Andrew G Marshall

Author & Marital Therapist

Ask Andrew – My wife rejects me when I make sexual advances

September 15th, 2012 by Andrew Marshall in Ask Andrew

I am waiting for the book that I need because my wife doesn’t love me anymore and I want to get her back.  She has told me she doesn’t love me anymore and hasn’t for a few years.  Further, she does not want to try to love me again.

She has been depressed for the last few years.  We have had a couple of difficult events in the last few years which I am sure contributed to the point we have reached.  I think she thinks she is depressed because of her terrible marriage.  I don’t see it as terrible though.  She basically does want she wants, I help with the house, kids, etc.  Our biggest problems arise when I want to have sex and she rejects me.  Most recently I was rejected again and said stupid things in anger about not having sex being a “deal breaker”.  While it is difficult to be rejected by your wife, I cannot imagine life without her.  Not to mention we have two young kids (3 and 5) that would be devastated if we split.  Unfortunately, this argument was the bomb exploding as she has now said she wants to separate.

She has agreed to go to “my” therapy session, an appointment she knows I made for her in order to deal with her depression.  However, she is only doing it to prove that she wants out not because of her depression but because she is not in love with me any more.

Could she go to individual therapy for her depression and decide she really does not love me?  I am petrified but happy she is getting help for her depression.  I should have pushed harder a few years ago when her mom tragically passed away but I ignored the problem.  I think she resents me for it.  Is it too late?  If she is going to therapy already convinced that the marriage is over, does it have any chance of working?

I will read the book when it comes out as it was titled for my exact situation.  Any insight you could offer in the meantime would be immensely appreciated.

Andrew writes:

Don’t wait for ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ because it works in conjunction with ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ (and I recommend reading that first). While I’m on the subject of books, please read ‘Make love like a prairie vole’ because I explain how woman do not feel spontaneously horny for about eighteen months after having a child (the hormone oxytocin goes into bonding with the child). Guess what, as your wife was getting her levels back to normal, she’s pregnant again. So although this rejection feels terribly personal, it is incredibly common. It doesn’t mean your wife can’t be sexually responsive but you’re switching her off (because anger is least sexy thing in the world!) So please, next time you’re feeling upset, start reading rather than having ‘deal breaker’ conversations with your wife that will set everything back.

Personally, I don’t think there is any point getting her to come to your counselling. Firstly, it is hard – even under the best situations – to go to someone else’s therapist. In your mind, they will be on your partner’s side and you’re worried about all the ‘horrible’ things the therapist has been told about you. Hardly the best start for a working relationship! If you’d been seeing me, I would refer you to one of my colleagues for couple work. Secondly, she is going with a closed mind. So what will it achieve? Nothing. You’re hoping for a silver bullet to slay her lack of love. All you will achieve is closing down that possibility in the future – when it might work better. So if it’s not too late, tell her that you were wrong to push her, apologise and cancel the appointment.

Finally, will lifting her depression help her fall back in love? Depression = suppression. I explain more in ILYB but basically we suppress our anger towards our partner (he pesters me for sex) and keep everything nice on the surface. We can’t chose which feelings we switch off and slowly but surely they all disappear – including love. If she does go for counselling, she will begin to feel again but guess what comes out first….. ANGER. I know it will be hard but try and see it as a positive because love can’t return without the negatives coming out first.

In the meantime, I want you to concentrate on not panicking, keeping calm and not making a bad situation worse. This can be turned round but you need to be patient, loving and get a better understanding of what’s gone wrong (back to the books again).