I was recently approached by a friend about the possibility of publishing an anonymous guest post on my blog. She didn’t tell me the subject; despite very rarely accepting guest posts and because it’s somebody I admire and know to be a good writer, I agreed without hesitation. The title of the article alone was heartbreaking: I’m not attracted to my husband and never have been.

When she sent me the finished piece, it was with a warning that I may never look at her the same way. I was curious and a little concerned just in case she was right – though I doubted it. As I suspected, her story is a very sad one – but certainly not a reason to judge her harshly. Quite the opposite in fact: it takes bravery to acknowledge this truth and to share it, to speak candidly about such a taboo and difficult topic. But I’ve a feeling that this post will receive lots of comments showing support, and lots more anonymous ones empathising.

Over to my lovely friend…

 

Is Marrying Your Best Friend Enough?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most married people would probably call their partner their best friend. It’s natural isn’t it, to be best friends with the person you marry? But, for me, it’s different and for you to really understand where I’m coming from I have to go back a few years to the very beginning.

When I was a teenager I had a couple of serious relationships very early on. I don’t think I was in love but I really liked them, they treated me well and I was happy. But then, one evening I went out after work for a drink with a colleague. I had a boyfriend, I was seventeen and just going for a drink. I honestly thought at that point that a girl and a boy could go for a platonic drink. But one drink turned into two and before I knew it I’d been followed into the toilets and what happened after that wasn’t anything I consented to.

I was so drunk and just didn’t say no, I don’t think I could say no. I didn’t say yes either but, the best part of twenty years ago things weren’t like they are today.

It wasn’t something I even thought to report – I felt like it was my fault for getting drunk. I had brought it on myself.

I somehow got home, went to bed and got on with my life. My colleague never came back to work and I never saw him again. Soon after my boyfriend moved away to university, we split up and I was in a pretty dark place.

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In the months and years that followed I no longer cared about myself. Before that I had only ever had a physical relationship with people I really cared about and had taken time to get to know. After that I didn’t see what the point was anymore and ended up in a downward spiral of drink, drugs and random people. I was a mess, I was broken inside and I needed help.

But, instead of help I ended up meeting someone who would change my life.

 

Could, Not attracted to my husband

A man who wouldn’t use me, who treated me right and who loved me from the start. He was what I needed and over the next few years the broken mess inside me healed. We bought a house, got married and had children. Now, we are living the happy ever after.

 

I’m Not Attracted to My Husband and Never Have Been

Except in my head I’m not as happy as I should be. He is my best friend, I love him and loved him for saving me from my journey of self destruction. But, I have never been physically attracted to him – and I feel so shallow for writing that.

I was with him because he was good for me, he was what I needed and he wanted to be with me. I had never really stopped to think about it any further than that.

The problem now, over fifteen years after we met is that I’ve never been turned on by him and when we’re intimate I find myself thinking about other things, trying to get my head into the place where it should be and not being entirely present.

It’s nice, it’s fine, it works but there have never been fireworks and that ‘I want to rip your clothes off as soon as we get home’ feeling. It’s always just been fine and I have never felt completely satisfied – no matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done or how we’ve done it. Something just isn’t there for me.

Is your husband you best friend? Is that enough? Marriage without physical attraction: What it's like to be married to a man you've never fancied. Will my marriage work if I'm not attracted to my husband?

But, our life is great. He’s an amazing Dad, we’re an amazing family together – and we’re happy. We have it all really and so I have tried to silence the little voice in my head. I know I can’t break up a family purely because my sex life isn’t great but I could quite happily have a platonic relationship forever – cuddles in front of the TV and our clearly defined sides of the bed.

But I know he wants more than that – he gets more than that – it’s just me that feels like there’s something missing. And I don’t know what to do about it.

He’s my best friend and I love him like one. I can’t think of a better father for my children or anyone else I’d rather have by my side in life. He makes me laugh, he works hard and he’s always there for me and the children. I know that in the scheme of things my issues aren’t that big at all. Some people spend their whole lives waiting to meet someone like the man in my life and would give anything for what I have.

But, when it always feels like there’s something missing, what do you do? Is marrying your best friend really enough – or should there be more to it than that?

