My wife loves me but doesn’t desire me I’m drinking a well-aged bourbon and sitting here mulling over the past two years. How did things go so sideways, and when did my life become like an unsolvable Rubik’s cube?I thought by now I’d have the marriage thing figured out. I thought I did for a while there, to be honest.
But my hubris caught up with me, and some days I feel like a confused high schooler trying to decode mixed signals from his crush.
Except they’re from my wife.
Here’s what I know:
She still loves me, and I am sure she’s faithful to me.
But she doesn’t want to have sex anymore and kisses me on the cheek like I’m an old college friend. Why?
I’ve lit up my detective pipe and gone on an investigation. Here’s what I discovered:
Ten reasons why my wife loves me but doesn’t desire me
1.She’s too stressed about sex.
In my opinion, sex can be a brilliant way to bust stress.
But for my wife — and many women — it works differently. Sex is for relaxed moments when she’s not preoccupied with other things.
Well, I know lately that my wife has become more and more wrapped up in some family issues going on with her brother and problems with her job. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.
The stress of her life is overshadowing intimacy with me; therefore, when she brushes aside my attempts to get things moving, it can be pretty rough.
I have taken it personally, but looking at it now objectively, I think some stress in her life is making her put sex and intimacy to the side.
It isn’t so much that she doesn’t want me; she doesn’t wish for intimacy right now.
Which is still a problem. For me, at least.
2.Our masculine-feminine polarity is skewed.
I know that traditional gender roles have become pretty unpopular in our day and age.
If you even bring it up, many people think it’s about pushing women to stay in the kitchen and expecting men never to cry.
But it isn’t about that at all, really, at least not for me.
Since coming across the work of relationship author and psychologist James Bauer, I have been blown away by his theory of the hero instinct.
As this video explains, men need to feel like a provider and protectors.
I know that my wife needing me has always turned me on. The thing is, it goes the other way around too.
My wife has become too cold, aggressive, and “masculine,” as bad as it might sound. I’m still physically attracted to her, but I find her energy offputting.
I don’t find it feminine. It’s all part of an observable pattern of women becoming more like men, which isn’t my cup of tea.
Relationship author David Deida writes a lot about masculine and feminine.
Our modern culture’s quest for so-called “equality” has caused many men to become more like women and vice-versa.
Despite whatever benefits some feel this may bring, it’s also a mega attraction killer. Women want their men to be strong and dominant in a natural, generous way.
3. She’s trying to use sex as a bargaining chip.
Most articles I read while researching this topic focused on the man.
What’s not good enough about him, what he can do better, why he’s mistaken or wrong, and so on.
I don’t know if that’s because they’re primarily written by women who are mad at their hubby or if it’s husbands trying to take all the heat, so their wives will let them back in their good graces.
I find that a bit shortsighted to put all the burden of a sexless marriage on the man, so I wanted to make this article more realistic and balanced.
Like it or not, sometimes women (and men) do use sex as a bargaining chip.
This is especially true when one partner is more into it than the other. In at least a few situations, I’m pretty sure my wife was doing that
4.She finds me to be a selfish lover
There’s always the other side of the coin, too. Sometimes the man is doing things that are turning off his lady.
I’m not always the most considerate lover.
I’m not saying I lie back like a human starfish and let her do all the work, but I’m not precisely vocal about what I like, and I tend to prefer to receive oral than give it, for example.
And my wife just so happens to be a big fan of oral.
Too much information?
Anyway…I think that part of her getting turned off could be some of my selfish behavior that rubbed her the wrong way.
But now that I’m more conscious of it, I can say I’m changing my whole attitude, and next time she’ll find that I’m very focused on her pleasure, too.
5.She’s got other priorities.
My wife has stressors in her life that are bringing her down and taking up her attention. I know that for sure. But she also has other priorities in general.
One is her health and fitness, something she is dead-on serious about.
She’d much rather go out for an hour jog than spend some quality time making love with me. And I must say, that hurts and brings down my self-esteem.
I’ve never really thought about being unfaithful, but I remember thinking, “is this what I signed up for?” and feeling neglected.
My wife has zero obligation to satisfy me sexually. I’m not a caveman here.
I’m just saying it would be nice if she ever got as excited about a long weekend with the two of us alone in a cabin by the lake (that I took her on a few months ago) as she does about buying a new pair of running shoes.
6.She’s bored of our sex life.
I read some excellent pointers from Pamela Satran, including trying out “a whole variety of activities, such as taking a shower together, trading massages and necking like eighth-graders.”
