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My Wife Doesn't Like Intimate Touching/Kisses/Hugs/Etc.
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I am trying very hard to understand and come to terms with things I've encountered in my marriage of 6 years...

I am a very sensitive, sensual, loving man. I express my feelings most often through hugging/snuggling, but also will give a gentle touch, tell her how much I love her, hold her hand, and try to look her in the eyes (she often averts/looks away) and also try to kiss her (she often doesn't let it happen or expresses disgust).

She, on the other hand, is not a touchy-feely person in the least bit these days. She used to be a little (she never rejected my hugging her or spooning at night, etc), from what I remember of the earliest days of our marriage and prior... Although she has never liked to kiss... At this point, however, most often when I try to be near her, I am met with either outright rejection, or I essentially have the feeling that she is "putting up with it".... She doesn't really seem to enjoy the moment(s) at all, no matter how great other aspects of our life (together) may be at the time.

This has been going on cyclically since my wife became pregnant with our youngest child, who is now 5 years old. It seems almost like she has a phobia to intimacy -both emotional and physical. (Even after I back off to give her space, the moment things begin to heat up for us again, the rejections start all over.) I get blamed for "causing" her behavior by making intimacy (as well as sex) an "issue", yet she is perpetuating things by continuing to behave negatively even when I have made significant changes myself to correct what she feels is "wrong". Her cold/grumpy behavior seems to come and go in cycles. The thing is, she has a huge heart and I know she cares deeply about things... I just don't understand how it is that she can disconnect that same care and concern in her heart when it comes to the things that matter the MOST to her own husband!

I know she loves me, and I know she is not cheating or anything like that.... But in the end, I am left feeling rejected, hurt, and alone while living with and sleeping next to the woman I am madly in love with... While she continues to hurt my feelings on a regular basis by pushing me away and getting upset with me when I express frustration about how it makes me feel when my passionate spark/flame is met with a huge bucket of ice water day after day. I am left wondering.... is this normal for her to behave like this? Am I normal for feeling wronged, hurt, and sad after weeks upon weeks of being treated like a "roommate" instead of a loving/loved husband?

I keep holding on to the thought that maybe she will realize what this is doing to our marriage and decide to change her ways. Am I fooling myself for holding on to that hope?
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Comments (52)
She sounds depressed. There are so many things that could make a person shy away. Having given birth to my second child, I have recently found myself feeling very distant from my husband. (It doesn't help that these past two weeks he has insisted on sleeping in the living room floor, where he claims he gets a better nights rest.) Our situation is complex and I could explain in in depth, but the truth is that I am depressed. Do you think that she may feel the same? What does she do for herself? Does she get out at all? Do you encourage her to take time to herself? Does she exercise? Have you tried asking her out on a date? Instead of watching a movie together, perhaps play a game. Ask her how she feels. I know this is hard for you. My husband has expressed dismay at such moments. But we seem to overcome them by talking about how we feel. I hope that this helps. I wish you luck.
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Thanks for your reply, cuardaitheoir.

Apparently I missed it previously, but in light of the other two lengthy responses I gave above, I'm keeping this one as short as I can.

Yes, I believe she may be depressed. However, she has constantly refused to take any antidepressants. When the doctor has ever prescribed such meds, she instantly claims they make her "feel horrible", and she stops taking them within 1 to 3 days. She has never taken an antidepressant for more than that, never long enough to actually allow it to take effect.

I have actually observed the change in her myself and it does seem to have a negative effect.... But I would be very interested to see what would happen if the meds were replaced with a placebo.... My guess is that she would exhibit the same "symptoms" with a sugar pill... Because in her mind she believes antidepressants do this to her.

Regardless, the point is, no she wont take them. I wish she would actually TRY, but she wont.

Best of luck to you though, I hope you and your hubby can work things out constructively!

If you're both committed to success, you'll do just fine. :)
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This looks like a very old post and I wonder if anyone is still reading it. Well I understand and have trouble with me wife a lot on the romance part. She is almost unhugable, unlikable, and has zero sex drive. She is diabetic overweight and screams and the kids and me a lot. She even yells if I ask a question most of the time. I get sex on occasion and it has to be planned out. She gets nothing out of it. I need the sex on occasion but do miss the touching and kissing. I am not overly romantic and most men are not so it is ironic that women not being romantic is weird. Most woman are far more romantic than men or so we thought! So when women turn away there must be some kind of problem. In my case there are some mental issues on her side of the family and being diabetic with very little hormones do not help. I think she is depressed and thinks little of herself. It is a dilemma for sure. Guess what men get all the blame do they not? We have to carry a lot on our shoulders and there is very little respect.
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I have the exact same problem with my wife. We've been married for 16yrs and have 4 kids. She refuses to sit down and talk about anything... so how can i know what's bothering her?... and how can she know about the hurt she puts upon my soul?
I'm tire of being patient and begging for her to open up. If she once just came up and hugged me, kissed me, grabbed my hand ... I'd think I was in heaven. Am I really that starved for any sort of affection?... sad isn't it?
We haven't been intimate in 6 months... whenever we are intimate I can't help think how she probably is hating it and how long it will be till the next time.
It's obvious that my wife as well as the original posters wife... has fallen out of love with us for some reason that only they know about. It's very clear that there's absolutely nothing I can do about it... because I've tried everything and am not going to live with someone who doesnt love me... what's the use?

NO THIS IS NOT NORMAL... our wives are abnormal are so stubborn and rude that they refuse to work on anything to improve their marriage and refuse any sort of affection from their husbands and think its fine to see their family unit destroyed by being selfish.
Most women are not like this. I'm here to tell you that there is a women out there who will treat you properly and accept the love we are ready to offer. Now get the divorce over with and lets go find the ladies who are waiting for us to love them!
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@: uncool
AMEN. I am in the exact same situation and agree completely. To compound matters she has started being physically violent in her rejection of me. Being male I can take the physicality, but there is no shield large enough to absorb the psychological and emotional impact.

THIS IS NOT NORMAL - and most of us NEVER see it coming.
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@: uncool
Please tell me someone has found a way to conquer this.
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To conquer look her in the eyes, listen to her talk and don't act like your her dad or make her opinions not matter. Hold her hand and bring her flowers. Then think if all the times she complained. A woman is vocal in her pain and if she stops know she told you. Woman dont wake up one morning distant and cold. She will give you her world but when you've put your friends and job ahead of her and your own selfishness she dies a little more until her silence because her words never matter, her dreams or fears are never considered she pushes it down a little bit more until all you have left is a wall that is stone cold. You'll have to chip away with kindness and love. As it has taken years to get to this point think about how long she has suffered. And please don't say oh that happened last week or last year you didn't care that you did that then it is still fresh because it was never dealt with a sincere apology. Woman are not like men where you can put things out the door and forget we sweep it under a rug until it becomes a dirt pile that is still there as the day the deed was done. It can be made better with a person who sees where they have truly hurt the other.
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@:justme36
This was really well written and very helpful. It's hard to have patience, hard to know what the right thing to do. So worried about making it worse, your in-sight from a woman's perspective helps guide us poor fools realizing (possibly too late) how much we hurt you.

I really enjoyed all of your posts and hope you found a happy life.
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I have been with my Wife for 18yrs and been married for 8 of them. We have two lovely children and a lovely home, but the last 3 or 4 years me and my wife have become very distance. There is no intimacy in our relationship and it is really frustrating me, but every time I bring it up in conversation she gets very angry with me and calls me selfish. She tells me that the reasons why she is like this is because I do not support her financially and domestically. We are in a lot of debt and are struggling to make payments, we both work, but my salary is less of the two. We have no family to support us financially or with childcare so I can understand the stress that my wife is under, but I also have these stresses too as well as a wife that shows me no affection. I am at a stage now where I am constantly thinking about us, I am finding hard to sleep and trying to hold a full time job as well as carrying a pretend smile on my face when the kids are at home, but deep down I feel I am at breaking point. I love my wife dearly, and adore my beautiful children, but I feel if can’t live like this any longer and will have to make a sacrifice, which may be me having to leave. The thought of me leaving tears me apart as I have been with my wife since I was 17yrs old, and the thought of leaving my children, not being there for them, making them feel secure, kills me, but I know deep down I cannot live like this any longer. I understand my Wife’s frustrations too, as I know I can be a little awkward in times but I feel I can’t do anything more to please her. I know she wants me to do better for myself career wise but in the current recession this is very difficult, I try to explain this but it always ends in disagreement. Recently I thought I would play her at her own game. I moved in to the spare room and only talk when I have too, My way of thinking at the moment is, well if she doesn’t want to be a Wife then I am not going to be a Husband, but deep down I am just dying to hold her. I ask myself the question to myself, “does she still love me?” everyday, she tells me she does when I ask, and then I think - if you loved someone, how could you be so cold towards me? I could totally understand if she fell out of love with me, then it would all make sense, but at the moment I feel like just a Dad plodding a long, working, parenting, and maintaining, surly I deserve happiness too and so does my Wife, but then is she happy with this set up? I’m living in the spare room, so I’m here when she needs me?
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sorry you feel like everything you do is fucked up and everything she does is normal...i have been married 26 yrs. we have been together 30 years. ever since our last child was born,24 yrs. ago,i have not touched or have i been touched by my wife..same exact things as you wrote so there is no sense in me writing it again...you nailed it to a tee.i have a 26 yr. old daughter and a 24 yr. old son,a grand child from both. my wife is very close to perfect,but the affection and love making is shit...so ?????????? wish i could answere your question, but i can't cause i am as lost as you are....sorry...email me sometime...we will talk..please..see ya dude..
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Your wife probably has a form of post-partum depression. If she won't take meds then ask her to go to couples therapy. You could both benifit from it by the sound of things.
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i have read your post and am going through the same thing where I am a very sensitive, sensual, loving man. I also express my feelings most often through hugging/snuggling, but also will give a gentle touch, tell her how much I love her, hold her hand, and try to look her in the eyes (she often averts/looks away) and also try to kiss her (she often doesn't let it happen or expresses disgust). and or tells me i need to brush my teeth or im pregnant and most pregnant women fill this way do even your mom understands why cant u, the doctor said i would even fill this way or i no one in my family was lovee dovie im not used to all of this thats what she will say. she always says sarcastic remarks and or naps at me for the last month sense we been married and we only been married 2months and 4days. I am met with outright rejection This has been going on since my wife became pregnant. It seems almost like she has a phobia to intimacy -both emotional and physical just like u say ur wife has. (Even after I back off to givemy wife space.) I am also geting blamed for "causing" her behavior by making intimacy (as well as sex) an "issue", yet she is perpetuating things by continuing to behave negatively even when I have made significant changes myself just like u have to correct what she feels is "wrong". Her cold/grumpy behavior has not changed. The thing is, she has a huge heart and I know she cares deeply about things... I also just don't understand how it is that she can disconnect that same care and concern in her heart when it comes to the things that matter the MOST to me her own husband!in the end, I am left feeling rejected, hurt, and alone while living with and sleeping next to the woman I am madly in love with... While she continues to hurt my feelings on a regular basis by pushing me away and getting upset with me when I express frustration about how it makes me feel when my passionate spark/flame is met with a huge bucket of ice water day after day. I am left wondering.... is this normal for her to behave like this? Am I normal for feeling wronged, hurt, and sad after weeks upon weeks of being treated like a "roommate" instead of a loving/loved husband? please help me so i dont end up married for six years filling like this guy please some one help me
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To me, this explains the unexplainable. Why is that you keep demonstrating your love for her -- doing things, helping out, telling her things, trying to express your affection -- only to have her turn away? You're well-intentioned, but she sees this as you pressuring her to do something she’s not quite ready to do yet, and at the same time pressuring her to contribute to the relationship at the same level you are, and inadequate when she is unable to.

But then why is it when you back off, she continues to be cold anyway (You can't win!)? Because either scenario feels the same. Whether she sees you as overbearing or withdrawn, your actions are still the result of something she’s done (or hasn’t done), and she feels pressured to do something else to make you happy, and inadequate and depressed when she cannot.

There are many things that, knowing this, I now SO regret saying to her. “Why can’t you just do this for us (or me)?” was one. “I don’t feel that you are as committed to our relationship as I am” or “I don’t feel like you reciprocate the things I do for you” were others. “No matter what I try, I can never make you happy” was another. Regardless of how I felt, in this context I now realize this was exactly the opposite of what I needed to communicate.

I said these things because I misread her actions (and reactions) as her not caring about me (or us). My “good deeds” or demonstrations of love that went unanswered only seemed to validate this. During the course of our relationship there were a few things I would ask from her – whether it be related to the bank, the house, or the bed -- that were perennial sore spots in our relationship. I think all along, I just wanted some sign, some reminder that she cared about me other than her just saying it (by the way, putting aside the fact that in the process I completely overlooked many, many signs that were her way of showing it). But now I realize she does – she cares to the point of mental and emotional paralysis. And here I am all the while making her feel like that isn’t good enough.

And one other thing I’ve learned – during these tough times (or any time), you can’t make her feel like she is the sole provider of your own happiness. That is the biggest burden you can possibly put on her. Broaden your interests and find happiness in other areas as well to round things out, whether they be your child(ren), friends, hobbies, activities, whatever – something that’s yours. Not only will you be happier and more able to weather the storm when things aren’t great, but will ease the pressure she feels to need to make you happy. Here is another area I had it wrong – I thought my total devotion to my family was a quality and should make her happy. I didn’t realize how she was perceiving this and consequences it was causing.

So what to do from here? Here’s my plan:
1. There’s nothing you can do, at least right now. So stop trying because you are only making it worse – stop trying to fix things, and stop trying to withdraw. Just stop trying all together. Stay “neutral” and supportive above all else, but drop the issue as best you can and move on. Start by finding those other (healthy) things you can get satisfaction from.

2. If she says she wants her space (i.e. wants to move out), let her have it. Don’t try and fight it or talk her out of it. She knows what she needs and the separation can be good for both of you to clear your thoughts and reflect on what you want. If you have a good foundation, there’s a very good chance it’ll only be temporary (and if she indicates it’s temporary, that’s a good sign).

3. Do these things on one condition – that the two you see a professional. This situation is beyond our control, and we are ill-equipped to handle it. Seeing a professional will help her find and deal with the source of her pressure, and help the two of you understand each other in the process.

Good luck!
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@: bjam
Dude, I don't even know if my wife is feeling that same pressure you're talking about, but it certainly resonates with me. We're going through a very tough time right now and she's used the word pressure before, and I never knew what she meant. I think I get at least a few layers of it now, and even though I think we have other issues, your post really helped me feel better tonight.
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This may sound silly, or simplistic... but here it goes:

Just a suggestion, but you need to talk with her. Just her in a private place, without kids, in-laws and friends around ect, and have a heart to heart talk about the situation. Tell her how you feel, and try not to be accusatory, marriage is a team sport :)

Good Luck!
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Wow, I knew I wasn't the only one...but maybe the Only Lesbian dealing with the same situation. My Wife is not intimate as well, in all cases. It was like this at first, but has changed drastically. Everytime I bring it up, she frowns upon it. It drives me crazy...and brings down my self-esteem (and Lord knows I have a high one). I often tell her that I should have no excuse for BS when I deploy or go to my next duty station (we're dual military...and obviosly not allowed). I don't know what to do as well because I love her so much and show her in everyway, but everything I ask for, I'm give a quick denial. Hugs, Kisses, Sex, everything. So I pray. Keep your head up dear friend, and so will I.

P.S. Before anyone comments negatively on my post, remember this, I am serving Proudly just for you. Been in Battle numerous times. So before you say something negative, think about it, because it's me and my Soldiers who are defending this country to let you continue to live peacefully.
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I only skimmed through your latest posting--I didn't fully read it--so I apologize if I misconstrued something.

You are choosing to suffer quite a bit, on account of your wife and children. Why? Given the way that she is treating you, does she deserve your love? I believe such love has to be earned. I don't believe in "self-less love"--I think such concept undermines the very idea of love, and the self-esteem of the one doing the loving. This is, of course, a Christian idea, and I'm an atheist, so I'll leave it at that.

I also don't believe having sex outside of marriage constitutes "cheating," if it is done with your wife's consent. Again, though, this runs contrary to Christian beliefs.

I get the sense that, due to your beliefs, having sex outside of your marriage, no matter what the circumstances, would play havoc on your conscience. This is good reason not to do it, as the emotional damage will be severe. You should engage in that only if you truly believe it's the right thing to do.

Your wife shouldn't criticize you for what you did. You were completely justified, given her behavior. The fact is, you didn't cheat, and she ought to trust you--you sound like a man of integrity to me. Her non-belief is insulting to you. That said, she probably felt that the "emotional" interaction with the other woman constituted cheating. That's only because she is erroneously projecting her own understanding (from a woman's perspective); she ought to look at it from a male perspective.

Otherwise, I don't have a solution for you. All I can say is that YOU need to look after whatever is in YOUR best interest. This, of course, includes your kids' best interest, and--depending on how much you truly value her--your wife's. But, YOUR interest needs to come FIRST.
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Thanks again for your feedback, wayoutthere.

I appreciate your support. I suppose the best way to describe my beliefs is to say that while I do attend church and I do have some fundamentally Christian beliefs, it is not that which drives me to feel the way I do -at least, not directly anyhow... For me, I believe that true love (in the romantic sense) is something that is shared only between two people. For me, the expression and sharing of that love is directly tied with physical contact and intimacy at both the intellectual level as well as the physical level. Sex is one of the best ways to share these feelings (in my experience, that is).... So for me, having sex with anyone else besides the woman I chose to marry and remain committed to for the rest of my life -well, that just would NOT be the same as sharing it with the woman I love.

It might feel great physically, but emotionally it would HURT because for me I would be wishing I could share such pleasure with my wife, not anyone else... So in a sense you hit the nail on the head, I cannot do that while married without a tremendous amount of guilt and I am very thankful that I never took it that far even when I was actually off looking on those adult cheating websites last year...

Funny enough though, one other thing that is noteworthy... My wife tells me repeatedly that ALL I think about and ALL our marriage has ever been focused on is "my needs". Her perception is that I do not ever think about HER needs... Even when my actions and the things I do for her are clear enough examples of working to meet her needs that they might as well be smacking her in the face and saying "hellooooo! right here!!". Apparently any time I ask her for a hug, kiss, intimacy, or heaven forbid -SEX- I am only thinking of myself and not of her needs.... Very frustrating indeed.
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Have you asked her what HER needs are, or does she get huffy with you every time you ask?

I'm not saying you're not trying to make her happy (It's abundantly clear from what I've skimmed through of this post that you do care about her a great deal), but maybe trying to ask her what she feels she wants and needs (In a letter or through some other form) could be surprisingly insightful.

If she's still absolutely refusing to try and sort herself out, you should take her to the doctor and get her tested for the likes of border personality disorder.

If she STILL refuses to try and help herself in any way, shape or form after that, I'm afraid that I believe divorce/separation could be the only thing that'll make her wake up and realise how badly she's behaving towards you.
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I feel for you. And I don't have any great advice, if you love her and think that you can go through that for the rest of your life then I think stick with it.

But i don't think feeling like 'a roomate' for the rest of your life is worth it.
Just my opinion, and it's easy to give since I'm not in your shoes. Maybe talk to her about how you feel.
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Hi mate, I am in a similar position to you, married for years.
Don't be discouraged as it sounds like you're a fighter!! I see too many people give up these days. Your wife LOVES you but is suffering with her own issues during this difficult time.
I don't know if you pray for your marriage at all?
Am praying for you and your wife. Keep going with this. I had 'kissing rejection' last night even though we made love. I didn't understand it but am trying to move on with my day. Take care and please respond if you get time.
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Wow. When I read this, I felt as if I had written it about *my* situation and had just forgotten that I'd done it. I feel for you. I don't have any advice for you, yet, I'm just starting to struggle with the same issues. I need to re-read your long posts, unfortunately, we have a lot in common ...
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I act the same way...she is obviously no longer in love with you.
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Yes your fooling yourself.
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Firstly I would like to say that I am sorry for you going through everything that you are encountering throughout this emotional rollercoaster that your wife is going through. Openingly, I have to admit that I myself, is going through exactly what your wife is experiencing. I have been married since May 2009, we were together for five years prior to us getting married. Throughout our five year relationship, my husband was encountering a prescription drug problem that his mother and step mother were providing him alongside of him visiting several different doctors to provide him with the chosen drug. During that time, I held on because I truly loved him and I knew God was going to take care of it. Well, it got to the point that my husband was making me feel like I was going crazy that he was on drugs. I had made an appointment to see a therapist the next day, I was relieved to find out that "I wasnt going crazy" and that I needed to stop trying to control my husband. Well that day I gave my husband to God and tried to live my life for me and our daughter. That evening after the therapy appointment, God awoke my husband with rushing to the hospital due to a drug over dose. That happenend a year ago, and since then he hasnt touched them since.

To respond with your wife's behavior, I find my self drawing further and further away from my husband due to the previous hurts in the past. I dont understand why this is happening but I wish in my own relationship that there was more bonding. More finding things that make both of us happy. I want to feel as if our relationship was more of a team enviroment. When reading all of your postings, I know that your helping out around the house and the kids. But in my opinion, that never works, because in my mind that should be something that should be done by the both of you together. Find out what interests her the most. Like for instance with myself, I have begged my husband to play a game of dominoes with me or doing our daily devotionals together. I want to feel a since of togetherness instead of jumping when he says jump. Or when the touchy feelingness seems like the only reason he is doing this is to have the only ending reaction of sexual intamacy. I would like to see my husband start working on himself so his self confidence level starts to build. I am a psychology major in child development and I find a since of confidence building once the required classes are passed. I am not sure if this whole posting helped you, but know that your arent alone. That I myself am placing my husband in a simular position if not exact.
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She's not being fair with u.
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Insightful
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Listen amigo(s) I found this post because I feel like my wife pushes me away a lot and I am starting to believe that this kind of normal in a relationship that is suffering from uncontrollable factors. What I have found however is something of a solution. I have found that people especially guys can find solutions for their need for intimacy outside of the marriage w/o cheating on their loved ones. Guys this may seem crazy but go learn to dance. Pick Salsa to start, go register for 6 months straight classes and stick with it no matter how broke you are or what your wife says. If she asks you where you are going, tell her and don't let her go with you, at least for 6 months until you start to get good at it. Make an effort to get to know your fellow students and find out where they go to party. If your in a big city your are guaranteed to have some kind of salsa parties on random nights of the week.
Here is what will happen.. you will get to hold and move with new people, you will get some body movement into your life in a positive constructive way, you will have something that is yours, you will start to feel confident and sexy again and it will show in your day to day life.
You will suck at dancing at the beginning but everybody goes through it and if you stick with it and go out dancing regularly, you will get better quickly and love it! If you are feeling really bummed out, get on line, find the local dance studio and ask about taking a private lesson with the female teacher, one on one.

I will tell you what will happen with your wife. She will eventually want to go with you and she will feel how good you are since you had been working for 6 months. If you start to teach her to dance intimacy will return to your life in a way you never thought it could. If she does not ever ask you if she can go, its her loss and you will find that the emotional connection you make with other dancers will help you see your life and you wife in a totally different light. Especially if you start to get really good.

If your more of a romantic and salsa is not your thing, go find swing dancing or Argintene tango, or better yet, blues dancing!! There is nothing more sexy than that!

DO NOT, go to a normal ballroom dancing class!! Go seek out club style teachers who can teach you to dance the way that people do in clubs. Ballroom is more of a sport meant for 1 partner, and to preform.

I am telling you guys go directly form reading this to a new google search for salsa dancing + "your city", write down the name of at least one studio and sign up. Just do it, dont think, dont worry about the money. Its way cheaper and much better than any counseling or going and doing something you will really regret!

Good luck guys (gals)!
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This is awesome advice. I'm just starting this journey but if it goes on for too long I am definitely taking up dancing. It works on so many levels...throws her a curve ball and shakes things up, at the same time you get some physical contact that can be safe. Great idea!
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First I just want to say I think your wife is EXTREMELY lucky to have you and she is taking you for granted. I don't think it is normal to push away someone you are in a committed relationship with. That is a big part of the relationship and it is wrong of her to not even try and make you to feel loved and wanted. I totally understand what you are going through. I am going through the same thing. If I had a man like you I would be very happy, and would love the affection as I don't get much either. Good luck I hope things works out and your wife comes to her senses and embraces the love!
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Hi,

I found your story last night, and I swear I could have written it. I am the same way -- very affectionate and sensitive husband. I am madly in love with my wife, and in spite of what I feel are positive changes I've made and actions I've done, I have experienced the same coldness and rejection. The rejection is the hardest part to deal with -- how it makes you feel as a man, a husband, and a person.

You love your wife, but you feel sadness, frustration and even anger. She knows how you feel but seems to do nothing. You feel she doesn't care about you, your needs, or your feelings. You are exhausted from trying to make things right. You are doing everything you can, but feel like you are just throwing these things into a bottomless pit, because you never see or hear from them again, and nothing seems to make any difference.

So you back off, and to an extent things seem to get better. But as soon as you allow yourself to feel hopeful about your relationship the cycle starts over. And if you back off too much, she seems to withdraw and be distant anyway.

I think I have the answer, and if you ruminate on it for a while and reflect upon past situations that you may have read differently at the time, I think it will completely change your perspective, diffuse the animosity you may have toward your wife (and possibly even give you empathy/sympathy), and restore much of your own self esteem at the same time.

If you're like me, you feel like you aren’t doing anything wrong (quite the opposite). And you haven't, necessarily. It's just that your efforts to this point are misinterpreted by your wife, or they are misguided because, like me, you didn't understand the core issue. And it's not that she won't tell you what that core issue is. It's just that she can't, because she doesn't necessarily understand or realize it herself.

The issue is one word -- "pressure". And it is very common with spouses, particularly mothers of younger children. Being in that position puts a lot of pressure on your wife -- pressure to be the perfect mom, the perfect spouse, the perfect friend, the perfect housewife, and the perfect employee (if she works). Culture has a lot to do with this, but there are other factors (including internal ones) too.

And you may think, "but what pressure? I don't put any pressure on her to be perfect. I just want her to love me and let me love her". And you are probably right. It's more than likely coming from her -- it's the pressure she puts ON HERSELF, particularly if she's the type that tends to do that often in other aspects of life (as mine does). Looking back, there are so many times she mentioned "pressure" to me when describing her job, doing things around the house, taking care of our daughter, or most recently, performing in bed. I just never put it together until now (and hopefully it isn't too late).

Many times she'd express to me how overwhelmed she feels by life, and I'd look around and wonder what there was to be overwhelmed about. I'd help out whenever and wherever I could to try and ease the burden nonetheless. But even that didn't seem to help. It was because -- although I think I am helping to ease her stress -- in reality, by her seeing me able to manage my own "stuff" AND help out with hers, she just feels more inadequate, which puts extra pressure and stress on her to step up and “perform” to your level.

(More...)
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I read several of the stories in this thread about intimacy issues, and I kept wondering the same things. I obviously don't know any of you, and I certainly don't know your partners or anything about the lives you share--your relationships, your day-to-day challenges, etc., so please keep in mind that I'm merely throwing these thoughts in the air in case they land in anyone's lap who may find them useful/applicable.

Is there any chance your partner has experienced child sexual abuse (CSA) or any other form of sexual assault throughout their life? Even if it seems like an absurd question, considering you likely know her or his history well, it may be worth some investigating. Many survivors of sexual assault have no memory of it for years and years...until, perhaps, they run across a "trigger" that brings the memory back to an accessible part of their brains. Sometimes this may just mean a strange(often indescribable) anxious feeling and/or may manifest as nightmares (not necessarily about the assault). Often, these survivors can't mentally approach their assaults because they are far too painful to process; but months or years after entering an intimate relationship with someone they trust, and with whom they feel safe, their defenses against the memories begin to weaken. Or, in some cases, a new traumatic event (and though it's usually a happy event, childbirth is extremely traumatic) can push those memories closer to the surface. Any sort of body trauma may be especially triggering because the body has a memory of its own. Of course, it isn't the same kind of memory that's housed in our minds. But our bodies remember things in more of an associative way (much the same way as a smell can "take you back" to some place or person or event from 20 years ago that is clearer than even your memory of driving to work today). Maybe a certain type of touch or a certain movement or pain, etc releases some of the associations made subconsciously between that touch or that body part and the assault. The husband who wrote this initial post noted that his wife's intimacy began after their youngest child was born 5 years earlier. Maybe something happened during that pregnancy or labor that was different than before...and whatever that something was may have acted as a trigger...maybe it had something to do with the extreme hormonal chaos that happens during pregnancy and labor...?

Also, some people are also traumatized by acts that are not necessarily physically assault-like in nature. Maybe someone's grandfather jokingly referred to them as too fat or too thin or something as they were growing up, and they internalized the bad feelings from that experience...they came to believe about themselves what their grandfather claimed to believe, even if in jest.

I'm getting a little off track here, but the point is, there are a million different variables at play in the various scenarios described above, but they mostly have at least hint at the potential for illustrating a history of sexual assault and/or physical/sexual trauma.

There are a gazillion books on the subject, and there are different types of therapeutic possibilities...the first step, though, would be to find a space where you and your partner can talk openly with each other. It's so important to be kind and not accusatory when approaching such a sensitive subject--especially if it hits a nerve of truth in your partner. Sexual assault survivors usually feel they were robbed of their sense of control...so they very much want to keep it and keep in mind that they are keeping it. The vulnerability involved with intimacy--emotional and physical--is so very closely tied to the sense of lost control that they likely felt during the assault, it makes achieving intimacy quite difficult. Also, their guilt and shame may make them strike out at you for wanting to have sex with them because their associations with it (at least for now) are of all things dark, scary, and invasive, not to mention violent. Maybe their resurgence of negative emotions is tied to men because her assailant was a man...so, for now, maybe she needs to avoid being too close to a man. I've often heard that, sexual assault or not, when one person in a partnership is having intimacy issues, it's best to agree to take a sexual break for an agreed upon period of time...this allows the person with intimacy issues to feel free from pressure and makes their partner's language come across more as a topic of conversation than an agenda or accusation. Of course, this usually leads to a calmer conversation that isn't as prone to allowing emotions drive the conversation entirely...and means less room for defensive discussions that gain strength by each person's negative emotions feeding off the others.

Like I said, it may not apply in any of these situations, but if you're determined to work through this with your partner, it couldn't hurt to do some research on your own. If there truly is nothing trauma/assault related that is causing the problem, I must admit that it would seem difficult to believe there aren't some critical elements of your relationship that need to be examined and considered carefully.

I feel for all of you. I know well the pain you're suffering. Your partners are suffering, too, for whatever reason, so I hope you'll keep your love for each other in your minds as well as your hearts, voice, and touch whenever you discuss this or any other aspect of intimacy.

Peace
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I'm sorry you and your wife are going through this. My ex and I experienced something similar and it's taken years for me to understand why, and there are many, many layers to the issue in our case.
1. After having children, I felt he viewed me differently...more like a baby incubator and milk cow than a desireable woman.
2. Men admire attractive women. Especially young, attractive women who don't have eye bags from sleep deprivation and spit-up on their shirt. Everytime he looked at one and then turned to me for fulfillment, I felt ill.
3. Porn. See number 2.
4. It felt creepy when my husband would try to initiate sex without passion. It made me feel obligated not wanted.
5. Hygiene. Practice regularly...brushing teeth right before kissing doesn't count.
6. Spontaneity-not planned sneak attack, but at the moment you desire, truly WANT your wife, kiss her like it's the first time.
7. Overly-sensitive is off-putting. This "staring into her eyes" business....ewwww.

Women want to be wanted, desired, won.
Husband number 2? Ten years later and sex is great. Sometimes dinner gets burned because guess what's more important than him getting a hot meal? I am.
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Crazy! I had no idea there were so many going through the same issue I have been going through. I have spent 10-12 yrs going through an affection-less marriage. Started around the time my first child was born. We now have 3 kids. This could all stem from a hormonal issue or past trauma I dont know about, but whatever the case I don't believe I will be around for the remedy. At this point, I have tried it all: Conversations, professionals, being supportive, focusing on my hobbies, sports, exercise, exercise, exercise, not pressuring, listening, loving the kids, helping the kids to be better people, helping kids with homework everyday, helping the kids with sports, not being needy, giving her time to herself any time she wants, always allowing her to go out with friends, watching the kids, doing chores all the time, doing my share all the time, bringing home a good salary, staying busy, stay in great shape, stay healthy, so on, and so on...Having read all of these comments it seems to me that there are very few resolutions to these issues. I haven't read one fix, one remedy, or one recovered message. No one has said, wow things were very bad but now things are great. I just want my kids to remain healthy and happy during an inevitable divorce. My children are why I have stuck with this as long as I have. If she doesn't want me, OK, sucks, but OK. I hope she can find a happy place with someone else.

Man, tough stuff!!
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Have you ever thought of the hurtful things you have done? Have you considered the language of her heart? Have you ever denied or rejected her wants? Her dreams as she helped build yours? Did you thank her for carrying your babies and actually help her during the early years? It's great your doing it now and you work out and take care if a lot. But in the time you did all this did you help her do the things she wants? Being a woman and a mom she feels like she gives and gives do you ever thank her and mean it? Give her time with her friends? Of course it can be hormones and diet or even a thyroid condition. Lisa Gottfried is a doctor and her husband believes every husband should buy the book because his wife went from a miserable unhappy woman to a happy person. So before you give in think of that and if you have daughters I'd stick it out until they are out of the house. You never know what company shell keep on every other weekend with the kids.
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My situation with my wife is very much analogous to this chat trail. I have been trying for years and trying everything to get my wife to come around. We have been addressing the emotional issues to bring us together in intimacy and sexually. We are communicating and working through these things. She never takes initiative to address her female physical issues even though she always says she will. She agrees at her age (a young 50+) she is constrained by normal age related female issues on terms of desire and physical stimulation and need for love, intimacy and sex. I read all the blogs to get educated and be open minded. They are VERY informative and helpful. You are all so wonderful. I cannot get my wife to participate and apply this level of open mindedness to all the education out there. I have been battling this for many years now and have become very aggressive and vocal that things need to change. I am being fair, honest, loving, considerate, everything and anything to get my wife to fall back in deep love with me and make intimacy and our sexual relationship priority. She loves me, respects me and generally speaking appreciates me but just never goes the distance in making this a priority and fixing this part of our marriage. On many occasions she agrees to commit the time, open mindedness and heart to fix this but never gets there. I do not believe she is lying to me. I believe given choice she really does want this in her life and is also frustrated by it. Neither of us cheat or have desire for another person. At this point, I am so over the top with frustration I just do not know what to do. We have discussed counseling. When I am adamant it is time she comes to life to avoid going and responds but ultimately does not sustain and then falls back to her normal ways of just not desiring or needing me intimately. She claims her lack of desire and need is first a physical lack of need and 2nd the emotional pain of the years of the constant frustration challenging her ability to want to be with me this way and making it a part of what is suppose to be normal between a husband and wife. I cannot go on any longer like this. I am becoming terribly depressed. It is impacting my job and all aspects of my life. I am coming to the conclusion I cannot go on if we cannot fix this. For many years I thought I could managing to our children and busy life and that over time she would come around. As of yet she has not even when it seems she truly is making an effort. Words cannot describe how much I love my wife and want and need to be connected this way.

I guess my question today is since we are doing all this communication and trying and not seeming to get over the hump would counseling make a difference? Is it possible it could make things worse? Have we tried to a point where we just need to do this even if it does not work and we end up divorcing? That is the last thing either of us want. Please advise.
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wow so many ppl complain about there wife( all the wives not same) am gonna say what ever you said about your wife its not normal.me and my husband been married for 8years my husband means the world to me i can't imagine my life without him. my husband feels the same for me. we have three beautiful kids together even after the kids my feelings never changed for him even his not changed at all. when i want to go out like just to the mall or something he always takes care of the kids because he knows that when i want to be alone( alone means not everyday sometimes like twice a month)(( do you tell your wife to go out have time for her and you will take care of the kids)) i dont work i only stay home and take care of my kids at home. i do everything sometimes he help me with cooking on weekend. ((do you help your wife in house chores )) i dont have anything to complain about husband.

yes we do argue sometimes ( not fight) but we dont blame each other for anything.( do you blame ur wife or ur wife blame you for something. if yes why?) if am mad at my husband he try to make me laugh and i do the same.

i have seen some ppls problems start when there financial condition is bad ( have you ever try to find out that why your financial condition is bad?) i dont work only my husband does but still i try to save his money i dont spend his money on stupid things i only spend money on the things that i really need( who spends the more money you or your wife?? we have everything that we need like house car etc. there are so many reasons and so many ways to save money.(cooking at home, car oil change at home, learn how to do pedicure,manicure,eyebrow,waxing,how to cut hair etc. so many ways to save money)

when it come to love i love my husband like girl friend not like wife. when his upset or sad about something i talk to him like as best friend. he does the same

there are so many ways to understand each other
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I am the wife who's husband after 13 years actually learned my birthday after 12 years. I was the one rejected without hugs or even kissing after we got married. I am the wife who gave him four babies and never received flowers. We just had our vows renewed and he took off to his friends house on the night we renewed. I am the wife who have him sound business advice where he earned $12 an hour to making over $8000o a year. I was the one who cooked and cleaned who has now been feeling the toll of marriage. I have been ignored told my feelings do not matter And now am filled with resentment and anger. I do not want to be touched or held. I used to cry for that and now I am tiered. I have made friends and am in the process of rebuilding myself in the midst of much hurt. I am bitter from years of rejection and I suspect he cheated. If you have done this or any of this then this is why your wife is cold because a strong woman can only sweep it under for so long until it comes flooding out. I am not fat and I do dress nice. I am told I have a sweetness but forgiving what I went through the last two years of him staying out and putting others ahead of me has taken its toll.
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I have the same problem with my wife and talk to her about it and nothing changes. Is hormonal if they would take hormones or testosterone it would help their libido. The reason they don't like hugs and kisses is they know were it leads. My wife doesn't think there is a problem or wants to take any medication. She would rather have me divorce her. She don't understand that for a man it effects their confidence and ego. It creates a lot of stress even at the expense of our kids. It is very detrimental to the entire family and she still doesn't have the compassion to fix her libido. I have been trying everything with no success. Its a miserable way to live when you love someone. Its tortuous. I don't know how much more I can take. I am a source of income, her handyman, brother, etc. Everything but a lover and a husband. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy and I hope my kids never have a relationship like this. I am tired of women dishing men for having affairs when if their wife's would do there job they would be looking for other women. Men are the true romantics and women are sick.
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@: company
I wrote what I wrote here years ago now. Turns out in my case my wife was a gold digger of the worst kind. The reason she treated me as she did is because she never loved me. She used me and played me. Manipulated and controlled me in her cruel, insidious way. She still has my home. 3 years she has lived there without paying a dime of rent, while I pay her alimony enough to cover a very nice mortgage (like a $350k home in an upscale neighborhood). I have been through divorce, bankruptcy, and lost tens of thousands more to her and the attorneys in the process. I have almost no retirement savings left to speak of. She was evil. Still is. If she weren't the mother of my child I would wish her dead because I now know the woman I loved so deeply lived only in my mind. The true person she is, is a monster. Amazing how it is all so clear in hindsight but I was so blinded by my love for her I could never believe the truth to be as gruesome as it really turned out to be.

She was cheating on me in the end. By the time we were 3 months into divorce, she was already sneaking the same man into my home, while my child was there, and sneaking him back out before she awoke in the morning. My neighbors let me know what was going on. I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy, what my ex wife did to me.

But there is a bright side. I'm better off now than I was with her. And I take comfort in knowing the cheating whore will never find true love, so she will do just fine creating her own demons and having to live with them for the rest of her days.
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im going thru the same thing, but i lost my true love to a drunk driver, i met my new love 2 yrs ago moved her ang her daughter in , i love her so much, she said she loves me every day, but not into kissing, sex any romance latly, im falling apart i love her, do anything for her and her 9 yr old daughjter, all i can say is hang in there , im trying, good luck, dont give up, love is hard to find ,if its true ,ask god, im still holding on for his help,
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Is your wife Japanese?

I would say that life is too short to live it unfulfilled. We each have our own to make the most of it and are not obliged to give it to someone else. Make plans to move on with your life and find the fulfillment you deserve.

Otherwise take your misery and don't complain.

Make a choice and live with it.
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Lockets
Why do you ask if his wife is Japanese? Interesting question.....
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Have you been married to someone Japanese previously? I would like to know more.
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No. Never married before.

Look. Folks. This post has been up for something like 3 years... In that time, I found out the truth...

NO IT IS NOT NORMAL.

My wife is a liar and a gold digger, who has sank so low over the last two years to get what she really wanted all along, that I am upset with myself for not seeing through her facade much sooner.

She didn't want intimacy because she never loved me. She married me because she saw me as a means to an end. She at the time was in dire straits. She saw me as financial stability, and as a good man whom her children enjoyed being with. But there was no love in her. She wanted what she wanted and did what she felt necessary to get that.

In June 2010, the truth began to come out. She had been plotting for several months to do this... She filed divorce and had me served at my office like some sort of monster. She then went and falsified testimony claiming I have "access to guns" and she was "afraid of what (I) might do" ... In order to obtain a domestic violence injunction against me. The purpose of the injunction was to set a position of control, and to begin the process of trying to turn my children against me while robbing me of all I ever worked for.

She didn't expect me to fight back so hard I think... She is quite the narcissist and she clearly thought she was going to just lie and get what she wanted by painting me whatever color she wanted to manipulate the justice system as well as people near and dear to us both. She was wrong... But in the end she still made off with a large ransom, forced me into bankruptcy, caused both of us to lose the marital home, and managed to manipulate my two step children against me (which is heart wrenching since I love them both as my own flesh and blood, but I have no means of changing that because legally I have no right to be with them so she can tell them whatever she wants, and they do not have the ability to see anything beyond her vicious lies and exaggerations)... Her actions have caused much pain to my youngest child, my biological child. My child now has to live with a mother who constantly proclaims she hates me and that I do not have a right to exist, while knowing that her father is part of her and he loves her deeply... Add in two older siblings riding that hate bandwagon, and my child is really being stressed... Yet I am powerless to fix it, because to fix it requires money well beyond my means.

At least I have half custody... Had to fight hard for that.


Anyhow, back to the is is normal question.... Again, NO ABSOLUTELY NOT NORMAL... She was also very likely cheating on me though I cannot PROVE it, the circumstantial evidence points strongly that way. A mere two months after we separated she was already sneaking another man into the house late at night and out again before the kids woke up the next morning (the neighbors informed me of this and provided photos of his car at the marital home overnight).... Thus woman is BAD NEWS and has been desperately seeking to take as much as she can from me at whatever cost... Even using our children as tools, as pawns in her game of manipulation and control.

Looking back now, I see all the signs were there... I just could not believe that this woman whom I so deeply loved and cared for, could ever have lied about her feelings for me... But she did. She was... She is... A liar... And a vengeful, hateful, nasty person as well.

Our divorce is still pending, though the end is finally near. I only hope that this brief summary of things can serve as a words of caution to anyone else dealing with similar problems in their marriage... I sincerely hope that mine is an isolated case, but just in case, be warned... Take caution. Seek unbiased advice. Pray and work towards the best, but prepare for the worst... And if that day comes you are blind sided by a divorce, BE AGGRESSIVE. my biggest mistake was my inaction up front... Before I knew what was happening, she had me in a really bad position that took years to get out of.... If I had instead followed my instincts up front and hired a private investigator to catch her cheating ass, it would have gone a LONG way towards disproving her lies up front...

Enough said. I'm done. Good luck and God bless.
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I am also going through a very similar situation. I remain faithful and it has nothing to do with religion (I'm agnostic) but more of core values. Saying that my son is 10 months old and I have been going through this for about 2 years now. I have had several (seemingly forced) discussions regarding physical intimacy, however they just lead her to withdrawing and getting angry for bringing it up. I have felt alone in this situation, however after reading this post and comments, I no longer feel alone. My wife is taking antidepressents, but no change to physical intimacy. Shenever initiates intimacy with me, and rarely states, "I love you" unless it is a reply to me saying it. She feels like I do not understand that she is stressed, however I too am stressed. I would like to hear from those also going, or have gone through this to find out how you have handled it or the outcome. Thanks and I hope it works out for all of us in similar situations.
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Maybe you should look at her needs first see it from the other foot women are not physical specimens they are emotional.
I think you should try, little things first not trying to please her in bed or when you feel like getting freeky! And if that doesn't work look at the big picture you both should be laughing alot and enjoying the company of each other if your missing something in your relationship FIND it b4 it's to late!
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The fact that this has been going on for so long suggests that the problem is not going to go away. Perhaps she has a very unhealthy attitude toward sex and intimacy, which is common if she was brought up in a religious environment. It could also be that the pregnancy has affected her hormones, and this affects her sex drive. Maybe she could see a psychotherapist, but she has to be willing. She shouldn't blame you for making this an "issue."

You have already put up with this for way too long. I would suggest that for your own health, the best thing would be to leave her. But, now that you have children, that is far more difficult, and you have to consider their emotional health and well being.

So, an alternative might be to remain in the marriage, but acquire a mistress or lover, with whom you can spend quality time. Ideally, you would want to get your wife's consent for this. She might agree, or she might consider the whole idea preposterous. But, if she isn't being affectionate, what choice do you have? By not being sexual with you, she is not holding up her end of the bargain; why should you be forced to hold up your end, and suffer as a result?

Whatever you do, you need to consider if this has a bearing on custody and property, should divorce become inevitable.

Why is it that so many people believe in the fairy tale ending: "And they got married and lived happily ever after?"
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Ollieo
This isn't a post - it is a novel. I hope you are behaving this way because you are upset. Because if this is the way you communicate, the distance between you & your wife is something she puts there for her own self defense against being smothered.

Things you can do. 1st is talk to a lawyer to be prepared in advance for a separation/divorce. Maybe you or she will throw in the towel. Most likely you will meet someone else and fall head over heels out of need.

Maybe back off from your wife a bit. You're her friend, companion, a good husband & provider. She's not into the sexual intimacy part. Try to appreciate & respect all that's there and quit poking at what is missing. Your sense of entitlement has become a real burden & turn off. And pressing on this isn't making anything better.

Give it and her time & space and actively respect all else that is there. If she comes around, fine. If not - its not like you can do much else.

There's a lot of "me me me" in what you write. Your marriage is going through a tough patch. You are going to have to be strong & set aside your needs for a while without turning it in to a greek tragedy. And honestly - if it is going to be mainly about what you want then leave. But don't make that her fault. Be a man about it and admit your failure to connect with her, and your desire to find someone else.
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@: Ollieo
Im going through the same exact thing here partner. I understand how you are feeling. You dont need someone to respond to this telling you to quit focusing on yourself, that just brings you down even more. You need support and the things can only get better when she decides she wants the intimacy in the marriage. Every woman is different as we all know just like every man is different. The most important thing for you to do is continue to show her support, continue to help out and try talking to her about her day. Whatever her profession is maybe try striking up a conversation with her about that if this is applicable. The most important thing to do though is to NOT show her emotionally that her actions bother you. Just show her that you are willing to be there as a friend. be there when she needs you and if she sees that you arent smothering her and always moping around the house depressed( if u even do that) then she will realize that you are there through thick and thin for her. When you dont show any desire for intimacy, you are far more likely to get that desire from your partner. Im not saying that this is the book of how to react to wives by any means, Im just saying try this because I have went through a very similar situation and I still am going through it but I am becoming emotionally stronger and she seems to be becoming more hugging and telling me she loves me more. So just continue showing support buddy and things can only get better because the only thing worse for us in this situation is divorce. Dont continue worrying all the time. You will drive yourself NUTS! I am full of love and compassion to but trust me, you cant worry about something you cant control and if you do this something will happen to you that you could've controlled in the past but now you can't control. Im talking about nothing more than a mental illness called depression and then manic depression. Its not worth you worrying. I hope you all the best and hope this has helped you somewhat. Let me know how things are going. I will definitely keep you in my prayers as well as all the other disputes that we go through physically and emotionally. God Bless!
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I am completely surprised tp hear your story as i thought i was the only one - i am in a similer situation- the difference is that we have been together for 3 years and married for almost 1 year. I know that alot of my wife's justification for her behaviour towards me is duer to my cheating in her and i try my best to understand that. However - for the past 8 months we have been like 'buddys' rather then lovers - ever since she got pregnant. I too tell myself it will get better but i know it wont. I have to often ask her for a kiss - and usually the best i get is being allowed to kiss her on the cheek. I know she loves me. But it s hard to explain how much i want us to be like we were even 7 months ago. But i know that will never be. All I can say is that i am punishing myslef and her - as we both know she will has no intention to be intimate with me - she has her reasons - yeah i know i cheated and i still have not done many of the things she has asked me to . However - how can she expect me to cope with no intimacy? Sometimes when she allows me to kiss her on the lips ( no tongue) it makes me so happy. But it is kinda sad when u think about it - that it has come to this. I think about leaving her all the time - but i love her so much. She is my best friend. But i don't just want to be her friend. I know she has her reasons and that is what keeps me from complaining too much. I feel for u.
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