Tuesday 26 September 2017

Dear Mary: Should I leave my wife who hates intimacy?

MY wife and I have been married almost 20 years and have children attending primary school. We both work and have enough to pay our way. We try to look positively on things and hope that we will see an end to this recession. Our problem is in the bedroom. My wife won't have sex, doesn't like touching and when she says yes, she won't kiss or be in any way intimate. That happens about once a month. She sees nothing wrong with this, but I am at my wit's end over it.

I love her, and have tried to speak to her about it but, she won't have any talk or tell me if something is bothering her. At the beginning, sex was good, never more than twice a week, and we were happy with that.

I accept that during the week we are busy, and I get tired, but at the weekends I would love to chill out and get to know each other again. I am sad at the way things have gone, and admit to having thought of ending our marriage, but I don't want to hurt our kids.

I have confided in a friend who says maybe it would be better for the kids if we did separate, if there is tension around the house. We are in our mid-40s, and by the way things are going sex once a month will soon peter out -- and then what? I stimulate myself sexually from time to time, thinking of my wife as I do so, but it's not the same. If she won't speak to a qualified person with me I don't know where we will end up. I have never been selfish in putting my own interests first, but feel I will have to think about it. I await your advice.

Mary replies:

Perhaps it is indeed time for you to be selfish. I wonder if your wife has any idea just how unhappy you are, and that you are contemplating ending the marriage. You have been going along with things on her terms for quite a long time now, but it is most certainly not working for you, and so something has to change. There must be some reason for her to have withdrawn from virtually all sexual activity, because what you are having once a month is a sexual transaction that contains no intimacy whatsoever.

Some people really do fear intimacy -- perhaps they never had it in their earlier lives and the feeling makes them very uncomfortable, or maybe they do not want to get close to their partner and therefore be seen as being vulnerable and needy. People like this are not able to be both emotionally and sexually intimate, and so as they get more and more emotionally close to a partner they withdraw sexually, which is what seems to have happened with your wife.

However, I can only speculate as to the reasons for her problem, and she would certainly benefit if she were to speak to a qualified person. She probably thinks that there is no need for this and that things are fine as they are. That is why you need to let her know that you are taking it very seriously and are thinking about separation.

She will no doubt get a shock when she hears this, but it should give her the impetus she needs to get help. At the very least it may enable her to talk things over with you, and give you some explanation for the current position.

We all have faults, but if a couple have an active sex life then these can be overlooked. But without intimacy the faults tend to become magnified to the point where the couple start to get tetchy with each other and have serious problems in the relationship. As long as you go along with things as they are, you are colluding with your wife in ensuring that things remain the same, so act now.



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