If you’ve been affected by sexual assault you can find help and support at Rape Crisis.

Could you have written I’m Not Attracted to My Husband and Never Have Been, or is it an entirely alien concept? I imagine if you’ve found this post through searching, then you’ll relate and understand how devastating it is to feel you’re not or never have been attracted to your husband (or wife); I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and – of course – you’re welcome to share anonymously.

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14 Comments

  1. Wave to Mummy Reply

    Wow. What a difficult situation to be in. I hope your friend gets her head sorted. There are all sorts of marriages, there isn’t one right type, and they can change over the years too. There is one thing I would say however. No marriage is perfect. Never. You just have to understand and accept that, and if you can’t, the marriage probably isn’t right.

    • That’s so true – mine certainly isn’t! But it’s worth it, 100%. My husband drives me crazy, and likewise I do him. But we’re also best friends and a fantastic team (most of the time!) – and will remain so to the end of time. Hopefully!

  2. Susan Ricardo Reply

    You don’t know how helpful this article is to me. Thanks so much Kate!

  3. Yes! For 13 years I thought something was wrong with me. Why didn’t I want to be sexually active with my husband, who’s supportive, a great father, an involved Dad, etc. No he’s not perfect but he’s pretty dang close. It wasn’t until at a party I was speaking with another man, that an alarm went off. There it was, something I hadn’t felt in over 13 years. I thought I had been broken. I loved sex before my husband but I always thought I’d lost that side of me, maybe because of the every day challenges of adulthood and parenthood. I wasn’t sure to be honest. It never clicked with me until that night. I’ve read and researched until I’m blue. Even told my husband how I felt after soul searching. What I’ve found is people can have sexual chemistry and people can have compatibility. Some are lucky and have both. Those with only sexually chemistry usually, not always, don’t last long or have a ton of issues. Because the sexual chemistry doesn’t last long-term or years down the road it may not be enough because eventually you want someone you are compatible with. I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with what was beneath the surface all the years. Never had a clue, heartbreaking for myself and especially my husband. We are trying our best to make things better. We’ve had a lot of talks about turn ons/offs, etc. I honestly don’t know if that chemistry never existed if it can be created. Most articles say no. But I’ll be naive for now since I honestly had no idea what that empty feeling was for so many years. I’m trying my hardest to make something spark/connect. He deserves the best of me, as he has given the best of himself to me all these years.

    • Gosh, how heartbreaking, but I’m sure this will ring true for many people. And how wonderful that you have a strong enough relationship – in spite of any issues – that you’ve been able to discuss it with him.

      I wish you both the best.

  4. I am the husband in this situation and have no idea what to do. I want my wife to be as sexually engaged and excited about me as I am about her and don’t want her to live a life where she doesn’t have that. I can tell she thinks about other things while we are together and Injust wished it was me that made her excited. I am in better shape than when we were married and actually take better care of myself now. The types of men that make my wife feel sexually excited are types that are unattractive to her in all other ways. She wants to see me in a sexual way so badly, but after 14 years she feel it may not ever come. She was sexually abused and knows this is probably related. We make love frequently and she always climaxes, but it seems more like means to an end than true sexual connection. My sex life before marriage was mild because I wanted to save all my best, exciting love making for my wife, but she doesn’t get as excited with me. We are in counseling, but a lot of others issues take precedence over this.

  5. I feel like I could have written this article, except I was abused at 12 and was in unhealthy relationships ever since…many of them had the fireworks and passionate sex but no compatibility. I am now married to my best friend who know every thing about me (good and bad) and is crazy about me. He would have sex with me all day every day and he treats me like a queen. He is damn near perfect and he is a great dad to his daughter (my step-daughter). I can’t seem to get pregnant naturally (I think it is tied to the abuse at such an early age) but he totally accepts me regardless. I just can’t seem to get turned on by him though. I chose him because he is a good man and I made the decision to put take the sexual attraction out of the equation because I really didn’t believe I could have both chemistry and compatibility in the same relationship. I love my husband so much and we are very affectionate with each other but I don’t really want to have sex with him. I do it for him. 🙁

