I have an accomplishment, it's celebrated. She's not self-centered or out of control.
From video 1...
1. She's not in constant state of unfulfilment. She's not saying all my choices are wrong. She accepts help
2. She's not always disagreeable. She accepts things I offer.
3. I'm not always wrong. It's not always my fault. My wife sits on my side when things like my crappy boss happens.
4. Fantasies of another partner. She says she does not have them and doesn't bring up other people.
5. My needs aren't met,,, this happens

Those are some examples.
She is a loving supportive wife. But just has this lack of desire problem....

I hope this helps...
I'm glad to hear that @Jgrabc, I hope you didn't take it in the wrong way. This is why I mentioned my mother because she would only tick one of those boxes and even then you wouldn't notice unless you really knew her.
 

Jgrabc

SF Supporter
#8
I'm glad to hear that @Jgrabc, I hope you didn't take it in the wrong way. This is why I mentioned my mother because she would only tick one of those boxes and even then you wouldn't notice unless you really knew her.
Absolutely did not take it the wrong way! I appreciate the thoughtful detailed reply. I had never considered this as I did not know what it was. =)
 
#9
I kind of have this from the other side. I love my partner very much but, although I remember the first rush of lust that came in the beginning, my desire for sex has waned over the years, and I'm not really sure why. I can't explain it because he is the same person he always was. I am genuinely not "turned off" by him - it is not that he is undesirable and I do enjoy sex with him - I'm just not often spontaneously "turned on" by anything, really. I don't initiate it or talk about it as much as he wants because I don't think of it and I don't miss it.

It may be different for us because, in our relationship, I am the depressive and have mental ill-health. We both understand that this impacts on libido, but it's also a general thing, I think. Our love languages seem to mismatch like yours and your wife - and I, like her, feel dreadful that I can't seem to meet his needs. I know that sex and sexual physical touch is very important to him and for his wellbeing. For me, quality time and non-sexual physical touch are essential. We talk about it often and he is very very understanding (sometimes he understands it better than I do), but that doesn't stop it bothering him at times (of course) because at the end of the day it is his need.

I think sometimes there is a bit of stigma for men who want sex and might suffer this way because of the prevalence and discourse around women's choice, sexual/domestic violence and gender-aggression, etc. So when I've tried to talk to others about it they often just tell me that he can't and shouldn't try to force me to do something I don't want to do. But I don't think that's fair because I don't think that's what he's doing; at the end of the day, it is his need and his love language. I know this because he never tries to force me or manipulate me - but he does feel more undesirable, dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Worse, at times it can really impact on his own happiness, well being, sense of self and even his own self-worth.

I will say that, if your wife is like me, it might feel fake, or awkward, but it's not really faking it in the sense of pretending to enjoy something that's really unpleasant or perhaps humouring a partner when you don't really want to. It's just not natural to my love language and it's something I have to work to remember to do for him (whereas for him it comes naturally). And, for me, it's motivated by a desire to meet his need rather than a need for sex with him. It can even be upsetting and a bit demoralising when you've tried to use their love language but seemed to fail because you're not familiar or comfortable with it. Equally, I understand how frustrating it must be from the other side to feel like you have to ask for it all the time and if it's not quite how you'd like it while that learning process is ongoing.

This also works the other way, of course; sometimes when I am down he will try to initiate sex because he knows I get very insecure and hateful to myself. I think he thinks that because sex would probably help him feel more loved and supported and valued, it well also make me feel better. But for me it feels worse because I'm not in a place where I can reconcile being loved and wanted by someone when I can hardly bear to be myself at all. And then, inevitably, he feels bad that he hasn't remembered my love language and I feel dreadful that he might feel rejected and worry he will interpret it as sexual/physical rejection... Really, I just want him to make me some tea and run me a bath and help me be kinder to myself - and sometimes have to remind myself that he is not a mind reader and is not as familiar with my love language if he doesn't quite do what I'd like in the way I imagined it.

I'm afraid I don't really have any advice, I just kind of relate to what you're saying. From the other side, it is helpful not to feel pressured or manipulated. It is, however, devastating to know how damaging it is to the other person's well being and self esteem. That said, once I gained an understanding of how important sex is for his self-esteem etc, this also helped to motivate a desire to try to change my behaviour in small ways. I want very much to help him to truly know and believe that it is not for lack of wanting him personally. I also started to experiment with expressing my love in a different way to try to communicate that message in a way that he could receive it.
 
Last edited:

Waves

Well-Known Member
#10
Hello

For what it is worth. A lot of women lose interest in sex aNd especially after childbirth. Hormones were normal. I hear that. But sex is a state of mind too. And you are right being a mom wife teacher housekeeper chauffeur cook errand girl and advocate kills sex. At end of day she just wants to sleep know that you are going to support her in every way. So I am saying that I hear more woman and partners say they are not interested in sex and deeply love and are attracted to their mate.
 

Jgrabc

SF Supporter
#11
So, this might be part of the problem..

The evening she got home after the long text messages, some new things were revealed. (But the convo was cut short because my daughter came home)

I explained to her that everything I see makes me think of her, a gal in a dress (or less) on tic-toc and all I think of is how she would look in those outfits. I have a lunch with a client and it might be something she would really enjoy, she pops into my head. You get the idea. I see her everywhere.
She admitted that while I have these positive thoughts of us together, she hasn’t had any positive feelings for the last 3 years! Between the depression, migraines, medications, ECT…. We don’t do a lot of coupling type activities. And she is completely correct. (To be fair, I don’t participate in things that I used to enjoy either [video games, board games, etc]). So she doesn’t have anything but struggle to fall back on. I can understand that being a turn off! She also expressed the next day that she worries about money. (I manage that side of the house hold).
I told her that we would sit down every Sunday And review a household P+L and Balance sheet. More often if she needs it.

I own my own company, and the majority of our available funds sits in the company account to provide working capital. But at any instant I can take out $5-$20k and move to our personal accounts. I don’t think she knows this. So I don’t worry about money because I can see the whole picture…. We’ve got 4 checking accounts. She only sees 1 regularly. That one we typically empty by months end on expenses. But the other three have enough in them for 6mo of expenses. I’ve been sneaking $100/wk into a vacation fund. Looking back., I should have told her. (But one of my love languages is gift giving). My plan was to take her to Iceland or Alaska — bucket list trips. I’ve got 10k sitting in there. I think her stress level reduced when I told her

so two newly identified stressors.. Lack of positive activities and concern over money.

I’m the depressed one. I’m not getting enjoyment from any activities. So I feel bad that I don’t have the physical energy to work on more positive time. I have trouble even getting out of bed. But I recognize that if I don’t fix this area, then she won’t have positive thoughts about us and it won’t help her desire.

The confusing part to me… before this round of depression hit, and I was normal and fun loving, she still had no desire. These two problems didn’t exist (as far as I know). So my subconscious wonders… if I fix these two things, will anything really change?

I’m a gift giver. It’s one of my love languages. But I made it through the Black Friday buying season without buying ANYTHING. This is an amazing feat for me. (Shopping also gives a brief dopamine hit, I, when not depressed, really enjoy it.)

we were supposed to continue our conversation, but have yet to do it…

my brain is really stuck in trying to make my libido die. In bed last night I was curled up on my side. She asked me why and I said I was cold. She asked if I wanted to snuggle, and before my brain could even engage, a “No” just shot out of me.
I am NOT happy that I am trying to kill my libido and desire. But it feels like internally I have given up.

I don’t think I can escape my depression until either her desire returns (and I feel needed and desired) or I get comfortable with no sex for the next 50 years and lose the resentment feelings toward her, the inadequacy I feel toward myself, etc.

@BlueGreen - I try to cut myself some slack for the migraines. Difficult to do, but I don’t have control over them.

@Cariad_Bach - it takes a major toll on my self confidence. “And, for me, it's motivated by a desire to meet his need rather than a need for sex with him.” — I can’t even get my wife to read a blog post. This is one of the most frustrating things that sticks a dagger in my heart. It feels like she doesn’t care and doesn’t want to put in any effort.

It’s a sunny 70 degree day here and I’m sitting outside at a sushi/burger bar writing this. It’d be wonderful if she was here (but she is at work). I’ve got thoughts of the breeze thorough her hair. Maybe a smell of her bath products. The sound of her laugh. But then I sigh and remember that those things feed my desire and I don’t want to do that. That. Is a scary thing. Actively thinking of how to avoid situations that would cause my desire to increase. Especially when these same situations are ones that would qualify as good memories for her.

I need to finish my beer and get some actual work done. Thanks for reading the continuing saga.

-jgr
 

WildCherry

Owner Emeritus
#12
I'm not able to read all the responses to this post, so what I'm about to ask may have already been mentioned. Could she possibly be asexual?
 

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