it could ruin a marriage, it's THAT bad!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2004
it could ruin a marriage, it's THAT bad!
4
Mon, 01-08-2007 - 9:57pm

Hi. I am 28 years old and a newlywed of less than a year. I am an HL with a HL husband who is my age and we have been together for 3 years. We had the honeymoon phase while dating of great sex, but slowly over time it decreased. Right when we moved in together there was a roomate too and things didn't seem too romantic or intimate and we were always busy. Planning a wedding and moving right away after the wedding didn't help our hectic lives and we plan to have children (if we can agree on when). At this point this could ruin our marriage, it is THAT bad.

My husband has complained about a lack of sex for a long time(sometimes skipping a month, I admit) But it doesn't phase me how it does him - I can bear going without (but don't like to) and he cannot. I think of sex as highly emotional and if I didn't feel like I was being respected/loved/appreciated I didn't feel close or desire sex. For him, the lack of sex slowly took away his desire to be respectful/loving/kind in the ways I needed. Of course he is a wonderful person and never was extreme, but you know what I mean about the intimate connection being gone. One person needs X to give Y, and the other needs Y to give X. So it never works once it goes down hill.

We are both willing to work on solving the problem, but I feel that if I don't do it his way (see a therapist) that it he won't think I am trying EVERYTHING possible. I think it could get better if I am not on the pill, get treated for a hormonal syndrome I have, and work out to feel good about myself.

My question is... how to come to a balance and meet eachothers needs?! I've read a lot and have found that you shouldn't have sex unless both totally agree to it. But then I read that LLs need to "just do it" to please their HL partner, and the HL needs to get less than they really desire. Does anyone have advice other than divorce or feel miserable?!

I really appreciate any feedback you have! And thanks for reading this (it's long!) :) I really am desperate for ANY ideas and I feel like I can't express how awful this is in words.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Tue, 01-09-2007 - 8:54am

"My husband has complained about a lack of sex for a long time(sometimes skipping a month, I admit) But it doesn't phase me how it does him - I can bear going without (but don't like to) and he cannot."

Have you ever read some of the secrets of long term 'happy' couples(30 to 50 years)? If you have, one of their top five or 10 items is to 'make love', on average, once or twice every week at a minimum. It just not sex their doing for some type of physical release, they're maintaining the physical 'intimacy in their relationship because they know what can happen to a relationship, like what you are experiencing without intimacy in it.

FYI, the definition of a sexless marriage is 10 times or less a year. You get in to the pattern of once month and you're getting awful close to that.

"We are both willing to work on solving the problem, but I feel that if I don't do it his way (see a therapist) that it he won't think I am trying EVERYTHING possible. I think it could get better if I am not on the pill, get treated for a hormonal syndrome I have, and work out to feel good about myself. "

That is great that you both want to work on this as that is what is necessary. If you have seen any of the posts from Dr. Z, sexual energy is excess energy so taking care of the physical side should help and give you an esteem boost also.

"I think of sex as highly emotional and if I didn't feel like I was being respected/loved/appreciated I didn't feel close or desire sex. For him, the lack of sex slowly took away his desire to be respectful/loving/kind in the ways I needed. "

"how to come to a balance and meet eachothers needs?! "

Well you both need to just sit down and agree to work on this at the same time. An important thing to do is to find time for each other. You say life has been quite busy. It may always be busy AND/or stressful. So do you let the 'couple' in the relationship fall apart because of the that? You have to plan time together, including time to make love. You need to focus on the fact that you are 'making love', having physical intimacy to help keep the relationship going. Think of it as sex only and it becomes a chore. Plan dates for this. Make sure you set time aside and try to stick to it. That other thing you need to do can wait.

Also make sure you do things together that help spark the intimacy for you before you get into the bedroom. Maybe making dinner together and cleaning up together afterwards, just talking about your days. Play cards, walk and talk, whatever to help give you some emotional intimacy outside the bedroom so while physically you might not be in mood when to go to make love, you have the emotional piece started to help rev up the physical piece once that starts.

