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What Not Having Sex Does to Your Marriage

Not Having SexNot Having Sex

A lot of couples I see in my office eventually end up sharing that they’re not having sex. Lately, I’m seeing a lot of angry, shut down men. That’s a good clue for what is really going on.

When a couple isn’t having sex, it is usually the wives who initiate therapy. They feel they are losing their husbands or they are worried because their husband is often angry and irritable. Sometimes they are in my office because the husband had an affair, or because he said he wanted a divorce.

I start the therapy process and eventually it comes out there has been very little sex for months or years. I say eventually because the wife doesn’t mention it – she doesn’t think it is that big a deal.

She knows they don’t have sex often but they get along in every other way and he doesn’t complain about it much. The husband doesn’t mention it right away because he is embarrassed or even humiliated. What man wants someone to know his own wife doesn’t want him?

If you aren’t having sex in your marriage, it is a big deal.

It means something is off. The longer you ignore this the harder the punch will be when you are forced to deal.

Every. Single. Time. Every single time, the wife is surprised….shocked at how angry and hurt and rejected her husband feels because they aren’t having sex. Sure. She admits knowing they weren’t having sex. She admits knowing it was a problem for him. But she didn’t realize just how much of a problem.

Let me tell you what happens to the guy you sleep with every night when you reject his advances: he feels inadequate.

He questions whether or not you love him at all.

He fears he is disappointing you sexually and that is the reason you turn him down. He feels completely helpless and then starts to resent the hell out of you for putting him in a powerless position.

He may act out in ways to alleviate both his sexual frustration and his building resentment toward you by using porn or having an affair.  He often avoids coming home and works longer hours.

He will justify this by believing you forced him to do it.

Then he may get even angrier with you.

Because he really just wants to be loved by YOU.

At least he does until he is so angry and so shut down he starts to despise you. When it gets that bad, he tries to stay civil but the contempt leaks out at times and this confuses you. But it also helps justify to you that it is ok not to have sex. After all, who wants to have sex with a jerk?

All of these intense feelings are going on under the surface and you are oblivious to how much pain he is in. Partly because he has not been direct enough in telling you. But partly because you don’t want to see his pain.

When he has tried to talk about it, you have responded by telling him “all you want is sex.” This infuriates him and widens the chasm between you. It makes him feel hopeless and he thinks if all he wanted was sex, he sure wouldn’t be here with you.

Then he notices that you have also started pulling away from non-sexual physical affection. You stiffen when he hugs you. You give him “push off” kisses that let him know you don’t have the time or desire to linger. At some point, to protect himself, he comes to accept this is his “normal.”

He is trapped in a sexless marriage.

And he starts to detach.

This is the point most men leave the marriage.

Men Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Talk With Your Wife

If this is happening in your marriage, wake up now! Guys, if this sounds like your situation, be direct with your wife about your feelings.

Let her know that something has to change. Tell her how much pain you feel and how much it hurts to feel so rejected time and time again. Don’t hide behind your embarrassment or humiliation.  You aren’t the only man who feels trapped in a sexless marriage.  I see it all the time.  Your only way out of this is to speak up or leave.  Leaving may seem easier but it rips the family apart.  

Stay respectful, but tell her! If she doesn’t get it, force the issue by making an appointment for the two of you to talk with a marriage expert. If she doesn’t want to join you, go alone.  Don’t make the excuse that you have tried to tell her.  Every couple I’ve seen in this situation has a wife who tells me she didn’t know things were this bad.  You haven’t told her directly enough until you put the marriage on hold in other ways to get her attention.  Don’t be afraid to find out exactly why you aren’t having sex.  Whatever the reason, there is very likely a solution but you may never resolve this without some answers. 

Women Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Respond

Ladies, there are a lot of reasons why you may not desire sex or desire sex with your husband. Ignoring the problem and avoiding sex is the coward’s way out. If you don’t like the quality of sex, talk about it, go to therapy, read some books together. Fix it.

If there are emotional issues that dampen the mood, deal with those also. It is natural for you to not desire sex if your husband is inattentive, controlling, critical or abusive.  If this is happening in your marriage, you have some big problems to address.  Use this opportunity to make things better.  If you love your husband, find a way to deal with this because one day you may get an ugly surprise.  You may think all those “not tonight” moments aren’t that big a deal, but I promise you, they come with a price.  Your husband needs to know you love him.  He views his sexual needs as a huge part of the marriage deal.  

Call us or contact us online, and let us help you figure out what you need to start enjoying sex with your husband again. But if you keep avoiding the issue, you may find yourself discussing these things with a divorce attorney instead.

Not Having Sex is a big deal!

It’s time we start talking about it and learning how to enjoy each other more. It is heartbreaking to see the pain that not having sex is causing couples.

Stop the misery and get some help. At The Marriage Place, we can work with you to help you figure out why you aren’t having sex–and even better–help you enjoy it!

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Marriage Problems? You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling. Here’s How to fix it.

Marriage Problems: lost that loving feeling, when you don't love your spouse anymoreSo many of the marriage problems I see are because one spouse just doesn’t “FEEL” in love anymore.

So you think you’ve lost that loving feeling?

I don’t mean to be disrespectful…but so what?

This won’t be my most popular post, and I am expecting some backlash but I can’t hold this in any longer.  

So many of the marriage problems I see are because one spouse just doesn’t “FEEL” in love anymore.

What can you do when you don’t feel love for your spouse?

Trust me on this folks–it’s going to happen.  

