TL;DR: Man decides to Go His Own Way while staying in his marriage after realizing that his dependence on his wife was turning her off. A few months later when his life has its own purpose, she finds him attractive again.
My situation was like so many I see here, me HLM her LLF (or so it seemed to me at the time) both in our early thirties with two young children both over 5. We lived in a major city in England and had been together for 14 years, married for about 10 of those.
The DB had been going on for about 8 years, there would occasionally be some improvement but this never lasted more than a month or so. Frequency was about once every 1 to 3 months and sometimes as much as 6 months without. Apart from the DB we got on very well, had very few arguments and no significant health or financial issues bothered us. In short “everything was fine except …” well you know the rest.
Back in the early days everything was good in the bedroom, fun, frequent and adventurous and seemed to leave us both satisfied. But it looked like those days were well and truly gone.
When I asked about it she would give me all the normal expected reasons/excuses that we all know so well, but despite numerous episodes of “The Talk” nothing ever improved significantly and we would end up back where we started.
I felt all the usual pain and resentment and self-pity, I went through all the soul searching and questioning and doubt for years until I was utterly miserable.
I’ve lurked here on and off for a looooong time over the years. I’ve heard every lame excuse you guys have, I’ve thought all the same negative things that you have and I’ve been down all the rabbit holes you’ve gone down.
Then one day I had a sort of epiphany, it was like someone grabbing me by the shoulders and shouting “Dude, she’s just not that into you!”
And that was it, she still loved me and we were happy together but it was clear that she felt zero attraction to me so her libido had just gone offline.
So I decided to take a new approach to life. I was sick of being a bystander, someone that things happen to, I wanted to be someone who made things happen. Now I’d love to tell you that I went out and started a multimillion-dollar business and discovered a cure for genital warts in my spare time but I’m afraid I was not made for such dizzying heights of glory and so I set my sights a good bit lower. If I could be better than I was yesterday, then I would consider that to be a successful day.
First I completely stopped talking about it. No more “the talk”, no more questions about why this was happening, no more asking her what I could do to help her be in the mood NO MORE TALKING. When I talked to her about it all I was doing was reminding her that she didn’t want to fuck me – no one was ever persuaded into bed by dint of logical argument. It made me look weak, whiny and pathetic i.e. not attractive- and I was asking her for answers that she couldn’t answer.
I resolved that she would no longer be my primary focus, I needed to find value and happiness within myself. It wasn’t fair to expect her to prop me up in life. Instead I would become someone that she WANTED to be close to, that she wanted to share herself with, someone that she could respect. All that anger, resentment, self-loathing and self-pity were all absolutely 100% MY OWN FAULT. If I was unable to control my own emotions, then I was to blame. I had to put all that stuff down and leave it behind me. I decided that I would rely on no one by myself to make me happy. If this helped the DB situation then great, if not then at least I would be able to make proper decisions about where my life and our relationship went from here.
I didn’t want to leave, that was the last thing on my mind. But I knew now that if it was just fear that kept me with her then our marriage would be no better than a sham. For me personally, marriage was a sexual relationship, it might not be a very good one but that’s what it was to me. I had to be prepared that in the long run we might just not make it.
I became more proactive and less of a passenger in my own life and as a side effect also became a great deal more independent. Where before I was being reminded to do things, or left things to the last minute I now took charge of organising and arranging things like family trips and holidays, date nights, helping with the kids’ school projects. When our alarm went off in the morning I always made sure that my feet hit the ground first, the way I saw it I could work like a dog all day but that five minutes I spent lying in bed while she was already up just made me look like a right lazy bastard.
The flat-pack furniture was all completed, the shelves in the spare room were put up, the bathroom and kitchen was painted and the garden was now in the best condition I had ever seen it. The best part of all this, to my mind, was that I had done it alone, without having to ask for help, without having to be nagged into it and best of all I had really enjoyed the feeling that all the little accomplishments gave me. I had never been one to shirk household chores but now I found I really enjoyed doing them – especially tidying up a really messy kid’s bedroom, it might be a bit old fashioned but I feel that bringing order to chaos is a really good look for a man.
Now of course none of this made any difference to the DB, you don’t get a cookie for being an effective adult that’s just shit your SUPPOSED to be doing anyway. The reason I include these little mundane details is because they represent areas of our domestic and family life where I was forcing my wife be the sensible, organised one in the partnership which in turn made me seem a bit like the third child and that ain’t good.
Now I had more control over my life and took up some new hobbies and interests. I also started to get out of the house a bit more so I could spend time away from the family and be my own person. I started to be more assertive and less of a doormat. I stopped agreeing with her just to keep the peace and I was no longer frightened of upsetting her. Passive aggressive behaviour was always something that really pushed my buttons so on occasions when she became passive aggressive I just would not engage with her on those terms.
I expected the same standard of behaviour from myself as I did from her, if I was happy for her to spend a night or two a week out with friends or pursuing a hobby then I could do the same. I didn’t expect her to agree with all of my opinions or share all of my interests, and so she would not be able to expect that from me. And I was careful not to start doing more than my fair share of domestic chores and duties.
So I had plenty to keep me busy, I had a sort of work hard play hard attitude (this makes you think of wall street executives and Olympic athletes but I adapted it to my own life as a rather average lump of human flesh) I started to lift weights a bit too-this had no effect on my physical appearance but damn it made me feel good!)
I always had something to do, a project to focus on or something to read, study or make. I didn’t need to follow her around like a lovesick puppy. And now if my advances were rebuffed in the bedroom, I could just turn my mind to all the other stuff I had going on and keep my mood bright and positive.
A positive, cheerful attitude was a huge help for me, especially in the early days. Whistle while you work was my motto, and if I was rejected the night before there was a good chance that the next morning, I could be found cleaning the oven whilst singing John Henry Was A Steel Driving Man.
Dealing with rejection was one of the key things for me, I once read somewhere that rejection is better than regret and that always stuck with me. I proceeded on the basis that all my advances would be met with rejection, and that the real test was how I dealt with it. I will always treasure the memory of the night I crawled into bed beside her and realised that I actually didn’t really care if we had sex or not because the next day was going to be so crazy hectic and fun.
Any time she asked me “are you ok?” the answer would always be a resounding “no I’m not ok, I am fucking amazing honey” – and you know what… I meant it too.
I did not go to her looking for affection, ever. I waited until she cuddled me, or scooched across the couch to me, or looked like she wanted some physical attention. I would kiss her casually and then wait for her response before any tongues got involved. I was always ready to pull away from any hug, cuddle, kiss or whatever at the slightest hint of that stiffness in her body, that reluctance or nervousness that just screamed that she didn’t want to be that close to me at that moment.
Of course this meant that in the first six months we had much less physical contact with each other. The other changes I had made meant I had more going on in my life and wasn’t focusing on her as much as before and weren’t spending all our free time together any more. I know that she noticed and even spoke to me about it once, asking if I was OK and then if WE were OK. I honestly told her that I was fine and that she absolutely did not need to put energy into worrying about me because I was doing better than I had been for years.
After this I doubled down on my new outlook on life. I made new friends and joined a new social group. I was making plans to tile the kitchen myself Arguments and cross words with my wife became a little more frequent for a few months, I think she found the new tone of our relationship a little jarring at times but that was to be expected and I still loved her like crazy. During those same months however the frequency of our sex life started to increase a little- from once every few months to more or less once a week.
I was more attractive to her now because I actually liked myself, I had stuff going on in my life and I was felt really confident. I was also a hell of a lot more fun to be with, probably due to me no longer worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing because I wasn’t indulging the constant anxiety about if sex was going to happen or not. I was teasing her and making fun of myself and chatting about stupid stuff and making weird jokes and so on, and mixed with the confidence and don’t give a fuck attitude this began to add up to some quite effective marital flirting. The confidence and not worrying about doing the wrong thing also helped improve the quality of the sex we were having.
From that point it became like a boulder rolling down a hill, as I gained momentum it got easier and easier to just keep rolling. As the months went by it became more like twice a week, then two or three times, I started getting flirty texts when I was at work. Once I was thrilled with her saying “fancy an early night” suddenly I was hearing “I think I’d like you to spank me” and “we should buy some toys” as well as my personal favourite “don’t ask me, just tell me what to do”
I don’t think she really knew why she stopped wanting to have sex with me. Either that or she just couldn’t admit to herself that she didn’t find me attractive any more. I didn’t need a gym membership or a six pack to generate attraction I just need to be more of a real person, with his own life and some steel in his spine. I had my own life, my own interests and a swathe of things going on that had nothing to do with her. She didn’t have to shoulder the burden of making me happy and was free to enjoy herself with me. And I think that that was the key to my success.
It’s now over three years since I started this new course and the DB is well and truly gone. We have our ups and downs as you might expect with busy lives and two kids but the bad old days are over and our sex life is still getting better and better
Congratulations if you made it this far, I hope this might help someone somewhere who’s having the same problems I was having. I think the real value of my method is in the overall attitude I maintained. You can’t change another person, only yourself. You can’t convince someone to desire you, you can only try to be your best self. In this life we are entitled to NOTHING, you have to be prepared to make the effort, and if your efforts are not working for the love of god try something different, don’t just bang the same old drum over and over again.
If anyone does comment I will answer but bear in mind I’m on Greenwich Mean Time and I’m posting from a phone so I will reply but just not always very quickly
I Love You All