I am to a point that I do not feel anything for my husband. It is a horrible thing to say, but I can’t help it. I don’t know what is going on, because I used to love him, but now I don’t even want him to touch me, and I get no pleasure from sex. I have contemplated leaving him so that he can find someone else that may truly want him the way he should be wanted.
It is not uncommon for couples to drift apart over the years. We all get stuck in ruts. I used to describe my husband as a pair of comfortable old slippers — the kind that have molded to your feet over time because you have worn them so much. You're way past having to break them in. But it may also mean these slippers no longer support you very well. You slip and slide in them. The soles are beginning to wear thin. The solution? No, it is not to buy a new pair. Things can be repaired and refitted. Even marriages.
One thing to realize is that you didn't just wake up one morning feeling this way. This state has developed over time. Working through the issue will also take time and patience. You need to begin by having a long, serious talk with your husband. He may be wondering what is wrong and be afraid to ask you. Perhaps his ego is a bit bruised. Or maybe he feels the same as you do. Knowing where each other honestly stands is the first step towards change.
There are two things to keep in mind, though.
First, choose the right time. When either of you are stressed out from a hard day at work, that is not the best time. During commercials as he watches his team playing for the quarter finals may not work either. Neither will the 10 minutes before it’s time to get dinner out of the oven. You need to find some quiet, uninterrupted time together.
Secondly, make sure you are kind in your conversation. No pointing fingers. Be sure to use “I” and not “you.” For example, “I really need your help to get over something. I think I took it wrong and I feel bad about it.” Not, “You really made me mad when....” The less confrontational you are, the better the conversation will go. Clearing the air is always best. The old adage to not let the sun set on your anger is still valid.
But, before you have “the talk,” do some fact-finding on your own.
Where’s the romance?
One reason you might be feeling this way is because you two are in a rut. Even the daily smack and mumble of “I love you” as you head out the door can become meaningless. Perhaps you need to start dating each other again. Rekindle the fire. Whether you have kids, demanding jobs, or are retired, a once a month “date night” where you two reconnect can be a great boost to your relationship. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Just romantic. Even if it is playing your favorite song and sharing a quart of ice cream together in front of a flickering fire on a cold night.
Make a List
Think back to what attracted you to him in the first place. Write down his good qualities. Over the next month or so, make an effort to focus on all that is attractive in him rather than on the little things that bug you. See him anew again, starry-eyed as when you first met. The mind can go a long way in guiding the heart back in the right direction.
Search Your Heart
Speaking of the heart, is there a grudge you have been harboring? Did he say or do something — or not say or do something — and it hurt you? Have you discussed that or just swallowed it down (again) and let it fester? Do you feel less appreciated than you used to be? Does he seem overcritical lately? Is the only time he offers physical contact when he wants sex? If there is an issue you need to talk out?
Talk to Your Doctor
Sometimes we women have hormonal issues which can affect our sex drive and our emotions. It might not be a bad idea to go for a thorough checkup. Make sure there are no physical causes to your moods right now. A vitamin deficiency can also be a factor. Carbs and sugars can also affect moods, so be sure to discuss your diet habits with your doctor as well.
Also, consider how your own body changes could be affecting how “sexy” you feel. Could it be you don’t want to have sex because you fear he will no longer find you as attractive as you once felt? Sometimes we can ”flip the coin” without realizing it. It is what professionals call transference.
Re-read your statement
The fact you are thinking of bailing so he can find someone else (because he deserves to be loved) indicates you still do have feelings for him. You may also be struggling with some depression and self-esteem issues. If your doctor believes it might help, seek a professional counselor. Tell your husband you have noticed a change in yourself and you think you need some guidance because you don’t want it to negatively affect your marriage anymore. He may be relieved and even encourage you.
Often, men are reluctant to enter counseling. Go yourself for a few sessions, then ask the therapist if there is time for your husband to join you. If your husband sees you making an effort, perhaps he will be willing to go as well, in order to “help you.” A fresh perspective, guided by the therapist, might be just what your marriage needs.
Many employers will actually pay for three to six sessions through the Employee Assistance Program because they realize issues at home can affect work production. So why not utilize it?
Remember that it takes two to make a marriage work. Sometimes we need to consider the other person over ourselves. Every now and then we need to carry the other through tough times. But we should never feel we have to “go it alone.” The more you can tackle this issue as a couple while considering the other’s feelings, the better the outcome will be. Those old slippers may have many, many years of good use left in them!
This article was written by: Julie CosgrovePhoto Credit: Khosit Sakul-Kaew