My wife does have nice lips.
Also, Satran advises, “talking about your sexual fantasies, without pressure from either side to carry them out, can create a sense of newness in a marriage.”
I’m a pretty meat and potatoes guy, but I have a few fantasies that would probably make my wife blush if I talked about them in detail.
Positions, activities outdoors, fun with friends…well, I don’t want to shock you, but you get the idea
I know that Helen has her kinky side, too and that somewhere under that cold demeanor, it’s hiding there and waiting to burst out full of passion.
Somewhere along the line, some of the physical passion faded out. But I know that from my side, I’m still feeling some pretty hormonal solid urges, if you want to call it that.
If we can invite my wife to start feeling more of those hormonal urges, we will be back in the saddle.
7.She’s going through physical changes.
After women give birth, they often experience a substantial decline in libido.
Menopause and hormonal changes can also put a stop to their inner desires.
I know that Helen’s gone for a few checkups and vaguely mentioned some hormonal thing, but as a guy and someone who respects her privacy, I didn’t pry…
Should I have pried?
The way I see it, she’ll tell me if and when she wants to.
The issue is that I’m here on the fence about whether to be more open about my desire for our physical intimacy to come back or keep things low-key and let her return to it on her own.
I’m just unsure how to tackle it, but I know that physical changes and hormonal things can sometimes be a big reason women lose interest in sex.
8.She’s upset over unresolved issues in our marriage.
My wife still loves me. Thank God that’s one area where I’m not insecure.
Her smiles are still genuine, and she hugs me for real when she asks how my day went. Even if her behavior has gotten a bit cold and stressed, I can tell I’m still her guy.
Like, I guess most couples, we’ve had issues—some more serious than others. And I’m pretty sure I “flubbed the test” on a couple of them.
Without digging up the past too much, let me say that I didn’t come through for her when she needed it, and she went through a very rough patch where we almost signed divorce papers.
We got over it; at least, I think we did. But there’s part of me that feels resentment could still be smoldering.
When I ask, she says it’s OK, but I’m not so sure. It would explain the sexual cooldown.
9.She’s got psychological issues that are blocking her desire.
We’ve all got our issues, and I sure do as well. But sometimes, when a wife drifts from her husband and doesn’t want sex, it’s not her body or emotions switching off.
It’s her mental health itself.
My wife struggled with depression and even anorexia in her early 20s. She’s been through a lot, and I know it.
But as someone who’s maybe been a bit luckier in the mental health department with no real crises to speak of, I think I need to face that I don’t fully get what she’s gone through or currently going through.
Having a partner who struggles is hard, but when I made my marriage vows, I meant them.
And so, in sticking to those vows and seeing the woman I love go through the pain that maybe she feels unable to explain to me, I’m able to see that this is also one of the reasons she’s rolling over onto her side of the bed and turning out the light early.
It hurts, but all I can do is be there for her and encourage her to get help in a way that’s not condescending or judgmental.
Which is precisely what I’ve been doing. But it’s hard.
As one user wrote about his wife struggling with bipolar and his attempt to be there for her, it’s left him feeling alone
10.She no longer finds me physically attractive
It’s awful to hear, but sometimes your wife doesn’t want you anymore because she’s no longer physically attracted to you.
You may have gained a lot of weight, gone bald, or had other physical changes that just plain turn her off. I think I’ve held up pretty well over the years.
But anyway, if this article was just about finding myself attractive, we could put it in the masturbation category. It’s about what my lovely wife thinks and feels.
And there’s gotta be at least some part of her that I don’t as turn on.
I’ve asked — jokingly — and she’s replied in a joke about my weight. But I don’t think that’s it.
Maybe my face and smell turn her off now. If so, I’m not quite sure what to do about it.
But as someone who’s never been a quitter, I have a few arrows in my quiver, and I decided to shoot them below.
Ten solutions to turn the heat back on
Here we go, my action plan to turn the heat back on. Try this if your wife doesn’t want you anymore.
1.Revitalize your sex life
You can revitalize your sex life by taking some simple but powerful steps.
As I wrote above, this includes fantasy discussion, new positions, and more.
Don’t have sex on a schedule, be spontaneous.
Send her a sext at work (not my fault if she gets fired for it).
Go out of your comfort zone a tiny bit here and try out something a bit wild.
Another part of this is to do fitness and work on yourself. She’ll notice those rock-hard abs…
2.Watch a movie together.
Here is a list of 8 movies that can save your marriage.
On the other hand, feel free to check out a raunchy comedy or a documentary about aliens. If possible, find a subject both of you are into and then sit back.
The good thing about a movie is that it’s not sex, but a time-out can boost your feelings of intimacy and bring back memories from your first days together.
You may not rediscover all of your old sparks, but even a hand over her shoulders can be an intimate gesture.
And even if the night ends with a light kiss, it’s better than the night before that ended with no kiss.
Tell her your needs.
One fault I can find in my approach to my wife is that I’ve ignored and laughed off many of our intimacy issues.
I remembered our days of hot passion and took it for granted that it would continue in some form. When it didn’t, I didn’t want to face it and talk about it with her or anyone else.
But here I am writing about it.
So instead of waiting until it’s too late to do something, make a change in your marriage now.
There are a few simple yet effective ways to reignite her spark for you.
I learned this (and much more) from Brad Browning, a leading relationship expert. Brad is the real deal when it comes to saving marriages. He is a best-selling author and dispenses valuable advice on his popular YouTube channel.
4.Relive the glory days
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia to get romance warmed up again.
I talked about movie night; some other classics are cooking dinner for each other, breakfast in bed, a spontaneous weekend getaway, or even buying her some new lingerie that makes your eyes pop out and which she feels sexy wearing.
It brings back some memories of time in college that are too hot to print.
And if you want to recreate your passion before, you need to set the mood.
Candles, music, you name it. Go for it!
5.Create new memories
Date night, anyone?
Sometimes intimacy goes missing because the same old routine starts feeling like an endless replay.
You may be OK with it — I know I hadn’t felt very bored — but your wife could be reaching the end of her patience.
That’s when you embrace your playful side and get out there planning romantic dinners and picnics, dance nights, beach vacations, nature walks, spiritual retreats, and anything else you think will rekindle that flame you once had.
Nobody ever wins when you play the blame game. As I wrote, it’s essential to start communicating.
Yes, but don’t communicate in a way that lays blame.
Try saying how you feel and expressing your needs and perspectives instead of talking on behalf of your partner or putting words in their mouth.
Don’t try to tell them all the ways they are falling short, as that is likely to cause a defensiveness reaction and not go well.
Instead of that, be honest about how you’ve been feeling. Don’t blame; be honest.
7.Leave space for spontaneity.
Many marriages find their spark again in the heat of the moment.
Where I was writing about don’t plan everything out, I want to add a proviso:
Adult life, of course, has extensive planning and little free time.
Most of us aren’t have the option to go wild and elope on a trip to Hawaii or take off to Napa Valley and wine country, even for the weekend.
That’s why you should use your free time to maximize romance. You might have to get creative.
Whisk her along in a two-step waltz and buy a nice bottle of wine at the grocery store.
Please give her a deep kiss and pick a flower for her from your yard.
8.Spend time with happily married friends
Never underestimate the power of a good example.
Helen and I have a few married couple friends we like to have over for dinner now and then.
One of those couples is newlywed, and they’re full of passion. You can see it from across the room, sparkling with electricity.
I feel like there are a lot of downers out there about marriage, and the divorce rate is definitely on their side.
Marriage is hard! OK, granted.
But marriage can also be sexy and fulfilling, and I recommend having over people who show that with the strength of their intimate bond.
It can inspire your wife to return to a sexy time with you.
9.Become a better man — for your own sake!
Could you not do it for her, do it for yourself?
I’m talking about fitness and working out, meditation, career development, and more. Work on yourself and become the best you can be.
Instead of sitting in the negativity or feelings of neglect that your sex life is causing you in your marriage, get out there and become proactive.
You may make a friend or two along the way, and there’s a strong possibility they may also be married and know what you’re going through.
Becoming a more actualized individual is in your best interest regardless of how your marriage is going. Do it yourself and reap the rewards of feeling incredible and more balanced.
10.Pay a visit to a marriage therapist.
Couples therapy isn’t for everyone, but I have friends who swear by it.
If you and your wife are open to it and you’ve already been honest with each other but are at an impasse, give it a try.
The worst thing is you go to a couple of sessions, answer some personal questions and then say it’s not for you.
The best-case scenario is you got to meet up with a professional and come out feeling refreshed and clarified with fundamental understanding and steps to take to improve your sex life.
In this case, try to go to a marriage counselor specializing in sexual and intimacy issues since that’s the core of what you’re dealing with here.