In a Sexless marriage to my best friend...

fancifulMay 3, 2008

Wow! So happy that I found this post - I've been married to my best friend for

almost 15 years now. I was a single Mom for 15 years before I met my now

husband - my daughter was one year old when I divorced her Dad after learning of

his infidelity.

Between my divorce and meeting my husband, I had been through several

relationships with guys who I had GREAT chemistry with, but who were either

committment-phobic, work-phobic, or terribly selfish. So, when I met my husband

I just couldn't believe how wonderful it was to find such a great guy - steady

job, caring about me in ways no one ever did, loyal to the end, sweet and

considerate and couldn't wait to get married. Truly, we have hardly ever raised

our voices, he accepted my daughter as his own flesh and blood even though she

was in her teens he refers to her as his daughter (not step) and stood up for me

against my witchy Mother-in-law when needed. He is my very very best friend.

HOWEVER, he has really never been interested in sex with me from the beginning. Back then I weighed the choice I was making and told myself that

"I'll never find anyone 100% perfect". I thought for sure if I had to choose

between the problems that I had encountered in my "sexually healthy"

relationships OR being married to a WONDERFUL low to non-sexual man it was a

hands-down choice. So, we married - I wouldn't say it was a mistake even now.

But after 15 years of marriage, what has happened is that I no longer feel any

romantic attraction to him. He is drop-dead gorgeous - does a physical job so

he has a great body too. But we have lived as Brother and Sister for so long,

that I no longer look at him that way. In fact, the mere thought of sex with

him is like incest for me. I've told him all along how the lack of sex is

affecting me...I thought when we first got married that sex might be infrequent

with him, but NOT non-existent. We've had several major blow-outs about it

(really the only thing we ever have fought about) about once every two years or

so. He really beats himself up about it - and he blames himself totally and promises to try to

figure out what's going on and find a way to work on his libido. Then we end up

having sex once or twice and he settles back into his routine of avoiding

intimacy with me by staying up late, etc. He even moved into another bedroom in

our house once the kids moved out "so he wouldn't keep me up with snoring" which

I agreed to because we were not doing anything in bed together anyway.

The kids have been out of the house now for about 5 years - and I realize that I

am not willing to live this way the rest of my life. I have thought about

leaving for the past 10 years, but I knew (and still know) what a jewel he is.

I kept pushing my thoughts of leaving away, telling myself that just getting

some good sex wasn't worth throwing away the huge quantity of good things that

we have in our relationship. But, a few weeks ago I came home at lunch and

found him watching some porno and pleasuring himself. So, I finally realized

that he's not really asexual like I thought - he is just asexual with me. I now realize

that staying in this kind of a marriage - that is like a brother and sister -

when we don't share romantic love is not right or authentic for me.

I have been telling him for 10 years all along how the lack of intimacy is

transforming my feelings into sibling-like love - but he never follows through

on him promises to try to explore his lack of interest - and he absolutely

REFUSES to even consider Viagra.

Last week, I shared with him again how I feel, but this time told him I am ready

to spread my wings and am thinking about starting a life on my own - I don't

want to be untrue or even consider an affair. He immediately started the every

two year routine we have done in the past: him taking all the blame and

promising to figure out what is going on with himself and making overtures.

But I am making a break this time - and have told him that I plan to venture out

on my own in the near future and see if separation isn't best for us. We are not arguing about it - we care about each other - and he says he

wants me to be happy. It is so hard to leave someone who is so kind and caring,

but I want to feel desired as a woman again. It makes me feel so selfish and

petty and I wonder if 20 years from now if I will look back and kick myself when

I am 70 and sex isn't so important to me either and perhaps I want a comfy

relationship. But on the other hand, I have lived without a satisfying sexual

relationship for 15 years (since I was 40). I feel moved to express my sensual

self, but the cost will be giving up a wonderful life I have built with this

man. It seems like such a high price - but living with a "brother" and calling

it marriage is a high price to pay too. Please help me figure this one

out..........I am so confused.......

