sustaining relationships w/o sexual attr

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2004
sustaining relationships w/o sexual attr
57
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 1:36pm

Even though I am still navigating the waters of our ML situation -- sometimes smooth, sometimes rough -- I have to wonder how feasible is it really that a relationship can be sustained when there is a significant mismatch in libidos? Even though I have compromised on my need for sex and even though my DW has likewise pushed herself outside her comfort zone to try to make things work, I'm not sure if it is enough to keep the relationship viable long term.

Aside from taking care of children, what else is there to keep things going during all the ups and downs of a relationship when the glue of sexual attraction is not there? What other glues are available to keep the relationship strong and stable?

Even at its best, there is still a lot missing from a relationship when there is no sexual energy to inspire my passion. Without that sexual fountain, from where does the affection flow? There is certainly not enough of it in my relationship. And the little affection that is there often feels hollow to me. After all, if the romantic affection does not spring from sexual attraction, how can it be genuine? I literally don't know how to react when my DW does kiss me or hug me spontaneously. It surprises me and confuses me. I'm sure she notices it.

And how can I be inspired to show affection to her when she does not feel it the same way as I do?

I am really struggling with these questions lately. Anyone?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 1:55pm

>>Even at its best, there is still a lot missing from a relationship when there is no sexual energy to inspire my passion. Without that sexual fountain, from where does the affection flow? There is certainly not enough of it in my relationship. And the little affection that is there often feels hollow to me. After all, if the romantic affection does not spring from sexual attraction, how can it be genuine? I literally don't know how to react when my DW does kiss me or hug me spontaneously. It surprises me and confuses me. I'm sure she notices it.<<

I think one thing that might help you here is to learn the difference between affection, romance and passion/sex. I can have passion and/or sex with lots of people, some who I probably don't even like all that much. Heat is heat. Affection and romance though, require me to like and respect and admire the recipient. Can your affection flow from any other source besides sex? Can you see her interacting with your children and feel a surge of affection towards her? That surely is not a sexual situation, if you can find affection in that moment, then try to find other moments where you can do the same.

When your DW kisses or hugs you it is coming from affection, hopefully you are not surprised that she cares for you. Allow yourself to appreciate her gesture of affection without analyzing it or attributing it to passion that she most likely doesn't feel.

There are so many ways to be intimate with someone, you are just used to using sex as a short cut. Shared activities, interests, values, events etc can all bring you closer. Anything that reminds you of what you love about her BESIDES her body can serve as an opportunity to build intimacy and increase affection and romance.

I understand your struggle, it is akin to my struggle not to allow DH's dissatisfaction with our sex life to poison any affection and romantic inclination I might have towards him. So far it's an uphill climb.

Hope this helps you....any questions, ask away!

roo and snowy siggie
Avatar for holdingontoit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2004
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 3:17pm

We have had many LLs post over the years about glue that binds them to their partner.

When you see it coming, duck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2009
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 3:33pm
...during my first marriage, I was not attracted to my husband sexually at all...so, I didn't want sex...didn't crave it...was perfectly happy without it...I didn't need it to bind me to him...speaking for my husbands (current husband as well)...they need/ed sex to feel bonded to me...obviously, there are children/homes/money/futures joined, but in order for them to feel bound to me...they both need/ed sex, pure and simple...without a satisfying sex life both are/were left feeling like they are/were living with room mate/sibling...which meant for my first husband that he was constantly feeling as though a part of him was missing...the part that he wanted to give/experience with a woman that adored/needed him...

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 3:53pm

Keep in mind that the struggle over ML could be feeding a deeper need in one of both of you which, if solved, could be replaced with something even worse for the long-term success of your marriage. At least that was the case with me and my wife. I fully accepted her libido and she immediately jumped to an emotional affair. This, after a 22 year pattern of protecting our marriage from any and all outside parties which might otherwise threaten it.


Just curious if we have a history of anyone on this board with a substantial mismatch who resolved it without finding another partner?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2004
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 3:58pm

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I'm not sure that's so true, though. My DW definitely needs affection. All those other things are not enough for her either. The problem is that I can't feel affectionate for her without that sexual energy feeding it. And I honestly don't know from where she draws energy to feed her affection for me, what little she shows. She doesn't seem much inspired to show affection by the way I care for our child, the good living I provide to us all, or any other things I am. (And it should go without saying that she's not inspired by me physically.)

As parents to a toddler (and with another one on the way), we don't have much time or energy for many shared activities or much of anything else that doesn't involve our kid. And, as I mentioned in another thread, I am not much energized to make time for those shared activities when there is no sexual energy to feed it.

So what recourse do we have for maintaining that bond?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 4:03pm

As long as you maintain that you cannot bond without the glue of sex, and refuse to seek other forms of intimacy, you aren't going to succeed.

Additionally, you cannot seem to accept her affection coming from where ever it is SHE derives it from. You cannot believe it if it isn't fueled by sex.

Lack of flexible thinking will be your doom.

roo and snowy siggie
Avatar for holdingontoit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2004
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 4:08pm

I feel for you.

When you see it coming, duck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2004
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 4:13pm

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I don't maintain it, it's the way I'm wired. As an LL what drives you bond with your DH? What fuels you? For some LL's, maybe it's the status that their partner conveys to them. For others, maybe it's the material security. There are many other motivations to want to bond other than sex. I honestly don't know what drives my DW to bond with me. None of these seem to fit for my DW. That's what I'm seeking to understand.

As I also said, those other methods don't seem enough for my DW either.

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I accept it just fine; I just don't understand it. But I am trying to. That's why I brought it up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 4:18pm

You asked for other forms of glue, I was trying to give them to you, you rejected them all. That's all I've got. Hope you find something, it would be a shame for the kids to grow up in a bitter resentful household or a broken home.

roo and snowy siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
Thu, 06-17-2010 - 4:33pm

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I dunno, to me it's a no-brainer: emotional attunement, intellectual compatibility, ability to have fun together, affection, shared goals, shared delight in children, sense of being a team... AND romantic attraction (which can exist somewhat independently of sexual attraction).

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Why would it not be genuine? To a LL like myself the very question is baffling.

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I know this question wasn't directed at me, but... energy from our physical contact (cuddling, massaging), nonsexual admiration of his face and body, admiration of his intelligence and integrity, delight in laughing with him, gratefulness for his infinite patience with my worries, appreciation of our intellectual attunement. That's just off the top of my head.

Freelance




Edited 6/17/2010 4:41 pm ET by freelancemomma

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