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Arundhati
Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 256
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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After being married for nearly 25 years and miserable for most

Resolved Question:

After being married for nearly 25 years and miserable for most of those years in a sexless marriage, my husband tells me he is uncomfortable with sex. His words, "I was raised christian, and always told sex is bad." He does not see sex as a comfortabel or intimate experience and in fact, prides himself in being unemotional. I am miserable - is there any hope I can find happiness in this marrage?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Arundhati replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

It is clear that your needs have not and are not being met in this marriage. A marriage needs to be a healthy relationship and sex is a very important part of building intimacy, and love and keeping the spark and romance alive. It sounds like your husband's values hold him back from enjoying sex or it could be that there are deeper issues (e.g. his fear of coming close to his partner etc) that leads him to stay away from sex.

Whatever it is, a common ground needs to be found. If you enjoy sex (which is very normal) and your sex drive is not satisfied by your husband, a consensual understanding needs to be reached where your husband would make some compromises (he's try to see it from your perspective and enjoy sex more) and you'd make some compromises (settle for slightly less sex than you'd like but fulfill those needs through other romantic and intimate activities with your husband). So an important question to ask yourself is what is the least intimacy that you can accept (e.g. once a week or thrice a month etc.) and then discuss with him where you are, and suggest that a common ground be found as otherwise the situation is not acceptable to you.

Once your husband fully understands the importance of intimacy to you, and knows what is acceptable to you and what is not, see if he agrees to reach a consensus. If he's not open, in spite of knowing that this is not acceptable to you, then you could consider ending this relationship.

I hope I have been able to provide some perspective. Please do feel free to write back any questions/thoughts that you have.

Warm regards,

Arundhati
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I haven't accepted your answer because as I said he is uncomfortable with emotional and physical intimacy. He says he is open to it, but then avoids the issue/me. As I also mentioned in what I have already tried, talking does not seem to improve the situation. Is my only choice to live his way or end the marriage?
Expert:  Arundhati replied 3 years ago.
Hi there,

Thank you for your question.

I'm very sorry, your situation is clearly a hard one.

I really feel that your husband needs to understand the consequences of not being intimate. That is, he needs to understand that if your intimacy with him does not improve within the next xyz (you can put in a comfortable timeline) months, you are likely and most possibly will leave the marriage. Even after knowing that if he continues to not take any efforts at improving intimacy, then leaving the marriage seems to me the only option.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are clearly certain blocks that are holding him back from being intimate. Often, people develop certain limiting beliefs, often illogical, that keep them from enjoying certain experiences (e.g. intimacy in this case). Like you said, your husband's religious beliefs could be in the way but deeply entwined with it could also be the fear that "if I am intimate the vulnerability required to truly give of myself and enjoy intimacy will make me a weaker person". And that is why he could be priding in being an unemotional person. So, even if he's open to change once you give him an ultimatum, he will need to consciously work on these limiting beliefs and for this a CBT specialist (cognitive behavioral therapist), should your husband be open to professional help, will be best suited to help. A CBT specialist will uncover the underlying beliefs that are leading your husband to refuse intimacy and then work to replace them with ones that value and cherish intimacy.

Please do let me know if you have any thoughts/questions/reactions pertaining to what I wrote.

Warm regards,

Arundhati
Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 256
Experience: Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
Arundhati and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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