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Aww.... You know, I really feel for you because I can tell how confused you are. On top of you being confused, I'm sure seeing him using porn when he can't even make love to his wife had to really sting.

But ya know, there has to be some sort of problem with him that he isn't telling you about, or facing himself. That just don't sound right. He loves you, and the two of you have this great relationship, it just makes no sense. Also, men have such a hard time admitting something is wrong with them. Your self esteem has to really be suffering I'm sure...

Tell me, have you ever made an appointment "for him" with a sex therapist? I mean, you make it, and try to force him to go? Maybe that would be your last ditch effort, and if he refuses, then maybe he is more interested in porn than saving your marriage.

It's not that sex is the most important thing in a marriage, but geesh, it has to be up there in the top 2 in my opinion because it's all about intimacy, and without that, you really lose so much..

Something sounds like it has to give... 15 years is too long to deal with this problem...Maybe a separation for a while??

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 1:10AM
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I'd also suggest the counselling route --

He already admits there's a problem. And you know it's not a complete lack of sexual interest if he's using porn to satisfy himslef. And I'm assuming you'd have mentioned if it were gay porn, so it sounds like he's straight...

Truly - I'd try to work things out, because (and I'm sorry to be blunt here) the grass on the other side of the fence for most 55 year old women isn't really all that green. Sure you can get sex -- but at what price? How many great single guys are out there? If he's your best friend and you're compatible, that's a lot to throw away -- even if you're frustrated.

You (plural you) really do need to try something different.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:17AM
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ahh poor you,I think you have done well to have lasted this long,really dont think i could of,even if he is a jewel.i agree with vicky there must be some sort of problem with him,but how many years have you gotta wait for him to sort it.
you say you worry that when you are 70,you may kick yourself for wanting sex and wished youd settled for a comfy life.but if you carry on like this you will kick yourself even harder and wished youd spread your wings, as you say.
your still young at 55.
you could do with chatting to some men in the same boat as your husband,to see what there reasons are for never wanting sex,because i dont think us women can really judge what goes on in a mans head.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 4:40PM
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There is a book called "The Sex Starved Marriage." I haven't read it but many people seem to find it helpful. There's a board on Ivillage called Mismatched Libidos which is active and devoted to this very issue.

I don't get that behavior either. It's not as uncommon as you'd think from what I'm reading-- the guy is straight, but prefers his own company/fiction to the actual woman who would like to be having sex with him. I could see a trial separation if you would like to explore living on your own. You may find you would rather stay and work on him but in any case you will have explored what it's like to live on your own.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 7:22PM
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I too am married to my best friend, who also is not interested in sex with me. I also caught him with porn a couple years ago. Finding out that he is addicted to porn was really, really hard on me. he is extremely apologetic. went to counseling, quit porn, does romantic things for me, and is very sweet. But even though he hasnt done porn in over a year his sex drive, for me at least, hasnt returned. I've thought about leaving, too (filled out divorce papers in the not so distant past).

Today was an especially frustrating day. All my life men have been very attracted to me and now that I'm married i get one that isnt?!? Unbelievable. im starting to wonder how i'd look in nun's attire. I try everything to stimulate a response out of him and occasionally i get one but holy crap! is it supposed to be so much work??? I blame it on the porn. it does something to them so that 'real' physical stimulation doesnt do it for them-ever again. Im so tired of trying all different mind games to try and get things going. He should just want to be with me!

now im starting to lose my sex drive-for him anyway. so while im trying to get him to be interested in me, im thinking do i even want to be with him?? Then on the very rare occasions that i get what i want, i end up not wanting it. its all very confusing.

but he's so sweet. he feels really bad. then i feel bad. He is such a good guy. he has a problem. unfortunately it seriously affects me...

so ive decided, today at least, that i will stay and work through this. ive worked through some rather arduous family problems (that at the time seemed beyond hopeless) and discovered that with an open mind, unwaivering focus on the ultimate goal, and some serious boundary skills, things work out. So i keep plugging away, self help books, therapy, etc, and keeping my mind open. If in 15 years things only get worse, well, maybe i'll just consider it some kind of karmic debt...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:45AM
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I well know the other side of this situation, and my husband stuck by me, with no argument, no pressure. I was fortunate to have him be so loyal.

