Ask Andrew – My wife is angry because I haven’t wanted sex
I have been with my partner for 12 years and married for 3.
I am 35 she 32. Although I find my wife beautiful and sexy for some reason which I don’t fully understand myself I have not had sex with her very often for nearly 10 years now. Every other aspect of our relationship was great but recently she had a moment of clarity and realised that this is not the existence she wants. She says she is a very sexual person and that I cannot truly love her or find her attractive because I haven’t wanted to make love to her. She is extremely hurt and says she doesn’t know whether she can or wants to forgive me. She says I have made her feel ugly and have turned her into a person that she is not. She is extremely successful in her career and is told constantly how great and attractive she is by work colleagues. I have also always told her this but our relationship turned into one more like a brother/sister.
Now she feels uncomfortable about touching or cuddling me and will not have sex with me even though, of course, now that is all I want to do. We got drunk a couple of weeks ago and had a passionate embrace and after 5 minutes she aggressively said ‘I am not going to let you have sex with me for a very long time so you can know how I have felt’.
Moments like that give me encouragement that it is not all over but then with just a word that can change.
I am in turmoil. I love her and deeply regret my sexual abandonment of her but feel it may be too late.
She says she keeps waiting and hoping that she will ‘snap’ out of it and we can start again. But its been 2 months now and she still feels the same. We still get on well until the topic is brought up (always by me) but I just feel I am in purgatory but I feel I have to take this pain because it is something I have caused. I just don’t know how long I can carry on though.
What a horrible situation. It is obvious that you love each other desperately. So how did you get to this point? I have two thoughts about why you have not been interested in sex – despite finding your wife attractive.
Firstly, couples become like brother and sister because they don’t argue. It’s impossible for two people to live together without differences cropping up but instead of having it out and sorting the problem, some people keep it nice, pretend it doesn’t matter and bury their annoyance. So it is fine on the surface but all the anger is buried. Secondly, men go off sex when they are angry or resentful with their partners. Perhaps there is a lot that you don’t agree with but have swallowed it (perhaps its even become such a habit you hardly notice). The anger has to go somewhere and withdrawing from sex is a common outcome. You also say that your wife is very successful. Does this seem threatening in some way? I know this sounds weird but could you want to punish her because she can provide for herself and that makes you feel less of a man?
So what can be done about it? The anger has to come out and be expressed – particularly by your wife. My guess is that when she starts to complain, you get tearful, anxious or play ‘poor me’. So she feels guilty and shuts down and guess what it goes back to nice. Remember nice is your enemy, it is killing your marriage and is the number one passion killer. So let her get angry, sit there and listen, acknowledge it: ‘I can see you’re angry’. When it’s all out, and you know what’s it all about, you can begin to fix it.
Please read ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ to understand how ducking rows ruins relationships and ‘Resolve your differences’ to find better ways to deal with anger. When you’re on a better footing, you can make a fresh start with your sex life (and for that I would read ‘Make love like a Prairie Vole’.
Finally, don’t lose hope. This can be turned round but it needs bravery and persistence.