If I’m honest, my wife has never had the highest sex drive and at the best of times, it was maybe once a week - always Saturday/Sunday morning and always with me initiating.
We have been together 14 years and looking back, I think I accepted not having the most active or adventurous sex life because I loved her for other reasons and they were more important than sex.
Over the years, the frequency has got less and less, to the point where it doesn’t happen at all.
I can list our sexual encounters in the past four years - 2015 (2), 2016 (0), 2017 (5), 2018 (1) and 2019 (0 - so far).
It got to the point where I had given up for fear of rejection and never initiated it and the few times we have had sex, she has initiated it, I think, just to stop nagging and time between encounters. It is never enjoyable and seems forced. She has never been affectionate or liked hugging, kissing or cuddling.
We have two children and the birth of our daughter (who is four) was traumatic and has left her incontinent at times and having to wear pads, an issue doctors cannot fix. She blames this for her lack of sex drive and not feeling sexy - and while I’m sympathetic to it, I feel the issue goes far deeper than this alone, to years before our daughter was born.
Over the past three years, I have broken down crying a number of times telling her I need more love and affection - not necessarily sex but just a cuddle sometimes. On the last occasion, 15 months ago, I left but she begged me to come back and said she would change. But I feel she made no attempts whatsoever and prefers to bury her head in the sand and ignore the issue.
The relationship has
now deteriorated, we bicker and argue over little things constantly. Life is tough with children, and I know I am not perfect - she says I’m lazy, selfish, could do more with the kids, etc, so I take my share of responsibility.
We had a heart-to-heart last night and she basically told me that she didn’t think she would ever want to or be able to have sex again.
I suggested counseling or chatting to the doctor but she refused.
The problem is, she now wants to go for dinner, have time away and try and fix our marriage problems - but with no sex. To me it seems hollow and I told her I didn’t think it was a relationship without sex and intimacy, to which she replied with things such as: “I’m ill, what if I had cancer and couldn’t have sex?”, “you need to grow up”, “People would think you were a right bastard if you left me just because I won’t give you a shag”, “I hope you have a nasty illness in your next relationship where you can’t have sex” and “there’s more to life than sex”.
If I’m honest, I don’t want sex with her any more, years of rejection and feeling I have to beg for it have killed that.
I am just confused as to what to do. Maybe I am being selfish. If she is ill, should I forget sex and just concentrate on having the best relationship as possible, as friends, for the sake of my children? Maybe it is normal for sex to disappear after kids and so long together. So am I being selfish and should I just accept it and concentrate on being a good husband in other ways?
But I’m 42 and feel I am far too young to be in a relationship that is just about companionship and nothing else.
Thanks for any thoughts.
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist