|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and Answers|Personality Disorder or Just a Horrible PersonHusband Jealous of my Friends and FamilyIs it Just a Name?!She's Lied About EverythingMy Family is Ruining my Relationship With my Boyfriend What Is Wrong With Me ?My Boyfriend's Children Won't Accept Me....Does my Boyfriend Have Feelings For His Ex Wife?I Have BulimiaArranged MarriageWhen is Enough, Enough?Breaking UpSoon to be 15 Year Old Step Daughter Who is Physically Abusive to Family MembersI Have Everything I Ever Wanted. Why am I so Miserable?Should I Stay or Should I Go?Wife's BehaviorStep-Daughter is Deliberately AbusiveIs my Sister a Pathological Liar?Lost in Limbo19 Year Old DaughterNeed Help in Building the BridgesLack of Affection and IntimacyIs He Seeing Someone?Marriage QuestionRespect + Anger ManagmentMy Husband With Daughter...... Resentment-Controlling Wife/Passive-Agressive HusbandGetting Married, Stepsons With Awful TempersAdult Son Interferes with Our RelationshipCo-Dependent MotherCan My Marriage Be Saved?On and Off Relationship For Almost 10yrsI Am Tired of MarriageI'm His 2nd Wife. Am I Destined to Play Second Fiddle to His daughter Forever?How do I Get my Husband to the Psychiatrist?Is it Inappropriate to Call my Daughter...Trying to Save 37 Years of Marriage With My Bipolar HusbandAlcoholism and FamilyBipolar Obsessive Thoughts and False Memories Crazy Mother In Law Ruining Our Mental Health and RelationshipCaught In The Middle Caring For Elderly ParentI am a Newlywed and Need HelpHusband's Relationship With His ChildrenSubstance AbuseChronically Ill Non-Compliant 19 Year OldChild With Possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)Obsession or ExcuseThe Marriage Corner: How Can I Move Past This?The Marriage Corner: Do You Think my Marriage Can be Repaired?I am Only 26 Years OldMy Boyfriend Saved a Picture of a Girl he Slept With in Case we Split up?Adoptive Mother of 3 Children - SunFlowerHow to Handle my Mothers State of Mind?JoylessShould I Fight For My Marriage?Homesick and Feeling Stuck.Why Does My Wife's Old Boyfriend Bother Me?How do We Get Her to Accept Us as Part of The Family?Another WomanBoyfriends DaughterHow do I Cope With a Parent Who is Trying to Ruin me?Worried About 4-year-old with DepressionSame Views On So Much, but Can't Get Along As A CoupleIt's Me or It's My Mother?Considering Divorce After Several Deaths in The FamilySchizophreniaSchizophrenic Relapse !Please Help Me..My 19 Year Old Daughter is Out of ControlMy 19 Year Old SonI Desperately Want to Make This WorkHelp!!!Marraige Life of my Parents Is This Abuse and What Should I Do?My Girlfriend's Family Is Ruining Our RelationshipI Feel Like I Have Failed - - May 20th 2010Relationship With My Bipolar and ADHD GirlfriendHuge Disapointment With My HusbandI Don't Really Care About Anything. What Should I Do?What Should I do?My Father, The Sociopath...What is Wrong? What Should I do With my 19 Year-Old Daughter's Anger Issue?Dominating Mother How to Help Our College Age Son with Depression and AddictionCan My Marriage be Saved?Personal HygieneHelp Me Please. What is Going On With Me?Parenting a Bipolar Child, Not Quite a Child, Not Quite an AdultAm I Being Used?Is This Jealous Behaviour Normal In a Child?Grandson BehaviorHusband's AddictionHelp or Do Nothing?Pregnant AgainConcernedAre my past sexual fantasies dangerous and unusual?It is finally an emergency. We need help. Please.Trauma and Drama: Why are friends and family rejecting me? Why is my mom following me around to take over my life?Does my husband have bipolar although the doctors said he doesn't?Fear of death and dyinghow to ask if the pics are her?Unhappy MarriageDid I push them too much?How do you turn your back on your 19 year old daughter?What To Do With a Dysfunctional Past SHOULD GRANDPARENTS INSIST ON SEEING A GRANDCHILD My husband wants to leave me My husband no longer believesMy Son's ProblemWhy do I beat myself up over what they think?Bipolar sister, Narcissist boyfriendUnderstanding my sonWorried about my sonChild jealous of moms relationship with her new husbandThis guy I bullyIs There Help Out There? Lonely Mother of ThreeAm I Depressed?Should I Give Up On This Marriage?dealing with demanding mothercan you give me some advice please?17 year old running the houseOut of control 24 year old sisterMy needy son hates my boyfriend. How can I avoid choosing one over the other?voice in my headtwo intelligent adults who feel they don\'t have friends19 Year Old Daugter--Out of control17 yr old refuses help with bi-polar disorderTeen in Full Retreatout of control 16 year old nephewDepression? Bi-Polar? Personality Disorder?i need help with my sisterGet SupportedForgotten or just ignored?Dealing with a family member's complete personality changeMother showering & sleeping in same bed with 5 year oldDisbeliefZoloft - good or badmy little sisterUnattractive regardless, why bother?Coping with Narcissistic BehaviorHow to Deal with the Loss of Familyhusband\'s angerDid I Love my husband and still abuse him emotionallyI have a hard time making friends with other guysHow to communicate to a \'feeler\'homesickhow can i control morbid jealousyHow can I open up and become my old self again?Advice for my unhappily married friendHow can I tell the difference?Cannot support old friend in her affairIs Something Wrong With Her?Need to find a reason for the abuseMom's Unlisted NumberHow to help a Womanizing friend?'Extremely controling' wife and passive husbandA Habitual Liar's Lamentthe way out is through the doorDrug Addict SonAngry At Ex-BoyfriendViolent SisterWhen Will My Boyfriend Grow Up?A Marriage Outside The CasteAngry MomSeeing A Married ManDisordered Family Member BehaviorMy RoommateA Mean, Verbally Abusive WomanStepson With Personality DisorderMom's ProtectorBusted By A 5-Year-OldGetting Along With Narcissistic RelativesPossibly Molested DaughterDirty NieceHelping My SisterCongenital LazinessBlossoming Paranoia?Is Anxiety A Hereditary Factor?Enmeshed With MumHypochondriac DaughterAbusive FatherGoing CrazySelf-Abusive Step-Daughter(Wo)man In The MiddleParanoid DepressionWithdrawn BrotherDysfunctional FamilyParanoiaMy Mother Is Ruining My LifeCowardly StepdadDaughter's Violent MarriageMy Father Dislikes HimHistrionic Sister-in-LawLong-Distance SupportPersonality Disordered GrandmotherDo I Tell My Children I'm Depressed?Father In RomaniaMom's VentingUnhappy In An Arranged MarriageToxic ParentsA Situation For Tough Love?Avoiding Her ParentsBoarding School BluesDepression Affects The Entire FamilyInternet RelationshipI Want To Leave, But For The Children ...Public MenaceSomatization and HypochondriasSelf-Injuring SisterFamily BoundariesDealing with DivorceTrashed HouseRelationship TriangulationWhat To Treat First?Love TriangleProblematic ParentsHis Mother is Ruining Our RelationshipManaging PrioritiesTime to Cut the Apron StringsMommy's New BoyfriendBusy and WantingOver-Protective MotherHe's Not HimselfJealous of My Fiance's FamilyYoung LoveDifferent ReligionsMy Husband's Daughter...My Dad the DictatorMy Children Aren't Speaking..Dogs Instead of Children?My Wife is DepressedFalling ApartProblems with My DaughterLinksBook Reviews
Lack of Affection and IntimacyThu, Feb 28th 2013
So, I've been married to my High School sweet heart for about 17 years now, and been together for nearly 21 years. We both have good careers and we have 4 wonderful children. On the surface everyone sees us as the happy, completely in love couple. We are seen by our friends as the ideal married couple. But, for over seven years now things just haven't felt right.
Emotionally and physically my wife is, most the time, very distant and cold. She continues to say that she is happy and still loves me. But her actions and her body language send me a completely different message. Yet, when we are, on occasion, out with friends she is flirtatious and playful with my guy friends and other men we meet while out. She once again becomes that outgoing, fun loving, playful woman that I fell in love with and married. But in the privacy of our home things are cold and dry with almost no affection, no flirtations, nothing even remotely resembling physical attraction.
I come from a very emotionally and physically affectionate family, so, my understanding of what actions constitute affection are different then her upbringing. I've discussed this issue with her on several occasions throughout the last seven years. I've also done so through various communication types. I've written letters, sat down and talked to her, I've cried, and I've even fought with her over this. All efforts have been fruitless. She makes partial efforts for a week or two then back to normal. Things such as a random hug or kiss, the random cuddle while sitting on the couch, these are all missing in our marriage unless I initiate. But even then it's as if she's just letting me be affectionate. She doesn't reciprocate.
Things were quite different when we first married. She was very affectionate and, although sexually shy, I still knew she desired me and felt passionate toward me. I need this level of affection and see this type of physical contact as how you show a person you love them. This doesn't even touch on the fact that our sex life is, in my opinion, non-existent. I understand that my drive is about 100 times stronger than hers. But is it wrong of me to expect some level of desire and sexual interest in me? Its not like I'm asking for sex everyday, which by the way, I'd be happy with. But I do understand that would be too frequent for her. As I've told her, its not the frequency, I'd be happy with twice a month, its more the nearly complete lack of interest on her part that bothers me. When we are intimate, it feels like I'm the only one there most the time. ItS like she's just waiting for me to get it over with so she can go back to TV or Facebooking or go to sleep.
I feel completely unattractive to and unwanted by my spouse. All the while she continues insinuate that I'm the one with the problem and that she hasn't changed. Her biggest response, "this is just the way I am, I can't change that." And now I have a close relative, someone who raised me for half my life, who is nearing the end of her life and I need more affection and love than I could possible hope for from my wife.
I'm nearing the point of no return with regard to my marriage. I haven't even gotten a simple gesture of concern or a checkup from her as to whether I'm doing OK or not. It's just life as usual. How am I supposed to approach this topic again? The last time I did so it almost tore our marriage apart. She got defensive and I got angry and then depressed. I'm learning to let go of ANY expectations I have regarding her. But I fear that eventually I'm just going to let go all together.
I'm still in love with her, but I truly feel that, at this point, maybe I'd be in a healthier state as a single dad of 4. I just don't want to ruin my children's life, or my own, by giving up.
Where do I go from here? Is there a point when, from a professional's opinion, its time to give up? If she doesn't love me anymore then, fine, but she could at least be honest about it and I've also told her. She again insists she's happy and in love with me. I'm just so confused.
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.