Karen in San Antonio writes:
I have stayed in a married relationship for 35 years. Although I love him dearly, I’m not in love with him anymore. He used to be physically abusive but he changed that behavior and hasn’t struck me for more than 15 years now. He’s a good man, works hard, but we’ve never had a fullfilling sex life. He’s never wanted to make love and for the most part, we’ve had a lack of sexual intimacy all our married life. Now, I feel like I’m married to a roommate. I don’t know what to do. I’m financially dependent on him. I’m miserable. What’s in store for me? I need some hope.
I really wish I could wave a magic wand and fill your world with joy, but all I can do is tell you what I see. Unfortunately, what I am seeing isn’t necessarily going to fill your heart with hope.
Your husband, even though he adores you, just isn’t rating high on the libido scale. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change this, particularly because he doesn’t see the lack of intimacy as a huge problem. In his mind, he is being a good husband to you. He doesn’t see or understand the loneliness you feel. He is content with your roommate-like relationship.
The two of you have managed to stay together all of this time, with many levels of problems throughout the years, and that history is very hard to walk away from. Even though you think about it, I’m not seeing divorce around you. I also don’t see you having an affair, meaningful or otherwise, to fill the void that is causing your misery.
Here is the big problem: What are you willing to do in order to find happiness?
Because you aren’t leaving your husband of your own free will, he sees no reason to leave you, and there is no mysterious man storming in to pave your way out with rose petals made of gold, your options are appearing as limited.
While you may not be in love with your husband the way you once were, you do care for and about him. While this may not seem like much in your current state of mind, it is something. From what I am seeing, somewhere within the depth of these feelings is a tiny seed of hope. It is up to you to find it. When you do, use it to change your circumstances. Be happy with the things in your life that are good, and try to improve the things that are not.
I know you feel as if you have tried all that you can think of to change your husband. That’s part of the problem – he is who he is, and he’s not going to change. However, he doesn’t want you to be miserable. Tell him how you feel. Tell him that you are lonely, unhappy in the relationship, and feeling unwanted as a woman because of your lack of a sex life. Tell him that you don’t feel the way you once did about him, but you want to recapture – or try to – the love you once felt.
This is a conversation that will leave him dumbfounded, so be very careful how you present it. This is about finding solutions, not creating defensiveness and arguments. You may want to talk to a doctor or therapist first, in order to help you prepare, and give you the strength and support to follow through. If you don’t trust yourself, or him, to get through this serious of a conversation, then consider writing him a letter. Some how, some way, what you are going through needs to come out.
You can continue to do nothing and go along with things as you have been, but nothing is going to change. However, if you involve yourself, and eventually your husband, with a doctor or therapist, your husband’s sex-drive problems can become less apparent thanks to the wonders of modern medicine.