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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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My husband and I have been married 27 years (right out of college). He is a great man but

Resolved Question:

My husband and I have been married 27 years (right out of college). He is a great man but we have not had sex in 13 years and seem to be best friends. Recently, I found out he has curiosity about men and had spent a lot of time on gay websites. He swears this is not a curiosity he wants to act on. We have both had a year of individual therapy and couples therapy. First, what ideas do you have to seeing if we can feel a desire to sexually be together? I know I need this intimacy and wonder if
you simply feel it or not. I am tormented with whether to stay in the marriage. I've read things Dr. Phil has said, but so desire your help as well as his.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 3 years ago.

Doctor Blake :

Good morning, and thanks for writing to JA.

Doctor Blake :

I believe I will only be able to confirm your suspicions that it is highly unlikely that you will be able to develop a sexually intimate relationship with your best friend. The fact that he is also your husband is immaterial. For all intents and purposes, this man has settled into the kind of relationship he wants to have with you. He enjoys your company and loves you a great deal - but he does not want to be sexually intimate with you (as the last 13 years evidences) and is unlikely to want to in the future.

Doctor Blake :

While it may be possible that you could develop brief, sporadic intimate (sexual) contact with him, it seems unlikely that he will be able (or willing) to provide a lengthy, long-lasting, on-going sexual relationship with you.

Doctor Blake :

If I were to reframe your question... instead of asking, "...can we feel a desire to sexually be together..." I believe you need to ask the following:

Doctor Blake :

1) If I am willing to stay in this relationship with my best friend as a marriage, will I be happy not having ongoing sexual intimaty as well?

Doctor Blake :

2) If I am willing to stay in this relationship with my best friend as a marriage, will I be happy looking for sexual intimacy outside of this relationship? Will I be happy knowing that he may do the same thing? Will this, for me, constitute a marriage?

Doctor Blake :

3) If I will not be happy having no sexual intimacy with my best friend, should I continue to be married to him?

Doctor Blake :

4) If I am willing to seek sexual intimacy with others, should I continue to be married to my best friend?

Doctor Blake :

5) If I am willing to allow my best friend to seek sexual intimacy with others, should I continue to be married to him?

Doctor Blake :

It is possible, by the way, that you will be able to end the PART of your relationship (marriage) that isn't working for you without necessarily having to destroy or even end your friendship. Your friendship has persisted despite your concerns about intimacy for more than a decade now. It's clear that he still loves you (and, I suspect, you love him) and that can continue in a changed relationship that doesn't have to include marriage.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. I would like to clarify this. I have many positive things in this

Doctor Blake :

Don't think that I'm saying that change will be easy for either of you... and you may both benefit from couples counseling to explore how best to end your marriage in a way that is helpful to you both, to your friendship, and to your ongoing parenting for your sons.

Doctor Blake :

Ah... yes... I see you're here. I'll wait.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. Just to clarify, I have many positive things in this marriage that many other married couples never have - he is a good provider, father, fun, etc. I am just curious why you don't feel there are some things we can try to recreate that intimacy? I wouldn't say the intimacy was a "10" years ago, but was enough of a connection or we wouldn't have married. Second, do you feel the odds are so against this marriage of surviving even if you truly believed he didn't want to act on the curiosity? Are there statistics? Are you aware of a chat room to connect with other wives struggling with the decision of staying in a marriage with a man who has these curiosities?

Doctor Blake :

Ahh, just received your follow-up. Thank you.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. A few questions. Since there was intimacy years ago do you not think there are things we can do to try and create it? Second, we have components in out marriage that many couples never have - he is a great provider, father, fun to be with. Would

Doctor Blake :

Yes... thanks.

Doctor Blake :

A marriage can consist of a variety of relationships: a business relationship (you share income and expenses); a friend relationship (you share positive, loving feelings for one another); a parenting relationship (you share the role of parents for child/ren); a sexual relationship (you share yourselves physically and intimately); a social relationship (you are viewed by society as a couple-unit); a spiritual relationship (you share your relationship with God (or whatever you call spirituality); etc.

Doctor Blake :

Many marriages have ALL of these components, some have a few, some have only a few.

Doctor Blake :

Many/most marriages in which there is a healthy sexual relationship do not require effort to "create it..." it just happens.

Customer:

What's your response on trying to create intimacy, methods that have worked?

Customer:

Also, question on the statistics and chat rooms?

Doctor Blake :

Methods to create intimacy: I believe we need to recognize that sexual intimacy starts in the head (not in the groin). But, remember, if there is no underlying desire, no amount of romantic dinners, sexy nightgowns, mutual massages, great vacations, etc. will necessarily change the underlying fact: your husband does not want to have sex with you. (I'm sorry to be so direct about this, but I remain concerned that you keep hoping for something that hasn't existed in over a decade... that "wasn't exactly a 10" when it did exist, and that (based upon all of the information you provided) is unlikely to exist in the future.)

Doctor Blake :

Statistics about the return of husband's returning to their wives after 10+ years of abstinence and exploring his sexual orientation are non-existent, to my knowledge. There are likely very few studies on this issue because, in most cases, the question is not "do these men return?" but "how long before these men come out and explore their homosexuality."

Doctor Blake :

A first step in exploring this matter with other women facing similar issues might be: http://a_musing.blogspot.com/2007/10/four-former-wives-of-ex-gay-speak-out.html

Doctor Blake :

I realize how very challenging this likely is for you. I would strongly urge you to consider returning to your individual (or even couples) therapist to share what you have recently learned about yourself (your need for intimacy... mounting in the past 5-7 years) and your husband. Sharing this with someone with whom you have previously worked will likely help to cut through 4-6 weeks of "getting to know you..." so you can move right into the important issues you're facing.

Doctor Blake :

An online support chat room can be found at: http://www.straightwives.com/ and at http://www.straightspouse.org/internet.shtml

Doctor Blake :

I do wish you the best of luck... and I will be pleased to provide any other information/perspectives if I can. Thanks. Please click <ACCEPT.>

Customer:

Thank you SO much for your sources. One last clarification. My husband has wanted

Customer:

intimacy .... hold my hand hug me and if I reacted in a positive way, he would want to create

Customer:

a sexual relationship. I want to be clear that I am most concerned about my lack of desire, not

Customer:

his. His desire is a concern too but was evaluating from my side of it. If at least we had some intimacy I could also tell more, over a few months if he truly into it or not.

Doctor Blake :

Thanks to you. I *do* wish you the best of luck - and, given your last bit of information - encourage you to explore couples counseling again... if for both of you - or just you, it couldn't hurt. Also, have you considered speaking with your physician about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)? Another possibility (however remote) to possibly consider for yourself (not your husband). :)

Doctor Blake :

Best of luck.

Customer:

Thank you!! Ending chat but FYI I definitely have desires, but not with him.

Doctor Blake :

Thanks. Please remember to click <ACCEPT>

Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience: Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake
Psychologist
145 Satisfied Customers
Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure