I'm ready to give up on my marriage. My wife is beautiful, smart, and funny but has zero interest in sex.
She hasn’t initiated intimacy in so long I forget. She’s not even affectionate, which is very hurtful.
She gets annoyed at me for asking to make love. The rejection and emotional abandonment has broken me.
We’re both professionals, married for 18 years, but it’s been a sexless marriage for 14 years. We’re intimate maybe seven times a YEAR!
When it happens, she seems distant and uninterested, which makes the whole thing awkward.
I’ve hung in because we have three wonderful kids who all have disabilities. The 14 years have been very difficult with the children, but the past four have been much better.
Their medical problems are treatable. Although managing this treatment is very taxing, she and I are a good team.
Mostly, our kids are doing great despite their challenges.
I thought their improvement would solve things in the bedroom, but it hasn’t.
Also stressful, my wife and I must help my father-in-law who has early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease.
We’ve helped him move into a long-term care home and help him often. My wife’s three siblings either refuse to help or are elsewhere.
I’ve never cheated and don't think she has either.
I convinced her to ask her doctor several years ago about the lack of libido.
She reluctantly did and now treats as a get-out-of-jail-free card, his statement, "You have a stressful life." But he didn’t offer any helpful suggestions.
I feel as though I’ve gone through the five stages of grief over this: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and now Acceptance.
Every time I try to talk through this problem, my wife gets upset that I’m bringing it up "again.”
She won’t go to counselling, saying that I just want a counsellor to blame her.
She says that she doesn't want to get intimate with me because I'm just focused on the sex and not the relationship.
I’ve worked very hard on it, especially in the last few years. I take her out frequently and we genuinely enjoy spending time together and have fun when out as a couple.
I’ve always balanced the housework and cooking at home because we have demanding jobs and the kids’ needs are time-consuming.
I'm ready to give up, am profoundly lonely, and feeling unwanted and rejected.
I want a loving and caring partner but am stuck with a distant roommate.
Yes, it’s the stress. But the doctor didn’t help her realize that a loving, sexually-satisfying relationship could be the best antidote to stress.
Moreover, you’ve all missed the “elephant” in the room - both your wife and you have an underlying issue with blame.
She’s the one who’s withdrawn from sex, so it’s natural to see her as the cause of your frustration.
But it goes much deeper. Does she think you blame her for the kids’ disabilities. Or, does she blame you?
Did the immediate needs of the children overwhelm her towards a lingering depression that’s never been acknowledged?
Did your focus on the kids and being a team player for them and for the household, without realizing her needs for comforting?
Maybe asking for sex was meant to connect you, but it didn’t acknowledge that she needed a different level of intimacy.
If ever a couple needs counselling together, right now, it’s you two. Before you give up.
If she still refuses, go yourself. It has the potential to change many things.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman suffering from a brain injury (April 30):
Reader #1- “I'm five years out from surgery to remove a large brain tumour.
“People don't understand because "you don't look sick!"
“She should check out www.brainline.org. There are also good Facebook groups for people who’ve had various kinds of brain injury.
“It’s been an ongoing challenge for me to deal with friends and family.
“I’ve learned to watch my expectations and not be afraid to sever ties with those who can't, or won't, understand.
“There are also treatments available that are still quite new, such as low intensity laser to stimulate neuroplasticity.”
Reader #2 – “I had some incident with my neck that cut off blood supply to my brain, affecting my short-term memory.
“Sometimes in situations, I just see a blank screen.
“I look to someone who does remember, and trust that it happened as they said. Her family’s pressure is stoking her anxiety.”
Tip of the day:
Long-term rejection of intimacy suggests deep, unrecognized issues.