My wife of 25 years and I have many common interests (fitness, sport, culture) and three grown children.
My wife’s attractive but no longer interested in sex. Even when intimate earlier, she’d barely participate.
It meant that I was sometimes unable to reach orgasm, so she wrongly assumed I’d also lost interest in sex.
My initial response was just to take care of myself. Eventually I wanted to experience sexual intercourse again, so started paying for the service.
I reasoned that I wasn’t having an affair with another woman and that my wife’s still my best friend.
Also, we both still love each other.
However, when I’ve asked if she’d consider resuming intimacy together, she becomes aloof.
If she continues to refuse sex, am I wrong to seek it outside the marriage, with no emotional attachment?
I’m not ready to become celibate.
Conflicted Loving Husband
Sex is largely considered a part of the love/commitment between a married couple, such that even if libido lessens, there’s still some effort made.
But your wife feels no obligation towards you regarding sex, despite loving you.
The question remains, Why not?
Had she told you early on that she’d lost the arousal she once felt, or that sex had become painful, or that perimenopause affected her libido, you two could’ve discussed options.
Since sex was important to you, it would’ve been logical for her to agree to see a gynecologist to learn what caused the change.
You haven’t said that happened, so I’m assuming it didn’t.
Also, if there was some background, such as a past trauma she experienced that involved sex, or memories of abuse, or a cold family attitude toward sex when she was growing up, she could’ve seen a therapist to try to overcome any psychological barrier.
She didn’t do that.
So, while she may join you in many common interests and activities, she hasn’t done all that a “best friend” could do, about trying to resolve this marital issue.
It’s fair, then, for you to be the one to make a choice.
Paying for sex apparently hasn’t affected your marital bond.
I caution you, however, on seeking an emotion-free sexual liaison with another woman.
Emotions sometimes develop anyways, where there’s a relationship of excitement, passion and mutual satisfaction.
Also, given the love that you still share with your wife, I recommend that you discuss with her this possibility of seeking a “sex-only” partner.
That may sound unfair and unnecessary, but there’s a line between her acceptance or considering this as cheating.
Also, your children may learn of an “outside” relationship and have a very negative response.
The decision isn’t simple, but you have the right to make a choice.
Having had a cheating spouse, how do I overcome feelings of betrayal, disrespect, insecurity, detachment, disinterest, bitterness and all other negativity caused by cheating?
The Devastated Spouse
It’s not easy, but like all major setbacks, the way to overcome is by determining to make a start at it.
First, know that this is about how it was done – wrongly. Spouses owe each other a sincere effort to work on any serious issues.
You didn’t deserve the disrespect/detachment of a cheater.
Next, protect your self-respect. You’re far more as a person than this unhappy period. Individual counselling will help you understand the past better and to move forward.
Allow a reasonable time to heal and restore your self-confidence.
Fight against bitterness or fear. Get support from close people and choose new friends/dates selectively.
FEEDBACK Regarding the father who says his teenage daughters want to spend 80% of their time at his place (September 4):
Reader – “It’s possible that the dad has fewer rules than the mother and that the girls prefer the more permissive household.
“It could also be simply that teenagers are often at odds with the same-sex parent as they test their independence.
“I hope the mother can take it in stride as much as possible, because trying to woo the girls back into her orbit might be giving them more power than adolescent/teen girls can or should responsibly handle.”
Ellie – The daughters are currently turning all attention on themselves (common after a divorce) and punishing their mother despite that both parents had agreed on getting a divorce.
If both parents now co-operate on helping their daughters adjust, even to getting post-marital counselling together, the teenagers will see they still have two very caring parents.
Tip of the day:
Despite a spouse’s disinterest in sex, an “outside arrangement” isn’t always an easy solution.