  6. I am so so happy I found this article. I am going through the exact same thing. I am engaged to an amazing man. He loves me soooo much and every time he looks at me you can see the passion in his eyes…but nothing about him physically is attractive to me. He is just so good to my kids and I and I know he will give us a good life. I hope and pray this can be enough for me to want to be intimate with him. I love who he is as a man but not head over heels because I don’t feel the sexual chemistry AT ALL. I have had such great sex throughout my other relationships but they treated me like crap. I am now making a wiser decision but not necessarily a passionate one. At the end I know this is best for me and my children and I hope we can sustain and have a happy life together. After all we are compatible and complement each other extremely well. I just wish I wanted to jump his bones! 🙁

  7. I have been married for almost 28 years to a man that I am not attracted to nor have I ever been. I had to talk myself into sex, while feeling like I would throw up. I did this because he seemed like a good man and I, like the writer, had some unfortunate dealings with men early in life so thought it best to go long. I was also pregnant after 3 months, which I thought was impossible before giveny activity. I know that hindsight is 20/20 and I have 2 lovely kids who are grown, but my worry is that my repulsion is solidifying into disgust. This man has great qualities but also we fight. I give him sex because he wants it and it makes my life easier, but I feel like a mother to him as well. Sometimes I think it would be best if I was dead and then he would be devistated but heal eventually. If I left now, I would cause more pain to him then my death would cause, because he relies on me for everything. I am trapped in a cage of my own making. I wish I would have listened to my gut all those times years ago as I made excused for his behaviour. Now the cement has set and I’m 40 feet under water, trying to improve my world by changing my physical world. IIam running out of options, and time. We have many times discussed how to make things better but there is no fixing repulsion. I can not stand his touch, and sex always leaves me in pain, but I do it when necessary to appease the man/child.

  8. This article put my thoughts and feelings into words. I too went through a dark time in my life. Boyfriend was emotionally abusive and when I finally broke free from that a family member who I was extremely close to and thought of as a father attempted to have sex with me. I didn’t tell anyone and just went into depression. Then I met my now husband. He was so kind and loving. We have 3 beautiful children together, but after 16 years I have finally admitted to myself that I’ve never been physically attracted to him. I feel so guilty, and have no clue what to do about it.

  9. I also am going through this exact situation. I have been with my husband for 15 years. I went right into a relationship with him while getting out of a bad one. He was everything my previous boyfriend wasn’t. ANd so I hung on for dear life! Now, we have 3 children and i am financially dependent on him. I don’t enjoy sex with him. I fantasize about other men. I am seriously contemplating a divorce just so I can be in peace alone! I feel so selfish considering this with our 3 children. He is an amazing dad and husband. He’s not very emotionally supportive to me, which is a big deal for us right now and we are in counseling, but other than that i have this huge secret I haven’t told anyone 🙁

  10. So glad to have found this article and thread. I’ve been with my husband for 14 years, married 11. He is a wonderful man…nearly perfect on paper. I think the world of him, but am not sexually/physically or intellectually attracted to him…nor have i ever been…this has resulted in a sexless marriage. I knew early on that something was slightly amiss for me…but i just brushed it aside and chalked it up to anxiety/jitters. I knew how amazing of a person he was…and you just don’t walk away from a good man who loves and supports you in every facet in life.

    I’ve spent all these years not really knowing/realizing what was going on….i have kept myself distracted with work, friends, hobbies, travel, etc… I’ve pushed him further and further away emotionally in recent years and didn’t really understand why. Fast forward to this past year, i met and became friends with a man i am very very attracted to in every aspect. We became involved in a relationship for nearly a year…and sadly it took this experience for me to realize the huge lack in my marriage.

    I am so utterly depressed and heartbroken over it all. But knowing all that i now know and have realized this year, i don’t know if i can remain in the marriage….given that those key ingredients were missing from the start. Not sure that such can be cultivated at this point. At times, i tell myself it is shallow/carnal to consider leaving an outstanding person over lack of attraction…but i want more…i don’t know that i can spend the rest of my life without a deeper, richer connection….sex…intellectual stimulation…it’s just so difficult..but i think i know what i have to do.

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