I don't blame your husband for not trying viagra, that stuff is dangerous. Life without sex is more important than going blind.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:19PM
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My no BS suggestion. Either the problem can be fixed or it can't, but you don't yet know what it is. He may be a homosexual, in which case you can't fix it. Or, he may have a sexual interest that he is too embarrassed to tell you about. Figure it out -- you need to snoop on his computer or into his stash of porn and find out what it is that gets his motor going. It may be something you can use. It is still fantasy, and your reality can push it aside. Given his sweet personality, I would guess that his proclivities are on the submissive side, but he does not have the guts to come out to you. There are lots of ways a woman can tap into that without degrading yourself (just sift on the web past the degrading over the top male fantasy stuff, and find folks who have wrestled with your issue in a real relationship).
If he is sincere, the first thing he needs to do is stop self-pleasuring. Within a few days you will look pretty good to him, but if he is getting his release apart from you that will completely dampen his ardor. This could well be a porn addiction case. Take away his computer privileges. Figure out if he is paying for porn sites. Be aggressive - you have a right to be mad, but you can save your marriage if it is saveable.

Even if you figure out that his tastes are something you cannot abide, that will make it easier to move out.

There are plenty of men that would love to love you, and in your 50s the quality of the men might be better even where their sexual prowess is less than 25 years before.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 8:19AM
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For msixone:
I see you suggested checking his computer for porn. I am in the same situation, but could you tell me how to check his computer if he erases his history? Is there a way?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 5:13AM
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He's gay?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 9:49AM
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I wouldn't divorce him, I would just allow him to masturbate, and I would do the same. Maybe it's weird but what the heck, if he's a good man, I would hang onto, it could just be due to performance anxiety, and so on. I think eventually, a couple's sex life could become more trouble than it's worth. He may just not want to bother anymore. It sounds like he still loves you, though.....

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Same in my marriage and it's in the early stages (a year and 1/2). But I think I do know the problem...
Men love...
pretty faces, pretty breasts, pretty bodies-perfectly pretty.
Women love...
Women love money to buy pretty faces, pretty breasts, pretty bodies. Women love men who love them and are attracted to them.
Without the money, you immediately lose, or lose as you age. It's a downward spiral...and I do believe that is why some women become "attracted"? to other women. Women love inside-men love outside. Sad but consider the "visual" way in which men are attracted (or not) to women. They can be, mentally ill, selfish, self-centered, all kinds of vices but if men love the way they look, that's all it takes.
No, I am not attracted to women, but I can understand how women who get burned by a man might turn there for love.
I don't care anymore about how I look, or if I am loved. I've given up on it and now I prefer to be left alone. So the sexless marriage is a whatever. But I don't like the reminders I see in his eyes. That brings me down. So, better off alone for me.
The strange thing is, like mentioned above, other men notice me...and that just makes me feel more empty. So I guess he isn't really my best friend anymore.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:06AM
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Straycat, I'm sorry to hear that you're having the same issue as the OP.

While I agree appearances may play a part sometimes I don't think that's what's going on here. This man has been "rarely sexual" since they married.

I'm a woman, and I like a handsome guy too. Money comes after intelligence, humor, compassion and looks when I'm looking for a guy. I would never "buy" a prettier face, body or breasts. Many men are attracted to the "older" woman.

To say that men only want looks is sexist. Yes, it's true that men are more visual than women, but I know many men who married for love and personality rather than looks.

Generally speaking to those with this problem, what about watching porn with him, and you both pleasuring yourselves as Sirens suggested? There's nothing left to lose, right? What's the worst that could happen?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:25PM
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