And it can get scary when those feelings are gone for more than a few days or weeks. Sometimes they can be gone for a really long time.  Maybe even years.  

Then we start to question whether this person we are with is the “right” person.  

We love them but we aren’t in love with them.  Click here to read more on finding the right person.  

Well guess what?  

You didn’t agree to stay married to your spouse until you didn’t feel love anymore.  

You made promises.  

You made commitments.  

You may even have brought children into the equation.  

What about them and your commitment as a family?

Do you realize it is much harder to end a business partnership than it is to dissolve a marriage? Isn’t that absurd?

Here are some reasons I often hear for ending a marriage:

You don’t want to stay married just for the kids.

I often hear this as the excuse people give when they want to leave their marriage.  I get it. You love your kids but staying in an unhappy marriage for the kids’ sake?  No way!  

The next rationale I usually hear is how seeing the parents unhappy together is way worse than having their family split apart.  

Well here is the thing: there is another option.  Fight for a better marriage…for the kids!  

Nothing is healthier for your kids than a healthy marriage.  

Don’t choose between two damaging choices when there is a healing choice available.  

You have tried counseling for your marriage problems, and it didn’t work.

This is hard.  Counseling is draining emotionally and financially.  But if you are physically sick, you keep going to doctors and trying different medicines until you are well.  Why wouldn’t you fight as hard to get the most important relationship of your life well?  

If counseling didn’t work, find another counselor.  

If things didn’t get better because your spouse refuses to change, that’s another matter entirely.  

But honestly, I rarely see this happen.  I usually see one very motivated person who is willing to do anything and one who wants out because they don’t feel it anymore.

You aren’t sure you really ever loved your spouse, so there isn’t anything to rebuild.

Here is another “so what” issue.  Ever heard the phrase “love the one you’re with?”  Or how about “Dance with the one who brought you.”  

Ok, I’ll stop with the country music lyrics.  But you get the point.  

There is all kinds of research that also shows that feeling unhappy in a relationship for a long period of time causes you to rewrite history.  

The fact that you truly cannot imagine ever really loving your spouse becomes real in your own mind.  The mind has amazing capabilities to create narratives that have very little to do with reality.  

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You’ve been telling your spouse how unhappy you have been for years, and nothing has changed.

Well, here is a fascinating phenomenon:  You tell your spouse you are unhappy, and nothing changes. And then you tell them you want a divorce and BAM!  They are suddenly very eager to do whatever it takes to fix marriage problems.  

And then you get mad because it took you threatening to leave before they changed.  You feel you shouldn’t have had to get to that point.

You feel if your spouse loved you, they would want to fix your unhappiness.  

In a perfect world maybe.  But you aren’t living in a perfect world, and most people need the threat of something unpleasant to really change themselves.  

Here’s where you went wrong: you put up with bad behavior or emotional distance for so long without any consequences, because you were afraid you might have to follow through.  

It took years of misery before you weren’t so afraid any more.  Don’t be mad at your spouse for holding to a toxic pattern when you have enabled him or her.  You needed motivation before you changed how you showed up in your marriage, and your spouse needed the same kick in the pants.  

You allowed it to take years because you stayed.  

I have been teaching clients for years that love is more than a feeling.  

It is a commitment to act lovingly even when the feelings aren’t there.  

It boggles my mind that we think it is perfectly normal to divorce when we don’t feel in love, but we are expected to do other things whether we feel like it or not.

How many days do you feel like getting up when the alarm goes off?  

How often do you feel like going to work?  

What if you changed jobs every time you realized you didn’t like going to work?  

How often do you feel like forgiving someone who wronged you, yet you do it anyway because you know it is the healthiest option?  

What about your kids?  Do you feel “in love” with them every day?  

I have teenagers.  

I can’t wake up one morning and divorce my kids because I’m not feeling passionate about being their mom.  

Your spouse is your FAMILY.  

You don’t divorce your family unless there is abuse.  

Why do marriages get an easier out?  

Marriages are the very foundation of families.  If you think this makes marriage sound like hard work and love isn’t supposed to be hard, click here.

The most damaging thing you can do is look outside the marriage for all the things you aren’t getting from your spouse.  

You meet someone who excites you and causes your heart to pound just by getting their texts.  

This person makes you feel alive while being around your spouse drains you.  

The more emotionally and/or physically involved you get with this new person, the less love you feel for your spouse.  

In fact, you feel angry because your spouse isn’t making you happy.  

Your spouse isn’t affectionate enough, or generous enough, or (fill in the blank) enough.  

That anger helps you justify what you are doing.   

But let me give you a reality check.  

There is nothing your spouse is or isn’t doing that justifies having an affair.  

NOTHING.  

Affairs are fantasies for people who are afraid to grow up.

Not everyone who loses the loving feeling will have an affair.  

Many just check out of the marriage.  Don’t do it.  

Don’t give in to feelings of hurt and hopelessness.  

Commit to doing whatever it takes to have a vital, connected, loving marriage.

Here is the thing about feelings: they come and they go.  They change.  They intensify and then wane.  

Love is so much more than a feeling.

But it often does include feelings of warmth, compassion, lust and longing–those feelings aren’t mystical.  They can be created and re-created by strengthening the bond between you.  

We know how to recreate the feelings most people associate with love.

At The Marriage Place, we can help you feel connected again.  We can show you how to find those feelings that are gone.  Even if your spouse won’t come with you.  Make an appointment HERE.  

You can start creating the relationship you want today.

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