Lots of times, it won't be romantic. Wait till kids come along. :-) But if you are maintaining the intimacy outside the bedroom, inside the bedroom will do just fine too.

Bottom line is that you 'both' have to make and take the time to be intimate in and out of the bedroom. You already know how the cycle works. You don't make love to your husband, maybe because you are 'too' busy, he resents it because physical intimacy is important in the relationship and his resentment starts showing up with him showing less intimacy outside the bedroom (lack of respect, appreciation, etc). You feel this and feel pressured to have sex and avoid it more. He resents it more and the cycle goes on. Up to two of you to just break it. Make time for each other no matter what stage of life you are in. Not always easy to do and can take lots of hard work to keep in going depending what life throws at you. But forget the 'couple' and you become roommates for life if divorce isn't an option.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2004
Tue, 01-09-2007 - 9:46am

Thank you for your post - it really makes sense and helps me to think about us as a couple who share this problem. I really do agree that we need more time together to build intimacy in/out of the bedroom. That would help me a lot I think. I hope that by talking more he can come to understand the problem as possibly not "my choice", as if he thinks I control the whole situation or do it on purpose. I have a lot of physical/hormonal factors to rule out in addition to stress which I plan to do. I feel that when he views the situation without blame, I'd feel so much better and less resentful. To me, THAT could be the problem, not the physical stuff! (or some combo of above)

Thank you again for a thoughful post!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Tue, 01-09-2007 - 10:20am

"I hope that by talking more he can come to understand the problem as possibly not "my choice","

Just remember that most of us here have talked till we are blue. We've gone in circles so many times talking. Action is going to be a key component to breaking the stalemate. Lay out the plan for your side to break this stalemate and let him see you are doing it starting then and there. He is going to need to see you making the effort to make love. Example my wife told me she needed things like more time together, more conversation, hugging, kissing etc to make things intimate for her. But when I did all those things that she said she needed, nothing happened. So I would stop trying and back in the cycle you go. We went like that for years. What I finally got across to her is that when I did what she said I needed to do to meet her emotional needs for intimacy we still lacked physical intimacy. She had to push herself in the beginning to get things rolling again. So besides working on my side to meet her emotional needs, I also had to remind myself that there would be ups and downs with turning things around and maybe occassionally, loving remind her that things might be slipping as what we both agreed to work on. So let your hubby know there will be some down moments as you both work on it and he needs to keep up his end.

Avatar for holdingontoit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2004
Tue, 01-09-2007 - 3:08pm

So sorry to hear you are going through this. A fw suggestions.

1. Don't have kids until you resolve this. A big part of your problem is not making time together a priority. Once you have kids, you will have even less free time. If you are already having trouble finding time, kids will only make things worse. Bringing kids into a troubled relationship isn't fair to the kids.

2. The key is both of you setting your priorities together. If he needs more sex, he needs to make time in his schedule to give you the intimacy you need. You need to make time in your schedule for both the intimacy building activities and the sex. And you have to work it through all the levels and repercussions. There is only a limited time in the day. Yes, you can may be able to reclaim some tv time or some video game time to make couple time. But in the end you may have to choose. How clean is the house going to be? How many nights can either of you work late? What are both of you willing to stop doing to make room for (i) alone time together , (ii) sex and (iii) raisng kids? If you don't make it a priority, other activities will fill up your schedule. That is the basic mechanism that leads to many divorces. The couple lets their other goals interfere with couple time. Without couple time, the relationship deteriorates. Too often at that point neither spouse is willing to cut anything out of their schedule to spend time on rebuilding an unsatisfying relationship. Don't make that mistake.

Also, you may find it helpful to go to www.marriagebuilders.com and learn some skills for building a more fulfilling marriage. Good luck.

When you see it coming, duck!